Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorite winter time foods. It's warm, comforting and a perfect one dish meal.
The players: onion, carrots, celery, frozen peas and of course chicken.
This is my new favorite and EASY way to cook a chicken (to use for soups, enchiladas, etc.) all you do is wash your chicken, clean out the inside, and put it in a large pot. Add about 2-3 cups of water and lots of salt & pepper. Cook on med-med/high for about 20-30 minutes and then let it sit another half hour or so and it's done. Take the chicken out let it cool and either cut or shred. I cut most of the breast section out for the pot pie and then I'm going to use the rest for chicken enchiladas in a couple of days.
The rest of the players: butter, flour, chicken broth, half-n-half (or cream), salt, pepper and fresh thyme if you have it or dried (that's all I had on hand).
Okay, the process: Get out a Dutch oven or good size heavy bottom pan and melt the butter, about 1/2 a stick (1/4 cup), add in the mirepoix (carrot, celery & onion) I know it's a fancy French word, but doesn't it sound so much nicer than carrot, celery & onion??

Anyway, saute the mirepoix until softened and almost cooked through. Then add in 2-4 Tbls. of flour and cook a couple of minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add in a couple of cups of chicken stock (I used the stock from the chicken I just cooked, but you could also use store-bought) and stir to mix it will begin to thicken, add more stock as necessary and add about a cup of half-n-half or cream (whatever you have in the fridge). Season with salt and pepper and the thyme (if using fresh just throw a couple of stems in) if using dried add about 1 tsp. Let this cook for a little bit to meld all the flavors.

In the meantime, cut up your chicken and roll out your pie crust. I just used my standard pie crust recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Baking cookbook. Just use your favorite or you could save a step and buy one.
Add in your chicken to your filling, this will be your last chance to taste and season and adjust any liquid amouts. You want it thick, but thin enough that it's not too solid you want some liquid to come out when you cut into the pie.

Last step! Dump mixture into your pie dish (you can use any casserole dish or make individual pies with oven-safe bowls). And then place your crust on top, pinch the edges and then brush on an egg wash so it will get nice and golden brown.
My pie crust and I had some issues (Sissy is really the expert on pie crusts) so it wasn't beautiful, but let me tell you it still tasted good! Just ask my husband, he couldn't stop eating this meal!! I also did a great thing and doubled the recipes for both the pie crust and the pot pie filling and froze them separately so I can have a super easy dinner in a couple of weeks! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Three Bean Dip

I made this delicious dip for Superbowl. It was really good! I saw a spicy black bean dip recipe on the Pioneer Women's website and thought it looked good, I had wanted to make some kind of bean dip and set out to try this one...with some tweaking.
Here are the players and my Lysie Lu watching mama...she's going to be a good little cook someday soon. Tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, orange juice, white wine vinegar (I would have used lime or even lemon juice, but I didn't have either - so I opted for the combo of the two), salt and pepper, oh and beans. (see below) The beans, I opted for a combo of black beans and great northern, there they are in my food processor with a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
Then I tasted it to check the spice, WOW! I knew my husband wouldn't eat this...too hot, so I added about a cup of pinto beans. I'd been cooking beans for two days for my chili and for Elyse so I had some on hand I could add in. (I'm on a kick to use only dried beans these days so I did cook all of these myself, but you could certainly use canned beans.)

Now for the cilantro...don't you just love cilantro? I love cilantro.
This is the mixture with the everything added in, I added the tomatoes and onions last and just pulsed it a few times to incorporate, I wanted some of the texture of those two to still be a little chunky so you would know there were fresh ingredients in the dip.
Here it is with a good mound of cheddar cheese on top, I decided to warm my dip. I prefer beans hot rather than cold, so I just popped it in the oven for about 10-15 min at 375 degrees.
This is how I served it to my husband, notice that I had to take a couple of bites first!
  • 1 cup great northern beans
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 cup pinto beans (this really could be any combo of beans you have on hand)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and about a tsp of the sauce
  • juice of 1/2 an orange & 1 tsp white wine vinegar (you could also just use the juice of 1 lime or 1/2 of a lemon instead of the combo)
  • 1 clove of garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 of a red onion - chopped
  • 1-2 tomatoes - chopped
  • salt & pepper

Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro and serve with chips. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Barley Beef Soup

I love a really thick soup. Okay- really, I love any soup! I could eat soup for lunch everyday of the year. My whole family really loved this recipe- it is in my file now.

P.S. (Aren't my new bowls cute? A gift from my favorite sister in law!).

Recipe coming later today...

Potato & Leek Soup

Dinner a couple of nights ago was this amazing soup! I had some leeks from Farmer and the Dale (a local CSA that delivers) and some nice red potatoes and it was was going to be a match made in heaven.
Here are the Leeks and Potatoes after they have roasted in the oven for a good 40-45 min with some olive oil and salt and pepper...yum! I had to take a taste and make sure they were tender, wow! MENTAL NOTE: make this as a side dish for another meal, maybe with a pork roast or some chicken. This combo is really delicious, you MUST try!
Here are the leeks and potatoes in the food processor getting ready to be pureed with some chicken stock.
And the soup finishing up on the stove, I didn't have any arugula, creme fraiche or shallots, so I can only imagine how much better it is going to be the next time I make it with those three ingredients. I did add some sour cream instead of the creme fraiche and I just topped the soup with Parmesan for garnish.
The finished product waiting to be enjoyed!
We rounded out the meal with a salad with chicken, pear, toasted walnuts and a little red onion with a balsamic vinaigrette and this great bread machine white bread that is started in the bread machine and then finished in the oven to give it that 'real bread' look. It is the best and easiest white bread that I've tried so far in the bread machine.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

February's Challenge

It's been quite a while since I've posted on this blog. So many excuses to offer, but you don't want to hear my excuses, well maybe just a couple: a baby girl was born, I've been lazy, uninspired about cooking, not constantly uninspired, just not inspired enough to blog about what I've been cooking. I'm sure many can relate to that last excuse.

Well, things are changing!! That baby girl is almost a year old and I'm newly inspired these days about many things.

One is laziness, I'm embarking on new journey of rising early, I've been challenged by a blog I read (you can check it out here) to rise at 6am every day. The club is called 'the 5:00 o'clock club, well right now I'm starting slow with 6am. It's a big deal for me! So I'm hoping this will help me fit some more things that I want to do in my day.

Two is food. Healthy, good, maybe local, maybe organic food for my family. That is what I'm striving for these days. How to make this happen and stay within my budget as well.

If you're interested in joining us on this journey and hopefully be inspired with some new recipes, please stay tuned. I promise it will be real, insightful and hopefully attainable.

What are your thoughts sis?