Beer Cheese Chicken Pot Pie

If there is a man in your life… you must make him these. They contain the two ingredients necessary for sustaining man life: beer and bacon.  These were great, except the beer I used was a bit strong and some bites were really bitter as a result of it.  I used Sierra Nevadas Ruthless Rye IPA, the original recipe which I got from The Beeroness used Mission St Brewery’s Blonde Ale. I altered the original recipe on a few other ingredients as well Next time, and for anyone interested in making these, I would reccommend using a light beer, and I don’t mean light beer like something crappy, I mean light in color, such as a blonde ale!  You’ll see in a photo later on how dark this beer was and something lighter would have worked much better.

Aside from the poor beer choice however, these were great.  The crust was phenomenal and the consistency of everything else was PERFECT for a pot pie.

Did I mention this was the first time I ever made a pot pie?  I’ll admit, I was nervous that I was going to do a horrible job, but the instructions in this recipe were very clear and I was very happy with how they came out.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 tbs vodka
  • 2 tbs cold water

For the Filling:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cups raw chicken, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  •  1 1/3 cup beer
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Directions:
  1. Combine 1 cup of flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse a few times until combined. Add the butter and the shortening and process until it forms a ball around the blade, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining flour and process until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Move to a bowl and add the water and the vodka, combine with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Form the dough into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, about two hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. In a pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and the garlic, sauté for one minute.
  7. Add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and darkened.
  9. Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  10. In a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup of broth and the flour, stir until combined. Pour mixture into the pan through a small mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
  11. Add the beer to the pan and stir to combine.
  12. Add the peas, corn, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted and is well combined with the broth.
  13. Pour into small, portion sized, oven safe ceramic or glass dishes-I used Pyrex. Makes about 4.
  14. Once the dough has chilled, place disk on a very well floured surface, add flour to the top of the disk as well. Roll out into an even thickness.
  15. Cut out circles that will cover the dishes with at least a one inch overhang on each side.  My Pyrex are very wide so in order to have enough for each disk I did not have any overhang.  They fit perfectly on the top of the dish however and cooked fine despite not having the over hang.
  16. To prevent sticking, spray the rim of the baking dish with cooking spray. Top each dish with the dough circle, cutting a slit to vent at the top. Then brush the dough with melted butter.
  17. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
  18. Dig in!

Easy Chicken and Bacon Wraps

This is probably my current favorite thing to eat for lunch.  I would eat it every day if I could, probably.  It is easy to make and oh so yummy to eat!

What you need:

Breaded chicken strips- I used Applegate Organics, available in the freezer section of Whole Foods

Bacon- I cook it in the oven rather than a frying pan, it creates much less mess!  Cook at 425 for about 20-25 minutes, flipping each piece over about halfway through.

Lettuce (also tomatoes are good but this time I had none)

Tortillas or Wraps- I use Organic Olive Oil Wraps from Trader Joes

The cheese of your choice, grated

And there you have it! Top with any other condiments or dressings you enjoy, I like to use ranch, my boyfriend chooses ranch and Cholula sauce, so those are some options to try!  Just wrap it up and devour!!

Homemade Oreos

Got milk? You’re going to need some for these.

I have never been a huge fan of Oreos, but when I found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen, I had to try them as a sort of experiment.  Recently I went down the cookie aisle at my local Albertsons and could not believe how many different kinds of Oreos they make these days.  I don’t have TV service so I don’t see commercials, and I rarely go to grocery stores other than Trader Joes or Whole Foods so I don’t really know what is in your typical grocery store.  Even more astonishing and disheartening though, is the ingredients list on even just the regular Oreos…

I don’t know about you, but even though I can (almost) pronounce all of those ingredients, they certainly don’t sound appealing or good for me.  Why are there so many chemicals in our food? Are they really necessary?  I wanted to find out if you could have the taste of Oreos with a more wholesome ingredient list.  And so I began.

Ingredients for the Chocolate Wafers

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon bakingpowder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar [see recipe note]
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
For the Creme Filling
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 Directions
  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.
I followed all of these instructions, but after my most recent experience with my pastry bag, I opted to instead put all of the creme into a ziploc bag and cut a corner off to ensure that it wouldn’t come billowing out of the top of the bag.  I realize now I should have taken pictures of this make-shift pastry bag, but will make a mental note to do so next time so you can see what I’m talking about.
For the first time EVER, I was happy with this recipe’s proportions- for once I didn’t have way more icing than I actually needed!
Also the results were as I hoped- they taste like Oreos, except that they actually taste like real food.  I brought some to work and everyone enjoyed them, and I mailed some to my sister (she should get them tomorrow) and can’t wait to hear her review of them.


Roasted Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Sooooo I realize this looks just like my Primavera… that’s because I had planned to make it, but came home from work to realize I didn’t have a yellow pepper.  So I decided to improvise and try something a little different!  I had a box of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup sitting in the cupboard just begging to be used, so I substituted it for a can of diced tomatoes.  The result was richer than my usual Primavera, and yummy, but I will probably be sticking to my normal recipe and getting (or possibly making?) some croutons to go with the rest of the soup!

Regardless of everything though, it was a fun experiment.

Trader Joes Banana Bread Mix

My mom makes a great banana bread from scratch.  I have not yet been ambitious enough to try it, but lucky for me, Trader Joes makes a mix that tastes almost as good as my mom’s recipe!  I made it this time because it is easy, and also to try out my new pyrex loaf pan! The results: Pyrex rocks and is way better than my old metal pan, and a moist and yummy bread to eat.

The mix only requires the addition of water, vegetable oil, and two eggs.  Mix them all together and bake for 45 minutes to an hour and boom there you have it- banana bread.  If you so desire, you can add nuts, chocolate chips, actual banana slices, or all three to the mix to make a heartier bread.  Any way you do it, it’s sure to be good.  I would recommend this mix to people who like banana bread and prefer using mixes to baking from scratch.  As I have said before, I typically don’t like using mixes, but this is a good one.  Mixes tend not to taste like the real thing, but TJ’s has done a great job with this one!  I even added a new category for it 😉

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Happy New Year everyone!! I made these last night while awaiting the start of 2012.  I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday and that are looking forward to the new year!   I got this recipe from Amy Bites but instead of mixing in the chocolate chip cookies and chopped pretzels with a wooden spoon I did it the lazy man’s way with the beater attachment on my mixer on its Stir function.

I have always loved the combination of pretzels and chocolate, as well as chocolate chip cookies, so I had no choice but to try these out and they were great.  I also used the KitchenAid whisk attachment for the first time ever for these, which was exciting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 3/4 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 oz. pretzels, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Adorable measuring cups

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl and set aside for later.
  3. Heat 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter into hot butter until completely melted.
  5. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated.
  6. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining,about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny.
  7. Using wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute.
  8. Stir in chocolate chips and pretzels, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
  9. Scoop dough onto cookie sheets using a cookie scoop.
  10. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

 

Heres a present I forgot to mention in my I am Thankful, Lucky, and Loved post… my mom got me a new apron with matching chef’s hat!