Cooking comfort...

by - Monday, January 09, 2017

It's pretty cold out there these past couple of days... It snowed over the weekend and the temperature has been dipping low. To be expected in January for our area, right? So what does this scenario call for?

Comfort food...

One relatively quick and easy dinner favorite during these longer cold evenings combines simple pantry staples, a supermarket roaster and freezer favorites. Of course, any of the following ingredients can be swapped for the ultimate fresh and/or make-from-scratch options, but if you want to whip them up any weekday night, these will do just fine for...

Easy Chicken Pot Pies
1 large package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 large roasted chicken (or Perdue Shortcuts)
1 medium-size onion, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Pillsbury pie crusts 


I usually make four pies at a time, and these can be frozen to be baked for a later meal. Just assemble as instructed here, cover in freezer wrap, and freeze. They will sit well in there for about a month, so when you want to enjoy one, simply bake at 350 degrees F for at least an hour right out of the freezer, no thawing necessary.


1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Spoon the mixed vegetables divided evenly into four medium-size ceramic ramekins. Now you can use just frozen veggies or a combination of frozen, fresh and canned. It can be whatever you have on hand. I used frozen peas and green beans, then divided a can of corn, and topped that with some fresh baby carrots. Sometimes I add fresh baby spinach leaves just out of the package as well.

3) Remove all the meat from a cooked supermarket roaster and cut up into bite-size pieces, or use cooked white meat Perdue or Tyson chicken. If you want to swap the chicken with that leftover cooked turkey or steak, absolutely do so. Divide the meat in four and add to each ramekin. Set aside.


4) In a medium saucepan you will make the cream sauce. Melt the butter and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about three minutes, then add the flour. You need to cook the flour for a couple of minutes creating a rue as the flour will slightly brown and become pasty. Next, add the stock, followed by the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk continually as all the liquid blends smooth. This needs to come to a boil as you continually stir on medium heat. The sauce will bubble and thicken as you continue to whisk, about ten to fifteen minutes, and will reduce to a third less. Once finished, remove from heat and grab a ladle.


5) Carefully ladle the cream sauce into each of the four ramekins, evenly divided once again, making sure to not overfill. Once you have filled each pot, carefully mix each one with a spoon or spatula, blending and coating all the ingredients. Set aside

6) Unroll the two pie crusts and cut each in half. Now with the four crusts, cover each ramekin, overlapping the edges about an inch. Cut away the excess. Sometimes when I want to get real creative I use the extra to make pastry rosettes decorating the tops (as I often create in clay for my jewelry). But now I just kept it simple, crimping the edges all around each ramekin with my fingers to seal them. 


7) With a fork, gently press the edges. Cut three slits in the tops of each to vent. Place them into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. If you want a shiny finished crust, simply beat one egg and brush the tops before baking. 


The house smells divine! Nothing like cooking comfort to satisfy. Enjoy! xoxo-Sonya

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