The theme of the week has been go-go-go and all the while, all I seem to want to do is eat delicious food.
On Monday (I think – the week is a blur), I made burgers on rice with a side-salad and as I was forming my burgers, I was struck with a pregnancy inspiration. Soon enough, we were eating and my husband was saying, “Are those chunks of cheese inside the burger?”
I responded, “You bet they are. Let the pregnant woman lead the way!”
Whenever I could find a moment, I was throwing together something I’ve never made before, often with the assistance of the old classic, The Joy of Cooking. The book was published in 1931 by Midwestern widow Irma Rombauer and addressed head on the concerns of many housewives in the Great Depression: How to get a meal on the table when the basics were difficult to come by. Mental Floss has an excellent article on the history of the book and its many iterations. Right next to the roast turkey instructions (which are comprehensive for beginners) is a list of references to recipes that can employ its leftovers. And thus, the Week of Leftovers began.
We started last Saturday with a chicken and rice casserole using the remains of the turkey we made the week before for our Friendsgiving celebration (yes, I know, January is late for a Friendsgiving but I figure those dark days, with so much time left before the sun returns, are the perfect time to surround ourselves with good friends and food). I added some frozen peas as well, since the JoC recipe didn’t have any vegetables in. The sauce for the casserole was slightly revised as well, as we had leftover gravy in addition to turkey, and so I figured that needed to be in the sauce. The casserole was a hearty dinner and lasted us the entire week for lunches. Let the pregnant woman lead the way.
For breakfast Saturday, I made another batch of Swedish pancakes, going back to my dad’s recipe. All of it was for the lingonberry preserves that I had found at the co-op. I also bought whipping cream to add to the pancakes. My husband took up the hand mixer and prepared his very first whipped cream. We were delighted by the combination and now enjoy an abundance of whipped cream in the fridge! Let the pregnant woman lead the way.
On Sunday, we had friends over for dinner and I insisted on baking brownies, even though they had already arrived before I started baking them. It was because we had whipped cream! We needed something to put it on…
The brownie recipe I used was by Alton Brown, because I needed a recipe that used cocoa powder instead of bar chocolate. His called for 1 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and 1/2 cup flour. I figured the dominance of chocolate in the proportions was promising. The brownies came out very fudgy and delicious and the addition of the whipped cream was the perfect lightness to cut through the dense mass of chocolate. I would include photos but I ate most of them before I had a chance to take pictures. Let the pregnant woman lead the way!
Tonight I decided to take chicken noodle soup that we made for my mom and make a chicken pot pie. I found some tips on how to thicken the soup with cornstarch and milk and whipped up a pie crust in my food processor. I have made pie pastry before but this time, the only butter I had was completely frozen and the pastry turned out stickier and stretchier than I remember it when I cut the butter in by hand. When I rolled it out, it kept pulling across the pastry cloth rather than stretching out. I also don’t think I made quite enough dough for the size of my pie tin, so the crust ended up being very thin. AND during the bake, the crust leaked so I had, at the end, a pretty soggy bottom. Regardless, it was incredibly delicious, but perhaps I only think that because I’m pregnant and nearly everything is unspeakably delicious.
To my delight, I am happy to declare that I can share my recipe for this pot pie with you because I would not be plagiarizing anyone! It is the first recipe I have concocted on my own.
Chicken Noodle Soup Pot Pie
Ingredients for the Soup:
- 2 cups noodles (we used cute heart-shaped pasta!)
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 3/4 one large onion, diced
- 1 quart of chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- leftover rotisserie chicken, shredded (we had one with both legs and some breast left)
- salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Adapting the Soup into Pie Filling:
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4-1/2 cup frozen peas (whatever is left in the freezer)
Ingredients for the Pie Crust:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 7 tbsp chilled butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp ice water
SOUP: Cook pasta as per package directions. Strain and set aside. In a large pot, heat chicken stock and water over medium high heat to boil. Add onion and carrot and simmer until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and shredded chicken and cook till heated through. Stir in parsley before serving.
PIE CRUST: In food processor, add flour, chilled butter (cut into chunks), and salt. Pulse until butter and flour is like crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a ball inside the processor. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge to rest.
ADAPTING SOUP TO PIE FILLING: Put 1 quart soup into pot. Stir in peas. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and cornstarch together. Stir into soup and simmer until thick. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
ASSEMBLING THE PIE: Grease pie tin (mine was 12″ and a little large for the amount of dough). Divide chilled dough in half and roll out into a circle that is a little larger than the pie tin. Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and set into the pie tin. Take out the second half of chilled dough and roll it out. When it is at the ready, add the filling to the crust and then lay the cover over top. Pinch bottom and top crust together and slash the top for steam to release. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes. Let cool and serve.
The final, crowning glory that I concocted tonight was a riff on the fudge brownie, of which there were several leftover because they give me terrible heartburn (worth it!). I heated it in the microwave for about 20 seconds and topped it with all natural peanut butter (the kind that only has one ingredient) that I had doctored with honey and salt. It was so good, I had to call a few people and tell them about it while I ate it. Let the pregnant woman lead the way!