Chicken Pot Pie

I had actually never tasted this classic comfort food until I made it last night.  I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.  If you have the time to make the dough, I recommend it – the consensus was that it tastes like a biscuit… so good.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans)
  • 1 large potato, peeled
  • 3/4 cup pearl onions (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole but smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups chicken broth (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pie crust (you can either use store-bought or homemade*)
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water (egg wash for the crust)
*This recipe will yield enough filling for two large pies or 4 individual pies –
if you want to make the large pie, you will need to double the dough recipe*
BAREFOOT CONTESSA’S PIE CRUST
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco), cubed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2/3 – 1/2 cup ice cold water

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Drizzle olive oil over the chicken breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Place them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until fully cooked
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pie crust if you’re planning on making it yourself
    • Once the chicken is cooked, cut it into bite-size cubes
BAREFOOT CONTESSA’S PIE CRUST
    • Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade
    • Toss in the shortening and butter and coat them with the flour
    • Pulse 10 times or until the shortening and butter are about the size of peas
    • While the food processor is running, pour in the ice cold water
    • Process until the dough is moistened and is beginning to clump together
    • Place the dough onto a floured surface and form it into a ball
    • Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins
  • Parboil the potato and then cube it – leave the water in the pot and keep the heat on
  • In the same pot, blanch the mixed veggies and pearl onions (if the onions are fresh, boil them for 2-3 minutes with the skin on; then remove the onions, cut the root and the onion should just pop out of the skin)
    • Put the prepared veggies aside for now
  • In a small saucepan, heat the chicken broth and bouillon cube
  • In a large pot or saute pan with high sides, melt the butter and saute the onions and whole garlic cloves
  • Remove the garlic cloves once they’ve become very fragrant and saute the onions over medium-low heat until they’re translucent
  • And the flour while stirring the mixture constantly over low heat – approximately 2 mins
  • Add the hot chicken broth to the flour mixture and whisk over low heat for another minute or until it thickens
  • Add 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and the heavy cream – continue to stir
  • Add in the cubed chicken, mixed vegetables, potatoes, pearl onions, parsley and thyme – stir the mixture well
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
There are two options for the presentation of this dish…
 
OPTION I – Make it into a classic pie 
    • The filling will be enough to make 2 pies – so either half the recipe, or double the dough
    • Cut the dough ball  in half and roll it out into a circle on a lightly floured surface
    • Drape the dough over the pie dish and press it down against the dish with your fingertips
    • Fill the pie with the chicken filling
    • Roll out the other half of the dough into a circle on a lightly floured surface
    • Cover the pie with this dough and make sure the edges are sealed along the edge of the pie dish
    • Brush the dough with the egg wash and make 3 slits on the top
    • Bake at 375°F for 1 hour  or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly – you may want to cover it for part of the time, just check on it while it’s baking to see if it’s getting too brown
OPTION II – Make it into individual pot pies
    • Cut the dough ball  in half and then in half again
    • Roll 1 quarter of the dough out into a circle on a lightly floured surface
    • Place the 1/4 of the chicken filling into an oven-safe bowl or ramekin
    • Brush the edge of the dish with the egg wash – this will prevent the crust from sticking to it
    • Drape the dough over the dish and leave about 1/2 inch hanging over the side – press the dough down against the side of the dish with your fingertips
    • Brush the dough with the egg wash and make 3 slits on the top
    • Repeat this with the remaining filling and dough
    • Bake at 375°F for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly
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Chicken and Asparagus Wrap

I’m not gonna lie – I pretty much like anything wrapped in puff pastry.  This tasty wrap hits almost all of the food groups and isn’t too bad for you…  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. – 1  1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut it into 4 pieces and pound it until it’s at most 1/2″ thick – you’re going to be folding these over in 1/2 so they need to be thin enough to do that
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, whole but smashed with the heel of your hand
  • 1 large pinch dried thyme
  • 1 large pinch dried sage
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 spears of asparagus
  • 4 slices of ham (I like to use proscuitto)
  • 4 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted and cut into 4 rectangles
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp water (egg wash)
ALTERNATIVE METHOD FOR APPETIZER VERSION 
  • 1 lb. – 1 1/2 lb. chicken breast – cut into approximately 16 pieces, pounded thin
  • Approximately 8 slices of ham, cut in half (I use prosciutto or honey ham)
  • Approximately 8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese, cut in half
  • Approximately spears of 16 asparagus
  • 2 sheets Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted and cut into 16 pieces
  • Dried thyme and sage for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten + 1 tbsp water (egg wash)

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper
  • Dredge the chicken in flour and shake off any excess
  • Heat the butter, olive oil, garlic, thyme and sage over medium-low heat in a large frying pan – saute the garlic until it’s very fragrant and begging to brown, then remove
  • Add the chicken breasts and saute for 2 minutes on each side (they will not be cooked through)
  • Set the half-cooked chicken aside in a dish and let it cool
  • Place the asparagus in a bowl of water and put in the microwave for 2 minutes
  •  Lay out your chicken breast and wrap 3 spears of asparagus with ham – place the wrapped asparagus in the middle of the chicken breast and top with the cheese
  • Fold the chicken over so the asparagus, ham and cheese is sandwiched inside and stick a toothpick through it to keep it together
  • Repeat this with the remaining 3 chicken breasts
  • On a lightly floured surface, use your fingertips to spread the puff pastry into the shape you need to wrap it around the chicken breast, while leaving the ends exposed
  • Place the chicken breast on the puff pastry (remove the toothpick) and wrap it with the puff pastry – try to get the seam on the bottom
  • Repeat this with the remaining chicken breasts and then arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray)
  • Brush the puff pastry with the egg wash
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
ALTERNATIVE METHOD FOR APPETIZER VERSION 
  • Lay out your pieces of pounded raw chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and sage
  • Next, put down the ham, then the cheese and lastly the 2 pieces of asparagus
  • Roll each bundle of raw chicken up and stick a toothpick in it to hold it in place while you prepare the puff pastry
  • Remove the toothpick and place the chicken bundle in the center of the puff pastry; fold the dough over the sides and pinch the ends to seal (basically, wrap it up like a package)
  • Place your chicken “packages” on a parchment paper lined (or greased) baking sheet; brush with the egg wash and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

These chicken tenders are the perfect accompaniment to a dish like the veggie lasagna or a great appetizer when entertaining. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. – 1  1/2 lb. chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (you can also use seasoned panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch)
  • 1 cup powdered parmesan cheese (if you have grated parmesan, just pop it in the food processor and process until it’s powdery)
  • Olive Oil

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • If you want to make chicken nuggets, cut each tenderloin in half – otherwise, just use the whole tenderloin as it is
  • Pour the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into three separate containers (I use these breading pans – they’re great)
  • Dredge your chicken it the flour (shake off any excess), then dip it in the egg, and finally coat it in breadcrumbs and parmesan
  • Continue this process with all of the chicken tenderloins
  • Brush a baking tray with olive oil and place the breaded tenders onto the tray
  • Generously brush the breaded chicken breasts with olive oil
  • Bake for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side) at 350°F
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and layer the cutlets on a dish in between paper towels (to blot excess oil)
  • If you’re making nuggets, they’re great served with honey mustard, ketchup and BBQ sauce



Chicken Parmesan

I’m always in the mood for anything followed by … Parmesan.  Plus, baking the chicken cutlets instead of frying them makes this dish a healthier choice (bonus).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts (or veal), pounded fairly thin (about 1/3″ thick)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • Olive Oil
  • Robust Red Sauce (approximately 1-2 cups, depending on preference)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino Romano), grated

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Prepare your chicken breast by pounding it out and cutting into pieces of desired size (I typically get 7-8 cutlets per pound)
  • Pour the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into three separate containers (I use these breading pans – they’re great)
  • Dredge your chicken it the flour (shake off any excess), then dip it in the egg, and finally coat it in breadcrumbs
  • Continue this process with all of the chicken breasts
  • Brush a baking tray with olive oil and place the cutlets onto the tray
  • Generously brush the breaded chicken breasts with olive oil
  • Bake for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side) at 350°F
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and layer the cutlets on a dish in between paper towels (to blot excess oil)
  • On a clean baking tray, spoon a bit of sauce where you plan on placing each cutlet.  Place the baked cutlets on top of the sauce, cover with desired amount of sauce and top off with equal parts mozzarella and parmesan (or pecorino romano) cheese
  • Put the cutlets back in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted



Chicken Marsala

This dish might sound daunting, but it’s actually really easy to make.  It pairs perfectly with wild rice and fresh veggies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb.  –  1   1/2  lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half and pounded fairly thin (you can also substitute veal)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shitake)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Pour the flour into a shallow bowl or plate
  • Season the chicken breasts (or veal) with salt and pepper and then dredge them in the flour, shaking off any excess flour
  • In a large saute or frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until its very hot but not smoking and add 1 tbsp of butter
  • Cook the chicken breasts  (or veal) until golden brown on both sides (approximately 3 minutes per side) – transfer onto a plate and set aside
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add in shallot and garlic – saute until fragrant
  • Next, add in all of the mushrooms and 1 tbsp of butter
  • Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid
  • Add the Marsala and bring to a boil, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits from the bottom
  • When the wine has reduced by 1/2 add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly
  • Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts (or veal) to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened (approximately 5-6 minutes).  If you want a thicker sauce, sprinkle in flour one tbsp at a time and stir well to avoid clumps
  • Swirl in the remaining tbsp of butter and add salt and pepper to taste