Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken Pot Pie…sort of…

Ah January, the time of year when everyone tries to eat better, exercise, and hit the gym. Those New Year’s resolution guilt us into at least a few weeks of behaving. While I certainly understand the need for some less decadent options for dinner, with the cold weather and hopefully threat of snow, comfort food still seems necessary. One of my favorite comfort foods on a cold night is chicken pot pie.

There is definitely a debate around chicken pot pie. Sure, there is the Marie Callender’s version that I would beg my mom to buy, which never happened by the way, with the delicious pie crust and succulent burning-hot filling. But, perhaps since I’m from Pennsylvania and not far from Amish country, there is another version that I find far superior. The Amish style chicken pot pie is more like a stew with floury, tender noodles in a rich broth, and it’s delicious.

Of course, for chicken pot pie, you need chicken. I already had a stock to use, so I roasted about 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts with just salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and some chopped rosemary. Roast at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until cooked through. If you don’t have a stock made, you can make stock with bone-in chicken parts then use the cooked chicken in the pot pie.chickencookwsFor this recipe, you want a rich broth. I had turkey stock from my Thanksgiving turkey, but feel free to use any chicken stock you have or make your own. You’ll need 10 cups chicken stock. To start, heat a stock pot over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Chop 1 medium onion, 4 stalks celery, and 4 peeled carrots. Cook in the oil for about 10 minutes until they are all softened and beginning to turn brown. Add 1 cup white wine and deglaze the pan, scrapping up any cooked or browned bits from the pot. Boil for a few minutes then add the stock. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is what you’ll use to cook the noodles.olive oilonionscelerycarrotswinestockOn a recent trip to the grocery store, I saw these ready-made chicken pot pie squares from San Giorgio and thought I had to try. The end result was not exactly what I was hoping for, more like an egg noodle than dough, but they were easy. Next time, I’ll make the noodles instead. Either way, you’ll want to add the noodles to the boiling stock to cook. The bagged noodles I found cooked for about 10 minutes, but if you want to do it the right way, make the noodles.pot pie squaresStart with 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon shortening or butter, cut up into pieces. Use a fork to combine so you have small pieces of shortening in the flour. Combine 1 egg and 2/3 cup water. Stir into the flour mixture and form a dough. Divide in two and roll half the dough on a floured surface until about 10 inches square. Cut into 2 inch squares. Repeat with the remaining dough. Add to the boiling stock and simmer for about 15 minutes until cooked through and tender.noodles cookedOnce the noodles are cooked, add the cubed chicken. And don’t forget to add all of the juices that are left in the pan from the chicken…delicious! Check the seasoning, and add salt or pepper if needed. Ladle this delicious mixture into big bowls and enjoy! Happy Winter!adding chickenliquid gold

Cajun Chicken Stew for Lunch this Week

Most weekends, I try to get ready for the week’s meals. Sometimes that means getting ingredients to try something new…sometimes it means making sure I just have lettuce for salads…and sometimes it means making sure I have enough cash for the cafe at work. 🙂 But usually I make something that I can easily bring with me all week. This week, I picked a good one…Cajun chicken stew.

The stew itself was very easy to make. It’s a rich, spicy sauce with big chunks of chicken, onions, and peppers. The roux for the sauce is cooked for a while, getting a rich brown color and deep flavor. Served over rice, this recipe from Gourmet Magazine was perfect reheated this week.

To start, cut up 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast. You want to cut the chicken into bite size chunks. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 2 teaspoons salt, then cook in 4 batches until browned all over, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large bowl.chickencubesolive oilcookingcookedbowl of chickenIn the same pot, you’ll make the roux, which is really just fat and flour cooked together that’s used for a thickener and flavor. You’ll need 1/4 cup olive oil. You could use the fat that’s left in the pot, and add extra to reach 1/4 cup. When I made this, though, there were some small pieces of chicken that burnt to the bottom, so I ended up cleaning the pot and starting with new oil. Heat the oil over medium low heat. Add 1/2 cup flour to the fat. Stir to combine, then cook for 10 to 20 minutes until the color of milk chocolate. The recipe I had said not to stir, only to scrape back and forth, but I’ll admit it, I stirred, and it still came out great.flour and oillight rouxdarkermilk chocolateOnce the roux is the color of milk chocolate, add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped green bell pepper, and 1 chopped celery rib. Cook until soft, about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add 3 cups water to the mixture, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. The roux will start out not looking very smooth or combined, but as it heats and comes to a boil, it will come together.veggiescookingboilingAdd chicken and any juices from the bowl, reduce the heat, and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Finally, stir in 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more if you can handle it. I can’t!adding chickencoveredTo serve, just scoop the chicken, vegetables, and delicious sauce over rice. And, as I said, it reheats in the microwave beautifully, making it just perfect as my lunch this week! 🙂donerice

Packing My Lunch with Rosemary Chicken Salad

Roast ChickenAlmost 3 months ago to the day, I started a new job.  I absolutely love the new position and the people I work with.  It’s really my dream job, although there is one drawback.  I have had to start packing my lunch.  It’s not that I can’t run out every once in a while, but it just seems to be easier to pack.  So, after about 15 years not really ever packing, I’m back to brown bagging for lunch.  And, one of my favorite things to bring is rosemary chicken salad.

I am a huge fan of chicken salad.  If it’s on the menu, I’ve probably already had it before, or I’m going to order it.  However, probably as a result, I’m pretty picky about it.  I don’t like a Choppedton of mayonnaise, but I like it flavorful and bold, and love chicken salad with fruit or nuts, and this recipe has both.

To start, you have to roast the chicken.  I know some people will disagree and say they boil chicken, or, the trendy way of saying it, poach, but I think it leaves you with a flavorless, rubbery bird.  Instead, I like to roast boneless, skinless chicken, and infuse flavor every step of the way.

I use boneless, skinless breasts for this.  You really could use bone in or skin on, but I find this is easier, as you’re going to take it off.  Keeping the chicken on the bone would impart a Ingredientsbit more flavor, but let’s face it, I don’t have all day.  I rub 5 chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary.  I like to roast the breasts in a cookie sheet.  Also, I don’t cut out all the fat when I’m roasting the chicken.  I find it’s easier to pick it off after it’s cooked. Put them in a 425 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes, until cooked through, then let them rest and cool.

Once the chicken is cool, I chop it into cubes and put it in a large bowl.  Next, add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, 1/2 cup dried cranberries or Craisins, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary.  Add about 1/2 cup rosemarymayonnaise to chicken mixture there stir to combine.  You may find you need to add a little more mayo if you have big pieces of chicken, or if you like more mayo.  Feel free to adjust.

While I would love a nice, chewy roll to eat with my chicken salad, I go for simple to take to work.  I pack it with some saltine crackers.  It’s easy, and delicious.  Happy lunch packing!