Easy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Today was raining and drizzling ALL day. Totally called for some comforting soup. This soup totally feels like eating a pot pie…well yes…minus the yummy crust. If a soup could be creamy and healthy all at the same time this is it. Next time I’m making biscuits.

Check out this crazy carrot. It looks like it has little legs!

baby carrots

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, torn into pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole leeks, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced baby carrots (and more for munching)
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add the olive oil to a large stock pot, then toss in your leek, carrot, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the rosemary and thyme, stir and cook for about a minute. Add the flour, and stir again, making sure to get all of the vegetables coated in the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add in the half and half. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken. Add in the chicken stock, corn and peas and season with a pinch or two of salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. At this point the soup is ready! To make it a little more decadent serve with cornbread or biscuits!!

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Thanksgiving Menu 2013

There were a total of 17 family members at our Thanksgiving table this year! My sister Angela, her husband Troy and their 2 children. My sister Zandria and her fiance Paul from Buffalo. My Mom. My 2 brothers. My Aunt Annette and her fiance G.K….and her daughter Jacquelyn and her new husband Shawn. My Dad. And the three of us!

Zandria and I:

Zandria and I

Isaac, Ben and Devin:

Isaac, Ben and Devin

G.K., our dog Walter and Travis (I’m pretty sure this was after they ate!):

GK, Walter and travis

I went by this checklist as I was cooking (which started on Tuesday!).

my menu checklist

Thanksgiving Menu:

Apps

  • mini crab cakes
  • Plate of Baked brie w/ misc crackers
  • veggies/dip tray

Main meal:

  • Cornbread stuffing with fennel, celery, onions and shiitake mushrooms
  • Butternut squash, goat cheese and mushroom risotto
  • Marinated carrots
  • Cauliflower and potato mash w/ buttermilk
  • Roasted brussel sprouts
  • A 23 pound Turkey: followed these instructions. I added tons of rosemary, lemon, salt, pepper and buttered under the skin and on top before roasting!
  • gravy
  • Roasted Cabernet and Citrus Cranberry Sauce
  • 5 cheese mac-n-cheese (my sister Angela)
  • Sweet potato casserole (Aunt Annette)
  • Collard greens (Mom)
  • Yeast rolls (Mom)

Desserts

Grandma's pound cake

  • Grandma’s pound cake (sorry – secret fam recipe! And it’s baked in a cast iron bundt pan!!)
  • Pumpkin Oatmeal White Choc Chip Cookies (Angela)
  • Pies: Buttermilk, pumpkin and sweet potato (Mom)
  • chocolate cherry cake and buttermilk pie (Aunt Annette)

*All made by me unless noted otherwise.

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Ingredients for carrot cake energy bites

I bought a bag of chia seeds a couple of weeks ago and attempted to make a chia “pudding”. I hated it. Not to be discouraged I scoured the web and Pinterest and found this recipe. The “carrot cake” flavor was appealing and so was the “energy bites” part…no baking required!

Below are all the ingredients blended up. I found the mix to be a little runny when I scooped it out to form balls so I stirred in a few handfuls of organic fiber cereal (I think I ended up using about a 1/2 cup but I didn’t measure).

carrot cake energy bites in the making

I liked the fiber cereal so much that that I ended up rolling the finished balls in it rather than chopping up nuts. If they had been rolled in pistachios they would have been prettier but they taste pretty good like this!

carrot cake energy bites

I put them into individual baggies in the fridge and guess what!? They are even better cold. My 10th grader ate one the next morning and liked it so much that he ate another one today.

packaged carrot cake energy bites

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

  • 1 cup pitted dates (for me this was 10 mejool dates)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios (I used pecans because it’s what I had)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup pineapple (I used frozen)
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios (optional)
  • ½ cup organic fiber cereal (plus more for topping)

Method

  • In a food processor, process the dates, pineapple and carrot on high for 30-60 seconds until finely chopped.  Add the pistachios, chia seeds, flax seed, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey and salt and process for another 30 seconds. (My mix wasn’t very firm so I stirred in a heaping 1/2 cup organic fiber cereal)  Scooping a tablespoon (mine was 2-3 tablespoons) at a time form into balls and roll in extra pistachios if desired.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Scaling Back Blog

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Perfect comfort food for the night before a big exam!

Check out The Pioneer Woman’s blog for the recipe. The only change I made was to roast the chicken whole and then pick the meat off of the bones before adding it  to the soup. Yes, I even added the apple cider. There are a lot of negative comments on her blog about how corn meal in the dumplings would make them “grainy” and that Bisquick mix is the best….blah, blah, blah. Ignore those people. These dumplings are sinfully good! Don’t rely on processed ingredients for your cooking 🙂

“One pot meals make my skirt fly up.” – The Pioneer Woman

Whatever You Have Beef Stew

This week has been a blur. Devin started school on the 20th. Classes at VCU started for me last week on the 23rd so this was my first full week of classes. We’re both getting used to getting up early. He took a 3+ hour nap when he got home from school one day! It’s Labor Day weekend though, so with no school on Monday for both of us I can write on my blog, clean the house, do some homework and enjoy our last weekend at the pool for the summer!

The stew I made today is inspired by the rainy day and the bits and pieces of veggies from my cooking this past week that were left in my fridge. In the crisper drawer I had a quarter of a package of baby carrots, a bag of celery with only 2 stalks left, a yellow pepper and half of a large onion. My mom’s fresh canned tomatoes had been opened a few days ago for use in another recipe and I knew the rest of them needed to be used up soon. In the pantry I had a few tiny red potatoes. Making this stew was meant to be!

We served it with cornbread muffins:

Travis took some leftovers to his 95 year-old grandfather and he called me the next day to tell me how much he enjoyed it. He said that, “he wasn’t sure it was beef stew but whatever is was it was really, really good”! How great is that?? Thanks Grandpa!

Whatever You Have Beef Stew

  • 1 pound ground beef (93% lean)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • handful baby carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips and diced small
  • 3 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 – 16 ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach
  • 12 tiny red potatoes, sliced
  •  1/2 quart fresh canned tomatoes (a 28 ounce can would work great)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  • In a medium skillet cook ground beef and the minced garlic along with a little salt and pepper until the ground beef is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile chop veggies and add them along with the rest of the ingredients (including the cooked ground beef) to the crockpot.
  • Cook 3-4 hours on high.