I ate a lot of frozen dinners when I was little; that’s just what happens when you have two older brothers who’d rather be sneaking cigarettes and macking it with the ladies than preparing meals for their precious baby sister. Aside from salivating over the thought of that nuked Kid Cuisine brownie (seriously, how awesome were Kid Cuisines?), one of the most distinct microwaveable meal memories I have is heating up a Swanson chicken pot pie and picking out the repugnant peas to make it edible.
I’ve since said goodbye to my old friend Swanson, but moving on from microwaved meals doesn’t mean you can’t take shortcuts, and that’s why I love this cheesy chicken pot pie from Kitchen Simplicity.
(I might also mention that I couldn’t make or talk about this dish without thinking of this — a little shout to “Preston and Steve,” for those who live in the Philadelphia market.)
I employed a bag of Pictsweet Steam’ables for the filling (okay, so I guess I’m not totally rid of that microwaving habit); I used the peppercorn-seasoned variety, which includes asparagus, carrots, celery, onion, zucchini and squash — and no peas! The topping is comprised of Bisquick. I know this may seem obvious, but make sure you use the boxed baking mix variety, and not the buttermilk pancake easy-shake bottle. Don’t ask me how I neglected to read the label before purchasing the latter; thankfully, I realized my error before it was irreparable, and made a mid-cooking trip to the grocery store, but I am embarrassed nonetheless. Pancake pot pie? Bleck.
♦2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
♦2 c. mixed vegetables of your choosing
Place chicken and veggies in a glass baking sheet.
♦2 tbl. butter
♦2 tbl. flour
♦1 c. chicken broth
♦salt and pepper
♦1 c. shredded cheese
Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and cook for one minute. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in cheese until melted. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables, and mix well.
♦1 c. Bisquick mix
♦1/2 c. shredded cheddar
♦1/3 c. milk
Stir ingredients together with a fork until moistened. Spread thinly over contents of baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees, or until top is golden.
Total time? 35 minutes prep (includes trip to store), 25 minutes bake.
Cost? $3 box Bisquick ($2 wasted on pancake mix bottle), $2 frozen veggies,$1.74 cheese, $1 chicken broth.
Overall success relative to expectations? 8 out of 10. A+ shortcuts on this one, too. When I finished eating my single serving, I put out an APB to my friends that I had leftover chicken pot pie available for pickup, and 30 minutes later, I was nearly cleaned out. Next time, I’ll try to make the filling a little thicker (more cheese? flour?), but overall, this was great for a cold day, visitors and a little bit of leftovers.