Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chicken Pot Pies


I haven't made a pot pie since I made my very first meal from scratch the summer after my freshman year in college. That pot pie used Bisquick for the pie crust, limp vegetables that had been hanging around in the veggie drawer for too long, and a cream of something soup. I think it was this recipe, which despite the ingredients I used was rather tasty.

I've come a long way since then but have never made another chicken pot pie. Last Thanksgiving, I had collected a number of recipes hoping to make pot pies with turkey leftovers. Then I ran out of leftovers without ever making the pies. Fast forward nearly a year and finally I made pot pies with chicken. Tonight, I plan on making another using turkey leftovers.

I worked off of this recipe from the Baker Chick, although I had to fill in the spice gaps myself and switched up some of the veggies. What I like especially about this recipe is that it contemplates using uncooked chicken rather than leftover meat so you can make it anytime assuming you're like me and always keep boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. You can also use cooked meat and add it at the end. Other than being incredibly sloppy because I had a screaming baby being thrust in my face every 2 seconds by my darling husband as I was trying to roll and shape the crusts, these turned out wonderfully. I used a deep large muffin pan to make cute individual pies, although you could certain make one large pie.

Chicken Pot Pies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold and cut into small
1/4 cup ice water

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, diced
3-4 med carrots, diced
1 large or two small potatoes, diced (I used red)
1 med onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 c corn
1/2 c peas, if desired
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp thyme
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used equal parts 1/2 & 1/2 and milk)

To Make Crust
Using a pastry cutter or in the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt.

Cut in or pulse butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky.

Turn out dough onto a floured work surface. Divide in thirds and flatten into disks.

Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

To Make Filling
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, and potatoes. Add enough chicken broth cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain (while saving the chicken broth,) and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent.

Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and spices. Slowly stir in 1 3/4 cup chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thickened. Gently stir in chicken, potatoes, and corn (and peas, if using).

To Assemble:
Each 3rd of dough yields 4 dough rounds. Roll each dough circle out until it is big enough to be pressed into the muffin tin with a half inch over hang. Ready 6.

Generously spoon filling into each bottom layer of dough--you want it to dome.

Top layer with other layer of dough. Trim excess and press to seal with tines of a fork. Brush with an egg wash and cut a few slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until pies are crisp on top and golden brown.


Though they weren't the prettiest, they were definitely yummy. Even the one that fell apart.

Yields 6 mini pies

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving! This year I was fortunate enough to spend the day with my loved ones, especially the latest little addition to our family.

He wanted to help make the turkey, but given that it was nearly as big as he is, all he could do was watch.

With the new baby, I kept the table very simple using tried and true recipes. We had Roast Turkey with Herbed Butter.


Cranberry Walnut Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Green Beans and Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Last, but not least, my Caramelized Onion Balsamic Gravy.

Honestly, this gravy is in part why my husband married me.

Thanks so much to my wonderful auntie for braving the chilly weather to spoil visit us in Virginia.
Maryann thanksgiving

Opps, I almost forgot about dessert, which didn't photograph well. We had Libby's Pumpkin Pie

and Apple Pie Pockets

Time for leftovers!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Rolls


I'm in love. Absolutely in love with these cinnamon rolls. Even the chocolate cinnamon rolls that I made at the beginning of the year cannot hold a candle to this recipe. If ever there was a must-make cinnamon roll recipe, this is it. Let me be perfectly clear--you want to make these cinnamon rolls and you want to make them NOW!!!

Just a little background...Early last month we went apple picking in Northern Virginia. I came home with at least 20 pounds of apples. Though I had a ton of plans on what I wanted to bake/do with them all (pies, preserves, bagels, etc.), for whatever reason we've mainly snacked on them. Oh, I also made pancakes one morning, but that's about it. Don't get me wrong--I will eventually get around to baking at least a few things, particularly for Thanksgiving, but for now I seem to be drawn to quick and easy recipes. Sunday proved the exception. Although this recipe is incredibly easy, it takes some time and patience as the dough must rise. My recommendation is to throw the dough in the breadmaker first thing in the morning and they'll be ready for brunch. Either that or you could make them in advance and warm them in the oven before serving. These were so good that by evening I had to toss the remaining rolls in the freezer as both my husband and I had eaten two each.

This recipe is a combination of a whole wheat sweet dough recipe found in Bread Machine Magic and the filling and topping are from this Taste of Home recipe. The only change I would make next time would be to use less sugar in the filling. The rolls are amazingly yummy, but if they weren't quite as sweet, I could probably eat more that one in a sitting. Kidding! (sort of.) Consider what type of apple you are using and sweeten accordingly. Remember that if you prefer them glazed, you will have that sugary goodness and may want to go easy on the sweetness in the filling. However, if you're all about sweet, by all means make the recipe as written.

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Rolls

3/8 c milk (6 TBS) - I used skim
3/8 c water
1 egg
4 TBS butter, diced
1/4 c dark brown sugar
1.5 c all purpose flour
1.5 c whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp active dry yeast

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (1/2 c worked for me)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup finely chopped peeled apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

For dough, combine all dough ingredients in the pan of your bread machine per the manufacturer's instructions. Set to "dough" cycle.

In last few minutes of the dough cycle prepare the filling by combining sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbs formed using a pastry knife or two knives.

Spray or grease baking pan(s)--I used two 8" rounds.

When dough is ready turn it our onto a floured surface and roll into a 9 x 18" rectangle. Sprinkle with crumb mixture being sure to leave a 1/2" edge all around. Top with apples and pecans. Roll into a log and cut into 8-10 rolls about 1.5" thick. (Unwaxed floss is recommended.) Load rolls into baking pans--I prefer them touching but it's up to you. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size--about 30-45 minutes.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile,whisk together sugar and milk for glaze.

Serve rolls warm drizzled with glaze, if desired.

Makes 8-10 rolls.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Naan Recipe

One of the best things about Indian food, particularly curries, is the sauce. I love dipping naan in leftover sauce and often make another meal out of that. Naan is also great for eating with hummus. Recently I tried two Indian recipes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. With Indian Butter Chicken, I used this recipe from my favorite bread machine cookbook. It was definitely tasty but the recipe requires yogurt which I don't always have on hand. This recipe uses milk instead, which means I can whip it up at any time--truly a dangerous proposition as these are fantastic! This recipe was served with Chicken Tikka Masala and made a marvelous meal. I must warn you that this recipe makes a lot of naan, so next time my goal is to freeze some rather than eating way too many.

NaturallyI used my bread machine, but if you prefer to make the dough by hand, check out the original recipe here for detailed instructions.

Naan (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

3-4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 3.5 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
Melted butter for serving

Combine all ingredients in the pan of your bread machine according to your machine's instructions. Set to "dough" cycle. During the kneading cycle, check on your dough and see that it isn't too wet or too dry. If it's too wet and not coming together nicely, add more flour. If it's too dry, add more milk in 1 TBS amounts.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal balls. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. If you prefer to use a pizza stone or upside down cookie sheet, preheat it with your oven. (I use a pizza crisper which does not need to be preheated.) You can also grill these.

Roll each ball of dough to your desired thickness for naan. I prefer 1/4" to 3/8". An oval shape is characteristic of restaurant naan, but circles are fine.

Bake 2-4 minutes until lightly puffed and golden brown with a bit of charring, if desired. Brush with melted butter before serving.

Makes 12 6-8" pieces

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

Since last week's Indian Butter Chicken dish was a success, I decided to try my favorite dish, Chicken Tikka Masala using another recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Other than making a mess of a nonstick pan (which eventually came clean with a lot of soaking), this recipe was easy and tasted great. Though this dish and last week's look fairly similar, the chicken in this dish is sauteed separately rather than cooked in the sauce. This allows the dish to come together more quickly yet still have a lot of flavor in each bite of chicken. Other than using 1/2 and 1/2 instead of cream and omitting the cilantro, I followed Mel's recipe as written.


For the Marinade:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

For the masala:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup half & half or cream

For the marinade, combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour or up to 8 hours. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade.

For the masala, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wheat Buttermilk Bread

I've been wanting to make a buttermilk bread ever since Sandra posted her regular sandwich bread recipe on her blog, Full Bellies, Happy Kids, this past summer. I often buy buttermilk but only use a cup or so at a time so it goes bad. Being able to use it up in bread would be great. Though her bread looks gorgeous, I haven't tried her recipe as it is made by hand. I could convert her recipe for the bread machine, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Thus, when I stumbled across this recipe from SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen, I had to try it.

I love this bread! It's positively marvelous. Whether its the buttermilk or the milk powder or a combination of the two, this bread is soft and fluffy just like the store-bought white sandwich bread I remember eating as a kid.

I followed SnoWhite's recipe except that I reduced the yeast to 2 tsp so I could bake the bread all the way through in my bread machine, rather than in the oven. I'm not certain this step was necessary, but the bread did not over-rise and came out beautifully! I have a little buttermilk left so I just might have to make a second loaf this week.


Wheat Buttermilk Bread
1 1/4 C buttermilk (or 1 1/4 c water if subbing buttermilk powder)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C honey
1 T butter
1/4 C dry milk (increase to 1/2 c if using King Arthur's buttermilk powder)
1 1/2 C bread flour
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast

Add ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended for your machine. Set to "white" and "medium crust."