Chicken Pot Pie

This is a classic recipe for a cold day and left over chicken. It’s hearty and flavorful and downright yummy. It seems like a lot of ingredients, but you can omit something if you don’t have it on hand.

Chicken Pot Pie Ingredients:

3 sticks celery, chopped

1 med. onion, chopped

2-3 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 red bell pepper

3-6 baby bella or button mushrooms

½ C. frozen green peas

2 C. cooked chicken

2 tbs. butter

¼ C. flour

Chicken stock

¼ C. cream

Tarragon (fresh or dried)

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

1 egg (for the egg wash)

Preheat oven to 400

Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil and add onion and season with salt. Let the onion sweat for a few minutes, then add the celery, carrots, garlic and bell pepper. Add about ½ C. chicken stock and let it cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the mushroom and continue to sauté. Add more liquid if it starts to get a little dry.

When the veggies are soft, pour into a bowl and set aside. In the same sauté pan add two tablespoons of butter and melt until bubbly. Pour ½ of chicken stock into a cup and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir well with a small whisk or fork. When the butter is bubbly pour the flour mixture in to create a roux. Whisk vigorously to cook the flour. When the mixture starts to thicken, add chicken stock, whisking the whole time. It may be a little lumpy at first, but keep whisking and it will become satin smooth.

Season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and bring it to a simmer. Then add the chicken. (I use leftover roast chicken.) Add the veggies back into the mix. And very last add the peas.

Add tarragon and salt and pepper. Get it all hot and bubbly. Then add to the crust/pot.

Cover with the top crust and brush with egg wash to make it GBD. Stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 min or until the crust is golden brown delicious.

Now for the Crust ….

This is an old-school crust and not as easy to work with as the Never Fail Pie Crust. But this makes for a delicious, flaky and savory crust.

Pie crust ingredients:

2/3 C. Crisco

2 C. AP flour

1 Tsp salt

3-6 Tbs cold water

Cut the shortening into the flour and salt until it makes a crumbly pastry. Then add the water a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together.

This dough is stiff so don’t worry if it’s seems difficult to handle. divide the dough in half. Sandwich the first half between plastic wrap to roll out. This is one of the handiest tricks. By placing the dough between sheets of plastic wrap, you eliminate the need to add extra flour to the dough, which will make the dough tough. Also you can rotate the dough around to roll it out evenly. Plus, it’s super easy to clean up afterward.

To prepare the dough/pot, you need to prebake the shell for about 10 minutes. This keeps the dough from getting too soggy. The plastic wrap trick makes it easy to put your crust into the pot, with is very helpful since the dough is very crumbly. I use copper pennies as pie weights.

Bake the shell for about 10 minutes, take it out of the oven and fill with the veggie/chicken mixture. (see above for instructions)

Happy Eats, Y’all.

Food Teaser

After a long day accentuated by staying up really late the night before watching classic movies, I’m wore out. I made Chicken Pot Pie tonight totally from scratch, and went old-school on the crust.

We also made Christmas Toffee, which is a real crowd pleaser.

I have a great post coming on Chicken Pot Pie. But for tonight, you will have to let your mouth water over the photos. I’ll come back at you tomorrow with the recipes.

Old-school crust for the Chicken Pot Pie.
And Christmas Toffee ... Yum!

Good night from a tired Arcadian!

Beautiful Sky = Pretty Pictures

The sky was beautiful this afternoon. The clouds started to break up as the sun was setting. I took these photos around 5 p.m. today. The night sky was even more beautiful because it’s a new moon with cold high pressure air. That makes for a clear sky, perfect for seeing the Milky Way. Unfortunately my photography skills do not extend to nighttime panorama. But here are a few of my favorites from today.

Lego Reindeer

Jdubs has been fighting a cold/virus for a few days but now he’s feeling better. He started playing with his Legos today and built a Lego reindeer. And looking very angelic in the process.

Doppelganger. This kid is his daddy's boy, mischief and all.
Showing off his handy work.
This is the demonstration of the reindeer flying.

Momma loves you, Jdubs.

Taste in Music: Four Years in the Making

We went to get fried chicken tonight for dinner. I had the best of intentions to make a chicken pot pie but ran out of time and got so hungry I almost ate the dog (not really).

On our way back from the chicken joint my four year-old son says to me, “momma, turn on some tunes.”

I turned on the radio; it was tuned in to our local FM station. Cheap Trick was playing and Jdubs continues with, “momma, that’s rock-n-roll. But I want the Spanish song, not rock-n-roll.”

I tell him that I don’t have the Spanish song and that all we can listen to for now is the radio and I ask, “do you like rock-n-roll? Or how about country music?”

As I flip the tuner to a country station Jdubs says, “I don’t like country music. I like rock-n-roll and Spanish music. Yeah, that’s my favorite, Spanish music.”

So for you, Jdubs here is the “Spanish song” also known as, Cancion del Mariachi.
It’s a pretty awesome tune made famous by Los Lobos and Antonio Banderas in the movie, Desperado.

Pizza Pie

A good homemade pizza pie is a wonderful thing. This is not Viktor’s Special, but it’s my special version and it’s always a crowd pleaser.


1 ¾ to 2 C. bread flour (plus more for kneading)

¾ C. Warm water (110 degrees)

¼ C. Olive oil

1 Tsp Rapid rise yeast

1 Tbs Honey or sugar

1 Tsp Salt

Add yeast to the warm water, add the sugar/honey. Give it a stir and let it stand for a couple minutes. It should be foamy and opaque after a few minutes. Mix the flour and salt together and set aside. (All-purpose flour can be used instead of bread flour.)

Create a well in the bottom of the bowl with the flour. Add the water mixture and oil. Mix together until the dough comes together. Add more flour if needed. Tonight I started with 1 ¾ flour but added ½ cup more because it was a really humid day here and my dough was too sticky otherwise.

Turn it out and knead for a few minutes. Pizza dough should be on the wet and sticky side.

Form into a ball and grease bowl well with more olive oil. Toss the dough in the bowl to coat with oil. Put the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. I like to heat my oven up to about 150 degrees, then turn it off to let it start to cool, then I put the dough in to rise.

After it has risen, punch down and add a tablespoon or so of flour to the dough and knead lightly for a few turns inside the bowl. Get your oven going again by preheating it to 475 degrees. (note that my pizza stone is already in the oven here). if you don’t have a pizza stone, no problem. You can bake your pizza on a cookie sheet or pizza pan instead.

Pull out onto a large piece of cling wrap (I stitch two pieces together with the seam in the middle). Dust the top of the dough with flour. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and flip to the parchment side—cling-wrap side up. Add a little more flour if needed. Roll the dough out to a 14-inch round or larger. When you are happy with the shape and thickness of the pizza crust, leave it to rest for at least 10 minutes.

This pizza pan has been through it all. I bought this when I was in college and moved into an apartment for the first time. I didn’t have anything that resembled a cookie sheet or pizza pan. I couldn’t afford both so I got this so it could do double duty. It has been one of the cheapest and handiest of kitchen utilities. 20 years later I’m still using it almost daily to make everything from cinnamon toast to biscuits. I’m about to use it in place of a pizza peel (that’s one of those wooden paddle-looking-things with a long handle – the pizza bakers slide pies in and out of the wood burning ovens with the peel.)

Slide the pan (or cookie sheet) under the dough and beneath the parchment. This is how we’re getting the dough onto the pizza stone. Remember pizza dough is sticky and once the pie is loaded up, it’s heavy. After you get it on the pan, take the cling wrap off. Ta-dah.

Now we’re ready to put on the toppings. Use your favorite bottled sauce or you can make a quickie sauce. Spread the sauce around. Add the meat of choice (or not). Here I’m using pepperoni and sausage. No need to brown the sausage prior, it will thoroughly cook in the overall process. Add your veggies. In this pie, I’m adding green and black olives with orange bell pepper. It’s really about what you like at this point. If you want to skip the whole thing you can. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the stone inside the oven. The parchment can go right on top of the pizza stone.  (I only have 2 hands so, that was impossible to capture in photos. Sorry, y’all)

Look, Elvis Parsley is watching the pizza cook.

OMG! I have died and gone to pizza heaven. And, Yes! It is worth it to make your very own homemade pizza pie.

Pizza heaven!

Quickie Pizza Sauce

This is one of the most ridiculous little recipes, but it works so well. I developed it out of necessity. I was hosting a small party once and pizza was to be the appetizer and, well, I thought I had jarred pizza sauce, but didn’t, and it was too late for a last-minute grocery run. So I improvised and it worked. I got tons of compliments on the sauce. (Pizza recipe.)


1 small can tomato sauce

1-3 Tbs Italian season mix

1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced or run thru a garlic press (or 1 tsp of ground if you don’t have fresh)

1 squirt of Anchovy paste

1 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs Parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper

Throw it all together and give it a stir. Feel free to ad lib here. If you don’t like or have any of the ingredients, don’t use it. Or if you want to make a substitution, do it. Dried Italian parsley works well if you don’t have an Italian herb blend. You can add more or less of anything or you could add something extra or completely different.

But please do try the anchovy paste … it adds a depth of flavor that will astonish you. It only takes a small squirt, about a ½ tsp. IMHO, it’s what makes the sauce.

Ta-dah! It’s really tasty and so easy. Use with your favorite pizza recipe.

Playing Cat and Dog

I had no idea what I was going to write about tonight when I came home from work… then this post magically wrote itself. Jdubs and I were wrapping presents. This is what happens when a 4 year old who can recognize a few letters does for gift tags.

Momma, will you write letters for me?

Then we ditched the packages to play with the cat.

Ah, momma, Pussums wants to play with me.

Then the dog got in on the action, and we played cat and dog and kid for a while.

Ruby: "You wanna piece a me?" Pussums: "Bring it. I can't wait to slap you"

Here’s Ruby trying to be playful. (I wish that darn ornament wasn’t in the way, but you will see it in every frame.)

Pussums: "you are so gonna regret this!"

Pussums is definitely ready to take a swipe at Ruby. Fortunately, for Ruby, those paws are sans claws.

Puss is fired up. Ruby: "I double-dog dare you."

Puss is supremely pissed. If I could hear her kitty voice I think she would say: “oh no you didn’t. No way that’s going to fly up in here.”

Pussums slinks away to provide more "personal" space.

Here’s Ruby with two batteries on her shoulder saying: “I dare you to knock these off.” (very bad reference to a very old Duracell battery commercial.)

Too bad I didn't have the video going to capture the little dance before they both darted up the stairs.

The aftermath of Cat and Dog—the dog pounced at the cat, scooting the tree over 3-4 feet; the cat peeled out on the tree skirt and bolted up the stairs with the dog in hot pursuit. And Jdub’s package is left behind.

An Angel Among Us

Today was Jdub’s third [and last] Christmas program at his preschool. This year he graduated to being an “Angel” complete with a speaking part.

We’ve been practicing these lines constantly: Christmas is God’s love for people on Earth, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth.

My little Angel did great today along with all his schoolmates. Bless Ms. Lori’s heart … it takes a lot of work to get a group of little children all working together to put on a program.

All the sweet little 2 year olds ... it's like hearding cats.
My sweet little angel.
No Room at the Inn ... the stage is set.

After it was all over I asked Jdubs how he did and he said: “I did amazing.” What a precious moment!

Jdubs said he got to be an actor today.

Random Awesomeness in Pictures

Sometimes things don’t quite come together. Tonight was one of those nights… I had plans for this blog post, but Jdubs is not cooperating so I had to redirect. But now maybe it’s going to be something more awesome than I had originally planned.

I looked through my random photographs and there are several I haven’t been able to use elsewhere. So I decided to write this post as random awesomeness in pictures.

A few days ago United Supermarkets had a sale on berries. I LOVE berries, and since it was cold, I made oatmeal and berry awesome in a bowl. And I have serious coffee every day. This is pressed coffee. The French version of Cowboy Coffee; it’s not for sissies.

French Press Coffee. Old fashioned oats, fresh berries, walnuts and a splash of cream.

Supper tonight. I made vegetable soup and chicken salad from a leftover roast chicken. The bread is the awesome country French bread we got at Central Market on Sunday. Oh and those are the little garden tomatoes I picked when they were still green, just before the killing frost. If you leave them out, they will ripen.

Soup and sandwich supper.

I almost peed my pants when I saw this (at Central Market on Sunday). You know how I love Scharffen Berger chocolate. Well here is a giant block of San Francisco chocolaty awesomeness!

OMG. I've died and gone to chocolate heaven.

The UPS man left a great big cat playhouse on the front porch. (That’s what I told the cat, anyway). Awesomeness in a cat toy.

This is awesome until the cat tries to play at 2 a.m., then not so awesome.

Who doesn’t love Sock Monkey? This hat is random awesomeness!

This Sock Monkey hat was a big hit at the supermarket tonight.