Monday, September 26, 2011

Jack-o-Lantern Chicken Pot Pies

So you know that little box of puff pastry that you buy frozen?  Well it comes with two sheets of fold-out pastry.  One is plenty to cover the standard pie plate, so we used the second sheet to cover these cute little cast iron skillets for individualized "Jack-o-Lantern" portions that are just perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

We took LOTS of short cuts with this one, folks!  So it was super simple and fast (after allowing the pastry to thaw).  As a matter of fact, assembly for this was faster and easier than using pie crust!

Ingredients:
  • frozen puff pastry
  • rotisserie chicken
  • frozen mixed vegetable
  • salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
  • optional - garlic powder
  • can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • egg wash (1 egg, a Tbsp of water, mixed)
 
Step-by-Step:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Allow the pastry to thaw for about 30 minutes or so on a floured surface.
Pretend that you are doing this alone and your kitchen will stay neat.  I almost had to vacuum my daughter off by the time we were finished.  But that's the point of all this - allowing them to participate and learn.
Grab your cooking vessel of choice.  Any type of iron skillets, ceramic ramekins, or other oven safe individual casserole dishes would work.
Another shortcut - rotisserie chicken.  Have someone pull it off the bone for you and chop it up.  One of us is working on scissor skills.  The other is working on building a road through the flour.
First goes the chicken...
The next shortcut.  Frozen mixed vegetables.  Boy, this whole thing could get really, really homemade or we could just use lots of shortcuts.  This afternoon was one of those shortcut days.  One additional note about these veggies - the vegetables that are frozen seem to break down and cook a lot faster than the fresh ones, so you are saving time on the front and the back ends of this.
Add your seasonings right over the veggies - salt, pepper, a little poultry seasoning.  In the past, I've also added a little garlic powder, and sometimes a tiny bit of dry cooking sherry.  But today, we kept it fast and simple.

Over the seasoning, add a few spoons of condensed cream of celery (or cream of chicken) soup right out of the can.  Just enough to cover.  It's sort of important (in my opinion) that you layer the pot pie in this way.  When the soup cooks down, it melts all down through the vegetables and meat making everything creamy and moist and gooey.  If it is not at the top, the veggies tend to be dry.
Cut out a pumpkin shape just a tad bit bigger than the top of the dish.
Place the puff pastry over the pot pie filling.  Give the Jack-o-Lantern pea eyes and a carrot nose.
Brush the tops of the pastry with an egg wash.  This makes it brown beautifully and gives it a glossy sheen on top that is really pretty.  Otherwise, it comes out really dull looking.
Pop them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  (???)  I don't quite remember how long I had them in... we had lots going on in the kitchen today.  Set the timer for around 20 min and then keep an eye on them.  You will also start smelling them.
Now wouldn't these be so cute for your Trick-or-Treat party?  Happy Autumn, Y'all!

Here are some bonus recipes:
Grilled Zucchini Rolls 

Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Martinis

Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Inside Out Caramel Apple Slices

Taco Soup


Written Method:
We took LOTS of short cuts with this one, folks!  So it was super simple and fast (after allowing the pastry to thaw).  As a matter of fact, assembly for this was faster and easier than using pie crust!  Allow the pastry to thaw for about 30 minutes or so on a floured surface.  Grab your cooking vessel of choice.  Any type of iron skillets, ceramic ramekins, or other oven safe individual casserole dishes would work.  Another shortcut - rotisserie chicken.  Have someone pull it off the bone for you and chop it up. 


First goes the chicken, then the frozen mixed vegetables.  Boy, this whole thing could get really, really homemade or we could just use lots of shortcuts.  This afternoon was one of those shortcut days.  One additional note about these veggies - the vegetables that are frozen seem to break down and cook a lot faster than the fresh ones, so you are saving time on the front and the back ends of this.


Add your seasonings right over the veggies - salt, pepper, a little poultry seasoning.  In the past, I've also added a little garlic powder, and sometimes a tiny bit of dry cooking sherry.  But today, we kept it fast and simple.  Over the seasoning, add a few spoons of condensed cream of celery (or cream of chicken) soup right out of the can.  Just enough to cover.  It's sort of important (in my opinion) that you layer the pot pie in this way.  When the soup cooks down, it melts all down through the vegetables and meat making everything creamy and moist and gooey.  If it is not at the top, the veggies tend to be dry.
 

Cut out a pumpkin shape just a tad bit bigger than the top of the dish.  Place the puff pastry over the pot pie filling.  Give the Jack-o-Lantern pea eyes and a carrot nose.  Brush the tops of the pastry with an egg wash.  This makes it brown beautifully and gives it a glossy sheen on top that is really pretty.  Otherwise, it comes out really dull looking.


Pop them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Set the timer for around 20 min and then keep an eye on them.  You will also start smelling them.
 

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