Fall comfort foods… Chicken Pot Pie and Apple Crisp

I was in the mood to celebrate Fall, especially the fact that October is almost here (my favorite month).  🙂

Today I made chicken pot pie and apple crisp…. mmm fall goodness. Both recipes follow. I forgot to take a photo from the oven. I only got a photo of the aftermath… half way through my pot pie, and that’s just not pretty.

I used a pot pie recipe from the latest issue of Everyday Food but doubled it and made some modifications. My stoneware soup bowls are 16 oz, double the size of the ramekins suggested, so they’re huge. It made 5 large bowls worth (only 4 had chicken and I added extra veg to the meat-free one). Would make about 9-10 ramekins. Here is my version:

Chicken and Veggie Pot Pie

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, diced medium
  • 10 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or veggie stock + 1 cup water
  • 2/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (next time I think I’ll use peas)
  • 3 to 4 cups diced cooked chicken (I used 2 small rotisserie chickens and picked them, but one chicken was overcooked so I didn’t use much of it)
  • dried thyme (I used about 1/2 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper (needs quite a bit of seasoning if you use stock instead of broth)
  • 2 sheets thawed puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion, celery, carrots, and thyme and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add stock and water, stirring constantly, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in green beans and chicken (omit chicken and substitute another veggie for vegetarian option- I used broccoli this time, next time I’ll use green beans) and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Divide filling among ramekins or oven-safe soup crocks. Roll out the puff pastry and cut rounds to fit bowls or ramekins. Don’t leave the puff pastry out too long to defrost or it gets so soft that it cannot be unfolded! I wound up having to use a rolling pin to roll the sheets out from the folded state.  Cut a small X in center of each to vent, then place on top of filling. Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 375 degrees until filling is bubbling and crust is golden, about 40 minutes.

Apple Crisp

This is a hybrid recipe, Mom’s recipe with doubled crisp topping and a few of Chris’ and my special touches… it fills a 9×13 inch pyrex.

8 large or 12 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters or sixths depending on size – not too thin! (always make it a blend; this time I used some granny smith, gala, and braeburn)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (plus more to sprinkle on apples and on top of completed crisp)
  • vanilla extract (see directions for details)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel, core, and cut apples into quarters (for medium) or sixths (for large apples). Sprinkle apples with a little lemon juice while cutting them to keep them from turning brown. Put into buttered pyrex baking pan. Sprinkle apples with a little vanilla extract and some cinnamon.
  2. In bowl, combine softened butter, flour, salt, sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix with hands until forms large clumps.
    Break up into crumbs over apples in pan. Sprinkle topping with a little more cinnamon just before baking.
  3. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until you can see juice bubbling along sides and top is golden. Serve warm. Serve it to Chris with vanilla ice cream.   🙂  Sooooo delicious.



Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Mmmmm… it’s so good, and super easy. How could I not love that?
I made it really easy by buying pre-peeled and cut butternut squash in the produce section. Then I just chopped it up. I also bought a bag of frozen sliced leeks from Trader Joe’s (excellent). The hardest part was peeling and chopping 3 apples. So easy.  🙂 This is my stripped-down version of Michael Chiarello’s recipe.

2 tbsp butter
1 cup sliced leeks (white and lightest green parts only)

4 cups butternut squash, chopped (about 1/2″ cubes, can be a little bigger)
3 organic apples (3 cups chopped) – I used fuji, braeburn and gala

36 oz chicken stock (approx, anywhere from 32-40oz is fine)
salt and pepper

In heavy soup pot (dutch oven) melt butter until it turns nut brown. Add garlic clove (cut in half), and add leeks (I saved time and nuked the frozen leeks first).  Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add squash and apples (season with salt and pepper) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add stock, bring to low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes (covered about 3/4 way with lid) until squash and apples are soft.
Blend with an immersion blender (watch for hot soup splatters!) and serve immediately.

It made 10 cups of soup, 92 calories per cup. Yum!

Best birthday dinner ever… Little Neck clams, broccoli greens, and apple bread with milky brie

Chris and I spent the day pretending it was my birthday… since I’ll be working a really late day on the actual bday.
After a lazy morning and great morning run, we headed to Princeton and spent a couple of hours walking around the campus and town. It’s the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen.  🙂
We had a great lunch at the Witherspoon grill. We had steamed little neck clams, sesame crusted tuna with bok choy, and spinach salad (we shared the tuna and salad). Yum!
After all of this exercise (and all of the traffic on US 1), I decided to stop at Wegmans, the best store in the world, and we bought more clams, tons of veggies and splurged on bread and brie… mmmm….

When we got home, I made:

Steamed Little Neck Clams
Bag of 50 little neck clams
1.5 cups white wine
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Lemon (to squeeze over before eating)
Parsley (to top after cooked)
Bring all except clams to boil in wide pot. Add clams and cook with lid tilted open a little until clams open. Throw away unopened clams.

Sauteed Broccoli Greens
2 bunches broccoli greens (leaves, stems)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp evoo
1 tbsp butter
Heat oil, butter, add greens and garlic (grated on microplane), and cook until softens a bit. Delicious!

Then, for dessert, we had Wegmans milky brie with their fresh baked apple cider golden raisin bread. Heaven! Best way to end a birthday.  🙂

Smitten Kitchen’s Mom’s Apple Cake

Found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog. I followed the recipe exactly, but should have read more of the 600-or-so comments first, as it said to cook for 90 minutes, and that was way too long. Bottom half of cake was totally dried out. The top half was good. I prefer the Everyday Food Apple Bundt cake.

Individual Apple Oatmeal Crisps

Of course, I forgot to take pictures before everyone ate them; this one from the web looked pretty close but mine didn’t drip over the side.
I made one with Splenda for Pop, that’s the only exception to the recipe.
I made 4 ramekins because I was a little dippy this morning and forgot to count myself.  🙂

My own recipe….
4 small granny smith apples
4 tbsp butter, softened
4 tsp dark brown sugar (used 1 tsp Splenda for Baking for Pop’s instead)
1/8 cup old fashioned oats
1/8 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel, core, and slice apples to about 1/8-1/4″ thick. Lightly coat 4 ramekins with cooking spray or butter.
Put one sliced apple in each ramekin. Mix remaining ingredients until crumbs form. Top ramekins and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Serve warm.

Easiest Applesauce Ever

We had some yummy September apples from apple picking last weekend with Dad so I decided to search through my cook books for an interesting applesauce recipe that did not require butter. Last year I made the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Applesauce and it actually had a stick of butter in it! That said, it was delicious.
This year, as we plot our dropping pounds on Livestrong, I had to find a better alternative.

I made Shirley O. Corriher’s Easy Applesauce from her book, CookWise. Her explanations are so wonderful… you really understand how things cook, what happens, and why it’s best to cook it her way. It’s the fastest thing I’ve ever made. How can you go wrong with 4 ingredients? Apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
My only complaint is that I think the sugar can have been cut in half. Even Chris thinks it’s too sweet. But boy, is it easy. I’m definitely going to make it again, next time with half the sugar.

5 apples
1/2 cup light brown sugar (I think this can be cut in half)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Peel, core, and cut apples into wedges. Throw wedges into a microwave safe glass bowl. Really. Microwave! I couldn’t believe it. Nuke them on High (covered) for 10 minutes. They’ll froth and bubble.
Take out bowl (carefully!) and mash. I like to leave some big chunks too. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Eat. Ta daaaa! That’s it!

It was delicious. My photo is after it had been in the fridge for 2 days.

Apple Pie Redux

I made the Blue Ribbon Apple pie from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book [ATK FBB] once again, this time for Aunt Mary’s Thanksgiving in February dinner. Yum Yum!
This time I tinkered with the recipe since Chris thought it needed to be sweeter and also needed more cinnamon. He was right.
I still use the ATK FBB All-Butter Double Pie Crust recipe. It’s just perfect.
My changes to the filling were:
add 2 tbsp granulated sugar
add 2 tsp brown sugar
use 1/2 tsp cinnamon (instead of 1/8)
I also used nearly all of the liquid after draining the filling, nearly 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup.
I added the lemon juice to the filling when cooking, not after the fact.
I also changed the apples I used. I used almost 5 lbs of apples, 6 granny smith, 3 red delicious, 3 macintosh. This allowed for more sweet apples, and a nice blend of textures in the pie, firm to soft.