Wednesday, March 26, 2014

True March Madness

I'm not sure what it's like where you live, but here in Colorado winter is hanging on with the tenacity of a bulldog with a bone!  And in typical March fashion (true March Madness if you ask me!), we have our beautiful teaser days of 70+ degree weather followed immediately by snow, sometimes in the same 24-hour period!

Here's a fast meal for one of those cold winter nights that's chock full of vegetables and lean meat that will make you totally forget you're eating healthy.  A perfect comfort food when it's cold outside and all you want to do is crawl under a blanket with a good book.  And it's so simple to make, you'll actually have time after dinner to read!

Chicken Pot Pie
1-1/2 c. Hot water
1/2 c. Milk
2 tsp. Chicken bullion
2 Tbsp. Flour for thickening
1 Chicken breast, chopped in bite-sized pieces
1 c. chopped celery
3 Large carrots (about 1 c. chopped)
1 Large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 c. Frozen peas
1/2 c. Frozen corn
1 c. Chopped onion
1 Potato, chopped
3 Sprigs of Rosemary (or 1 tsp. dry)
1/2 tsp. Celery Seed (optional)
1 Prepared pie crust (I used a frozen one I had left over from Christmas...or maybe even Thanksgiving...) :D
1 egg (optional) for brushing top of crust
Dissolve the bullion in the hot water and set it aside.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add in your chicken.  Cook it til there is no pink left.  Add in the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook just til the onion and celery soften up.  

Add in your 1-1/2 cup of chicken bullion and allow it to heat up to almost boiling.  

Mix the flour into the 1/2 cup of milk stirring until there are no lumps.  Turn down the heat on your chicken and vege mixture and, using a whisk, add the milk and flour mixture into the hot chicken/vege mixture stirring well so there's no lumps.  You want a nice, thick gravy to form here.  Stir this until it's well combined.  

Add in the rest of your vegetables and add in your rosemary, celery seed (if used), and season it with salt and pepper.  Allow this to cook for just a few minutes to incorporate the seasonings. 

Then, dump the entire mixture thing into a glass baking dish (I used a 9 x 9 glass dish).  Top it with the pie crust.  You can of course use 2 crusts to make this the traditional way, but the pie crust serves no nutritional purpose, so I've only used the one as it also cuts the fat from pie crust in half!  Make slits in the top of the crust for steam to escape.

Using a brush, lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the beaten egg before putting it in the oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Keep an eye on this as it can have the tendency to bubble over and make a mess in your oven.  You can set the entire thing on a cookie sheet if you want to avoid this.  

And here's the finished product!  Again, this is one of those recipes that you can break down to it's parts and then substitute for whatever you've got in the house.  Here's the bare bones of it:

1-1/2 c. Hot water
1/2 c. Milk
2 tsp. bullion (any kind you have on hand, but it will taste better if you use chicken for chicken, beef for beef, etc.)
2 Tbsp. Flour for thickening
1 cup of some sort of meat.  You can even use hamburger or ground turkey!
3-4 cups total of different vegetables.  Be creative!
3 Sprigs of Rosemary (or 1 tsp. dry)
1/2 tsp. Celery Seed (optional)
1 Prepared pie crust
1 egg (optional) for brushing top of crust

You can also make this vegetarian and omit the meat altogether.  And if you want to omit the pie crust, top it with mashed potatoes!  If you put about 4 potatoes (chopped into small bits) on to boil while you're making the first part of the pot pie, they'll be ready to mash and use as topping by the time you reach the point that you're pouring the mixture into the dish to bake, and voila! A version of Shepherd's Pie!

This smells absolutely wonderful when it's baking.  AND it heats up nicely for leftovers to take for lunch the next day!  

Here's the stats:  
Time Spent:  40 minutes
Servings         8
Calories     302
Carbs          40 g
Protein      16.2 g

Compare this to KFC's Chicken Pot Pie:

Calories     790
Carbs          66 g
Protein        29 g

Happy eating!