Let’s do the time shift again, with apologies to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Dinner for two? Twice? No problem.
Thaw in the refrigerator (1 – 2 days). Remove the lid and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Serve with a steamed vegetable, like cauliflower sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese.
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...” This faux pot pie has chicken breast, No Yolks noodles, vegetables, and a toasty crunchy topping in a single serving. Scratch made, it avoids cream soups and limits onion and garlic to just enough to give it flavor. Since you control the ingredients, there aren’t any questionable meat chunks. Also, store bought pies have lots of peas which would end up piled at the edge of my plate, so, no peas.
I use an older Panasonic microwave and a Breville BOV800XL oven for cooking. They work well when cooking for one (or two).
Step 1: Timeshifting Faux Pot Pie - Chicken, Noodle, and Vegetables - Ingredients
Note: Everything shown but the AP flour.
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 oz (114g) sliced fresh mushrooms or 6 oz (170g / 1/2 bag) Birdseye frozen Mushroom Blend
1 rib celery, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp dried onion flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried garlic
2 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups (16 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
70g shredded Parmesan cheese (abt. 1/2 cup / 2 oz.)
85g NO YOLKS Extra Broad Noodles (Do not cook)
1 cooked chicken breast, small dice (about 1 cup)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
140g shredded Parmesan cheese (abt. 1 cup / 4 oz.)
Note: Make sure it is Panko bread crumbs or you won’t get the crispy crust.
Step 2: Timeshifting Faux Pot Pie - Chicken Noodle and Vegetables - Vegetables
What is the most important thing to do when buying bagged carrots, smell them. Yes, really. Carrots should smell like carrots, not like dirt or mold. If you don’t like the smell, you won’t like the taste either. Other than that, they need to be orange, crisp, no roots (hairy carrots), no sprouting green tops (not dormant), not white (dehydration), and dry (not slimy, slimy can be E. coli or salmonella bacteria). Cracked or split carrots happen because of uneven watering while growing.
Moldy cold storage seems to have gotten worse but I don’t know if it is because I smell for it or it has actually gotten worse. Carrots are the worst offenders. However, apples, potatoes, and, strangely, paper towels have gone through periods of smelling of mold. I have to suspect the bulk storage companies because the same type of apples, at different chains, all smelled of mold at the same time. Interestingly, I never had the problem with New Zealand or Chilean grown apples.
It is fairly hard to go wrong selecting celery. They need to be medium green, crisp, and with leaves that aren’t wilted. The condition of the leaves is the best indicator of freshness. Mud splatter from muddy fields seems to be the biggest cosmetic issue that I run into. That is a BIG reminder to wash produce.
You will usually find Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) in white or brown (white, Crimini, or Portabello are all Agaricus bisporus) at the grocery store. Farm grown (commercial) mushrooms are the safest. Naturally growing mushrooms can have nematodes (flatworms), even the dried ones (with dead flatworms). I will stick with the mushroom farm mushrooms. Flatworms are just too creepy to contemplate.
To check for freshness, press the cap with your thumb, even through the clear wrap.. The rule that firm is fresh. “Flexy” is past its prime also applies to mushrooms. There are a few cases where you would use an open cap, but not for sliced mushrooms for cooking.
I buy Birdseye frozen mushrooms because the other half of the bag will keep until I make another batch of faux pot pies. I once used an entire 8-ounce carton of fresh mushrooms in a single batch to use them up. More is not better, the mushrooms overwhelmed the taste and it really wasn’t good.
Step 3: Timeshifting Chicken
A single breast is enough for this recipe but I normally cook several so they can be used in chicken wraps.
1. Line a pan with foil.
2. Coat the chicken breast(s) with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cook at 375 degrees F for 23 minutes. For the Breville oven, use the middle rack, “Bake” setting , 375 degrees F, and 23 minutes.
4. Cool and place in quart Ziploc bags. From the refrigerator, dice before use. From the freezer, dice before freezing and thaw before use.
Note: I buy the breasts in bulk at the big box store, portion them in pairs in quart freezer Ziploc bags, and freeze them. They get thawed in the refrigerator as needed.
Step 4: Timeshifting Faux Pot Pie - Chicken, Noodle, and Vegetables - Preparation
1. Slice mushrooms (if necessary) and dice celery and carrots.
2. In a 2-qt measure, add olive oil, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onion and garlic.
3. Microwave on High for 12 minutes or until carrots are tender, stirring after 5 minutes.
4. Drain the vegetables.
1. While the vegetables are cooking is cooking, grease 6 Pyrex individual baking dishes.
Note: I use rectangular “Pyrex Simply Store 1.875 Cup Rectangular Dish W/ Red Lid”. ShopWorldKitchen.com usually has buy one get the next one half off deals. If you are on their email, you can get dollars off coupons that can equal "free" shipping. I have enough of these things to fill half a shelf but they are constantly in use with several timeshift dishes.
1. While the vegetables are cooking, grate the cheese for the topping and the sauce.
1. While the vegetables are cooking, combine the Panko and Parmesan, mix well, and set aside.
1. In a, 3.5-quart stock pot, add olive oil and flour. Mix well with a fork.
2. Stir in the broth, slowly.
3. Add the thyme.
4. Cook 3X on HI for 2 minutes, stir well each time.
5. Cook 3X on HI 60 seconds, stir well each time.
6. Add cream cheese and Parmesan, stir until well mixed.
1. Dice the cooked chicken.
2. Fold in uncooked noodles, vegetables, and chicken into the sauce.
3. Stir until well blended.
4. Divide into 4 Pyrex individual baking dishes.
5. Sprinkle on the topping mixture.
6. Snap on the lids and freeze or leave the lids off and bake.
Step 5: Bake the Faux Pot Pie - Chicken, Noodle, and Vegetables
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 30 minutes until top begins to brown. There may be some oozing of filling.
Breville – set to “Bake”, preheat to 350 degrees F, 30 minutes, and middle rack