We haven’t done Cheap Eats in a while, but a few weekends ago, I made chicken pot pie, which is my favorite comfort meal, plus, it made enough servings throughout the week for me to consider it a “cheap eat.” My favorite thing about making chicken pot pie is that you can have it as light or heavy as you want: You choose what vegetables you want in it, and whether or not you want to use 2 percent milk or whole milk (I prefer whole).
Here’s what I picked up at the store:
• Broccoli, $2.99
• 2 ears of corn: $0.67
• A large onion: $0.35
• 3 carrots: $0.82
• 2 stalks of celery: $0.81
• 1 red bell pepper: $1.76
• half a pound of crimini mushrooms: $2.02
• box of frozen peas: $1
• 1 large chicken breast: $4.28
• chicken stock: $2
• fresh tarragon: $1.69
• fresh thyme: $1.76
• pie crust: $3.89 (You can make your own, but I wanted to save time.)
This was enough to make two big pies, or six meal servings, or about $3.90 per meal, which I usually paired with a simple salad of mixed greens. You can do a vegetarian version by just having veggies and substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
So making the pie: First, prep all your ingredients. I chose a lot of vegetables that required chopping, so it took a bit of time to get everything in bite-size pieces, so why I did this I fired up iTunes and put on a podcast.
Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven or pot and brown the chicken on both sides. When it’s done, set aside the chicken to rest. Add four tablespoons of butter to the pot. Cook the onions, carrots, and celery in the pot for a few minutes, and then add about a tablespoon of the chopped tarragon and thyme (or whatever herbs you’ve decided to use) and the rest of the vegetables (except the peas) and cook for a few more minutes (I just kind of eyeball it and when the texture of the carrots are to my liking, I know it’s done). Salt and pepper to taste. Add six tablespoons of all-purpose flour to thicken and begin the roux. Stir in two cups of chicken broth and a cup and a half of milk. Allow to simmer and thicken. After it thickens, chop your chicken into bite-size pieces and add it to the pot, as well as the frozen peas and some more fresh herbs if you want. And more salt and pepper if necessary. Your filling is done.
I saved half the filling in a container to use for later, and the other half to fill a pie tin and make a whole pot pie (oven temperature and length of time determined by pie crust box).
You can also fill ramekins for individual servings if you’re having a dinner party, which I did later in the week.
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