Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hearty and Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

When I was a 'pre-teen' I was very active. Dancing up to 5 days a week, riding bikes, playing in the yard, typical kid stuff. I had a metabolism like a 7 year old boy. I could and WOULD eat anything in sight, and never got bigger. Not that a child should worry about weight in the first place, but I can recall eating cookies for all three meals, more than a few times. After I quit dancing, and growing up got in the way of 'playtime,' I realized I couldn't eat what I used to.
I often look back at some of the things I used to eat, and ask myself, 'Did I really eat THAT?!'
One food, in particular: Microwavable Beef Pot Pies. You know, the frozen ones by Banquet? I used to eat those like they were going out of style, sometimes eating two in one sitting.

A few days ago I was standing in the frozen-dinner section of the grocery store, and saw my greatly-missed pot pies sitting on the shelf. Hoping that I could fit one into my daily calorie range without too much guilt, I picked one up and looked at the nutritional information on the back. I stood there dumbfounded- Each potpie, which is no bigger than a small pancake- was nearly 500 calories. And to think that I would eat two! I knew then and there that I had to make a healthy version of the classic comfort food. And here it is.

Many times when I develop a recipe, I have to test it and tweak it more than a few times, but this dish came out the way I wanted it to the very first time. The top was crispy and flaky, the sauce was thick and creamy, and the vegetables were cooked just enough. And this potpie is nearly twice the size of the store bought variety. If only I could still eat two...
Note: For the pie crust, I used Pillsbury pre made pie crust. I weighed out a serving (1/8 of a crust), and rolled it to size. Also, I recommend fresh herbs, but dried will work just as well. This dish has 67g carbs- a scary number for low-carb dieters. However, there are also 8 grams of dietary fiber- Nearly 1/3 of your recommended daily intake! Nutrition info is at the bottom of the page.
Healthy and Hearty Chicken Pot Pie
One serving
1 medium potato (about 4 oz)
1 medium Parsnip (about 2.5 oz)
1 medium carrot (about 2 oz)
1/3 cup frozen peas
1 garlic clove, minced
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 oz)
1 Serving ready-to-bake pie crust (27 grams- about 1 oz)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Chicken Bullion
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel potatoes, parsnips and carrots, and cut into uniform cubes, about 1/2 inch.

2. Very lightly coat the cubed vegetables with olive oil, and season well with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Set oven to 350 degrees.

3. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and a pinch of oregano. Heat a small skillet with a light coating of olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Sear both sides of the chicken and then cook until the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees, or about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

4. Using the same pan as the chicken was cooked, heat the milk over low heat. Add minced garlic, a pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) chicken bullion, and rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the cornstarch to thicken, using a small whisk to combine. Add enough cornstarch until sauce has thickened to desired consistency- if you like a thicker sauce, add more cornstarch, if you like a thinner sauce, add less cornstarch. If it becomes too thick, slowly whisk in the water to thin the sauce. (Note: The sauce will thicken as it cooks. Add each ingredient slowly, and whisk in between each addition, then add more water or cornstarch accordingly.)

5. In a bowl, combine the cooked potatoes, parsnips, carrots, frozen peas, and chicken pieces. Add the sauce, and stir to coat. Spoon the mixture into a soup bowl or a large ramekin.

6. Roll out the pie crust to the same width as the bowl or ramekin, and place over top of the pot pie mixture. Lightly coat the top with olive oil, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is light brown.

7. Let cool for 5 minutes, and enjoy!

Nutrition Info: Calories: 450 Carbs: 67g Fat: 9g Protein: 29g Fiber: 8g

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