Chicken Pot Pie

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. My family went on a trip to Europe for a few months, where I got many culinary ideas I can’t wait to try at home, so a lot of time away from home means no cooking in the kitchen. The trip was fabulous! A trip of a lifetime, but I am excited to get back into my cooking routine and start posting regularly again! I have a couple of things I’ve cooked already that I need to post, but that will have to wait until later. Today I made chicken pot pie for lunch. I love chicken pot pie! its a comfort food to me. A wonderful warm dish to eat on a cool autumn afternoon. But since my husband and I have switched to a healthier diet, which means cutting out processed food, my days of popping a personal frozen pot pie into the microwave are over. So today I attempted my very first chicken pot pie! It turned out pretty well. I think I would like to add some more veggies into it, but that’ll have to wait until next time. The next test is my husband trying it. He’s not a big pot pie fan, so I’ll see how it goes over on him. The recipe I used originated from the Pioneer Woman. Enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

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Ingredients
4 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrot
1/4 cup Finely Diced Celery

1/2 cup Shredded Hash Browns

3 cups Shredded Cooked Chicken Or Turkey
1/4 cup Flour
3 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, Plus More If Needed
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Chopped Fresh Thyme To Taste
1/4 cup Half-and-half Or Cream
1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust
1 whole Egg
2 Tablespoons Water

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir them around until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the chicken or turkey and then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir it until it’s all combined with the turkey and vegetables. Cook for 1 minute, then pour in the chicken broth (and wine if using) and stir it around and let it cook and thicken.
Once it starts to thicken add the turmeric, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Add the half-and-half or cream, then stir the mixture and let it bubble up and thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off the heat.
Pour the filling into a 2-quart baking dish. Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface and lay it over the top of the dish. Press the dough so that the edges stick to the outside of the pan. Use a knife to cut little vents here and there in the surface of the dough.
Mix together the egg with 2 tablespoons water and brush it all over the surface of the crust. (You will have some egg wash left over.)
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly. To prevent the crust from getting too brown, you might want to cover it lightly with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking time.

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The vegetables cooking before adding flour and brothimage

Whole chicken in a crockpot shredded chicken.

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Pie crust

Parmesan chicken cutlets

We are always looking for new ways to eat chicken since it is the main meat served at our house. Tonight we tried Parmesan chicken from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family cookbook. It was delicious I love the cheesy with the crunchy, and the touch of Dijon mustard which gives it a slight tanginess. Next time you are looking for an easy delicious way to cook chicken give this recipe a try. 

Instead of typing the recipe I took a picture of it from the book.

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And here are some pictures from my experience…

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Memphis Style BBQ Spareribs

BBQ ribs

I have never made ribs in my life!  Since it was Valentine’s Day and my husband loves ribs, I decided to give them a try.  The Science of Good Cooking has been on my shelf for a while, and I had yet to make a recipe out of it, so I decided to get it out and see if it had a recipe I liked that looked simple enough.  I found the recipe for Memphis Style BBQ Spareribs and thought it looked pretty good.  The recipe is a little confusing at first so I recommend reading it through a couple of times before you start, but once you start it doesn’t require too much work.  The results are excellent!  My husband prefers ribs covered in sauce.  I prefer ribs with a dry rub.  If you like ribs covered in sauce you might want a different recipe or to baste the ribs with a bottled bbq sauce while they are cooking in the oven.  I hope you like the recipe. Enjoy!

Memphis-Style Barbecued Spareribs

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*recipe from The Science of Good Cooking

Don’t remove the membrane that runs along the bone side of the ribs; it prevents some of the fat from rendering and is authentic to this style of ribs.

Ingredients

2 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) racks of St. Louis style spareribs, trimmed

1 recipe Spice Rub (recipe follows)

3/4 cup wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained

1/2 cup apple juice

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 (13×9 inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal), or disposable aluminum pie plate (if using gas)

Spice Rub Ingredients

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in bowl.

Directions

1. Rub each side of each rack of ribs with 2 tablespoons spice rub. Let ribs sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

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Picture of ribs with spice rub on them just going onto the heated grill.

2. Using a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top. Combine apple juice and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway. Place roasting pan filled with 2 cups water on 1 side of grill and arrange 15 unlit charcoal briquettes on other side of grill. Light large chimney starter one-third filled with charcoal briquettes (2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour on top of unlit briquettes to cover half of grill. Place wood chip packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking , about 5 minutes.

3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Place wood chip packet directly on primary burner. Place disposable pie plate filled with 2 cups water on other burner(s). Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking , about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium-high and turn other burner(s) off. (Adjust primary burner as needed during cooking to maintain grill temperature between 250 and 275 degrees.)

4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place ribs meat side down on cool side of grill over water-filled pan. Cover (position lid vents over meat if using charcoal) and cook for 1 1/2 hours, brushing each rack with 2 tablespoons apple juice mixture and flipping and rotating racks halfway through cooking. During final 20 minutes of cooking, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

BBQ ribs

Picture of ribs before going into the oven.

5. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and add enough water to cover bottom of pan. Transfer ribs to prepared rack and brush top of each slab with 2 tablespoons apple juice mixture. Roast for 1 hour.

6. Brush ribs with remaining apple juice mixture and continue to roast until meat is tender but not falling off bones (internal temperature should be 195 to 200 degrees), 1 to 2 hours. Transfer ribs to cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice ribs between bones and serve.

imagePicture of finished ribs.

My favorite whole chicken in the oven recipe

I love making a whole chicken in the crockpot or the oven. One of my favorite recipes is super simple and delicious. It takes a little bit of prep time, but is totally worth the effort! Get the original recipe here. Enjoy!

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Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Pumpkin Cake

I am not a fan of pumpkin flavored things, but I love this cake recipe especially the icing.  It’s probably one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. The cinnamon and pumpkin in this recipe makes it a great recipe to use year after year as a favorite Fall/Thanksgiving cake!  It’s really moist and the icing just melts in your mouth.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

* Pictures to come soon!

Homemade Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups of Flour
½ tsp. of Salt
2 tsp. Of Cinnamon
1½ tsp. of Baking Soda
1 can (15 or 16 oz.) of Pumpkin
2 tsp. of Baking Powder
2 cups of Sugar
1 cup of Oil
4 Large Eggs
*This Pumpkin Cake recipe is intended for either 3 round pans, a tube pan, a Bundt pan, or a 13×9 pan

1.    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2.    Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.
3.    Mix together thoroughly until entirely moistened and well-blended.
4.    Lightly grease and flour your baking pan.
5.    Pour your cake batter into the prepared pan.
6.    Bake for one hour or until you can insert a toothpick and pull it out clean (usually takes less time for three round pans)
7.    Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool on a cooling rack for one more hour. Ice cake with icing recipe below.

Icing recipe


1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese, whipped

2 cups Whipping Cream (heavy cream, liquid like milk kind)

½ tsp Vanilla

1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar (more if needed)

Glazed store bought (or homemade) walnuts or pecans

Directions:

1.     Cream ½ cup sugar and cream cheese until smooth.

2.     Slowly add cream and sugar alternately.

3.     Stir in vanilla and add more powdered sugar if necessary, until the icing is the right consistency to spread. Ice the cake when cake is completely cool.

4.     Before serving add glazed store bought (or homemade) walnuts or pecans.

Whole Chicken in a Crockpot and Overnight Chicken Stock

I love this recipe, especially since it is so easy!!  It is a great way to make tender chicken that just falls off the bone, and super easy chicken stock at the same time.  Now I know some of you are thinking… there is no way I am making my own chicken stock.  Well you can and it’s super easy, did I say it’s easy!  I use the chicken stock to flavor my soups and veggies when I cook them.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and even if your hesitant try making the chicken stock at least once.  Don’t be afraid of the whole chicken part either.  You can buy whole chicken’s without the giblets and such in it, just check the label when buying. Enjoy

Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken
Instructions
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don’t forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones!
Overnight Chicken Stock
Ingredients
  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.
Instructions
  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot. If you are using the chicken carcass from the “The Best Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot” recipe just leave every single thing that’s leftover (except the good meat of course) in the crock pot including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about ½” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc.
  5. Either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use. I usually freeze some in both 1 and 2-cup portions, and I also sometimes freeze stock in ice cube trays just in case I just “need a little” for making sauce or rice. This stock is great in soups like chicken noodle soup and also in rice like risotto.
    Enjoy!

* Recipe is from 100 Days of Real Food, see it here.

Easy and Delicious Spaghetti Sauce

I love spaghetti and ever since my husband and I went to Italy we love homemade spaghetti sauce even more!  In my sauce I use turkey because I like the flavor and it’s lean, but you could make this sauce with any other meat or just leave out the meat your choice.  I hope you like our sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce

2 Servings

Time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 an onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced (or 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 28oz can of  crushed tomatoes (I like CENTO all purpose crushed tomatoes)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 or 2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 lb. ground turkey or other meat

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add ground meat, salt and pepper to taste, onions, and cook on medium heat. Once meat is almost brown, add oregano and red pepper flakes.  When meat has finished cooking turn heat to med-low, add can of crushed tomatoes, sugar and bay leaves.  May add more salt and pepper to your taste.  Cook until heated through. Remove bay leaves before serving and serve over hot noodles (we like fettuccine). Enjoy!