It’s time to share another favorite frugal meal to help answer the question I’m always asked: How do you keep your food budget at $300 a month for a family of 5?
Today I’ll show you how I make chicken pot pie. It’s delicious and versatile. It can easily be turkey pot pie or veggie pot pie. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
I’m actually a chicken pot pie convert.
When we brought our first baby home from the hospital, we received several meals from people at church. It was so nice to not have to cook while we adjusted to our first days with a baby in the house.
The odd thing is that half of the meals we got were homemade chicken pot pie. I thought it was a strange coincidence. I had never made (or maybe even eaten) a homemade chicken pot pie before that.
Now, chicken pot pie has become a staple.
Homemade chicken pot pie is not nearly as overwhelming as it sounds. My biggest secret for making it easy is having the crust made ahead of time. We’re big fans of homemade pie crust around here, so I make it in bulk a couple times a year.
It comes in handy when you want to whip up a quiche for dinner (or breakfast or brunch) or a razzleberry pie just because. It’s amazing how a pre-made homemade pie crust can reduce the intimidation factor.
As I’ve admitted to you before, I have a really hard time sticking to a recipe. Sure, I know how to follow a recipe, but I substitute ingredients and change amounts all the time. I don’t like to be boxed in by a recipe that doesn’t match my current pantry or mood. That’s why this will be more of a tutorial than a recipe.
I usually make several pot pies at once because that means less work and fewer dishes. Plus, we eat a lot! Chicken pot pie makes fabulous leftovers too.
The pictures show me making 3 chicken pot pies. I actually had enough filling for a fourth as well but I froze the extra filling separately. If you’re following along, take that quantity into account and feel free to halve it.
I start by melting a cube (1/2 cup) of butter, an onion or two, some celery, and carrots. You can add whatever veggies you want. I chop veggies smaller than I do normally for soups and stews. Just as the onions start to turn translucent, I add frozen peas.
Once the onions turn clear, I add in pre-cooked meat. I’ve usually use chicken or turkey (this is a great way to use Thanksgiving leftovers), but you can go all-veggie too! Use as much or as little meat as you want. Usually I skimp on meat, but this time I used more.
Add the same amount of flour as butter. The flour will soak into the butter and juices you have. In this picture I’m using 1/2 cup of flour. You’re actually making a roux with the butter and flour, it just has veggies and meat in it too!
Next I add in about six cups of chicken broth. For frugality’s sake, avoid the canned broth or stock and either make your own or use bullion and water. After a couple of minutes over medium-high heat, it will start to thicken. If it seems too thick, you can thin it with milk, water, or broth. Give it a taste and add any spices. I usually add salt, pepper, and parsley.
Prepare the pie shells. I make my pie crust in bulk. Not only is it yummy, but it’s super convenient to have balls of frozen pie crust readily available. Here’s my recipe for making homemade pie crust in bulk. With the bottom crust, I just let it hang over the edge at first.
I ladle in the yummy filling.
Then I put the top on. My grandma taught me that the easiest way to move a pie crust around and get it centered is to fold it in half first.
Get rid of any excess overhang, but don’t trim it right along the edge of the pie plate. Fold the edges under to secure them (the top edge going over and under the bottom crust).
Flute the edges however you like, then cut about six small slits in the top. Put the pies in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. The crust will be golden brown.
You’ll want to let it cool off a bit before serving. Cooling the pie helps it stay together better when serving. Yum! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Just wondering what is your method for thawing the frozen dough?
Hi Laura! If you think about it ahead of time you can thaw the dough on the counter or in the fridge. I have to admit that I don’t always think ahead, so sometimes I stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.
I love your story about the multiple pot pies received. A few years ago when I had surgery we were blessed with 2 weeks of meals from friends from church and elsewhere. In that 2 weeks, we had chicken spaghetti 5 times. (Interestingly, the recipes varied – one was heavy on tomatoes, one had lots of cheese, etc).
Although it’s not something I make too often, I have all the ingredients to make chicken pot pie on hand – I’ll be making that this week. Thanks for the inspiration!
[email protected] says
Okay, I am definitely doing the bulk pie crusts. I made successful pie crust dough finally for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it’s pretty much the same recipe you have on your site. I never thought to use a whole can of shortening at once! With the deals I got on eggs and flour over Easter, I figure that I can make 20 pie crusts for under $4.00.
jennifer byars says
Thanks Stephanie! This looks awesome and I truly love your food tutorials and I will be trying this one soon.