Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pot Pie

On chilly early winter days, nothing seems to hit the spot more than a comforting dinner. I throughly enjoy coming home from work and, if time permits, preparing a good meal! One of my absolute favorite cold day dishes includes chicken pot pie. Mmm...savory filling with buttery pie crust? Yes, please. Last year, however, I found a way to make the traditional chicken pot pie a little more spunky. I combined flavors of crowd-pleasing spinach artichoke dip with the classic dinner and-- ta-da! Welcome my Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pot Pie.

You can thank my friend, Instagram, for all my "managed to get some photos in with bad lighting" images. Cheers!

This here, like the dip, is a people and belly friendly meal. I've made it several times for my fiancĂ©, best friend, and colleagues. Also, like a good friend, this pot pie easily supports your needs; if you're out of pie dough, make this recipe into a pasta with our favorite noodles. Simply add 1/2-1 cup of extra milk (to your desired thickness) and about 1 extra cup of Parmesan cheese.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pot Pie
serves 4-6

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 ½-3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into chunks)
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ large red onion, diced
1 can of artichoke hearts--unseasoned, drained, and chopped
1 10 oz package of frozen spinach-- thawed and drained well
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk (I used fat-free)
salt and pepper
¾ cup fresh Parmesan
½ cup grated Gouda cheese
1 egg
1 prepared and rolled out  (to fit the size of your dish) round of pie dough using the recipe below(If you are lazy and purchase yours from the grocery store, I won't tell ;) )
a deep pie or round baking dish (9")

1. Season the chunks of chicken breast with salt and pepper (about 3/4-1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper). Once a medium heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil is heated on medium heat, add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes just until sides are lightly browned. Turn the heat off and remove the chicken, leaving the oil and bits in the pan, and set aside.

2. Turn the heat back on medium-high and add the garlic and onions. Saute for about 2 minutes or until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Add the spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and about 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper; stir together and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the butter and after it melts down into the mixture, sprinkle in the flour and then use a whisk to combine everything together. The mixture should thicken up and be slightly dry looking-- cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk and continuously stir until  the mixture becomes very thick (about 3-4 minutes on a medium flame). Add the parmesan cheese, gouda, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Replace the cooked chicken back into the pan and stir to combine altogether. Turn off the flame.

3. Carefully pour the pot pie filling into the pie or baking dish. Cover with the rolled out pie dough and fold over and/or cinch the sides to create a decorative border. Pinch down the sides gently and use a knife to create a few 1" slits on top for steam to escape. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and gently brush it over the surface. Season with a little additional salt and pepper on top, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or just until the crust has become a golden brown. Remove and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Pie Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water

1. In a food processor, pulse together flour, and salt, to combine. Add cubed butter and process until mixture is crumbly and pea-sized balls form. While food processor is on, slowly stream in cold water until a loose ball of dough forms. Remove from processor and gently knead together; wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes (if storing longer than 30 minutes, remove and let it sit for about 10 minutes so the dough is not too hard to roll out).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wear What You Eat

Wear this Ellie Eternity Scarf by Bearded Owls Hoot on Etsy  during these cold weather months and eat this scrumptious strawberry cupcake with strawberry meringue buttercream from Martha Stewart.

One-Bowl Wonder Brownies

Sometimes, I get a craving for something sweet and decadent. Often times, I crinkle my nose at the thought of processed sweets or pre-made grocery store desserts. Usually, there isn't a unique and taste-bud worthy bakery around when I want there to be.

It's a good thing that these chewy, moist, and satisfying chocolate brownies took one bowl to prepare in and about 30 minutes to bake. That's what I call a one-bowl wonder.

Did I mention that there's a good amount of non-fat Greek yogurt included to swap out some oil? Did I also mention that their still so delicious that my fiancĂ© didn't even notice? And, trust me-- he's got the kind of sweet tooth to notice. ;)

One-Bowl Wonder Brownies (made with Greek yogurt)
this recipe is for one 9x13" baking pan 

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup dark unprocessed cocoa powder
1 cup + 3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp hazelnut liquor 
*optional add-ins: walnuts, chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, (or with a hand held mixer and a large bowl) mix together the canola oil and Greek yogurt on medium until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the white and brown sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs (one at a time), vanilla extract, and hazelnut liquor. If you are choosing to add chocolate chips or nuts, gently fold them in at this point.

2. Pour the batter into a lightly buttered and floured 9x13" baking dish and smooth over the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and allow to cool before handling and eating.