Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken Pot Pie

The weather outside was frightful, so I took to the kitchen to whip up the Queen of Comfort Food - Chicken Pot Pie! We all know how much I hate to make pie crust, but I DO have a new food processor, so I even made the Cusinart recipe for Pie Crust. (I was actually REALLY bored and DH was pacing the floor worrying about the weather and distracting me from painting!)  Anyway, this turned out delicious! Several friends already asked for the recipe, so here it it. You could use refrigerated pie crust and (shudder) Cream of Chicken soup adding the veggies and thyme for a shortcut. But, believe me when I tell you, this was worth the time and effort. 

Chicken Pot Pie

One Crust Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes ( I keep a stick of butter in the freezer all the time)
2 Tablespoons shortening , chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 4 Tablespoons ice water

Insert metal chopping blade in large work bowl of food processor. Add flour, salt and baking powder; process for 10 seconds to combine ingredients.
Add well-chilled butter and shortening. Use short quick pulses until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal and no butter larger than a pea remains, 15 to 20 pulses.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons ice water over the mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed between thumb and forefinger.
Add just enough water for the dough to hold together easily when pressed together into a ball. Too much water will make the crust tough. Do not allow the dough to come together into a ball in the food processor ( it will be tough!). Remove from food processor and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hr ( or up to 3 days). 
Remove from refrigerator and roll on a lightly floured surface to the required shape. 

  • Note: I made only a top crust for my Chicken Pot Pie. If you like more crust, make a 2 crust recipe. I rolled the crust out into a 9x13-inch rectangle to place over the top of my filling.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced celery (1/2-inch slices)
2 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cubed potatoes (waxy variety works best, I used Klondike Gold)
4 cups chicken broth ( add 1 more cup if mixture cooks down too much)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked coarsely chopped chicken

Melt butter in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add mushrooms and sauté unit mushrooms are lightly browned. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until vegetables are transparent. Sprinkle with flour. Stir and cook for 2 -3 minutes; add potatoes, broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes until liquid reduces and vegetables are tender. Add peas and chicken. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with Pam. Pour filling into pan. Top with pie crust. Seal crust to edges of pan. Cut slits in pie crust.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hr. or until crust is lightly browned and filling bubbles.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sharing the Love and the Chocolate!

Before I share this yummy recipe with you, did you know that this is the 400th post since I started writing this blog in 2009?  When we moved to the mtns from metro Atlanta, my daughter thought I would be bored and that this blog would keep me busy ( and she would have all of my favorite recipes in one place!). Thank you, Kelley for pushing me into the blogging world where I have been entertained, met new friends and reconnected with old ones. I hope some of you have learned a few things along the way, have eaten lots of good food and enjoyed following the antics of our crazy family! Happy Valentine's Day! I love you all! Hugs, Helen

Oh Fudge! 
Don't you just hate recipes that either require you to make a special trip to the grocery store for an insanely long  list OR you get ready to make it and THINK you have all the ingredients only to find that one crucial ingredient is missing?? The ingredients in this recipe are almost guaranteed to be found in everyone's pantry/refrigerator.  Ingredients aside, you'll LOVE the warm, gooey lusciousness of this pudding cake! What a great thing to make for your Valentine! 

  • Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups hot water
  • Whipped topping or Vanilla Ice Cream
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth. 
Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa; sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top; do not stir. 
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes. Serve in dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired. Makes 9 (1/2 cup) servings.

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Blog Feature!

I have been on SUCH a learning curve this week! But it resulted in success for both of us!
You can now print the recipes by selecting the print button on the bottom of each post!
Let me know if it works for you.... I'm SUPER excited!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


There are two of us in our house and making desserts is a challenge. We both like sweets but neither of us NEED them around for days on end. Cakes are too big, pies too time consuming ( you KNOW how I hate to make pie crust!) so cookies are usually my fall back. Most cookie dough freezes well allowing you to take out a few and have freshly baked, warm cookies in just a few minutes. That also allows for "portion control".  Form drop cookie dough into portion size pieces, freeze on a cookie sheet and when frozen toss into a freezer bag. Take out the number needed (ok, desired!) and bake adding a minute or two to the baking time.

One of my very favorite cookies is a "slice and bake" Pecan Sandie. The dough is rolled into a log and frozen, then sliced and baked! How easy and how convenient. I make these for funeral receptions at our church and several people have come to expect them. They are definitely a favorite wherever they are served.

Pecan Sandies (aka Funeral Cookies)
1 cup butter, softened (you can use butter flavor Crisco or even 1/2 butter, 1/2 Crisco) 
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup frimly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl of mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Stir in pecans.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring well. ( I use lowest speed on mixer.)
Divide dough in half; shape each half into a log 2-inches in diameter ( or smaller to make more cookies). Wrap in waxed paper; chill until firm. ( I put them in the freezer overnight. If you skip this step they will spread and be a different texture.)
Cut into 1/4-inch slices with a SHARP knife. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on wire racks. Yield: about 5 dozen, depending on size of logs. 

The following recipe is on my "to try" list, but I thought you might like to experiment with it along with me! I'll report back on my results, meanwhile give it a try and let me know if you think it's a keeper.

Lemon Butter Cookies
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually mix in the flour until incorporated. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the tines of a fork, make cross marks in the cookies to slightly flatten them. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until cookies are set on top and slightly golden on bottom. Transfer to cooling rack and immediately dust with powdered sugar (sugar will melt into cookies from the remaining heat). Once completely cool, dust cookies again with powdered sugar.