Chicken Pot Hand Pies and some other stuff.

I know I’ve been a little absent the past couple of weeks. We took a family vacation down to San Diego, a trip that included a lot of firsts for the girls. First plane ride, Sea World, first wedding, just to name a few! We ran the girls around and exhausted them, but we had a lot of fun! We were flying down to see my college roommate get married, I love the fact that while we don’t talk everyday and haven’t seen each other in 10 years (!!!) we can still get together and have a wonderful time. I’m touched that she thought of us and included us in her beautiful wedding to a wonderful guy. On a side note, when we were roommates in college, we regularly played tricks on each other. I recall one time she put a used toothbrush that SHE FOUND in my backpack. Imagine my horror on finding that in the middle of class when I was innocently reaching for a highlighter. My senior year, while my parents were visiting to watch my dance ensemble performance, my mom gave me some flowers in a rather hideous vase. I’m sorry, Mom, it was so sweet of you to give me flowers in a point shoe shaped vase! This vase became an inside joke between L and I and we ended up hiding it in each others stuff, houses or care packages to each other. I shipped it to her years ago and assumed it was long gone until I found it in my suitcase. Damn it! I know she had help from my husband, I feel so betrayed. Yet I feel so loved that L kept that ugly vase for all these years and moves. It must say something about our relationship or perhaps it speaks more to the lengths we will go to, to get back at one another.

M posing with the vase. If any of you have any dastardly ways I can get this back to her besides in a package please tell me!

Here’s a few of my favorite shots from the trip.

First airplane ride!

Sea World

Wiped!

My view for breakfast the night after the wedding. Amazing!

Of course after you return home from your vacation, you then naturally feel like you need to go on vacation again as you’re stuck washing clothes, unpacking, trying to get back on schedule and a bevy of other things. Not to mention we only had one day to recover before we sent the girls to school! Yes, school, minus commuting time, that is 3 hours all to myself! Squee! Not like I have a problem filling the time, it goes by in an instant! Now I’m subjecting you to shots of the twins on there first day. Bear with me, proud mommy moment!

First Day!

I actually managed to get a few Pinterest recipes done this last week even though we were in California for part of it. So here is an abbreviated version of my weekly pinterest round up. Fall is upon us, so I’ve been craving soups, stews, slow cooked meals and crusty freshly baked bread. Even though the day was warm, I decided to try this slow cooker Sausage, Bean and Pasta stew that I pinned. This link will take you to the pin.  The prep for this stew was super fast and required no precooking, a pet peeve of mine when it comes to slow cooking anything! The only thing I didn’t like about the stew is that is sucked a lot of the flavor out of the sausages, leaving them a little bland. Still I would make it again, it tasted even better the next day.

Yum, fall soup and bread and it’s only 91 degrees outside.

To go with the soup I wanted to make a loaf of bread and I’ve been dying to make some bread in my dutch oven after I saw a person I follow on instagram post pictures of her amazing results.

My instagram version

I pinned the website she used for the recipe and have been waiting for it to cool down a bit. I was also  little intimidated by the recipe because it rises at room temperature for over half a day, which requires a lot of pre-planning on my part. I ended up mixing the dough at 10pm the night before I needed it and baked the next day at 11am and literally pulled the thing out of the oven, threw it on a cooling rack and raced out the door to pick up the girls. Simply So Good blog has several variations on a wonderful recipe. I went with the cranberry, almond and orange route, but substituted in dried cherries which I’ve been really into lately! Here’s my photo progression of a very successful pin!

Only a few ingredients!

Before

After

Mine wasn’t very round because I just plopped it in the pot, but I was going for rustic!

Look it worked!

The bread really was so delicious. The blogger has some wonderful looking variations with add ins like gruyere cheese, lemon zest and rosemary. That savory version would have gone better with the soup, but the husband wanted the other one.

Now finally on to my Chicken Pot Hand Pies. This recipe can really be used to make a standard chicken pot pie, free form hand pies, muffin pan pot pies or whatever else you can dream of. The way I made them today I ended up with some extra filling, which you can use to make more chicken pot pie, freeze for later or perhaps use as a filling for the biscuit muffins I did a few weeks ago. I made a recipe of Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe, which makes enough dough for two crusts. If you’re making hand pies you may want to make a 1 1/2 times recipe. Feel free to use store bought dough as well!

Comfort food on the go.

Chicken Pot Pie (Hand Pies and beyond)

Crust

Pate Brisee recipe via Martha Stewart (you can double this if you want to use all your filling if making hand pies)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Filling

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used 4 small)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and rough chop
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 boullion cube or like item (I like Better than Boullion)
  • 3-4 cups pre-cooked chicken (I use the breasts from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Put broth in a sauce pan, add boullion and heat to a simmer. Add chopped potatoes and cook until almost tender but still slightly undercooked, 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent but not brown, 10-15 minutes. Add flour to onions and butter, stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes, until the raw flour odor goes away. Pour in the broth/potatoes into onion mixture. Cook until mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Season with 1 t of salt and a dash of pepper. Add in 2 T of heavy cream (it adds a wonderful richness, you know in addition to that stick of butter.) Add in carrots, chicken and peas. This makes a chunky filling, you can add more broth if you want. Feel free to throw in your favorite vegetables. Sometimes we throw in edamame or whatever else we have on hand.

1. Onions in butter 2.Broth and potatoes 3.Broth mixed in with onion mixture
4. Finished filling

Take filling off heat and let cool. This is a pretty important step. If you put the hot filling on your pie dough (you know like I did) your dough can become misshapen and tear. If I was more on top of it, I would have pre-made my filling earlier as well as my crust. That way working with colder components, the crust would have baked up a little better.

Preheat you oven to 425 degrees and quickly roll out your dough. You can either make a single large pot pie, free form hand pies (rolling, cutting the dough into rectangles add filling and fold over before sealing) or try one of those handy kitchen gadgets that crap up our kitchens, but actually worked surprisingly well!

1. Cutting pie dough with unnecessary but totally awesome hand pie accoutrement 2. Forming pie
3. Post pressed pie 4.Ready to bake

Lay on your Silpat or cookie sheet lined with parchment, brush the pie with cream or a beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes for hand pies or 30 minutes for a single pie.

Voila! You will notice the star shape that was on my pie mold, completely baked out of the pie. My dough and filling were way to warm.

Have a great week!

Weekly Pinterest Successes

I have to say the point of a “weekly” topic is for me to be regular and post it on the same day each week, right? Well, it’s still Sunday, so I’m not too late, but  I’m sure cutting it close! This week my craft room was sadly forlorn, while I spent more time in the kitchen. I was able to try a few Pinterest recipes and they were all pretty successful. Goodness knows, I have had some failures, usually in the form of some sort of microwave mug cake.

The first one is a wonderful beef short rib slow cooker recipe, yes, you read me right, a slow cooker recipe. I find very few recipes made in a slow cooker fantastic. I don’t like the texture of the meat when it breaks down into a stringy mess. This recipe is a definite exception. I found the recipe at eat-yourself-skinny.com, a blog that focuses on healthier recipes and has a lot of calorie counts and weight watcher points for each recipe. I was able to get my hands on some beef short ribs, and I must admit I have never tried them before. Please, go look at the recipe, here’s the link. I popped these in and only changed a few things. I reduced the vinegar (to about a 1/3 cup), as my husband doesn’t like too much in his sauce. Also I was shocked to find I was out of sugar, *gasp*! So I reduced the sugar to a 1/2 cup of white sugar and then drizzled in some molasses. The ribs cooked all day, emitting tantalizing aromas throughout the entire house. My husband made some mashed potatoes to serve the ribs and gravy over. Yummy! This makes a lot of gravy! I have to confess that I actually had some mashed potatoes and gravy for breakfast one morning. You will not be disappointed!

The next recipe, I pinned quite awhile ago for some frozen s’more cups. I always try to make an ice cream type dessert for my husband’s birthday and I thought this would fit the bill. I used my Demarle muffin flexipan, as I could freeze the dessert in it and easily pop out the s’more cups. Otherwise you will need to use some sort of mini cheesecake pan, spring form pan or like item. I subbed in freshly whipped cream for the cool whip, as it is what I had on hand. They were very yummy and a wonderful cool treat for the warm week we’ve been having.

The finished product, I just had to try one!

The last recipe is for these broccoli cheddar biscuit cups sent to me by my friend as a good cooking with your kiddos recipe. I thought the recipe looked like a great starting off point. I made my own biscuits and opted for an herbed goat cheese filling, broccoli and parmesan on top. Even with my modifiers from the original recipe,  you can still do a “busy gal” version or an “over achiever” version. Here are both options for you.

Busy Gal

  • 1 can of refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1-2 packages of boursin cheese (depending on how much you like)
  • 2 cups broccoli (blanched and chopped)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Over Achiever

Herb Biscuits (from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (I put it in the freezer for an hour then grated it)
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add grated butter and mix for a few seconds. Add half and half and combine on low speed. Mix in parsley. Dump dough onto a well floured surface or your Roul’Pat. You will be rolling them thinner than traditional biscuits since they will be stuffed into a muffin cup. Cut them out with a 2 and 1/2″ cutter. I made my biscuits ahead of time and put them on a cookie sheet in the fridge until dinner time.

Mmmm, biscuits!

Cheese filling

  • 10 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 t seasoning of your choice. I used Demarle’s Green Onion and Roasted Red Pepper herb blend
  • Half and half to mix

With an electric mixer beat up cheese to break it up, add chives and seasoning. Mix in half and half slowly until your get a texture that can be piped or spooned. I put the filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip when I was ready to fill the cups.

You will also need 2 cups of blanched, chopped broccoli and 1/4 – 1/3 cup grated parmesan for the over achiever version. Baking and assembly will be the same for both recipes. Press dough into your muffin pan, if you’re using a metal pan, be sure to prepare with cooking spray. Cut tip off your ziploc bag and pipe cheese into each cup. Add broccoli and top each cup with some parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes for store bought dough and closer to 15 minutes for homemade dough.  Serve up to your picky kids and enjoy a lovely vegetarian meal!

I prepped everything while my girls were napping so we could assemble it together before dinner.

Press in biscuit dough into your muffin pan.

Pipe in cheese, there may be some leftover.

Topped with broccoli and cheese. Ready to bake!

Dinnertime!

I hope you will have a chance to try out a few of these recipes. The short ribs recipe will definitely be on our regular rotation and will be especially delicious in the winter months when a warm, comforting meal is in order. Enjoy!