One of the easiest meals you can make for your family is a good ol’ chicken pot pie. I love this recipe as a freeze-ahead for 4 reasons: it’s inexpensive, it’s fast, it’s easy, and it makes four meals at one time. I got it from my sister-in-law, but I’ll admit to tweaking it a bit—not because it wasn’t delicious exactly how it was, but because I’m a little lazy and I like to take shortcuts sometimes.
Start by poaching 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. Poach, don’t boil, as boiling will dry out the chicken. I usually place the chicken in the pot of water and turn it on high to bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn it down to a simmer and set your timer for 15 minutes. If you want, you can add a sliced onion and/or garlic wedges to the water for extra flavor.
After your chicken is completely cooked, remove it from the water and set it aside to cool. But don’t dump the water! Measure it into whatever portion sizes you desire (I do 2-cup portions), place it in quart-size freezer bags, and freeze flat. Next time you have a recipe that calls for chicken stock, you have it in your freezer—no need to buy it. In my experience, frozen chicken stock will last for 2-3 months in a regular freezer, or up to 1 year in a deep freezer.
Now, here’s where I cheat. You could slice up about 4 handfuls of baby carrots, wash, peel, and chop 2 potatoes, and wash and chop fresh green beans. But why? Instead, I use 2 cans of cubed potatoes and a 32-oz bag of frozen veggie mix consisting of chopped carrots, corn, green peas and green beans.
Heat some olive oil in a large pot and go ahead and sauté the frozen veggies in some minced garlic (you can use fresh, or that awesome stuff that comes in a jar) until they’re just defrosted, about 5 minutes. Then drain and add the potatoes.
Remove from heat and add 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, a few sprinkles of onion powder, and shred your chicken into the mix. Top it off with ½ c of heavy cream and stir it up.
Rather than pouring these directly into the pie shells, save yourself some room and divide the mixture into 4 quart-sized freezer bags. Label and date each bag. You’ll end up with just under 3 cups per bag. You’ll need a total of 8 frozen deep-dish pie crusts, so make sure you have those on hand for later use. Freeze the bags flat, keep the pie crusts stacked in each other, and you’ll use a lot less room in your freezer than stacking 4 pies on top of each other.
When it’s time to make a pie, put a bag of the mix in the fridge to thaw over night. Once it’s thawed, pour it into one of your pie shells and spread it evenly.
Top it with a second pie shell.
Then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until the pie crust is golden brown.
It may not be the prettiest pie in the world, but it sure is yummy!