The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adventures in Cooking

Have I mentioned how much I love Pioneer Woman lately?  Oh, okay.  Sorry. 

Moving on......

I have some delicious recipes to share today.  They are from a great woman who I love and adore.  You may have heard of her....Pioneer Woman.  Sorry, I couldn't help myself.  If it weren't for PW, I don't know that I would be as into cooking as I have been the past couple of years.  And while her recipes aren't always the healthiest, they are always delicious.

First up, Chicken Pot Pie.

The recipe can't be found online, so here ya go.

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (her first cookbook)

3 celery stalks
3 medium carrots, peeled
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 large yellow onion (I hate onions so only used about half this amount...maybe less)
4 tbsp butter
2 cups chicken, cooked, diced or shredded (I used only breasts, but PW says to use both white and dark)
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup white wine (optional)-I did not use this
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400.

Begin by finely dicing the fresh vegetables, celery, carrots and onions. Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery and peas. Saute until the vegetables start to soften, a few minutes. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables and chicken and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Stir in the bouillon cube and wine, if using. The flour will combine with the chicken to create a delicious gravy. Pour in the cream and stir. Allow mixture to cook over low heat, thickening gradually, about 4 minutes. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Be sure it's adequately salted!

Pour the chicken mixture into a deep pie pan. (I used an nine by nine casserole pan because I knew my pie pans were not deep enough).  
Roll out the crust so that it's one inch larger than the pan.  Place the crust on top of the chicken mixture and cut small slits in the top.  Press the crust gently into the sides of the dish to seal.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling in bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

A note on the crust...I used the recipe from the newest PW cookbook called, Pam's Pie Crust.  If you want it, go get the book for crying out loud!  Otherwise, I think any crust recipe would work.  Also, some of you may want to use crust on the bottom and top.  I didn't because I follow recipes pretty much exactly how they are written (except for onions...yuck) and also because I didn't think I would like crust.  Of course the crust I used was delicious, but given that I know how much butter was in it, I still think I would only do it on top.

This pot pie was A-MAZ-ING.  Jason and I were in heaven.  The, they were okay with it.  It was seriously so, so, so good.  And for the record, up until the day I made this, I would have said that I hated pot pie.  Now I love it.

Next,  Strawberry Shortcake Cake.

picture from PW

I was a tad disappointed in the cake, but mainly it was my fault.  For starters, I think I may have mixed my cake batter too long, making my cake pretty dense.  My brother who went to culinary school also suggested I use some cake flour instead of regular flour in the recipe.  Second, my frosting didn't turn out "light and fluffy" as the recipe suggested it would.  My cookbook doesn't show the picture or suggest using the whisk attachment on the mixer which I am guessing would have made a major difference.  I feel like such a dork for not thinking of that when I was making it.  Oh, and I think next time I will use double the amount of strawberries!

Despite all of that my father in law still said it was the best strawberry cake he had ever had, so I guess my work was worth it!  It was pretty tasty despite the problems I mentioned, and I think it was waaaay better the second day when all of the strawberry juice had soaked down a little into the cake.  I will for sure make this again.

There you go, two delicious recipes you should make very soon, if not today.  Especially the cake since strawberries are in season!  And, if you don't have PW's cookbooks, I would suggest you go get them!  You won't regret it!

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