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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homemade Chicken Pot Pies


Homemade Chicken Pot Pies are a delicious and convenient comfort food. When I make them, I like to make a lot so my freezer is stocked for easy lunches. The great thing about anything homemade is knowing exactly what goes into it. Store-bought pot pies generally have a frightening amount of fat in them, so it’s nice to have some control over that when I make my own. Typically, I like to make my crust with half whole wheat flour ground from hard white wheat. (The Delicious Meets Nutritious Xagave cookbook has a great recipe for a Whole Wheat Pie Crust or I like to keep this simple Crisco Pie Crust Mix recipe in my freezer.) If you need mini pie tins, look online. You can find them in bulk at significant savings.

If you want to make your own filling, here is a simple recipe:

6-8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (4 cups)–or dehydrated cubed potatoes

2 cups carrots, cut into small chunks–or dehydrated diced carrots

1 cup frozen peas–or dehydrated peas

1 onion, chopped–or dehydrated minced onion

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped–or canned chicken

2-3 cups gravy (You can either use your own chicken stock and thicken it with Clear Jel or cornstarch to make gravy, or you can use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup mixed with 2 cups of chicken broth.)

season to taste with pepper, salt, garlic, thyme, parsley,etc.

Rehydrate or partially cook the vegetables just until tender. (Don’t overcook or they will be mushy in your final product.) Drain. You can also use frozen mixed vegetables to save time. In a large pot, combine cooked potatoes, carrots, peas, onions and chicken. Pour gravy over the vegetable / chicken mixture and gently mix. Divide sauce among crust-filled pie tins. Top with top crust and seal edges; poke holes with fork on top. Wrap in foil and freeze. When you are ready to serve them, bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is golden brown.

If you don’t have time to make pot pies entirely from scratch, you can make a healthier crust and use Flav-R-Pac Chicken Pot Pie Filling from Alison’s Pantry to fill the crusts. It is a creamy combination of carrots, potatoes, onions, peas and hearty chunks of chicken that tastes homemade. The Pot Pie Filling comes in a large frozen pouch and only requires water. Flav-R-Pac is a commercial brand that is served in restaurants so it is top quality and has reliable results. I also like to prepare it in a 9 x 13 pan with biscuits on top for a quick family dinner. You can make biscuits from scratch or use a mix like AP’s Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Mix:



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