Tasty Hobby

Because food matters

Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe was adapted from Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie via Smitten Kitchen.  Sorry I don’t have any pictures; I still haven’t gotten the hang of stopping cooking to take them.

  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless or bone-in, skinless or skin-on
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in for more flavor, bone out for less work
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (if you use Better than Bouillon, the exchange is 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 large or two small white or yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 10-16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables (some combination of peas, carrots, corn, and/or green beans)

For a shortcut, use a cooked rotisserie chicken from the store.  Or, you can cook the chicken a day ahead, if you want.  Either way, rub the oil on the raw chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken however you want.  (I used the oven, but the stove top or slow cooker would also work fine.)  Remove the chicken from the bones (discarding the fat) and chop it up.  The goal is to end up with about 5 cups of chopped chicken.  You can use the bones to make stock, either freeze the bones until you have enough to fill your pot half-way, or make a small batch and freeze it.

In a small pot, heat the stock and dissolve the bullion in it.

In a large skillet or other large pan (I used a 12″ saute pan that is about 3″ deep), melt the butter and cook the onions over medium-low heat until they’re translucent – about 10-15 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low, add the flour, and cook for 2 minutes, being sure to stir the whole time.  This essentially creates a roux, which is the base of the creamy part of the pot pie.  Add the stock, about a cup at a time and keep stirring.  You want to get the flour mixture dissolved in the stock.  Once all the stock is added, let that cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the chicken and the veggies and let everything warm through.

I like to serve this in bowls with cream cheese biscuits for a ‘deconstructed’ pot-pie.

 

Fried Rice

First, I’d like to thank  Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen for this post.  Second, I’d like to thank my mother for introducing me to oyster sauce.

Fried rice isn’t difficult to make, but you do need to know a few things.

  1. Use old rice.  I picked up some white rice from a local Chinese restaurant and then spread it out in some flat bowls to dry out in the fridge for a couple hours.
  2. Use high heat and an oil that can handle the high heat.  I used sesame oil because it has a higher smoke point than the olive oil I usually cook with.
  3. Leave it alone.  It’s called stir-fry, but apparently that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to stir it all the time.  Give the rice a minute or so to cook before stirring it.  Then be sure to give it another minute or so.
  4. Cook ingredients separately.
  5. Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking.  This comes together really fast, which is why there aren’t any pictures of the process.

 

One of the great things about fried rice is that you can use whatever you have around.  Here’s what I used.

  •  2-3 eggs, beaten
  • 3-4 green onions (scallions)
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 4 cups of rice, preferably a day old
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T oyster sauce (or fish sauce or more soy sauce – but be careful not to end up with a super salty dish)

    Thanks to Crane Dance Farm for the humanely raised chickens that produced these eggs with such orange yolks.

In a small skillet, I cooked the eggs.  In a larger skillet (I used a stainless steel pan, but I’d recommend a non-stick one if you have it), I cooked the chicken most of the way through, then moved it out of the pan and into a bowl – the residual heat will finish cooking it, without drying it out.  Then, I cooked the onion, garlic, and ginger and move them to the bowl with the chicken.  Next came the red pepper, which I didn’t cook for very long because I wanted to keep some of the crunchiness.  When the pepper started to get soft, I added it to my bowl of cooked items.

To cook the rice, I put some oil in the pan and spread out the rice.  Give it a minute or two and then stir and give it another minute or two.  Add the sauces and stir, then add the cooked chicken and veggies.  It doesn’t need long on the stove at this point, just long enough to warm everything through.


Salad Greens, Dressed Up

Chicken, spinach, apples, walnuts, olive oil, vinegar
The weather here in west Michigan was shockingly warm last week.  It put me in the mood for a tasty salad from the garden.  But, since it was the middle of March, my garden hasn’t really done much yet – and probably won’t until I plant some more seeds.

This meal came together pretty quickly, which I appreciated because I had James at work with me, which is fun but can make for a long day.  I didn’t follow a recipe, but just figured it out as I went.  I didn’t take notes, either, so here’s what I think I did.   I forgot to get the bacon out of the freezer, but I’m sure it would have been a wonderful addition.

  • 1 chicken breast, chopped and cooked
  • 1 large handful of walnuts, chopped
  • 2 small apples, chopped
  • 2 bowls of salad greens – we put the greens right in the bowls we’re going to use to eat

Kip was put in charge of the dressing and I think he followed the rule of thumb to use 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and I told him to add 1 tablespoon of honey.  The vinegar was a white balsamic vinegar with peach flavors from Old World Olive Press.  Not surprisingly, the dressing ended up too sweet.  The tablespoon of honey is for a much larger batch of dressing than Kip made, so I added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Salad of greens, chicken, walnuts, and apples

Usually I would think apples, walnuts, and peaches might be an odd combination, but the weather had me in a summer mood,  so if the only way I could have peaches was as dressing on my salad, I was going to go with it.  I’m not sure if I should call it adventurous or admit I didn’t think about the apple / walnut / peach combination.  Either way, it was great.