It’s Not Swanson, but…

When I was a kid all I longed for was processed, artificially flavored and preservative laden food. What I got was all-natural, homemade and hippy-dippy food. My mother tortured me with her denial of Lucky Charms and Skippy Peanut Butter! And I believe I’ve mentioned before how scarred that “summer of carob” has left me. (Mind you she’s now the woman who shows up with mammoth sized Jet-Puffed marshmallows for my kids and is shocked that they don’t know what Twinkies are. Sigh. Clearly she’s still out to torture me.) Anyway, the one less than all-natural delight that somehow made it under her radar were frozen pot pies. And oh how I loved them!

Fast forward 30 years and low-and-behold it turns out that I’m a hippy-dippy food feeding mom as well. However unlike my bratty junk-food desiring childhood self, my children actually think my all-natural tendencies are great! They seriously don’t know (and really aren’t interested in finding out) what Twinkies or frozen pizza taste like. Amazing, right? Maybe they were switched at birth… However all that being said, I still think fondly of those frozen pot pie nights and while I’m not racing out to fill my freezer with them, I decided to try and recreate one of my favorite childhood tastes for my own little loves.

The carrots weren’t perfectly cut little squares, there were pearl onions in the gravy and it didn’t come in a lovely aluminum pie dish, but this chicken pot pie was good enough that even eight year old me might have considered it worth eating. Especially if it came along with an ice cold bottle of Yoo-hoo…

Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe makes enough filling for two pies, we had one for dinner and I froze the other one (unbaked) for use another night. However feel free to half the recipe if you only want to make one pie.

3 1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups frozen pearl onion, defrosted
1 leek, sliced thin
2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups frozen peas
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 sheets puff pastry (or 2 prepared pie crusts)
1 egg, for wash
1 tbsp. water, for wash

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the chicken, pearl onions and leeks until nearly cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer everything to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the carrots and celery to the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have begun to soften. Stir in the peas and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, flour, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Slowly add the milk mixture to the veggies in the pan and stir until thickened. Add back the chicken, onions and leek and stir until blended.
  4. Spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture into two 9-inch deep dish pie plates. Cover with the puff pastry (or pie crust). In a small bowl whisk together the egg and 1 tbsp. of water. Brush the egg wash over the top of the pie, place on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*adapted from megan barry

Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen with… Chicken!

I love warm Spring weather. I love it for all the typical reasons; the sunny blue skies, waking to the sound of chirping birds, saying good-bye to heavy coats and sweaters and being able to spend time outside relaxing, puttering and enjoying Mother Nature in all her emerging glory. But I think what I truly love the most about warm Spring days is the ability to share the responsibility of dinner preparation with my husband. “Welcome home dear, how was your day? Great good to know, now please go start the grill…” Suddenly the pressure to whip up an applause worthy dinner on a random week night is no longer solely my own.

One such Wednesday night just recently came to pass. My chicken was happily marinating in the fridge, the broccoli was ready for a quick steam and potatoes were quartered and ready to go into the oven. All that was missing was my dear husband and his grill tongs. And then it happened… The skies darkened, the thunder rumbled and the clouds opened up. And it rained. Not just a light rain or a “get the umbrella you’re not made of sugar” rain, but a cats and dogs, soaking, pouring, drenching rain. Uggggh, so now what? Since grilling the chicken no longer seemed like an option I decided to throw it in the oven and take my chances with how it would turn out.

It was delicious! I knew the marinade was a good and flavorful one, but I didn’t realize just how moist the chicken would stay by cooking it in the oven. And once thickened up a bit the pan juices make a lovely sauce to drizzle on top.

It’s great to have a fall-back recipe for the next rainy night, time we forget to refill the propane tank or evening we decide we’re just to tired to bother lighting the grill. Actually, it turned out so good that I think my dear husband and I will have to find some other dinner to collaborate on. (Sorry babe, but you don’t get off the hook that easy!)

Baked Chicken with Lemon-Mustard Sauce
This is a super easy dinner to make. If you don’t have lemon juice, use lime. If you don’t feel like turning the oven on, turn on the grill. And if you don’t have chicken, turkey breast would be great too!

must chic

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place all the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and stir together well.
  2. Add the chicken breasts to the bag, refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least an hour (longer if you plan to grill it).
  3. Put chicken and marinade into an 8×8 baking dish. Squish the chicken down so it’s as covered with marinade as possible and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour the remaining pan juices into a small pot. Bring the juices to a boil and let cook until slightly thickened. Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce spooned on top.

*adapted from bon appetit