The Revealing, Secret Diaries of a Not-So-Secret Foodie

Oregano

In Essay, Faith, Food, Gab, Photos, Recipe on February 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

 

Christine's Mile High Chicken Pot Pie

Christine's Mile High Chicken Pot Pie

Traditional.  “Old School”, my husband might say.  These adjectives are some of those that might be chosen to describe me, by family and friends.  Maybe they know how much I relish preserving the past, when it is the right thing to do. Perhaps they understand my desire to save things that are well-made, but are at risk of getting discarded or lost, simply because they are not new.  Or could it be my deep respect of history?  Not so much history in the textbook sense, but rather looking back at the evolution of things over time.  Specifically, noting when we got things exactly right or when things just got off course.  I guess you might say, I’m more of a “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” kind-of-gal. 

Growing up my family had lots of traditions.  Some fun, some not so fun, but traditions none-the-less. One that I always found interesting was the tradition women had of bringing meals to each other.  It could be a simple basket of muffins delivered to a new neighbor who just moved in across the street, a complete meal for the new mom after the arrival of her bundle of joy, or a plain, but aromatic bowl of chicken soup to the house with someone who was feeling a bit under the weather. 

When I was a kid, I never understood a variation of this same tradition.  I observed it once, after a Great Uncle’s funeral.  It puzzled me why, one by one, relatives stopped by after the funeral, each presenting my Great Aunt, a new widow, with a covered dish.  With each new door bell chime came another dish. Before my very eyes a sea of food was multiplying and collecting in the kitchen.  Miraculously, after some organization, I noticed that where there once was an empty table, POOF, an enormous meal.  A most generous meal:  Stuffed cabbages in crock pots, elaborately arranged trays of meats with cheeses and several shiny tins that overflowed with freshly baked cookies.  Each of these now neatly rested on that once empty table, filling every single inch of it.

It was only years later, after I was a mother, that I finally understood this simple but most beautiful gesture. Sometimes, Love is giving a person what they need.  In this case, the lovingly prepared food, given so freely by friends, brought something words could not.   It brought comfort.  When everyone gathered around that table to eat, it brought a sense of peace during a chaotically, stressful time.  Gathering around that table to eat with family was comforting.  It was comforting because it was a welcomed “usual” during “unusual” times.  It allowed you to escape the heaviness of worry and sorrow found that day, if only for a few bites.   

This is why at our house we have a new tradition given to me by a dear friend.  It is that of the “Thank You Bite”.  Although we have some young and picky eaters, we explain how much Love has been used to prepare the meal.  For this reason, when a new dish is placed before them we ask that they take one “Thank You Bite”.  We explain it is a kind gesture to the cook.  They are allowed to choose whatever part of the meal they want, and to sample as small a bite as they like.  They can even choose to smother it in ketchup, if they so please.  However, we do ask them to find something to try.  At times they find new things to like, at others, they find new things to hate but at least they have tried.  I figure even if we don’t get the adventurous tasters we’d prefer, we will get the thankful tasters we desire.  That is Love.

It is my thankful taste buds that inspired my next recipe selection.  It is one brought to me by a neighbor, piping hot.   In my Keeper Box, I call it Christine’s Mile High Chicken Pot Pie.  Ironically, it is the only recipe I found in my sister’s yellow lemon-themed Keeper Box.  She had put it in there all on her own. 

The beauty of this recipe is that it comes from the tradition of giving someone what they need.  It is simply, comforting.  Usually I would have chosen to put Sage or Thyme in my Pot Pie.  Interestingly, this one calls for Oregano.  Oregano, also known as “Wild Marjoram”, is a close relative of “Sweet Marjoram”.  Don’t substitute this. It is the little surprise that gives this pie its magic.  For me, it is the distant sweetness of the oregano combined with the saltiness of the cheese that gives this pie the ultimate comfort factor.  Originally, taken from an article in Parent’s Magazine, I’ve made minimal changes and one addition:  sliced potatoes.  This addition makes the pie tall, besides one of my picky eaters loves potatoes.  I am trying to make it easy for him to be thankful.  By the way, that’s not cheating; it is giving him what he needs, Love  ; ).

Christine’s Mile High Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed (12-ounces)

1 10.75-ounce can cream of chicken soup

1 12-ounce jar of classic chicken gravy

1 cup frozen organic peas and carrots or mixed vegetables

1 cup chopped, frozen onions *

1 12-ounce can of sliced white potatoes (I use 2-3 freshly boiled organic potatoes, sliced)

½ cup of grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon pepper

Pinch of salt to taste

2 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts (I like the Pillsbury brand in the red box)

*Note:  Do not substitute fresh diced onion, it will not work well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl combine all ingredients except crust.  Mix well.  Place first crust in 8-inch pie plate.  Pour in chicken pie filling.  Place crust on top.  Tuck edges under, seal and crimp edges together.  Cut vent holes in top of pie.  Cover pie loosely with foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook additional 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.   Comfort in a crust, for sure!

 

 

Cousins.  Summer 1952. 5th St. , Sharpsville

Cousins. Summer 1952. 5th St. , Sharpsville

 

© suebthefoodie.com, 2011.

  1. I remember your friend bringing this over after one of the boys were born. She also brought cupcakes. Yummy! I also remember you going home with dad and gramma and papa when Uncle Pat died after we returned from seeing the Nutcracker shortly after Christmas. Traditions are important for kids to experience. Funny how you thought of this now. Aunt Dorthy would have loved this one. Oregano – a perfect title. Love MOM

    • Funny, I didn’t remember the cupcakes. But I did remember the green beans. Is that the same nutcracker performance that Birdman choked on that little piece of candy that caused so much commotion in that quiet auditorium? I miss Aunt Dorthy. She was such a real character and Papa’s only sister. No wonder she turned out to be such a character. Remember she was raised as the only girl with four brothers.

  2. Sue I love the memories through this blog.
    Food is a comfort. Especially in times of sorrow.
    You have found your niche in this blog.

  3. I love the “thank you bite” and will be borrowing that. What a nice tradition to start, and a great way to enforce manners. I love learning new things! Can’t wait to try this recipe out. I can always tell a good recipe by how my house smells when it’s done. So far, so good. Keep up the good work, your words are becoming addicting and mesmerizing. I am getting ‘pictures’ in my head as I read you blog.

    • Please borrow. I borrowed it from my friend. Always nice to share. I love the way this one smells too. I always feel happy when this one is in the oven. I don’t even care if anyone else eats it, because I know I will. Sometimes, mama just needs a pot pie. At other times, my hubbie will call and say he needs one. Thanks Tricia for your support. Remember only keep the things you like for your KEEPER box. I love how open you are to trying new things. I am so happy you can see the images that I am trying to recreate as I write. I think that was from 5th grade or so. In a way, it is who I am. PS. I can tell you are the type of friend I can always call when I need to borrow a spice that I have run out of in my cupboard. You will now be know as my spicey friend : ). Thank you for your encouragement on the blog. It is just this kind of encouragement I need to keep writing. PS I still owe you my Champagne Shallot Vinegarette. I haven’t fogotten. It is still in my head, but I will get it down on paper someday. SueB

  4. I tried this one the other night and it was absolutely scrumptious! Thanks Sue!

  5. Sue,

    I am friends with your sister Lori. I tried this a few nights ago and had my step son and his friend licking their bowls! Thanks so much for this new family favorite, sure to be a staple in our household!

    • Becca, Yeah I am so happy you and your guys liked it! So happy when someone makes one of my posts a Keeper! Even happier when they let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog.

  6. Hey, even I can make the chicken pot pie! Its kinda funny, I only had one recipe in that BoX. PS I remember the funeral food too. Especially the mostaccoli or home made dumplings of Aunt Dorothy!
    Lori

    • ; ). I am a detail girl. Johnny Marzetti and spatzel. Aunt Do made those so well.

  7. Sue….what can I say? You have a way with words that I feel so lucky to read. This one gave me goosebumps! We should all feel lucky that you are sharing you wonderful recipes and words of wisdom…You are the best! xo

    • Holly, I am so touched that you liked the story. It is so personal to me. Took a bit to get the right words to express it. Think I have been working on that story ever since Nolan was 6 days old. Thank you for sharing your reaction to my story. I am so glad someone connected to it like I did when I was writing it. It meant alot.

  8. Can’t wait to try this! It sounds so yummy! It is funny how similiar we are in our thoughts about food and love!

    • Deedee. Glad you are going to try it. We should all get together some time. Funny. I remember running into you at Chuckie Cheese when your boys were young. I don’t think I had any kids at the time. I was there for my cousins party. Our turn now. We will be there celebrating my son’s birthday soon.

  9. Why shouldn’t I use fresh diced onions in the Chicken Pot Pie? I suppose I could dice them, and then freeze them first…

    • Hi there. Typically I only use fresh diced onion, however, I found that when I did this substitution it changed the entire flavor profile of the pie. The delicate flavors were overwhelmed by onion. Also, I have three small children, who even see an onion no matter how fine the dice, will not give a new recipe a try. I found the frozen onions are very delicate in flavor and undetectable by my children. I also use them in meatloaf for the same reason. Makes the whole thank you bit even possible in my house. Prior to this recipe, I did not even know that frozen onions existed.

      Hope that helps. Maybe you like onion and wouldn’t mind that it overwhelms the pie. Leeks or shallots might be a better choice if you prefer to use fresh. You might even prefer it that way. Not sure. So happy you are giving the recipe a try. Thank you for trying. Let me know if it becomes a KEEPER in your recipe box. Did you like my short story Oregano? Did you like the photo? It was really fun creating both.

      Looking forward to hearing how things went in your kitchen.

      Take care for now

      Suebthefoodie ; )

  10. Thanks; I think I will try the recipe with fresh onion but just use a little less to avoid overwhelming the other flavors. There are some foods that are hard to overdo as far as I am concerned – onions, cheese, chocolate to name a few. (Not all in the same recipe!!!) FYI, you can also buy frozen chopped sweet peppers – yellow, red and green all in the same 16oz bag. Very handy when you just want a spoonful to add color to something, or when fresh peppers are extravagantly priced.

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