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Secret Recipe Club: Chicken Pot Pie

Secret Recipe Club

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but if not I’ll mention it again, I’m horrific at making decisions. If life came with a flow chart complete with “if <x> do <y>” my life would be so much easier. Compounding this problem is that I desperately love planning. I tend to over think things. So when it comes to picking recipes to do it can definitely be a chore. Generally, when making recipes for The Secret Recipe Club I take three weeks to decide on something (and more often than not I narrow it down to about six and then email a friend saying “Which one do I choose?!”) and then the Saturday before the post needs to go up I make the recipe.  Well that’s just what happened with this recipe.

Have I mentioned I thrive on short deadlines? Doing everything and completing the task by a quick upcoming deadline always gives me a overwhelming sense of triumph.

This past Saturday was one of my closest friend’s, Molly, birthdays, so naturally I sent her Easy. Everyday. Eats. by Erin a blog with sections for food, crafts and bits about her life. She has cats. I adore her already. And please go look at her new kitchen, the amount of envy I have is overwhelming.

Anyway, I sent Erin’s blog link to Molly to have pick out a recipe for me to make. Delegation – totally worthwhile. So Molly then, who also can’t make decisions (watching us try to pick some place to eat drives her boyfriend crazy), sent me back some links. Five links. Le sigh. Once we figured out that Molly, another friend of ours – Jordann, and I were going to watch what’s perhaps one of the best song contests shows ever – Eurovision – together I knew we’d need a meal before the actual party started so I settled on the chicken pot pie.

One of the best things about this pot pie was that all three of us  made it. We used Erin’s recipe for Chicken Pot Pie as a starting point. We ended up adding two Granny Smith apples, some cinnamon, mushrooms and some sage to the mixture. One vegetable that I always look forward to in pot pies, was the one vegetable I forgot about  – the peas! So sad. Although, clearly not that sad since I didn’t remember they hadn’t been added until I saw the bag of frozen peas still in the freezer…the next day.

The Granny Smith apples and cinnamon really added a nice sweet touch the pot pie which was a nice complement to the savory basil and sage. We used store bought puff pastry, and a  store bought rotisserie chicken as time saving measures. Both worked wonderfully.

While making the filling part we thought that there wasn’t going to be enough gravy, so we added some more water but completely forgot to up the amount of flour to help thicken everything as it cooked. So the filling part wasn’t  all that thick and creamy, but it was still delicious and made a wonderful soup to dip bread into; which is exactly what we did!

Even though none of my favourite countries (France, Malta, and Ireland) won, Eurovision was a fun 3 hour diversion capped off with a delicious pot pie that made the house smell like heaven. Even one of the housemates mentioned that even though she wasn’t hungry in the slightest the smell was making her want to eat some. Next time California experiences some unseasonably cold weather I’m going to whip this up again because it really doesn’t take very long at all!

Chicken Pot Pie

From Erin at Easy. Everyday. Eats.

3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 large chicken breasts (about 3 cups shredded)
1 1/2 carrots, diced (about 5 carrots)
1 cup celery, diced (about 3 stalks)
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 large granny smith apples
1/2 a large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, mined
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch sage
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
olive oil
extra salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large pan over medium heat add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, salt, pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and apples. Cook until the apples have begun to soften, but are still firm when poked with a fork. About another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix in celery, and chicken. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish*.

In a microwave safe dish, heat the heavy cream for 20 seconds.

In a sauce pan, over low heat, melt the butter and then add in the flour whisking constantly for about two minutes. Add in the heavy cream whisking until smooth. Slowly pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes.

Pour over the vegetable mixture. Place thawed puff pastry sheet over the casserole dish and cut off the excess leaving about an inch all around the edge. Gently pinch the edge to seal the casserole dish.

In a small bowl mix together the egg and a few tablespoons of water. Brush over the top of the puff pastry.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

*I found it helpful for placing and removing to have the casserole dish on a baking sheet.

Secret Recipe Club: Brownie Cookies

Secret Recipe Club

This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned K&K Test Kitchen by Kim and Kelsey – a mother/daughter duo! How fun! I had such a hard time deciding on what to make! I must have booked marked at least a dozen things.

But, I decided that since Busy Season (aka tax season) was over it would be fun to bring in something to the office so I settled on their Brownie Cookies. What an amazing idea. And yes, they do actually taste like a brownie only they’re cookies! How amazing is that? I love making brownies but they’re so difficult to bring to events; there needs to be a spatula or knife for everyone to cut them. But cookies? Just set them out and everyone can easily grab one. They were a total hit at the office, and then I made them again — yes I liked them so much that I made them twice in one week — for a family gathering on Sunday and they were a hit there too.

The batter for these cookies is extremely thick, and I have on good authority from my eldest sister that the batter is absolutely delicious. She may or may not have “pre-washed” the mixing bowl once I was done. I used a medium cookie scoop to dish out the batter and that seemed to be a good size. The cookies are very very rich, so I think anything larger would be too much. But who knows, I’m not a huge chocolate person so I could be totally wrong :)!

For the office, I made a double batch and the cookies came out more like cakey brownies than fudgey brownies. The second batch was a single batch and those came out a lot more like fudgey brownies. But I think that has more to do with the oven in my apartment vs. the oven in my parent’s house than anything else.  I forgot to count how many I got from the first batch, so I counted the ones I made yesterday and I had about 3 dozen cookies.I’m definitely keeping this recipe around for parties.

On top of that the recipe is super simple and it very easy to double, so it’s perfect for small gatherings or big gatherings! For the record, there were no cookies left over from either my office for my family gathering yesterday. As fun note, one of my very good friends who lives in England told me she was making brownie cookies last week as well and without knowing it we used the same recipe. We’re totally the same person. And if they win the approval of two different groups in California and one across the pond? Pretty sure these are keepers!

Brownie Cookies

From K&K Test Kitchen

½ cup butter
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups (18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium sized saucepan combine butter, unsweetened chocolate and half (1.5 cups) of the chocolate chips. Melt over medium heat stirring constantly. Once melted remove from burner and allow to cool while prepping the next steps.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl (I used my kitchen aid) mix together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. Next, add in the salt. Then, add in the baking powder. Slowly add in the flower (I did three 1/2 cup measures). Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Add in the melted chocolate and the rest of the chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl one last time to make sure everything is mixed.

Scoop the cookies out onto ungreased cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for about a minute or two on the sheet then remove to a cooling rack.

Secret Recipe Club: Eat the Rainbow!

Secret Recipe Club

Thank the Lord for the Secret Recipe Club; it makes sure I post at least once a month! Which, is sadly all I seem to have time for. Not that I’ve been cooking a whole lot lately. If I don’t eat dinner at work I get home late enough that all I eat is popcorn. I just keep reminding myself: 3 weeks left! I do, however, still love my job. I’d just like to be able to cook/bake more! :).

This month I assigned the blog Enriching Your Kid by Shirley. I was caught by her post about eating the rainbow; the photograph of the pasta just looked too good to pass up! Sadly, it didn’t have a recipe so I went with the idea of the post and did my own pasta recipe.

Shirley talks about how foods that have different colors are rich in different vitamins and you should “eat the rainbow” as often as possible in order to get the biggest benefit form the foods. I do try to eat as many different colors in a meal as I can, since it also makes it interesting to eat! Especially when I make savory dishes, it tends to start in the produce section of a grocery store and I just grab what looks good. Generally that means when I do cook, I cook with lots of different colors. If pinterest is any indication, people are always looking for ways to eat more healthily and I think this is one very easy way to fill up on vegetables. Instead of just reposting all of Shirley’s information, you should wander over to her blog and check it out.

For this recipe, I had corn, an onion, asparagus, chicken, an orange bell pepper, garlic, marinara sauce, basil and cheddar cheese on top.  I used the basic seasonings; salt, pepper and then for kicks I threw in some Cajun seasoning. It turned really well and it worked wonderfully for lunches at work!

I had wanted to put mushrooms in this dish and I even bought them, but I forgot to put them in! I was so sad after the dish was done. It still tasted delicious though. If you like mushrooms I think they’d make a wonderful addition!

Eat the Rainbow
inspired by Enriching Your Kids
As with most savory recipes I make, the seasoning amounts are estimates. I really need to get better about measuring things before I throw them into a pan.

Serves 8-10

1 lb of pasta of your choice
2 tbsp oil
2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 bundle of asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion
4 gloves garlic minced
2 cups of frozen corn
2 orange bell peppers cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch of basil, sliced thinly
2 tbsp Cajun seasonings
1 tbsp Italian seasonings
1 jar of marinara sauce
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to your package instructions.

In a large pan eat oil over medium heat and add in the onions and garlic. Once the onions have become translucent add in the bell peppers and asparagus, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add in the chicken breast along with the Cajun seasonings, and Italian seasonings and cook until the chicken has turned opaque and the pink is gone from the middle. When the chicken is about done, add in the frozen corn.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in pasta, basil and marinara sauce once the chicken is done. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top of the dish and cover with aluminum foil or lid for a few minutes and allow the cheese to melt.

Serve into bowls or plates and enjoy!