How has the transition from Summer Bliss to School Schedules been for you? For me it has been a bit of a shocker! Yes, I know this is my first time with a child in the public school system, but still, it has been more of a change and stress than I imagined! My protective mama bear has taken over my emotions, and is raking me over! I have really struggled with relinquishing control and trusting some stranger to teach, protect and love my daughter. I hardly hear a word about what they do in class from my sweetie other than whether she had fun or not. My entire schedule is out of whack too. I am not sure if I am doomed to live out the year in a constant state of semi-panic-mode or of things will cool off and get a little easier and more familiar. Are any of you going through this too? It seems to me that I am the only person on earth that is stressing over it all.
In loo of all the craziness that the last few weeks have thrown out at me I have decided it is time to whip out the big guns and cook up some serious comfort food, since I obviously need it. Maybe my kiddos do too. It seems like our entire lives have shifted into something “other”. And I am not sure I like it yet. We shall see.
On another hilarious note, my cleaning lady “fired” me today…. What?? Isn’t that a little backwards? They sent me a text saying they were sick of cleaning my wreck of a house cutting back a lot, and felt like they weren’t ripping me off quite enough had to rearrange their schedules and I was not going to be a part of that schedule anymore…. Lol. Riiiight. Needless to say, I was due for a cleaning tomorrow and it is not going to happen. I am super bummed out, because that is just another thing I have to deal with at the moment. Oh well… Such is life. Maybe our next cleaning crew will love wiping up after tornado babies who destroy faster than I could humanly clean a dang thing. I sure hope so, cause I need a little extra zeal out of my cleaning crew. Kids… they are such little balls of joy.
Back to my comfort food. It really hit the spot, and made for a perfect, warm, cozy dinner that I think cheered me up a bit anyway.
This chicken pot pie isn’t like all others. I has an extra special savory flavor that is pretty special. It has a ton of depth of flavor. I loved the butternut squash in it. I found a recipe from Epicurious that looked pretty interesting although it didn’t have butternut squash in it like I was hoping. I altered this recipe a bit and substituted the carrots for the butternut squash. I also added red peppers and changed the seasoning and sauce a titch. I really liked how it turned out. This rich crumbly topping is the most delicious topping ever. I have been considering altering the basic crumble topping recipe to suit an apple cobbler of some sort. So you just might get to see that in the future as well. 🙂
If you are in need of a little comfort this school year, this just might be the ticket! Give it a try!
Ain’t she purrty? I do believe so. Lets start on the crumbly topping! First preheat your oven to 450 degrees and set your rack to the top-middle position.
In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
Dice up butter and toss it in with the flour mixture. Using your hands, mash together the butter and flour mixture until it resembles a fine cornmeal.
Mix in Parmesan cheese. At this point, add in heavy cream (do not substitute) and mix until just combined.
Line a rimmed baking sheet and break apart the dough into irregular chunks. Spread them out into a single layer. Place into preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Crumbly pieces should be fragrant and just beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool a little. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees for later.
I didn’t catch a picture of this step, but next you need to steam the chicken. In a large skillet with a lid pour in chicken stock and place chicken breasts in stock. Hear over medium-high heat cover,, and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until chicken is full cooked turning once halfway through. This should take about 8-12 minutes. Remove chicken. Place it in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Pour excess chicken broth in a measuring cup and set aside.
In the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, red bell pepper, celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook this mixture until tender, stirring occasionally, for about 5-7 minutes. While veggies are cooking cube chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, place back into bowl. Remove veggies and add them to the bowl with the chicken pieces in it. Set aside for later.
Do not clean the skillet. Add in butternut squash with a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for three minutes. Add in tomato paste and soy sauce. Saute until squash is tender and liquid is evaporated. *Do not omit the tomato paste or soy sauce. They give a wonderful depth of flavor to the filling without really revealing their normal flavors.*
Remove butternut squash from skillet and place into veggie and chicken bowl. Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add in milk and excess chicken stock. Whisk together well. Slowly whisk in small amounts of the flour into the liquid until well combined and no clumps are present. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon and whisk together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Try not to eat too much of this delectable sauce before you use it, if you can help it!
In a 9-11 glass baking pan arrange veggie mixture, butternut squash and chicken pieces.
Sprinkle frozen peas on top.
Spread sauce evenly over all the yummy filling!
Arrange a nice even layer of the crumbly topping over all the goodness, and you are ready to bake! Your oven should be hot, so pop this baby in the center rack and let it heat up for 15 minutes or so. Ooooh ya. Good job guys!
Now you have got a seriously warm, flavorful crowd-pleaser on your hands.. My kiddos loved this and so did I! I am bummed out my leftovers are all gone already!!
Serve hot and you are sure to get some smiles around the table!
Happy cooking everyone! I hope this school year is finding you a little less discombobulated than it is for me… And if it is, well, you are not alone my friend! What are some of your favorite “comfort foods”? I think I am going to be needing to make quite a few more! Comment below and share your ides with me! Whether it is just how you deal with the stresses of school life, or a nice comforting dinner idea. I would love to hear from you!
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Ta ta for now.