Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quick and Easy

I wasn’t really in a cooking mood yesterday, which is surprising for me. I usually love gathering my recipes, setting up my work space, and diving into a good cooking session. Yesterday, it just wasn’t there, though. My boys were coming for dinner, however, and I like to make them good, hearty meals. So I decided to play Sandra Lee. She used to have a show on the Food Network called, “Semi-Homemade Meals.” My goal was Chicken Pot Pie. My recipe calls for mostly all start-from-scratch ingredients, but I fixed that quickly.

I bought four split chicken breasts with the bone in. Bones add a richness of flavor when I make broth. I stewed the chicken until it could fall from the bones (around an hour or a little more.) I purchased the Pillsbury All-Ready Pie Crusts, frozen mixed vegetables (with string beans, peas, corn, carrots, and lima beans,) and Campbell’s cream of celery soup. (I also jarred the broth for other dishes.)

Once the chicken was cooled and cut into chunks, I cooked two cups of the veggies. In a large bowl, I mixed about ¾ of the chicken with the vegetables. Then I added the soup and a half can of milk. I sprinkled it all with salt, pepper, hot pepper, and dried onion flakes. I poured the mixture into the pie shell, and covered it with the second crust. I brushed the top with a little milk, then sprinkled some salt on it, and cut vent slits.

I had preheated the oven to 425°, and I baked the pie at that temperature for 15 minutes. Then I lowered the heat to 325° and baked it for another 40 minutes. I let it sit for 10 minutes to let the juices settle. I served it with a tossed salad, and it really was as good as the original recipe.

I had planned to make cupcakes for dessert, and I had all the ingredients ready for dark chocolate ones frosted with buttercream. Unfortunately, my cooking funk extended to dessert, so we just bought a Dutch apple cake. The boys didn’t notice that I had taken shortcuts, and they ate seconds of everything. I guess I pulled a good switcheroo!

Next week I want to try paella. My one son’s girlfriend is of Spanish descent (her dad was Italian from Argentina, and her mother was born in the Dominican Republic.) She introduced my son to many Spanish foods, and he loves them. My other son has a very eclectic palate. Living in the city gives him access to different cultures. So, I’ll give this dish a try and see how they like it.

My quick-and-easy approach worked, but I don’t think I’ll make a habit of it.


Chef Muff


  1. That sounds like a lot of cooking to me, even with the shortcuts. I like to cook from scratch, but i know what you mean about sometimes just not being in the mood. But it is not much of a problem when i am just cooking for myself

    1. It really did go quickly -- I think seeing it in writing makes it seem longer. Usually we are just preparing for ourselves, but when my boys come, I like it to be special.

  2. Hi Muff - love chicken pt pie - we make a version of yours, using some chicken gravy, canned potatoes, diced, carrots and peas. I use chicken thighs and breasts, bone in!- we love the dark meat too and we roast it with seasonings then cut in pieces. we use the pillsbury crust as well. yummy.
    Love Gail

    1. i have also made the individual pot pies in muffin tins using the grands biscuits, really good!!

    2. Gail, I saw that recipe using the biscuits, and I think I'll try it. We like dark meat in roasted chicken, too.