Intro: Italian Chicken Pie
Pi Day is one of my favorite holidays! It's a time of year when my fridge is full of ingredients, and my brain is churning with new recipes. This is a simple dinner pie. It's kind of like a pizza, but 'pizza pie' already has a designated meaning, so 'Italian Chicken Pie' it is!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
What you'll need;
a pie pan
a cutting board (or two, so you don't have to clean as you go)
number cookie cutters
a jar of spaghetti sauce (or you can make your own)
1 lb chicken breasts (I used tenders - whatever's cheap)
shredded Italian cheese blend
1 medium zucchini
2 refrigerated pie crusts (they usually come 2 to a box)
Step 2: Preparing the Chicken
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Start a pot of water to boil. Cut the fat off the chicken, and drop into the water. It will look pretty gross - the water might be frothy. Boil on med-high for about 8 minutes - until the chicken is white and cooked through.
(you can use this time for the step: Composing the Pie)
Remove the chicken from the pot - shake off the water - and put on a plate or cutting board. Use two forks to pull the chicken into little pieces, shredded-like. They should be bite-sized or smaller. You can do this with your fingers if you want, but the chicken is hot. You can snag a piece if you're hungry, but it's pretty bland by itself.
Step 3: Composing the Pie
Unroll one of the pie crusts and place in the bottom of the pie pan. It falls into place itself; just press into the sides and bottom. Then you can pinch the edges to make it pretty if you want.
Spoon a little bit of the spaghetti sauce into the bottom of the crust and spread it around - 3 or 4 spoonfuls should be fine. I used a separate bowl to combine the chicken and the sauce, but you can just do it in the bottom of the pie pan. Toss it together a little bit, then spread it around in the pan, so the chicken forms a complete layer. I didn't quite use all the chicken. I added a little more sauce once the chicken was in the pan, for good measure. Then I sprinkled on the Italian cheese. It was about 1 cup. Add a little more sauce - spread it around with the back of the spoon, gently or the cheese will just stick to your spoon. Then wash and slice the zucchini, and place it in a layer over the top of the cheese. Add some more sauce - I found if I don't add enough sauce to the zucchini layer, it burns, so keep that in mind.
Step 4: Topping the Pie
Unroll the second pie crust and place on a clean surface. Use the number cookie cutters to cut out little 3's 1's and 4's. You can use an 'O' or an '!' for the decimal point - depends on what your number set includes. Arrange the little cutouts on the top of the pie.
Use aluminum foil to cover the edges of the pie crust - this will prevent it from burning, since it's thinner than the rest of the pie. I found the easiest way was to fold the foil in thirds; then wrap it around the edge with 2/3's on top of the crust and 1/3 on the under side of the lip of the pan. Do it in sections, and then where each section meets, pinch the foil together. It should stay pretty well that way.
Step 5: Bake the Pie
Put the pie in the oven on the middle rack. Bake at 425 until the top crust is golden brown - for my oven, that was about an hour and 15 minutes
Wait for it to cool before cutting and serving. It was still bubbling for several minutes after standing.
*You can use that hour and 15 minutes to memorize and recite more digits of pi or play fractions/decimals bingo!