Chicken Pot Pie filling

 

Chicken Pot Pie is one of my husband’s favorite meals. It’s a recipe I want to master someday. I’m not the best baker (yet!), so decent homemade pastry continues to elude me. But I have developed a pretty killer filling! Adding tarragon, leeks, and white wine to the usual carrots and peas, this recipe balances a deeper flavor profile with the traditional homestyle taste you want in a Chicken Pot Pie.

Tip: For the chicken meat, I recommend taking the extra time to roast split breasts (bone in, skin on) first. Let them rest after they come out of the oven, then pull off the bone and shred. The meat will be much more tender, juicy, and flavorful than boneless, skinless breasts.

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Chicken Pot Pie filling
(Original recipe: New York Times)

5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup thinly sliced leeks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or 1 tsp dried) tarragon
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1-1/4 cups chicken broth, warmed
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups roasted chicken breast meat, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add carrot, celery, leeks, tarragon, sage, and thyme.
Cook, stirring, just until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
Transfer cooked vegetables to a bowl, wipe out the skillet, and place it back on the stove. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and melt over medium heat.
Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking, until the mixture bubbles.
Pour in white wine; let simmer 1 minute, or just until the alcohol cooks off.
Add broth and whisk until well incorporated.
Fold in heavy cream.
Return cooked vegetables to the pan; add roasted chicken and peas.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened, 5-10 minutes.

At this point, the filling can be eaten as is or poured into pastry and baked into a traditional pot pie. It also freezes beautifully.

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Honey Dijon Chicken Salad

In thick summer heat, I find having already-made proteins in the fridge is key. They can mean the difference between eating something homemade and (marginally) healthy or getting takeout – again – just to keep from turning on the cook top or oven.

Around our house, one of the best is chicken salad. My favorite is this gem of a recipe, but I decided to mix it up tonight. This recipe is loaded with additional protein from the pecans, and the honey dijon dressing is especially tasty. I also think chunks of bacon would make a delicious addition!

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Honey Dijon Chicken Salad
with Pecans and Cranberries
(Original recipe: Julia’s Album)

Salad
4 cups chicken breast , cooked, chopped
1 cup pecans , chopped (I used roasted and salted pecans)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 green onions , chopped

Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk until well combined.
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
Add salad dressing and toss to coat. Add salt to taste.
Serve or store in the fridge.

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Orzo

One of my husband’s favorite meals is chicken pot pie. However, I have yet to perfect making pastry of any kind. My temporary solution? Substituting pasta. This one-dish meal comes together pretty quickly compared to traditional homemade pot pies, and it seems to temporarily satisfy that comfort food craving when it rages. It also makes enough to feed six hungry adults, so adjust as necessary.

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Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Orzo
(Base recipe: Jo Cooks)

1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, and cut into bite size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
12 oz orzo, uncooked
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup white cheddar or Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic to the pot; cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften.
Add the chicken thighs to the pot and season everything with salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and vegetables and stir. Cook for a minute or two, then add the white wine. Simmer for another minute or two to cook off the alcohol. The mixture will thicken.
Add chicken broth, orzo, thyme, and sage. Stir everything together and adjust for seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper.
Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the frozen peas and the rosemary. Stir everything together and continue simmering until the pasta is cooked to your liking (up to 10 additional minutes).
Gently stir in cheese, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Our weather has been very grey, wet, and dreary lately. Homemade soup always seems to take the edge off a soggy day. The only other chicken and rice soup I’ve tried came from a can, and I didn’t love it. The rice is always so mushy. This homemade version is a big improvement. It’s hot, hearty, thick, and filling. The recipe makes quite a bit, so I froze the rest. This is guaranteed to hit the spot on days we’re feeling under the weather.

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Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(Original recipe: Food and Wine)

4 tablespoons butter
3 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wild rice (I really like Lundberg Farms)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups water
4 cups bite-sized pieces of roasted chicken
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Saute the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the wild rice to the saucepan and gradually stir in the stock and water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

 

Rosemary Chicken, Bacon, & Avocado Salad

I’ve never been a huge fan of rosemary, but the photos of the original post were just so mouthwatering, I had to try it. I’m so glad I did, because this is delicious! I’ll be adding not just the full salad recipe to my regular rotation, but also the vinaigrette and most especially, the method of cooking the chicken. And yes, I added garlic. Because garlic.

Tips: Make sure you use fresh rosemary and take the time to mince it finely; it better distributes the oil and makes a killer sauce. And make sure the chicken gets that nice brown crust on it; you’ll be licking the drippings, I promise you!

Rosemary chicken salad

Rosemary Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Salad
(Original recipe: How Sweet Eats)

4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 tsp garlic powder
6 cups spring greens
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, thinly sliced

Rosemary Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until it’s crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease. Chop into large chunks once cooled.

Season the chicken with the rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook until golden and crisp on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and let it rest a few minutes.

While the chicken rests, make the vinaigrette: whisk together the mustard, oil, and vinegar. Whisk in the rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Toss the greens with the tomatoes and some of the vinaigrette. Top with the sliced chicken, the bacon, and the avocado. Finish with another tiny drizzle of the vinaigrette.

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Street Tacos

I have several taco recipes on rotation, because, let’s face it: tacos. This particular recipe is especially good because it uses chicken thighs. They’re very moist and hold the marinade flavor especially well. It’s definitely been added to our list of usual suspects!

TIP: add a pinch of cayenne to the marinade to give your tacos a little kick!

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Grilled Chicken and Avocado Street Tacos
(Original recipe: Cooking Classy)

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

For serving
Corn tortillas
1 large avocado , cored and sliced
Pico de gallo
Cotija cheese

In a gallon size resealable bag, combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin chili powder, salt and pepper. Marinate chicken in bag for 3-6 hours. Season chicken lightly with salt and grill until chicken has cooked through, turning once halfway through grilling, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Dice grilled chicken into cubes. Build tacos with tortillas, fresh avocado, pico de gallo, Cotija, and any other taco fixing you prefer.

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

Sometimes you just crave salads, especially as the summer temperatures warm up. This one is a great alternative to standard tossed salads, loaded with protein, healthy veggies, and tossed in a versatile Thai peanut dressing.

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

Thai Peanut Sauce
(Original recipe: The Creative Bite)

3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger
OPTIONAL: 1½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Store refrigerated for up to one week.

Thai Peanut Chicken Salad
(Original recipe: The Creative Bite)

2 cups coleslaw mix
2 cups broccoli slaw
1 cup grated carrot
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1-1/2 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 cucumber, seeded & chopped
1 cup Thai peanut sauce
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and serve immediately.

Cheesy chicken and rice casserole

I had a wicked craving for chicken and rice casserole last week, but it is so difficult to find recipes for casseroles that don’t use canned soups or bouillon cubes. So when I found this one, I was eager to try it. It uses a homemade cheese sauce similar to that which you make for homemade mac and cheese. I opted to bump the flavor up a bit and crossed my fingers as it went into the oven. I was not disappointed; it was exactly what I’d been craving, and my husband ate half the 9×13 pan in one sitting. It’s certainly not health food, but it’s clean comfort food, and that’s precisely what I wanted. This recipe is shooting straight to the top of the regular rotation.

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Cheesy chicken and rice casserole
(Original recipe: Brown Eyed Baker)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sage
1 TBSP fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used 3 large chicken breasts)
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 pound), uncooked
2 cups cooked rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch casserole dish.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked down and all of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the mushrooms to a separate bowl.
In the same pan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, until the flour starts to brown a bit and smells nutty, whisking constantly. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.
Once all flour and butter has been incorporated and the sauce has thickened, whisk in the cheddar cheese, adding a handful at a time and whisking until completely melted before adding the next handful. Turn off the heat. Add garlic, sage, and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Gently fold in the chicken, broccoli, rice, and cooked mushrooms. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is completely combined and evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Bake until browned and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

*also excellent with additional shredded cheese or bread crumbs sprinkled on top before baking.

Cheesy chix casserole

Pasta Fagioli

They say April showers bring May flowers, right? This hearty Italian soup will help get you through the last few months of rainy days before the sun returns. If freezes really well. Just leave out the pasta before freezing, then add in before serving. This is also an excellent meal to bring to families in need, as it is loaded with protein and carbs; a little goes a long way!

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Pasta Fagioli

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 lb mild Italian chicken sausage*
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup ditalini pasta
Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots; cook, stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the sausage to the pot, crumbling as it cooks (remove from casings, if necessary). Cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Stir in herbs. Stir in tomatoes and stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Stir in the beans and pasta. Simmer for 6- 8 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Serve piping hot with Parmesan cheese.

* My favorite mild Italian chicken sausage to use is a one-pound roll made by Isernio’s.

Crispy baked garlic Parmesan chicken wings

These wings, you guys. They’re as good as they look. And as a bonus: they’re baked, not fried. Try these; you won’t regret it!

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Crispy Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings
(Original recipe: JoyfulHealthyEats)

2 lbs. of chicken wings and drumettes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, divided
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400
Add chicken to a large bowl. Pat chicken dry.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Gently toss to coat all the chicken.
Place chicken on a wire rack lined baking sheet.
Bake for 40 minutes, flipping the chicken after 20 minutes.
Turn the Broiler on to HIGH.
Place chicken under broiler for 8-10 minutes, until browned.
In the meantime, heat a medium sauce pan to medium heat. Add butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.
Once butter is melted, add the garlic to the pan. Let cook in the liquid for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
Next add in 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Let the sauce cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven. Place in a large bowl, pour the garlic parmesan sauce over the chicken wings. Using a pair of tongs, toss the wings to coat all of them with the sauce.
Serve. Top the wings with an additional 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
Optional: add chopped chives and a sprinkle of parsley for garnish.

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