Saturday, January 24, 2009

Comfort Food

I don't think I need to post any more pictures of snow to convince you that the past two months have been cold.

My job as head chef of the outfit is to make sure everyone has a belly full of warm food before they head outdoors.

However, cooking can be a challenge when a trip to the grocery store is a monthly ordeal privilege. When fresh ingredients are not available, I rely on a well stocked pantry, a large capacity freezer full of food, and my imagination.


Today's lunch was chicken potpie, made the way my kids like it. I make this dish differently every time I serve it based upon the ingredients I have on hand, but I always start with a stick of butter thrown into a saucepan, followed by a chopped onion and about a cup of chopped carrots. Celery is an option as well, but I don't have any right now.


Saute over medium heat until the veggies are tender.


Then I add a half cup of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and about 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth. I say "about" because I have never actually measured it. It needs to be thick, but not clumpy. Once the vegetables are added, it will become thinner as it cooks.

Then it's time to stir in whatever else you like in your potpie. I must have potatoes in my version, and this is the only time in my cooking career that I use the canned variety. I will not, however, use canned peas. They're just gross. I thaw about a cup and a half of frozen peas in the microwave and add them to the mix. Today I also used a can of green beans, but I've been known to use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables or some asparagus as well. When I make this dish, I prefer to use a few chopped, cooked chicken breasts, but unless I wanted to do some butchering today, that option wasn't available. I used a can of chicken instead.


Once it's stirred together, I sometimes decide that it needs to be creamier, so I add a can of cream of chicken soup. I know that it's cheating, but this recipe isn't exactly gourmet at its finest.


I heat all the miscellaneous ingredients until bubbling hot. Once the mixture looks good, I spread it in a greased 9x13 pan.

Now comes the real cheating.

My kids don't really like pie crust. Remember?


So I use Grands flaky biscuits out of the can. I know it's ridiculous, but the kids like it. And it's easy.


You have to use the flaky layer biscuits because the layers peel apart, making it possible to overlap and make a crust over the top.


Then I bake it at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Check it to make sure the biscuits aren't getting too brown. The only way you can go wrong in this recipe is to undercook it so the bottoms of the biscuits are slimy. To prevent that, make sure the mixture is good and hot before you put the biscuits on top.

That's it! It's a lunch fit for a queen.



Mama Bear said...

I am now aware that you can buy potatoes in a can.

Your ingenuity amazes me - good job, it looks really good!!!

Jenny said...

I'll have to try that! Minus the peas (no one here will eat peas).

Pony Girl said...

Erin, that looks a warm yummy meal. I love chicken pot pie! And that one looks like something I could actually make, LOL! ;)

threecollie said...

Mmmmmm.......that looks so good..and the queen is so cute!!!

Jenni said...

I'm going to have to try it topped with biscuits. The only way I like pie crust is in pot pie, but I bet biscuits would be really great, too. Mashed potatoes is another good way to go. Chicken pot pie is also the only time I'll use canned potatoes.

Stacie said...

This looks like it's a great belly-warming meal! I will have to try it (Like Jenny, minus the peas, because I hate them).

I wish we had enough room for a big freezer so we could buy meat and other things in bulk. As it is, with just the two of us in this little townhouse, we have to go to the grocery store several times a week. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Here's another potato option. Scrub a potato well and "bake" in the microwave. It takes only about 2 minutes (turn after one minute). Then slice it up, skin and all to put in pot pie.

LoopiRobbi said...

I'm laughing, not because I think it looks pretty darn good, but because the biscuits gave me a flashback. When my mom was in a hurry, or tired of cooking or whatever, she'd open a can of beef stew, whip up a batch of Bisquick biscuits, plop them on it and make "beef pot pie". I loved it, and still love it, although to be honest, I pick the ... er, *beef, out of the stew when I eat it. I think it's lamb and they're trying to trick me, lol.

And I'll just say it here, even though it's not relevant to this post. Your post the other day about your son's bus driver literally brought tears to my eyes. I grew up out of
Grass Range, and had a 27-mile one-way bus trip, and the bus driver I had as a Kindergartner and first grader will forver be a good memory. I would very often be the only kid on the bus for miles and we talked of all kinds of very important things, and at Xmas one of those years he made me a little chalkboard (I had solemnly told him I was going to be a teacher when I grew up) and a huge bag of hard candy. Sad to think that now, some 20 (30? Yikes!) years later that sort of thing would be looked at suspiciously.

Anyway. I loved that post, and didn't comment that day.

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