Chicken Pot Pie

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 to 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 to 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup frozen corn / peas.  I always use corn.
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (I always use rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of butter. Once heated add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until it begins to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, frozen corn/peas and chicken and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir just until the flour is almost completely absorbed. You can add a little more butter here if your pan gets too dry.
  4. Add the broth and milk and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens a bit.
  5. Once the chicken mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.
  6. I use two pie crusts – some only use one on top of the filling mixture.  You could do either way.
  7. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet (it may spill over) until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

This is so, so good.  I also love that you can easily double this recipe and share with a friend.  Or, freeze for yourself for another meal.  What would make this even better, probably, is if you made your own pie crusts from scratch.  I don’t have time for that.  As a family, we try hard to cut out processed foods.  I found a pie crust in the freezer section of earth fare that is made using very few ingredients.  Until I find the time to make my own, this is what I will use.

Pizza Buns

I love these.  One thing I have been really focusing on this past school year is cutting out as many processed foods in our house as I can.  I found this recipe, and I knew I needed to try it.  One, it looked like something I could hide some veggies in.  Two, they claim they freeze great. (My kids ate SO many this first go around that I didn’t have any to freeze – that good people.)  Three, they looked easy enough.  I went with the original recipe this first time just to make sure my kiddos liked them.  Next up, pureed veggies in the sauce!

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3-4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

In a bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast.  Let stand for about 10 minutes.

Add salt and stir.  Add half your flour and mix well.  Gradually add more flour until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl when mixing and it isn’t sticky.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, voce, and let rise for 45 minutes or until double in size.  Remove dough from bowl.  Separate into three equal parts.

Prepare your pizza ingredients.  This time around I just used bacon and cheese.  I will be creative the next time!

Take one portion of the dough and roll out on a lightly greased surface.  Roll into a long skinny rectangle.  Once rolled, spread pizza sauce over the dough leaving the very edge of one of the long sides free so it will seal when rolled up.  Layer meat, cheese, and other toppings.  Begin rolling up starting at the long side where the sauce is to the edge.  Pinch edges to seal.  Now slice off equal sized rolls.

Place rolls in a greased baking dish.  Cover and allow buns to rise 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Pureed veggies are definitely being mixed with my pizza sauce next time.  The kids won’t notice at all!  My kids love cold pizza so I could see these in their lunches next school year!

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

So, I added this recipe a long time ago with a link.  I just went to find the recipe and realized the actual link was the title…but, it took me forever to figure that out.  Knowing that I will forget that the next time I go to look at this recipe, I just decided to repost and type the recipe out.  This is so good.  It freezes really well also.

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

8-9 ounces fresh torellini

Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot.  Bring to low boil.  Add the tortellini and bring back to low boil.  Cook for 2 minutes, then reduce to simmer for 5-6 minutes longer.

My changes – First, I double this recipe.  The original would be great for just a couple people.  But, there’s 6 of us.  I need more.  ha!  Second, I always add more tomatoes – usually tomato sauce or paste – because I like more of a tomato flavor to this recipe.  That’s something you can decide for yourself and add what you’d like.  Also – I add frozen corn to this soup.  The more veggies I can get in it, the better!

Crescent Rolls

I. Love. Bread. Of all kinds.

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I don’t like chemicals in bread, so when I saw this recipe for crescents, I decided to give it a go…I’d still been buying cans of rolls on occasion because they’re so easy, but now that I’ve made these, I won’t go back.

Yes…it takes some time to make them. BUT, one batch makes a whole lotta rolls. I baked all of them and froze the leftovers after they cooled, and they are absolutely delicious thawed and reheated, too.

I made mine a little smaller than the original recipe, which is good for portion size and for the number you’ll yield. My other changes from the original: I needed about 5 1/2 cups of flour to get to the point of the dough not being really wet and sticky. It was still a very soft dough, so I’m not sure why there was a difference (and I was nervous about having used so much), but they turned out perfect. The only other thing was that I didn’t use the Tbl of oil to coat the bowl…it’s just not necessary. And, I found the second rising time to be unnecessary, which speeds up this whole process considerably.

2 c warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 egg
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a Kitchenaid mixing bowl, stir in warm water and nonfat dry milk powder until it dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour.

Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. (You can switch your attachment to the dough hook at this point for easier mixing.)

Add 1/2 cup flour again, mixing on low speed until wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. You can add an additional 1/2 – 1 c if your dough is still too wet.

Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl.

Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick oil and place the plastic over the bowl. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size and rises to the top of the bowl.

Once the dough has risen, place your dough on a flat floured surface, then divide the dough in thirds. Roll 1/3 of the dough into a circular shape, and using a pizza cutter, trim around the edges to make it into a circle (unless you are a magical fairy, there’s no way you’re going to roll this into a perfect circle). You may be able to use the scraps to make another roll or 2, so don’t throw it out.

Cut the dough into 16 pieces, like you would a pizza. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the outside. Tuck the small point under the roll.

Place on parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown.

If you’re freezing them, just let them cool completely before putting in a ziploc bag!

Homemade Waffles and Syrup

Our family is going through the slow, sometimes-painful (when we realize a favorite of ours contains it) removal of red dye from our diets. There are lots of things that got cut out years ago: fruit snacks and the like, Koolaid type drinks, etc.  But it’s in SO much more than you realize when you try to completely cut it out. A few convenience foods that I still bought despite their lack of nutritional value (because let’s face it, sometimes we just need a quick dinner) contain red dye. Like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Hungry Jack Belgian Waffle Mix. Really? Why is red dye in these?

Sidenote: I’m not freaking out over birthday treats at school, a snack at a friend’s house, etc. The boys don’t have to be the odd kid out in these situations. I’m just taking it out of our diet at home.

So. Back to waffles.

I used 100 Days of Real Food’s waffle recipe as the basis, thanks to Sonya’s recommendation. I changed up a few things, primarily to make it easier to mix and to be able to use the ingredients I already had in my pantry (I didn’t have any King Arthur white whole wheat flour; just regular white flour and regular whole wheat flour). I made a batch and a half of the original recipe (and that’s what I’m posting below), so there are plenty to freeze. It made 8 huge Belgian waffles.

3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups + 2 Tbl skim milk
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil – because it’s a solid at room temp, melt it down to liquid before using by putting what you need in a measuring cup in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until it’s a liquid)
1/2 cup applesauce
1-2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tbl ground flaxseed

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, applesauce and honey.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together (doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed). THEN, add the coconut oil while you are whisking the batter, so that it gets evenly distributed. This is important, because the batter is cold and the coconut oil will harden in the batter; you want it to be in tiny bits, not large clumps.

When the waffle iron is hot, ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. I found that, due to the coconut oil, I did not need to grease my waffle iron. Cook as long as you need – my Belgian waffler takes about 3 minutes/waffle.

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These are delicious with maple syrup, of course, but if you want to try something really amazing, make this Buttermilk Caramel Syrup. Oh my goodness…it’s amazing and super easy to make. Three bits of advice: 1. use commercially-prepared buttermilk (instead of adding vinegar to your own milk to sour it, like you can when baking) 2. Using 1/4 cup of butter is fine. 3. Prepare the syrup in a big pan. Bigger than you think is necessary, because when you add the baking soda and have a bubbly chemical reaction, you don’t want to lose this delicious concoction all over your stovetop!

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Zucchini Muffins

The boys love having muffins for breakfast, and I don’t mind when I’ve made some at least moderately-healthy substitutions (plus, what’s easier than telling them to grab a couple of muffins off the counter for breakfast?).

zucchini muffins

I found this recipe and modified it to make it a little less sugary. Also, I doubled it, because if I’m going to the trouble of making muffins, I need more than 12, and these freeze just fine.

Couple of tips:
1. if your kids will balk at the sight of the green of the skin, you can peel the zucchini first.  Mine don’t care, and it’s much less work for me, so I just leave it on.
2. I realize zucchini isn’t exactly in season right now. Aldi’s has them in 3-packs of good-sized zucchini (each yields about 2 shredded cups) for crazy cheap…last week, it was $1.59. I shredded all 3, and then froze 4 1-cup servings.

Here’s the recipe!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can use vegetable, too…I prefer coconut. If you use coconut oil, make sure it’s in liquid form – microwave a few seconds to melt it down if needed)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk with 2 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice (let sit for 5 minutes)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more if you’d like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line with 24 paper liners.

In large mixing bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In separate bowl, lightly beat egg and add to it the oil (or oil and applesauce), milk and vinegar or lemon juice mixture and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Fold in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(about 160 calories/muffin for those of you counting)

Taco soup

Hi people.  I’m back.  It’s been a while.  A LONG while.  I know there is a taco soup recipe on here and it’s very good. But, I wanted to record this one also instead of just adding my changes in the comments of the other recipe. This is SO good people.  Like I wanted to lick the bowl when it was gone good.

  • 1/2 c onions, diced
  • 1/2 c red pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used minced garlic from a jar)
  • 4-5 cups of skinny crockpot chicken (recipe found on this site)
  • 16 oz salsa
  • 14 oz frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 28 oz petite diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz sour cream

Throw everything but the sour cream in the crockpot. Turn it on low for about 3 hours (Or longer…really doesn’t matter). 30 minutes before eating Stir in the sour cream.  We served with tortilla chips and cheese quesadillas. This is spicy. One of mine ate it and two others dipped there quesadillas and chips in it.  That’s a win in my book.

My only thought….this makes a LOT.  I think, next time, I am going to add spoonfuls of sour cream to the individual bowls so that I can freeze the rest.  We are a family that loves leftovers.  But, we only eat a meal one more time as leftovers.  I could probably eat this four times there is so much leftover.  Enjoy!

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