Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

I love trying new recipes over the weekend. There’s plenty of time to run to the grocery store, pick fresh ingredients, and experiment a bit with no time limits.

Plus, I had some surprise guests this morning! My parents decided to haul a few furniture pieces I inherited from my grandmother, which I gladly accepted! I’m so excited about my new dining table and wanted to serve up something special so we could sit and enjoy. My dad loves chicken pot pies. If Publix is having a 10 for 10 deal on them, he will have 20 in his cart.

So, I wanted to try to make one while they were here. I looked up a few recipes online, deciding to combine a few things I liked from each of them to make this one. So here you go, my completely from scratch chicken pot pie, baked in my cast iron skillet.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup of onion
  • 1/4 cup of celery
  • 1/4 cup of diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup of English peas
  • 1/4 cup of diced golden potatoes
  • 1 cup of flour, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 oz of parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parsley

Prep work (morning):

  • I washed all my veggies, and the chopped up the celery, potatoes, and onions so I could just pop them in the pan. I stored everything in the fridge until I was ready to cook.
  • I also diced up the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
  • Lastly, I whisked together flour, parmesan, baking powder, sugar, and Kosher salt. I put the mixture in fridge until I was ready to add milk and drop in the pan. Thinking back, I could have added the milk/butter then, but didn’t.

:30 Prior to when I thought we would want lunch:
We had unloaded most everything, and my dad was working on my dryer. I knew he’d be getting hungry soon!

  • Heated up 1 tablespoon of oil in the cast iron skillet.
  • Added the diced chicken and sprinkled a little salt and pepper on top. Then, I pulled the chicken off the skillet to a plate. (Do not drain the pot)
  • Added 1/4 cup of onions, and let them simmer.
  • Pushed the onions to one side, and whisked in a tablespoon of flour for a light roux.
  • Added celery, carrots, peas, and potatoes to cook, for about 10 minutes.
  • Added 3/4 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, cooked for another 5 minutes.
    • I also added just a little more flour to thicken it up a bit.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 425.
  • Add the chicken back to the pot, let warm.
  • Grab you parm/flour mixture out of the fridge. Add milk and unsalted melted butter with a spatula until it’s incorporated. Don’t mix too much, as it doesn’t need to be smooth. (Again, as I mentioned before, I could have completed this prior.)
  • Drop biscuit mix into the skillet for the top layer. I tried – unsuccessfully to use an ice cream scoop – but ultimately I stuck with my spoon and sliding it off with a forefinger.
  • Bake for 12 minutes at 425.
  • Sprinkle a little parsley on top and serve it up!

Results:

  • Well, my father approved his meal with a clean plate, so that’s for sure a win!
  • I highly recommend this recipe — it’s very simple, and the parmesan biscuits topping gives it that little something extra.
  • I would make a few improvements for my next attempt:
    • It needs a  little more of the juicy “filling.” Adding cup of cream of chicken to the skillet – prior to popping down the biscuit mixture – would have done the trick. It was just a bit too dry. I wanted the biscuit to soak up a little more of the cream once I was eating it!
    • Also – carrots = yuk. I’m just not a carrot fan. My mom suggested cooking those a bit more before adding to the skillet or use canned. Anything to help them cook a little more would have helped.

Also – I have a new challenge for myself: Take photos while baking/cooking. I can only seem to remember to snap a few photos after the meal is done. I must be better about this!

Have any great recipes you’ve tried recently? I’d love to know in the comments!

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Christmas Brunch

I had so much fun with Christmas Brunch this year. I have wanted to do a “Girls PJ day” for a while, and with all my Christmas decorations up, I knew I was ready!

I made a quick video  – check it out here! 

Also, here’s my Trello board, where I have organized all my thoughts going into the brunch, provided a few recipe click-throughs, my grocery list, etc! Hope it inspires you!

 

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Easter Sunday

I had a great Easter weekend – full of fun, family and plenty of sunshine! With an event on the Saturday before Easter, followed by one of our biggest festivals of the year this weekend, I knew I was going to be crazy busy with not a lot of travel time. So my parents drove down and spent Easter weekend with me. While I managed our event, they shopped ’til they dropped, so it’s safe to say we worked up quite an appetite.

I polled a few twitter friends on what we absolutely had to have for our brunch, and the menu was decided. After our early church service, we enjoyed:

  • Honey Baked Ham (purchased)
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Sweet potato casserole (purchased)
  • Lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

 

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So, I cheated with the honey baked ham and sweet potato casserole – purchasing from Honey Baked Ham in Destin. But totally worth it! I also grabbed some dinner rolls from Publix.

Deviled Eggs

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Paprika

(It was incredibly hard to peel the eggs, so if anyone has suggestions let me know!)

I don’t know the last time I boiled eggs, so I had to look it up in my cookbook. Basically, you start with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook to make sure that it’s hard boiled. Check out this helpful graphic for the desired doneness. Slice the eggs lengthwise, and put the yolks in a bowl. Then mix the yolks with they salt, pepper and mayo. The recipe I was following called for dry mustard, but I didn’t have any. I took a zip lock bag, cut part of the corner, and then squeezed them into the egg whites. Sprinkle a little paprika on top!

 

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Roasted Parmesan Asparagus:

  • 1 Bundle of asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoon parmesan

Again – this was an easy addition to my lunch, and fast! Always wash your produce first, and pat dry. Place the asparagus, and toss with olive oil and a little salt. Lay them out on the plan, and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Sprinkle parmesan, and then roast at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

I tried this lemon cake for the first time, and want to give Well Plated by Erin credit because it was AMAZING!

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Winter is …here.

Today is the first day of winter. ❄️

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While I may not be bundling up like Randy from A Christmas Story here in Florida today, it’s actually slightly chilly.

And of course, Christmas is just a few days away. I’ve been brushing up on my tech skills with a few new courses the past few months, but I have definitely made time to get ready for my favorite Holiday! All my presents are wrapped (after Black Friday actually), my Christmas decorations went up on time, and I have watched a few Christmas movies too! I’ve even gone ice skating!

Maybe you aren’t in the holiday spirit quite yet. Or, you are looking for a few ideas to freshen up your Christmas decor. I wanted to share five of my favorite Christmas ideas that I’ve seen this season:

  1. Brit Co’s 12 Christmas Cocktails
  2. Southern Living’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide
  3. Real Simple’s 17 Easy Christmas Decorations
  4. Martha Stewart’s DIY Christmas Ornaments
  5. A Taste of Home’s Gingerbread House Tips

Enjoy! And hope you have a very, Merry Christmas!

We built a wall…fence

*THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL POST ;)*

I’m a little delayed on this post, maybe a lot delayed. But, here it is! I – or we – built a fence!

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First, let’s start with the planning.

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Summer is officially over.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of fall. I can’t believe summer is officially over, but the new season means cooler temps, cute jackets and scarves galore!

Here’s a quick recap of my TOP 7 faves from Summer 2016:

1. The perfect beach chair, compliments of my best friend. I’m obsessed. It’s so comfyeasy to haul to the beach!

2. Finding a battery powered lawn mower

3. The Essie 2016 Summer Nail Color

4.  USA brought home GOLD, and lots of it!

5. Justin Timberlake…need I say more? I can’t stop the feeling! #JTforLife

6. Can you say adorable? This string of white ceramic pots – which I filled with succulents- is perfect in between two ginormous windows in my office. Hopefully, the will survive my notorious black thumb.

7. Don’t read this sitting down. But seriously, I am trying to be healthier. So, I spent a little bit of pocket change on a stand up desk.

 

A Little Terra-Cotta Pot

Summer is over, at least in my book. I have survived another year of family programming in the brutal heat and humidity of Florida. Whew! Time to shift focus at work, and also time to focus on some projects. For this project, my mom wanted to join in. DIY is always fun, and even more so when you have someone to do it with you!

Project: Terra Cotta Storage Pots

I wish I could say this was an original idea. It wasn’t. Mom emailed me an idea this past Wednesday, and I just knew these terra-cotta storage pots were going to be something we both would love! I was off to Walmart for the paint, handles, and sealant; and, she went to her local farm supply store for the terra cotta pots. We already had stencils and glue.

Confession time: I’ve never worked with terra-cotta before – at least that I remember – so I went into this project a little blind. If you decide to take this on, I hope some of these tips will help you. {You should definitely watch the video above, as they demonstrate exactly what to do!}

What we used:

  • 2 large terra-cotta planters
  • 2 larger** terra-cotta saucers
  • Acrylic paint of any color* (use white if you can, as it really pops!)
  • Stencils – see notes below
  • Handles – when selecting your adorable pulls, think about griping a terra-cotta saucer. They aren’t light, that’s for sure! And, you want a larger surface area on the bottom for the glue, as that’s all that will be keeping them on this adorable top!
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Sealant

On the terra-cotta planters/ saucers: Mom had to do some searching on her visit for the saucer. Make sure the saucer is going to fit inside the planter. The ones they were originally matched with were too small to sit on top of the planter. Also, make sure that you pull any stickers – or cover permanent market in our case – before you begin. Just of note, these beautiful planters are NOT cheap! Think of this project more as cool, than saving money 🙂

On the paint: Terra-cotta seems to soak up the color. I would recommend painting white first wherever you plan to paint. Your colors will show up much more vibrantly. Also, the top is what you see the most, so decide what you want to do there, and then figure out the bottom.

On the stencils: I found the cutest pattern there was, taped and started painting. Then I realized the conundrum I was in with the stencil layout… and, I almost gave up on this project. My geometry skills did not kick in until I had taped the stencil and painted my first section. These pots are shaped bigger at the bottom, so when I went to move my tiny stencil…they did not line up. I can’t say I’ve ever worked with a stencil on a cylinder, much less any weird shape. Maybe going with a bigger stencil might have helped us? Just know it won’t be perfect.

Taping: You will notices I tore small pieces to make an even line on the pot. Same geometry problem. A bigger circle on the top line, a small circle for the bottom. They do no have the same length.

Sealant: We were worried that the glue might not stick to the sealant. No scientific backing here, but we glued the handles first, allowed everything to dry for about 4 hours, and then we applied the sealant. Within 24 hours, these were good to go!

Whatever you choose to pattern and color your pot with, have fun!

Now, what to put in here?!