Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie

My refrigerator is one of the most random places. You never know what you’ll find in there (5 kinds of mustard, Asian sauces galore?! why yes, don’t mind if I do!) and on any given day, there’s a collection of vegetables. I love my fresh veggies from the CSA, but I can’t always use them all at once. This pot pie is a great way to use up vegetables you might have in the fridge/freezer. It is also my answer to the canned cream-of-yuck soup style of pot pie. If you do your chopping ahead of time, the time and effort to put this together really is minimal.   Waiting for the pot pie to come of the oven, however,  is not so easy!

Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie

Yield: 6 servings

3 cups chicken broth
1 pound potatoes, diced (white, red, whatever your heart desires!)
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) sliced carrot
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen corn
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 Tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add potatoes and carrots; cook 2 minutes. Drain mixture in a strainer over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and fragrant (about 3-4 minutes). Spoon 1/2 cup flour into a measuring cup. Combine flour and 1/2 cup chicken broth, stirring with a whisk. Add to the onions in the skillet. Whisk in the reserved chicken broth until smoothed out. Stir in potato mixture, chicken, peas, corn, salt, thyme, and pepper. Cook 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Spoon chicken mixture into a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish (I used an 8×8 glass pan) coated with cooking spray. Place dough on top of chicken mixture, pressing to edge of dish. Don’t worry, it really doesn’t have to be pretty!! Cut 5 slits in top of crust to allow steam to escape. Gently brush crust with milk.

Bake at 400° for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes. This will be the longest 10 minutes of your life because it will look and smell GLORIOUS and you will want to dive right in!!

Tuscan Chicken and White Beans

Well hello there! We’re still alive and kicking over here!! I’m heading into the 3rd trimester this week and getting bigger by the day. It’s amazing how fast pregnancy flies when you have a 2 year old to chase around! Throw in that mix a busy job, and the holidays and you’ve got 1 tired mama! We’ve been existing on mostly staple (read: easy) meals, but I had a wild hair to cook tonight and I’m glad I did!

I saw this recipe in the October issue of Cooking Light and knew that I had to try it! I adjusted it slightly as I had no desire to cut up my own chicken. I also used a bit more spinach than called for and quite honestly, it could have used even more! This was a delicious, hearty, and truly comforting meal! My husband couldn’t stop raving. For a minute, I thought it was because he was tired of eating tacos 🙂 but then I tasted and realized what the ooh and aah was about! Try this one out – you won’t be disappointed!

PS: You could just use all breasts, but you need them to be bone-in to maintain the moisture. Don’t be afraid of the bone!!

Tuscan Chicken and White Beans

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Yield: 4 hearty servings

1 cut up chicken (about 4 lbs)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 thick slices bacon
1 cup chopped onion
5 ounces baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Season chicken pieces with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook bacon in a large ovenproof pan (I used my big Le Creuset dish) over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble and set aside, leaving drippings in pan. Add chicken pieces to reserved drippings in pan; cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; set aside.

3. Add onion and 1/8 teaspoon salt to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown. Stir in bacon, spinach, rosemary, beans, and tomatoes; remove from heat. Arrange chicken pieces on top; bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50 minutes.

Basmati-Stuffed Peppers

I meant to make this recipe last week, which means the peppers sat on the counter longer than they should have. One of them bit the dust, so I ended up using some creme brulee sized dishes to act as a fake pepper shell (it worked perfectly, by the way!). So if you have a pepper-hater in your house (ack!) then you can use this option as well!!

This recipe requires a little bit of prep work, but was very tasty. Using extra lean ground beef ensures that your filling won’t be greasy. Instead, it was perfectly moist with tender, nutty rice and a hint of spice from the jalapeno. If you like heat, leave the seeds in. If you like a milder dish, remove the seeds and ribs before you chop it. These were VERY filling and only needed a light side dish – we chose some whole wheat naan!

Basmati-Stuffed Peppers

Yield: 4 servings (2 pepper halves per serving)
Inspired by: a Cooking Light Recipe

4 large green bell peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pound ground beef, extra lean

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise (through the stem), discarding the seeds and membranes. Place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan, cut sides up.

3) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and jalapenos to the pan; saute 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely

4) Combine the cooled rice mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, salt, pepper, egg, and ground beef. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture into each pepper half. Spoon remaining 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over peppers. Cover the pan and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese; bake 3-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

I had a BUSY day today. I spent the better part of my afternoon on my keester at the endocrinologist’s office. Boy howdy was that fun… or NOT. By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to think about was cooking dinner. I grabbed some pork chops from the freezer and did a quick thaw on them and found this great recipe for Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce. I adapted it slightly to match what we had on hand in the house. This was a <30 minute meal and the entire family (2 year old included) loved it! I served egg noodles and green beans – perfect for a quick weeknight family dinner.

One quick note – if you’re like me, when you finish making the sauce you’ll think, “No way. NO WAY. Not enough sauce!!” but I am here to tell you that it’s plenty! The sauce is tangy and rich and a little bit goes a long way!!

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Yield: 4 servings

4 (3/4″ thick) boneless pork chops
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, swirling to coat, then brown chops, turning over once – about 8 minutes total.

3) Transfer chops to a shallow baking pan, reserving skillet, and bake (uncovered), until cooked through – about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and loosely cover with foil. Let stand 5 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, pour off any remaining fat from the skillet and then add butter. Over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in the melted butter, stirring, until softened (3 to 5 minutes).

5) Add broth and any juices from the baking pan and boil, scraping up any brown bits (2 minutes). Add mustard and cream and return to a boil, then add lemon juice and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve pork chops with sauce spooned over top.

“Lick your fingers” BBQ Baked Chicken

I spent my first 2 years of college at East Carolina University (go Pirates!), which is in Greenville, NC. This also happens to be the heart of BBQ Country. This is also where I fell in love with good barbecue. I’m talking about REAL barbecue with a tangy and slightly spicy vinegar sauce, cold crisp coleslaw on top and Oh Heaven!!

Living in Florida, there’s not an awful lot of good ‘real’ barbecue! I’m sorry if I’ve offended you with that statement, but it’s the truth. So I’ve had to settle for good meat, but covered in a thick sweet sauce. I’ve adapted by mixing some hot sauce into the sauce and now I actually really like it like that. (I can’t believe I’m admitting that!)

I wanted to grill chicken for dinner tonight, but we were having some serious thunderstorms so I had to go for the oven instead. I mixed up this sauce, which is the perfect mix of a sweet traditional sauce and my vinegary love. It’s not spicy, but has a subtle hint from the cayenne.  This is super easy to whip up. The hardest part is waiting for the chicken to cook!!

Note: I cooked it on a pan lined in foil, but next time I make it, I’m going to put it on my broiler pan or on a baking sheet with a rack on it – like this. Using the straight foil method, the chicken couldn’t drain and sat in a little bit of liquid. It was fine, but just a little softer on the bottom. If all you have is foil, don’t worry and just go for it!

“Lick Your Fingers” BBQ Baked Chicken

Serves 4 (1 drumstick and 1 thigh per serving)

4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper to season chicken
3 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. (If you dont have a giant pan, you can do this in batches) Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Brown the chicken by cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set on a plate.

3) Combine the remaining ingredients (garlic through kosher salt) in a medium-sized bowl. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Remove 3/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.

4) Give the chicken pieces a good dunk in the sauce and place on a baking sheet or broiler pan.

5) Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken with the remaining marinade. Return to the oven and bake 10 minutes more, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature 165 degrees (this is the USDA recommended temperature!)

6) Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest 5 to 10 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

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