chicken

Miss Erika's Chicken Pot Pie

image from instagram.com

After coming across Martha Stewart's  pot pie recipe on an especially gloomy December evening, I got motivated to whip a couple up for dinner. Although mine are not as pretty as hers (I should have trimmed my puff pastry more aggressively), I'm pretty sure I improved upon the tastiness a little bit, in addition to slimming down the recipe to be just enough for two robust pot pies.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 14 baby carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek thinly sliced
  • 2 parsnips, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 -3/4 cups half & half
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray glass baking dish with 1 TBSP olive oil. Add all vegetables and chicken to dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil and bake until vegetables are starting to brown. Stir vegetables every 10min to keep from drying out. Should be ready in 45 minutes. Let chicken cool, then chop into bite-size chunks, and add back to dish of vegetables.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in chicken stock and half & half, cooking until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Add to bowl with chicken and vegetables; toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between 2 round baking dishes (approx 12 oz).
 
Cut puff pastry into two 8-inch circles and place on top of each of the baking dishes, crimping edges. Cut slits in the center of each piece of puff pastry to allow steam to escape; brush push pastry with beaten egg if desired. Place baking dishes on a baking sheet and bake until puff pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbling, approximately 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

 


Roasted Chicken and Veggie Soup

My significant other is down for the count battling some sort of yucky illness. This clearly calls for my making a gallon or so of my roasted vegetables and chicken soup for dinner. Roasting the veggies is an extra step that adds to the preparation time, but it also adds to the depth of taste, making it well worth it in my opinion.

For Roasting
1 Napa cabbage, cut into wedges
2 cups plum tomatoes chopped or a can of San Marzano tomatoes
15 smallish russian banana fingerling potatoes, chopped
3 small eggplants, chopped into small chunks
1 large red onion, diced
6 medium size red carrots, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts. seasoned with salt and pepper

For the Soup
1 head of garlic
1 TBSP olive oil
1 can canellini beans
1 64 oz carton vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine

Arrange the veggies and the chicken into as many baking/roasting pans as required to hold them in a single layer (you can roast in batches.) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and add some optional chopped up fresh dill (to taste) then pop into 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (pull out vegetables when they start to brown, cook chicken until cooked through and skin is golden.)

Brown 5 chopped cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add all roasted vegetables plus 2 cans of canellini beans, 64 ounces of veggie stock, and one cup of white wine. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Freezes well.


Following a Weekly Meal Plan

A Farmers Market haul

The past month has been terrible from a "you are what you eat" standpoint. Being incredibly busy at work, vacation, then coming back to even longer hours at work has meant we've been doing a ton of eating out. And not a ton of healthy seasonal cooking at home.

This is why yesterday I pulled out all the items in my pantry cupboard to take stock of what we had on hand, and then made a week's meal plan that made good use of what we had on hand. I should note that I had no idea I had 8 cans of enchilada sauce in that cupboard. This is one of the primary drawbacks to using a deep, tall shelf next to the stove as a pantry, but when you're a renter in a high price city, you make do.

Here's what I came up with to help thin out the cupboard, and stop eating out so much:

  • Sat: mus sa mun curry with beef over rice
  • Sun: bean and beef enchiladas
  • Mon: chicken stir fry
  • Tues: Bean and cheese quesadillas
  • Wed: lasagna (make sauce ahead on Sunday)
  • Thur: pork chops
  • Fri: eat out for dinner

I also made sure we had a ton of yogurt and healthy cereal for breakfast, and plenty of tasty yet healthy snacks to keep me away from the cheese. This reminds me I really need to figure out how to make my ideal spicy trail mix. I love that stuff.

Today, I'm doing some prep work (making pasta sauce and a chicken+bean soup), making some sides (bean salad, potato salad, corn muffins) and mixing up chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough for the freezer. That sounds like a fine way to spend a Sunday don't you think?

Easy Pasta Sauce

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 a white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 15 baby carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 15oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a stockpot and heat on medium. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become partially translucent. Add in the carrots and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in tomato sauce, reduce heat, and simmer on low for 1 hour.

I'll be using this for my lasagna this week.

Chicken and Black Bean Soup

  • 1 32 oz container Imagine organic chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 a white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 15 baby carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast fillet (i.e. half a chicken breast)
  • 1 TBSP garlic, minced
  • 1 Tsp poultry seasoning blend of your choice

Pour chicken broth into stockpot and heat on medium high and bring to a boil. Sprinkle chicken breast with your favorite poultry seasoning and salt and pepper then add to the hot broth and poach, removing once meat is white all the way through. Cool chicken until it is at room temperature, then shred into bit size pieces. While your chicken is cooling, reduce heat to low and add in your separately olive oil sauteed onions, garlic and carrots (I did mine at the same time for the pasta sauce then split the total cooked mixture in half). Add back in your shredded chicken and simmer for an hour.

Makes 4 servings. 5 points plus per serving.


Ranch Chicken Marinade

This recipe was inspired by my colleague sharing this recipe for Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kebabs. My version is pared back to a quantity suitable for dinner for two, and to reflect that rosemary is not a favorite herb in this household.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
splash of lemon juice
splash of red wine zinfandel vinegar
two twists of pepper from the pepper mill
1/2 tsp sugar
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (a little over 1 lb) chopped into small chunks

Combine all but the chicken in a small bowl and whisk together until combined. Let stand 5 min while you chop up the chicken. Place chopped chicken in a ziploc bag, and pour marinade over the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to cooking chicken by your preferred method.