Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow Day Dinner

A Blue Ridge Mountains Snow Day


After over 20 years living in Florida, I've packed up and moved to the Blue Ridge area of Georgia.  I'm loving living here in the mountains and we are blessed with our new home, friends and pathways in our life journey here in the mountains.  I lived in Canada for a couple of years prior to moving to Florida, so I have an intimate knowledge of living in snow country and the mountains.

With our move to Blue Ridge and living on less (much less) I am grateful I have lived a frugal lifestyle.   I'm pulling all my tools out of my life's tool box and employing them to make frugal - fabulous!  I look forward to sharing with you my as I discover my new home, tried and true tools to enhance your life as well as tips and tricks to have affordable enjoyable options as I begin a new life journey here in the Blue Ridge mountains.

My Snowy Cabin Home

Cabin front elevation.

Side yard winter landscape.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

As I type, I'm wearing two long sleeve shirts, an undershirt, a sweater, jeans, two pairs of socks and my Doc Martens; which is not enough to keep my hands and feet warm.  This is the most winter I've had for a very long time and I'm ready for Spring!

Here's our little two bedroom cabin which appears larger than it is because the basement space (the stone portion) is partially exposed on the front and side elevations.  We have a great room style living space with a shared living and kitchen with walls of tongue and groove and hardwood floors all out of knotty pine, which is just perfect for us!

While Mother Nature is dragging her spring feet and we've had more snow in the past four days than all winter.  I thought it would be fun for my first post since my move, to share our snow day before spring arrives.  Our elevation is about 2,000 ft and while the daffodils (which grow wild in places) are blooming down in town up here in the mountains we only have the promise of Spring with green foliage sprouting up from the ground.  Check out the base of the tree in the left of the photo below to see the tulip leaves peeking up from the snow.

Click on any photograph in the post to see the photo enlarged.

Ready to go Canoeing?

Playing around in the snow!

I made my first snowman in over twenty years!  He's ready to melt and join the Toccoa river, ensuring canoeing fun for all!

I had to get resourceful when accessorizing my snowman; with traditional sticks for arms and a carrot nose, but no coal (or charcoal briquettes) so yes those are root beer dumdums for eyes and buttons!

I was inspired to create the best snow day meal I could and celebrate with a warming dinner of Chicken Pot Pie.  A good excuse to turn the oven on and warm the house up!

A Snow Day Dinner - Chicken Pot Pie - Fabulously Frugal Dinners

Chicken Pot Pie baked in a vintage Dansk Quiche Dish and served in vintage Dansk rimmed soup bowls.

Humble left-over chicken is elevated and transformed into fabulous comfort food with this retro chicken pot pie recipe.  A perfect fit in my vintage Dansk Quiche Dish and served in a Bistro 8" rimmed soup bowl.  I use these Bistro Bisserup white quiche dishes for everything from apple crisp and deep dish pies to vegetable casseroles and small beef roasts.

This 1980's recipe for flaky crust recipe from the California Culinary Academy brings the perfect old fashioned topper to tender leftover chicken breast along with peas, carrots and mushrooms in a velvety smooth gravy.  It would also be good for a cold spring evening made with leftover lamb, spring vegetables and made with a vegetable broth gravy.

Prep time is about 40 minutes (including the pastry) and cook time is 30 to 40 minutes.  Prepare the filling first then top with the flaky pastry.  To make it even faster use a store bought pastry crust rolled out to a 12 inch circle (but it won't be as light as using the flaky pastry outlined below).

Flaky Pastry

1 1/4 cups unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons each firm butter and lard (I used trans fat free
    shortening in place of the lard)
1 egg yolk (reserve egg white to glaze pastry)
2 tablespoons very cold water

Mix flour with salt.  Cut in butter and lard (shortening) until mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Beat egg yolk with cold water (reserve egg white to glaze pastry); add to flour mixture and stir with a fork until pastry begins to cling together.  Shape with your hand into a smooth ball.  Roll out on a floured board or pastry cloth to a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

Chicken Pot Pie Filling

2 cups leftover white meat chicken cut into large chunks
2 cups chicken broth warmed (even more affordable if you make your own)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
1 cup thick sliced carrots simmered in salt water until crisp tender
6 large mushrooms quartered and sauteed in a teaspoon of butter
freshly ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small saucepan simmer the carrots in 1/4 cup salted water until they are crisp tender. Drain and reserve.

While the carrots are simmering, in a 10 inch saute pan, melt 1 to 2 teaspoons of butter or margarine and saute the mushroom quarters until they are tender and just lightly browned.  Remove and reserve.

In the 10 inch saute pan melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat and saute the celery and onion until the onion is translucent and soft but not brown.  Stir in flour, pepper, and nutmeg cooking until bubbly about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the warmed chicken broth gradually quickly whisking as you add.  Return to heat and cook, stirring until the mixture bubbles and is thickened.

Mix in the carrots, mushrooms, peas and chicken and add salt to taste.  Pour mixture in a 9 inch pie pan or quiche dish and top with the flaky pastry.  Flute and decorate the pastry.  Cut several vents in the pastry crust with a sharp knife to allow the steam to vent.  Use your vintage pie birds if you have them!

At this point the pie can be refrigerated for several hours or baked the next day.

When ready to bake, beat reserved egg white and brush over the top crust with a pastry brush.  Place pie on a cookie sheet to avoid messy spill overs.  Bake on the center rake of a 425 degree oven until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with a leafy green salad a light oil and vinegar dressing and a glass of white wine for casual elegance.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at our new home and snow day celebration!