Dreamy Chicken Pot-Pie

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With winter approaching, my cravings always turn to hot, bubbly dishes. When I think winter, I immediately think pie – more specifically, POT PIE! This is a quintessential American recipe that defines comfort food for me (along with fried chicken and mashed potatoes). When I was testing this recipe, I used Ina Garten’s ever-famous recipe for chicken pot pie – why reinvent something that is already amazing? Although, I have to admit, I prefer my modifications that omit 30% of the butter, small pearl onions, and heavy whipping cream (only to be replaced by a beautiful, tangy yogurt cheese). I also added celery (I love the crunch that it brings!) and replaced the parsley with thyme since I believe the flavors are much better this way.

I cut down cooking time by more than half by using store-bought rotisserie chicken (if you can, buy organic – Whole Foods has beautiful rotisserie chicken – why should you add an hour of cooking time to this recipe to just oven-roast chicken?). I also believe that this pot pie lends itself beautifully to a puff pastry crust. You CAN (if you must) make your own pastry dough, but I prefer spending less time making this beautiful dish and more time EATING it 🙂

I really hope you enjoy this recipe, my loves! You can modify it serve a large group by baking this in a large serving dish that is oven proof and serving it casserole style – whatever your heart desires (see below picture on the look of your pot pie if you do it family-style!). You can also make this vegetarian by using vegetable broth and cutting the chicken out. Or use beef or lamb meat instead for a spin on this – it will always be delicious – I promise!

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Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
3 cups boneless chicken meat from store-bought rotisserie chicken
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or two teaspoons of powder chicken bouillon)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
2 cups yellow onions, finely diced
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons labneh (strained yogurt cheese that is available at local Middle-Eastern markets). [You can substitute with 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or sour cream.]
1 cup medium-diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 cups frozen peas
1 tablespoon thyme powder
puff pastry, store bought (in the frozen section)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter (half of the stick) and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Once the onions are lightly browned, add the peas, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (approximately 5 minutes). Add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, melt the remaining butter (the remaining 1/2 of the stick). Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for approximately 1-2 minutes until the flour cooks a little.

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Add all of the hot chicken stock and vegetables to the flour. Continue stirring the mixture over low heat for another minute or so until well-incorporated and thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper, and labneh. Add the chicken and thyme. Stir well until well-incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings according to taste.

Divide the filling equally among ramekins (oven-proof). Brush the outside edge of each ramekin with the egg-wash (acts like glue), and cover each ramekin with a circle of puff-pastry that is a little larger than the opening. Using your fingers, seal the opening with the pastry by crimping the dough to folder over the side. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top with a sharp knife.

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Place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Serve hot and enjoy! 🙂

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Healthy Nachos

Have you guys been tempted by the oozy, amazingness of cheesy nachos at a baseball game or your local taqueria? DON’T DO IT!!! There is absolutely no reason to take in that synthetic, re-heated cheese and poison your body with it, when you can make even tastier nachos at home with real cheese! 🙂 This is a no-cook recipe that takes less than a few minutes to assemble and less than 2 minutes in the microwave. A one-plate meal or finger-food, depending on what your craving is. Serve this as a hot appetizer at your next party too!

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

Nachos PK

Ingredients
tortilla chips, of your choice (white corn or yellow)
one can of black beans, drained
finely diced onion
grated cheese of your choice (I prefer using a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, or you can also use a ‘mexican blend’ found at most grocery stores)
sliced green chili
salsa, of your choice (I like to use both salsa verde and a corn salsa!)
sour cream
Optional topping: grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken

Directions

Fill a microwave-safe plate with tortilla chips. Top with black beans, onion, cheese, chili slices (and cooked chicken, if you want). Microwave for approximately 1 minute 30 seconds (depending on your microwave strength) until cheese is perfectly melted. Top with salsas of your choice and drizzle with sour cream. Enjoy hot! 🙂

Easy Butter Chicken

It’s amusing how when people find out I’m an avid cook and have a food blog, they naturally assume that my blog features Indian recipes (if not 100%, at least a majority of the recipes). And if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m almost doing the opposite! I’ve been sharing mostly non-Indian recipes with a few, fun, and homey Indian recipes here and there. But, when I ask people what their all-time favorite Indian dish is, the majority exclaim ‘BUTTER CHICKEN’!! No kidding, I would probably say the same thing, although you and I both know that butter chicken is not the healthiest of Indian recipes. However, for the occasional time that you want to indulge in some authentic, North-Indian cuisine, this is an amazing, EASY recipe for butter chicken! Don’t remember to pair it with simple basmati rice for an explosion of flavors!

PS – I have previously blogged my recipe for Priyanka’s Butter Chicken, but this one is more authentic (no spinach in this one!) 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

Easy Butter Chicken PK

Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, divided
2 onions, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 (approximately 25 ounce) can of tomato sauce (or peeled and diced tomatoes)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
1.5 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions

Melt a few tablespoons of butter into a saucepan over medium heat (be careful to not burn the butter!). Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a dark brown for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Melt the remaining butter, and once melted, add the garam masala, tandoori masala, and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Now, add the tomato sauce, heavy cream, salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to lowest setting on your stove; cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the cubed chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer for an additional 25 minutes on low heat.

Once you have checked the chicken has been cooked through, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot alongside Indian bread and hot basmati rice. Enjoy! 🙂

Sweet & Spicy Baked Chicken Wings

I can’t explain why, but I had not made chicken wings, ever…until recently, that is. We had gone to a friend’s home for a potluck, and I fell in love with the wings they served. My friend shared the recipe she used, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit and made it spicier since my husband loves his spice! It’s based off of Food and Wine’s recipe from Carmel-based chef Tim Wood.

And this is the first recipe that I’ve tried, tested, and loved. Perhaps it was my fear of eating fried food, but this recipe is BAKED! Yet, you end up with a beautifully crisp, sweet, and spicy chicken wing done just right.

Serve this at your next party has a main dish accompanied by a side or noodles, and you’re all set – people will be raving and asking for your secret recipe! 😉 Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: Approximately 4 servings
Ingredients
3 pounds chicken wings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder (if you want this to be more kid friendly, you can omit the chili powder)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Garnish: 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the ‘broil’ setting (if your oven does not have this setting, no problem! heat it to 500 degrees F).

In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the wings on a sheet pan and place on lower rack of oven. Broil for 45 to 50 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over using tongs once every 15 minutes, until the wings are cooked through and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, crushed red pepper, and chili pepper. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer (this will happen quickly!). Simmer for 1 minute. for 1 Take it off of the heat and let it cool completely (to quicken the cooling process, pour out the mixture into a glass bowl). Once cool, whisk in the honey and soy sauce.

In a large bowl, carefully toss the chicken wings with the honey-soy mixture. Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with the scallions and serve HOT! 🙂

Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon-Chicken Soup) with Orzo

This is by far my favorite mediterranean soup recipe – if I ever see this on a menu, I order it without blinking. If I am ever craving something rich, creamy, tangy, and yet healthy, this is my go-to recipe in the kitchen. The creaminess of this soup comes from the eggs and flavorful chicken broth. It is a light soup, that is decadent at the same time. It can also be made in under 20 minutes, thanks to store-bought rotisserie chicken that is hard to replicate in your every day kitchen! Why waste 30-40 additional minutes cooking or boiling chicken for this recipe when you can buy gorgeous, roasted chicken meat at your local Costco or grocery market? 🙂

My favorite flavor in this soup is the citrus from the lemon juice – it is gorgeous against the meaty, starchy nature of the chicken and orzo. This is truly a one-pot meal that you can always accessorize with toasted bread and/or crackers to complete it. Perfect for that weeknight family meal, or as an appetizer for your worldly weekend dinner spread!

Enjoy! 🙂

Love,
Priyanka

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Yields: 6-8 portions
Ingredients
8 cups chicken stock (or to make vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
3/4 cup orzo pasta (optional)
2-3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (already cooked) – depending on how ‘meaty’ you like it (can omit to make vegetarian)
5 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add orzo. Cook uncovered until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Five minutes before pasta is done, add chicken.

Meanwhile, place eggs in mixing bowl. Whisk eggs while adding lemon juice. Stir in zest. Whisking constantly, slowly pour a ladle of the hot stock into the egg mixture to temper (this is to ensure that your eggs don’t curdle – you have to keep whisking constantly so that the room temperature egg mixture does not cook!).

Reduce heat to very low. Then, while whisking the soup in pan, slowly pour in the egg mixture (continue to whisk constantly!). Soup should thicken slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley or fresh dill. Serve hot!

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Herb & Saffron Mayo

The thing I love about rotisserie chicken is that it cuts down my cooking time of most dishes to under 20 minutes. Being a working woman with mouths to feed, it’s almost like a dream come true that I can hopscotch over to the nearest Costco or Safeway and pay anywhere from $4.99 to $6.99 for a whole, fresh bird cooked to beautiful perfection. Not only do I get to do fun things with the meat like make a delicious chicken salad sandwich, but I also reserve the bones and skin to make a robust homemade chicken broth that completely elevates the taste of many of my dishes. I am true believer in not wasting food, and chicken bones are definitely never found in my trash bin unless I’ve simmered the heck out of them over a low flame while making a broth! 🙂

This chicken salad (sandwich) is an ode to the classic lunch box fare. However, the salad is perfect as an appetizer on top of a crostini or even as a picnic lunch with a fresh baguette in hand. Scoop up some of this chicken salad with a cracker if a baguette is nowhere to be found, and you’re sure to please your taste buds even then!

Enjoy! 🙂

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Ingredients
1 rotisserie chicken, bones and skin removed
2 stalks of celery, chopped (chop up the leaves too! why waste?)
1 can of pitted olives, drained, rinsed, and halved
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/2 red or white onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup Priyanka’s herb & saffron mayo
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Variation: Add bacon bits or crunchy potato chips to your chicken salad for an additional crunch!
Garnishes to assemble sandwich: avocado, tomato, cheese, fresh spinach

Directions

Remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken, reserving the skin, bones, and dark meat for making your own homemade chicken broth, if desired! Otherwise, discard and place only the boneless meat in a large bowl. Add in the celery, olives, bell pepper, onion, and anywhere from 1/4-1/2 cup of Priyanka’s herb & saffron mayo.

Mixed thoroughly, but gently, until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Taste the salad and adjust seasoning, per your taste. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 2 days.

Serve chicken on toasted bread or hamburger bun, accompanied by avocado slices, tomato slices, pepper jack cheese, and fresh spinach. Add some bacon, sriracha hot sauce, or spicy brown mustard for a fun twist! Serve alongside baby carrots, potato chips, or fresh fruit for a complete meal! 🙂

Chipotle Marinade – Chicken or Tofu!

I know there has been a lot of recent buzz around ‘Chipotle’ food having a lot of sodium and calories – and being unhealthy, in general. So, what better way to tackle those cravings than to make your own, delicious ‘chipotle’ meats at home? 🙂 Sites like LiveStrong.com, and others, have posted tips on how to keep your calorie count low while eating at a Chipotle (e.g. ‘How To Eat Healthy at Chipotle‘) too, in case cooking at home isn’t an option.

However, for those of you that can spare a few minutes, this chipotle marinade recipe of mine is AMAZING on proteins like chicken, fish, and even tofu! This can be a spicy dish, depending on how much chili powder you put, and how much spice you can handle, so try the marinade BEFORE you put the chicken into it to make sure you can handle it! This marinade keeps incredibly well in the fridge for up to a week in case you make a little extra and keep it away before you use it on the chicken. It’s also great to brush onto fish when on the grill! 🙂

I hope you try this out – Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

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Ingredients
1/4 cup chipotle pepper, from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce, from the canned chipotles
4 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 large white onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Protein: chicken (cut of your choice: drumsticks, legs, thigh, etc) or cubed firm tofu

Directions

Add all ingredients a food processor or blender and process until well-combined and pureed.

Transfer mixture to a bowl or ziploc bag, add chicken (or tofu) and let sit in marinade overnight. [Note: if you don’t have time to marinate, no problem! It will still be delicious!]

Grill chicken for 6-8 minutes per side on a hot grill, or roast in the oven at 400 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165 degrees F. Let it rest, covered with foil, for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to settle (you will end up with a much juicier and tender chicken!)