Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

As the fall season rushes by too quickly and winter looms in the close future... I begin to turn more to the comfort that food brings. Theres nothing like a good, hot bowl of soup.
Or how about a good ol' chicken pot pie?
2 cups water
14 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
2 ribs celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas

For the crust you've got a few options.... you could buy some frozen puff pastry or pie crust or you could make your own basic pie crust. Or, you could try this simple pie crust recipe! I thought it was the perfect texture and taste to top off this tasty pot pie!!!

For the crust:

  • 1 stick butter, cut into pea-size pieces
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of water

To make the crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, cream cheese, flour and salt. Pulse to combine. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the ingredients start to come together and resembles Parmesan. Add the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water. Pulse a couple of more times until the ingredients start to form a ball. If the mixture is exceedingly wet, add some more flour. Or conversely, if the mix is dry, dry, dry, add in a few more drops of water.

When the mixture has come together into a ball, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it a couple of times to help it come together. Dust it with flour, form it into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done a day ahead.

Cook's Note: When ready to use the dough, remove it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before rolling, to allow it to warm up and soften.

To make the filling:

In 4-quart saucepan combine water, chicken, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken bouillon, pepper and butter. Dissolve cornstarch and flour into whipping cream and stir into chicken mixture. Simmer 3 minutes stirring frequently until thickened. Add peas and set aside.

Making the Pie:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using this crust recipe, I made my pie with only a top crust. If you use a different, basic crust recipe, you could do a top and bottom crust if you want. (It might even work to do a bottom crust with this recipe as well, I just didn't want a bottom crust.)

You can use little ramekins or casserole dishes if you want to make individual pot pies. I used a 8x8 glass baking dish and that was about the perfect size for the amount of filling.

Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the dough into the shape of the casserole dish or large enough to cut circles to cover the individual casserole dishes. (For my 8x8 dish, I think I used just over half of the dough.) Whichever dishes are being used the dough needs to have generous overhang of dough on the edges of the dish. Pour the filling into the dish/dishes. Brush the outside edges of the dish with a little of the egg wash to help "glue" the dough to sides of the dish. Fold the edges of the dough under and press it onto the edges of the dish. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining egg wash. Cut a couple of vents in the top of the dough to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven until the dough is golden brown and the inside is hot and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so then serve!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Mole Poblano

I know that this seems like a strange combination of ingredients....but, don't be scared!

3 tbs. olive oil

1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into large chunks

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 hot dried red chili, such as chipotle, OR 2 milder dried chilies, such as ancho, reconstituted (soaked in hot water) and then finely chopped

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

1 tbsp chopped almonds

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cloves

3 tomatoes, chopped (I've also used canned tomatoes before)

2 tbsp raisins

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 oz bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa content
1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (You probably want to wait on this until you see how much heat the dried peppers give off.... you can add this near the end if it needs more heat).

1) Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

2) Add the onion, garlic, and chilies and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sesame seeds, almonds, and spices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. A
dd the tomatoes, raisins, stock, peanut butter, and chocolate and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes.

3)Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth (you may need to do this in batches).

4)Return the mixture to the skillet, add the chicken, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for one hour, or until chicken is very tender, adding more liquid if necessary.

5) Garnish with sesame seeds and a little grated chocolate. Serve with Spicy Rice, beans and tortillas.

Apple Butter

Thanks to Betty Crocker, we were able to use up some of our apples with this simple recipe!

No idea what this stuff is???? Well, here's what Betty Crocker has to say:

"Even though this thick mixture has no butter, its name comes from the fact that it spreads like butter. Spread your favorite bagel with cream cheese and spicy apple butter. Use it instead of butter on hot toast, English muffins, or freshly baked biscuits or scones. Or spoon it on top of a stack of hot pancakes or waffles, and sprinkle with toasted pecans."

This recipe will make 4 cups of apple butter. I halved it when I made it because it's just me and Steve and it only lasts 3 weeks in the fridge, but make the whole thing if you think you'll go through it... or give some to a friend! Or... I wonder if it would freeze well.....

12 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, ,cored, and cut into fourths
1 1/2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1) Mix all ingredients in crock pot/slow cooker.
2)Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hours or until apples are very tender
3)Mash apples with potato masher or large fork.
4)Cook uncovered on low heat for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is very thick. Cool about 2 hours.
5)Spoon apple butter into container. Cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken



1/3 cup ketchup
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar (I actually use seasoned rice vinegar)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons mustard (It calls for just regular yellow mustard, but this last time I used Chinese hot mustard because thats all I had, and it turned out great)
1-2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon garlic, minced



2 large whole boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cornstarch
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon oil

SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE COOKING TIME (I've actually done this step only within an hour of cooking, and it turned out fine...but probably better to let it sit longer I guess.) CUT AND SALT THE CHICKEN (a little less than a tsp of salt). PUT THE CHICKEN IN A BOWL, ADD 2 TABLESPOONS CORNSTARCH AND MASSAGE INTO MEAT. COVER AND SET IN REFRIGERATOR.

........cook some rice.....

I like to saute up some onions and peppers to eat with this. Or you can just add green onions. Or no veggies at all if you don't like that sort of thing.


When you're ready to cook, mix the eggs, water, and oil. Put the chicken chunks in the mixture then transfer the nuggets to the 2 cups of cornstarch. Let them sit in the cornstarch while you heat oil for frying. Oil should be 375-380 degrees-- should see a little smoke before putting the nuggets in to fry. DISCLAIMER: Be careful! A friend of mine ended up with fire in their pan when making this... don't let the oil get TOO hot! You don't want it majorly smoking!   (I don't usually deep deep fry... just because I don't want to use up all my oil... so I usually just put in maybe an inch of oil, so they still get fried, I just have to flip them over to get the other side. It works just fine for me. But, if you have a deep fryer, go for it!) Add nuggets to the oil. Might have to do them in batches so you don't overcrowd the oil and make the temperature drop. Fry until the outside is crispy and the inside is cooked. Remove and let drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

When you're ready to heat the sauce, first mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water in a small dish and set aside. Put the sauce into a pan on the stove to heat. Add the cornstarch mixture within the first minute and stir it well to incorporate. As the sauce heats it will thicken! Once it is to your desired thickness, it is ready to serve.

You can dump all the chicken nuggets in and coat them with the sauce if you are going to be eating it all right away. I usually make extra for left overs, so we just mix up our own portions as we take them, that way the chicken won't get all soggy before I eat it the next day.

Mmmm. mmmmmm...... ENJOY!