i used to use my mom's recipe for chicken pot pie, but i came up with a new version that is similar by replacing canned cream of chicken soup, which often contains msg, with a homemade cream sauce, and replacing the crust with a homemade whole wheat version. if you're scared of fat, this dish is not for you, but in my opinion, if you eat real food with real fat in it you don't need as much to be satisfied. it is pretty time consuming (i divide it into 2 days), so whenever i make it, i try and get 3 or 4 out of it and freeze the others to use over the next couple of months. this is a great example of a way you can feed your family organic on a budget. i'm going to give you my freezer meals version, which will make several casserole dishes full, but you can obviously divide it by 3 or 4 to make 1. you'll need the following ingredients:
- chicken (see step 1 below)
- 3 sticks butter
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- salt and pepper
- 8 cups chicken broth (you'll have some from your cooked chicken if you want to use it, but you'll probably need to supplement to get this much)
- 4 cups milk
- 2 or 3 bags frozen vegetables
- 1 T baking powder
- 2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk + 2 T white vinegar)
1. start with bone-in chicken and a crock pot. i've used a whole (big) organic chicken, or when i wanted to cut costs, bought bone-in split chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound at kroger. 6 or 7 breasts should be enough. boneless skinless chicken is easier and can definitely be used, but i think something about cooking chicken with bones and skin, while gross, adds flavor. sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, add water to the crock pot so you end up with more broth when it's done, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. remove the skin and bones, shred the chicken and put it aside, and put the broth in a bowl to cover and refrigerate (i leave it overnight. you'll want to give it atleast a few hours).
2. dealing with the broth is gross, so you can throw it out and use canned if you want to, but i don't like to waste anything (especially when i've used organic chicken). if you want to use it, after you've refrigerated it, take it out and look at the lovely chunk of fat on top. it's a whitish color. scrape all of that off and don't gag when you look at the chicken jelly underneath. once you microwave the "jelly", it becomes more broth-like and you'll feel a little better about using it. sit it aside to combine with your other ingredients soon.
3. in a saucepan, melt a stick of butter and add a cup of olive oil to it. whisk in a cup of whole wheat flour and 4 teaspoons of salt. stir in 4 cups of chicken broth (either canned or from your cooked chicken) and 4 cups of milk (i use 2%).
3. combine the following in a huge bowl:
- shredded chicken
- 2 or 3 bags of frozen veggies. i use peas and corn because brett doesn't really like carrots or anything else, but you could use mixed veggies if you like it all.
- 4 cups of chicken broth (again, canned or from cooked chicken)
- cream sauce you just made
- salt and pepper to taste
4. pour your combined ingredients into however many casserole dishes you're using (you can spray them with olive oil, but i think there's enough fat in the recipe to keep it from sticking.)
5. combine the following in a separate bowl: 2 sticks melted butter, 2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of buttermilk (i usually don't keep buttermilk on hand, so i make it out of milk since i always have that. just mix a tablespoon of white vinegar into each cup of milk you're using, let it sit for atleast 5 minutes to sour it, and pour into your recipe as usual. i finally figured this out after throwing away carton after carton of half-used buttermilk).
6. spoon your crust mixture onto the casseroles and smooth it with the back of your spoon. it will seem really thin, and some of the vegetables might poke through, but i've tried it with more crust, and i like the taste of a thinner crust much better...not as doughy.
7. bake one casserole on 350 for about an hour. cover the rest tightly and freeze...probably up to 3 months or so.
it's hard work, i know. maybe it's considered part of a good diet since you're too tired to eat it once you're done cooking it, but you can try one of the frozen ones next time ;) enjoy!