Friday, March 12, 2010
This morning I made a chicken pot pie and 2 chicken macaroni bakes. I would highly recommend making these at the same time because you can literally make them in 2 pots side by side on your stovetop. First, get 2 pretty large pots; preferably ones that you can not only boil water in but also cook the mixture in. Those colorful cast iron pots work great; I have two of the Le Creuset pots that Chad's mom gave us as a wedding gift, but you can get the same exact thing - for a lot cheaper - just about anywhere now, including TJ Maxx.
I am going to post the recipes at the bottom, but here are step by step instructions for preparing both at once! I thought that would be convenient for those of you that are actually trying this.
First, boil about 6 chicken breasts in one pot and boil 1 box of elbox macaroni noodles in the other. Then drain both in separate strainers. I left them each in their own strainer in the sink, rinsed out the pots, and put them back on the stove to prepare the rest.
From here on out, Pot 1 will be Chicken Pot Pie and Pot 2 will be the Macaroni Bake.
To Pot 1, add 1/2 stick butter. To Pot 2, add 2 T. butter.
Then add 1/2 cup chopped onion to both pots and saute the onion until transparent.
While the onion is cooking, shred or chop up your chicken.
SIDE NOTE: Do you HATE shredding chicken as much as I do? Well, this will make the job MUCH easier. These are from Pampered Chef, and they are actually called Salad Choppers or something like that. They are meant to be used for chopping up lettuce. But I have found that I don't really have a need for chopping up a bunch of lettuce. I DO, however, have a need for shredding/chopping chicken, and this little contraption is PERFECT and makes the task seem like a breeze. Ok, back to cooking...
To Pot 1, stir in 1/4 cup flour, then whisk in 1/2 cup milk and 1.5 cups chicken broth, 1 tsp thyme and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then simmer 20 minutes until thick. Then add about half a bag of frozen mixed veggies (I bought the Great Value brand of course, which has carrots, green beans, peas and corn) and 2 cups cooked chicken. Let these sit a while so that the veggies thaw out in the mixture.
To Pot 2, stir in 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1/4 cup milk, 1.5 cups of the chicken, and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Heat until the cheese melts then stir in your macaroni noodles.
Prepare your pie crust for your chicken pot pie casserole dish. These come ready-made in the refridgerator section of your grocery store, next to the canned biscuits. They come 2 to a box, and that's all you need. Press one crust onto the bottom of you dish. Pour the chicken pot pie mixture into the dish. Then put the other pie crust on top; trim the edges so that it's nice and neat.
Then you are DONE! Pour each into your casserole dishes and cool. Then cover and transfer to the freezer.
For the chicken pot pie: When ready to serve, remove from freezer. Vent the top of the crust by cutting small slits with a knife. Brush the entire crust with milk or egg wash. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for 1 hour.
For the chicken macaroni bake: Remove from freezer. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes if thawed, 1 hour if frozen.
Here are the individual recipes in case you want to make these separately:
Chicken Pot Pie (makes 1 8x8)
2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 bag frozen mixed veggies
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp thyme
2 ready-made pie crusts
Cook chicken and set aside. Saute butter and onion on low, then add flour. Whisk in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; simmer until thick. Stir in seasonings. Stir in chicken and veggies. Cool. Cover. Freeze. Bake.
Chicken Macaroni Bake (makes 2 8x8)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 T butter
1/4 cup milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
1.5 cups cooked chopped chicken
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 box elbow macaroni
Cook pasta and set aside. Saute butter and onion. Stir in soup, chicken, milk, cheese. Heat til cheese melts. Pour in noodles. Mix well. Pour into casserole dish. Cool, cover, freeze. Bake at 350 for 1 hour if frozen, 30 minutes if thawed.
Some suggestions: I had to add a little extra milk to both dishes while cooking, just to be sure that everything got a good coating. Just eyeball it. You can't mess it up. Also, you could easily add brocoli or peas or green beans to the chicken macaroni bake. Not only will you add veggies and make it extra healthy, you will make the dish look a lot prettier; it is an all brown dish, not so appealing to the eyes but again, still VERY yummy and filling. I wish I'd thought to add some green veggies beforehand! If you do this, I'd recommend using double the milk and an extra can of cream of chicken.