Leftovers for the win!

It’s 11:13 at night, and I’m finally sitting down to write. I spent the morning unpacking the contents of our linen closet and finishing with our winter clothing and our shoes in our bedroom. Then, after breakfast dishes and laundry and lunch and lunch dishes for the girls, the three of us went to the gym. They love the youth activity center there so much, I now have my always-desired failsafe workout motivation. Nothing like two toddlers whining “mama, can we go to the gym?” incessantly to make you want the peace and quiet of working out while they play.

The Husband and his BFF / coworker should be getting off work any moment, and then after the commute and perhaps a trip of their own to the gym, will be returning here for dinner, which is waiting in the oven (along with dessert), staying warm for them.

This is my triumph of the day: I used an insane amount of leftovers to create a dinner (and a bunch more to freeze) that the guys should love.

Earlier this week, I made a lemon-garlic roasted chicken with roasted onions and carrots (and giblet gravy, mashed cauliflower, salad, and buttermilk biscuits) for them; tonight, I picked the remaining chicken from the carcass, chopped up the carrots, used the rest of an onion and some celery I had in the fridge, added some frozen peas and carrots, made a gravy (with the end of the giblet gravy incorporated), and the pie crust pastry I had leftover in the freezer from the last time I made hand pies. Ta da! Mini chicken pot pies, and the sauce turned out marvelously!

Then, I dumped the carcass and extra skin, along with a couple of fresh carrots, and all of the celery tops and ends I saved when I cleaned it and cut it all earlier this week, and the onions, lemon, and garlic from the roasted chicken into my electric pressure cooker, covered it with water, and set it on high pressure for 240 minutes – the bone broth is bubbling away in there.

Lastly, I took the last of the apples that were getting a little past their prime, peeled and sliced them up, and sautéed them in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I wrapped them in crescent roll dough and baked them off. They’re terrifically ugly, but I’m sure neither the menfolk, nor the babies, will mind. I’ll drizzle them with caramel sauce when I serve them and all aesthetic sins will be forgiven.

It’s ridiculous how proud of myself I am, but sometimes you’ve gotta take the win, no? Now I’ve just got to figure out how to get the mini chicken pot pies out of the muffin tin when they’ve cooled so that I can wrap and freeze them…

Interested in the recipe?

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Time: Prep, 30 minutes, Bake, 30 minutes

Yield: 18 mini pot pies or 9 larger ramekin pies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. (or so) roasted/boiled/baked chicken, cubed
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup sliced celery
  • 3/4 cup (or so) chopped carrots (mine were already cooked, so added last)
  • 1 cup (or so) frozen peas
  • 1 cup (or so) frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. tarragon
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pie crust dough – you can buy the stuff from the store if you don’t make your own

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. In a deep sauté pan over  medium heat, cook the onions, carrots and celery in butter until the onions are soft and translucent and the carrots are starting to soften.
  3. Stir in flour and all spices / seasonings. Slowly add the chicken broth and milk, stirring well. Simmer over medium-low heat until the gravy thickens. Check the flavor for seasoning. Add more if necessary.
  4. Add the chicken and frozen vegetables. Check the consistency. If you feel it needs more sauce, add a bit of broth and milk (like a tbsp. at a time).
  5. Roll out your dough and cut it into circles big enough to be pressed into your vessel with a 1/2 inch over-hang. Cut twice as many circles as the number of pies you’re planning.
  6. Spray your cooking vessel with cooking spray, if you’re planning on removing the pies to be served or frozen. Press the dough circles into each cavity, and fill each tin generously (dome it on top).
  7. Take the remaining dough circles and lay on top of the filling. Press the top and bottom dough pieces together and trim the excess. Pinch the pieces together to seal.
  8. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash/milk/cream if you like (I did).
  9. Cut a few slits into each pie to release steam while baking.
  10. Bake at 425° F for 30 minutes, or until the pies are crisp on top and golden brown.

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