Stuff My Kid Eats: Chicken Pot Pie

Stuff My Kid Eats

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You’ve heard me mention before that word “chicken” in response to “what’s for dinner?” can insight a riot from my toddler. That is unless the word “chicken” is followed by the word “pie.”  As you can see from the photo above, the little stinker pulled a steps tool up to the counter and started to dig in before I could get her plate to the table.

Chicken Pot Pie

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There’s a lot of different ways to make chicken pot pie, and a lot of different crusts you can use; the way I’ve always done it is by filling individual ramekins with chicken, vegetables, and gravy, then topping them with a light and buttery sheet of puffed pastry. Feel free to skip the individual dishes and use one large one, or alter on the veggies if you want (for instance I add broccoli, which isn’t traditional), and if puff isn’t your thing, then swap it out for phyllo dough. Just don’t forget to thaw the pastry in the refrigerator the night before, otherwise you’re going to end up with a couple frozen, unusable blocks of dough that have no business near your beautiful chicken – I know this first hand. (To adapt this recipe for vegetarians, see Vegetarian Modifications at the end of the recipe.)

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup Sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup diced carrots, from about 3-4 carrots
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled and cut in half (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (from about 3-4 potatoes)
  • 1 cup diced celery, from about 3-4 celery stalks
  • 1 cup diced broccoli
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed from bone and torn or cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 sheet frozen puffed pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, until butter has melted and begins to brown. Add shallots and thyme and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook until thick and starting to brown. Add sherry, stirring and cooking until liquid has reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add milk and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

To the simmering liquid, add carrots, pearl onions, and potatoes and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery, broccoli, chicken, peas, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, sugar, and salt and stir until combined. Cook for another couple minutes until all the ingredients are covered in gravy.

Scoop chicken mixture into individual oven-safe baking dishes or ramekins, or one large oven-safe baking dish, filling to the top.

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Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out puff pastry dough to get rid of the seams. If you’re making individual pot pies, then with a sharp knife, cut rounds slightly larger than the circumference of ramekins. Place a pastry round over each filled dish, crimping the edges a bit and allowing about ½ of dough to hang over the sides. If you’re making one large pot pie, lay the sheet of dough over the baking dish, with a sharp knife, trim the dough to fit, leaving ½-inch overhang, crimp the edges slightly.

Brush dough all over with egg wash and use a sharp knife to make a few small slits in the top for steam to escape. Place baking dish(es) on a baking sheet to catch the drips.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the inside is bubbling at the edges.

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VEGETARIAN MODIFICATIONS

  • Omit chicken and replace with 1 additional cup each of carrots and broccoli.
  • Omit chicken broth and replace with vegetable broth.

Dublin Coddle Crockpot Version!

Dublin Coddle Crockpot Version!

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Hey, everybody! I just did a little online research and found out that you can make yesterday’s Dublin Coddle in your crockpot as well, here’s how:

  • 1 lb. bacon strips
  • 8 good-quality port sausages
  • 4 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, some green tops included, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 starchy potatoes, such as russets, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 large chucks
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon until just starting to crips. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Let cool, then slice in thirds widthwise, set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook, turning, for about 15 minutes, until evenly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thirds, widthwise, set aside.

Also in the same skillet, gently cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, until soft but not colored.

Layer the onions, sausages, and bacon in your crockpot, seasoning each layer with plenty of black pepper. Add the leek, herbs, and garlic, and finish with a layer of potatoes. Season with a little more black pepper, then pour in the stock. cook at high (4 hours) or low setting (8 hours) until done.

Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle

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Dublin Coddle is a traditional Irish comfort food that dates back to the seventeenth century. Because practicing Catholics are prohibited from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, it is thought that this dish came about as a way to cook up leftover meat at the end of the week. The first time I tried it was at an Irish Festival in Weston, MO and I was surprised at how flavorful it was for its simple ingredients – onions, potatoes, sausage, and bacon – but wow, I was impressed! Ever since then Dublin Coddle has singlehandedly replaced Chicken Pot Pie as my all-time favorite Irish meal! (Recipe slightly adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb. bacon strips
  • 8 good-quality port sausages
  • 4 onion, sliced
  • 1 leek, some green tops included, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 starchy potatoes, such as russets, peeled and cut into 2 or 3 large chucks
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large skillet, cook bacon until just starting to crips. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Let cool, then slice in thirds widthwise, set aside.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sausages to the bacon fat and cook, turning, for about 15 minutes, until evenly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into thirds, widthwise, set aside.

Also in the same skillet, gently cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, until soft but not colored.

Layer the onions, sausages, and bacon in the bottom of an oven/flame proof casserole dish (or Dutch oven) with a lid, seasoning each layer with plenty of black pepper. Add the leek, herbs, and garlic, and finish with a layer of potatoes. Season with a little more black pepper, then pour in the stock.

Cover the casserole dish tightly and bring to a boil on top of the stove. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Sidekicks: Serve with plenty of dark Irish soda bread to mop up the juices and a Guinness.

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Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole for Daylight-Saving Time

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Ready to spring forward, everybody? Its daylight-saving time again (Surprised? Me, too!), which means that on Sunday we’ll loose and hour of sleep but gain an hour of daylight. Having a toddler in the house means sleep has become a very precious commodity (one we don’t seem to get enough of), so losing an hour makes a big difference. This season I’ve decided to give my husband the day-off from his Sunday Morning Waffles and prepare a savory breakfast casserole on Saturday night instead. This way, when daylight arrives earlier than we’d hoped for, I’ll simply transfer my casserole from the fridge to the oven then, go reclaim an extra hour of sleep while it cooks.

Quick, run out and get these 5 ingredients for your Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole!

Quick, run out and get these 5 ingredients for your Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole!

Serves 6

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 30-oz. package of frozen shredded hash browns
  • 12 oz. ground breakfast sausage
  • 12 eggs
  • 4 oz. diced ham
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Add-Ins (Pick of few of the following to make your casserole more tasty – for this casserole I used leeks, mushrooms, and fresh oregano.)

  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, diced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, tender parts only, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped herbs (added to eggs)

Lightly mist a 13×9-inch baking dish (2 quart dish) with cooking spray.

Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat oil until shimmering. Carefully add hash browns and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan (it helps if you break up any chunks before cooking). Cover and cook, undisturbed, for 4-7 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking, flipping occasionally, until browned, about 10-12 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Transfer hash browns to baking dish and spread in an even layer, set aside. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add ground sausage and any vegetables you’re using, and cook until sausage is brown and vegetables are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer sausage mixture to baking dish and spread in an even layer over hash browns. Allow to cool slightly before proceeding.

Layer the sausage on top of the hash browns.

Layer the sausage on top of the hash browns.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs (and herbs if you’re using) with a dash of salt and pepper until combined. Mix in ham and 1 cup of cheese. Pour egg mixture into the baking dish, covering sausage and hash browns completely. Sprinkle the top with remaining cup of cheese.

See how the eggs drip all the way down to the bottom of the dish? That means you get eggy goodness in every bite!

See how the eggs drip all the way down to the bottom of the dish? That means you get eggy goodness in every bite!

At this point you can either cover and refrigerate overnight, or bake right away.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place baking dish on a rack set in the center of the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until eggs have set (no longer jiggly in the middle) and the cheese has melted and started to bubble. While it’s baking you can cut the fruit, make some coffee, and pour (or squeeze) a couple glasses of orange juice; or go back to bed for an hour — it’s your choice.

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Don’t forget to set your clocks FORWARD and hour before hitting the pillow Saturday night!

Stuff My Kid Eats: Parmesan Chicken Cutlets

Stuff My Kid Eats

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When I told my toddler that we were having chicken Parmesan for dinner she said, “No, yucky! We’re having soup!” Then I put her plate in front of her and she recanted her statement: “Oh, this chicken! I LOVE this chicken!” If that’s not endorsement enough, I don’t know what is. Her favorite part of the dish is the wedge of lemon that she gets to squeeze over each bite. Each. Individual. Bite. Not over the entire cutlet, mind you, just one squeeze before every forkful. It’s an arduous, try-momm’s-patience way of eating, but she always cleans every bite off her plate. Every freshly-squeezed, 3-minutes-in-the-making, pull-your-hair-out-waiting bite. Oy!

Parmesan Chicken Cutlets

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When I think of chicken Parmesan, I picture a heavily breaded piece of poultry smothered in marinara sauce set under a gooey slice of melted cheese atop a large mound of pasta. This is not that chicken Parmesan; lightly breaded, quickly pan-fried, and served with a squeeze of lemon  it’s much more my speed, and something I don’t mind serving my family a couple times a month. (Recipe by Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story, by way of Bon Appétit magazine)

Parmesan Chicken Cutlets

Serves 4

¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1½ cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. mustard powder
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 small skinless, boneless chicken cutlets (about 1½ lb. total), pounded to ¼” thickness*
8 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lemon, halved

Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs in a second shallow bowl. Combine panko, Parmesan, and mustard powder in a third shallow bowl and season mixture with salt and pepper

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Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer to bowl with beaten egg and turn to coat. Lift from bowl, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Coat with panko mixture, pressing to adhere. DO AHEAD: Chicken can be breaded 3 months in advance. Place between pieces of waxed paper and freeze in resealable freezer bags. Thaw before continuing.

Heat 6 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet or a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cutlets, adding remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve with lemon to squeeze over top.

*Note: Still have those chicken tenders patiently waiting in your freezer that I told you to save? This would be the time to use them. (If using chicken tenders, decrease cooking time to 2 minutes per side.)

Sidekicks:

  • Serve with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a non-oaky Chardonnay.
  • A simple starch and vegetable medley is all you need to make this a hearty meal (see Winter Squash and Brussels Sprout Bake recipe below).

Winter Squash and Brussels Sprout Bake

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This easy gratin-style bake is an excellent way of introducing (or re-introducing) your family to the most unloved vegetable on the planet: Brussels sprouts. When roasted, Brussels sprouts become sweet and slightly nutty, which nicely compliments the decadent winter squash. Add some chopped herbs and a sprinkle of salty cheese, and you’ve got yourself a winning side dish. (Oh, and cut the Brussels sprouts into small wedges to make them less threatening to any skeptics at your table!)

  • ½ Acorn, Kabocha, or Butternut squash, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes, rind left on (unless using Butternut squash, then remove the rind)
  • 12-14 small Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
  • 1 leek, halved and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts have browned and the squash is fork tender, tossing halfway through. Sprinkle Parmesan over veggies and return baking dish to the oven for 3-5 minutes, until cheese has melted and has started to bubble.

Cheddar Ale Soup with Dark Irish Soda Bread and Mixed Green Salad

The Luck O’ the Irish to You! 

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March is here and that brings us one day closer to Spring (March 20th for those of you keeping track)! I’m sure everyone’s heard the old adage, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,” which means we still have a few more weeks of crumy weather and comfort food to get through before the big (read sunny) payoff. So before you put away your crockpot and comfy pants and start pulling out your capris and old issues of Cooking Light magazine, we must first pay homage to St. Patty’s Day and all of the savory starches that hail from the great green country of Ireland.

Cheddar Ale Soup

This entire meal was incredibly quick and easy to whip up. I’m not exaggerating here; from the moment I started sautéing the veggies to when I had dinner on the table took less time than it did for my toddler to watch Toy Story 3 — her new favorite movie. (Time-Saving Tip: Make the bread first, then start the soup while the loaf is in the oven baking.) This soup can be easily adapted for vegetarians by following the “Vegetarian Modifications” at the end of the recipe.

Serves 6-8

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • ¼ cup butter (½ stick)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalks celery, diced, tops and leaves included
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1½ Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 12 oz. bottle lager-style beer
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (see recipes in Homemade Stocks)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hot sauce (such as Louisiana or Tabasco)
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp. baking soda

In a large Dutch oven or wide-bottom soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, let cool. Dice and set aside for garnish.

Add butter to pot with bacon grease and melt over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add flour and cornstarch to pot and stir until both have dissolved. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flour/butter mixture begins to brown and bubble (this is called a roux). Add beer and stir to combine. Continue cooking until half of the liquid has reduced, about 3-4 minutes.

Add stock, milk, Worcestershire, hot sauce, chili powder, and salt & pepper. Stir to combine and reduce heat to medium-low. Bring soup to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until starting to thicken. (Time-Saving Tip: While the soup is simmering, prepare the salad and make the dressing.)

With an immersion hand blender, purée soup directly in pot until smooth. Or alternatively, working in 2-3 batches, purée soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot.

Add cheese and baking soda to soup and whisk until cheese has melted. The baking soda may cause the soup to foam for a few minutes, but it will return to normal once the cheese has melted. (Time-Saving Tip: If you have a smarty-pants husband like I do, don’t make the mistake of asking what causes baking soda to foam, otherwise you’re in for a 20-minute super boring explanation behind the science of sodium hydrogen carbonate, otherwise known as NaHCO3.) Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

Ladle soup into preheated bowls and top with a salty mound of diced bacon. (This last part is optional, but really, why would you omit the bacon?! Unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian, in which case you can skip ahead to the Vegetarian Modifications just below the delicious photo of bacon… right here )

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VEGETARIAN MODIFICATIONS 

Omit the bacon and replace with:

  1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil when sautéing the vegetables
  2. ½ tsp. smoked paprika with the stock, milk, Worcestershire, etc.

Sidekicks:

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  • This is kind of a no-brainer, but pair with a thick and creamy Guinness — or if you can find it, an equally creamy but not-so-dark Caffrey’s Irish Ale.
  • Nothing compliments cheese better than bread and apples. Serve this rich soup with dark Irish soda bread and a mixed green salad topped with crispy apple slices and creamy herb dressing.

Dark Irish Soda Bread 

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Irish soda bread is a dense bread that’s slightly sweet — making it perfect to sop up the remaining drops of Cheddar Ale Soup clinging to the sides of your bowl. (Recipe form cookbook author Elinor Klivans.) 

Dark Irish Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, plus 1 Tbsp. softened butter for greasing the baking sheet
  • 1½ whole-wheat flour, plus more for the baking sheet
  • ¾ cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1 Tbsp. dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375°F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with softened butter, then sprinkle lightly with whole-wheat flour; tap to discard any excess flour.

Combine both flours, brown sugar, caraway seeds, baking soda, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Mix to combine on low speed; add the melted butter.

Combine the molasses and the buttermilk; then add to the mixer bowl, on low speed; beat for a minute or two, until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it around in the palms of your hands to smooth it; the dough will not be perfectly smooth. Form into a 6-inch circle OR an 8-inch long oval and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smooth-edge knife to cut an X in top of dough, 1 inch deep (for round loaf), OR a 5-inch long, 1-inch deep slash along the length of the oval loaf.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the bread feels firm and crisp and you can see that the bottom has browned when you lift it carefully. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with a big hunk of softened butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Yum!

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Mixed Green Salad with Apples and Creamy Herb Dressing 

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This simple, flavorful salad of mixed greens and crisp apples is a perfect palate cleanser between spoonfuls of rich, cheesy soup.

Mixed Green Salad with Apples and Creamy Herb Dressing

Serves 4

For Salad:

  • 4-6 cups mixed salad greens
  • ½ apple (preferably Pink Lady, Fuji, or Honeycrisp), cored and sliced paper-thin with a mandolin

For dressing:

  • ½ cup Half & Half
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar (preferably sherry or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 green onion, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh Tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Agave syrup or honey
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Divide salad greens evenly among 4 plates and top with apple slices.

Whisk all dressing ingredients together until combined. Pour over salads.

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