Tag Archives | dinner bites

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

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I’m not a huge fan of stew-like dinners you guys, but the chicken pot pies we made last night were so tasty almost everyone went back for seconds. Since the meat in this dish can easily be substituted and we’ll all be needing ways to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought I would share! 

MINI CHICKEN (OR TURKEY) POT PIES

Makes 8 individual pot pies, takes 50 minutes start to finish

You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large potatoes, diced small (or use frozen diced potatoes)
  • 1 large carrot, diced small
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts or turkey meat, cooked and chopped (or sub for a rotisserie chicken!)
  • Basic pie crust (I used almost 3 boxes of store-bought — 6 round sheets) 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Ramekins 
  • Mini alphabet cookie cutters, optional

Here’s How:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large sauce or soup pan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue stirring over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Pour in milk and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add potatoes, carrots, corn, mushrooms, and meat.
  4. Cut pie crust into 8 circles big enough to fit inside the ramekins (optional) and press into the bottom of each. Cut 8 more circles slightly larger than the rim of your ramekins and use cookie cutters to personalize. Set aside. 
  5. Fill ramekins with mixture and cover with pie crust, folding edges around the outside and crimping with a fork. Brush with egg and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and crispy. Let cool before serving!

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There were a couple nights last week that Johan played with the kids outside while I cooked in a quiet kitchen. Being able to dice, boil and dish without someone clinging to my leg, resting on my hip or sitting on the counter chatting my ear off was like a little slice of heaven.

That being said, I do love sharing the kitchen and dinner duties with a little helper or two and Griffin happens to be the most passionate about it. Especially this time of year when it’s dark, cold and rainy outside.

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Don’t let the giant pretend bite of food fool you. Despite all of his cooking efforts, the only part of the dinner he ate was a few nibbles of the cooked pie crust. Stinker. I’ve never heard of a cooking enthusiast that doesn’t like eating though, so I’m holding out hope that he’ll outgrow his picky palette!

Anyone else dealing with a  picky eater lately?

How do you use up turkey dinner leftovers?

XO, Rae

 

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DINNER BITES: MAKE YOUR OWN TOAST

(A SIMPLE DINNER IDEA)

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It’s not often I come across a meal that can be made in just a few minutes, customized to each family member’s tastebuds and served for any meal or snack throughout the day. So when I do you know it’s put on heavy rotation and whipped up anytime I don’t feel like doing any actual cooking or hand dishes.

The other great thing about this entrée is that theres no actual recipe so it’s a great way to clean out the fridge.  A few fresh toppings and yummy artisan bread (ciabatta bread pictured) makes it more hearty and fancy and sweet potato fries and sliced apples are typical sides for us that go well.

Here are a few topping ideas:

  • arugula or other greens
  • basil
  • roasted peppers
  • avocado
  • tomatos
  • hummus
  • ricotta, mozzarella, gorgonzola or parmesan cheese
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • salmon (lox or smoked)
  • salami or other deli meat
  • salt and pepper
  • balsamic

To keep from having to man the toaster while everyone eats I just sliced up our bread, placed it on a baking sheet and broiled on high for a few minutes. The line between toasted and burned is very fine so I try to keep a close eye on it.

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(handy serving board from Target)

Now that I’m looking at the ingredient ideas it’s not all that different from toppings for a potato bar and maybe toast isn’t all that original, ha! Do you guys ever have toast for dinner?

XO, Rae

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MINI BITES: MAC + CHEESE CUPS

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Everyone needs a recipe or two in their bag of tricks that the kids love and appreciate every time it’s served. This is that dish for me and considering how popular mac + cheese is, that’s probably not surprising. But I wouldn’t share just any old basic mac recipe with you. This one has a few steps perfect for a mini sous chef to help with, a hint of mustard for a grownup flavor and the cups make it easy to serve for lunch, dinner or snacks at a get-together. It’s also a really nice excuse to turn on the oven which is my favorite thing to do in the middle of winter. A quick word of caution tho, it has the potential to ruin boxed mac and cheese for your kids forever. Can’t say I blame them :) Keep scrolling for the recipe!

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HOMEMADE MACARONI + CHEESE BITES (makes 12)

You’ll Need –

  • 2 cups dried macaroni
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • bread or panko crumbs for topping
  • OPTIONAL – cayenne pepper or paprika to taste

Here’s How –

  1. Bring water to a boil, add macaroni and cook until slightly firm. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot being careful not to burn. Add flour and whisk constantly over med-low heat for a couple minutes. Pour in the milk and mustard and whisk together. Cook and whisk for about 5 more minutes until mixture is very thick then reduce heat to low.
  3. Temper the egg by adding 1/4 cup of mixture to it and whisking constantly until smooth. Pour egg mixture into large pot and whisk together. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add salt, pepper and any other spices to taste… don’t under-salt.
  4. Add prepared macaroni noodles and stir until coated with cheese mixture. You can serve immediately or make into cups…
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and set your little helper up with a work station (or DIY) — grease muffin tin or set out liners (we used THESE which come in handy for lunches too) as well as shredded cheese and bread crumbs for topping. Scoop mac + cheese into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with a generous amount of bread crumbs and cheese and then bake for 15 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes before serving!

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If you’re not sure what’s for dinner tonight I highly recommend giving these a try and making extra for lunch the next day. They go great with oven roasted broccoli or cauliflower. Yum.

What have you been cooking lately?

XO, Rae

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