Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chunky Chicken Pot Pie & A Pie Crust Recipe

When it is a blizzard outside and hasn't been above 20 degrees in a month, don't you just feel like eating warm and cozy comfort food?  I really love chicken pot pie.  I have made it a number of times and this was one of my favorite versions.  Of course, I may have just been in the perfect mood for it.  You can add any veggies that you have on hand.  I only had potatoes, carrots and onions, but peas or celery would have been great, too.  The other great thing about this is it is an all-in-one dish.  I added a little fruit on the side and my meal was done.

Chunky Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from:

1 chicken breast
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, sliced
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
1 recipe for a double pie crust (mine follows)

In a medium saucepan, boil the carrots and potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes).  You can also cook your chicken breast with your vegetables if you want.  I always forget and end up cooking the breast separate and then shredding it.  When the vegetables are tender, drain the water and set them aside.  While the veggies are cooking, prepare your crust and lay one half of it in the bottom of your pie tin.  In the saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions in the butter until they are tender.  Stir in the flour, salt and pepper.  Slowly stir in the chicken broth and the milk.  Simmer it over medium heat until it thickens.  Gently stir together the shredded chicken and vegetables and dump that into your pie crust.  Pour the sauce over the top of the veggies.  Then gently lay your other half of rolled out pie crust over the top of the pie and crimp the edges.  Make a few slits in the top with a knife to let the steam out.  Bake it at 425 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until your crust is golden yumminess.  I bake mine on a cookie sheet so that if it oozes out a little while it is baking, I won't have to clean my oven.

Double Pie Crust
adapted from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. shortening
1/3 c. butter
6-7 Tbsp. ice water

Mix your flour and salt and the cut in the shortening and butter until it resembles pea sized pieces.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of ice water in the flour at a time and using a fork, press the flour and the water together (pushing moistened dough to the side of the bowl).  Repeat until all the flour is moistened and you can form it into two balls.  Roll one out and place it in the bottom of your pie tin.  Roll the second out into a circle.  It will go on top of the pie after the filling is in it.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Creme Brulee French Toast

Christmas Eve this year turned out very snowy for the few of us down in Southern Utah, Matt and I and my parents.  The weather ended up being too bad to travel up north to visit my sisters and their families for Christmas Eve, so we made the best of it (which ended up being an awesome time with my parents).  We made a special breakfast Christmas morning, including this amazingly rich and delicious Crème Brulee French Toast… and double sausage, which Matt always got on Christmas morning.  A Merry Christmas to both of us.  I think I might make this a Christmas morning tradition, but you should not wait until next Christmas to try it!

Crème Brulee French Toast

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 loaf Texas Toast bread or other thick sliced bread (I just bought French bread and cut into thick slices)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of cinnamon

In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat until smooth, stirring occasionally.  Pour mixture onto large, greased jelly roll pan (18x13x1").  Spread around to cover surface. Place 12 slices of bread in a single layer to cover pan.  Mix together eggs, cream, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Spoon mixture over each piece of bread.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from pan and serve.  If not serving immediately, turn each slice of bread over (this will prevent bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan).  You should definitely do as we did, and eat this with our Buttermilk Syrup that is insanely good.  

It's hard to believe, but that bread just soaks all of the mixture right up by morning.  The butter/sugar mixture creates the creme brulee effect on the bottom of the french toast, caramelizing it into sweet, rich goodness. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ham & Vegetable Casserole

I've been asked to post some of the recipes that I used to cook.  However, I'm not sure which ones my family liked.  This was a request from your dad, so when I cooked it, I took a picture and decided that I would post it.  This recipe came from one of the ward cookbooks and was submitted by Mary Heaton.

4 cups diced carrots
4 cups diced potatoes
1 onion, diced
4 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt

Cover and cook the above until almost tender (15-20 minutes).  Drain the vegetables and reserve the water to use as follows: 

Add evaported milk (1/2 c to 3/4 c - I just use a small 5 oz can of evaporated milk) to the water you saved from cooking the vegetables.  Make a white sauce using 4 tblsp butter and 4 tblsp of flour and the water/milk mixture.  (To make a white sauce, melt the butter over a medium heat, add the flour and mix, then slowly add your liquid and stir continually until it thickens.)  Add 1/4 lb of shredded cheese to the white sauce and stir.

Put your vegetables in a large bowl and add 2 to 4 cups of diced ham (depending on how much ham you have and how "meaty" you want your casserole).  Pour your cheesy white sauce over the top of the ham and vegetables and gently stir it up. 

Then pour into a rectangular baking dish (don't cover it) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.   I used a 10.5 X 14.75 X 2.25 inch, which is a bigger baking dish, but my ingredients completely filled it and left just enough room that it didn't boil over.  This makes a big casserole, so if you have a small family and don't want leftovers, I would split the recipe in half.  We will be eating this for a few days.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Smoky Grilled Pork Chops

It may be only nine degrees here, but that hasn't deterred me from using my grill.  Okay, maybe what I should say is that it hasn't deterred me from sending my husband out to grill!  Especially when I needed a quick meal idea and had all the ingredients for this amazing pork chop recipe.  This is really so easy.  Mix the spices, rub them on the pork chops and let them sit for 10 minutes before grilling.  And that is it.  So slip on your winter gear and get grilling!

Smoky Grilled Pork Chops

1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
4 pork chops

In a small bowl, mix together all the spices, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke flavoring.  Rinse your pork chops and using your fingers, rub the mix on the front and back of each pork chop.  Massage it in a little.  Let it sit for 10 minutes.  Then heat up your grill and cook them over indirect heat until they are no longer pink inside.