Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chicken Potpie



On Mondays its my job to make supper. Supper for Monday this week was potpie, a favorite food of mine.
I have put the actual ingredients needed in orange for this recipe.

Chicken Potpie
You need to start with 2 or 3 chicken breasts, baked, or 3 to 4 cups shredded chicken.

 I used pre-made pie crusts.  You need 1 (15-oz. package) of pie crusts.
Soften them according to the package directions (I let mine sit on the counter while I worked on the rest of the pie)

First work on the veggies.  We need 3 medium carrots.  Peel them, cut the ends off, and wash them.
Then slice the carrots.  Try to keep them all the same thickness to ensure even cooking.  Put the sliced carrots in a microwave-safe bowl and add a few Tablespoons of water.  Cover and microwave on high for 2 or 3 minutes.

While the carrots are cooking, peel and wash 3 or 4 small to medium potatoes.  
Then cut them into small cubes.
Add them to the carrots and microwave on high until both the carrots and the potatoes are soft, but not mushy.


While the veggies are cooking, mince a small onion.  (We only had large ones so I had some extra.)  We need 1/2 cup minced onion.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 whole stick) of butter.  Add the onion, and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Stir in 1/2 cup of all-purpose, unbleached flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Stir until completely mixed.

-Don't forget to keep stirring the veggies as they are cooking!

Slowly whisk 1 cup of milk, and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth into the butter/flour mixture, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened.


Now would be a good time to shred your chicken.

And a good time to roll out your pie crust. The crust needs to rolled about as thin as you can get it.  The idea is to cover the bottom, and most of the sides of a 13" by 9" glass casserole dish with one piece of crust, and use the other for the top, and rest of the sides.  After you roll the first piece out place it in your glass dish.  Roll out the other piece and cut out the size of your dish.  Use the scraps to finish covering the sides.
-Don't forget to keep stirring the sauce, and checking the veggies!


Now put the carrots and potatoes in the unbaked crust.  Add 1/2 cup thawed (frozen) peas.  (We didn't have any peas, so I skipped this step.)

Layer 3 to 4 cups shredded chicken on top of the veggies.


Pour the thickened sauce on evenly over the chicken and veggies.

Then carefully place the top piece of crust on the potpie.
Bake at 400 F. for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked completely.

The top should be golden brown.


Let the pie cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

~Samantha

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crusty Apple Pie

My mom told my dad if the recipe printed from her laptop she would make it for breakfast.  It printed.  She made it last night.  This is the picture-story of our Crusty Apple Pie baking experience.  We got this recipe off the King Arthur Flour blog. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog.




Step 1:
Crust:
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream cheese (lowfat will be fine)
10 Tablespoons cold butter
2 to 4 Tablespoons ice cold water


Put the flour in a bowl, add cream cheese, and salt.  Mix until crumbly. Cut the butter into pieces, then cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives.   The mixture should be crumbly, with some chunks.  Sprinkle the dough with a little of the cold water, and toss.  Squeeze the dough to see if it holds together.  If the dough is too dry add more of the water a Tablespoon at a time.  Divide the dough into two pieces, one being slightly larger than the other.  (We did four since we were making a double batch.)  Flatten each piece of dough into a disk, wrap well with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  While it chills, work on the filling.




Filling:
3 medium to large apples (we used Cortlands)
dash of salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar (we used part brown, part white)
2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon








Peel, core and slice the apples.  Daniel helped out by peeling our apples for us.
The apples should be sliced very thin.



Roll the larger piece of crust out to a circle about 13
inches in diameter.  We tried rolling the crust out on parchment paper, but the paper slid all over the counter.  Flour the rolling pin to keep it from sticking to the crust. (A rolling pin sock would work the best, if you have one.)
When we rolled out our next crust we just sprinkled flour on the countertop.  When we went to put the crust on the parchment paper before assembling the pie, we used a pancake flipper, dipping it in flour so it didn't stick, to help get it up off the counter.



After rolling out the crust, and getting on the parchment paper its time to do the filling.
Remember we  just need...

1/2 cup sugar (we used part brown, part white)
2 teaspoons  ground cinnamon

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.


 Spread evenly on crust.


Lay the apples neatly on top of the sugar mix, overlapping them slightly.

After finishing this step, it might be a good time to preheat your oven to 425 F.

When this step is finished it should look something like this.
After this, sprinkle the dash of salt, and drizzle the lemon juice on top of the apples.
(We accidently missed this step on our first pie)

Then cut the 2 T. of butter into small pieces and scatter them on top of the apples.
(We sort of forgot this step too, and added a little butter later, after cutting the decorations in the top)



Remove the other piece of crust from the refrigerator.  Roll it into a 12 inch circle.  Carefully place the rolled out crust on top of the apples.  Bring the edges of the bottom crust up, and press the two crusts together, sealing well.

Brush the crust with milk, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  The coarse sugar adds a lot of texture, and looks very nice.


Apple pies always need to have a few slits or holes for steam to escape.
My mom is great at cutting decorations into pies.  =)
She did an apple in the middle, with apple leaf-shapes around the edges.  It looked very nice.


Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes at 425 F.  Then reduce the heat to 375 F, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  The crust needs to be golden brown, the apples soft and bubbling.


Mom did a great job!  It looks great!

Wait awhile so its cooled quite a bit before cutting it. (The original recipe says wait an hour)



   Finished product!  Looks great with a bit of whipped cream!

~Samantha

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The start of something new...

We do a lot of cooking and baking at our house.  My mom has recently enjoyed looking at cooking blogs, and I enjoy both cooking and photography.  So I finally decided to start a cooking blog.  I will try to post picture-stories of recipes we make, recipes we use frequently, and other cooking/baking related stories.  Enjoy!