Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

So of the three of us "Girls", I am the only one that works full-time. I mean, outside the home. We all know that stay-at-home moms have quite a big job, too. It's a financial decision we made, and hopefully not anything too long-term. Anyway, at first I was really struggling with everything that I had to do. I got home around 6pm from work and picking up the kiddos, and I had an hour and a half to make dinner, help with homework, and spend a little quality time with each child, all the while trying to get some dishes, laundry, and cleaning done so that once the kids were in bed, I could relax before I crashed myself. Luckily I've convinced myself that a few nights a week of Top Ramen and grilled cheese sandwiches aren't going to kill us, especially if it means I get to play Legos or brush Barbie's hair for a little bit with my monkeys. And I've also learned a bit about kitchen prep on the weekend that makes weeknight meals a little easier. One of those is, as Sandra Lee would say, "semi-homemade." That means getting a rotisserie chicken and shredding it up - this is great for chicken noodle soup, chicken enchiladas, or *ahem* chicken pot pie. Chopping up veggies for the week is a huge time saver. And Pillsbury pie crust is just as good as homemade, at least in my opinion, and especially when I'm on a time crunch. I also pre-brown hamburger and shred up big bricks of cheese in my food processor, which is great to have on hand for quesadillas, soups, chili, pastas, or anything else that needs cheese (which is just about anything, am I right?).


I love chicken pot pie. And I don't mean those little ones you get in the freezer section that taste like cardboard and have a gazillion calories. I mean, even I'm watching what I eat these days, and I find that dinners made from scratch (as opposed to from the freezer) are so much healthier for you, and as a big bonus, they taste much better. Trust me. My chicken pot pie is a great example of a little bit of effort with a big payoff. And while I don't know the calorie content here, I guarantee it isn't a gazillion.

Time savers here include Pillsbury pie crust (have I mentioned I love these?), rotisserie chicken, frozen vegetables (I never use canned, just a personal preference, but in this recipe canned peas would be really mushy) and pre-chopped vegetables, especially carrots, celery, and onion. I wouldn't pre-chop potatoes, though. They don't stay fresh that long.

 Chicken Pot Pie
by Kelli Lafranca for Girls in Aprons

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
1 cup water
3-4 carrots, cut in half and then into half-moons
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
3-4 red or Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1/2 cup (1 cube) butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2-3 cups cooked, chopped chicken (I use rotisserie)
1 package (15 oz) pie crust (2 crust package)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine broth and water in a medium saucepan. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Heat butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Add onion and saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour and stir together for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broth mixture,  and add the frozen peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken.

Line a 9" pie pan with one pie crust, making sure the edges of the crust reach the top of the dish. Fill the dish with the vegetable mixture. Using a small cookie cutter, cut a small hole in the middle of the second pie crust. Place the second pie crust on top of the vegetable mixture, securing the two crusts together, and flute the edges. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is browned.

For a fun version, make individual pot pies in large ramekins. For this, I omit the bottom crust and added everyone's initials to their own pot pie.

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