Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie
Serve 6 (8 ounces per portion)

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cooked boneless/skinless chicken, diced
1 can (approximately 12 ounces) cream of chicken soup (you can also use cream of celery or mushroom)
1/2 cup wine (your choice, I used a sweet Marsala for this)
12 ounces frozen mixes vegetables, thawed
1 prepared pie cust (homemade or store bought)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat large non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
Add oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add diced chicken. Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
Add soup and wine. Mix together.
Add vegetable. Reduce heat and let it simmer. Everything should be hot when you out this in the oven.
Spray a 9″ round baker (or 8X8 square) with cooking spray.
When the oven is ready, pour chicken/veggie mixture into dish.

Carefully lay pie crust over the top. Trim edges. Cut two slits into the crust, to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust browns.

Serve immediately, or the next day.
Nutritional data:
Calories:         305
Fat:                 11.1g
Sat fat:              3.1g
Chol:            62.6mg
Sodium:     269.1mg
Carbs:             13.3g
Fiber:                1.5g
Protein:           11.9g

Pumpkin Pie

Traditional Pumpkin Pie
Serve 8

2 eggs
3/4 cup Splenda (or the same volume of granulated sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can (15oz/425g) of 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 can (12 fl oz/360ml) evaporated skim milk
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare your crust.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together Splenda and spices.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light, yellow and frothy.
  5. Stir pumpkin into eggs, mix until incorporated.
  6. Add sugar/spice mix, mixing until incorporated.
  7. Gradually stir in milk, until well mixed.
  8. Pour into pie crust.
  9. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F. Bake another 40-50 minutes. The pie is finished when a knife tip inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.
  10. Serve immediately, or refrigerate.
  11. Do not freeze this pie. (The filling will separate from the crust and lose much presentation appearance–but not flavor.)
Nutritional data:
Calories:         183
Fat:                8.4g
Sat fat:              3g
Chol:         59.8mg
Sodium:      213mg
Carbs:             23g
Fiber:             0.7g
Protein:          6.1g

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Serves 12 (small pieces of a rich pie)

1 pie crust (this recipe assumes a store bought crust)
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
1.5 ounces bourbon

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a glass 9″ pie plate with the pie crust dough. Fold and pinch overhang to form a nice decorative crust.
  2. Line pie shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or rice, and bake 15 minutes
  3. Remove foil and beans, bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Coarsely chop 3/4 cup pecans.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and bourbon until blended. Stir in all pecans (chopped and halves.)
  7. Pour filling into crust.
  8. Bake 45-50 minutes, until the edges are set, but the center is still a little jiggly. Using an aluminum shield (or aluminum foil) will prevent excess browning of the crust.)
  9. Cool on a wire rack completely.
  10. Serve with whipped cream

Nutritional data:
Calories:     279
Fat:           16.3g
Sat fat:           5g
Chol:        66.4mg
Sodium:  125.2mg
Carbs:      31.5g
Fiber:         0.9g
Protein:      2.8g

Onion-Mushroom Tart and Roasted Asparagus

Yesterday’s dinner was a new recipe, which I modified from the Best of Cooking Light 13 book. (More recipes will be featured in this blog from that magazine, so keep coming back here.)  The original recipe was a simple Onion Tart, but I added garlic (because when I use onion, I need to use garlic, too!) and crimini mushrooms (also called baby ‘bellas because they are actually immature portabellas.)

Onion-Mushroom Tart
Serves 6 (or cut larger pieces if you want)

This recipe looks long and difficult, but in reality it is very simple to make.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the onions to caramelize and then for the tart to bake. The only real work is slicing the onions, crushing the garlic and grating the Swiss cheese.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds onions, sliced (a blend of sweet Vidalia and sharper yellow onions is excellent)
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
8 ounces of your preferred fresh mushroom, sliced
Black pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp  of your preferred herbs (An Italian blend is nice here.  I used Penzey’s Bouquet Garni.)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) crumbled Feta cheese
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) shredded Swiss cheese
1 prepared pie crust (I used a store-bought crust.)
1 egg, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 425F. 
2.  Heat oil in a non-stick skillet.  Add onions over med-high heat.  Stir/toss occasionally.
3.  When some of the onions start to brown (about 4-5 minutes), add garlic, mushrooms, pepper and herbs.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir/toss occasionally, until the onions are fully caramelized, and the mushrooms are fully cooked.  This will take 15-20 minutes.
4.  While the filling cooks, remove the pie crust and unroll it onto a sheet of parchment paper, or onto a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (spray is not needed when using parchment paper.) With a rolling pin, gently roll it out to a 12 inch diameter circle.
5.  Spread Feta over the middle of the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border without cheese.  There will not be a lot of cheese on the crust. That is okay.
6.  When the filling is done, pour over feta and spread evenly, maintaining that 2 inch border. Top evenly with the shredded Swiss.
7.  Gently fold the pie crust over the filling, making pleats as you move around the crust. You do not need to press the pleats together to make a tight seal.
8.  Brush the beaten egg over the crust.
9.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until golden brown as above), remove from oven, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

This was a delicious vegetarian meal, and I will make this again, but with further variations (not all changes will be in the same batch):

Bleu/Gorgonzola cheese instead of the Feta
A wedge of Laughing Cow cheese instead of the Feta
Smoked Gouda instead of the Swiss
Adding 2 ounces of wine (or beer) to the onions when I add the mushrooms (which is enough time to completely cook away, leaving all the flavor behind)
Adding sun-dried tomatoes to the filling
Adding sliced olives (probably green Spanish)
Shiitake and oyster mushrooms instead of crimini

Nutritional data, for 1/6 of the tart:
Calories:        252
Fat:               15.4g
Sat fat:            5.7g
Chol:               53mg
Sodium:         288mg
Carbs:           26.4g
Fiber:              1.5g
Protein:           5.5g

Roasted Asparagus
Served 3-4

1.5-2 pounds fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion (I prefer to use dehydrated onion for this recipe, but fresh would work)
Black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425F.
2.  In a 9×13 pan, lay the asparagus and drizzle the oil over it.  Top with pepper and onion.  Roast it uncovered for 25-30 minutes.
3.  Roast this at the same time you bake the tart, and they will both be done at the same time.

Nutritional data (for 1/3 of the recipe)
Calories:         130
Fat:                 9.3g
Sat Fat:           1.3g
Chol:                 0mg
Sodium:             5mg
Carbs:              10g
Fiber:                 6g
Protein:              6g

Wild Rice, Cheddar and Spinach Pie

 Wild Rice, Cheddar and Spinach Pie

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
3 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
3 whole eggs, whisked together
Cooking spray

1.  Preheat oven to 425F.
2.  Heat a non-stick skillet, add the oil. Saute the onions until beginning to brown (about 4-5 minutes.)
3.  Add garlic and spinach. Stir together for 1-2 minutes.
4.  Remove from heat, and put onion/spinach in a large bowl.
5.  Add 3 cups cooked wild rice and cheese.  Stir to mix.
6.  Add eggs, stir until evenly mixed.
7.  Spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture into pan, smooth and place in oven for 25 minutes.  When baked, remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

My suggestions for improving/adding flavor:
Replace the cheddar with an equal amount of feta or bleu cheese.
Add Kalamata olive (especially if using feta cheese.)
Add green Spanish olive (especially if using bleu cheese.)
Add bacon or diced smoked ham.
Add jalapenos (especially if keeping the cheddar cheese.)
Increasing the cheese to a full cup.

Nutritional data for the pie as I made it:
Calories:         295
Fat:                  8.7g
Sat fat:             3.1g
Chol:              115mg
Sodium:          114mg
Carbs:            41.7g
Fiber:               3.4g
Protein:          13.2g