Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is one that a co-worker of mine shared with me during my first year teaching.  It is so, so easy, and my family loves it!  I've shared with you several "busy mom" options for preparing the chicken for the pie.  Enjoy!

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, COOKED
4 deep dish frozen pie shells (Thaw 2 of the shells for approx. 10 minutes.  These will serve as the top of your pies.)
16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 large can cream of chicken soup
Tony Chachere's seasoning, to taste

Four Options:

BOILED CHICKEN:  If you have time, you can just boil the chicken before assembling the pie.  Cut into small pieces.  Mix with vegetables and cream of chicken soup.  Season to taste.  Fill two of the pie shells with the chicken mixture.  Cover with the two thawed shells.  Cut slits in the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until top crust is firm and golden brown.

CROCKPOT CHICKEN:  This is my favorite method.  In the morning, I place the chicken breasts in the crockpot with the can of cream of chicken soup.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  The chicken should easily tear apart before assembling the pie.  Add your vegetables and seasoning, and follow the above directions to create the pies.

CROCKPOT/FREEZER CHICKEN:  One of my blog followers suggested the following method for using pre-cooked chicken to create a fast, easy meal.   Cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts in bulk in the crockpot.  I use a can or two of chicken broth to keep them moist.  When they are fully cooked, cut or shred the meat, and separate it into meal-sized portions in freezer bags for later use.  Keep a supply of cooked chicken in the freezer at all times.  Thaw in refrigerator the night before you need the meat.  Assemble the pie  as described above.

DELI ROTISSERIE CHICKEN:  When you don't have time or forget to prepare for the meal in advance, you can run by your local grocery store on the way home from work and pick up a deli rotisserie chicken.  These usually cost between $5-$6.  Remove meat and follow the above directions to create the pies. 

These methods can be applied to any recipe that requires chicken!  It doesn't get any easier than this!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Busy Life of a Baseball Mom

It's been almost two weeks since my last blog post.  I've had intentions of writing every evening, and somehow I just never found the time.  (My list of "writing topics" grows everyday - just wish I had more time to actually write!)  My husband has taken a new football coaching job in a town about 30 miles from our home, and it's "spring training" so I have no help in the evenings with the boys' baseball schedule.  Not that this is unfamiliar territory: I've been carrying two little boys to their practices and games since the oldest was 4 years old.  My husband's work schedule usually prevents him from helping much on week nights, especially now that he's commuting.  So between baseball and football, life is pretty busy for our family right now.  AND it's the end of the school year.  There are standardized state tests, field days, awards programs, not to mention Big B's tryouts for middle school sports.  I have to brag for a moment on Big B.  He set a goal two years ago (yes, in 4th grade) that he would make all three teams - football, basketball, and baseball - when he got to middle school.  Yesterday, he finished meeting that goal.  He will be one of only two 7th graders (about 400 kids) to play on all three teams next year!  I love that at such a young age he learned to set a goal and work hard to achieve it.  His dad is such a hard-working, goal-oriented person; I'm glad he sets such a strong example for our boys. (And it doesn't hurt that they inherited his athleticism!) 

Our love for sports  ("Sports Mania") is what makes us a Busy Family and gives me the offical title of Busy Mom!  While I normally seem to manage our lives very well, there are times (like right now), that I absolutely stink at being a busy mom.  The laundry is piled up once again ("The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly"),  the bathrooms need scrubbing, the floor needs mopping, and the yard needs mowing.  Add to the mix that I am trying to cook healthy meals to manage my husband's diabetes ("She brings him good, not harm...") and to get myself back in shape ("My Battle").  A daunting task!  We are also trying to be frugal in our grocery and gas expenses, which requires lots of advanced preparation.  All of my good ideas (such as "Meal Shortcuts for Baseball Moms") aren't helping as much as I would like them to.  However, I can breathe easier knowing that there is an end in sight...summer!

Oh summer, how I love thee!  While there have been times in my career as a public school teacher that I have complained about low wages, long hours, difficult parents, and belligerent students, I do love my job.  One thing that makes all of the headaches okay is that every year, for two whole months, I get to be a stay-at-home mom!!  I love, love, love being home with my kids.  And I have to say that I am the perfect little homemaker during the summers.  My house is clean, projects are completed, scrapbooks are up-to-date, kids are happy, all is well.  I can pack my baseball bag and head to the ball park with no worries.  Can anyone truly understand the glory of summer without baseball?  I certainly can't!