How to: Make your own – Shortcut Chicken Pot Pie

I’m in a chicken pot pie phase. If that can be a phase.

I hope it’s a phase everyone has to go through in life because, damn, it’s awesome.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of posting a chicken pot pie recipe for such a long time. It’s one of those recipes that when made from scratch, takes a whole lot of steps. And while totally worth it, it doesn’t really fit the How to Eat MO of simple, easy, fast.

Until now.

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My little cheater short cuts for this recipe are:

a. Use fully cooked, store bought rotisserie chicken.

b. Use store bought puff pastry

These two little pot pie hacks mean this fabulous homestyle classic can be in the oven in less than 30 minutes and on the table within an hour.

Giving you more time to read, relax, do some yoga or catch up on Netflix. Or if you’re me, (and let’s face it, probably you too), scoop dog poop, clean crusty food off the floor, fold laundry or scrub a toilet bowl. The glamour of it all!

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However, who needs glamour when you’ve got chicken pot pie? Not I.

This is a very basic pot pie recipe.  The flavour comes from the veggies and whatever broth you decide to use.  If you’ve got some homemade stock in the freezer, even better!

You can even make your own with the leftover rotisserie chicken carcass and freeze it for your next chicken pot pie.

Then you too, will officially be in your own chicken pot pie phase.

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Don’t be shy to switch up the suggested filling, either.  Parnsip, squash, turnip or sweet potato could easily replace (or complement) the carrots or potatoes and spinach or arugula (chopped up) could easily work instead of peas for some greenery.

You can even switch up the shortcut. Above, I’ve pictured another pot pie made in a store bought frozen pie crust.  They come in packs of two, so use one as a base and the other as a top. We’re basically pastry chefs now.

And pot pie connoisseurs.

Erin

Shortcut Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 Small onion (chopped)
  • 2 Medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 Small thin skinned white or red potatoes (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (meat from 1/2 - 1 chicken)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed on the counter for about an hour or overnight in the fridge)
  • 1 egg plus 1 Tbsp water (beaten)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F
In a large pot over medium heat, heat canola oil and butter. Add onions, carrots, celery and potatoes and cook until they are softened but still have 'bite', about 7-9 minutes.
2. Sprinkle flour over softened vegetables and stir, cooking for 1-2 minutes until flour is well absorbed. Slowly add chicken broth, while stirring and cook for 2-3 more minutes until sauce is thickened.
3. Remove from heat and add chopped chicken and peas, stirring until well combined. Transfer filling in a 2-2.5L baking dish. A 8"x11" lasagna type pan or an oval Corningware dish works well.
4. Sprinkle some flour over a clean dry surface and roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle that will slightly overlap the edges of your baking dish.
5. Dip your finger in some water and rub the rim of the baking dish to moisten. Top the baking dish with the rolled puff pastry pressing down along the entire rim to secure it. Cut a few holes for the steam to escape with the tip of a knife. Brush the surface of the puff pastry with egg wash.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until pastry has puffed (it will be more noticeable around the edges) and browned. Cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

How To: Make Your Own – Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

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When we moved from our condo to our new home I was looking forward to many things – one being the ability to barbecue. I dreamt about being able to make and enjoy delicious grilled meats, seafood, and pizza (you haven’t lived until you’ve tried pizza on the bbq).

Almost a year later, and we have yet to even purchase a barbecue. The thing with owning a house is there is always something to do – throw in a new baby and all of life’s other demands and you are left with a beautiful backyard, a freezer full of chicken and fish, but no barbecue. And now it’s almost winter, so what’s the point of buying one now? Cue the tears.

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So here I was, thinking I would have to wait until spring to have my barbecue dreams realized, and then I discovered this recipe. I was flipping through a new cookbook  and the saucy-ness (that’s a word, right?) of this dish just drew me in. Side note – I am trying to utilize my cookbook collection instead of relying on the easy mr. google for inspiring my weekly meal plan.

In the original recipe, the chicken is pan-fried pre-baking to get that bbq like feel. In my never ending quest to try to avoid cleaning as much as possible, I baked it in the oven pre-saucing to the same results.

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You’ll notice in my beautiful picture of the raw bird I originally used a mixture of thighs and breasts. However, I urge you to only make this with the thighs – they get all crispy and sticky on the outside, while still maintaining a juicy interior. If you haven’t been converted to the dark side yet, I hope this recipe helps tip you over.

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Even if you are one of the lucky ones with a barbecue in your backyard, this is the perfect way to keep enjoying all that charred flavour throughout the cold winter looming around the corner. And if you’re like me and and purchasing a barbecue is way down on your list to-do list, a temporary solution is right here!

Dara

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Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

Serves 4-6
Meal type Main Dish
From book Sauce recipe adapted from Lick Your Plate

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 6 bone in, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/8 Tsp pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp paprika

Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 Tsp pepper

Note

I tried this recipe with both thighs and breasts and found the breasts to be a tad dry. But if you only like the white meat, they would definitely still work - I would just reduce the baking time slightly. The bbq sauce would also be great on baked tofu.

Directions

Sauce
1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat and cook for about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside about 1/4-1/2 cup of the sauce to serve with chicken.
Chicken
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with oil, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper. Rub all over so they are evenly coated.
3. Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and baste with bbq sauce. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove again and brush all over with bbq sauce and bake for another 5 minutes.
4. Remove chicken from oven and brush one more time with bbq sauce and return to oven on the upper rack. Turn oven to broil and cook for about 3 minutes, watching carefully until chicken starts to brown and is cooked through.
5. Serve chicken with the reserved bbq sauce.

How to: Make Your Own – Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Galette

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This recipe came about as a result of my anxiety over a whole whack of veggies that were getting a little wilty in the fridge.

You know the ones.  They were supposed to be the stars of a beautiful, fresh, Instagram worthy salad last week. And then you worked late. And then you said “screw the salad”. And then you ordered curry chicken rotis.

Next you know, it’s a week later and they’re looking like sad, wrinkly old man veggies.

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Good thing I’m not ageist. Those sad, wrinkly old man veggies still have a lot of potential! Thanks to roasting.  The fountain of youth for vegetables.

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I’ve been meaning to try making a galette for eons. It’s basically a rustic open face tart.  You can use any old pastry recipe to make the crust, but another must-try on my long list of ‘things to make’ is pastry made with canola oil. My Canadian-produced, heart healthy oil sweetheart.  Here’s a little lesson in food science to explain how it works.

And work, it does!

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The most important step is freezing the canola so it acts like a fat that would normally be solid at room temperature (butter/ lard/ shortening).  The other important step is using a food processor to help bring together the dough quickly (before the canola melts).

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Be sure to have all of your ingredients ready to go and leave the canola in the freezer until the last minute.

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You’re looking for a crumbly texture.  This will mean you’ve achieved cutting the frozen canola into little tiny pieces, which will mean a nice flaky pastry.

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As for the roasted vegetables, use what ever you have on hand.  Somewhere in the 3-4 cup range (roasted) is what you’ll need.  I added frozen kale because I had small bit leftover in the freezer and I thought the tart needed something green. But you can leave it out, if you must. You crazy cat.

The layer of hummus makes it meal-worthy.  Do not leave it out m’k?

You know what would also be awesome, though? Cheese.

Obvs.

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Gorgeous, right?

Erin

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Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Galette

Serves 4-6
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Website Canola Pastry courtesy of Canola Eat Well

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium yellow, red or orange bell peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 227g crimini mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 Small white or yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup frozen chopped kale or spinach (thawed and squeezed of excess water)
  • ⅓ cup your favourite hummus

Canola Pastry

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅔ cup canola oil (frozen until solid - at least 2 hours or overnight)
  • 1 Large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ cup ice water

Note

This tart can be enjoyed with any type of pastry.  Puff pastry would be delicious and would cut down on prep time.  Simply thaw and blind bake for 10 minutes before topping with hummus and veggies.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Toss peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions with canola oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet (or two) and spread out evenly in one sparse layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until browned.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the pastry. In a large food processor, add flour, salt and baking soda and pulse a few times until combined. Combine the egg, vinegar and ice water in a small measuring cup.
3. Working quickly, break canola oil up into a few pieces and add to flour mixture. Pulse a few times until it begins to break up further.
4. With the food processor running, pour egg/vinegar/water mixture through the chute. Turn it off as soon as everything is combined, about 10 seconds.
5. Transfer crumbly dough out onto a floured work surface. Bring dough together and form into a large ball (do not knead or overwork the dough, work quickly). Cut large ball in half and form two equal balls. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (within 2 hours). If you don't use the second pie dough immediately, transfer to the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge for an hour or two before rolling out.
6. Roll out one dough ball to a 12-14 inch diameter (it's okay if it's crumbly and rustic looking around edges). Carefully transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet (use a little water on your finger tips to patch up any crumbly bits that fall off in the transfer).
7. Spread hummus over crust leaving a 2" border around the edge. Cover with roasted vegetables, and crumble kale/spinach over top.
8. Working in a clockwise fashion, fold crust border over vegetables. Brush the crust with egg wash (optional: this makes it nice and shiny) and return to oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive or canola oil before serving warm or room temperature.

How to: Make Your Own – Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad

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You want to know my super power?

Superior potluck skills.

Come now, don’t be jealy.

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It’s because of all the dang practice I get.  I work in a hospital setting on two separate hospital units, with two different teams. Once a week, each team organizes snacks for team rounds where team members rotate bringing the snack, and once or twice a month we also have a potluck over lunch for a special occasion or celebration.  Add to that, are the potlucks we occasionally have in the office I share with my dietitian buddies. So if my math is correct, that’s about 745 potlucks a year. Give or take.

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Not only do my contributions have to be crowd pleasers, I have to be crafty about the dishes I bring.  I cycle or take public transit to work, so they’ve gotta be compact. And jiggle proof.

This one is my no-brainer choice when I haven’t the time to be creative. 30 minutes and it’s done. Delicious.

The key to making any pasta salad a hit at a potluck is reserving some of the dressing to toss just before serving.  No one likes dry pasta. If you make your salad the night before and use all of the dressing, by the time you get to lunch the next day, all that precious moisture will be sucked up by the pasta.

I also love using a tiny pasta, like orzo, because it’s easy to serve onto a plate one-handed and a just a small spoonful will contain all the goodies.

Adding a head of chopped romaine (or iceberg – something hearty) will make it go a little farther and will lighten it up, too.  Keep the lettuce aside until just before serving, otherwise you’ll have soggy lettuce. And everyone will hate you. Jokes….sorta.

What do you all make for potlucks?! I’m looking for new inspiration. I still have 307 potlucks left this year.

Erin

Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad

Serves Makes aout 10 culls of salad
Prep time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered)
  • 1 english cucumber (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • ⅓ cup very thinly sliced red onions
  • 200g feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 10 kalamata olives (sliced)
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (washed and chopped)

Dressing

  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid honey
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions

1. Prepare orzo pasta in salted water per package directions or until al dente (approximate 7 minutes). Drain and rinse orzo with cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for dressing to a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
3. Toss orzo, chopped vegetables, feta cheese and ¾ of the dressing in a large bowl (once combined this can stay in your refrigerator overnight).
4. Reserve ¼ of the dressing and chopped romaine to toss with prepared orzo just before serving.

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How to: Quickie Meal – Mexican Street Corn Quesadillas

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Quesadillas were one of the first meals I learned how to cook. They were simple, required minimal ingredients and they involved cheese. SOLD.

Over the years I’ve filled them with lots of wacky stuff, but guys, I promise you, this is a contender for top all-time quesadilla fillings.

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Mexican street corn and Mexican food in general, have been kind of a big deal in my neck of the woods over the last few years.  As the name suggests, it’s a popular Mexican street snack consisting of a cob of corn slathered in all sorts of delicious stuff (chill, lime, mayo, CHEESE).  It’s also known as elote.

I’ve made my own version of elote at home a number of times and although it’s always a huge hit, it’s doesn’t work well as a complete meal.

Until now!

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These come together in less than 20 minutes ALL IN (prep and cooking included). Meaning, perfect for a last minute weeknight meal.

Quick jalapeño tip: I find they can be all over the place when it comes to heat level.  Slice yours in half and have a tiny sample of it before you throw the whole thing in. You may only need half. Or a quarter. Depending on how much of a heat pansy you are.

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We’re pretty much done with fresh local corn for the year, which just means the high-quality frozen fresh stuff will soon be on sale! Bonus, this recipes is on the table even quicker without having to cut the kernels off a fresh cob.

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This is my tried and true quesadilla technique.  You can certainly cover the entire thing with filling and top with a second tortilla.  Good luck with the flip, though!  I’m guessing you’ll be finding corn in the dark recesses of your kitchen for the next new months.

Also, a note on the cheese.  Use whatever tickles your fancy. I like harvarti ’cause it’s creamy and melty.  Mozz, gouda, monterey jack or even cheddar would work.

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I served mine alongside sour cream and smokey tomatillo salsa.  A perfect combo.

If you want to serve them with something green and leafy for a more complete meal, go right ahead you health nut!

Erin

Mexican Street Corn Quesadillas

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 Small onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup harvarti cheese
  • 4 12 inch flour tortillas

Directions

1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and jalapeño and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add chili powder and cook for additional 30 seconds. Add corn and salt and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2. Transfer corn mixture into a bowl, add mayonnaise and lime juice and stir until combined.
3. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with a tsp of oil. Lay one tortilla in pan and top ½ with ¼ of corn mixture, and sprinkle with ¼ of grated cheese. Fold tortilla over to make a half-moon and press down on top half with a spatula.
4. Cook quesadilla for about 2 minutes, carefully flip it over and cook an additional 2 minutes until tortilla is browned and cheese is melted. Transfer to a cooling rack then cut into 3 pieces when slightly cooled. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas.
5. Serve plain or with salsa and/or sour cream, if desired.