Veggie Pot Pie

Veggie Baked
Cooking. It’s a fine dance, I tell you, and not an easy one.
In this house there are two meat eaters, one who only eats chicken, and one who eats no meat at all. How do you make ONE meal and make sure no one is horrified and everyone is satisfied? I really, really refuse to become one of those people who makes two, perhaps three, dinners to cater to everyone’s dietary choices.
I came across this recipe for veggie pot pie and knew I had at least one solution … that is if everyone liked it!
I  made the filling in one large skillet, poured it into two baking dishes and added poached chicken to one baking dish, then made one and a half of the biscuit topping and plunked them both in the oven.
It was a hit! Seconds were taken, even! Leftovers were taken for lunch! Hooooooray! I have one gret cold night, comfy, easy dinner now in my arsenal.
Yes, there’s a lot of chopping, but I have a great helper in the kitchen. Once the chopping is done, this dish comes together really quickly.
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 1 C vegetable broth
  • 1/2 C cream
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 C frozen peas
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 2 T chopped fresh chives
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

NOTE: One request was made for the next time (yes, they want this one again, SCORE!) less peas. A cup sort of overwhelmed the rest of the vegetables. I poached three boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and then chopped them into bite-sized pieces before adding them to the vegetables. Three thighs was plenty for the 3/4 of the recipe that was dedicated to chicken. Also, I chopped up extra parsley and chives to press into the biscuit dough.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Veggie Chopped Veg

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven on your stove top. Add the diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until translucent, about five minutes.

NOTE: Because I was splitting this between two baking dishes, I ditched the Dutch oven idea and went for a large skillet. But there’s a LOT of filling so you really need a LARGE skillet.

After the veggies are translucent, add the diced potatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes and sprinkle in the 1/4 cup of flour, stirring, making sure you coat everything with flour. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Next, slowly add the broth, cream and milk, stirring as you go. Salt and pepper liberally.

NOTE: Just when you think you’ve added enough salt and pepper, add more! Really. I thought I had added too much and in actuality, it needed more than what I thought was a ridiculous amount.

Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about five minutes until the mixture has begun to thicken. Pull the skillet off the heat and stir in the chopped herbs, vinegar and peas.

While the veggie mixture is bubbling, make the crust.

NOTE: This seemed like an awful lot of peas, next time I’ll cut this back to maybe to a scant 3/4 cup.

FOR THE BISCUIT CRUST:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 T shortening
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 6 T milk
  • 1/2 t salt

NOTE: The above measurements are for the straight veggie pot pie. I mixed up one and a half of these to cover both baking dishes.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Use a fork to cut in the shortening until the flour forms little crumbs. Use your fingers to mix in the milk as you pour it in slowly – the dough should not be sticky, so go easy. If it is sticky, add a little more flour.

NOTE: Being in a hurry, I put everything into the bowl. Sigh. So the biscuit on the large pie was a little tough. Making the second one, I followed the instructions and it was perfect. And don’t over work it, it gets tough! I had extra chives and parsley, so when I rolled out the dough, I rolled the herbs into the biscuit.

Roll the biscuit dough into a disc roughly the size of your Dutch oven (or baking dish) and place it on top. You don’t want this to cover the entire surface, leave a little space around the edges for venting.

Place in the oven with no lid and bake for 30 minutes, or until the biscuit top is done.

Veggie Ready to Serve

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon

Potatoes Finished
A side dish. A side dish. Don’t you just find yourself making the same ones over and over again? Rice, potatoes, orzo (no comments, Marg!) I find that particularly true with POTATOES … mashed, baked, roasted, baked, mashed, roasted, and roasted again … B-O-R-I-N-G.
If this dinner was going all the way, the potato had to go all the way as well.  I had seen Nigella make these years ago and had tagged them in Forever Summer to try one of these days.
Always to be one to gild the lily, I added BACON. Bacon makes everything better!
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 9 pieces
  • 2+ tablespoons butter, melted
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375º.

After peeling potatoes, place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning.

Lay the bacon pieces on a baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Cutting Potatoes

Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and carefully transfer to a baking sheet; let cool slightly.

NOTE: This just gets them started cooking a little faster.

One at a time place potato lengthwise on a cutting board. Place wooden spoons lengthwise along the potato. Cut slices across the short side of the potato, about 1/8 inch apart. The wooden spoons will prevent your knife from cutting completely through the potato. You don’t want to cut through to the bottom of the potato.

Stuffed with Bacon

Once cut,place potatoes on a baking sheet and insert 3 pieces of the frozen bacon into the cuts of each potato, spacing the bacon evenly and letting it poke out of the top. Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter and brush generously over the potatoes and in the cuts. Reserve any excess butter for basting. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Okay, so I used more than THREE pieces in each potato. THREE? Seriously?

Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp, about 40 minutes, basting halfway through with the reserved melted butter.

Season with salt and pepper.

Baked Tater Tots

Okay. So first it was ketchup. And now I have this slammin’, simple, delicious, eat it from the spoon ketchup, it really needs something equal … fingers in ears, folks, Ernie is about to start shrieking again … I know! I’ll make TATER TOTS! The Tot is truly one of the world’s most perfect foods.

I have been told that perhaps I have gone round the proverbial bend  … too much time on my hands … the best I can tell you is that I was, perhaps, dropped on my head as a child.

But Tater Tots! Come on! Why wouldn’t you make them from scratch if you possibly could!? And they’re baked! And, much to the chagrin of he-who-won’t-be-mentioned the shaping of the Tot is not a tightly-held industrial secret.

These were fabulously simple and yummy beyond belief.  You may never buy a frozen Tater Tot again. This is a mishmash of a bunch of different recipe I found. One said to roll them in panko crumbs. I may try that next time, but don’t think it’s necessary. Would like a more even brown on them. But, hey, this was the first time out of the gate and they were inhaled in seconds!

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Ketchup, for serving

NOTE: Adjust the cayenne, smoked paprika and garlic powder to taste. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with oven rack in center position. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven.

Peel and grate potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.

NOTE: I started off using a box grater. UGH! Suddenly my Cuisinart started beckoning to me and the shredding disk started waving at me. Hello? Remember us? Well, that turned this into something even easier!

Cover the grated potatoes with boiling water, by about 2 inches. Steep for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Squeeze potatoes with hands to remove excess moisture and transfer back to large bowl.

NOTE: I put the potatoes in a clean, white kitchen towel and squeezed them. The drier they are the better off you are.

Add flour, salt, pepper, spices and beaten egg to bowl and fold into potatoes.

Shape into Tots.

Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven and coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Quickly transfer Tots to baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with ketchup.

NOTE: Next time I think I’ll add some grated onion. Maybe a little bit of fresh garlic instead of powder.

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