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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Cream of Mushroom Soup

OK, so, Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is something I’ve always seem come from can , and usually cooked with chicken and rice. SO why no make it myself? I thought it sounded like a good idea and I turned to my go-to online recipe file allrecipes for an easy cream of mushroom soup recipe and found the one from the picture. Go, take a look at the recipe, than come back for the twists. I’ll wait, I promise.

So now that you’ve seen the super-simple recipe, I’ll tell you what I did and what was different. First, I discovered that I had no chicken stock that wasn’t frozen…oops. And I don’t have chicken bouillon cubes, so I used beef instead. And I didn’t have thyme (although I did have plenty of time). I’m terrible, I know, ignore the bad jokes.

I followed the directions (with the changes above), and added two cloves of garlic (because I have a total love affair with garlic).

There’s everything boiling away in the pot, getting nice and soft together in the improvised beef stock. I also had a brilliant idea while the mushrooms were cooking down to use my immersion blender to get everything blended together, but I don’t recommend it. It really, really didn’t work out for me. I ended up still needing to use my actual blender.

It looks pretty bad, right? It’s just about one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Now, when it came to making the roux, I had about half a sick of butter in the fridge, so I decided to use 4 tbsp of butter instead of 3…and initially i stuck with the original amount of flour, too, but ended up adding another tbsp to make up the difference. This made my soup a lot more thick than it was supposed to be, and I’ll tell you how I fixed that later.

Roux is something I’m still learning, so I have no idea if that looks right (someone can let me know, ok?), but it seemed about right, so I added the milk (forgot the half-half) and the pureed mushroom mix back into the pot to cook again.

I mixed it together and realized that it was super-super thick. Like, way, way too thick. So I added more milk. And I didn’t measure, because I’m terrible at measuring. But I got it down to a thinner consistency and let it thicken up a little bit again until it looked (and tasted) good. I was also adding the salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder to get the taste back to what I wanted. This is where I ended up:

This made two pints of soup (more than I would use soon) and it’s not the pretties thing in the world, but it came out tasty and it’ll go nice with my chicken and rice tomorrow night.

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