Sunday, March 22, 2015

Seafood Pot Pie

I came across this recipe card cleaning out the bookshelf recently. I have a problem with ever getting rid of a single recipe card, cooking magazine, cookbook, etc... It's really just best if it doesn't make it in the house if it isn't a winner. Recently I've been on a rampage against all things "Cream of _____ Soup". Its been so frustrating how many slow cooker meals expect a hunk of meat and can of cream of ___ soup. I find it really unappetizing. Anyone else? *Looks around for hand raises*

Cream of ____ soup is a really simple thing to eliminate. Yes, it is fast, but I promise you have the replacement ingredients in your kitchen right now. It really only takes three. Ready? Butter, flour, and milk. That's it! Of course you can get fancy... I usually add in some chicken stock (or broth, or even from bouillon cubes...) and garlic or herbs, but it depends on what you are making with it. This process starts with making a roux.

Don't worry, it's easy and tastes better than that little google provided intro makes it sound. Plus, it comes together almost as fast as opening a can of soup.

Basic Sauce


  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Chicken Stock
  • Milk


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. 
  2. Add flour, stir until smooth paste forms. 
  3. Add milk, stir until it starts to thicken. 
  4. Add stock, stir until it starts to thicken.
  5. Alternate adding milk and stock to get the flavor you're looking for. Season at the end. 

Make sure you start with enough of the roux (flour + butter) in the beginning. Adding flour later to thicken it tends to make the sauce lumpy. For a pot pie you'll need about half a stick of butter (4 tablespoons) and 1/4 cup flour. Pasta for two you can go with about half that. Remember you can mix in seasonings to match the meal. Here are some options to consider:
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic (minced, powder, or salt)
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • shredded cheese (parmesan for white pasta sauce, cheddar/swiss/gouda/etc for mac and cheese)

So now that you have the basic... see how I apply it in my remake of this recipe card from who knows what grocery store picked up in 2006 if the printing date is to be trusted.

Seafood Pot Pie
adapted by joyfulfoodie

1 cup broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 in slices
1 cup peas
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk (more or less as needed)
1 cup stock (seafood stock ideal, but chicken or vegetable works fine too) (more or less as needed)
3/4 teaspoon dried dill
2 cups cooked seafood, such as soft-shell crab, shrimp, salmon, and/or halibut.
1 cup shredded swiss cheese (4oz)
1/2 (15oz) package refrigerated pie crust (1 crust) OR 1 sheet of puff pastry (from package of two), thawed while you work on other steps.

1) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2) Prepare vegetables.
3) Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir to form a paste. When smooth, add approximately 1/4 cup milk and stir until smooth and starting to thicken. Then add approximately 1/4 cup chicken stock and stir until smooth and starting to thicken. Alternate milk and stock until it is a smooth sauce, but not too liquidy. If it seems like you went a little too far, let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken up. As a last resort, mix in a little more flour. (This won't be too terrible a fix in a pot pie, it would be more noticeable over pasta. :))
4) Add dill, vegetables, and seafood. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, to heat seafood and vegetables through. *** Stir in cheese to melt, remove saucepan from heat.
5) Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Unfold pie crust OR puff pastry and lay it over the seafood mixture. For puff pastry I usually have to get a little creative with the arranging if its in my bigger rectangle casserole dish.  Trim any edges that hang over so they are inside the dish again. If using pie crust, cut slits to vent.
6) Bake. Piecrust = 30 minutes, Puff pastry = 40-50 minutes. You want the crust (either kind) to be golden brown.

Serves 6.

***Alternate option at step 4: In a second pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Saute mushrooms 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and broccoli, cook 2 minutes longer. Then add all with peas and seafood to the sauce. This will make the vegetables a little more tender and add a little depth of flavor. If you're in a hurry, its fine to skip this step, but I rarely do. :)

In my mind, this combines some of the best things ever. 1) Easy = yay. 2) Pot pie = comfort food = double yay. 3) Seafood = greater than chicken = triple yay.
Your turn! What's the big recipe swap you're into these days? Anyone with me on the cream of _bleh_ rant?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup

I've had this image of the perfect winter soup floating around my head over the last few weeks. It was hearty, like a stew, but I needed a change from chicken and beef. I imagined thick chewy gnocci floating on the surface.
So this weekend I started scrounging through the pantry and the vegetable drawer to see what we had to work with. Gnocchi was out, but I will come back to this next time - I still believe gnocchi would be superb in this. If you have some, please sub it in and let me know what you think. :)

Sausage, Kale, and Couscous Soup

A joyfulfoodie original


3 cups broth (I used chicken stock from my last crockpot chicken)
2 (ish) cups water (as needed to adjust volume and flavor, depending on strength of stock)
8 oz mushrooms, quartered or smaller
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato paste
4-6 cups torn kale (large bite size pieces)
2 local hot* italian sausages (more as desired) **
2 cups dry couscous

a few shakes each:
garlic powder (or 2 minced garlic cloves)
onion powder
dried or fresh parsley


Heat the stock (and some water, as needed) on the stove. While it is coming up to temp, add white beans, mushrooms, tomato paste, and spices. Cook for 5 (ish) minutes while you prep kale (if not done yet).
Slice sausages into bite size pieces (I cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then cut 1/2 inch slices).
Add sausages and kale to the soup. Cook another 5ish minutes.
Add couscous. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until couscous is soft. (I was using a blend - one of the grains didn't soften until almost 20 minutes, couscous was probably fine by 10-12 minutes.)

Serve with wine, if desired. I loved it with Lazy Bones red wine from Trader Joe's.

*If you don't have hot italian sausage, use whatever kind of sausage strikes your fancy. Consider adding a few shakes of red pepper flakes... the heat in the soup adds a nice dimension to the broth.

** I am in love with all things Nooherooka Natural. They have the best sausages, hot dogs, stew beef, bacon.... we pretty much only buy our meat from this local farm. We discovered them at the farmer's market. Switching over to local meat has been awesome - we find the quality to be immensely better, and it is awesome knowing we are voting for fair animal treatment with our dollars. If you have access to a farmer's market I strongly suggest you seek out the meat people and develop a relationship with them. It has balanced price wise because we eat less meat when we have to plan it all out ahead of time like this! :)

Your turn! What are you cooking to stay warm this winter?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pumpkin Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

Last year I found a beautiful picture of a pumpkin pasta recipe. It looked amazing, and I repinned it adding the idea of serving the sauce over spaghetti squash instead. When I tried it later (with just pasta) I found the recipe very disappointing. It had no flavor and was all one texture. This year I found the picture again and decided to make my own recipe. Much better.

Pumpkin Spaghetti Squash from is a fantastic fall dish. Warm and creamy, this rich dish is a great main course or side dish. Add chicken or shrimp to bulk it up or keep it simple.

Pumpkin Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

a joyful foodie original

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock (approx)
1 cup cream or milk (approx)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

Cut spaghetti squash in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350°F for an hour or until it shreds easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp butter in large sauce pan. Add 1 tbsp of flour. Stir to form a paste. Gradually add chicken stock to dissolve the paste. Stir until it thickens, then add more stock. Alternate adding milk/cream and stock until you have mixed in 1 1/2 - 2 cups liquid. It should have a saucy consistency. Do not add too much too fast, or you will have to add more flour and the whole thing will take longer.

Once you have a sauce, mix in the pumpkin, garlic, parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper, sage, rosemary. If sauce is too thick, add more chicken stock.

Shred inside of spaghetti squash halves. Pour sauce over squash, garnish with parmesan and rosemary. Serve.


  • Cut up some slices of rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast and lay them on the squash before adding the sauce.
  • Saute shrimp and add with the sauce.

TIP: Serve extra sauce (if any) over pasta for lunch the next day.

Your turn! What is your favorite fall weeknight meal?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Peach Crisp

The peaches at the farmer's market these last few weeks have been calling my name. They've been saying "Kristen... pick us! Make us into that fantastic dessert you made the first summer here!"

Of course, that would assume that I kept that recipe. No idea what I did. *sigh* That was the real reason I started this blog, right??

So back to the drawing board. I've done the same thing I did for my apple pie, namely, I've read 1,982,576 recipes and then said "EH! I do what I want!"

This is the result of that rebellious streak. Also, of not having a lemon. Pfft. Peach Crisp - the perfect summer dessert.

Peach Crisp

adapted from the pioneer woman and real simple


5 whole To 6 Whole Fresh Peaches (best When Not Overly Ripe Or Soft)
1 cup and 1 tbsp Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup and 1-2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed (separated)
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 stick Butter (1/2 Cup) plus some to grease pan
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nuts of your choice (I like a mix of pecans and cashews)


Heat oven to 350ºF.

Peel and cut peaches into slices. Mix them with 1 tbsp flour and 1-2 tbsp brown sugar. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish, ideally 9x9 square or equivalent. Round would work, just don't go for a crazy big rectangle.

Using a food processor or a fork, blend together the flour, sugar, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture until evenly mixed... this is where the food processor is handy. Finally, mix in oats and nuts. Pulse for a fine grain crumble or toss in if you want bigger hunks of nut.

Cover the peaches with the crumbly oat/nut topping. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for 30-45 minutes longer until the topping is crisp. If this is taking awhile, you can always broil it for a few minutes (and not longer!) If your dish is smaller (and therefore filled deeper) it may even be a little longer, so pick a time, check it, and add time accordingly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. YUM. Peach Crisp - the perfect summer dessert.

PS: This totally counts as breakfast food, right? I think that was my mom's rule. Fruit, grain, dairy... good to go?? That is of course assuming you have leftovers...

BONUS TIP! To easily peel peaches, cut an "x" in the end opposite the stem and immerse in boiling water. The riper the peach the less time it needs... anywhere between 10 seconds and a minute. Set the peach to cool for a moment before peeling and cutting. Remember, be careful with your knife when handling the peaches... they get a little extra slippery when you peel them this way!

Your turn! What summer dessert have you been anticipating? What's your favorite way to eat a peach?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Burgers, 5 ways

Joyful Foodie: Burgers, 5 ways. Dress up your hamburger with some new tricks!

Hamburger plans for the fourth feeling a little blah? I love playing around with different burger combos, so I've rounded up a few favorites in case you need a little inspiration.

1) Cheeseburger with bacon, smoked cheddar, and barbeque sauce.  A classic. Remember, everything is made better by bacon. And don't come near my burger with American cheese, 4th of July or not.

2) Burger with feta, fried green tomato, and balsamic glaze. Our local place calls this the "Sweet Southerner". I always order it with extra balsamic, which makes it super messy, but OH SO good.

3) Southwest style. Mix chopped cilantro, cumin, cinnamon, and as much hot sauce as you want in with your ground beef when forming the patties. Top with pepper jack cheese and salsa or guacamole if you want some coolness.

4) Breakfast burger. Top with a fried egg, cheese of your choice, and spinach. If you really want to go all in, serve it on a bagel or with hollandaise sauce.  Just don't do this one often!

5) Caprese burger. This is my current favorite. Top your burger with mozzarella, tomato, and basil. You can also use balsamic here, but if you've got a flavorful tomato it doesn't need it. You could also mix balsamic and dried basil in with the beef, especially if you're having trouble with burgers drying out.

General burger tips:
  • Use higher fat beef for burgers. It'll drip out as it cooks. Save the 93% lean stuff for casseroles and tacos. ;) 
  • When forming your patties, make them a little concave. They puff in the middle when cooking, and they'll have a more uniform shape this way. 
  • Also remember they shrink! Make them a bit bigger than the bun you want to put them on. 

Your turn! What is your favorite way to serve a burger? Is your go-to beef, or does another burger base stand in the spotlight?

Have a happy fourth of July everyone! Remember, be safe out there and don't drink and drive.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pork with Rice Noodles, Scallions, and Chile

This is a new hit in our house. It uses favorite ingredients in new ways, to give some delicious variety to our weeknight. It comes together in about 30-40 minutes, depending on your skill level at multi-tasking. Pork with rice noodles, scallions, and chile

Pork with Rice Noodles, Scallions, and Chile

from fine cooking
total time 30 minutes || serves 4


8 oz. wide rice (pad thai) noodles
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
3 Tbs. fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground pork
Kosher salt
1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2-1/2 cups) Pork with rice noodles, scallions, and chile1 bunch scallions (both white and green parts), trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (about 1 cup)
1/2 to 1 small fresh green chile, such as Thai or serrano, thinly sliced**
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbs. chopped peanuts


Boil water in a large pot. Cook your pad thai noodles to al dente following package directions (4-6 minutes typically). Drain and shock with cold water to stop the cooking. 

While that's going, mix lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar disolves. 

Heat half of the oil (1tbsp) in a wok or large (12-inch) skillet over medium high heat. Really heat it... shimmering hot. Crumble the pork in and cook like you're making ground beef tacos. That is to say, making sure it doesn't form one huge block, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook until starting to brown and no longer pink. Season with salt if you want. Put it in a bowl to rest while you do the onions. 
Heat the other half of the oil (1tbsp). Same wok or skillet is perfect. Add the onion, scallions, and chile. (WEAR GLOVES TO HANDLE THE CHILI. If you have sensitive skin, like aparently I do.)  Cook until onions and scallions are softened, stirring regularly, 4-5 minutes. If you can tell if the pepper is getting soft, you cut it too big or used too much, and ohh boy are you in for a shock.

Put the pork back in, toss well to mix. Add the noodles back in, toss gently to mix... you don't want to shred the noodles. Remove from heat, add lime mix, herbs, and toss yet again. Garnish with peanuts and dig in while its still hot! Pork with rice noodles, scallions, and chile
**This dish is pretty mild with half a serrano pepper. If you're looking for spicy, kick in the whole pepper, consider half a second one. Remember, all peppers have different Scoville scale ratings, even on a single plant. If you're spice shy, err on the side of caution so you can taste all of the other wonderful flavors here! We used 2/3 of a pepper and felt it could have used just a little more. 

Related post: Hot Fingers!! How to get your hands to stop burning if you forgot the gloves when cutting up your peppers. 

Your turn! What's your favorite food with just a little bite to it? 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This Week's Menu - June 9, 2014

With summer here, we've been spending lots of time watering our garden and watching our veggies bloom. This was our first week at the farmer's market, and I am so excited for the upcoming menu. We've got the produce thing down pat, so this week we were focusing on getting our meat locally. This means we're having grass-fed beef and wild caught shrimp. Super happy to know our cows lived well!

Most of the menus I've posted so far were during the school year. You'll notice this reflects more of a summer schedule, since the hubs is done with classes for now, and I'm wrapping up this week.

June 9 - June 15, 2014
Joyful Foodie Menu June 9, 2014

Monday: Oatmeal with berries
Tuesday: Fruit smoothie (made with plain yogurt, frozen peaches and berries, milk, and some spinach) and whole grain toast with butter
Wednesday: Homemade granola with milk and berries
Thursday: breakfast "pizza" - eggs, cheese, and tomato slices on top of whole grain toast
Friday: leftover waffles from Sunday (I freeze extras)

Monday: peanut butter and banana wrap in homemade tortilla
Tuesday: tomato, cucumber, basil, mozzarella salad, hummus and crackers
Wednesday: farmer's market roast beef sandwich  
Thursday: leftover fried rice
Friday: luncheon at school

Monday: Farmer's market stir fry
Tuesday: Fried rice (chop up leftover stir fry, mix in with rice, heat, add an egg or two depending on size of dish!)
Wednesday: Burgers using farmer's market grass-fed beef with salad with feta, pears, and pecans
Thursday: pretzel dogs and sautéed kale
Friday: leftovers or meal out of the freezer
Saturday and Sunday: up in the air depending on if I throw a "school's done, hooray!" party ;)

Your turn!
How is the coming summer changing your meal routines?


Related Posts with Thumbnails