Barefoot! Pot Pie
Every year a bunch of A-10 pilots, maintainers and enthusists get together to pay tribute to fallen warthogs, then compete in a tactical gunnery and bombing competition called Hawgsmoke. This of course, prompted The Husband to organize a group of people to drive to Salina, KS to watch the competition last week. Knowing I desperately miss our military community and the smell of jet fuel, on his way out of the door last Thursday, The Husband looked at me and said, “Come on… call in sick! Come with me!” Always the good girl, I reluctantly hugged him goodbye and told him to have a good time without me.
That evening after lengthy discussions of the day spent watching our beloved hogs (the a-10 is The Husband’s jet…) and spending time in the company of other military service members, The Husband announced, “Honey! I forgot to tell you… I might have found another military wife for you! I told him I’d check with the Commander (that’s me) about having them over for dinner Saturday night.” Sweet. After checking the calendar I told The Husband the mission was a go.
We had a million things to do this past weekend so I wanted to serve something quick and easy for my audition dinner guests. Knowing Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen chose vegetable pot pies for this week’s Barefoot recipe, I grabbed the ingredients needed for my own chicken pot pie, plus a butternut squash thinking I’d have everything necessary.
Dinner was fun. It was nice to be around another military wife for a change. Between the lingering smile lines on The Husband’s face from being around his hogs, to the light banter between the Marine Corps family and us, The Air Force family… the evening could be counted mostly a success.
Nothing is ever a true success in the Cat House though. Our guests arrived on time, but I was nowhere near ready to serve dinner. As I cooked, The Marine Wife and I chatted back and forth about military life and ADD. I forgot to take pictures of the pot pies when they came out of the oven and after grace, we all dug in. About a quarter of the way through my dinner I looked at The Husband, who was finished and quietly asked him, “Honey, please take a picture really quick… it’s for Barefoot.” Misunderstanding what I was saying, he dug in and ate the rest of my dinner. Of course, after a very strange look from me (it was probably raging hunger and panic at the fact that my dinner was now happily residing in his stomach) he asked me what was wrong… I said, “I asked you to take a picture of that…” He replied, “Oh. I thought you were finished. I’m sorry.” He jumped up and grabbed the camera and snapped a really terrible picture…
I remade the potpies last night so I could at least give them a chance at glamour. Of course, I couldn’t make Ina’s recipe exactly as written. I made my lightened up version with a few additions to make it more Inalike. I’m glad I met this new family, I’m not sure if it will lead to a lasting friendship or anything more than friendly acquaintances, but I do know that we will always make pot pies in the Cat House.
Cat’s Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie
A Cat’s Pajamas Original Concoction
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 chicken breasts, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, halved then sliced 1/2″
2 ribs celery, halved then sliced 1/2″
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
Salt and pepper
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried thyme
4 c chicken broth
1 c 1% milk
2 T cornstarch
8 sheets phyllo dough
Butter flavored non-stick spray (genius!)
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces and brown. Stir in remaining vegetables with the exception of green beans (they really need a little crunch for me). Season with salt and pepper, add basil and thyme. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes until vegetables just start to soften.
Add chicken broth, bring to a light boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, just until potatoes and squash have cooked through. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and milk. Stir into chicken and vegetable mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes until thickened (add a little more cornstarch/milk if needed).
Ladle the chicken and vegetable mixture into 4 individual serving bowls (or a medium sized casserole dish), set aside.
Lay out a single layer of phyllo dough and spray lightly with butter flavored non-stick spray.* Lay another piece of phyllo dough on top of that, spray with non-stick spray again, then repeat with 2 more pieces of phyllo dough until there are 4 sheets together. Cut the phyllo dough in half so you have two slightly rectangular squares. Lay one squarish piece on top of one of the bowls and tuck in. Repeat with remaining bowls and 4 sheets of phyllo dough. If desired, garnish the dough with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until phyllo has lightly browned. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
*I’ve tried several different brands of butter flavored non-stick spray for phyllo purposes. PAM has the best flavor in my opinion. Using the butter PAM cuts down considerably on calories, as you are skipping the melted butter.