I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It’s true. At least that’s the case with my husband. I keep him well fed and he’s happy. A home-cooked meal is so much more than food on a plate. I really do believe it is an expression of love.
In my family, food has always meant comfort and caring. It’s nourishment for the body as well as the soul. When visiting relatives when I was young, and still today, the first thing they want to do when I walk through the door is feed me. Food has always been a way of showing you care, especially on the Italian side of my family.
Eating a delicious home-cooked meal together was our family’s way of celebrating special occasions. I’ll always remember those big family dinners, as well as the weekend dinners my mom spent hours preparing. Saturdays was a roast with all of the fixings and Sunday was homemade sauce that simmered for hours with meatballs and pasta. The memories of those many family meals continue to bring me comfort. That’s why cooking and sharing a meal is still such an important part of my life. Today, just like my mom, preparing and sharing a delicious meal is a way that I can show my love for my family and others. After all, cooking for others is nurturing.
It’s the simple gestures that mean the most. When I want to show my appreciation to a friend or neighbor, I deliver a home-cooked meal. I’ve found that food is the perfect gift for just about anyone on any occasion. Whether it’s a favorite meal of the recipient or just something made from scratch that they wouldn’t spend the time preparing on their own, it’s always appreciated.
Certain foods have the power to bring me comfort. Many are the foods I remember sharing with family on special occasions and others are truly the “comfort” foods that provide warmth. The chicken pot pie recipe I’m sharing below is a food that makes me feel like I’m getting a big hug. You may want to prepare it for your family as an expression of your love this Valentine’s Day. Better yet, invite your family into the kitchen and prepare a meal together. Cooking together is a great way to share a connection that will add to the joy of the day. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Chicken Pot Pie
4 chicken breasts, baked and cubed (approximately 4 cups)
2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stock, diced
½ cup butter cubed
2 ½ chicken broth
1 ½ cup whole milk
¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
Refrigerated pie crust – 2 boxes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Simmer potatoes and carrots until cooked, but still firm. Drain and set aside. In a pan on the stove, heat butter and add onions and celery. Cook until soft. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add in seasonings and stir. Stir in chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. This will take a couple of minutes. Keep stirring during process. You can adjust the liquid to the level of thickness you’d like. If you want it thinner, just add a bit more broth. Stir in the chicken, carrots and potatoes, peas, and corn until well mixed.
I use refrigerated pie crust, but feel free to make your own. I make individual pot pies using large ramekins that hold 2 cups of liquid. I cut out a circle of pie crust to fit the bottom of each ramekin. Once the crust is on the bottom, I spoon in the pot pie mixture until it is filled to the top. Cut out and fit another crust over the top, tucking the edges of the crust into the ramekin. The ramekins make a significant serving. If you don’t have large ramekins, you can make a larger pie. Depending on the size of the oven-safe plate you use, you can probably make two. I always have extra pie crust just in case.
Place ramekins or pie plates onto a cookie sheet on rack in center of oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This is best when eaten as it’s made fresh, it seems too thick when it’s reheated as leftovers.
Ruth Corcoran is a professional marketer, former restaurant owner, and community advocate. She resides in Bear Creek. Readers can reach Ruth by emailing [email protected]