Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

With the first day of fall on tomorrow's horizon I decided to make a fall-comfort food meal.  It's still a little warm her in Nashville, but I start craving fall foods long before our weather gets below 70.

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

3 c. chicken stock
1 4-5 lb chicken (you can sub this out for a store bought roasted chicken)
4 carrots, cut into 1/4" coins
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. diced Yukon gold or red skinned, potatoes
5 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
1 TBSP chopped thyme
salt and pepper

1 batch of your favorite biscuit dough or 1 tube store bought biscuit dough


Bring a large stock pot 3/4 full of water to a full boil.  Gently add your chicken (with innards removed).  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until done, usually about 1 hour.  Remove the chicken to a large cookie sheet and allow to cool about 1 hour.  When the chicken is cool to the touch pull all the meat off the bones, discarding any fat.

While your chicken is cooling boil your diced potatoes until fork tender, but not falling apart...usually about 15-20 minutes once the water boils.  Drain the potatoes and set aside.

If you have time, you can use the remaining chicken carcass and your poaching water to make white stock.  If you don't have time when your making the pot pie the carcass will freeze well and you can always do it another day.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Once your chicken is pulled into bite sized pieces your ready to assembly your pot pie.  In a 5 qt. pot saute the carrot, onion and celery in the butter over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Once they are tender add the garlic and thyme and cook another 2 minutes.  Add in the 5 TBSP flour and work it into the butter.  Slowly pour in the chicken stock and stir well (you don't want any flour clumps in your gravy!).  Bring this mixture to a simmer and add in the peas and potatoes, cooking until hot through.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Top the pot pie with rounds or squares of your raw biscuit dough.  Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (it will depend on how thick your biscuits are), until your biscuits are golden brown and the pot pie is bubbling.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before enjoying your delicious fall pot pie!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Baby Food--Lentils and Carrots

For the next few weeks I will be featuring baby food "recipes" twice a week (Tues and Sun).  I use the term recipe lightly as some features will be more method than recipe.  I usually make Sophie's food twice a week in sizable batches, sometimes freezing overflow into convenient single-serving-size containers (I use the smallest round Ziploc plastic ware for this).

Today's recipe is Lentils and Carrots.  I have found this is an incredibly low cost recipe that provides lots of protein and iron.  This will make about 3 cups of food.

4 oz dried lentils
4 peeled and chopped carrots
4 cups homemade, salt free chicken stock** or 4 cups water

This couldn't be simpler.  Put the lentils, carrots and 3 cups of the liquid into a sauce pot.  Bring to a boil and put a lid on the pot, leaving it slightly ajar.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes; until the lentils are soft.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then put it into a blender.  Puree to your desired consistency*** (this will depend on how old your child is) using as little or as much of the reserved 1 cup of liquid as needed.

**Sophie is used to eating foods that are cooked in my homemade stock that contains carrots, celery, pepper, thyme, onions, chicken bones etc...It's always best to slowly introduce new things into your child's diet, so keep this in mind when making any of my recipes calling for stocks.

***When your son or daughter has advanced to stage 3 or 4 foods you can dice the carrots and skip the pureeing.  The lentils and carrots will be very soft and will be a great transition food.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Value of a Chicken

This week was about stretching a dollar and minimizing cooking time.  Without really having a plan I decided to grill up a half dozen chicken breasts (marinated overnight in my signature lemon garlic marinade) and then figure out what to do with them later.  I don't always recommend cooking food without knowing how it's going to be used, but with chicken you just can't go wrong.
So this is how those 6 chicken breasts have panned out.
Night one: Grilled chicken salad.
Night two: Black bean and chicken burritos.
Night three: Chicken and broccoli macaroni and cheese.
I also poached 2 breasts and used them to make chicken cannelloni. 
That makes 4 meals from 2 packs of boneless, skinless chicken breast, and of course there were plenty of leftovers for lunch!

Black Bean and Chicken Burritos

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/2 yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 c. mild taco sauce
6 burrito sized tortilla shells
8 oz grated queso fresco

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Saute' the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic until soft.  Once translucent add in the black beans--crush some of the beans once added.  Add in the chicken, chili powder and 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce; stir to combine.
Once the filling is heated through spoon about 1/2 cup of filling into each burrito.  Roll them up and lay them side by side in a 9x13 glass baking dish.
Stir together the taco sauce and the remaining tomato sauce; spread this over the burritos.  Top the burritos with the cheese and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes--or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy the spicy cheesy goodness!