Mini-Pot Pies

I love this recipe!!!

I found it on Pinterest as part of a collection of recipes using muffin tins: 24 Awesome Muffin Tin Recipes.  There are a bunch of recipes on here that I plan on trying, but I ended up going for the Chicken Pot Pies first. You can find the original recipe over at Quick Dish.

This is what the recipe says you need, followed by what I actually used.

  • 1 Chicken breast, poached and diced (I just used a can of chicken chunks, found next to the tuna at the grocery store.)
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (they say 14.5 oz, but as far as I know they only sell the 10.5 oz size and it worked just fine.)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used carrots, peas and beans.)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  • 1 tbs Herbs De Provence (I didn’t have this so I just mixed 1/4 tsp of the following dried herbs that I already had in my spice rack: Savory, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Marjoram, then measured out 1 tbs out of that mixture. I’ll hang onto the rest and use it later for more of this, or something else!)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (Not powder! Salt! There’s a HUGE difference! If you use powder it’s going to be WAY more garlicy vs using the salt!)
  • 2 (10 oz) cans Pillsbury biscuits. (I can’t bring myself to spend the money on something like this, when I can easily make it myself! I ended up using this recipe I found over at Pinch My Salt – I’ll go over that at the end!)

The pot pies were SO easy to make!

1. Preheat oven to 400. 

2. In a medium sized bowl, dump in everything except the biscuits (obviously.) Mix well.

3. Lightly grease your muffin tin and press the biscuits in. I kind of pressed in with my fingers and pulled it around the side.

Push them in even more than this. I forgot to take a photo when I was done pressing them in. Whoops?

4. Spoon the mixture into each biscuit, filling a lot. 

Fill ’em up! Then keep going!

5. Bake for 15 minutes. My oven is ancient and I don’t trust it, so I usually check at 7 minutes and go from there.

6. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy! You should be able to pop these out with your fingers, but if that doesn’t work you can always slide a knife along the side to get some leverage.

Enjoy! I cut the kids in half to make it easier for them to take bites out of, but I kept mine whole and enjoyed it just like a cupcake!

After everyone had eaten we had 2 biscuits remaining (I believe this made 9 pot pies… using the non-pre-packaged biscuits) – I froze the left-overs and I’m hoping they re-heat well!

Part 2: Biscuits

As I mentioned above, I got my biscuit recipe from Pinch My Salt. I don’t see the point in buying biscuits from the grocery store when they’re SO easy to make!

The following is Pinch My Salt’s recipe, with my minor changes next to it.

  • 1 & 1/4 cup cake flour (I didn’t want to shell out the extra cash for cake flour, so the internet taught me that for each cup of All-Purpose flour simply remove 2 TBSP of the flour and replace with 2 TBSP of corn starch. I did that for the first cup of flour, then for the 1/4 cup I filled my 1/2 TBSP measuring spoon half full (do they even MAKE 1/4 TBSP measuring spoons???) and then filled the rest of the way with all purpose flour.)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small chunks.
  • 3/4 Cup buttermilk (I don’t buy my own. I just took 1 tbsp of lemon juice – or you can use white vinegar – let sit for at least 5 minutes, I stirred mine but I don’t know if you actually have to… and ta-da! Buttermilk! I froze in an ice cube tray the left-over. 1 TBSP in each cube.)

To cook the biscuits on their own, the recipe says to bake at 500*. In my recipe above, they cooked just fine as the pot pie base cooking at around 400* but if I make them again as just biscuits, I’ll bake at 500*.

Here are the steps to making the biscuits: (Her works, not mine, I’ll ask my notes in parentheses.)

1. Cut butter into small chunks, place in bowl and return to fridge.

2. Measure out buttermilk and set aside.

3. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and have extra flour nearby for your hands and biscuit cutter. Have biscuit cutter and an ungreased baking sheet handy.

4. Mix dough: In a medium-large bowl, wisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well blended. (I used a fork.)

Feel free to delegate your mixing! Allison was happy to help with both pouring in the ingredients and mixing!

5. Add butter and cut into flour using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I found my fingers to work best. I have never used a pastry blender, but I’ve used forks in the past and it was terrible! I’m using my hands from now on!)

6. Pour in buttermilk and stir lightly until dough comes together in a ball.

7. Dump dough mixture onto well floured work surface. With floured hands, lightly knead dough a few times until it is fairly well blended. Pat into a circle, 3/4-1 inch thick (I didn’t measure mine, I guesstimated.)

8. Dip cutter into flour and cut biscuits without twisting the cuter. (Yeah… I don’t have a cutter…. I searched the kitchen for an object that was roughly the same size as the muffin tin openings and came up with the lid for a kid’s cup from Olive Garden. I pressed it in pretty hard, then tore around the “perforated” circle.)

My make-shift biscuit cutter. Thanks Olive Garden! It worked out perfectly!

Removed the lid and tore the dough from around the circle. Worked great!

9. Once I’d cut everything out, I re-rolled the scraps and cut again. The small remaining piece of dough I just made into a ball and placed in an open muffin slot and baked as a tiny biscuit. (For the pot pies above.)

10. Bake biscuits: place baking sheet in the middle of a preheated 500 degree oven and bake 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove biscuits to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Enjoy!

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Meal Planning + Music Obsession

First of all, I wanted to share with you my newest musical obsession.

Christina Perri.

She is by no means a brand new artist, you probably have heard her song “Jar of Hearts” and, if you’re a Twilight fan, her song “A Thousand Years.”

Anyway, after buying Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 2 and listening to the “A Thousand Years Part 2” in the credits I decided to listen to it on YouTube. While doing so I discovered a playlist of her videos so I gave them a listen. I’m HOOKED.

Here’s her video for “Arms” which I absolutely LOVE!

Now, on to meal planning!!!

I’ve heard this concept in the past, but as someone who never cooked anything more complicated than Macaroni and Cheese (from the Blue Box of course!) or a burger on the George Foreman Grill, it didn’t make sense to me. However, now that I am officially a work at home mom (except when I do my sampling job on the weekends of course) I have the time to dedicate to cooking, as I’ve been trying to share on this blog….. though I don’t post nearly enough!

So, this is how I meal plan.

I start with an Excel document on my computer (you could use a notebook, white board, word doc, whatever is most convenient for you!)

I list across the top each day of the week. Then I start choosing recipes to make.

For us, Wednesday is dance night, so I take Allison to dance class around 5 and we don’t get back until a little after 6. The Husband doesn’t get home from work until a little after 6. This is not good when you have two small, hungry kids who need to get to bed around 7 pm or they lose it. Therefor, this has become crcokpot night. (Unless I’m bad and forget to thaw the food for the crock pot, then it usually becomes PB&J night…)

Alright, so back to the list, we’ve got a row with the days of the week.
Below that we have a row with each recipe listed under the days of the week.
Under THAT I copy and paste the ingredients list.
From the ingredients list, I go through each item and make sure I have it. If I don’t, I add it to the grocery shopping list.

My favorite things about meal planning are:

1. The Husband can’t complain about eating chicken every night of the week because I’ve already thought ahead and thought up alternatives. (Side note: I find it interesting that he didn’t complain when we ate pasta almost every night for about 3 weeks straight…. hmm…… )

And

2. Believe it or not, this has cut down on the grocery spending!!! In the past we would spend $80-$100+ each week on groceries. EACH. WEEK! That’s crazy! This was even before Miranda was born! What were we spending all of that hard earned cash on? I can’t even tell you! The worst part was that we would get home from the store and say “…there’s nothing to eat…”  Right now I’m spending about $40-$50 per week. This amount will go down I’m sure as I accumulate the basics for my kitchen. It’s not every week I’m going to need to buy All-Purpose Flour or Rice Vinegar. Those little things add up, but once you’ve got them, you’re set for a while!

So, to select the recipes for the meal planning I usually just turn to Pinterest. (You can follow me here: http://pinterest.com/carolineandrus ) I’ve got a bunch of yummies pinned already and if I think of something that I want to make, or want to cook with, I look it up. If I don’t find what I’m looking for I turn to Swagbucks (that’s my search engine of choice, I earn points towards prizes – such as Amazon gift cards! – simply for searching the Internet! Sign up link on the left side bar! You won’t be disappointed!)

After I’ve made and eaten each recipe, if it’s a new one, I type up whether we liked it or not, or if I want to make any changes for cooking it in the future.

You can also plan ahead to make a double batch each night and freeze for the future. Right now I’m still testing new recipes, so I’m not committed to freezing them yet! Once I do repeat a recipe I will certainly try to freeze it for later!

So there you have it! That’s how I meal plan! Mind you, I’m still getting into the habit of doing it. I’ve planned this week out (“World’s Best Chicken”, Chinese Pork Chow Mein, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Mini Lasagna Cups, Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes) but failed to do so last week, resulting in every night going “I don’t know what to make…..”, but I planned the week prior with great success (in spite of the fact that I’ve been sick as can be!)

If you’re a reader of my recipe failures/successes, I’m going to be sharing Caramel Apple Pork Chops soon (or as I like to call them, Apple Pie Pork Chops!) as well as some yummy Sweet and Sour Meatballs and delish Orange Chicken!