I love cooking for my family. I love making uber-fancy things that take all day to simmer and cook and bubble over onto my stove. But I’m also a working mom with two busy boys, a husband, a dog, and a social life. I don’t always have time to make a super fancy meal on a weeknight. While I love making a pot pie from scratch, I am thankful that Burgh Baby taught me a trick to make a quicker and still-so-yummy version using Campbell’s condensed soups instead of a homemade roux.
I make a pot pie — chicken, vegetable, or otherwise — about once a meal plan (every two weeks) during the colder months. Nine times out of ten, I go with the quick and easy method because, well, it tastes good and takes less time. My favorite part about using Campbell’s soups and this easy meal? My kids eat it up. They’re not overly picky, but they’re weirdly picky. Meaning that the meal they ate last week is suddenly off limits this week. This meal, in all its variations? They gobble it up. Whether I use Cream of Chicken & Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Chicken with Herbs, Cream of Mushroom, or Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic (I’ve used them ALL), they absolutely love it. I mostly use Cream of Mushroom, like I did this time, because I like mushrooms in this mix. Plus, my kids like it a lot — and the Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic.
Ingredients you need:
- 1 premade frozen pie crust in the pan
- 3 cups frozen veggies of your choosing
- 1 can Campbell’s cream soup of your choosing
- Shredded meat of your choosing (I prefer chicken)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 flat/rolled up refrigerated pie crust
- Salt, pepper, spices of your choosing
Anyway, here’s the way to make this easy meal.
1. Take your premade pie bottom and cook it per the directions on the box. (If you forget and don’t cook it ahead of time, it will be gooey and not as good.) (Not that I know.) (I know.)
2. Microwave your frozen vegetables for six or so minutes. They should be warm to the touch, but not drying out. You know your microwave better than I know your microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, just toss them in a pot and warm them at medium low for about ten minutes.
3. Mix in your choice of Campbell’s creamed soups and milk. Add any spices you wish. I sometimes add a little pepper because I like pepper. I’ve also thrown in garlic salt, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, and really, just whatever I reach up and grab.
4. Add in any of your pre-cooked meats at this point. I normally save some chicken from another meal earlier in the week purposefully for making the pot pie. Leftover turkey works really well in this dish, too.
5. Pour it into your baked pie crust.
Don’t eat it yet. It will be even yummier soon!
6. Cover it with the rolled up pie crust topper. Ten bucks says you make better edges than I do, whether you crimp them or pinch them or peel off the extra and eat the raw dough. What? You don’t do that? Oh. Me either.
7. Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes. We have a fancy pants convection oven now, so we have shaved a few minutes off of that time. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown, not deep, burnt brown like the first time I made it in the new oven. Sigh.
Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting, and voila! Easy, healthy, happy meal for the family!
Note: If anyone wants to buy me a pie lifter for Christmas, I obviously need one. Obviously.
If you want some other recipes for picky eaters (or, like my kids, weird eaters), Campbell’s has helped out with The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™, bringing you recipes your kiddos won’t be able to refuse. (And you might like, too!) Also check out their new recipe destination, Campbell’s Kitchen, for even more recipes.
What I Wore Sunday, March 3, 2013…
…meets 17 Days of Green, Day 3
On Instagram || On Flickr
- Green Dress: Coach Tour Dress by ModCloth
- Black patterned tights
- Black flats: Kmart
- Black cardigan: Maurices
- Black stud earrings
- Green nail polishes: Maybelline Color Show Avante Green with Revlon Rain Forest on ring fingers
I adore that dress.
I grabbed it before BlogHer Writers in 2011. It is the Coach Tour Dress on ModCloth. It is no longer available in the green (Vert) that I bought it in, but I also adore it in Violet. Did I mention that it has pockets? That don’t end up making your hips look weird? Best dress ever.
As far as green goes, I had some green-run related things, but I’ll tell you about those in tomorrow’s training update. I did, however, eat my favorite soup in the Shamrock Green Fiesta bowl tonight.
The soup is a spin-off of Olive Garden’s Pasta E Fagioli soup. I do not make ours in the crock pot. I brown our meat (we used venison tonight), throw in the veggies for ten or so minutes, then toss in the other ingredients and let it cook for an hour. Make up some ditalini (which LittleBrother pronounced dude-alini tonight and so it shall be forever) and, voila! A happy soup that everyone in the family loves. But I get the green bowl. Obviously.
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17 Days of Green is happening now! Join the hashtag on twitter or Instagram: #17daysofgreen!
I have missed two weeks of Weekly Favorites posts. March has been one of those months in which the weeks have sped by, leaving me to suddenly find myself on Sunday evening ready to start over again. To be fair, two weeks ago it was the Internet’s fault I couldn’t post. (We now have a new ISP; more on that soon.) Last week, I simply ran out of time. A few of the posts in this week’s favorites might be a bit older than this week.
Recipes That Made My Mouth Water:
- Spanish Rice with Carne Asada by Katie at Fire Wife Katie. I think my family would enjoy this particular recipe and it seems like a great weeknight meal.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu at Nokademic. Again, I think my family would like this and it seems like another good “get dinner on the table now” weeknight meal.
- Chicken Paprikash by Elise at Simply Recipes. I kinda have a love of paprika, so this looks like something I’d love to try. I actually think my family makes something similar…
- Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Joanne at Eats Well With Others. We’re making these this week. YUM!
Fire/EMS Blog Posts That I Particularly Enjoyed or Think You Should Read:
- Getting the Wives Together by Val at Fire Fighter Wife. I’m jealous, plain and simple, that fire wives get together at all. Ours don’t. And while I could, technically, spear-head that endeavor, I don’t really have time at this point in my life. So I like posts about other fire spouses getting together.
- Craig Birkholz: Army Sgt., Police Officer, Husband, Hero by Trina at Too Hot to Handle. Our thoughts are with the Birkholz family during their time of grief and mourning.
Photo Blog Posts that Inspired Me:
- Food Play by Rachel at A Southern Fairytale. I couldn’t decide whether to put this in the food or the photo category, so I flipped a coin and she landed her. It made me smile.
- What Windows Are For at Mortal Muses. Just beautiful.
- Among the Hummingbirds by Barbara at Among the Saguaros. I adore hummingbird photos (well, bird photos in general), so I just sat and smiled at these. I can’t wait until ours are back now that I have my 300mm lens!
Adoption Related Posts:
- The Boxcar Children Are Back at The Book Case. I chose to place this here than in a book post because of what the prequel to the Boxcar Children series will deal with:
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are kind to one another and embody the true sense of family. They are resourceful and positive. I find them both true children and true heroes at the same time. It occurs to me that perhaps their parents were the same. I’m looking forward to exploring that idea and more.
Yes, the prequel tells us how the children ended up as orphans. I’ll be reading it.
- Book Review: Adopted: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Mandy at Four Against Two. She has important things to say about some of the faults of this book. (Note: It’s for the Adoption Reading Challenge!)
- It Takes a Triad & Thank You Transracialeyes.com by Diane at An-Ya. I don’t just share this post with you because she quoted me (though that’s cool!), but because it’s an important post for the triad.
They say it takes a village to raise a child…and for an adoptive parent…
It takes a triad.
I’d just add that it really takes a triad for all members of said triad to find their place and their peace. The added link to her daughter’s post at transracialeyes.com is just a continuation of why it does take a triad. Please read both.
My Absolute Favorites of the Week:
- The Writing on the Back Door by Liz at This Full House. I don’t have teens or tweens yet, but this post hit me in some way.
- In the Family by Krys at Either Eat This Soup or Jump Out of This Window. Krys delves into what testing positive for BRCA does to her thoughts as she discusses the movie In the Family. I think this is an intensely important post on a topic that I don’t think we pay enough attention to.
- Super Hero Cuff Craft by Allison at No Time for Flash Cards. We know I’m not big on crafts, but we go through enough toilet paper in this house that we might as well make use of the rolls, no? Plus, with spring weather being weird, wonky and often rainy, a fun craft for my super heroes seems to be in order.
- The lighting of a fire* by Ivory at The Trivial Pursuit of Happiness. I’m kind of way jealous that she’s going the homeschooling route and we’re not, but this post is a beautiful tribute to the life I wish we could live. Kudos, friend.
Other than these two photos and a handful of Instagram snaps, I didn’t really take photos this week. I have yet to work on my Picture Inspiration assignment for the week. Here’s hoping I have a little more time to myself this week!
The sun is shining and it will hit 55 degrees today. I feel like I should be wearing flip flops. Not really. But really. Instead, I might just wear my rainboots and hit the gym after soccer. Not because I am hardcore. I just really want to eat the first recipe below for dinner. I’m pretty sure it requires a pre-and-post workout.
Recipes That Made My Mouth Water:
Fire/EMS Blog Posts That I Particularly Enjoyed or Think You Should Read:
- What Gives by Sarah at Scriberson 365. Just in case you wondered what it looks like when a fire spouse endures a 48 alone. My house definitely looked like this yesterday evening before I whipped it into shape before bed. Glad someone else in the fire family could be honest about it!
- Black Helmet Giveaway by Hydrantgirl. Black Helmet Apparel is the only company FireDad really likes for fire service t-shirts. Because they’re not corny. I swear I entered, even though it seems as though comments haven’t been approved yet. You should go enter. For me? Sure! Thanks!
- Several Videos of FDNY in Action This Past Week by Rhett at The Fire Critic. A post about the Newsworking channel on YouTube which features coverage of FDNY in action. I subscribed to the channel. You should too!
Photo Blog Posts that Inspired Me:
- Camp Shuttersisters at Shutter Sisters. Man. The amazing women behind Shutter Sisters, one of my favorite sites, are sponsoring a photography camp/getaway/awesome event. It’s being held in October in California. Registration opens soon, but I’m pretty sure I can’t swing two trips to California in one year. I’m sad, but I had to share it with my readers. Someone needs to go for me!
- Tamron Contest at MCP Actions. A Tamron lens giveaway. ‘Nuff said.
- Wild Free by Michelle Black at Light Traces. Another inspirational post with a beautiful photo. I didn’t include it just because she used a picture she took in our favorite vacation spot — Emerald Isle, NC — but that didn’t hurt.
My Absolute Favorites This Week:
- On the Women Who Don’t Survive Postpartum Depression by Katherine Stone at Postpartum Progress. Simply a must-read about PPD. I adore Katherine for all the work she does regarding the topic and fight, and this is one that needed to be written — and read.
- Letters to Miss Britt: How Do You Find the Time to Write on Multiple Blogs by Britt Reints at Mom Blog Magazine. I love how Britt puts multi-blogging in context. Sure, you may have just gotten some Amazing Gig, but if you ignore your own blog — your original platform — you’re missing out. Good perspective for myself and my other blogger/writer friends.
- Finding a Smile Underneath by Morningside Mom. I love her perspective in this post. There are lots of little things that are or go wrong during a day or week or any given period of time. But I like her point that things are basically good as well. Plus, Ani!
- Words Are Power by Texasebeth at My life, such as it is. Mmm. I’m on the flip side of this, but I have been learning — so much. Words have power, and even kids know it.
- Blast from the Past by Jamie at Grumbles and Grunts. I just found her blog and subscribed immediately. I swear it wasn’t just because on her “about” page she has a photo of herself with her nose pierced (like me). It was because of this post, about a Shel Silverstein book, her photography, she’s going to BlogHer ’11 and generally seems kinda awesome. Start here and explore her archives.
A Few of My Favorite Photos This Week:
LittleBrother needs a haircut. He wakes up with Green Day hair.
I still don’t know how this happens.
My friend’s son turned four. The Monster Cupcakes were a hit with my boys.
I also enjoyed both of the self-portraits (1, 2) that I took for Picture Inspiration this week. They’re both at my photoblog.
Hopefully this week is a good one. Last week was busy — and snowy — and I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures even if it does mean rain, rain and more rain. I’m telling you, spring isn’t far off. I mean, really, it’s about 22 days away. But sooner would be better. Right? Quite honestly, I’m ready to say goodbye to February. Funny how the shortest month of the year is quite honestly the worst.
These cupcakes were a hit tonight. I am not, however, good with the flipping icing piping bag. I may have cussed. Perhaps I need more practice, but I never, ever, ever want to do it again. What am I doing wrong?
All the same, these cupcakes are Martha Stewart cupcakes. And they are good. The recipe is on her website. I obviously left out the cinnamon and the all spice. I simply bumped up the nutmeg a bit.
Trick-or-treating went well this evening despite some tired kids and an ear infection. I’ll explain more about that tomorrow. For now, I’m going to eat another cupcake, hopefully leaving enough for coffee with friends in the morning.
I recently discovered something awesome: the world of firefighter cookbooks. It was an accidental discovery while searching for something else and I’m glad I came across this particular book.
Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco’s Firefighters is a beautiful cookbook in itself. It’s 224 pages of amazing photography, outstanding recipes and a bit of humor here and there. The introduction is a surprisingly moving one as well. (Who cries when they read a cookbook introduction? Just me.)
The dedication of the book also speaks volumes about firefighters and cooking.
To San Fransisco’s firefighters,
who understand the sustaining power of a nice hot meal.
I actually borrowed this from the library as it is currently unavailable on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (though used copies are selling anywhere from $47 to $120!). I didn’t want to give it back to the library. I really, really didn’t want to do it. I did. After I renewed it three times. It’s just that good. I know it’s because I’m a sucker for both good food and good photography, but really, doesn’t it seem like a perfect addition to our household? I was sad to see it go.
We made quite a few recipes from the book while we had it, including the one for Irish Soda Bread. In fact, FireDad was the one who made the soda bread which was his first attempt at baking something other than pre-made cookies. Quite honestly, the two of us could have sat and picked at that delicious concoction for hours. Carbs? Love em. Sweet carbs that aren’t overly sweet? Love ‘em.
The only complaint that we had about this particular book is due to the location of where these firefighters live juxtaposed with the location in which we live. San Fransisco firefighters have much easier access to a wide variety of fresh fish than we do here in land-locked central Ohio. A large number of the recipes called for various kinds of fish and seafood. While our family loves seafood, it’s not easy to come by even in our reliable local grocery store (unless it’s Lent). There’s no fish market here. As such, some of the recipes were not possible for us to consider, let alone make.
That aside, the cookbook had a wide variety of recipes that we’ve adapted and placed in our rotation. A few pasta recipes were actually great hits with my kids as well as one of the various chicken recipes. There are many great sides including some great Caesar salad options which are apparently the big thing with San Fransisco firefighters. Each house has their own recipe.
What makes this cookbook truly great is that while it was still being printed and sold, some of the proceeds were donated to the SFFD Surviving Family’s Fund. I wish I could have gotten a copy back then (originally printed in 2003).
When it boils down to it (pun intended), we loved this cookbook. I only wish that we could get our hands on it to have in our own cookbook library. If you happen to see two copies, pick one up for yourself and send us the other! (I did just learn that the book itself is available to view on Google books. Check it out!)
I’ll have another firefighter cookbook review in July! Stay tuned!
[Disclosure: Amazon link is through Amazon Affiliates but the book is no longer in print.]