Clean Mini Chicken Pot Pies


It’s Baltic in Austin. So cold that I almost refused to walk my dog this morning. I parked my car outside of the parking garage last night, and my door handle was frozen shut this morning. (Weather, it’s MARCH. Get it together.) One thing that cold weather is actually GOOD for: comfort food!

In anticipation of temperatures in the 20’s and thanks to several people voicing their opinion on what I should cook via this Facebook post, I set out on a mission to create a healthy chicken pot pie recipe that would work for my weekly meal prep. I’m really trying to build out my lunch recipe collection these days, if you couldn’t tell. :o) (Yes, the crab rangoons will be my next endeavor.) Also, I’m clearly addicted to my muffin tin right now. Everything that comes out of it is delicious perfection, including these babies.

I was inspired by a recipe that I found on Pinterest which uses Grand’s buttermilk biscuits as the base for these little things, but I had a Tupperware container full of boiled sweet potatoes that I decided to use for the crust instead. To be frank, using Grand’s would probably be easier than making your own sweet potato biscuits (this was the hardest step), but the health benefits of replacing the less healthy canned biscuit with a low GI (Glycemic Index) carb was totally worth it. If you don’t know this already, all carbohydrates are NOT created equally. I always try to fill my daily serving of carbs with items from the low GI list for this reason (taken from an article on bodybuilding.com):

“Low GI foods can benefit your health and athletic performance. Being that low GI foods are assimilated at a slower rate, they supply a steadier supply of energy. Lower GI foods alleviate hunger, leading to a more controlled appetite. Selecting lower GI carbohydrates will prevent mood swings. Lower GI foods can also result in higher muscle glycogen levels (storing more carbs in the muscle), and less chance of storing the extra glucose as fat. You see, elevated insulin levels can turn on your fat storing mechanisms.”

So, if you’ve got the extra 15 minutes and added patience of making homemade sweet potato biscuits, I’d highly recommend following this entire recipe. (It’s healthier.) If you’re short on time or temper, check out the pin and follow the original version. :o)

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Nutritional Overview (per mini-pie):

Calories: 147
Fat: 5.7
Carbs: 14.1
Protein: 9.5

Serves: 24
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pureed sweet potato (Note: I cooked these in advance by peeling and dicing 1 medium sweet potato, then boiled it for 15 minutes and chilled in the fridge before throwing the cubes into my food processor)
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3 cups cream of chicken condensed soup (I used Pacific Natural Foods because of their simple ingredients and nutritional information, found at HEB by the rest of the soups)
  • 4 chicken breasts (~16oz.), cooked and shredded (I used the HEB pre-cooked frozen fillets; microwaved for 8 minutes at 70% power. Canned chicken would probably work, too!)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, etc. — no sauce added)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp Herbs De Provence
  • 1 cup 2% shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line or spray two muffin tins (I used Smart Balance cooking spray)
  2. Combine pureed sweet potato and buttermilk in a blender or food processor
  3. In a separate bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  4. Using your hands, mix cubed butter into dry mixture until well incorporated
  5. Pour dry mixture into the sweet potato/buttermilk batter and blend/process until thoroughly mixed
    2014-03-02 13.22.07
  6. Using either a greased spoon or well-floured hands  (the batter will be pretty sticky), drop about 2-3 tbsp batter into each section of your muffin tins
  7. Flatten out the batter and press it up along the sides of each muffin tin. My tip: grab a 1/3 cup measuring cup and spray the outside of it. Press on top of the batter to flatten, then use your fingers to get the tough up around your muffin tin sections. Re-spray your cup every 2-3 presses. (This is the hardest part of the whole recipe, but it’s worth it!)
    2014-03-02 13.46.21
  8. Pop muffin tins into the oven for about 7-10 minutes
  9. While your crusts are baking, combine remaining ingredients into a big bowl and mix well
  10. Once crusts are done, spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture on top of each crust
  11. Return to oven for 15 more minutes
  12. Let the muffin tins chill for about 10 minutes before you try to remove these. I didn’t use liners, and they came out relatively easily with a spoon

2014-03-02 16.17.00

Looking for a dairy-free version? Make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 tbsp lemon juice with 1 cup almond milk. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before adding to the sweet potato puree. Replace the cream of chicken soup with this homemade version. I haven’t made this without the cheddar cheese yet, but the flavor of the sweet potato and spices should be enough to satisfy your taste buds sans-cheese. (Or, use a dairy-free cheese blend. Your call!)

Make it meatless! For the vegetarians out there, substitute cream of mushroom soup for cream of chicken and double your vegetables. I’d recommend adding in 1 extra cup of mushrooms and peas to make it heartier.

The Coolest 8 Minutes of My Weekend

After putting my legs through two hours of hell on Saturday morning (I don’t even know how many lunges I did), I collapsed on my couch and busted out my laptop to watch what was the coolest 8 minutes of my whole weekend. I’ve written about my family history before, but on Saturday morning, my cousin got up on stage at TEDx Manhattan to talk to the world about it. With the world being as digital and “streamed” as it is today, I got to watch it live from my living room, and tears of pride were literally streaming down my face for the whole 8 minutes. (Yes, I’m a big baby.) Personally, I feel that watching ANYONE speak out about their passions is a thing of beauty and excitement. Combine true passion with a vision for improving the future of food AND my family roots, and you wind up with the most badass 8-minute speech that I’ve ever seen.

Pop in your headphones and check this out. Not to boast, but to say that I’m proud to be related to this guy and several other awesome people in my family would be a severe understatement. If you’re curious about where my passion for cooking real food comes from, here’s your answer. I’m pretty sure it’s in my DNA. :o)

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