January 25, 2010

... Chicken Pot Pie

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is chicken pot pie.  I came across this recipe several years ago (thank you Real Simple!) and it's been my go-to ever since.

What's easier than rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies and pre-made pie crust?  You'd think that something that tastes so good should really have special ingredients and take longer to make, but this is not the case.

Individual Chicken Potpies
serves 4-6

1 8-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 refrigerated pie crusts
1 10 3/4-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Defrost the vegetables in a microwave for about 3 minutes.

Cut 2 pie crusts into quarters, to yield 8 equal pieces.  Coat the inside of 4 small aluminum-foil pans (4 1/2 inches in diameter, 1 1/4 inches deep) or 4 ramekins with vegetable cooking spray.  Line the bottom of each with a quarter of crust, molding it with your fingers to fit.

In a large bowl, stir together the soup and milk; add the remaining ingredients.  Spoon about 2/3 cup of the mixture into each pan or ramekin.  Top each with a pie crust quarter.  Pinch the edges together and cut vents in the top.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Taylor's Notes
You can make this in individual servings or one large pot pie.  (Actually, this is the first time I've made individual ones but I got these awesome serving dishes for Christmas (thanks sw!) and was so excited to use them!) If you make one large pot pie, just use a 9- to 10-inch diameter pie plate (mine is probably 1 1/2 inches deep) and put one pie crust in the bottom and the other on top of the filling.

Save a step... it's not necessary to defrost the veggies.  They're in the oven long enough that they cook through even if you stick them in frozen.

I use rotisserie chicken, pull off the skin and tear the meat into bite-size pieces.  It's a little more expensive (maybe a couple of dollars) than chicken breasts, but it's easier and has more flavor... and I'm all for easier and tastier!

If you end up making individual pot pies and only put crust on the top (as I'm attempting tonight as a calorie-saving measure...) you may ask "and just what am I supposed to do with the extra crust, taylor?  huh?  huh?"  Well I'll tell you.  You make tasty little cinnamon and sugar crisps like Grandma does!

Just sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the dough, roll it up, cut it into bite-size morsels and bake them at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until they're golden brown.  You'll thank me... and my grandma.


January 13, 2010

... Chipotle Black Bean Chili

Wow, it is not easy to photograph a bowl of chili, so first off, kudos to those food photographers out there!  There wasn't much to putting this chili together, so you're just going to have to trust me on this recipe from Midwest Living.  It's an easy one and you can even make it in the crock pot.  Just toss it all in before you leave for work in the morning and you'll have a warm, delicious dinner when you get home at night.  Or, put it all in a pot on the stove (have I mentioned how much I love my Le Creuset?) and it'll be ready in less than an hour.

serves 6

1 1/2 pounds ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork - whatever you like)
2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium beef broth or chicken broth
1 16-ounce jar mild or medium chunky salsa or picante sauce
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can golden hominy, rinsed and drained
2 cups loose-packed frozen diced hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers
1 to 2 canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (handle carefully!)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
chopped avocado and/or shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese and/or sour cream (optional)

In a large skillet, cook ground meat until brown.  Drain off fat.  Transfer to a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker.  Stir in broth, salsa, beans, hominy, potatoes, peppers, chili powder, oregano and cumin.

Cover; cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Top with avocado and/or cheese and/or sour cream if you like.

Taylor's Notes:
Ok, kids, this is a big one.  Pay attention.  Do not, I repeat, do not make the mistake of reading "1 to 2 canned chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce" as "1 to 2 cans chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce." Granted, I only used about 1 can, but yowza!!  

Like I mentioned above, you can make this on the stove rather than in a crock pot.  Just brown and drain the meat, put it and all the other ingredients into the pot, give it a little stir and let it cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until it's nice and bubbly.  


January 9, 2010

... Tortilla and Black Bean Pie & Margaritas. Ole!

What better reason to have a Mexican fiesta than when the temp is in the single digits and you're up to your ears in snow?

Santa must have been thinking the same thing when he brought me Everyday Food's Great Food Fast for Christmas.  Not only does the cookbook have a picture for every recipe, but it divides the recipes into seasons and even gives nutritional information for each recipe.  Love!  I definitely think this is going to be a favorite go-to book and can't wait to try out recipe numero dos.

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
serves 6

4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces beer, or 1 1/2 cups water
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a paring knife, trim the tortillas to fit a 9-inch springform pan, using the bottom of the pan as a guide.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the beans and beer to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium; simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the corn and scallions, and remove from the heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Fit a trimmed tortilla in the bottom of the springform pan; layer with one quarter of the beans and 1/2 cup cheese.  Repeat three times, using 1 cup cheese on the top layer.  Bake until hot and the cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes.  Unmold the pie; sprinkle with scallions.  Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

Taylor's Notes:
I used the burrito size tortillas which ended up working out great.  I wonder if the size smaller than that would fit perfectly into the springform pan without having to trim them... I might give that a shot next time, but the trimming really wasn't an issue.

Use a slotted spoon to layer the beans onto the tortillas.  Most of the liquid does evaporate, but you don't want the tortillas to get soggy.

Other than that, the recipe was really simple and turned out great.  And, for just a second, I felt like it was definitely at least 15 degrees outside.


January 2, 2010

... a cozy meal to celebrate the first day of 2010

First off, I apologize for the lack of action shots, but as Rich said "it wasn't much to look at earlier."  Now, however, is a completely different story (if I do say so myself!)...

Pot Roast
1 chuck roast - I used a two and a half pounder, but you can use whatever and adjust accordingly
s and p
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion
3 baking potatoes
6 carrots
a couple sprigs of thyme

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet until it's pretty darn hot.  Flour, salt and pepper all sides of the chuck roast.  Put chuck roast in the pan and brown for about 5 minutes on each side or until it's a nice, deep brown color.

Cut the onion into wedges by slicing off the very ends of the onion so that when you cut the onion into wedges the core keeps it intact.  Place the onions in the pan with the roast and a little bit of water - maybe 1/4" - and put the pan (with a lid) in the oven.  Leave it alone for several hours.  Seriously.  Like 7 or 8 hours.

Peel your potatoes and carrots.  Cut the carrots in half or thirds depending on their size and the potatoes in quarters.  Place them in the pot with the roast and onions, along with the Thyme, and crank the temp up to about 325 degrees.  Leave it for another hour or so until the potatoes and carrots are done and the smells coming from your oven make the dogs beg.

Taylor's Notes:
This is the recipe as told to me by Grandma Norma who makes an incredible pot roast.  This is my first one to make - first pot roast, first day of a new year, pretty cool.  I browned and cooked the roast in my 3 1/2 quart Le Creuset and it was just big enough for the size of roast and vegetables that I bought.  I'd love to cook a bigger roast sometime, you know to serve more than just me and the boy, but in order to do so I'd probably need a bigger pot.  So, if you're feeling kind and would like an invitation to dinner, please feel free to bring me one of these.  Thanks :)  

As I mentioned before, just adjust the size of your roast and the quantity of vegetables based on how many people you're serving.  This fed two hungry people who'd been working on home renovation all day and gave us leftovers for tomorrow... or a midnight snack... we really did work up an appetite!

Grandma used to cook her roast at 250 degrees for 10 hours - from the time she left for work in the morning until she got home at night.  I bumped up the heat a tiny bit thinking we'd want to eat sooner, but as it turns out I'm cooking it for almost the same amount of time.  And you know what, it's delicious.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!!