an army wife's guide to life

food and homemaking goodness

Cheese-topped Pot Pie

Alright, so my original plan for this pot pie was to use a real pie crust as the topping…but that crust got used for something else, and I had to improvise. Sometimes, improvisation leads to the best things, like a cheese crust on a pot pie.

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So here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup navy beans (dry) or 1 can, undrained
  • 1 cup cream of mushroom soup or 1 can
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • butter
  • frozen peas
  • frozen carrots
  • frozen greenbeans
  • 1/2 block Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • pie crust (mine was premade and frozen)

 

  1. If you’re using dry beans, start those early, I didn’t soak mine, I just cooked them in my crock pot on high for about 8 hours or so, and they came out perfectly. Also if you’re cooking your beans, make sure to season them. I added a little salt and pepper to the cooking water, and 2 cubes of chicken bouillon, just to give them some extra flavor.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Cook your onion and garlic in butter until soft. Instead of melting the butter first, I just threw everything into the pan and let it all work its magic together. And I always, always season at this step. Just a pinch of salt and pepper will do the trick. 
  4. Add the beans, with their liquid (especially if you cooked them yourself), peas, carrots, and greenbeans to the pan. You can add whatever other veggies you’d like to the mix as well, but those were the ones I had handy. You want to create a nice balance between the beans and the veggies, so the amounts are up to you as well. Cook those down until they’re tender, before adding the cream of mushroom soup. I used a cup of my homemade soup, but if you’re using a can, 1 should work nicely.
  5. Season to your taste. I added garlic and onion powder, to bring out the garlic and onion already in the pan, as well as more pepper and salt. 
  6. Let it simmer until it thickens up, then add it to the pie crust. Don’t over fill it. I had extra filling when I was done, you don’t have to use it all. 
  7. Top with shredded cheese. You want a nice, thick layer so it makes an actual crust on the top when baked. You’ll also want to protect the edges of the pie crust with foil so they don’t over cook. 
  8. Cook for fifteen minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another fifteen. The cheese should take on a nice, golden brown appearance. 

Of course, this can also be done with chicken, the way you’d think of a traditional pot pie. In that case, I’d also cook the chicken all day in my crock pot so it was falling-apart tender, and go from there.  

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Garlic Bread done Right

Garlic bread is just about my most favorite thing ever. But there is such a thing as bad garlic bread, and I’ve made plenty of it. This time, though, I was determined to do it different;y. It was determined to make really, really good garlic bread. There’s two versions in the picture above. One with cheese and one without. I always need a cheesy version for my hubby, and the more cheese, the better. I happen to like my bread non-cheesy, so I just split it in half, and cheesed half of it for him. Not much is different between them, and anything you want to do to tweak it, go for it and let me know so I can try it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 1 loaf of bread (I used a French loaf, but any bread is gonna work)
  2. 3-4 cloves of garlic,  minced (or 2 Tbsp minced garlic if you buy it by the jar)
  3. Fresh parsley
  4. 1/2 stick of butter
  5. Mozzarella cheese (optional)

So first things first, you’re gonna want to set your butter out to come to room temperature. While you’re doing that, you can mince the garlic (or use a garlic press, which I totally should have done) and chop the parsley as well. Once the butter is at room temperature, I put everything into my stand mixer and mixed it with the paddle attachment until it was all combined.

While that was doing its magic, I lined a baking sheet with tin foil (to eliminate the mess), preheated the oven to 350°, and sliced the bread in half. I used half a loaf for the two of us and it was gone so fast, so plan accordingly. Spread the butter on the bread and then I sprinkled a little salt on top, just to enhance the flavor, I also added a little extra garlic powder, because I’m a garlic junkie. If you want it cheesy, add as much or as little cheese to the top as you want. Bake it off for 15 minutes or so. My oven seems to cook a little more slowly than I’m used to, so keep an eye on it, you might need less time. It’s done when the butter is melted and the top looks golden and the bread is crispy. If you cheesed it, it should be slightly browned. Then again, that’s just how I like it. Doneness is totally up to you, it’s not like you can undercook bread that’s already cooked.

All that’s left after that is to enjoy. I made Ravioli and homemade pasta sauce, but I was looking forward to the bread more than anything, and boy was it worth it.

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