Monday, September 27, 2010

Freezer Cooking: Pot Pies and Chicken Enchiladas

I have been a little less ambitious with my freezer cooking lately.  I have been sticking to just one recipe per day, which means I've been cooking on more days, but that is ok.  I've been able to put a few meals here and there into my freezer, and that is always a time-saver in the end.

This past week, I thawed a couple whole chicken that I had in my freezer.  My husband likes how the meat tastes when he injects a homemade marinade into them and then cooks them in out small rotisserie.  You do not need to do it this way though.  There are plenty of other ways to cook the chicken that are not as messy and time consuming. ;)  After we cooked the chicken, we took the meat off and put it aside.  We put the carcass into  a pot of boiling water and made some chicken stock.

The first recipe I made was my grandmother's chicken pot pie recipe.  This is a very easy recipe to make and it is great to keep on hand for when someone needs a meal.  I've given these out to several of my friends at church who have had a baby or other health problems and everyone has raved about them.  In fact, a good friend of mine that I had given this recipe to (hi Amber!) just told me she successfully made one and intends to make more to freeze. =)

Here's the recipe (makes 1 pie):

2tbsp butter
1/2 lb white onions
1/2 cup celery
6tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth (I use what came from boiling the bones)
1 cup milk
3 cups cooked chicken  Edited:  This is what my grandmother's recipe calls for, but I have always thought it was a mistake and way too much.  I don't see how that much chicken can even fit into the pie pan with all of the other ingredients!  I use about 1-1 1/2 cups per pie.
1 can corn*
1 can peas*
1lb potatoes*
season to taste
pie crust **

*I leave the potatoes out entirely because they turn to mush when thawed.  I opt for a bag of frozen mixed veggies instead of the canned veggies.
**You may make your own crust if you like and have a recipe for that.  I buy the frozen deep dish shells and the refrigerated roll out tops.  Sadly, the crust is the most costly part of this whole recipe. =P

Heat butter in a large pot, add onions and celery, cook for 10 min.  Remove from heat.  Stir in flour, seasonings, broth, milk, meat, and veggies.  Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer for 10 min.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake according to the instructions for the crust you use.

Here is the filling.

 Here is one completed pie:

 I quadruple the recipe.  This needs 4 cups of cooked chicken, which I have found is nearly perfectly the meat from 1 whole chicken.  I have also found that this makes enough filling for 5 pies.  I only had 4 shells, so I took a corning ware dish and lined it with foil and poured the last part into it.  I froze it, then removed it from the dish and bagged it.  I will that it and place in back into the same dish and top it with biscuits for dinner one night.  Here they are in my freezer.

The next day we cooked another chicken in the rotisserie.  We boiled down its carcass, and froze the stock from this chicken to use later.

 With the meat from this second chicken I made a double recipe of chicken enchiladas.

Here's the recipe:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (it has a strong cilantro flavor, so cut down on that if you aren't a huge fan)
season to taste
4 oz (1 cup grated) cheddar cheese for topping
6 6-in flour tortillas

Combine all but the cheese and tortillas in a bowl and mix well.

If making fresh (not freezing), spoon the mixture into the tortillas and lay them out into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Cover with cheese.  Cover with foil.  Bake at 350* for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot.  This picture is before baking.

If you want to freeze it, place the mixture and the cheese into separate small freezer bags.  Place them into a large freezer bag containing the tortillas.  To serve, thaw and assemble as above.
I doubled the recipe, and we ate one meal of it that night and I had one more meal to put into my freezer.

I really like this recipe, but it is very heavy on the chicken.  With the pot pie recipe, I can get 5 meals out of one whole chicken, but with this recipe I can only get two.  If anyone has a recipe that is a little lighter on the meat, I would love to try it.  I was thinking about maybe adding some Spanish rice to the mixture, and see how that is.


Kellie September 27, 2010 at 11:55 PM  

I'm confused as to how one pie takes 3 cups of chicken but 4 cups is enough for 5 pies. I I reading this wrong? Otherwise, I appreciate the recipes and the idea to freeze them. Ed was layed off and eating out will be a no no very soon so I'm going to have to be more creative with my cooking. Thanks!

Amanda September 28, 2010 at 8:27 AM  

Thank you for asking this, because I was just copying the recipe straight from my grandma's recipe paper, and when I was typing it, I completely forgot that I have always thought that was a type and I have never added that much chicken. I mean three cups of chicken would fill up the whole pie, right? I never understood how she could use that much meat and still have room for all the the stuff. I always use about 1 cup per pie, and I've made it in bulk so many times that I've really stopped measuring the meat. I just quadruple the rest, and then take whatever meat is on 1 chicken.

I am soooo sorry to hear that about Ed. I'll be praying for you guys and that he can find something else very soon. =(

Amanda September 28, 2010 at 8:35 AM  

There, I added a note to the recipe. =)

Tracy September 29, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

I made pot pie filling this week with leftover turkey! Except instead of freezing it in the pie shell I just froze the filling in quart size ziploc bags. I'll let those thaw and put them in a pie dish, then top with a pie crust. Saves on some calories and some cash. You can always serve with rolls if people want more bread! Oh and I used bouillon cubes instead of stock.

Amanda September 29, 2010 at 4:48 PM that's what your cute little doggie was staring at ;) lol.

The first time I ever made this recipe I used the leftovers for the 17lb turkey jared cooked just for the two of us the first year we were married...we had turkey pot pie, turkey fajitas, turkey soup, turkey quesadillas....
I plan to buy a couple turkeys when they go on sale around thanksgiving to make more of these with, among other things.

Debi @ Bluegrasssavers February 22, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

Thanks Amanda! I like the deep dish frozen shells idea, I can never get the filling in for my chicken pot pies to fit into the shallow baking pan I usually use! I also like that you can substitute your turkey leftovers!

Anonymous August 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM  

OK so this comment is WAY late but Ijust came across this blog today. Anyway a really good way to stretch your chicken in the enchilada recipe is to add some seasoned rice and a can of beans. They are cheap, filling, and also add to the over all protein in the dish.

Amanda August 23, 2012 at 9:15 PM  

That is a very good idea. I don't care for beans myself, but the rest of the family loves them!

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