Here is my first attempt at R3. I have always enjoyed cooking and am pretty good at it if I do say so myself; however, I am looking for fast, yummy, easy and cheap meals. So here we go:
•2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
•2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, white or dark meat, diced into bite-size pieces
•3 tablespoons butter
•3 Empire, Gala or Honey Crisp apples, peeled and chopped
(What can I say, I had to show me peeling them...I love my monkey peeler!)
•3-4 small ribs celery, chopped
•1 onion, peeled and chopped
•1 bay leaf
•2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
•Salt and pepper
•2 tablespoons flour (I prefer cornstarch; it is a much better thickening agent)
•1 cup apple cider (apple juice works just as well)
•1 cup chicken stock
•1 sheet store-bought puff pastry dough, defrosted (if frozen)
•1 egg, beaten with water
Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F.
Heat the EVOO in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown for 7-8 minutes, then remove to a plate.
Add the butter and melt. Add the apples, celery, onion, bay, thyme, salt and pepper and cook to soften, 8-10 minutes.
Sprinkle with flour, stir for 1 minute, then whisk in the cider and stock.
Slide the chicken back into the pan and simmer a few minutes to thicken the sauce.
Place the chicken and sauce in a casserole dish or in individual casserole dishes arranged on baking sheet to catch drips. Cover with the pastry dough, brush with the egg wash and bake until golden.
THE END RESULT
OK. In terms of aesthetics, this is certainly NOT what a pot pie of ANY sort should look like. I felt like it should have been more, well, solid. The flour did nothing to thicken up the gravy. However, it tasted pretty good. As my friend Chelsea does with her husband Shaun (see her blog BeingChelsea.Com), I asked my husband Chris to rate the meal on a scale of 1 to 10 - 1 being awful, 10 being awesome. He said "7". Which is pretty darn good, in my opinion.
Now we get to timing. This recipe is from RachaelRay.Com, and Ms. Ray of course is the Queen of 30 Minute Meals. Well, this thing took me over an hour to cook, not including all the chopping I had to do. So it is definitely NOT speedy. A 7 rating is pretty good, but for me it drops to a 5 since it wasn't thirty minutes or less cook time. So while I may make this again, it is certainly not a weeknight go-to dinner.
Calorie Count for a family of 4: about 430 per serving.