Dinners

Recipe—Creamy Chicken Potpies

This year one of the gifts I really wanted for Christmas was a set of large ramekins. I always wanted to make personal potpies, cobblers, and even soufflés. Thanks to my ultra fabulous sister now I can. (Thanks Jess!) With this cold winter weather I knew right away that the first recipe I would be using my new kitchen paraphernalia for had to be chicken potpies. One of my favorite comfort foods!

These creamy chicken potpies turned out to be the best I have ever had! No joke! They were perfect for a cold winter night. My husband, son, and I polished them off.  I like using the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken because it made it a realistic dinner to be able to pull off after a full day of work. The puff pastry is a wonderful change from your typical piecrust. Not only is it super easy to work with but it gives the crust this really great flaky quality that you don’t usually see in a potpie. And the tender chicken with classic veggies smothered in creamy sauce, mmmm… mmmm… mmmm… so good! Give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Note: This recipe is written to make four individual pot pies in ramekins but you can also follow the same instructions and make one family size potpie in a large pie dish. Baking time will remain about the same. Also, in place of a rotisserie chicken you can boil 2 chicken breasts for 20 minutes and then cube those up instead.

INGREDIENTS
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 c frozen green peas
salt and pepper
4 tbsp flour
1/2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 sheet frozen puff pasty (I use Pepperidge Farm), at room temperature
1 egg

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Place your chopped chicken in a large bowl.
  • In a large skillet melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery, and thyme and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in frozen peas and heat through.
  • Season veggies with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer veggies to the bowl with the chicken.
  • Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in the flour and heat for 1 minute mixing constantly.
  • Add the chicken broth and cream and continue stirring constantly until the liquid begins to boil and thicken.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the creamy mixture from the stove and stir in Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour your creamy sauce into the bowl with the chicken and veggies. Stir to combine.
  • Transfer the potpie mixture to four large ramekins. (Mine are 5” in diameter and they were filled perfectly.)
  • Lay the puff pastry out flat on a cutting board and cut into four even squares.
  • Cut a hole in the middle of each or make a couple of slits. (This allows the steam to escape.)
  • Place the puff pastry squares over the top of each.
  • In a small bowl whisk the egg and then brush over the puff pastry.
  • Transfer the ramekins to a large cookie sheet. (The potpie filling may bubble over so this helps in keeping the oven clean.)
  • Bake until the puff pastry is a golden brown and the filling is nice and bubbly, about 20–25 minutes.
  • Allow finished potpies to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Sandwiches

Recipe—Hot Ham & Swiss Sammies

I think I have mentioned before that ham and mayo on a croissant was my favorite sandwich as a kid. And by favorite I mean that was one of the only sandwiches I would eat. I have grown up haven’t I? Well this is my favorite childhood sandwich on steroids, and it is AWESOME! I know you may look at the poppy seed sauce and wonder what that’s all about. Well the sauce bakes to the top of the croissant making an ordinary croissant extraordinary. It does not leave the croissants soggy. It actually gives them a nice caramelization and lots of added flavor. Since these make a good size batch and they can be assembled ahead of time they are perfect for a luncheon or shower. These may be my ultimate in comfort food sandwiches this winter, just throw in a bowl of soup and call it dinner.

Note: These can be assembled and kept in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. How handy is that?!?

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
9 medium sized croissants cut in half
1 lb thin sliced deli ham
9 square slices of Swiss, cut in half horizontally
mayonnaise

POPPY SEED SAUCE INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp yellow mustard
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp yellow onion, finely minced
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Spread each half of the croissant with a thin layer of mayonnaise.
  • Place a piece of Swiss on the bottom half of the croissant.
  • Evenly distribute the ham among the nine sandwiches.
  • Top the ham with a second piece of Swiss cheese and then the croissant top.
  • Place the finished sandwiches edge to edge in a large baking dish or on a cookie sheet. It’s okay if they are snug.
  • In a small bowl whisk together all the poppy seed sauce ingredients.
  • Spoon the sauce over the top of each sandwich and allow the sandwiches to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15–18 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the foil and allow the sandwiches to cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
Soups

Recipe—Best Ever Butternut Squash Soup

I know the title of the recipe carries a big name, but it’s true, this is the BEST EVER butternut squash soup. Most butternut squash soups taste like squash puree and not much else, but this soup has so many flavors and a lot of depth. I absolutely love this stuff. It actually worked out that this recipe was my best use yet of my delivered organic produce. I ended up having the first five ingredients in last weeks box. Score! It was a sign that this soup was meant to be. One thing that I really love about this soup is that it is thick because of all the veggies in there, not because of any flour or cornstarch like most soups. If you are looking for a fabulous fall soup, look no further. This will fit the bill.

Notes: Most of your time making this recipe will be spent chopping veggies. To save some time, you can buy packages of pre-chopped butternut squash at the store. It will cost a little more but will shave off quite a bit of prep time.

This soup can be made vegetarian but cutting out the bacon and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

You can use a hand mixer or blender to process the mixture. The hand mixer will give you a slightly chunkier soup and the blender will give you a really smooth one. If you use a hand mixer be sure you don’t use a non-stick pot, as the hand mixer will destroy it. If using a blender you will need to do it in batches. I recommend placing a towel over the top of your blender and holding the lid firmly in place as the heat will make the lid blow off and it makes a huge hot mess and can burn you if not secured.

INGREDIENTS
8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green apple, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
32 oz chicken broth
2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c heavy whipping cream
crème fraîche or sour cream (for garnish)

STEPS

  • In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat.
  • Remove bacon and drain off grease leaving 2 tbsp in the bottom of the pot.
  • Sauté onions and carrots in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the celery, apples, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in the squash and broth.
  • Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes or until all produce is fork tender.
  • Remove pot from heat.
  • Using a hand mixer or blender process the mixture until smooth. (See above note) If you use a blender return the soup to the pot.
  • Stir in the lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and whipping cream.
  • Simmer soup for 10–15 minutes or until thickened.
  • Using a ladle serve the soup into a bowl and top with crumbled bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.