Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

I used to make Chicken Pot Pie quite often when Paul and I were living in England, but once Paul started cooking more, I stopped. Well that all changed yesterday, when I spent hours in the kitchen making dough and filling for Chicken Pot Pie...and let me just tell you, I was very pleased with myself ;)

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INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PIE CRUST:

·         2 1/2 cups flour

·         1 tbsp sugar

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup cold unsalted butter -  cut into cubes

·         1/2 cup cold whole milk

·         1 egg, beaten, for the egg wash

 

FOR THE FILLING:

·         1/4 cup unsalted butter

·         1/3 cup diced onion

·         1 1/2-2 medium carrots sliced (about 3/4-1 cup)

·         1 bunch of broccolini (about 1 cup) 

·         1 Russet potato chopped

·         1 sweet potato or yam chopped

·         2 cloves garlic minced

·         1/3 cup flour

·         1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

·         1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley

·         2 teaspoons salt

·         1 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth

·         1/2 cup heavy cream

·         2-3 chicken breasts shredded

·         1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt 

·         ½ teaspoon white pepper 

 

1.    First, make the pie crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cubed butter and pulse. Continue pulsing until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture, resembling sand or pea size pieces. Place the flour mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill the butter.

2.    While your butter is in the freezer, boil your chicken and potatoes in water for 10 minutes. Your potatoes & chicken shouldn't be completely cooked since they will be cooked further in the oven. Once they are done, strain and let your chicken cool before shredding. Shred your chicken and set aside with the potatoes. 

3.    Remove your flour mixture from freezer and add your milk. Pulse until it comes together. If the mixture is too dry, add water, a tbsp at a time. Divide the dough in two and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge while you make the filling (at least one hour).

4.    To make the filling, heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, broccolini, and garlic and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the flour, salt, garlic salt, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, parsley, chicken broth, and heavy cream. Whisk until there are no flour lumps and then simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Stir in the shredded chicken and potatoes. Remove from heat and set aside while you roll out the pie dough.

5.    Preheat oven to 400°F.

6.    Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit inside your pan or ceramic dish. Tip: your dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer dough to your pie pan. Pat with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Trim the extra overhang of dough with a knife and discard. Fill pie with filling. Roll out the second disk of dough and carefully cover the pie (or make any design your heart desires, like circles). Make sure to use your egg wash to seal the bottom pie crust to the top and around the edges. Trim the extra overhang off the sides if there are any. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers, if necessary. With a sharp knife, slice a few small slits in the center of the top crust. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust and edges with the rest of your egg wash.

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7.    Bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool for 20-30 minutes and then cut into slices and serve. Note: save for leftovers or cool completely and freeze for up to 1 month.

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Enjoy!

-Halee

Sun Basket Review

Sun Basket, an organic food delivery service based in the Bay area, reached out to have me review their product. I haven't blogged, let alone reviewed a product, in such a long time so I wasn't sure this was something I wanted to commit to. 

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After doing my research I learned a lot about Sun Basket and was very impressed: 

  • Sun Basket is a certified organic handler, and strives to source organic produce 100% of the time (currently over 99% of their produce is organic).
  • Organic ingredients are clearly labeled on delivery.
  • They work exclusively with ranchers and farmers who raise their animals responsibly and sustainably. 
  • All of their seafood is wild-caught, never farmed.
  • All of their fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a leading authority in sustainable seafood.
  • Their meal plans are dietitian-approved like Paleo, Lean & Clean, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, and more, which make healthy eating easy.
  • Their packaging is 100% recyclable and compostable.
  • Sun Basket works with local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and shops to offer the best ingredients each week. 
  • The executive chef/owner of Sun Basket, Justine Kelly, spent time at Slanted Door restaurant. She also was mentioned in Gourmet Magazine and had an appearance on Iron Chef.

All of these details about Sun Basket (+ many more) made me say "let's do this". I received my first week's meals this past week and will receive my second batch next week. Each box included 3 meals, of my choosing, to prepare. I chose Lemongrass Tofu, Salmon and Quinoa Bowls and Tomato-Coconut Shrimp this week. Out of the three, my favorite were the Lemongrass Tofu + Tomato-Coconut Shrimp. 

Lemongrass Tofu

 Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

Lemongrass Tofu with shiitake mushrooms and coconut black rice.

This meal was so flavorful and fun to make! The process was simple enough for anyone to execute, whether you are comfortable in the kitchen or not. Starting with the rice, you let that cook for a good 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, you are able to prepare and cook everything else. This made things almost effortless.

What was inside (serves 2): 

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  • Black Rice
  • Coconut milk
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Hodo Soy firm tofu
  • Onion 
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sun Basket Lemongrass paste (lemongrass, EVOO, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, ground turmeric)
  • Sunflower sprouts
  • Sun Basket stir-fry blend (gluten-free tamari, sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger)

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp

 Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

Tomato-Coconut Shrimp over broccoli "rice".

This meal, like Lemongrass Tofu, was bursting with the right amount of flavors that both Paul and I pleasantly enjoyed. The broccoli rice was a nice addition to an already healthy-ish meal. This is one I will gladly recreate again and am looking forward to the results. 

What's inside (serves 2):

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  • Broccoli rice
  • Wild gulf shrimp
  • Red chile flakes
  • Onion
  • Peeled fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Baby spinach
  • Shaved coconut

Things to know about Sun Basket:

  • Pricing does seem to be a bit steep; $11.99 per serving. Considering all of the local organic ingredients they use, it may be worth this price, especially if you don't have all the time in the world to go grocery shopping. The fact that they provide the exact measurements of what you need in each dish is convenient and makes things incredibly easy. (easy seems to be the constant word here). 
  • You can choose 2, 3, or 4 meals per week (depending on your menu plan) and can mix & match them (making some vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, etc.) within your meal plan (classic/family).
  • You can skip a delivery or cancel your plan at any time. 
  • Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding AK, HI, MT, & parts of NM.
  • Your pantry should include olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil, plus salt and freshly-ground pepper. They occasionally call for wine or butter as an optional recipe item. You'll need basic pots and pans, a knife, and basic utensils.

I really enjoyed the first week's meal plan and am excited to try next week's! Check back in to see my thoughts when I review Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs, Bucatini Pomodoro and Saigon Noodles with Braised Tofu. 

 

Cheers, Halee

Homemade Pasta Recipe

About 4 years ago, when I first moved to the UK to be with Paul, I started baking. That's where it all began. I told myself that in the future I wanted to have my own bakery, plant my own garden, and make my own pasta from scratch. I did try it a few times after learning how when I attended Betty's Cookery School, but since being back in the states I haven't. 

Fast forward 4 years and I can't stop making it, and we eat pasta A LOT. We almost always have carbonara and spaghetti & meatballs for dinner every week, and I always try to make the pasta for the carbonara. 

To be honest, its quite simple-only 2 ingredients (3 if you need to add some water), and you most likely have these ingredients in your cupboard. 

Ingredients (3 servings)

-2 cups of all purpose flour

-3 eggs (I use organic eggs so that I get that yellow tint in the pasta)

-Water if needed 

-Semolina flour (for dusting)

What equipment you'll need (to make things easier)

-Rolling pin (you could get away with not having this if you have a pasta machine)

-Pasta machine (this is crucial for me; it really makes things easier, less time consuming and overall consistent.

-Bench scraper (you could use a knife instead)

-Food processor (again, your can do this by hand but it will take much longer)

 Again, this is 3 servings. If you want just 2 servings, only use 2 eggs and 1 1/3 cup of flour. 

Again, this is 3 servings. If you want just 2 servings, only use 2 eggs and 1 1/3 cup of flour. 

Gather your ingredients. You can use a food processor (like I am doing) to make things easier and quicker, or you can opt to do it the traditional way (on the table). 

Add your flour and eggs together in your food processor. 

Pulse to combine. If you mixture looks like the picture, you may need to add 1 teaspoon of cold water (one at a time), until it comes together (I ended up adding 3 or 4). 

It should end up looking like this. 

Take your dough out of the processor and knead it for about 3-5 minutes (you don't want to do this too long; remember the processor did some of the work.) If you are doing it by hand without the processor, you'd ideally knead for about 10 minutes until there's so much elasticity built up that you won't be able to continue. Next, let it rest for 20-30 minutes in cling film on the table (we need the gluten to now relax, since we just worked it when kneading). 

Make sure your work surface is lightly floured. If you have a bench scraper, use that to cut your dough into 4 (almost) equal sections. 

Take one of your four sections and, using your rolling pin, roll out your dough. Make sure your pasta machine is set on its lowest/widest setting (0 for me). Guide it through multiple times, folding in half like a book or even in thirds if it's too long. I usually fold and guide through at least 8-10 times on the the first go through setting 0. The first couple of times I tried making pasta I didn't do this and the pasta didn't turn out. From my research, putting the dough through several times allows the gluten to stretch and makes for a tastier pasta. After your several times on setting 0 (the widest setting), move on to setting 1, or the next on your machine. You don't necessarily need to run it through as many times as you would on your lowest setting, but I still run it through a few times. I also let it rest a minute or 2 before running through the next setting, so that the gluten can relax. 

Eventually you will have a long sheet of pasta (pictured), which is setting 5. You can make it as thick or thin as you want it. I personally like thicker pasta so I stopped here. I have gone to setting 6 for thinner fettuccine. Also, make sure you aren't letting your pasta get sticky. Constantly have flour handy if needed.  

Next, guide your sheet of pasta through your fettuccine or spaghetti setting, or cut your pasta yourself with a knife! My pasta machine already has those 2 pasta settings so it makes it easy, but I've cut my own pasta before when making tagliatelle and it's definitely fun! 

Repeat these steps another 3 times with the rest of your dough sections. You'll end up with a mound of pasta that you can't wait to stuff your face with. *heart eyes*

SO MUCH PASTA.

Boil pasta for a few minutes (yes, only a few minutes!) and create your favorite dish. We made carbonara and it was divine. Simply divine. Now, it's your turn! 

Thanks for reading guys! Shoot me message if you have any questions. Until next time.

-Halee 

Matcha Shortbread Cookie Recipe

I'm currently obsessed with matcha, among other things, so I am always trying to use/create/tweak/test recipes that include it. I love the Peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread cookies that I make and a friend asked me to do some sort of matcha cookie, so I thought...matcha shortbread cookies! I use Martha Stewart's recipe as a reference and tweak a few bits. What to make with matcha next?!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons green tea powder or matcha powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or granulated sugar will work too
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Raw sugar for rolling
  • Matcha sugar (matcha powder and granulated sugar combined) for rolling

DIRECTIONS

  • Whisk together flour, matcha, and salt in a small bowl. Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer bowl on medium until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low, slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.
  • Transfer your dough to a piece of parchment paper; shape into one big log or you can make multiple logs to make it easier. Scatter raw sugar and matcha sugar on your piece of parchment paper. Roll each log up and down the parchment paper to cover it in sugar. Using plastic wrap, wrap your log (s) up and secure them (I use a paper towel roll cut down the middle; see picture). Freeze for one hour or refrigerate for two.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap frozen/cold logs and slice 1/2 inch thick. Place an inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets on wire racks. 

French Style Country Bread Recipe

My husband and I love bread! We eat it with pasta, with soup, and we are always eating toast in the morning. Talk about carbs! So, with that being said I thought I should try and make my own at home. This way, I know what is going in it while feeling a sense of pride for accomplishing what some claim to be a tough job (and it definitely is). Here is a recipe I follow from King Arthur Flour.

Starter

  • 1 cup cool to lukewarm water (90°F to 100°F)
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) white whole wheat flour or premium whole wheat flour
  • 1 Mimosa (optional)

Dough

  • all of the starter (above)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (100°F to 115°F)
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups unbleached bread flour 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, to taste

Instructions

  • To make the starter: Stir all of the starter ingredients together to make a thick, pudding-like mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 2 hours. For best flavor, let the starter rest longer; overnight (up to 16 hours) is best. How'd that mimosa get there?!?

 

  • To make the dough: Stir down the starter with a spoon and add the water, yeast, sugar, 3 1/4 cups of the flour, and the salt (I add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt for a better taste). The dough will be a loose, messy mass. Let it rest for 12 to 15 minutes, then stir it again; it should become more cohesive and a bit smoother. Dough handles better once it's had time for the flour to absorb the water while resting and relaxing. By using this method, you'll tend to add less flour, and have much bigger holes in your finished bread.

 

  • Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, to make a soft dough, 10 to 12 minutes (or 3-5 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook).

 

  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or plastic container, cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until almost doubled (this could be 1 to 2 hours). If you're going out, or if you prefer, let the dough rise slowly in the fridge. If your dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature before shaping; it'll warm up and rise at the same time.

 

  • Deflate the dough gently, but don't knock out all the air; this will create those "holes" so important to French bread. For one large loaf, form the dough into a round ball; for two loaves, divide the dough in half and shape into two balls.

 

  • Place a cornmeal-dusted piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet (I use my dutch oven). Gently place the ball(s) of dough on the baking sheet (or dutch oven), seam-side down.

 

  • Cover the bread gently with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise until it's puffy and about 40% to 50% larger, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.

 

  • Preheat your oven to 475°F.

 

  • Slash or cross-hatch the bread with a sharp knife or lame. Dust it with a little flour. Spritz water into the oven with a clean plant mister, and place the bread in the oven. Reduce the heat to 425°F and spritz with water every few minutes for the first 15 minutes of baking.

 

  • Bake the bread for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it's a rich golden brown, and its interior temperature registers at least 190°F on a digital thermometer. The smaller loaves will bake more quickly, so keep your eye on them.

 

  • Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store bread, loosely wrapped in paper, for a couple of days at room temperature; wrap it in plastic and freeze for longer storage.

 

  • Yield: 1 large or 2 medium loaves.

Enjoy!

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Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

I have had the biggest urge to bake with fruits lately. For instance my mini apple pies I made the other day, and just this morning I attempted to make homemade fruit roll-ups (not a success). Then, my fiance requested that I make raspberry brownies (these are not gluten-free) and I thought "why not?". I thought to myself, that those two ingredients combined could make a killer brownie, so I did it. Once again I caved in to my husbands' needs (ladies stay strong!). I present to you, my chocolate raspberry brownies, with more raspberries on top. Enjoy!

*Makes: 16 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup (220g) semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 3/4 cup (80g) milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 2 cups (400g) dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (140g) plain flour
  • 10 tbsp (50g) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup (240g) raspberries, chopped

Directions

Step 1: Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/360F. Line a baking tray tin with foil and sprat with cooking spray. Set aside. 

Step 2: Put all of your chocolate, butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan on medium-low heat and gently melt, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until everything has melted and is combined well. Remove from the heat. Let sit for a few minutes before adding any other ingredients.

Step 3: Beat eggs before adding to the chocolate mixture. Once beaten, add them, one by one, into the melted chocolate mixture. Then add the flour and cocoa, and stir in slowly. 

Step 4: Chop up your raspberries if you haven't done so already and then stir half of them into the mixture. Scrape the mixture into your pan lined with foil and make sure the surface is even. Add the other half by scattering them over the top of the brownie mixture. Bake on the middle shelf for 35-45 minutes or, if you prefer a firmer texture, add another 5 minutes more. 

Step 5: Cool before slicing into squares. Serve with a cold glass of milk and some fresh raspberries on the side. Enjoy! (First picture was when it was baked for 35 minutes and then I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and that is the second picture. I would honestly leave it in the oven for closer to an hour if you don't want a gooey inside, but if you do, then 45 minutes should be okay!)