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Chicken Pot Pie

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I’ve recently discovered/perfected a chicken pot pie recipe, so we’ve been eating chicken pot pie pretty regularly. The great thing about this recipe is it has no nasty vegetables, just delicious meat, gravy, and pie crust. My mother-in-love asked me to share the recipe. The original recipe was from America’s Test Kitchen, but I changed it to make it easier. 

Ingredients

Your favorite homemade or store-bought pie crust, enough for a double crust pie. 

rotisserie chicken (the ones from Sams and the “family-size” ones from Wal-Mart are perfect, Kroger’s are smaller, so you’d probably need two of those)

2 3/4 cups chicken stock — I use store bought (note that this is different than chicken broth)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour 

1/4 cup half-and-half

1 large egg, lightly beaten 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Working on lightly floured counter (or parchment paper), roll pie dough into 12-inch round and transfer to 9-inch pie plate, leaving 1/2 inch overhang all around. Repeat with second dough disk and transfer to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover both doughs with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I learned the hard way that refrigerating the dough is a pretty important step. If you skip it your crust will collapse in the oven. Disappointing. 

2. Pull all the meat off the chicken. Discard the skin and bones. If you’re like me and you’re not fond of animal carcasses, get a manly man to do this for you. Just say to him, “I’m just not good at it,” and the thought of wasted meat will be so horrifying to him that he’ll leap to your rescue. (You’ve probably noticed by now that this isn’t a feminist blog. Get married. Husbands are useful.) Set the meat aside in a bowl.

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of stock and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer gravy until thickened and reduced to 1 3/4 cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste (If you’re using store-bought stock it’s pretty salty already, so make sure you taste before you season.) Combine 1 cup gravy with shredded chicken; reserve remaining gravy for serving. 

4. Transfer chicken mixture to dough-lined pie plate and spread into even layer. Top with second dough round, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Cut four 1-inch slits in top. Brush pie with egg and bake until top is light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let pie cool on wire rack for at least 45 minutes. (OK, we’ve never waited that long to eat this pie. I’m convinced the original recipe meant to say let cool for 4 to 5 minutes.)

5. When ready to serve, bring remaining 3/4 cup of reserved gravy and remaining 3/4 cup of reserved stock to boil in medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. (Make sure you heat the gravy up some before you add the stock. If you add the stock to cold gravy it will get all clumpy and weird.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve pie with gravy. 

Don’t waste this pie on your small children. They won’t appreciate it. Let them have peanut butter and jelly for supper, and keep this pie for the grownups. 

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Breakfast Casserole Muffins

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This should be more of a thing. I couldn’t find anything about this on my usual recipe sites, and a Google search only brought up two random blog posts about it. But these freeze great, and you can grab them on your way out the door in the morning for a quick, protein-filled breakfast. I didn’t really use a recipe though, but we’ll try to get through this together.

1 can grands biscuit dough. Biscuits pulled apart and cut in half (that should give you 16 little dough balls)

Muffin cups

1 lb sausage, browned (we only used about 3/4 of our sausage)

Grated cheese to taste.

8 eggs

Note: You could also do this with hash browns instead of biscuit dough if you needed a gluten-free option.

Line two muffin pans with 16 muffin cups. Spray the inside of the muffin liners (that biscuit dough is sticky). For each muffin, take one of your little biscuit dough balls (you’ve already cut them in half, remember?) and roll it into a flat circle (It will look like a pie crust had a love child with a biscuit). Tuck the biscuit dough into the muffin cup, forming a little dough bowl to hold the egg in. Beat one egg and divide it between two muffins. Top with sausage and grated cheese. When you’ve done this for all 16 muffins bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes–until the dough is browned and the egg is cooked. It will get all puffy and delicious looking while it bakes. The final and most important step is to try and stop your meat-eating hubby from eating them all as soon as you pull them out of the oven. Remind him to save a couple for his actual breakfast.

Enjoy!

Num-Num Sauce

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So named because it makes Gareth say “num num num num” and because I think it’s catchier than “Apple-Carrot-Pear Sauce.” I adapted this from Elise’s applesauce recipe on Simply Recipes. This recipe brings up a good question: Do you prefer to hide your kids veggies in foods they already like (like carrots in applesauce) or are you of the opinion that kids should learn to love veggies for veggies’ sakes? We end up doing a mix in our house. When it comes to scary vegetables (like carrots or bell peppers), the only way our kiddos will eat them is if we sneak them in.

Note: I don’t peel my apples and pears because we have a food mill, which separates out the peels for me, and I like to have the extra flavor and vitamins from the peels. If you’re not using a food mill, then make sure you peel your fruits first.

  • 4 lbs of cored and cubed apples. (Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein.)
  • 4 lbs of cored and cubed pears
  • 4-6 peeled and sliced carrots
  • Strips of lemon peel from two lemons – use a vegetable peeler
  • Juice of two lemons, about 6-8 Tbsp
  • Two cinnamon stick (about 6 inches worth)
  • 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
  • up to 1/2 cup of white sugar (to taste depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

METHOD

1. Put all ingredients into a huge pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher or grind with a food mill. If you wanted it really smooth, say to feed to a baby, then you’d probably want to puree it with a blender or food processor.

Ready to serve, either hot or refrigerated.

Freezes easily, lasts up to one year in a cold freezer. Makes about 4 quarts.

Ann Hodgman’s Cranberry Scones

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Emmeline and I have been calling these “Pink Sparkle Princess Heart Scones” because she is 3, which means everything has to be pink-fancy-princess. But come on, what would you rather eat? Boring old cranberry scones or Pink Sparkle Princess Heart Scones? Emmie and I choose the latter.

We are having a stressful week at our house. Sure, there are people out there who have it much worse off than we do, but family life isn’t exactly a picnic when Hubby/Daddy is in grad school. He’s a genius, and he works very hard, but a couple of times a year it just wears everybody out. So we made scones.

Here’s the recipe. It’s from the excellent cookbook One Bite Won’t Kill You by Ann Hodgman. I hope she forgives me for posting her recipe on the web, but it’s all in the name of helping you, my dear readers, make stress-relieving Pink Sparkle Princess Heart Scones. Her cookbook is excellent, by the way.

2 cups sweetened dried cranberries (I only had one cup so I used a cup of cranberries and a cup of chocolate chips)
2 1/4 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
sugar for rolling the scones

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or cover with parchment paper.

Grind 1 cup of the dried cranberries in a food processor with the flour. This takes a while. Be patient, and wait for the cranberries to pulverize. You’ll notice your flour turning pink. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Process to combine.

Scatter slices of butter over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse until the butter has combined and the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Put mixture in a bowl. Add cream and vanilla. Stir with a fork, then add remaining 1 cup of cranberries (or chocolate chips). Knead until smooth.

Coat a surface with sugar. Gently press the dough until 3/4 inch thick. Cut out scones with a cookie cutter. In the Krebs house, we of course use a heart-shaped one because it’s the shape recommended by most fancy princesses. Put scones on cookie sheet sugar side up and bake for 20 minutes. Scones will be pale brown on the bottom but not on the top. Should be kind of moist and falling-apart crumbly.

So there you go. If you’re going to be stressed, at least have something yummy for breakfast. Now go forth and be relaxed!