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WW Chinese Pineapple Chicken

27 Sep

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 015

How many wagons have you fallen off of? Have you fallen off of the sweets wagon? The alcohol wagon? The Friends reruns until 4 a.m. wagon? The “I’m tired of being treated like shit” wagon?

Eventually, we all find ourselves looking at the tread indentations of that friggin’ wagon trailing away from us while mud is kicked up into our faces. We’ve fallen off. A particularly erotic eclair spreads its legs like an elusive crush, or that box o’ See’s candies bares its nickel-shaped nipples like a shameless Brad Pitt seducing Geena Davis; or a bad day requires a friend named Martini and the rest is Absolut history; or a sleepless evening can only be comforted by Ross and Rachel and Phoebe and Janice; or perhaps you don’t know what being treated nicely feels like, so you’ll take shit over nothing.

The expression is an old one (early 1900’s, to be exact), yet we apply it to so many areas in our lives that require restraint, reflection, admission, and determination, at some point. Should you feel misery and self-loathing when you fall off? Fuck no. Get back on when you can and try not to make the same mistake twice, and if you do, get back on and try not to make the same mistake thrice, and if you do, get back on and don’t make the same mistake…..you get it. Keep tryin’, kid. You’ll get there.

I fall off of the Weight Watchers wagon regularly. Do I get pissed at myself? Yeah, but not enough to damage me permanently or make me wallow in a maelstrom of guilt. I’ve learned to enjoy dusting myself off, to be honest. It builds character.

I mention this because this Chinese Pineapple Chicken dish was the first Weight Watchers meal I ever made when finally, at 60 pounds above my “normal” weight, I got on the wagon and actually tried to help myself. I signed up for Weight Watchers, weighed in, went to meetings, stopped being a pussy, started walking a lot, and, fifty pounds later, was healthier.

And I’m glad this dish was the first because it’s excellent. If it sucked, I would have fallen off the wagon within a week. This dish gave me some hope, and it also made me realize that my “cooking” mind was way, way too narrow. There are plenty of ways to enjoy and indulge in good food without feeling after every meal like a goose being prepped for foie gras harvesting.

I got this recipe out of one of the first brochures that I received when I signed up for Weight Watchers. This recipe serves four, and each portion is a 6 on the old WW system (PointPlus and 360° can fuck off non-haltingly).

Note: Asian Black Bean Sauce favors vary, so find one that you dig, and go with it.

Chinese Pineapple Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Cooking Spray

1 bunch of scallions (green onions), trimmed and sliced thinly

1 tbsp. chopped, fresh ginger (do not substitute for this)

1 tbsp. minced garlic

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

2 cups crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks, packed in juice

1/4 cup Asian black bean sauce

2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I used brown rice in the pictures; it has more fiber, holmes.)

Makin’ It:

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat it with cooking spray. Add in the scallions, ginger, and garlic. Saute and stir this for about 4 minutes until it’s nice and pungent. Add in the chicken and saute it until it’s browned and almost cooked through, about 7-8 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add in the pineapple (juice and all) and the Asian black bean sauce. Stir it all together well. Get this to a simmer, lower the heat to medium, and cook it, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Put 1/2 cup of rice on each plate, and divide the Chinese Pineapple Chicken amongst the four plates. You might get this:

Weight Watchers Pineapple Chicken 010

I put sriracha on the rice because I like spice to kick me in the nuts a bit.

It’s easy, fantastically tasty, and a good place to learn how to stay on the wagon.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

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Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

24 Jul

Garlic Chicken 022

Somewhere along the line, and I am thinking Emeril had a lot to do with this, people started going crazy with the garlic. I mention Emeril because every time he would add garlic to a recipe he was preparing, people started cheering in a “you shouldn’t do that, but fuck yeah” sort of way. In other words, it seemed that adding excess garlic to a dish became the equivalent of a Jagermeister shot at last call.

About 3 hours north of us in Gilroy, California, there is a garlic festival every year which draws thousands of people who get to sample everything from garlic bread to garlic ice cream. The health benefits of garlic have made headlines throughout the years as well. In an excellent memoir called Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, the two centenarian African-American women attest to eating a chopped raw garlic clove and cod liver oil every morning, which was one of their secrets to longevity.

The Stinking Rose is a restaurant to which I have been both in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, and they specialize in festooning almost every dish with garlic. When you arrive, a jar of spreadable garlic awaits you on the table and the saturation just mounts from there: 40 Clove Chicken, Gnocchi in a garlic cream sauce, garlic fish and chips, and the obligatory garlic ice cream which, for me, works only as a novelty. When my wife and I went there for dinner some years ago, people nosed us for days afterward and seemed to pirouette away from us when we bid them “HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHIiiiiiii” in an”H” heavy, breathy voice. I chased them and my wife shook her head at me.

This garlic chicken recipe is garlicky, of course, but not to a level leading to the ostacization we experienced. I gleaned this from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and didn’t really mess with it much because it’s solid.  In fact, a portion of this with a 1/2 cup o’ rice is a 6 on the Old Weight Watchers system (PointsPlus and 360° can fuck off interminably). This is quick-to-make, filling, light, and will give you a garlic fix should you need one.

Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Makes 4 Servings

Old Weight Watchers Value: 6

Ingredients:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 cup water

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. oil

10 green onions, sliced into 1″ pieces

1 cup sliced mushrooms

12 cloves garlic (or more), peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts (1/2 of a can drained)

2 cups hot cooked rice

Makin’ It:

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces (1/2″) and put them in a resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, stir together the water, soy sauce, and vinegar. Pour this over the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or more. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Whisk the cornstarch into the reserved marinade and set it aside for later.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook them for 2 minutes or so, until they’re tender. Remove these vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.

Now add the chicken to the skillet, cooking and stirring until it’s no longer pink, about 4 minutes or so. Push the chicken to the side of the skillet, give a quick stir to that reserved marinade (so the cornstarch doesn’t settle at the bottom), and pour it into the center of the skillet. Cook this until it’s thickened and bubbly (like Kim Kardashian), and then push the chicken back into the center and mix it all together. Return all of the veggies to the skillet and add the water chestnuts, too. Cook and stir this for a few minutes more and serve with rice.

Garlic Chicken 011

You can add cashews, too, but the WW points value will go up, of course. Piece of cake.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Easy Asian Coleslaw

9 May

Asian Slaw 015

I have written a few times that Asian food is like a new frontier for me.  I wasn’t raised eating much of it, and in the 70’s and 80’s, most of the Orange County, California, food scene did not have a wide array of Asian restaurants. Thankfully, an influx of Vietnamese, Lao, and Korean families started populating the area, so it has since exploded into an Asian food wonderland of sorts.  While I will often berate the ubiquitous fake tits and humvees that festoon much of O.C. and which, consequently, led my wife and I to bid it adieu, I will say that now it has some balance by the soul brought in from different cultures and their cuisines.

But in my Carter and Reagan era childhood, Chinese food consisted of magenta-colored sweet and sour chicken from the only local Chinese place, The Golden Something.  Funnily enough, bean sprouts and duck scared me as a kid, but the unnaturally infrared gelatinous mess of carrots, pineapple, and chicken welcomed me with open arms.  I think my teeth looked like a photo negative by the time I left the restaurant, actually.

I have since learned to cook a variety of Asian main dishes, but I am sorely lacking in the side dish category.  Yesterday, I had an extra bag o’ coleslaw mix from a party we had on Sunday.  I knew I was making chicken satay (https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2013/01/24/ww-chicken-satay-with-peanut-sauce/), so I started googling.  I found quite a few Weight Watchers recipes calling for crushed raw ramen noodles for the crunch effect.  As I am not in the habit of having ramen around, this wasn’t going to work.  Instead, I found a recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?recipeID=14297&origin=detail&servings=10&metric=false.

It goes perfectly with satay, as you will see, it is easy to make, and it is altogether wonderful.  I did make some changes, though…

I had no fresh ginger on hand last night.  But what I did have was some crystallized ginger left over from the holidays, which stays good for a decade or something.  It worked marvelously.

Easy Asian Coleslaw

Serves 6, I would think

Ingredients:

5 tbsp. rice vinegar, or white vinegar in a pinch

5 tbsp. oil

5 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

3 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsp. brown sugar (how come you taste so good?)

2 tbsp. minced crystallized ginger or fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag (about 8 to 10 cups worth or so) coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks

one bunch green onions, chopped

1 chopped bell pepper (optional)

chopped cilantro (optional)

Makin’ It:

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic.  Whisk it well so it’s all combined as a happy family.

In a large bowl for tossing, add the veggies and pour the dressing over it.  Toss this baby like you mean it and so everything is coated well.  Cover this and put it in the fridge to chill if you still need to make the main course, or serve right there. It’s kick ass both ways.

Asian Slaw 007

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino

Sesame Green Beans

4 May

Sesame Green Beans

One of the things I miss most about tending a bar is the clientele that I got to know over the years.  In the U.S., the term “bar” carries a stigma with it, almost like to frequent a bar means that you drink too much or that you haven’t quite grown up yet.  I disagree generally with this.  Most of the people whom I served over the years came there on the way home from work to take the edge off, to meet a friend to catch up, to wait for a table to open up in the restaurant, or to grab a quick meal before the day’s next adventure: not to get hammered.

At T.G.I. Chotchkies where I worked, one of my favorite people was a guy named Chuck.  When I knew him, he was in his eighties.  Like most men of his age, he had served in World War II, and he only would talk about the places he traveled, not what he experienced or did for this country in the war itself. After he retired from the Firestone Tire Company in his 60’s, he became a security guard at the Balboa Yacht Club in Newport Beach, California.  He stood about 5′ 6″ and was rail thin. He had short cut white hair combed neatly, blue eyes, and his original teeth, brownish and a few laced with silver from past dental work.

Chuck was old school. He came from an era where people rocked suits and hats to travel or to attend a baseball game.  He was always put together respectfully. At my bar, he usually donned old guy slacks with the flat front and no belt, leather shoes, and a tucked in button down shirt; he had a pink one that I remember vividly.  He would come in almost every Sunday and we all knew his order by heart: Smirnoff martini up to begin (shaken a certain way, too; he only wanted certain bartenders to make this), a glass of house white zin with dinner, and a green creme de menthe rocks after, maybe a cup of coffee.  Old school.

My favorite part of serving Chuck was when he ordered dinner. We all knew exactly what he would order, but bartending requires dancing the steps perfectly and repeatedly even though you’ve mastered the dance. Bartenders sell an experience, much like teachers, so structure is key.

“Chuck, you ready to order?”

“Yes sir.” Then he would lean over the bar and address me in deep sincerity with concomitant hand gestures: “Now Jon, I want one of those New York Strips. Medium. And I want a baked potato with some butter.”

Even though I knew the answer to my next question, I would ask it anyway because I could never hear it enough:

“You got it. What vegetable would you like?”

“Jon, don’t even put a goddamn veggie near my plate.  I’ve been around 80 years, and I hate vegetables.  I don’t care if you steam ’em, fry ’em, bake ’em, or put all sorts of shit on ’em, I don’t like ’em. I don’t want ’em. I just want a steak and a potato. OK? No goddamn vegetables.   And a glass of house white zinfandel. No vegetables.”

“You got it, kid.”

What could I say to him? If you’ve lived a great life into your 80’s and you hate vegetables, you are more than entitled. I just loved listening to him finally snap about eating something that he probably had to for the first 75 years of his life.

So why ramble on about Chuck? Well, veggies can be tough customers to cook for a variety of reasons.  We all know we’re supposed to eat a ton of them, yet they’re boring unless you pile on tons o’ fatty stuff or you deep fry them. This recipe is an option that will make most people happy, except Chuck, I suppose.

I posted this green bean recipe attached to another recipe before, but I am posting it now on its own. This complements any Asian dish, and it is great the next day. Costco sells a giant bag o’ French green beans for around $5, too.

Sesame Green Beans

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

2 tsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. cooking oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you’re hardcore)

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. black pepper

3 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. corn starch

salt to taste

toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Makin’ It:

You want to boil the green beans in a pot of salted water until they’re almost done, being careful not to overcook them.  Drain them, rinse with cold water, pat them dry, and set them aside.

In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the water and the corn starch. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oils over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook this for about a minute stirring constantly.  You don’t want the garlic to burn here.

Add the green beans to the skillet and stir fry these babies for about 3 minutes.  Mix the soy sauce mixture again so the sugar doesn’t settle and add it to the green beans in the skillet. Stir it together well and cook for about 3 minutes.  Re-stir the water and corn starch, and add it to the green beans. Cook and stir this until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste for salt. Transfer this to a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sesame Green Beans 5

So Chuck, wherever you are, I hate veggies too, dude. But these ones are good and you should try them. I’ll have the creme de menthe waiting for you.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Sesame Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

13 Apr

Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

I have mentioned many times that joining Weight Watchers yields some exemplary recipes and materials.  What’s interesting, though, is that a lot of their published recipes do not seem to be made by people who cook a lot.  Timing and portion sizes, particularly, are often off a bit, which is fine if you know how to adjust accordingly…or if you read Dinner with Jonny, which seeks to ameliorate those deficiencies.

This recipe a goddamn keeper because of it’s versatility.  It can be a main dish served warm or, served cold, an easy crowd pleaser for a pot luck or a side in an Asian feast.  It’s best if you put it together and let it get happy in the fridge for a while so the flavors mingle and intensify. I love doubling the recipe, portioning it out, and eating it for lunch during the week.  It’s light, filling, and packs wonderful flavors.

The booklet from which I gleaned this recipe gives each portion a 5 on the old WW points system (Points Plus and 360° can fuck off) if you use 2 oz. of noodles.  The noodles are the best part, so I double the noodles and add 2 points, making it on or about a 7. Serve it with a green veggie of some sort to round it all out. Easy as a porn star with a car payment due.

Sesame Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

5 oz. buckwheat soba noodles (any thin noodle will do, even spaghetti, but adjust the points accordingly for WW)

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tbsp. honey

3 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. sriracha (optional)

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 grilled or roasted boneless chicken breast, sliced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into very thin coins

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Makin’ It:

Boil the noodles according to the package.

While the noodles are a-boiling, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and sriracha (if using). Set it aside.

Drain the noodles and quickly toss them with the sesame oil.  Add in the vinegar mixture, the chicken breast slices, the carrots, and the green onions. Toss with well and make sure you get the veggies mixed in there thoroughly (it’s a bit tough to do, as you’ll see). Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and cilantro (if using).

Chicken Soba Noodle Salad 4

This is a perfect spring or summer dish, and it’s virtually guilt free.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms

16 Mar

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms 3

The five or so local grocery stores all know me on a first name basis. I go to the market six days out of the week, sometimes twice a day if I forget something.  I didn’t think much about it until I ran into a former student at the nearest Vons.

It’s amusing to see students, even former ones, outside of the classroom because they usually get nervous as hell and ask me some of the most outlandish questions to fill the uncomfortable air.  I think the idea that a teacher has a life outside of school trips them out, and many of them are just beginning to acquire the social skills necessary to navigate out of the teenage universe, which can be daunting.  I will tell them in class, “I don’t just fold up and go in the closet when you leave.  I actually live.  I wear shorts. I even have feelings.”  The fact that I have a child, I know, makes them realize at some point that I had to have sex at least once, which probably just turns into an imaginative wonderland for them as they listen to me prattle on about how memorizing the beginning lines of Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is a rite of passage for any English-speaking human. Or perhaps I adopted, so then I never had to “do it,” which would make things easier for them, I’m sure.

Anyhow, the student at Vons had graduated the previous year.  She asked me, “Are you still at Pioneer?”  This is my favorite student question, and I get it often from graduates because they have no concept of a “career” yet; they think that I might just decide to quit teaching and move on whimsically to start working on the Christmas tree lot seasonally or fill in the void at the mall’s coffee shop to make ends meet.  This naivety is among the reasons why they’re endearing to me and why I love teaching them.

She then proceeded to tell me that her friend works at the store and that she said that I come in there every day, and that it’s kind of weird.  I attested that I do, indeed, shop often because I need certain ingredients for what I’m making, of course.  What I didn’t tell her is that going to the store for alcoholic beverages accounts for much of my ubiquitousness on those premises.

After this meeting, I have gotten a bit self-conscious about my shopping frequency, but not enough to change my ways totally.  Still, I will now try to “make do” with what I have in the kitchen, MacGyver-like, and see what happens once in a while.  Such is the case with this Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms.

When I opened the fridge, I had mushrooms and ennui-inspiring boneless chicken breasts.  I did some googling, found this recipe (http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,honey_ginger_chicken,FF.html), tweaked it a bit, and embarked on my mission.  It’s quick to make, easy, and awesome.  Serve it over rice and some stir fry veggies and you’ll be whistlin’ Dixie.

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 bunch of green onions, sliced into 1/2″ pieces

1 large chunk o’ ginger, peeled and finely minced

2 tbsp. oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Makin’ It:

Heat the oil in a skillet (if you have a wok, have at it) over medium high heat.  Add the chicken cubes and saute them until they are browned all over, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes (if you need to add a bit more oil after removing the chicken, then do so).  Raise the heat, add the garlic and mushrooms, and saute for 2 minutes.  Return the chicken to the skillet.

In small bowl, combine the soy sauce and the honey.  Pour this over the chicken mixture.  Add the ginger and mix it all well.  Saute this for about 5 minutes longer, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the green onions and serve.

Ginger Chicken with Mushrooms 4

This dish is so simple to make and quite fulfilling.  The ingredients are easy to find too.  If you have trouble with anything, I’ll meet you at the market to help you.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013

Chicken Curry Pot Pies

28 Feb

Curried Chicken Pot Pie 008

Nothing says home cookin’ like a pot pie, except someone who consistently practices saying “home cookin'” and should get their ass kicked.  Like many people, I went through my frozen Marie Callender’s pot pie phase in my early twenties and, yes, my nose effused sodium, I spoke thickly for some reason,  and I turned into a doughy, paste-y specimen of a human.  Once I hit my late twenties and early thirties, I needed to keep my ankles in shape, so I quit the store-bought pot pies.

And then I learned that making pot pies isn’t really that big of a deal, and there are shortcuts to be had, and they can be made so that you will not have to buy an early grave.  The first one I made was an Ina Garten recipe and, yes, it’s indulgent and fattening and beautiful.  But one can put all sorts o’ goodies into pies, and tonight I made a keeper.  My good sense told me not to eat the whole damn thing even though my wife almost had to hold my arm behind my back and tazer me to stop.  This pot pie was that good.  So, some background is needed.

I have said before that I am an Anglo- and Hiberno-phile, meaning a lover of things English and Irish.  Savory pies, some might call them pasties, are a staple of the British isles and Ireland.  Also, because of England’s cunning use of flags (thanks Eddie Izzard), they dominated India for many years, and they managed to steal curry from them, amongst other things, and they stole the word “pajamas” (no joke…look it up).

British pub chicken curry is a nut buster if ever there was one.  If you’re ever in Fullerton or Santa Ana, California, go to The Olde Ship and you’ll understand the beauty of pub curry.  One of the best indulgences I’ve ever eaten was French fries with curry sauce on them, and I got those in Ireland.  Granted, I had about 10 Guinnesses and some whisky in me to boot, but I still was touched on an emotional level and right after crawled to my hostel near the Galway road.

I know that there are pie shops in England that sell curried chicken pies, so I decided to do some investigating.  It started with me deciding that I wanted to make pot pies tonight with my thawed chicken breasts, the boring bastards that they are.  I looked through my mom’s old recipe book and found a pot pie recipe, so that gave me direction.  I have had a hankering for curry for a few weeks, so the perfect storm arose: I searched for some pot pie recipes and decided to get creative and improvise a bit.

The result is the recipe below, and I even impressed myself with this one, and it’s totally fucking easy.  While a normal pot pie might be a “cold weather” dish, this Chicken Curry Pot Pie is a year round option.  It’s easy to make, savory, and delicious, to be sure.  Better yet, this is not that bad for you.  It has around 14 grams of fat a serving (500 calories or something), and if you notice the ingredients, they’re not bad.  Other pot pies are loaded with butter, but these are rich without the fat.

Chicken Curry Pot Pies

Makes 4 in oven-proof small baking dishes (they should hold 2 cups  or so each)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. curry powder

2 cups peeled, diced potatoes

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped carrots

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces (1/2″ cubes)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup thawed frozen green peas

1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. cornstarch

3 tbsp. water

1/2 cup low fat cream cheese (1/2 of a brick)

1 box of store bought pie crusts (this was a shortcut that totally paid off), or a recipe to make 2 pie crusts

1 egg, beaten

Makin’ It:

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the curry powder and let it get happy for a minute as you stir it in and get a paste-y thing going.  Add the potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, and chicken.  Cook this, stirring often like stir fry, for about five to seven minutes to get the chicken done. Then add in the broth, mushrooms, peas, apple , salt, and pepper.  Get it bubbling, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook it for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms are a bit juicy.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, whisking it to mix it well.  Add this and the cream cheese to the veggies and chicken skillet.  Mix this and cook it until the cream cheese is melted and it’s all thickened.  This is easy peasy.

Divide the filling evenly between the four bowls.  Brush the rims and sides of the bowls with the beaten egg.  Unroll the pie crusts (or roll out the pie crusts until they’re  about 11″ in diameter), and, using a similar bowl to measure roughly, cut out circles that will overhang the pie bowls about an inch or two.  You will need to roll together the scraps and cut the last two crusts from it.  Drape this over the bowls and press the dough onto the rim and the sides of each bowl.

Brush the dough on each pie with the rest of the egg wash.  Cut a few slits into each pie to let the steam escape.  Put the pies on a baking sheet (it catches the bubbly filling that might spill over) and put them in the oven for 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and gorgeous, like this:

Curried Chicken Pot Pie 001

And when you put your fork into it, it will look like this:

Curried Chicken Pot Pie 011

I’m not kidding when I say that this was one of the easiest pies I’ve ever made, and one of the most unbelievably bitchin’ ones I’ve ever tasted.  If you make this for company, everybody’s happy as long as they like curry.

Enjoy.

Until later, eat, drink, and peace out.

©Jon Marino 2013