Meals Under $15: Spring Chicken Pot Pie

Spring Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie has always been one of my favorite meals. When I first lived on my own, I would buy the frozen chicken pot pies - simply because they were easy ... and I thought they were oh so delicious. Then I tried my hand at making my own - and the frozen ones just don't taste the same.

Now, I'm super picky about my pot pie. I don't like it to be too oniony - and I hate big chunks of onion in it. I'm not a huge fan of green beans in my pot pie either, so if I'm using frozen veggies, I use peas & carrots. I also like to use phyllo dough instead of pie crust on top. It gives it a terrific crunchy aspect, and lightens it up just a tad. Once you try it this way, you may never go back to "real" pot pie again!

When I made this tonight, I had some leftover rotisserie chicken hanging out in the fridge just waiting to be made into something new, and because the weather is cold and dreary here (what happened to Spring?) I thought Chicken Pot Pie was the perfect comfort meal. Since we have been emptying out our freezer in preparation for the coming harvest season, we are completely out of frozen veggies, so I was left to use what was in my fridge. It was absolutely delightful - and I love that I was able to combine leftover chicken with farm (and garden) produce for this Spring version of chicken pot pie. 

Spring Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

1/3 cup butter ($0.75)
1/3 cup flour ($0.08)
1/3 cup onion (chopped very small) ($0.20)
1/2 teaspoon salt (pennies)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (pennies)
1 3/4 cup chicken broth (free - I make it from leftover chicken bones and skin)
2/3 cup milk ($0.33) 
2 cups cut up cooked chicken - I like to use leftover rotisserie ($2.50)
2 cups chopped carrots ($0.50)
1 cup chopped parsnip ($1.00)
2 cups chopped greens - I used spinach and kale from the garden ($1.50)
5-10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed ($0.25)

Total Cost - $7.25 or so (Say what? Healthy, seasonal comfort food for less than $10?)

Put carrots, parsnip, and onions in a tiny bit of olive oil in a warm pan. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, or just until fork tender. Take veggies out of the pan, wipe it down, and return it to low heat.

Melt the butter in your pan, then mix in flour, veggies, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in broth 1/3 cup at a time, stirring between additions so that it stays smooth and doesn't get clumpy. Once all your broth is mixed in, add your milk. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken and chopped greens. Remove from heat. Pour chicken mixture into a 9 x 9 x 2 pan (or something similar).

Cut your phyllo dough into half-sized sheets. Scrunch up one half of one phyllo sheet and put it on top of the chicken mixture. Continue with half sheets until your mixture is totally covered with phyllo dough. I like to start in the corner and work my way to the other corner. Spray the entire top with cooking spray. (If you're feeling lazy, you can layer the phyllo sheets rather than scrunching them up, spraying them between each sheet. That's what you see in the picture!) Place dish on a baking sheet, just in case there's any run-over. Trust me ... the run-over is the worst to clean up.

Bake at 375° for 30-45 minutes or until top is golden.