Cheeseburger pie

We were drowning (drowning I say!) in frozen hamburger patties. And there are only so many burgers a girl can eat (no, really), so I decided to re-purpose some of the beef. And there was my big ol’ cast iron skillet, lying in neglect, not having been used since… um….  last night. For pizza. Um, anyway.

This is, obviously, an adaptation of the classic Bisquick recipe. 🙂

You will need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion — less or more, depending on the likelihood of smooching someone later; I used about 1/4 of an onion, maybe less
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry milk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  1. Brown up the meat and onion, preferably in a cast iron skillet, and drain the grease out — I tilt the pan till any grease is on one side, then use a paper towel to blot it out
  2. Spread the meat and onion evenly in the bottom of your skillet (if you’re not using an oven-safe skillet, then spray a pie plate with non-stick spray and spread the meat in there)
  3. Sprinkle meat with cheese
  4. Using a fork, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, dry milk
  5. Drizzle in canola oil, then work it in with your fork till it looks crumbly
  6. To the flour mix, add milk and eggs and whisk together, then pour over meat/onion/cheese mix — since this was use-what-we’ve-got supper night, you’ll see some shredded mozzarella, some shredded colby jack and a few Kraft singles. It’s what we had! 🙂
  7. Bake pie at 400F for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean

This was really yummy. Comfort food! If you don’t do it in a cast iron, this could easily be assembled and put in the fridge beforehand, too.

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my top three comfort food meals — the other two being chicken and dumplings and macaroni and cheese. Mmmmm…. Anyway, this cooks up beautifully, travels well, freezes well and reheats well. What more could you ask?

There are three main parts to this dish: the chicken, the pie crust, and the sauce.

Let’s start with the chicken.

You will need:

  • Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • A few stalks of celery if they’re just lying around
  • Salt, pepper, onion or onion powder

I do this part in a slow cooker the night before; you can also just boil the chicken the same day if you’re in more of a hurry.

  1. The night before you’re going to to eat half a chicken pot pie serve this for supper, put the chicken breasts in the crock pot with a few stalks of celery, some salt and pepper, an onion if you have it (or onion powder on the chicken) and fill it up with water.  Let it cook on low overnight
  2. The next morning, put the chicken on a plate and let it cool, then refrigerate
  3. Strain the chicken broth that’s now filling your crockpot and save one cup of it for this recipe. Refrigerate or freeze the rest

Now the pie crust (modified from Alton Brown’s recipe). You will need:

  • 6 Tbsp. butter, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening or lard, chilled
  • 1 cup AP flour + more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vodka (yes, really; here‘s why)

In a perfect world, you’ll also have this nifty pie crust bag, which makes everything a little easier. Now:

  1. Chop butter and shortening or lard into little pieces, and put them in two separate bowls in the freezer for 15 minutes
  2. Measure out 1 cup (or 6 oz.) flour and put it in the freezer too
  3. When everything is chilled, put the flour and 1/2 tsp table salt into the food processor and pulse three or four times to combine
  4. Add butter and pulse till texture looks mealy; this took me about 6 or 7 pulses
  5. Add lard and pulse another 4 or 5 times
  6. Slowly drizzle in one tablespoon of water, dispersing as much as possible, and pulse 5 times
  7. Slowly drizzle in one tablespoon of vodka and pulse again
  8. Check it at this point. If you squeeze the  mixture together does it hold? If not, add more vodka. If so, it’s ready. It will not immediately look like pie crust, even when it’s ready; it will look like this:

Now put it in your nifty pie crust bag or a zip-top bag, squeeze it all together in a ball, then press into a rounded disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While that’s chilling, we’ll work on the white sauce. You will need:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth (which you ever so prudently reserved from your earlier chicken cooking)

To make sauce:

  1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat
  2. Whisk in flour and keep whisking until your sauce is smooth and bubbling
  3. Remove the pan from heat and slowly pour in the chicken broth and milk, a little at a time, whisking like a crazy person to keep it smooth
  4. Return the pan to the burner and bring to a simmer
  5. Cook, stirring insanely often, until it thickens up. Add salt and pepper to taste (plenty of it for this, I think)
  6. Once it’s nice and thick, set it back off the burner

Now assemble your pie!

  1. In a food processor or by hand, shred or chop your cold chicken breasts into pretty small pieces
  2. In a large bowl, stir together your white sauce, your chopped chicken and one bag of frozen mixed vegetables (still frozen — easy!)
  3. Remove pie dough from refrigerator and roll out two crusts (see Alton’s recipe for lots of technique info, but we’re not blind baking ours)
  4. Put one crust in an ungreased pie plate and spread in your sauce/chicken/veggie mixture. See how pretty it is?
  5. Put on your top crust. I actually don’t put it all the way to the edges because I like it to have lots of steaming room. Also cut vents in the top of your crust, like so:
  6. Just in case, put your pie plate on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Foil is easier to clean than the bottom of your oven
  7. Bake at 375 until top is browned — remember everything in it is cooked, so you’re just heating. Let sit for a good 15 minutes to cool before you cut into it. Then go nuts!

Your total ingredient list for this pie:

  • Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Celery, onion (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder
  • 6 Tbsp. + 3 Tbsp. butter, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening or lard, chilled
  • 1 cup AP flour + 6 Tbsp + more for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1-2 Tbsp. vodka
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bag frozen, mixed veggies

Ways to shortcut this recipe:

  • Buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred the meat from there
  • Use rolled, refrigerated pie crust
  • Use two cans of cream of chicken soup instead of the white sauce