So the weather is FREEZING, quite literally, in many parts of the country. Here is So. Cal… not so much. (Sorry to everyone else.) Although we aren’t reaching sub-arctic temperatures, us So Cal. natives and our spoiled, and therefore weak, mitochondria are shivering just the same.
When we have to put on more than just a thin hoodie, or flannel is to us like living in the North Pole. With that in mind, comfort foods are not a hassle to make, but just as they are described, comforting. Turning on the oven, as well as stirring a roux over a warm stove is a much invited task. Its cheaper than blasting our heaters that are so rarely used, and less likely to fill our homes with layers of dust from vents rarely blasted.
The average frozen pot pie runs about 585 calories per 1.5 cups, what I consider to be a hearty dinner sized portion. It also lugs with it a whopping 33 grams of FAT and 1,140 mgs of SODIUM! WOWZAH! In my experience the majority of those calories etc., come from the rich cream sauce, and soggy crust, and not from good stuff like chicken and whole grains.
My Re-Created version is filled with fresh veggies, white meat chicken, and a creamy white sauce that is lacking in fat, NOT FLAVOR. This Chicken Pot Pie comes in at 395 calories, 973 mg of sodium, and less than 13g of fat per serving, of which my recipe makes about 6. It also provides loads of potassium, vitamins A & C, and calcium. This is a great way to feel comforted without having to wear your “Stretchy Pants” the next day!
Veggie/Chicken Filling Ingredients:
1 cup (2 medium) carrot, peeled and cubed 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup (1 medium) parsnip, peeled & cubed 1/2″ pieces
1 cup broccoli STALKS, (2 long ones), cubed 1/2″
(- The stalk is the “branch part. Use the
rest, or the “tree top” part for
1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup leeks, thinly sliced- *See explanation HERE on how to clean them.
2.5 chopped cooked chicken breast meat:
(You can use rotisserie chicken, or 2 small bone in split chicken breasts
roasted … LIKE THIS.)
Veggie Filling Method:
2. Pour 1/4 cup of broth over the vegetables and stir to sauté/steam, until all the broth is evaporated.
3. Then pour an additional 1/4 cup over veggies and 1/4 tsp salt, stir to combine, then cover. Reduce heat to medium low. Allow to cook for 7 mins, or until ALMOST all the broth is gone.
5. Stir in the peas. Set aside. (Don’t worry about cooking them, the heat from the other veggies will take care of that.
Roux/Cream Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup FF milk, cold
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
Black pepper, to taste
Roux/Cream Sauce Method:
(Sorry, bad shadows over the pics, but… you get the idea.)
1. Melt the butter over medium heat, and once liquid, sprinkle over it. Whisk well, continuously. Cook about 3 mins, until flour is blond.
2. While whisking constantly, add in milk slowly, whisking to combine. You want to add milk a little at a time, whisking to a smooth paste before you add more milk. If it gets lumpy, don’t worry, just keep whisking! It’ll make a smooth sauce.
3. Add in the herbs, pepper and salt.
3. Pour in the broth slowly until combined, following the method of adding the milk.
4. Taste a bit and make sure that the salt etc is right. Depending on what type of broth you use, it may need more salt.
5. Fold in your already cooked Vegetable mix, and chopped meat. Pour into a 9×9, or 11x 7, baking dish. Set aside.
Biscuit Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup fat free milk, cold
2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (This one’s in almost every store.)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter, cold and cubed
Biscuit Topping Method:
1. Combine the milk and vinegar, and set aside.
2. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Add the cubed butter into the flour, and either rub in with hands, or use two knives to cut in. You want it to look like very coarse cornmeal with a few little butter “pea sized chunks” in it.
4. Pour in the milk mixture and fold together with a spoon until it just comes together and there isn’t any dry flour left.
*Nutritional Facts are a close estimate based on “Recipe Calculator”, Sparkpeople.com.