It’s that time of year when I start thinking about good, old-fashioned comfort food. The air is beginning to feel a bit chillier, the days are getting noticeably shorter, and my youngest has already been away at school for an entire month. When I’m planning my weekly menu this time of year, my shopping lists fills with ingredients for hearty soups, delicious pastas, and foods that fill the house with long hours of scintillating aromas. And chicken pot pie is always the family favorite.
Last week, our middle daughter, Katie Ann, said, “Mom, I think it’s time for chicken pot pie.”
Now, this is not an unusual request from Katie who could eat homemade pot pie 365 days of the year, but I knew what she meant. It’s not a meal I make in the summer when my handmade, flaky crusts are reserved for blueberry, peach, or strawberry rhubarb pies. It’s one of those meals that is just right for a cold, blustery, snowy, or rainy day. A day like this past Sunday.
How it started
Years ago, when Ken and I were first married, we formed a super club with several friends and family members. It was perfect for me since I grew up “on the other side of the bridge” and needed to meet people and form a social circle. The first time it was my turn to host, Ken’s aunt volunteered to be my co-host (since we live out in the country, the ones closer to town hosted, and the ones farther out co-hosted). We searched for good recipes that were not complicated but would feed a dozen or so people. We settled on a recipe I found in one of my wedding present cookbooks.
Back then, I followed the recipe to a T, but over the years, I’ve tweaked it to satisfy our tastes. It has become a staple in our home. It’s what we want to warm our insides with on a winter evening. It is what Katie and Rebecca always asked for when they came home from college for winter break (Morgan’s “welcome home dinner” is an entirely different meal). It’s something I can get lost in as I make it.
How it Makes Me Feel
There’s nothing as cathartic as kneading dough.
In my book, Island of Promise, Kayla found the same catharsis. I remember writing these lines and knowing that they came from me, from my heart, as much as from Kayla’s:
If there’s anything I love more than feeding my family a rich, hearty meal, it’s making a meal that allows me to lose myself in the process. That’s how I feel when I’m working with dough. Whether I’m making pâte brisée (a rich pastry dough) for blackberry pie or for chicken pot pie, I love the feel of the dough beneath my hands. It’s as if I’m kneading my heart and soul into it with every push, every stretch, every press. Kneading, rolling, and filling dough is simply food for the soul, and it brings me back to the basics of food, family, love, and thanksgiving for all that we have.Island of Miracles, Amy Schisler
I think I could knead and roll dough for hours. It’s a beautiful way to meditate and serve others at the same time. Give it a try. Even if you aren’t someone who normally bakes or does a lot of homemade meals, or if you aren’t a big comfort food chef, you might be surprised by how good it feels to work that dough and create a beautiful pot pie for the ones you love.
Fill us at daybreak with your mercy,Psalm 90
that all our days we may sing for joy.
Make us glad as many days as you humbled us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
Show your deeds to your servants,
your glory to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God be ours.
Prosper the work of our hands!
Prosper the work of our hands!
By the way, this recipe will seep into your soul and make you long for it as well. Proof? Just as we were finishing dinner last night, Rebecca sent us a picture of the meal she made and was really pleased with the results. Yep, our homemade chicken pot pie.
Perfect Poultry Pot Pie
1 pound shredded or diced chicken or turkey (cooked) – this can be leftover chicken, a combination of chicken breasts and thighs, or Rebecca’s never-fail rotisserie chicken from your deli counter
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
A heavy dose of Sodium free Cavender’s Greek Seasoning (trust me on this)
4 cups milk
1 bag frozen veggies
1 cup frozen diced potatoes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup ice water
Heat oven to 400.
Over medium heat, melt butter, stir in flour and seasoning until a smooth paste forms.
Add milk one cup at a time, stirring to make sauce thick and creamy after each cup.
Add chicken, veggies, and potatoes.
In the bowl of a food processor or Kitchen Aid mixer with party blender, combine flour and butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream. Pulse or blend until dough holds together without being wet or sticky.
Divide dough into two balls – about 1/3 and 2/3 for the top and bottom crust. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
Roll out the 2/3 ball and carefully place bottom crust in large round casserole dish. Fill with pie filling.
Roll out 1/3 ball and place top crust. Cut slits in crust and top with melted butter or egg wash.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit a good 5 minutes before cutting (10 is even better if you can stand the wait).
This can even be made, left uncooked, and frozen for up to 3 months! Do not preheat oven. Place frozen pie in oven and cook covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovering for last 15 minutes.
Come See Amy This Fall
October 15 and 16, 2022 – St Mary’s County Fairgrounds, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. All ages are welcome for a day of sun and seafood! See event website for more details.
October 29, 2022 – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be signing and selling books at the festival. The event features live music on two stages, boat rides, retriever demonstrations, oysters and other local fare, an oyster stew competition and cooking demonstrations, along with children’s activities, oyster demonstrations, harvesting displays and Chesapeake-related documentary screenings. More details coming soon.
Write What You Know Writer’s Workshop
November 12, 2022 – Time TBA – Leonardtown Library, Leonardtown, MD
Amy will be giving a workshop for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). She will talk about how to write a more authentic and readable novel by writing about what you know – the people, places, and events that have shaped your own life. More details coming soon.
November 19, 10am-4pm & November 20 10am-3pm – Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD
Amy will be selling and signing her books at the annual event just in time for Christmas! The Festival will feature artisans from around the country selling coastal and sea-glass related jewelry, home décor, art, and more. The two-day festival ticket includes entrance to the festival, live music, and all the exhibitions and historic structures on the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
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What I was writing about one year ago this week: A Healthier Me.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s new book, Seeking Tranquility, was released on June 15, 2022. Buy your copy now!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021), Seeking Tranquility (2022).