I have the hardest time coming up with Things to Make for Supper. It's not like it's actually hard to make tasty dinners; but I usually wait until Helen's second nap (around 2:30) to even begin to contemplate supper, and by that time it's pretty much too late to take any meat out of the freezer. Then Helen wakes up and I need to feed her, change her diaper and get her in a good mood so she doesn't scream at me while I'm chopping vegetables. And it's 4:30 and I'm wracking my brain for something to make.
Enough was enough. I decided to start A Planned Menu.
I consulted with Reuben and came up with 2 week rotating menu. Somehow just knowing what I need to cook makes me get it done. I know to plan ahead and buy the food I need for the week and take meat out of the freezer the night before. So far I'm loving it.
This chicken pot pie is one of my favorite suppers on the rotation. It's delicious and so so easy. You needn't fuss over a pie crust: the carbs come in the form of easy-peasy drop biscuits.
Confession: I dislike cutting butter into flour. It feels like so much work, slicing the butter into small pieces and working it into the flour with a pastry cutter. So I cheated with these biscuits: I melted the butter and added it to the flour along with the sour cream. I really couldn't tell the difference!
Do you ever cheat in the kitchen to make your life easier?
PS: Let me know if you guys would be interested in seeing my two-week-rotating-menu.
Easy Chicken Pot Pie with Sour Cream Biscuits
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 of a medium onion (more if desired), chopped fine
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups liquid (I used 1/2 cup cream and 2 cups chicken broth, but you can use a combination of milk and any broth you wish)
- 4 cups cooked chicken
- 2 cups frozen peas
For the biscuits:
- 1/2 cup sprouted spelt flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sour cream
For the filling:
1) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once it's nice and hot, add the onion and cook until softened and transparent. Add the carrots and celery and cover; cook until tender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
2) Slowly add the broth and milk or cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and peas. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour into a baking dish (mine was 7" x 9" but you could use a square pan as well).
For the biscuits:
1) Meanwhile, as the filling is coming to a boil, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter and sour cream and mix just until combined.
3) Scoop the biscuits over the prepared filling in 6 large lumps. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the biscuits are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Posted by Erica Lea at 10:30:00 AM
Soft, spicy and full of flavor. These gingerbread bars are definitely a favorite of mine.
I first made these for the Tasty Kitchen blog back in December of 2010. The other day I had a hankering for them, so I cooked up a pan. They were just as good as I remembered. So I decided I should share the recipe with you.
These are excellent plain, but they are exceptionally good with a cup of tea (or a cold glass of milk) and a dollop of whipped cream. They're delicious fresh from the oven or cold from the refrigerator.
Chai Gingerbread Bars
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used half sprouted spelt flour and half while flour)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp Chai tea leaves (I mixed up my own)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sweetener of choice (I used evaporated cane juice)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Butter or line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, Chai tea leaves, ground ginger and baking soda.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until soft. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and fresh ginger and mix. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
4) Spread the batter into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Make sure to smooth out the top of the batter (I like to use an offset spatula). Sprinkle the top of the bars with extra sugar, if desired.
5) Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Serve warm or cold, plain or with whipped cream.
It's amazing what lighting can do for the feel of your photos.
One way you can easily manipulate the mood of your subject is to change the source of your light.
In the first photo above, the light is coming from a window to right of these delicious pears. The lighting is fairly soft and even but there's still some darker shadows to give depth.
In the second photo, the light is coming from a window in front of the pears. The pears are very soft and evenly lit and the background is quite dark.
In the last photo the light is coming from a window at the back of the pears. Everything is quite contrasty and the background is very light.
See how easy it is to change the look of your photos simply by switching up the source of the light? My current favorite is placing the light at the back of the subject - I love the contrast! Make sure to experiment and find the mood you like the best.
What do you think? Which mood from the photos above is YOUR favorite?
Let me know if you guys enjoy these mini photography lessons!
Posted by Erica Lea at 3:13:00 PM
I really wanted to like this recipe, guys. When I read the words "Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal," I was certain that this was something that I wanted to eat for breakfast AND dessert. But with my first bite I thought, "This isn't sweet enough." And with subsequent bites: "I don't think there's enough salt."
Reuben agreed that it just wasn't that good.
But I really liked the photos. I was able to capture some steam, and I think it LOOKS like something I would like to eat. Ah well.
On a happier note, I took my lovely sister's senior portraits. You can see more photos on my personal blog.
I made pear jam using my Peach Jam Recipe as a base, leaving out the lemon juice (I didn't have any on hand).
Caramel Corn! Om nom nom. I'll have to share my recipe with y'all sometime...
Fall is in full swing here in northern Minnesota. I really need to stop mentioning to Reuben how much I love fall - I'm sure I'm starting to sound like a broken record.
Have you had any failures or successes in the kitchen lately?
Posted by Erica Lea at 10:34:00 AM
I'm having trouble describing these bars. "Yummy. Really yummy," is all that comes to mind. The cookie-like crust, soft center and hint of orange flavor work together to make an irresistibly delicious dessert.
I wish I had a piece right now, still slightly warm, with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top.
Make sure to visit the Tasty Kitchen Blog to get my step-by-step photos and the recipe.