TV dinner, in a jar?
How cute are these individual pot pies?! I love the idea of serving dinner in a jar. The kids loved getting their very own portion & what is especially nice about preparing pot pies this way is you can easily add and take away veggies according to people’s likes and dislikes. This time mushrooms were the optional ingredient. I knew the kids would not want them…so I spared them the misery ((sparing them spared me–haha!!)).
The very best part of this meal was breaking into the flaky crust. Big buttery chunks of hot pastry fell into the saucy filling. My first bite instantly reminded me of when we used to have TV dinners as a kid. We would all sit around the living room eating our personal pre-portioned meal out of our very own aluminum tray. Although we didn’t sit around the TV while we ate, in honor of that memory, I decided to turn on my Bible app and we all listened to Matthew chapter 26. It led to a nice conversation – all because we ate individual savory pies that reminded me of TV dinners and watching “V” or “The Wheel” or the Huxtables…or my fav… “Magnum PI”.
I have a few tips that make preparing chicken pot pies a little simpler ((and quicker)) on a busy week night:
1 – Go to your mom’s house and ask her to make the white sauce, in return leave her enough potpie filling and crust to make 2 pies for their dinner… Because mom made the white sauce, and I didn’t measure what she did, I am sharing a basic white sauce recipe. The key is to use equal parts butter and flour when making the roux. Mom said “I should know how to make a white sauce…it is the first thing “they” teach in Home EC…” I didn’t take Home EC, because she didn’t let me — I had to take Calculus instead…I haven’t used Calculus in 18 years but, I sure could stand to know how to make a white sauce…hahaha!!
2 – Use a pie crust mix, or even a refrigerated crust…OR puff pastry that is a great idea ((if you are pie crust illiterate like I am–again goes back to Calculus)).
3 – Buy 2 rotisserie chickens from SAM’s and use all of the breast meat for the filling. (Save the dark meat for chicken enchiladas).
4 – Use a bag of frozen veggie mix and frozen diced potatoes (I did not use frozen and dinner was delayed because of it— you certainly don’t have to, just throwing out there as an option).
5 – Pre-cook your fresh veggies to reduce baking time.
- 3 c diced cooked chicken breast, I used the breast meat from 2 rotisserie chickens
- 1 c chopped fresh green beans
- 1/2 c fresh mushrooms, diced
- 1 c frozen peas
- 2 c diced carrots
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 1/2 c potato (sliced thinly or frozen diced potatoes)
- 1/3 c unsalted butter
- 1/3 c flour
- 2 c whole milk
- 2 c chicken stock (or 2 c white wine)
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- zest of one lemon (optional)
- fresh herbs, 2 T each, chives, parsley & thyme (optional)
- use 2 refrigerated rolls of pie crust
- a pie crust mix
- -or- make your own
- just be sure it's enough for 2-10" pie crusts
- Pre-heat oven to 375°.
- Pre-cook veggies by sautéing carrots, onions, potatoes and mushrooms. Chop fresh green beans in 1" pieces and place in a microwavable bowl with 1 c of salted water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4-5 minutes, until green beans are tender but still bright green.
- While the veggies are cooking, start your white sauce by adding butter and flour to a pan over media heat. Stir until butter melts and combines with flour and the paste turns golden brown in color. Remove from heat, add milk and chicken stock, whisk until smooth and return to heat. Bring back up to a boil and stir until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Make pie crusts according to instructions, roll out two pie crust rounds and cut each round into fourths.
- In a large bowl, combine diced chicken, veggies and white sauce. At this point you can add the zest of one lemon & any fresh herbs you like ((I forgot to do this and won't make that mistake next time)). Taste and season with S&P if necessary.
- Add filling to 6- 8 oz jars**. Place quartered pie crust dough over each jar, allowing edges of crust to over-hang jar by an 1". Press and crimp pie crust onto jar rim. I liked covering the entire top of the jar with the dough, as if the dough were the lid, covering the threads on the mouth of the jar. ((...if that won't confuse the situation...I don't know what will.)) Place one or two slits in the tops of each pie, allowing steam to vent out while baking.
- Place the 6 jars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place into the pre-heated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until crust is done and a medium golden brown.
- Remove and serve.
- * White Sauce: When we made the cream sauce it didn't thicken as much as we would like so mom compounded more flour and butter, removed the liquid from the heat, added the compound, stirred until smooth and placed back on the heat, bringing it up to a boil. I hope these measurements will keep you from having to do that.
- Also, if I were to make this cream sauce again, I would add zest of one lemon, fresh herbs and sub white wine for the chicken stock. Play around and see what your tastes preferences are,
- **Make sure your do not fill the jars up too much, leave about 1/2" between the filling and the top of the jar, otherwise the filling will boil over while baking in the oven.