Chicken Pot Pie Made Easy

img_0107.jpgWhat comfort food this is! And what a breeze to make. Refrigerated pie dough by Pillsbury makes this worthy of serving to company. Sure homemade is always better than store-bought, but for a weeknight meal this is just fine! We had buttered egg noodles and broccoli with it.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or bacon fat
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
2 medium or 1 large onion, peeled & diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2-3 carrots, peeled & diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
2 jars of Homestyle brand of chicken gravy – 12 oz. size each
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. cornstarch or other thickener
2 refrigerated pie crusts such as Pillsbury

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the chicken. Cook until no longer pink – about 15 minutes; add the vegetable and cook another 10 minutes on medium-high.

Meanwhile, spray a pan (9 x 13) lightly and in a separate bowl mix all the rest of the ingredients up to the pie crust, then scrape into the skillet; warm up in the pan about a minute or two. Take the pie crust boxes out of the fridge and set on the counter to come to room temperature – or follow the directions on pie packages. Place the pie crusts on your counter and as best as you can roll them into one large rectangle – this is not going to be a really nice looking rectangle – the object is to be able to fit it over the pan, that’s all we’re working towards here and your oven will do the rest.

img_0108.jpgPour contents of the skillet into the baking dish, then place the crusts over the top of the dish. They will probably overhang on the ends and just make it on the sides, and they will also lay across the filling but that’s okay, again, your oven will do the rest.

Make a few slits in the top, place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, take out and let rest for 10 minutes then dig in!

Chicken Burgers

I saw ground chicken in the grocery store and thought, why not? This doubles well.

1 pound ground chicken
1 large egg
3/4 cup of boxed stuffing – crushed, uncooked
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, combine everything. Shape into about 5 patties. Place in fridge to chill for about 15 minutes. In a non-stick skillet, heat the oil and butter and cook the burgers about 8 minutes on each side, or until well done. Place on sesame rolls with crisp lettuce leaves, slices of fresh tomatoes, and a slathering of mayo mixed with spicy mustard, or add whatever you want. Yum!

Chicken Rub

You can have your oven do the work instead of the rotisserie spit on your grill. This is mouth-watering delicious and everybody, I mean everybody will love this!

1 or 2 whole chickens, about 4 lbs. each OR
1 large roasting chicken to cook in your oven
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. onion salt
1 tsp. celery salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup paprika
1/2 Tbsp. black pepper
About 2+ Tbsp. olive oil or extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the spices together then add the oil to form a paste. Take your time and really rub this all over and inside the chicken. Place in large plastic bags or on a tray, covered with foil, in the fridge for several hours.

When ready to cook:  Prepare your spit or preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Follow manufacturer’s directions for your grill or rotisserie machine or place chickens on a rack in a large roasting pan and cook until done which is about 20 minutes per pound, or until thickest part of the thigh registers 175 degrees.

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

A great way to prepare chicken and stays juicy as long as you don’t overcook. If you have any leftover, they make great sandwiches the next day, or slice them into strips and add to a green salad.

9 Thin chicken cutlets
1/2 Cup flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp. water or milk
1 Cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Couple Tbsp. butter
Couple Tbsp. extra virgin (or regular) olive oil

Rinse chicken pieces & pat dry; put aside.
On 3 separate pie plates (or shallow dishes or regular plates):
Plate 1: Mix the flour, salt & pepper together with a fork.
Plate 2: Mix the eggs & 2 Tbs. water or milk together with a fork.
Plate 3: Mix the breadcrumbs & cheese together with a fork.
Melt 2 tbsp. butter & 2 tbsp. oil together on medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.

Using 1 cutlet at a time, dip it in the flour – shaking off excess, then the eggs & water – shaking off the excess, then the breadcrumb mixture – shaking off the excess. You can fit about 3 good-sized cutlets in the pan at a time; this gives you 3 batches.
Place in pan and turn the heat to med-high cooking till brown – this takes about 3-4 minutes per side. We like ours a nice deep golden brown. Turn over & cook the other side same way.

You will probably add some more butter and/or oil to the 2nd and 3rd batches.

Roasted Chicken

I don’t buy the larger-sized roasting chickens. Instead I buy the smaller 3-1/2 pounders and roast 2 at a time. If that’s not possible, just re-size the recipe for your needs.

2) 3-1/2 pound chickens
1 head garlic, unpeeled and divided in half
1 lemon – sliced into fourths
4 Tbsp. butter – softened
Thyme – dried or fresh
Salt & Pepper
1-2 14oz. cans chicken broth

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large roasting pan, on the rack, place the chickens. Stuff half of the garlic and half of the lemons into each chicken. Rub 2 Tbsp. of butter on each chicken. Sprinkle dried thyme or layer fresh thyme, and salt & pepper over each bird. Be liberal with the salt & pepper. Carefully pour 1 can of the chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. Take cover off, check pan to see if more broth is needed and baste. Place back in oven. Keep checking at 30 minute intervals and basting. Cook until done.

Spicy Chicken Wings

I didn’t feel right calling these Buffalo Wings, but they’re close enough.You’ll need a candy thermometer for this.

4 pounds chicken wings – wing tips removed
2 sticks of margarine – (do not use butter; margarine is the way to go)
1-1/2 cups of Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce or other cayenne pepper sauce
Peanut oil

In a heavy, medium-sized pot, pour peanut oil to a depth of 2″ and heat over medium heat until the temp reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Working in batches, fry the wings, occasionally stirring until each is golden brown – this take about 10-12 minutes.

Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the hot sauce and stir or whisk to combine it. Place wings in skillet and toss to coat well.

Serve with the traditional celery sticks and chunky clue cheese dressing if you wish.

Buffalo-Style Wings

I think you’ll like my rendition of Buffalo wings. These are perfect for any time. Please note: this recipe has been updated from my previous post – oven baking time works much, much better now)

Chicken wings – prepared, tips removed, etc.

Double this if needed:
4 Tbsp. margarine – (no butter for this, please)
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup Frank’s (or other brand) Hot Sauce

Whichever method you use to prepare your wings, use the margarine & spice sauce mixture for each batch of about 15-20 wings.

Deep fry method:  follow directions on your deep fryer or place ample amount of vegetable (canola) oil in a large fryer pot and heat; fry wings for about 12-14 minutes per batch of about 14 wings, or until done.

Oven method:  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease or foil a large rimmed baking sheet, place wings on and cook for 1 hour. If using 2 sheet pans, alternate between oven racks after 30 minutes.

For both:  empty cooked wings into large, clean baking pan or bowl, pour spice sauce mixture over, mix well and serve.

Barbecued Chicken Meatloaf

Ground chicken combined with BBQ sauce and made into a loaf is really good. It worked out very well and when it was cold made for delicious sandwiches the next day.

2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup barbecue sauce + you’ll use another 1/4 cup later
3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. dried, minced onion
2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and have ready either a loaf or other pan you will be using. Into a large bowl empty all the ingredients (reserving the 1/4 cup sauce till later) and mix gently but well. It will be moist, but don’t worry. Place it in the pan and mound it like a loaf. Bake for 45 minutes, then spread the rest of the BBQ sauce all over the top of the loaf and cook for about 30 minutes longer, or until done. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Lemony-Garlic Chicken

Delicious fresh from the oven and just as delicious served cold.

8-12 pieces chicken, bone-in, skin on (whatever pieces you want)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, separated, peeled & sliced
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 lemons, sliced very thinly
2 Tbsp. coarse salt

Into a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken pieces, place the rinsed and patted dry chicken. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk/mix together all the other ingredients up to the salt then pour over the chicken and carefully mix and incorporate all around the chicken pieces. Cover and place in the fridge for four hours or overnight.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and take the bowl out of the fridge. Get 1 or 2 rimmed sheet pans ready with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drain the chicken and place the pieces on the sheet pans and sprinkle each pan of chicken with 1 Tbsp. of the salt. Let sit for 30 minutes while oven preheats.

Cook for about 45 minutes or until done, alternating pans half way during cooking time. Serve fresh from the oven or cool, refrigerate and serve cold.

Asian / Oriental Style Chicken Salad

So good – eat it as is, or serve over/alongside rice – whatever you wanna do. Kids love it too!

6 good-sized, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 bunches asparagus, roasted (See Veggies Category)
1 large red pepper, seeded & diced OR small jar roasted peppers

1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sesame oil – (found in the Asian section of grocer)
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup peanut butter – smooth style
Kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Poach the chicken breasts, drain & rinse with cool water and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare all your veggies. If using a jar of roasted red peppers, drain & chop. Set all these aside.

In a large bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients. Cut the cooled chicken into chunks and add to dressing, along with the veggies. Mix well. Serve.