Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dinner with the Family

Last night I had my in-laws over for dinner. In-law is not really a term I like to use, it has negative connotations that seem to refer to the horrible parents of your spouse who one prefers not to spend time with. For me, this is far from the truth. My sister-in-law Crystal lives with her family down the street and she is a great friend with whom I love to craft, laugh and chat (even though Reggie thinks we're crazy when together). And Reggie's parents live about 20 minutes away, and are such accepting and relaxed people I would find it hard not to spend time with them when the opportunity arises. So I decided it was our turn to have them all over for supper. In our small house I was a little worried it wouldn't work, but we managed beautifully! Everyone loved the menu, and I had a few people comment that I should blog about it - they even refused to eat dessert before I took a photo.

The main course: Chicken Pot Pie
(recipe from Cook Step by Step by DK Publishing)

3½ cups chicken stock
3          carrots, sliced
750g    large potatoes, diced
3          celery ribs, thinly sliced
175g    peas
500g    cooked, skinless boneless chicken
4 tbsp  butter
1          onion, chopped
¼ cup  flour
¾ cup  heavy cream
Pinch   ground nutmeg
            salt and pepper
1          egg

2 cups  all purpose flour
1 tbsp  baking powder
1 tsp    salt
4 tbsp  butter
½ cup  milk, more if needed

Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the peas; simmer for approx. 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Drain the vegetables, reserving stock. Cut chicken into slivers, put in a large bowl and add vegetables.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cook for 3-5 minutes until soft, but not brown. Sprinkle flour over onions, cook for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in 2 cups of stock and heat, whisking, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Simmer for 2 minutes (or until you think it is thick enough), then add cream and nutmeg, and if needed salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, add the parsley, and mix gently.

Scone Topping
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl; make a well in the centre. Add the butter, cut into small pieces with two knives (or using a pastry blender).
Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it forms fine crumbs, lifting and crumbling to aerate. Add the thyme, make a well in the centre, add the milk and cut in quickly with a knife to form coarse crumbs. Add more milk if it seems dry.
Mix the dough with your fingers just until it comes together. Turn on to a floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds until smooth. Pat the dough out to ½” thick. Cut out rounds using a 2½” cookie cutter, approximately 8.
Spoon the filling into a shallow pie dish. Arrange the scones evenly on the filling, and using the egg (beaten) glaze the scones with a pastry brush (I always forget this part, still tastes great!). Bake 15 minutes at 425˚F (preheated), then 20-25 minutes at 350˚F. The filling should be bubbling hot and smell delicious!
(sorry I don't have a photo of the pie cooked, it was devoured pretty quick)

And for dessert: Apple Cranberry Pizza Pie

For this I used a pizza dough recipe made in the bread maker, but I would suggest using a frozen pizza crust. It is much less time consuming.

3-4       large apples, cored, peeled and diced
⅓ cup  dried cranberries
½ cup  brown sugar
1 tbsp  lemon juice
1 tsp    cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and spread evenly on the crust. Bake in a 350˚F preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Mmmm, delicious! Everyone was quite satisfied with the 'pie' dinner.

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Thanks so much for spending some time with me, if you're feeling up to it please leave me a note. I really enjoy them, and take the time to read every single one! :)