Because we need multiple chances to give thanks. I know it’s been pretty quiet around the kitchen lately. I’m sorry for that. I’ve really been meaning to post, honest! I could start in on all the excuses–strep throat, work, cold and snow, traveling–but that would […]
Month: November 2010
I made chicken pot pie quite often a million years ago. We got these beautiful, oven-safe bowls for our wedding, and I was super excited to make individual servings for everyone. They were so delicious, and fun to make, and easy! I would just put a ready made pie crust into each bowl, fill it with stuff, and then fold the dough over to seal it up.
And then came that dark day. The day that I turned over one of those boxes of ready made pie crust and actually read the nutrition information.
800 CALORIES!!! PER CRUST?!?!?
My jaw hit the ground so hard I’m honestly surprised I have teeth. I’d never made pie crust on my own before, so I had no idea they consist of butter and flour. My mind swam as I thought of those 800 calories of crust plus everything else that went into said crust! We’d always joked about how filling they were, but it was never a problem to put two-thirds of it away in a single sitting.
I cried a little as I put the boxed pie crust back in the store refrigerator. I love chicken pot pie! I’d started making them at home after I saw how full of sodium the Marie Calendar’s versions were. And the individual bowls were so fun and creative!
Later I attempted to make my own pie crusts, but all the recipes I found were equally unhealthy, and many contained shortening, which I just can’t do. Even vegetable shortening. I know that shortening is a perfectly acceptable ingredient, but something about it just gives me a mental block. If I don’t know it’s in there, please don’t tell me.
Anyway, after many, many, many Frankenstein creations, I finally came up with something delicious. It’s not served in individual bowls, or even a pie dish, but it’s pretty, pot-pie like, and husband and son approved. I don’t want to know the caloric content, so I’ve purposely not tried to guess. What I do know for sure is that it has nutritional benefits from the whole wheat flour and vegetables, and it’s quite filling–therefore easy to eat in moderation. It also makes a lot, so it would be great to serve for a crowd. (The three of us ate less than half in one meal.)
What’s in it:
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting the counter and rolling pin
- 3 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/3 cup apple sauce
- 2/3 cup skim milk
- 2 cooked chicken breasts (I have never just had cooked chicken from a previous recipe on hand, so I just sliced two defrosted chicken breasts into strips, broiled, let rest for 5 minutes, then cubed)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese, depending on personal preference
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 2 tsps paprika
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup corn
- 1 cup green beans (I was gonna use broccoli, but forgot to buy it at the store. After I fired myself for gross misconduct, I pulled a can of green beans out of the pantry and re-hired myself–on a probationary basis)
- lots and lots of fresh basil, shredded
- any other vegetables or herbs/spices you can think of
- And also, these amounts are just a loose sketch. Feel free to add or subtract wherever necessary
Preheat the oven to 450F
Roll the dough into a roughly circular shape and carefully move it onto a pan. I prefer stoneware, but use what you’ve got.
(Confession: I really suck at working with dough. For realsies. I usually start crying until Nick comes to my rescue and fixes the world. And by that I mean rolling out the dough until it’s perfect and then gently placing onto whatever pan/plate it needs to end up on. He’s my hero. This was the first time I’ve had a little success, and I did it all by myself! I had to use lots and lots of flour. And it took a bit of finesse getting the dough to not stick to the counter)
I used a pastry brush to remove the excess flour that gets on the crust during rolling. It never occurred to me to then brush the crust with butter or an egg wash, and really, I don’t think it needs it. However, if you want to try it, let me know how it goes. It might make it that much prettier. This took about 15 minutes to bake the biscuit crust all the way through, and if I would have spread the filling out just a tiny bit more, it would have been hotter in the middle (it was definitely warm, but there was no steam going on). Whatever! It tasted so good! I paired it with a giant salad, and we had an excellent meal. I’ll leave you with the final shots.
I have joined the scores of food bloggers who have gone pumpkin crazy this fall. I find no shame in this fact. And it’s been really fun trying new things, like Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese.
The latest in the line of new pumpkin goodies are roasted pumpkin seeds. Toasted, crunchy, and just a hint of salt. I’d never had them before, but I thought it would be fun to do something with the seeds from our jack-o-lanterns.
The process is simple, but time consuming.
Then you have to wash off all the goo. Or, I guess it’s called flesh. Nope, I like goo better.
Because we ran out of time (trick-or-treating and whatnot) I let the seeds dry out overnight.
The next day, or maybe it was the next-next day, I can’t remember (sugar coma), I put 6 cups of seeds into 8 cups of salted water and brought it all to a boil. Fifteen minutes or so.
It’s always more fun if you have a helper in the kitchen. My helper happens to be pint-size.
Before the water came to a rolling boil, I noticed that all sorts of patterns started to emerge in the pumpkin seeds. It was incredibly cool, and incredibly mesmerizing. (My helper had to keep reminding me where and who I was.)
After I pulled myself out of the pumpkin seed vortex, I used a strainer to drain the seeds, then laid them all on a towel to wipe off the excess water. I had so many seeds that I had to do it in batches.
Once they were mostly dry, I tossed them in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and salt.
I put the vast majority of the seeds on a pan in a single layer, and then added a bit more salt.
The rest of the seeds got a sprinkle of cumin and paprika.
Then they all went into the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes. They make a really cool popping noise as they cook, and they’ll continue to pop for a few minutes after they’re removed from the heat.
Unfortunately for a few of the little pumpkin seeds, I had the bottom rack of my oven too close to the heating element. By the time I smelled what was happening, it was too late to save them.
But the rest of them turned out lovely.
The plain salted seeds are my favorites. The seasoned seeds are definitely good, but they don’t have enough of a flavor to entice me. Perhaps next time some spiciness would help.
I have to admit that I’m not sure why they needed to be boiled. I found about a million methods for roasting pumpkin seeds, and 500,000 said to boil them, and the other 500,000 didn’t mention it. I’m guessing that you boil them to remove all traces of goo, but if you do a good enough job washing the seeds, perhaps boiling isn’t necessary. Six of one, half dozen of the other I guess.
Happy fall! More pumpkin coming soon…