Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

On Christmas morning I’m usually torn between wanting to open gifts, and getting something ready for breakfast.  Of course, I start with coffee—I must have my coffee before anything.  Breakfast should be hearty enough to sustain us until we have dinner later in the day, so it can take some time to prepare.

So I have been experimenting with breakfast casseroles to come up with a recipe that can be assembled the evening before and just popped into the oven the next morning.  While it bakes you can be hanging out in you pj’s, tearing open those presents, and enjoying the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.

I’ve recently found packages of pre made polenta at the grocery store.  They are tube shaped and wrapped in a plastic wrapper.  Usually found in a refrigerator case somewhere near the deli department. This can be a great convenience if you know what to do with it. So that is what I have been experimenting with.  This recipe uses the sliced polenta to make a crust (of sorts), into which you layer some precooked breakfast sausage, seasonings, and an egg/milk mixture.  Top with cheese, bake, and  out will come a spicy, cheesy, egg dish that is hearty and filling.  In the pictures you see here I have made only half the recipe for two of us, and not having bulk sausage on hand I used brown and serve sausages, cut into slices.

SAUSAGE WITH POLENTA BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

SERVES:   6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  16-ounce roll polenta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 10 – 12 ounces breakfast sausage, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

1.  Using 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, brush into a 9-inch pie dish or similar baking dish.

2.  Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices, and arrange in the bottom and up around the sides of the baking dish to form a “crust’.

3.  Put the remaining teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet, crumble in the sausage and cook to render the fat from the sausage and brown it..  Add the green onions and garlic powder; sauté 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and spread over polenta in the baking dish.

4.  In a medium bowl,  Mix the eggs, milk, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Pour over the sausage mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

5.  In the morning, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Uncover dish,  sprinkle on the shredded cheese, and bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until set.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges,    YUM!

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges, YUM!

SOURCE:    A Carolyn Original

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Time for Reflection

Like so many others throughout Ct., this country and the world, I am in shock and disbelief over the events that took place here on Friday.  The enormity of this tragedy is incomprehensible.  I cannot get my mind around the fact that one angry, disturbed person could commit such a deed, resulting in the death of so many children.

I am having a very hard time trying to carry on with preparations for Christmas for my family when I know that so many other families are grieving for lost family members, and Christmas present and all future Christmases will always be a reminder to them of this awful time of loss.

All across the state tonight prayer services and vigils are being held for those who lost their lives.  We had a similar service this morning in our church, following the Christmas Pageant.  The children portraying the Christmas Story were as cute as always, but there was something poignant and sad about it too, and it was hard to watch because we adults were thinking of other children, now gone.

I needed to take some time out to say this, so that I will be able to carry on and continue to write my blog as usual.  Thank you for “listening” , and please keep these families and all those affected by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.       Carolyn

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Peppermint Patty Brownies

Peppermint Patty Brownies

Peppermint Patty Brownies

York Peppermint Patties are one of my husbands’s favorite candies.  So I attempted to recreate those sweets in this brownie recipe.  The candy has a peppermint filling encased in a dark chocolate shell.  To make it into a quick recipe I started with a brownie mix which in this case is Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies that have chocolate chips in the mix.  After the brownies were baked according to the directions on the package and thoroughly cooled, I made the peppermint filling, then topped it with dark chocolate.

My intention was to casually drizzle the chocolate over the top so some of the white filling would show through. However I had just gotten the chocolate melted when I was interrupted, and couldn’t continue for a few minutes and so the chocolate began to harden in the bowl.  As you can see by the pictures, it went on in dabs rather than a drizzle.  The taste was unaffected by that, and the whole brownie did recreate the taste and cool sensation of eating a peppermint patty.  I keep them refrigerated as I just love them when they’re cold.  My husband thought my experiment was a success, even though they didn’t come out looking exactly as I had planned.

PEPPERMINT PATTY BROWNIES

SERVINGS    16

A.   Brownie Layer:   Prepare a boxed brownie mix that makes an 8 or 9 – inch pan of brownies, according to the package directions.

B.   Mint Layer:   In the small bowl of a stand mixer beat together till smooth and creamy:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons milk,  half and half, or light cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Spread evenly over the brownie layer.

Spread peppermint cream over the brownie layer.

Spread peppermint cream over the brownie layer.

C..  In a small bowl place 1 cup dark chocolate chips, and melt in micro-wave for 1 minute.  Stir to smooth.  Spread or drizzle over the top of peppermint layer.

Spread, drizzle or "plop " chocolate over white layer.

Spread, drizzle or “plop ” chocolate over white layer.

Place in refrigerator to cool and firm up.  Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

These are so cool and refreshing when served cold.

These are so cool and refreshing when served cold.

SOURCE:   slightly adapted from   How Sweet It Is

Another Elf!

Another Elf!

This is another of my elves. He usually sits in a cookie cutter on my kitchen window sill where he can watch all that I do.  However this morning I found him perched on an old scale that I keep on one of my cupboards.  I think he has been eating too many cookies and wanted to check his weight.   ( I think I should check mine too.  La-la-la )

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

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Shrimp Scampi over linguine is one of those meals that is quick and easy to put together and most everyone likes it.  I’ve eaten it in restaurants many times and sometimes it is well seasoned and balanced but I’ve also had it when the philosophy  of the restaurant seemed to be ” the more garlic there is, the better”.   WRONG!   This dish is not about how much garlic you throw on some shrimp and linguine and then serve it swimming in clam broth.  It is about the blending of flavors that include shrimp, cooked just until pink, with a light touch of garlic, lemon juice, butter, olive oil, and parsley.  Serve over linguine with a good quality Parmesan cheese grated over the top and you have a dish that tells you it’s right after the first bite, when you sigh and say, Ahhhh, good.

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This is actually a quick pantry meal, if you keep frozen shrimp in the freezer.  In addition to the shrimp you will need a package of linguine or thin spaghetti, a lemon, butter, olive oil, 2-3 cloves of garlic, and fresh flat leaf parsley.

SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH LINGUINE

EVERYDAY ITALIAN, Giada DiLaurentis

 A few simple ingredients is all  you need.

A few simple ingredients is all you need.

4-6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 pound medium – large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive oil,
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Parmesan cheese to grate at the table

DIRECTIONS

1.  For the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet, warm the olive oil with the butter over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Saute garlic in butter and olive oil.

Saute garlic in butter and olive oil.

Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook until they are just pink.

Add the shrimp and cook until they are just pink.

Add the salt and pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley.  Toss to combine.

Add salt and pepper, lemon juice and parsley.

Add salt and pepper, lemon juice and parsley.

Turn off the heat and add the drained linguine, plus some pasta water; enough to make a loose consistency, but not too juicy.

Add drained pasta and toss to coat.

Add drained pasta and toss to coat.

3.  Toss again to coat the pasta with the sauce.  Serve immediately, with parmesan cheese to grate onto each serving at the table.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese over the top.

 

 

 

 

 

Mandelbrot

The Elf on the Shelf!

The Elf on the Shelf!

Before telling you about today’s cookies, I thought I would introduce you to one of our elves.  I have several of these little guys and every year I bring them out and “Hide” them on shelves and other places where they can get into mischief.  Occasionally they get moved from one spot to another so I find them in unexpected places.  They add a little fun to our Christmas preparations.

Today’s cookie recipe is for Mandelbrot.  They are crunchy cookies very similar to biscotti and so I include them in that general category of cookies.    They always contain almonds  as “mandelbrot ” is the German word for “almond bread”.

Mandelbrot

Mandelbrot

I have tried a variety of recipes for mandelbrot but I always come back to this one.  It has very few ingredients, is so easy to put together and is dependable in that the cookies never fail to come out good.  Everyone to whom I’ve given them loves them and asks for the recipe.  This is one example where simple is always better.  If you really want to dress them up a little a drizzle of dark chocolate over the top makes them especially appealing.  Biscotti-type cookies go great with a cup of coffee, and it’s OK to dunk!

MANDELBROT

YIELD:   3 1/2 — 4 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  • 3  eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds, crushed
  • OR  1/2 teaspoon almond  flavoring
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, mix at medium speed, the sugar, oil, and eggs until well blended and aerated .

3.  Add flour, salt and anise seeds, OR almond flavoring and continue beating until well mixed.  If  the dough becomes too stiff, stir in the remaining flour by hand.

4.  Stir in the almonds.

5.  Divide the dough in half.  With floured hands, on the prepared baking sheet, shape each half into a 12 x 3-inch loaf about 3 inches apart.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

Form dough into two long loaves on lined baking sheet.

6.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until light brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately cut each loaf crosswise into 1/2 inch diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

Slice baked loaves into diagonal slices.

7.  Turn each slice on its side.  Return to oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, turning the slices over at the half-way point to insure even browning.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

Lay slices flat and bake again, turning over once until crisp.

They should be crisp and toasted, pleasantly crunchy, but not too hard.  Adjust baking time to your liking.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

Mandelbrot. a welcome gift.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  2009

Gingerbread Biscotti – Dipped in Chocolate

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Chocolate-dipped gingerbread biscotti

Biscotti, those twice-baked Italian cookies, have been on my must-make-for-Christmas-list for the past few years.  The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without them.  I have made a variety of flavors over the years, some of them we really loved, others were just so-so.  Some kind of biscotti always ends up in the cookie-gifts I put together for friends and family.  This particular recipe is one of our very favorites, and becomes a favorite of everyone who has it.  I either get asked for the recipe, or “are you making those spicy biscotti cookies this year?”  The answer is Yes, Yes,Yes.

These cookies are just great as a light dessert,  with a cup of coffee,  on a dessert buffet, or for a cookie swap.   I can’t imagine anytime when they wouldn’t be welcome, and not just for the Holidays.  They can be made and enjoyed any time of the year.  Dipping them in chocolate may be omitted, but the combination of gingerbread and chocolate is so good and a little decadent!   I’ve even gone so far as to sprinkle the chocolate end with finely ground nuts or decorative sugar while the chocolate is still moist.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED GINGERBREAD BISCOTTI

YIELD:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscotti

INGREDIENTS

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

Molasses, spices and ginger are the essentials for these cookies.

  • 3/4 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup light molasses
  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup ( 4 ounces ) chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1.    In a large bowl, whisk together the the spices and the sugars.  Sift in the flour and baking powder, and whisk to blend well.

2.    In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the molasses, until the mixture is smooth.

3.    Add the flour/spice mixture and mix to blend.  Add in the chopped ginger.  The dough will be thick and slightly sticky.  You may need to stir in the last of the flour and the ginger.

Cover the dough and chill for at least as hour.

Cover the dough and chill for 2 – 3 hours.

4.   Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill for 2 to 3 hours.  (When tightly sealed, the dough will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

5.   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper, set aside.

6.   With lightly floured hands, shape each portion of dough into a loaf about 1/2 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 12 to 14 inches long.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Shape the dough into two long loaves with your hands.

Place the loaves on the prepared sheet at least 2 inches apart.   Bake until the loaves are completely set and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean—-about 25 minutes.    Do not turn off the oven.

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7.    Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the loaves cool on the sheet for 5 minutes.  With a serrated knife, firmly cut each loaf on the diagonal into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Cut each loaf crowd-wise into slices.

Place the slices upright on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or longer if you like a crisper cookie.   Remove the biscotti from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8.    Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water or in the micro-wave.  Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate, and using a knife or spatula, smooth as needed.  Do not dip more than half of each cookie.  Set the cookies upright on a wire rack until the chocolate has set.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

After dipping stand the cookies upright to allow the chocolate to firm up.

Cookies may be stored in an airtight container, separated by wax or parchment paper between the layers.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Biscotti are always good with coffee or a glass of wine.

Nutrition summary:  per cookie:  135 calories, 4 g. fat, 1 g. fiber, 21 mg. cholesterol, 33 mg sodium.

SOURCE:   Martha Stewart,  Gifts From Your Kitchen

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Cookies made from a boxed cake mix—one of my favorite kinds to make when I’m in a hurry and need a sweet fix!.. They only take about 5 minutes of your time, and they come out delicious and chewy!..  Just think,  you can use any flavor of cake mix in this recipe to make crinkle cookies;  ones that are particularly good are lemon, chocolate, and this one.   I chose the Red Velvet for now, because they look so festive.  I’m also considering using a white cake mix and tinting the batter a light green.  The two kinds together on a plate, red and green with white sugar coating, oooooh, so pretty!

RED VELVET CRINKLE COOKIESIMG_1812

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 18.25  oz. box Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with a silicon mat or parchment paper.  Place powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter, eggs and red velvet cake mix until there are no large lumps left.
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls ( about 1 Tablespoon worth of dough.) and roll in powdered sugar.
  • Roll balls of dough in powdered sugar.

    Roll balls of dough in powdered sugar.

  •  Place on cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches for spreading.
  • Place on cookie sheets and allow room for spreading.

    Place on cookie sheets and allow room for spreading.

  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the tops have cracked and they look set ( the centers will still be gooey)  Let sit for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Place on a cooling rack to cool.

    Place on a cooling rack to cool.

  • May be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
Good on their own, but better with vanilla ice-cream.

Good on their own, but better with vanilla ice-cream.

These cookies are wonderful served with some vanilla ice-cream.

SOURCE:   Duncan Hines.com

Continuing the Baking Traditions

Scandinavian Kringla Cookies

Scandinavian Kringla Cookies

As we now count down the weeks and days until Christmas, I will be doing a lot of baking.  It seems as though every weekend brings some event that I will be bringing baked goods to.  The first of these takes place  this weekend at our church where we will be having a “Christmas Cookie Walk”.  This has become an annual tradition where many of the women of the church bake cookies and package  them in half dozen amounts, attractively and creatively presented.  The townspeople look forward to this event and come in “droves” to purchase our home baked bars and cookies.

Baking cookies for the Holidays has been going on in my family for a long time.  For me, baking the same recipes that my mother and grandmother baked is a connection to the past, and like me my daughter also bakes some of these same recipes.  So we are carrying on those same baking traditions.

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I am making two kinds of cookies for our “Cookie Walk”.  One is an old Scandinavian recipe called Kringla that I am happy to share with you today.  The other is a Red Velvet Crinkle cookie.  I will be telling you about that one in my next post.

Kringla is a somewhat plain, not too sweet cookie with a mild anise flavor, made from a dough made tender by the addition of sour cream, and a little butter.  The dough is easy to work with in forming the “ropes” that you shape into the cookie.  Initially, after mixing , the dough is somewhat sticky, but I let it chill for about an hour, and then find it smooth and shapeable. Kids will like forming loops and twists with this easy to handle dough. Because they are pale in color, using decorative sugar to decorate them gives them a festive appearance.  A cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk is a must when enjoying Kringla.

KRINGLA

YIELD:   Makes about 48 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

    Anise is available as either crushed or whole seeds,or as an extract.

    Anise is available as either crushed or whole seeds,or as an extract.

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise extract, or  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • coarse or fine decorating sugar

1.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2.  In a small bowl or cup lightly whisk together the egg white and water, set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar, milk, sour cream, melted butter and anise extract, (or vanilla)

Cream together the sugar, egg, butter, sour cream, and anise extract

Cream together the sugar, egg, butter, sour cream, and anise extract

4.  Using a wooden spoon stir in the flour mixture until combined.  The dough will be stiff and sticky.  Cover the dough and  chill for about an hour.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 2-3 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

6.  On a well floured surface, drop about 1 tablespoon of dough. Roll dough into a 5- or 8-inch long rope.

Roll small balls of dough into ropes either 5 inches or 8 inches long.

Roll small balls of dough into ropes either 5 inches or 8 inches long.

On the prepared cookie sheet, shape a 5-inch rope into a ring, crossing it over itself about 1 inch from ends.

Form dough into a circle and cross the ends.

Form dough into a circle and cross the ends.

Or fold an 8-inch rope in half and twist three times; seal ends with egg white mixture.

Fold dough in half and twist three times.

Fold dough in half and twist three times.

Repeat with the remaining dough, placing shapes 2-inches apart on the cookie sheets.

7.  Brush cookies with egg white mixture, and sprinkle with decorating sugar.

Brush with egg white and decorate with sugar.

Brush with egg white and decorate with sugar.

8.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are a light golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Baked and cooling on a wire rack.

Baked and cooling on a wire rack.

Enjoy Kringla with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

Enjoy Kringla with a cup of coffee or a glass of cold milk.

To bake ahead and store: After baking, place cookies in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.  Store in a cool area.  They may also be frozen for up to 3 months.

SOURCE;   My Mom’s recipe box.

Spiced Honey-Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed
Sweet Potatoes

Up until just recently  the most common way that we eat sweet potatoes is baked whole.  I treat them as I would  regular baked potatoes, split and served with butter and maybe a sprinkle of brown sugar.  One of the many recipes I looked at for holiday side dishes was this one for sweet potatoes baked in a honey spice sauce.  I took it for a spin and was rewarded by how good it turned out.  Besides being a good compliment to turkey or chicken, I think it would also go very well with ham or pork roast.  My husband said he likes sweet potatoes fixed this way better than baked whole as I had been doing, so this will most likely be my go-to recipe for sweet potatoes from here on.

It takes a few minutes of prep time to peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges.  Once placed in a shallow baking dish, I made the sauce in the microwave and poured it over the potatoes;  placed the whole thing in the oven and let them bake for about 30 -40 minutes, stirring and basting with the sauce 2-3 times.  They will come out tender, glazed, sweet, spicy and so, so good.  If you or someone you know doesn’t like sweet potatoes, try them this way and I think you will become a convert.

SPICED HONEY-GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

EVERYDAY FOOD

SERVINGS:    8

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 ) peeled and cut into 3/4-inch wedges

    Cut sweet potatoes into thin wedges.

    Cut sweet potatoes into thin wedges.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 stick ( 4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • coarse salt and pepper

1.   Grease a shallow baking dish, or rimmed baking sheet.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In a small sauce pan, bring honey, butter, bay leaves, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to simmer over medium heat.  ( I used the microwave for this step)

Pour sauce over sweet potatoes.

Pour sauce over sweet potatoes.

3.  Pour mixture over the potatoes and bake until tender and glazed about 30 minutes, stirring and turning several times.

Spiced Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Spiced Honey Glazed
Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Remember Swanson Chicken Pot Pies, or Beef Pot Pies?  A quick one-dish meal.  The idea was a good one but I’m not sure how good they were for you what with the saturated fats used in the crust, high sodium content, and the thickening used in the gravy.  This recipe for chicken pot pie is not like that.  This is a new and improved version of that classic dish.

It makes use of leftover chicken (or turkey), a simple gravy, and lots of vegetables, baked in a casserole with a single top crust that can be a refrigerated pie dough, or a sheet of puff pastry.  It is quite thick and very filling.  It can be served with some cranberry sauce on the side and a mixed green salad for a complete meal that is conservative on calories (around 400 / serving), and low in carbohydrates, fat and sodium.   Not bad for such delicious comfort food!

CHICKEN POT PIE

SERVINGS:  about 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cooked chicken ( or turkey) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 medium sized carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked until crisp tender, and drained
  • 3 cups frozen pearl onions ( half a 16-ounce bag), not thawed
  • 8 ounces small whole mushrooms, or medium-sized ones quartered
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Egg glaze:  1 egg lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, or 1 sheet (half a 17 1/2 ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

DIRECTIONS

1.  Peel and cut up carrots.  Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat until crisp tender.  Drain.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Have ready a 2 quart souffle dish or deep casserole.  Spray lightly with non-stick spray.

3.  Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat.  Add flour and stir until smooth and frothy.  Let mixture bubble about 3 minutes and stir often to prevent from browning.  Gradually stir in broth and increase heat to medium.  Simmer stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.  Stir in poultry seasoning, pepper sauce, salt and pepper.

4.  Add cup up chicken, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and peas.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes until heated through.  Transfer to prepared dish.

Add chicken and vegetables to the gravy.

Add chicken and vegetables to the gravy.

5.  Roll out the pie dough or puff pastry to a size big enough to cover the top of casserole, with a slight overhang.  Cut vents in the dough.  Use some of the egg glaze to brush the top edge of the casserole.  Lay the dough on top of the casserole, pressing onto the egg wash.  Flute the edges as desired.  Brush the pastry all over with the egg glaze.

Lay on pastry top and brush with egg glaze.

Lay on pastry top and brush with egg glaze.

6.  Place casserole on a baking sheet and bake 25 – 30 minutes until pastry is golden.  If using refrigerated pie dough, it may take 40 – 45 minutes baking time.

Bake till crust is golden.

Bake till crust is golden.

Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.

Serve with cranberry sauce on the side.

SOURCE:  A Carolyn Original