Sunday, January 3, 2016

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

I am a huge fan of meals that can be made in one (or two) pots. The fewer dishes, the better! My least favorite kitchen chore is doing the dishes. In fact, when Hubby is on his weekend, the dishes are his job. He knows I hate doing them, but when he works, it's on me since he leaves right after we finish eating. One more reason I really, really look forward to his weekends!

This skillet chicken pot pie is a wonderful, one pot dish that is a huge crowd pleaser. When it comes out of the oven, it looks so yummy and amazing, you really feel like you've got a handle on the whole cooking thing. Look what I made! Look how pretty! It looks delicious and smells like heaven! Yep, it's a good one.

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

12-inch cast iron skillet
3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup half and half
4 cups frozen veggies, thawed (I like a mix of carrots, peas, and corn)
Salt and pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 º. Heat oil and butter in the cast iron skillet on medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic and sage and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour, stir to coat. (You can add a drizzle of extra oil here, if necessary). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, whisking as you go. Whisk in half and half and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium high and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Add the veggies and chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Unroll the thawed puff pastry onto the top of the skillet. Carefully pinch down the edges (the skillet is warm!) and brush with the beaten egg. Cut a few lines in the pastry sheet to vent. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375º and bake for 5-7 minutes longer until the top is nicely browned. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

I try to be really good about meal planning at the beginning of every week. I think that things just go a bit smoother when I have an organized plan for meals. However, I sometimes fall a bit short on that goal. When that happens, we have a few go-to recipes that do the job on short notice, such as a simple chicken noodle soup that does the job when we are in a time crunch. It's just chicken, stock, carrots, celery, and pepper. Easy!

But, lately, we've been obsessed with this slightly more complicated version. It is so delicious and full of many layers of flavor. Even though you start with boxed stock, you add so much to the complexity of it that, by the end, you'll think you used homemade chicken stock. It's comforting and a little fancy (for chicken noodle soup, anyway) and completely delicious. It's our favorite chicken noodle soup recipe, hands down!

Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3/4 of a small bag of baby carrots (probably two cups worth), diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
2 boxes of chicken stock
4 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken base (or you could use chicken bouillon, but I really would recommend the chicken base)
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bag of Reames noodles (in the freezer section of your grocery store)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper

Melt butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté chopped onions, celery, and carrots with a pinch of salt and lots of pepper in butter and oil for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 2 boxes of stock and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves and thyme and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add in 4 cups of water and chicken base. Season again with pepper. Add the noodles and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the shredded chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, add the parsley and taste for seasonings. I usually add more pepper at this point, but we love lots of pepper! Cook for 5 minutes more, then remove the bay leaves and serve. Enjoy!