Homemade Pierogi


Whether you have family from Poland, the Ukraine, Romania or even good ole’ America, chances are you’ve had Pierogi. They are out of this world delicious. They are a bit of work, ok, maybe a lot of work . . . but they are so worth it. People were eating them cold right out of the refrigerator here. They were undeniably scrumptious.


My favorite was the Potato with Cheese, Bacon, and Caramelized Onion. Bob preferred the Potato, Sauerkraut, and Diced Onion. I also made Sweet Potato with Bacon, but neither of us were crazy about them.


If you’d like to read Pierogi history, go to: http://www.polskafoods.com/polish-food/facts-history-about-pierogihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierogi
I’m sure every family that ate Pierogi had their own recipe. I was never introduced to them until I was an adult. Man, oh man. All those years wasted!

Here’s my recipe.

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

4 large Russet potatoes

2 TBSP butter

3/4 cup cubed or grated cheese (I use a mixture of Colby, Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar, and Cooper). 

¼ + milk

Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder and Garlic Powder (about 1/2 tsp each)

OPTIONAL:  Sauerkraut, Diced Raw Onion, Crumbled Bacon, Green Onions

DOUGH INGREDIENTS: Yields 40-50 pierogis, depending on size
6 cups AP flour1 extra large egg¾ tsp saltPepper to taste1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups potato water1 egg yolk to seal doughOPTIONAL: Seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, parsley
DOUGH PREPARATION AND ASSEMBLY:
In food processor, add flour, egg, salt, and quickly pulse to incorporate. If you want to add seasonings, do it now. Add room temperature potato water in three batches and mix until dough forms. It will only take about 1 minute.
Grab a hunk of dough and squeeze it. It shouldn’t be wet, nor should it be crumbly. Give it a quick knead. It should be the consistency of Play Dough. No need to flour your work surface. It doesn’t stick. Roll it out until very thin. It is so easy to work with. Cut with a glass, biscuit cutter, or a press. They should be approximately 3 ½ “rounds. Fill with a good TBSP of potato, whatever extras you’re adding on top, and fold over. Smear a little beaten egg onto only one side of the dough along the edge. Press to seal. Any scraps of dough should be added back into the bowl.
Lay completed Pierogis on a clean dish towel and cover with another towel. This will keep the dough from drying out. A dish towel is the standard. However, this time I used Parchment Paper. If the objective is to keep them from drying out, won’t a cotton cloth remove some of their moisture? Parchment Paper worked wonderfully for me.

TO COOK PIEROGIS:
Drop one at a time into a large pan of salted boiling water. I would cook only 6 at one time. They will sink like a stone, but that’s ok. After about one minute, lightly push a spatula under them to make sure they aren’t stuck to the bottom of pan. It doesn’t happen often, but it is possible. In 3-4 minutes they will rise to the top. They should be fully cooked and ready to eat with butter and sautéed onions.
TO FRY COOKED PIEROGIS:
I prefer mine browned in a little bacon grease, but you could also use olive oil or butter (or a little of both). If you’re using onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, etc. add them now. Don’t crowd the pan. Cook until browned on one side, flip over and brown the other side.
Serve with Sour Cream, Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing.
Pictured below is the dough press I used. A set of 3 is available for around $4.00. I may invest in the press that makes 6 at once. I think it might be a time-saver. These presses can be used for hand pies, calzone, ravioli, empanadas, and all sorts of other fun projects.

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Oven Baked Cod

Oven Baked Cod and Creamy Au’ Gratin Potatoes

Baked Cod Pictured with Creamy Au’ Gratin Potatoes

     Pictured is my newest Potato recipe for Creamy Au’ Gratin Potatoes, as well as Oven Baked Cod.  Normally I bread and fry or air fry my fish, but I decided to be more waistline friendly and bake it for a change.  It was so good! 

INGREDIENTS: 2 Servings

1 lb Cod Fillets

1 TBSP Butter

Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Black Pepper

PREPARATION:

     In a small baking dish, smear half the Butter on the bottom of the dish.  Place Fillets in dish.  Squirt as much Lemon Juice as you want on top of the fish.  Either spread the remaining Butter on the Fillets or cut it in small pieces and lay it on top.  Sprinkle with Seasonings and bake at 400 ° F for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on how thick the Fillets are.  Twist a fork in the center of the Fillets and if they separate and flake, they’re done.

     Of course, serve with my newest Au’ Gratin Potatoes and the Vegetable of your choice.

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Creamy Au’ Gratin Potatoes

Creamy Au’ Gratin Potatoes by Chew Wanna Eat?

     Thinly sliced Potatoes in a smooth and creamy Cheese Sauce.  What could be better?  Serve them with Fish, Meatloaf, Poultry, Pork, Scrambled Eggs or just about anything else.  Comfort food at its finest.

INGREDIENTS:

4 1/2 -5 cups sliced Russet Potatoes, (I leave skins on)

1 cup Onions, sliced

3-4 cloves Garlic, minced

2 mini Sweet Peppers, chopped or sliced

Black Pepper

2 1/4 cups Half and Half

¼ cup Sherry

3 TBSP AP Flour

Salt & Pepper

6 oz Extra Sharp Cheese, grated.  (I like Cracker Barrel)

OPTIONAL:  Using only Extra Sharp gives the potato the tangy bite of Extra Sharp Cheese.  If you’d rather

You can do half Extra Sharp and half American.

PREPARATION:

     Butter bottom and sides of a deep casserole dish and set aside.

     In a small frying pan, add a few small pats of Butter, Onions, and a liberal sprinkling of Black Pepper.  Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add mini Sweet Peppers and cook another 10 minutes.  Add Garlic and cook until Onions are beginning to caramelize. 

     While Onions are cooking, wash Potatoes well, and slice thin.  I never peel them because I like the skin.  Lay half the Potatoes in the casserole dish, sprinkle half the Onion mixture on top.  Cut a TBSP or so of Butter and sprinkle it over the top.  Add remaining Potatoes, a little more Butter, and remaining Onion mixture.  Cover with foil and put in a preheated 400 ° F oven.

     While the Potatoes are beginning to cook in the oven, prepare the Cheese Sauce.  In a 1 ½ quart sauce pan add Half and Half, Sherry, Flour, Pepper, and a little Salt.  (cheese has plenty of salt, so don’t over do it).  Stir over medium heat until Flour is well incorporated and you begin to see tiny bubbles forming.  Turn the heat down and slowly add approximately 4 ounces of grated Cheese.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat. 

     Take the Potatoes out of the Oven, pour the Cheese Sauce on and return the foil.  Place back in the oven for about 45 minutes. 

     Sprinkle another 2 oz or so of Grated Cheese on top of the Potatoes.  Sprinkle with Parsley and Paprika for color.  Return to the oven without the foil and bake for about 10 minutes or until the Cheese is melted.

There is a lot of Cheese Sauce, so feel free to load up your Potatoes.  For photo purposes I didn’t add as much as I normally would.  It would not have made an attractive photo with Cheese Sauce running off the sides of the plate.  Well, maybe it would have, but it’s too late now.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Grilled Marinated Veal Chops

Grilled Marinated Veal Chops, Salt Potatoes, and Tossed Salad

     Bob loves Veal Chops and grilling them is one of his favorite ways to cook them.  First he marinates them overnight in Lupo’s Marinade.  You can use your favorite marinade.  He prefers his Chops medium/rare, so 5-7 minutes per side. 

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

MEATBALLS, The Versatile Food

     Pictured is a Meatball Sub with Beef Meatballs, Spaghetti Sauce and melted Mozzarella Cheese

     What’s not to like about a Meatball? They’re round. They’re made of meat. With a little imagination, you could go wild in your kitchen! 


       Freezing Meatballs is always handy when you need a fast meal because they thaw quickly.

     Serve them with Red Sauce or Marinara over Pasta, Meatball Subs, Teriyaki, Brown Gravy over Noodles or Mashed Potatoes, Mozzarella stuffed, Meatballs in Marsala Sauce over Noodles or Mashed Potatoes, Lasagna, Pizza, Meatball Stroganoff, or any one of many different ideas. 

     Today I will share a basic recipe and you can take it from there.

INGREDIENTS: YIELDS 20-24 Meatballs

1 lb Ground Beef, or Italian Sausage, or a mixture of Ground Chicken and Ground Turkey, Veal, or Pork
3-4 TBSP Milk
¾ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Egg
A few dashes each of Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Parsley
1 Tsp Basil
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ cup Sweet Onion, chopped
½ cup Plain or Seasoned Bread Crumbs

PREPARATION:

In a bowl, break up the Meat. Make a well in the center and add Milk, Worcestershire, Egg, Salt, Pepper, Parsley and Garlic Powder. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Lots of people use their hands, but I just can’t.

Add the Onion and Bread Crumbs. Mix again until incorporated. Form into balls (I use a cookie scoop. I don’t have to touch them that way and the size is uniform. They will have one flat side, but who cares and nobody will notice.

Now you have your choice of frying or baking. Either one is just as good. Fry them in a skillet until browned on all sides. Or bake on a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet in a 400° F oven for about 18-22 minutes until browned. If you’re making smaller cocktail size balls, check them after 15 minutes.

NOTES: If using Chicken and/or Turkey, make sure the temperature is 165 in the center.

If making Italian Meatballs, you can use sweet or hot. You can use ground meat or links. (Just remove the skins if you’re using links.)

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

My Favorite Chicken Salad, Mediterranean Eating Friendly

Chicken, Fruit, Veggies, Greens, and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. What could be better?

   Have you ever eaten something with a Balsamic Vinegar reduction drizzled over it?  Fruit, Cheese, Tossed Salad, etc?  Have you ever ordered a Caprese Salad appetizer in a restaurant?  Very expensive for a few slices of Tomato, Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, and drizzled with Olive Oil and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.  SO easy to make your own.  Anyway, I made a Salad out of various Greens and Veggies.  I placed cut-up Fruit around the edge, and plopped a leftover grilled Chicken Breast on top.  I drizzled with a Balsamic Vinegar reduction, and dug in!!!  So healthy.  So good!

     Feel free to grill your Chicken just for this dish, but to me it makes sense when BBQing Chicken to grill a few extra pieces to save for this delicious Salad!  For an informal dinner, I think putting out various containers with all the Salad Ingredients and letting people make their own would be fun!

PREPARATION OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR REDUCTION IS SIMPLE:      Simply pour your favorite Balsamic Vinegar in a pan and let it simmer until it’s the consistency you want.  It only takes a few minutes, so don’t walk away.  (Some people like to add Honey, but I think the Vinegar reduction is sweet enough).

    Feel free to drizzle a little Olive Oil over the Greens also. 

Here’s what I put on my Salad:

Grilled Chicken, your choice of cut

Baby Spinach

Arugula

Fresh Basil

Romaine Lettuce

Onions, sliced

Green Olives

Kalamata Olives

Cherry Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Strawberries

Raspberries

Grapes

Watermelon

For Cheese, either sliced Fresh Mozzarella or Feta would be great.  Stop looking for the Cheese on my Salad.  There isn’t any ☹  I was out of both.  Yes, I cried a little.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Skillet Chorizo with Gnocchi

Skillet Chorizo and Gnocchi (or Tortellini)

     Nice and spicy, this simple dish is prepared on the stove top and is on the table in no time.  There are so many variations to try!  Add Mini Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Browned Ground Meat, leftover Cooked Chicken, Bell Peppers or Mini Sweet Peppers. Use Tortellini, Shells, Noodles or Ravioli instead of Gnocchi.  If cooking for a crowd, double up the Butter, Shrooms, Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes, and Seasoning.  When it’s ready, ladle half of it into a different pan.  Add a different Meat to each pan AND a different Pasta.  Ta da!  Two dishes with the work of only one!  Your kitchen will smell like Grandma’s Italian Kitchen!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 3-4 servings

1 tbsp Butter

8 oz Mushrooms, sliced

1 lb Meat (Ground Meat, Andouille, Chorizo, Meatballs, Italian Sausage or cooked Chicken)

1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped

2-3 TBSP Garlic, chopped or minced

2 cups Fresh tomatoes, diced or 1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 TBSP spicy Seasoning (Creole or Cajun)

Black Pepper to taste

1 tsp each Parsley and Basil

16 oz Tortellini, Gnocchi, Ravioli, or Noodles or Shells, cooked Al Dente

Grated Romano, Asiago, or Parmesan for serving

PREPARATION:

     Cook the pasta in a large pot of water.

     Preheat a 12” skillet, and add Butter.  Cook Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, (and Peppers if using) until tender. Add your Meat and cook until done.  (Chicken should be precooked.  Leftover chicken is perfect). 

     Add Tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the juice has cooked down a bit.  If it seems to runny, add 1 TBSP Tomato Paste.  Add Seasonings and cooked Pasta.  Simmer 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle Grated Cheese to the pan or on top of each individual bowl when serving.  Serve with crusty Bread and a Salad.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Vegan or Not, Spicy Noodle Soup

This noodle soup was outstanding.  It’s been changed more times than my socks. 

Replacing half of the water with chicken broth adds another layer of flavor.  We ate it as it’s written below the first day.  Leftovers were reheated with leftover chicken.  Excellent!!  We’ll try pork another time.  I’m sure that will be awesome also!

Featured in: Inspired By Stone Soup, But More Delicious. Altered by  Alison Roman, and finally by Gail Westover for Chew Wanna Eat?

INGREDIENTS

8 oz Thai Kitchen Brown Rice Noodles or Spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

8- 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 large shallots, thinly sliced

 Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms, such as maitake, oyster, cremini or shiitake, torn into bite-size pieces

½ Serrano hot pepper, thinly sliced (or 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes)

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste

¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more to taste

2 cups total of Greens, Cabbage, and/or Snow Peas (just a bit for color and extra nutrition),

4 cups Water and 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth (or 8 cups water for Vegans)

Optional 4 Scallions, sliced

1 – 1 ½ cups leftover shredded chicken or pork (omit if cooking Vegan)

Optional 1-2 total cups herbs such as Cilantro, Mint, Chives, Parsley or a mixture of all

 Sesame seeds for serving (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots start to turn a nice golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and half the Serrano, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, released much of their water and turned a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (A browned mushroom will have infinitely more flavor than an unbrowned mushroom, because the water inside it evaporates and the flavor concentrates. So do not skip this step.)
  3. Add 1/2 cup Low Sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup Rice Wine vinegar and 8 cups of water (I like 4 cups Water, 4 cups chicken broth). Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper. Add Scallions and Chicken.  Continue to simmer until the flavors have melded, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. (The timing will depend on the type and brand of noodles, so consult the package.) Add the noodles to the pot with the broth, and let them finish cooking and soak up all the flavors.
  5. To serve, use tongs to divide the noodles and mushrooms among bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Top each bowl with herbs, sesame seeds, extra sliced scallions or extra sliced hot peppers.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

15 Minute Pan Fried Cod

    Dinner on the table in 15 minutes?  Absolutely!  I am very fussy about my fish.  There are only a few that I like.  Cod is one of them.  I decided to do something totally new tonight and it was one of the best fish fillets I’ve ever had.  This is a no-measure recipe, and so quick!

INGREDIENTS:  YIELDS 2 – 3 Servings

1 lb. Cod Fillets

Olive Oil/Mayo

Fresh Garlic, chopped

Bread Crumbs, Seasoned

2 tsp Butter

PREPARATION:

    Sprinkle about ½ cup Bread Crumbs on a paper plate.  On another paper plate, lay the Fish Fillets.  Spread enough Olive Oil/Mayo on one side of the Fish.  Put as much Garlic on as you wish.  Sprinkle with Pepper.  Press the Filet in Bread Crumbs.  Flip over and do the other side. 

    Melt Butter over medium heat.  Cook the Fillets until golden brown, flip and cook the other side.  Depending on the thickness it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes per side. Fish will flake with a fork when done.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019

Chicken Pot Pie

A Westover Leftover. Comfort food at it’s finest!



CHICKEN POT PIE

     Another Westover Leftover!  Remember the chicken soup I made a few days ago?  I cooked extra chicken in it to make the broth extra rich, and also to have leftover chicken and broth to make quick and easy meals.  You just can’t be that!  I began with 5 ½ lbs of bone-in chicken breast and 8 cans of chicken broth.  The magic continued from there.

     I ended up with one big bowl of soup which I photographed in one of my best bowls so it would look beautiful.  I was going to pour it back in the pot after taking pics, but I looked at it for so long, I ate it!  It was so good.  I have six small bags of soup in the freezer for future sickies.  I made three individual chicken pot pies.  I only intended to make two, but there was enough filling and pie crust to make one small one.  Can ya say, “Lunch?” I also made ten chicken, shrimp and black bean burritos.  Last night I made enough chicken and biscuits to serve four.  I made all this food with one big pot of chicken soup. What a deal, huh?

     Look at these beauties!!  Except for making homemade pie crust, the rest was a cinch.  If you just can’t make your own crust, use store-bought.  (Just don’t tell me.)

     I’ve seen lots of recipes for chicken pot pie baked and served in a pie pan.  I don’t care for that, because even if you let it sit for ten minutes after baking, I think everything slides out into the middle of the dish once you’ve cut it.  Hence the individual pies that I make.  Trust me, they are easier, because working with a small piece of dough is easier than a big piece.

     One thing I’ve learned over the years is to add more gravy than you think you might want.  You don’t want to end up with just chicken and veggies.  Between the holes you must put in the top crust so the steam can escape and what bubbles up around the edges of the crust you lose precious gravy.  Steam is part of your gravy!  No!  Not my gravy. Say it ain’t so. Make it on the wet side. I don’t know about you, but the gravy is a big part of the deliciousness of a chicken pot pie. I should have added a little extra to this batch.

PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS:  (This is for a double crust pie)

2 cups unbleached AP flour

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup Crisco

7 TBSP iced water

PREPARATION:

     In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour and salt together.  Cut in Crisco with a pastry blender until mixture is pea sized.  Add your iced water one teaspoon at a time, stirring with a fork each time. Test it by picking up a small hunk and pinching it into a small ball.  If it sticks together smoothly, you’re good.  If it feels dry and crumbly, add another ½ teaspoon of water.  The texture is important.  It won’t roll out correctly if it’s too dry.

     Form dough into a ball and then cut it in half.  Depending on the size dish you’re using, you may want to cut it in half again so you have four pieces.

     On a lightly floured surface, roll dough with a floured rolling pin until it’s the shape you want.  Pick rolled dough up with a spatula or wrap it around the rolling pin to transfer it to the dish.

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

Pastry for double pie crust

1 can chicken broth

3 TBSP flour

2 TBSP corn starch

2 or 3 cups of chicken stock from your soup pot

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

½ tsp poultry seasoning

½ tsp thyme

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp parsley

Pepper to taste

½ cup milk

½ – ¾ cup frozen peas, rinsed in water to remove ice

1 large chicken breast (about 2 cups), cooked and cut into big chunks

PREPARATION:

In a 3 quart saucepan, add chicken broth, flour, corn starch, and bouillon.  Over medium heat, bring to a simmer while whisking lumps out. Add 3 or 4 cups of chicken stock from your soup pot. (or a jar of chicken gravy). Once it’s come back to a simmer, add the carrots and celery.  Turn heat down to low. Cover pot with cover askew and let it simmer, stirring with whisk once in a while.

When vegetables are tender add the seasonings and peas.  When peas are done, add the chicken and milk. Ladle into prepared crusts.  Top with crust and poke holes in it with a fork.

Bake at 425°F for 30 – 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

To reheat any leftovers, it does fine in the microwave.  You’ll probably need to add extra gravy because the pastry soaks it up.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2019