22 November 2011

Comfort Food

Before we get to the deliciousness that is below, know that if you decide to make this pot pie - it takes some time, and having that time is really really nice because you don’t feel like you’re in a rush.  Albeit, we made it fast and it was still amazing.  But slow and steady really wins the race...I may have felt rushed b.c I was also making chocolate chip cookies for out dessert. That’s my own fault for reaching for more...I could have bought cookies.

Also, totally random side note, when I cook for myself I don’t go fancy nor do I always go awesome...like I just make a quesadilla with really just cheese and that’s it.  If I have greens, it’s greens and an egg. And, even if its gross, I’ll still eat it because I took the time to cook it! Terrible, right?

This recipe calls for shredded chicken.  I assume they don’t sell shredded chicken so you have to cook and shred your chicken.  I poached chicken breasts in milk and water until they were done, barely let them cool then pulled them apart.  I then just started chopping it up because my hands were burning and like I mentioned, I was in a hurry.  These biscuits are also awesome and really easy.  I’d make them on Saturday morning for a homemade brunch.

Enjoy this! And thanks to Joy, she really does know how to make amazing food...can’t wait for her cookbook, which I pre-ordered!

Chicken Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits
Makes one 9×13-inch dish with 12 biscuits

For the Biscuits:
  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 t coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 C (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 4 oz (half of a brick) cream cheese, cold
  • 3/4 C buttermilk, cold (if you don’t have buttermilk, take a T of of white vinegar and then enough milk to make a C and let sit for 10 minutes, then get 3/4 C from it.  So easy! You can even use lemon juice)
For the Filling:
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 4 oz (half of a brick) cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 t fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 C shredded chicken meat (I used 3 decent sized chicken breast - might have been too much)
  • 2 T butter or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 C thinly diced carrots
  • 1 C diced zucchini (optional)
  • 1 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
Make your biscuits first, really simple, really quick.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, black pepper, and chives.

Add butter and cream cheese to the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers to quickly incorporate the butter into the flour.  This is one of those, use your hands add the love type recipes, it’s really the best way to get the best results.  Break up the butter and cream cheese with your fingers until there’s some the size of oat flakes and some the size of small pebbles.

Make a small well in the center of the fat and flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk.  Using a fork, combine the wet and dry ingredients, make sure you get everything moistened.  Dump the biscuit dough onto a lightly floured work surface - at this point you may think the dough’s a little weird it’s okay, just go with it.  Knead together until dough forms a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Use a round, 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits.  Gather the dough scraps, knead a few times, and cut out more biscuits until no dough remains.  Place biscuits on a small cookie sheet and place in the fridge until ready to bake.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, and thaw the frozen peas.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in the flour, this will be really thick, heat for 1 minute.  Turn heat to low and add the chicken stock.  Whisk until no flour chunks remain now, whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese.  Turn your heat back to a medium/low temp, stir often until cream cheese has melted and the mixture is the consistency of warm, thick pudding.  Add chicken, lemon, and nutmeg, stir then add salt and pepper to taste.   Remove mixture from heat and set aside.

In a medium pan over medium heat, melt butter.  (I added all of the veggies at once, you could do it like Joy and go layer by layer I think this is better but remember I was on a time crunch.) Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add minced garlic and saute for one minute more. (At this point, if you wanted to kick up the heat, you could add a few shakes of red pepper flakes.)  Add carrots, zucchini, and peas.  Cook for  about 3 minutes.  The vegetables will not be entirely cooked through do not worry!  Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture to the creamy chicken mixture, stir to combine.

Spoon filling into a 9×13-inch pan.  Remove the biscuits from the fridge and place them on top of the filling.  Brush the tops of the biscuits with heavy cream, buttermilk, or egg wash.

Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the sides of the pot pie are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days...if you can make it that long, we for sure didn’t.

Enjoy this so much … treat yourselves to it! xo

08 November 2011

on a whim

I decided to make granola.  I looked at a few different recipes from sites I love (shutterbean & big girls small kitchen) and made an easy bastardized version of their granolas.  It smells great.  I hope it tastes good and that I can wait until tomorrow morning to eat it.  I really think this is the kind of thing you can put anything crunchy in. Walnuts? Pumpkin seeds? Other fun crunchy grains? Whatever.

Fall is the time for baking, so get on it.  I recommend some explosions in the sky blasting in the background and, this might sound dumb, but as you mix an bake have an intention.  Are you making this to help you be smarter about what you eat?  Is it because you love your partner and want to make the something yummy?  Is it for that friend of yours that is going through a rough patch?  Whatever it is (it could even just to celebrate you - we don't do it often enough) just think it while you work.  You'll end up putting so much love into something so simple you will be able to taste it. Enjoy!

Tuesday Granola
bastardized from here and here

3 C rolled oats
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/2 C raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C (+ more) mix of raisins, dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries (what, what trader joes!)
1/2 C raw millet
1/2 C honey
1/2 T cinnamon
1/2 C canola oil (you can probably use olive oil to give it a more savory quality)
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix all of your dry ingredients in a big bowl. Once mixed add the honey and the oil to coat.  Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, set your timer for 10 minutes and bake.  Take out and stir around, then do this 2 more times.  Once your granola is a nice even toasted brown color, you're done.  Let cool completely before putting into air tight containers. While its cooling - continue to stir it around to keep it all broken up. (The other recipes said they made about 6 cups...I think thats what I got?!)


03 November 2011


I don’t know how to convey how wonderful this past weekend was.  I know I’ve talked about family dinners and my roommates from college and how very special and important everyone is but how exactly does one put into words that feeling.  That comfort one finds in friendships that will last forever?

We were in Athens, GA this past weekend to celebrate one of my best friends, Josh and his new bride, Erin.  Josh is one of those guys who, I’m sure, everyone feels comfortable with.  He’s sincere, he’s genuine, he’s real, he’s raw, he’s emotional, he’s hilarious, he can get serious, he gets mad, he’s passionate about everything that is important to him.  I love him dearly and value his friendship so very much. I rely on Josh probably more than he realizes and maybe even more than I do.  We’re both busy adults, I mean Josh is in Grad School and working a full time job and fixing his house and making pots and playing soccer and always finding time to spend with Erin. We all know I work too much.  But when the two of us actually have 10 minutes to reconnect – it’s instant.  We weave back and forth between life questions and jokes about the fact that we’re “adults” like it’s nobody’s business.  This past weekend was for him and I am honored I was able to participate.

Josh and Erin have so many important people in their lives, so many people who value them and cherish them – this led to a wedding full of incredible company.  Myself, two of my best girlfriends and former roommate (Sliz & Scare) and two of Erin college girlfriends (Ellen & Neha) were asked to be their usher-etts, it was great. We were able to say hello to every single person who came through the school house doors.  Ellen, the night before had struck up a conversation with her husband Ben and Rory and I by telling me that we were being too Wittenberg centric, which I totally appreciated and really enjoyed their company.  Josh asked me to do a reading for the ceremony, from Kahlil Gibran’s the Prophet, on Marriage.  It was so beautiful.  As I was reading, something compelled me to turn towards Erin and Josh and deliver the passage to them – to connect to them because this day and this reading was about and for them.  Not that I didn’t want to include everyone else, but this was important for me to say to them.  I want to share the passage because I think it's so true for relationships.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
The reception was awesome.  I can’t wait to send you to their photographer’s website so you can see the venue.  BEAUTIFUL.  More than once Rory and I were like – this is our reception.  This is what we’ve already talked about.  It was rustic and classy. There was a Bluegrass Band playing.  There was mac ‘n cheese, there was BBQ, there was pie.  PIE, guys.  I want pie instead of cake.  It was the rustic simplicity.  I also, want to make strawberry jam for everyone, Josh made fig preserves.  It was great.

All is all it was worlds colliding in the most beautiful way possible.  College friends, camp friends and Rory.  I was so happy to be able to introduce him to so many incredible people.  And, it was kinda nice to see a wedding similar to how we want ours to go – funny that one of my best friends would give us a test run. :)

How was your Halloween?  Anything exciting? Also - the best chicken pot pie I've ever made is coming soon. !