Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family Dinners Post One - 2010 Version

Are we still having weekly Family Dinners, you ask?

Why of course! In fact, we missed quite a few as we got into fall in 2009, and had to work to get back in a rhythm with School and Work and all. But the new year revitalized our plans, and now we are on a roll, if you will. We gather, we visit, we set the table and fill the water glasses, we sit and sing grace, we share and talk and laugh, and then we identify the menu for the next dinner based on requests.

And so it came to be that several weeks ago we has a fabulous Chicken Pot Pie. Asa requested it, and Mr. Bryant and I watched "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" - the Chicken Pot Pie episode. We read about several recipes, and finally developed a modified recipe of our own, based on the Casserole Queen's of Austin Texas. Their recipe was a great start for where we wanted to go for the family. To make this recipe super special, Mr. Bryant roasted three split chicken breasts (bone in) the night before in the oven, and then shredded the chicken for the pot pie. And then, for dinner, here is what he made -

Chicken Pot Pie - Ingredients
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 roasted chicken, shredded
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bag frozen peas & carrots
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
  • A little olive oil and/or butter for saute
Directions Thaw puff pastry according to package directions. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute shallots and mushrooms in a little olive oil or butter until soft and tender. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in flour, salt, tarragon, and black pepper. Add milk and cream all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in wine, peas, carrots and corn; heat thoroughly. Transfer the hot chicken mixture to a large glass casserole (we used our lasagna pan). Place sheets of thawed pastry over the hot chicken mixture in casserole dish. Brush puff pastry with egg wash then cut slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes.

This was a delicious hit with not much left over. But we did have dessert, as is our once a week custom. So we followed up that yummy dinner with something that I made - surprisingly good Banana Pudding Cupcakes from the "Cake Mix Doctor" cupcake cookbook.

  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans
  • 36 vanilla wafers
  • 3 medium-rip bananas
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 medium-size ripe bananas cut into 24 slices
Directions Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Count out 12 vanilla wafers for the garnish and set them aside. Place the remaining 24 vanilla wafers flat-side down in the bottom of the cupcake liners. Set the pans aside.

Prepare the cupcake batter: Slice the bananas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork until the bananas are smooth, 1 minute; you will have about 1 ¼ cups. Place the cake mix, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl with the banana puree. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes mode. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it ¾ of the way full. (You will get between 22 – 24 cupcakes.) Place pans into the oven.

Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool. [At this point, the recipe has loosen the paper liners so you can ultimately remove them – I didn’t do that.]

Prepare the filling: Place the mild in a medium size saucepan. Whisk in the pudding mix and place the pan over medium heat. Continue to whisk as the mixture comes to a full boil, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and the vanilla. Pour the pudding into a bowl to cool for 20 minutes.

Prepare the topping: Place a large mixing bowl and electric mixer beater(s) in the freezer to chill. Put the 12 vanilla wafers into a plastic bag and crush. Remove the bowl and beaters from the freezer. Pour the cream into the bowl and beat on high speed until thickened, 1 ½ minutes. Stop the machine and add the sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 – 2 minutes more.

Assemble the cupcakes: Remove the paper liners if desired. Spoon ½ cup of the cooled pudding into a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip. (I used a plastic bag and a funnel). Pipe a generous amount of pudding into the cupcake through the center of the top (1 to 2 Tablespoons), allowing about 1 teaspoon of the pudding to overflow onto the top surface of the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Sprinkle the vanilla wafer crumbs on top of the pudding. Dollop about 1 Tablespoon of whipped cream on top of the crumbs.

At this point I stopped and covered the cupcakes and put them in the fridge. The next day, just before serving, I stood a banana slice in the whipped cream. Everybody loved them for dessert, and the leftovers went home for next day treats with ADR, SRR, JPR, and ADR!!!

(Next week - Mediterranean Garlic Grilled Chicken)

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Yum!!!!! I saved the recipes!!!


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