Life Lessons Day 13:: Learn to Cook

Today is one of those blustery, fall days in the midwest.  Just looking out the window, I have goosebumps.  After I get the Girlies off to school, I start through my to do list for the day, which always includes…”What are we having for dinner?”  Many days I already have it planned, like today.  But with the chilly weather, I want some comfort food to eat tonight, so I scratch my original menu and decide to make chicken pot pie.  Yum!

Chicken pot pie is the kind of dish that is full of basic goodness and stuff I always have in the pantry and refrigerator.

  • Roasted chicken or 3 cooked breasts (about 2 cups), shredded
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade – heated
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (dissolve in chicken stock)
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups of medium-diced celery (4 stalks celery)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup skim milk (can use cream for richer flavor)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Begin by sauteing the carrots, onions and celery in butter for about 10 minutes.  Once the onion is translucent, dump in the flour and keep stirring over medium heat for 2 minutes so the flour gets cooked.  There’s nothing yuckier than a raw flour flavor. Well…maybe there is, but still cook the flour.  Then pour in the chicken stock, stir until a little thicker and add everything else – seasoning, chicken, milk, parsley, peas.  And it’s done.  Pour into a 9×13 pan or individual dishes.  If you use store-bought chicken broth (like I did today), then back off on the salt and taste it before adding more.

To make my life easier, I prepare the pot pie filling in the morning and refrigerate it until I’m ready to heat it in the oven for dinner.  350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Top it with puff pastry or a biscuit…delish!

Learn to cook good food.  That is today’s life lesson.  As Big Sis M says often “Mom you’re the best cooker.  Right Daddy?”  And of course, Mr. Rosey nods his head yes.  Makes me smile….

Girlies, I will teach you to cook, but if I’m not here then take cooking classes, watch cooking shows, read cookbooks, practice and learn to cook.  You need to eat, so you might as well eat healthy, good home cookin’.  It costs a lot less to make dinner than to go to a restaurant for dinner and your wallet says “thank you”.  As a general rule, anything on the label that Nana couldn’t find in her pantry or refrigerator is not good.  Buy the best ingredients you can afford and grow some veggies, fruits and herbs in a summer garden.  Where possible, buy organic, fresh, non-processed foods.  It’ll cost more than other food choices, but you’ll probably save money in the long run with lower medical bills.  You are what you eat.  Who said that?  Don’t know, but I suppose it’s true, so put good stuff in your belly.

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