Actually, this week I had intended to write up a different family favorite for my “$5.00 Bargain Meal,” but became sidetracked. I picked up a copy of Time Magazine – Special Money Issue. I visited their site before I went to bed, and one click led to another, then to another. You all know how that goes, right?
Soon I clicked on a site for Walmart coupon matching with a recipe for “homemade” Chicken Pot Pie for $11.57, serves 6. $11.57??? This was linked to a “frugal” site. I don’t think I could spend that much on chicken pot pie if I tried! If you’ll remember, I did mention that sometimes I might refer to something I saw online…well, I can’t help myself again…I have to rework this recipe. Mine will take a bit longer, I’m figuring about twenty minutes of brisk prep, but I believe every minute on this recipe is well spent. This recipe has long been a family favorite and has always gotten very good reviews from company. It’s about as sexy as vanilla and a big, huge dose of comfort.
My total cost: $4.15 for 8 servings.
(Just a quick note, I had received several suggestions that I use links rather than spelling out all the money/time tips at the bottom of the page. I’ll be going back to the old method next week. I think it’s just too fussy and one can’t really cut and paste the recipe to print without all the clutter and pricing. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer to see as much information on one page as possible with as few links as possible!)
Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie – adapted from “The Perfect Recipe,” serves 8, $4.15
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast ($2.98)
- 2 cups chicken stock (no cost)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil (3 cents)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (10 cents)
- 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick (15 cents)
- 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick (10 cents)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter (31 cents)
- 1/2 cup flour (5 cents)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (Pam Anderson said not low-fat, but I always use 2 percent) (16 cents – but my last gallon was “free” with cereal purchase)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (we actually prefer to use 1/4 teaspoon marjoram)
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry (we prefer only about 2) (7 cents)
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (just take them out when you start the recipe) (20 cents)
- Topping of your choice: This can be puffed pastry, biscuits, drop biscuits, pie dough, mashed potatoes, sheets of phyllo brushed with butter. (I generally use drop biscuits just from a time savings/frugal factor – my kids love them and it ups the filling factor – for special, I’ll use puff pastry.) Price will vary, but if you use biscuits Grands are free with the special at Rainbow this week with a coupon.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, adjust oven rack to lower middle.
In a saucepan, simmer chicken with broth till done, cool in broth if time allows, then shred and set aside. This method of letting the chicken cool in the broth helps to keep the chicken moist and tender.)
Heat oil to medium high in a one and a half to two quart saucepan and saute onions, carrots, celery till tender, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add to chicken.
In the same pan that you used for the vegetables, melt butter until melted and add flour, cooking one minute. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, herbs and any accumulated chicken juices. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low, simmering about one minute till sauce fully thickens, stirring constantly. Add sherry, taste, and adjust any seasonings.
Add chicken and vegetables to the saucepan, add peas and gently stir. Place in a 13 x 9 inch pan, cover with topping and bake until topping is golden brown and filling bubbly, about 30 minutes. You may also bake in individual ramekins about 20 to 25 minutes.
Money and Time Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
The vegetables for this can all be prepped ahead, and the filling could certainly be done the night before and gently reheated, then the casserole assembled the day of. If you have precooked poultry in your freezer in ziploc bags, divied into 1 1/2 cup portions, this can go much quicker.
Put your own spin on it:
- You could certainly make this with the less expensive chicken quarters or thighs, although they are a bit fussier to bone.
- I use turkey interchangeably in recipes like this, too.
- This is wonderful with sautéed sliced mushroom in addition to the other vegetables, or even instead of the peas.
- My kids love it if I lay down a layer of shredded cheese over the chicken mixture, than add on the biscuits, and bake, sprinkling a bit more cheese over the biscuits for the last five minutes of cooking time.
- I sometimes make a take-off on this recipe using canned diced green chiles and a chipotle pepper, omitting the sherry and the peas and carrots for a kind of Southwestern chicken pot pie. When I do this, I add about 1 1/2 cups of Colby jack or Monterrey jack cheese to the chicken mixture.
Nutrition: (Without topping, which can vary)
Per Serving: 261 Calories; 11g Fat (38.3% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 68mg Cholesterol; 362mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat.
My Payoff – A large casserole for a budget price, and leftovers for another meal.
Chicken Pot Pie made October 2011
- Cozy Chicken & Vegetable Casserole (mybakersdozen.wordpress.com)