comfort foods

I’m an Arizona girl through and through, but my mom is a Texan, which means I grew up with hearty comfort foods for dinner most nights. Some of my favorites include chicken fried steak, chili, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, and chicken pot pie. I’ve slowly but surely swayed my husband to crave these comfort food favorites, especially chicken pot pie.

My one complaint regarding pot pie has and will always be how disgusting the crust gets upon reheating. I’m speaking of course of the pie dough crust so often associated with pot pie. It turns into flavorless goo in the refrigerator and is nearly impossible to eat. Shudder.

I have developed my own solution to this problem, that I’m sure many have heard or thought of before. First – I make individual sized pot pies (between 4-8) using either small tins or ramekins. Second – I only use a top crust. Third – I make my top crust out of biscuits that I have rolled out. The result: a delicious pot pie whether on night one or three or even five! For some reason, biscuits reheat so much better than pie crust. The top is flaky and delicious out of the oven and remains excellent out of the microwave.

For Christmas this year, I asked for individual deeper-dished ramekins than one typically finds. I wanted a versatile dish: one for soups, stews, casseroles, pot pies, and perhaps even desserts. Thanks to my dad and stepmom, Shelley, we have four beautiful red ombre La Creuset dishes! These particular dishes are excellent because they are oven, freezer, microwave, and refrigerator safe! That means, leftovers can be stored in them and reheated in them. Meals can be made ahead of time and frozen. And, meals can be reheated in the oven without changing dishes!

My decision to make individual servings rather than one isn’t, of course, to save time. It is a decision based on the ease of making food for groups. My husband and I love to cook for people and it is easier to give someone their own dish of certain items than it is to make one large one. Also, we can monitor portion sizes and the individual dishes keep well for leftovers, rather than needing to use a ton of tupperware to make proper lunch or dinner sized portions. Lastly, when cooking for two, smaller dishes can actually serve to scale back recipes a lot better than simply thinking “I shouldn’t make too much.”

So, here it is: our chicken pot pie.

RECIPE:

2 chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
1/2 cup green beans, cleaned and diced
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 T thyme
1 T marjoram
1 cup milk
1 can large biscuits
salt and pepper

Begin by boiling potatoes in a large stockpot of water. When potatoes are nearly done, add carrots, celery, and green beans to pot. When potatoes are cooked through, drain and rinse vegetables in cold water to stop cooking. Heat a large saute pan on medium heat. Add olive oil. When pan is hot, add onion and saute until clear. Add garlic and chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Add vegetables and seasonings.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour and milk together until blended. (Be sure to mix well – no lumps.) Add chicken soup to mixture. Mix well. Add to saute pan with chicken and vegetables. Cook until sauce thickens – about 5 – 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then dish out into individual serving dishes.

Pull biscuits out of the refrigerator and open. Heat oven to temperature suggested on biscuit package. On a clean well-flour surface, roll out biscuits to slightly larger than the top of the serving dishes. Crimp the flattened biscuit around the edges of the serving dish until sealed. Using a fork, poke holes in the center of the dough to allow steam through. Repeat until all dishes have crusts. Put the pot pies in the oven for the time suggested on the biscuit package. Remove when crusts are golden brown and serve! :)

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5 thoughts on “comfort foods

  1. Mmm…I love chicken pot pie! That looks super tasty. Fried chicken, spanakopita, lasagna, mac ‘n cheese and chicken and lemon soup are some of my comfort foods.

  2. A great idea for the pie crust. I either make my own or use Pillsbury and the second day does not work for heating up because both the crust is soggy and the inside is dry too. I will have to try the biscuit method.

    Two things –
    1. I eliminate the potatoes because they tend to soak up too much of the juice.
    2. Since this is the day to recycle reuse and reduce OR as the Vermonters have said for years and years – “use it up, wear it out or make it do” I often have a plastic container in the freezer where I put all leftover veggies. Then when I am making soup or stew, I can pull them out and use them rather than throwing them away the first time around or using fresh vegetables.

    Your stew looks like the pictures right out of a cookbook. And I love the Le Creuset soup bowls. LOL

    Great job!

  3. heather – we may just need to plan another cooking date.

    alex – i would love a spanakopita recipe as it is one of the most delicious foods ever and being greek, you may insider tips! i have a great mac and cheese recipe, also for individual servings, that i will likely post in the future. :)

    shelley – do try the biscuits, it is so worth it to be able to eat leftover pot pie and find it delicious. i also save extra items and i use frozen vegetables intermixed with fresh to save money. my rule of thumb – if a recipe requires something unique or special, plan other recipes that week that require the same item so as not to be wasteful. for instance, tomato paste is useful in some soup and stews as well as italian sauces. if i’m not going to use the whole can, i’m sure to make something that week that will use the remainder rather than by the reusable tubes of paste that are so expensive.

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