Chicken Pot Pie
This Chicken Pot Pie is a wonderful addition to your freezer, so if you get home late, you can have dinner ready in about 30 minutes. Freezer to microwave, microwave to oven, oven to table. Since it is full of mixed vegetables, it can really be a one-pot meal on nights when you just don’t have time to cook.
Store bought pie crust and frozen vegetables
This Chicken Pot Pie recipe uses a pie crust topping that you buy in the freezer case at the grocery store. Some crusts are slightly more healthy than others, for example, some are made with whole wheat but nearly all of them include palm oil, butter or lard. These fats are high in saturated fats, which is why they are solid at room temperature.
Generally I recommend that as much as possible you should avoid commercially processed foods. On this one, I’ll make an exception due to the food science behind how to make the perfect pie crust. Pie crusts, even those you make at home, will have a better texture and flakiness if a saturated fat is used. Saturated Fat is bad for your heart health, and in general should be avoided.
If you try to make a pie crust with canola oil or olive oil, the texture can be tough and unappealing. I do make crusts using various oils for certain things, but that is a topic for another day. You can also make them with a different type of topping, for example panko bread crumbs, or a soft doughy roll batter, but I’ve yet to find a solution to this problem. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.
An old fashioned “stirred” crust is another option to make at home
One homemade crust that I will sometimes use is a “stirred” crust that includes whole wheat flour, canola oil and skim milk. That is the type of crust I sometimes make when I have time. It’s a very old, traditional recipe I originally learned from my mother, but is based on a version you can find in the classic Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Make your pot pie in advance for a quick meal after a long day
Chicken pot pie is a dish that is super easy to make, freezes well, and at least in our house, never has any leftovers. So every once in a while I will make them, usually two at a time — one to serve and one to freeze.
This is also a tasty “comfort food” that is good to make when you are undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment for breast or other cancers. When you’ve been out at the doctor all day, the last thing you want to do when you get home is start cooking dinner. Having a homemade chicken pot pie in the freezer solves this problem if you make it in advance.
Bechamel, a mother sauce of French cuisine
The only slightly tricky part (not really) is making the white sauce (bechamel) that holds the whole thing together. Since white sauce is one of the “mother sauces” used in many, many French dishes, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to make it. It really only takes about 5-10 minutes to put together if you have the ingredients which are typically part of your basic pantry anyway.
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|Prep Time||15 minutes|
|Cook Time||1.5 hour|
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray an oven-safe pan and bake chicken breasts at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until thoroughly cooked. This can be done in advance.
- After the chicken cools, chop it into bite-size pieces.
- Make the bechamel sauce by mixing the olive oil, butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, thyme, and black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rinse the frozen vegetables under cold running water to defrost them.
- Spray a deep dish pie pan with canola oil. Add the chopped chicken, vegetables and bechamel sauce.
- Cook the pie for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
- After 15 minutes, lower the oven to 350 degrees F and continue to cook the pie for 30 min.
- Check the temperature with a meat thermometer (internal heat should exceed 165 degrees F).
- Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition information per serving: 472 calories; 21 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 255 mg sodium; 35 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams dietary fiber; 35 grams protein (values are approximate).