Monday, October 21, 2013

Comfort Food Favorites...Simple Chicken Pot Pie

Now that the cold air is here it is tempting to make those comfort foods that we all love. Just because winter will be here soon, doesn't mean you have to gain a pant size and live in sweaters until spring. Vegetables and salads can still taste good and soups and stews can be filling and low in calories (just go for a broth based soup). Using seasonal ingredients makes salad more appetizing when the temperatures start to dip. To spice up your go-to green salad try adding oranges, craisins, nuts/seeds, pomegranates, winter squash or sweet potato.  Lighten up your favorite casseroles by using lower fat ingredients and lots of vegetables. 

This chicken pot pie can be prepped in advance and chilled in the fridge until ready to be baked. This cuts down the cook time on a busy night and gets a nutritious meal on the table in no time. Making your own pot pie vs. buying a processed frozen one means that YOU control what goes into it (meaning no preservatives, lower in salt, less fat, and more vegetables). I made this in small oven safe bowls, but could be done with one large pie pan. Pair with a garden salad, lightly dressed for a dinner under 500 calories.

Simple Chicken Pot Pie
Makes 6 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 pound skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp fat free 1/2 and 1/2
1 roll-out pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
2.Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and until white throughout. 
3. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes. 
4. Add chicken broth and thyme, simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Mix cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water, add to pan. Add 1/2 and 1/2 and stir well. Set aside.
6. Spray pie pan or baking dished with cooking spray. Pour chicken filling in.
7. Cut pie crust into quarters and place over the chicken mixture (if using small oven-safe bowls) or unroll crust over pie pan.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Nutrition facts: 1/6 pie pan (3/4 mini pie)
390 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated), 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 22 g protein, 400 mg sodium

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