Orange & Pistachio Crusted Pork Loin Chops

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Every once in a while, I come across a recipe online purely by accident and think that is sounds so absolutely delicious that I have to make it that very night.  Normally the recipes are dessert-related or starch-related, and I end up using the recipe as a guideline to inspire my own method that fits more to my taste.  However, I found the recipe for these pork chops on Eating Well completely by accident.  They had some of my favorite ingredients – pistachios and oranges!  And the recipe is healthy and nutritious – yay!

Bonus points: There’s only 7 ingredients including salt, pepper, and oil, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make these little guys!  Extra yay!  I always get excited for 30 minute, healthy meals, especially after a long day of work, classes, dragging my ass to the gym, and everything else I have to do.  Eating Well really blessed us with this recipe, you guys.

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I didn’t really change much to the recipe, except that I used pork loin chops instead of a whole pork loin, and I chopped my pistachios and garlic by hand instead of with a food processor – 1. because I don’t like cleaning food processors, and 2. because I don’t have a food processor.  Also, I scrapped their wild rice and green bean sides, opting for a simple wild rice blend I mixed with a little butter, garlic powder, and salt and a green salad with mixed greens, feta, cranberries, apples, and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette.  It was a perfect meal, and the wild rice and salad can be made while you’re preparing and cooking the pork!  With my last semester of college starting on Monday (!!!) I’m really looking forward to finding and developing more recipes that can be made in less than an hour, with minimal dishes.

My ONLY complaint about this recipe is that, if you have leftovers, while the pork chops still taste great, the pistachios lose some of their crunch from the moisture in the fridge.  However, I don’t really like leftovers in general, so my opinion doesn’t have much merit.  Also, slightly-chewy pistachios crusted on pork is still a much better lunch than my usual quinoa salad or sandwich.  Take some, lose some.

Note:  You’re going to be searing these porky chops and then placing them in the oven to finish.  I seared them in a pan, and then placed them on a sheet pan to finish, but next time I think I’ll sear them in an oven-safe cast iron, cover them in the marmalade and pistachio mixture, and then place them back in the cast iron to finish in the oven – then it becomes a one-pan dish!

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Any ideas for healthy 30ish minute meals?

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Old Friend by Pinegrove

Single Lady Mac & Cheese

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This past weekend was kind of rough for a multitude of different reasons.  Even though I had some relaxing moments spending time with friends and family, most of my weekend was spent in a state of “blah” that I couldn’t quite shake.  When I’m feeling like this, I know the best thing to do is to engage in self-care with a little bit of comfort food and TV.  My craving was mac and cheese, but I didn’t want to make a huge pan of leftovers that could go to waste.  After a few minutes of thought, I realized I could easily make a tiny mac and cheese that would feed just myself.  Even in my difficult times, my brain comes up with great things!

This recipe is perfect for a feel-sorry-for-yourself-night, because it only requires one pot and it’s super versatile.  You can use whatever cheese and pasta you have around the house, although smaller pastas with plenty of nooks and crannies are always the best!  I’m also partial to a cheddar-parmesan mixture if you have that around the house.

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As far as fanciness, this mac and cheese is pretty fancy-free.  I just blend it all together, top it with a little parm, and broil it until browned.  I add a little ceyenne pepper, mustard powder, worcestershire, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Feel free to add whatever spices you want or none at all.  Broil or don’t broil.  Eat it out of the pan and leave the dishes for later, or wash the pot while the pasta broils (my method, because dirty dishes give me anxiety).  Once your mac and cheese craving has be fulfilled, you can crawl back in bed or take a walk or go grab a coffee.  This mac and cheese is about you and your needs after all.

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Take time for self love this week my friends ♥  We all deserve it.

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dandelion Wine by Gregory Alan Isakov

 

The Best Damn Pie Crust of Your Life

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IT’S FINALLY HERE.  Even after countless pies and months of promising you all the best pie dough recipe in the whole damn world, I had not delivered.  That is, until now.  I really should stop making promises like these considering I’m a full-time student, I have 2 jobs, plus I try to volunteer a few hours a month on top of all the normal things I have to do on a day-to-day basis a.k.a. I’m freaking busy and don’t always have time on the weekends to do a pie dough tutorial.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have free time sometimes, but bless my marketing internship for giving me college credit to work only a couple hours a week from home is all I have to say.  Aside from that major tangent, my point is that I know the wait was worth it, and I would like you to agree with me, because it would make me feel much better about my slacking.

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Let’s have a conversation about pie dough, my friends.  I’ll try to keep an open mind here, but let’s just face it, I’m biased and totally Team Make Your Own Pie Dough.  Most people refuse to even try to make their own dough, settling for either freezer-aisle roll-out pie dough (boo) or worse, store-bought pies from the grocery store (double boo).  We’ll call this side Team Wrong.  No offense if you’re on that team, I understand why you are, but hear me out.  I have a major theory that pie dough is one of the most misunderstood forms of pastry, and I can attest to this, because I was a frozen pie dough fan for many years.  After making pie dough once, I was a forever changed woman.  It’s so. damn. easy.  Surprisingly so, but it makes all the difference in the world.  If you care about pie, make your own dough!  I’m not kidding, you will not be able to go back to the store-bought stuff.  It’s really life-changing, especially this recipe, which yields the flakiest, buttery-est crust I ever did eat.  Thanks to Bon Appetit magazine for inspiring me to give it a try and also for giving me the recipe.  I appreciate for real ♥

So, after a long guilt trip from Team Make Your Own Dough, do you feel inspired to make your own pie dough for (please, at least one of) your Thanksgiving pies?!  Yes you do!

Let’s get started!

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First, you’re going to start off with 2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter.  Cut the butter into cubes, trying to work quickly to avoid melting the butter with your warm hands.  I like to use a bench scraper for this so I don’t have to touch the butter, but a regular knife works well too!  Put that butter in a bowl and pop it in the fridge while you gather your dry ingredients.

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Now we’re going to prep for the next few steps.  Whisk together 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons of sugar (1 Tablespoon for a savory-pie crust), and a scant teaspoon of kosher salt.  Also prepare a glass of ice water and set the glass aside.  Toss the butter in the flour mixture.

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Now, working quickly, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, creating shaggy pieces of butter.  Some of the pieces should be thin and long while others are chunkier.  Be careful not to let the butter melt in your hands.

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Mix together 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 3 Tablespoons of iced water.  Swirl to combine.

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Drizzle the vinegar-water over the butter mixture, running your fingers through the flour mixture to incorporate all the ingredients.  Quickly knead the dough until it starts to come together.  It will be a little crumbly and dry, but resist adding more water or your crust will turn out tough.

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Turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few more times, incorporating the drier areas.

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Cut the dough in half and press into 1 inch thick discs.

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Wrap your dough in plastic and set it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 5 days.  You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months!  I like to make dough in advance and save it in the fridge for big events like holidays.  When you’re ready to use it, roll it on a floured surface and fill with whatever makes you happy.

Here’s a few pie ideas, if you needed any (;

Apple Pie with Sugared Crust
Pumpkin Pie
Beef & Veggie Pot Pie
Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie
Pear & Ginger Galette
Strawberry and Grapefruit Galette
Mixed Berry Pie

And here’s a handy-dandy recipe card:

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I hope this recipe makes the pie dough of your dreams as it did mine ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Where is my Mind? by Pixies

 

 

 

 

Beef & Veggie Pot Pie

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Happy Election Day!  If you’re like me, you’re probably very nervous about the results of the presidential election, and you’re trying to decide if you should start packing your bags so you can get your ass to Canada.  My personal remedy is to drink lots of coffee and wine and try to stay positive.  Either way, I hope that you exercised your right to vote regardless of your political affiliation!  Today is a day to feel lucky that you have a right to *choose*, not a day to hurt others based on their beliefs.  However, I’m not here to talk about politics today or ever really, pls pls pls don’t bring it up like every confrontational person that walks into the coffee shop I work at. *eyeroll* Can you tell I’ve been dealing with this for a few months?  I’m here to talk about beef & veggie pot pie, which good news (!), has wine in it!!!  Plus, it takes a few hours to cook, so it’ll keep your mind off of the election (although, it is a really easy recipe and only takes a little bit of prep – it’s mostly cooking away quietly on the stove while you engage in other activities).

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve partnered with Sanford Ranch Beef to bring you all kinds of delicious recipes to make with your box of beef!  If you’re in the Reno area, give them a call!  Their beef is way more affordable than at the grocery, and you’ll be supporting a local family business!  I can guarantee this, because well, I’m related to the owners.

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img_2227 img_2196For this recipe, you’re going to start with some typical winter veggies and a durable cut of steak.  You can add or subtract veggies if you want, but I’d say the mirepoix components are necessary – that’s the carrots, celery, and onions.  The recipe calls for 1 onion, but because mine were teeny tiny and cute, I used 2.

Essentially, you’ll add these ingredients with some wine, stock, and herbs and cook the hell out of it, because durable steak cuts require lots of cooking time in order to become tender.  After, you’ll plop some pastry on top, bake it for a bit, and it’ll be ready to go!  It’s super easy, but also very flavorful and impressive for company.  I like to serve it with a simple green salad and pie for dessert!

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Daylight savings ending means bad pictures 🙁

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Happy fall and happy voting ♥

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Light House by Future Islands

Braised Short Ribs with Cheddar Grits

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I am so, so excited to announce that the people at Serendipity by Sara Lynn (me) will be working with Sanford Ranch Beef, which sells local, steroid-free beef to the Northern Nevada area.  This is my first partnership, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with such a great company!  I first want to start off by promising that I only endorse businesses that I believe are wholesome and provide good quality products that I already use sans-partnership.  I do not believe in advocating products that I do not use regularly; therefore, I can assure you that all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.  I also want to let it be known that I am not being paid to post about Sanford Ranch Beef, although they did give me some all-natural, hormone-free steak, which let’s be real, is better than money anyhow.

And if you didn’t read that long ass paragraph, here’s a summary: I’m not a sellout.  Cool?  Cool!

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Sanford Ranch Beef is a local cattle ranch owned by my cousin, his wife, and their family.  They do not believe in using hormones, steroids, or fillers in their beef, so the product is completely farm-to-mouth.  Their cattle is grass-fed and finished with mash (grain) from a local brewery in town – that means that the beef tastes slightly of hops, but not overwhelmingly so.  They sell boxes of beef to people in the Northern Nevada area – if you live in Reno, Fallon, or other areas of N. Nevada and you like all-natural, ethical food, and supporting local business, visit their Facebook or website and give them a call!

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Even if you do not live in Northern Nevada, I urge you to support local farmers and ranchers that live near you.  By buying local food, you support families in your state and get healthier products (and you know where they’re coming from).  When you buy from a store, you don’t know the distribution process – when you buy local, you can ask the owner yourself!  By visiting farmer’s markets, you can find local produce, dairy, meat, bakers, and the like so you’re always getting the freshest ingredients!  For a list of local farmers in your area, click here.

P.S. Since farmer’s market season is almost over, I recommend looking up local farmers/ranchers on Google or asking people in your community!  Local food is easier to get than you think!

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Over the weekend, I used some short ribs from my box of beef to make braised short ribs with cheddar grits and roasted brussels sprouts.  It’s definitely a Sunday meal, because the braising takes a few hours, but this meal is so easy and impressive if you’re having guests over!

Both recipes are courtesy of Food Network.

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Stay tuned for more beef recipes!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Morning Dew by The National (cover)

 

Basic BLT

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Living in Reno means that I live a short three and a half hours away from the beautiful Bay area and amazing wine country, which has both its perks and its downfalls.  Perks include relaxing weekend getaways, good wine being delivered straight to local mom and pop’s doors, and the influence of The City* trickling into the BLC**.  And the downfalls?  Weekend getaways are $$$.  Good wine is $$$.  Then there’s The City’s influence on Reno…

See, Reno’s culture has significantly changed in the last few years.  Reno has gone from a failing casino city to a hip, local college town with amazing restaurants, bars, coffee shops, thrift stores, record stores, book stores, parks, events, music, etc. etc. etc.  Not all people appreciate BLC culture, but damn I love it.  However, with the influence comes the the traffic, and the increase in rent, and…the fusion.  Asian fusion.  Greek fusion.  Italian-German fusion with a twist of California fusion.  And, okay fine, fusion can be cool, but some things are just meant to be left alone.  Including BLTs.

It seems as if every restaurant I go to lately has “their version” of a BLT, with 100 other letters attached to the end to show how different their bacon sandwich is from every other restaurant.  BLTTC = Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, Cheddar, which I’m sorry is just a club sandwich.  BLTGC = BLT grilled cheese, which just shouldn’t be a thing.  And BLTA?!  A BLT with avocado?!?!  Okay, that one’s fair, and it works, but I have a slight allergy to avocado, so it doesn’t work for me.  BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more.  Nobody asked for this madness.

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Luckily, you have me to set the record straight.  Here’s how you should be doing your BLT.

  1. Grab a loaf of good bread.  I like sourdough, but white or buttermilk also work.  Toast it ya’ll.
  2. Bake your bacon.  I swear.  You better do it.
  3. Find a good tomato.  It has to be a good one.  Slice it thinly.  This isn’t a tomato sandwich.
  4. Freshly ground black pepper does wonders.
  5. Add avocado if you must, but please don’t tell me.

There’s definitely some gaps in there, but I’ll fill them in later.  For now, I want to clarify what is deemed appropriate to serve with BLTs.  Hint: it’s potato chips and beer.  Iced tea if you don’t drink alcohol.

Okay, that’s it.  Those are the rules.  And here’s the recipe:

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If you want some other do-not-mess-with-me recipes, check out my 3 Bean Chili and Vanilla Creme Brulee!

XO Sara Lynn

Song of the Day: Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg

*The City = San Francisco
**BLC = The Biggest Little City a.k.a. Reno

Slow Cooked Carnitas

(Updated 8.27.19) slow cooked carnitas are made with tender pork loin that is simmered in flavorful spices all day for an excellent, quick dinner.

Slow Cooked Carnitas | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Pork tacos with beer.
Slow cooker taco meat.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably saw that I posted a picture of pie dough promising a BIG EXCITING RECIPE COMING VERY VERY SOON AND IT’S GOING TO BE THE BEST THING EVER.  It’s true, and pie dough will be here soon, but tonight I made super easy and amazing slow cooked carnitas. So I thought I’d just share them real quick!

Now, if you’re still confused about the “easy” part of the slow cooked carnitas description, (because honestly when have they ever been easy?) let me explain.  First, you’ll sear the pork.  Then, you’ll place the pork in the slow cooker with some other fun stuff.  After that, you’ll leave the pork alone while you work and go to school and exercise and unload your dishwasher.  Then you’ll shred the pork and broil it until it’s crispy.  Next?  You’re free to put the slow-cooked, shredded, crispy pork with burny bits in anything you please!

Easy pork tacos

I like to put slow cooked carnitas in tacos, enchiladas, and on tostadas!

My favorite way to eat slow cooked carnitas is the taco method. AKA blistered corn tortillas with plenty of cilantro and queso fresco.  However, the burrito bowl option with brown rice, pinto beans, queso, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and salsa is a good option as well.  Tonight I went with the burrito bowl option. Mostly because I ran out of tortillas and always have a surplus of brown rice on hand tbh. But in the future I may use the pork in tostadas or enchiladas.  (Update: I have, and it’s delicious!). Also, you only need a few kitchen basics to make carnitas. Soooo, wins all around!

The best slow cooked carnitas.

slow cooked carnitas are one of my favorite weeknight meals.

I’m a huge fan of meals that are 1. easy 2. healthy and 3. cook all day while I’m at work. That’s mainly why you see so much Mexican food on SSL.  But I promise, I don’t only eat Mexican food and not all my meals are made in a slow cooker.  I’m sure at one point I’ll get over my homemade Mexican food obsession. But for now it’s just too good, and there’s just too many options!  The carnitas are a particular favorite, because they’re slightly sweet from the orange zest. Omg, it’s my favorite part! I know it’s not traditional, but I just love it.

On another note, I have had a huge thing for curry lately, even more so than usual, so we’ll see where that goes.  I imagine Thai and Indian will infiltrate SSL in the next coming months even with summer right around the corner.

But for now, cheers to slow cooked carnitas.

Pork tacos with blistered corn tortillas, pickled onions, and avocado.

Slow Cooked Carnitas


Notes: The searing on this recipe is not totally necessary, since you broil the pork before serving to crisp it up. However, some people prefer the seared pork, so I left it in the directions. You can probably choose *either* searing or broiling. Totally up to you!

Slow Cooked Carnitas

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb pork loin (or tenderloin)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and quartered
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tortillas, pickled onions, queso, avocado, cilantro, etc., for serving

Instructions
 

  • *Optional*: Cut pork loin into 4 chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan until shimmery. Sear all four pieces of pork until each side is nicely browned. Do not cook all the way through.
  • Place seared (or raw) pork in a slow cooker with the garlic and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the cumin, chili powder, oregano, chicken broth, lime juice, and orange juice. Pour the mixture over the pork. Cover, and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10.
  • Preheat the broiler on your oven. Remove the pork from the slow cooker, and shred with two forks (it should be very easy). Discard the onions and garlic, but reserve the liquid. Place the pork on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pour about 1/4 c. of the leftover liquid over the pork, and broil for 5-15 minutes, until crispy. Every 5 minutes, add another 1/4 c. of liquid and toss to ensure even crisping. Serve as desired!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers

Slow Cooked Carnitas | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Flavorful, easy slow cooked carnitas for a quick weeknight dinner!

Potatoes Au Gratin

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The other day while browsing Instagram, I came across a Food52 post about their new app (Not)Recipes.  Basically, the premise of the app is that it is a place for cooks to share recipes, without measurements, that they make up on the spot when they’re too busy to bother with a super complicated list of ingredients and 100 steps until completion.  A.K.A. My perfect dream app (which is saying a lot, because to be honest I’m not huge on having a bunch of apps on my phone).  I immediately decided on my (not) recipe, put on my Lumineers CD, and got to work melding potatoes and cheese together in cute, tiny ramekins.  Then I went to download the app, but damn it, my ancient, Mesozoic era iPhone (an iPhone 5, but whatever..) wouldn’t let me download the thing, because it’s too outdated (thanks Apple!).  Plus, there’s no iPad version.  Wah-wah.  I was sorta bummed, because I cook without recipes all the time, but I guess not all hope is lost, because really, the whole point of writing a blog is that I can share whatever recipes I want, even if they’re not necessarily recipes.  (P.S. definitely not saying anything bad about Food52 or Apple!  I’m a big fan of both, although I wouldn’t mind if they made a  version of the (Not)Recipe app for oldie-iPhones :-))

When I think of meals made without recipes, I think of potatoes au gratin.  While this may not necessarily be a meal to most people, I have definitely eaten my fair share of potatoes au gratin for dinner on Sundays after long days of work and studying.  Plus, I’m pretty convinced that if you add bacon, it qualifies as a meal (probably).  However, I’m always a fan of potatoes au gratin as a side dish too.  Essentially, cheesy potatoes are always a good idea.

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With Easter around the corner, I was also hoping to post a nice Easter-y recipe.  In my family, Easter always involves potatoes + cheese, and since I was already planning on making potatoes au gratin for my failed (Not)Recipes submission, it seemed like fate, or at the very least, convenient.  Potatoes au gratin are perfect for Easter Sunday, but you could also add leftover ham as an easy weeknight meal.  Definitely not a healthy dinner route, but sometimes potatoes, cheese, and ham are necessary for getting through life.

Growing up, my family always celebrated Easter with a nice brunch or dinner, and the Easter bunny left my brother and I presents on the bench on our front porch.  We almost always got a VHS tape, new shoes, and some Easter candy in our baskets.  Sometimes we would get a small toy to play with, and I distinctly remember getting a lime green Skip-It one year.  My parents recently decided to move back to their hometown of Reno in the next couple of months, and today I found out that they accepted an offer on my childhood home.  The sale is incredibly bittersweet, since my parents will be much closer, but I also will be losing the home that gave me the best childhood memories, such as hunting for Easter eggs or playing with my new Skip-It.  Today has been kind of sad, but I know that I will always fondly remember cheesy potatoes on Easter, opening Christmas presents with my little brother, Thanksgiving family dinners, and all the amazing memories I had growing up with my friends and family in that home.

Thanks to Potatoes Au Gratin for the nostalgia!

*Note: When I made this recipe, I just threw all the ingredients together, but in the recipe I included some approximate measurements from potatoes I have made in the past.  For this recipe, I used thyme and cheddar cheese, but the recipe can be adapted to use whatever ingredients you want.

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Happy Easter!

XO SaraLynn.

*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

(Updated 10/6/2019) An easy, deconstructed chicken pot pie made with plenty of fresh vegetables, thyme, parsley, and topped with buttery puff pastry!

Deconstructed chicken pot pie | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Pot pie made with puff pastry.

PSA: Please be nice to college students, we are in the midst of midterms and life is a lot to deal with right now!!!!!!!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been a giant ball of college-related anxiety which has led me to staying up into the early hours of the morning working on business plans and marketing research studies while living off of scrambled eggs with toast.  I’ve also been fighting the early stages of a cold by popping obscene amounts of Vitamin C and drinking Immune Boosting Tea.  The cabin fever is getting to a Jack Nicholson-level that makes me dream of hiking and Tahoe beaches and weekend roadtrips to San Fran.

In times like these, I find the only cure is to take a couple of hours to indulge comfort food, a sleeve of Milanos, and a lighthearted tween movie, normally of the Disney variety, although that is not required.  My choice of the moment is Princess Diaries.  But I digress.  What I’m really here to talk about is the comfort food component.

How to use puff pastry.

My comfort food of choice: easy, cozy deconstructed chicken pot pie.

Today, we have chicken pot pie that has been deconstructed, because there’s less time between preparation and consumption, and also puff pastry is the jam.  I developed the recipe randomly one weekend with ingredients I had sitting around in my fridge, and I will never look back.  As far as I’m concerned, chicken pot pie is the best food to cure sadness, and also it’s the best way to say goodbye to the winter season.  While this is not necessarily a “traditional” pot pie, it has all of the components. Chicken, veggies, thyme, crust, warmth, happiness. And you’re probably eating it snuggled up in a blanket while watching a movie.  I *highly suggest* making this one last time before BBQ season officially hits.

How to make deconstructed chicken pot pie

This is a very easy pot pie recipe! It’s one of my favorites for the weekend, because it only takes like, an hour total. I prefer to make little mini chicken pot pie cocottes, but it’s not necessary. You can also make this a one-pot deconstructed chicken pot pie if you feel so inclined! You just have to boil the chicken and potatoes, saute the veggies, and thicken the sauce. After, top it with buttery puff pastry! And then dig in while it’s way too hot, burn your lip, and have the *ultimate* chicken pot pie situation.

Also, this recipe is easy to switch up! Use whatever veggies you have laying around. You could do broccoli or green beans or mushrooms if you’d like. I kind of think mushrooms have the texture of a slug, so I avoid them. But do you!

And speaking of mushrooms, you could totally make this recipe vegetarian by subbing chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth! Super easy. Have fun. Get creative. Go crazy, girl.

(On another note, if you know anyone interested in funding a coffee shop/bakery or a weekend vacation, or you have some secret knowledge that I’m a princess and therefore deserve to be in the far away land of Genovia wearing pretty ballgowns and living in a castle instead of studying my brains out in college, you know where to find me).

How to make individual casseroles.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie


Notes: This will feed six people if you have other sides involved. If you have big eaters, this will probably only feed four.

Make it vegetarian by subbing the chicken for mushrooms and using veggie broth!

You can also use regular pie dough if you prefer that over puff pastry.

You can use ramekins or cocottes. I like Staub and Le Creuset. These are the cocottes I used for this recipe.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 Tbs. water (a.k.a. egg wash)
  • 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 small gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup peas
  • 1/3 cup corn
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab 6 ramekins/cocottes to make mini chicken pot pies. To make a one-pot recipe, make sure you have a deep 12-inch pan.
  • Place your puff pastry on a floured surface. Roll out any cracks in the pastry with a rolling pin. Using your ramekins as a guide, cut out six rounds. (If you’re making one-pot chicken pot pie, you can just leave it as a big rectangle). Place the puff pastry rounds/rectangle on a baking sheet, and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts (or thighs) and potatoes in the 12-inch pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and potatoes. Then, cut the chicken in bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Wipe the 12-inch pan clean, and place it back on the stove over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pan, and add the carrots, celery, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown on the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the peas, corn, and garlic, and saute for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture, and cook for a minute or two. Then, slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk, until the mixture is smooth and starts to thicken. Add the chicken, potatoes, thyme, parsley, salt, and lots of pepper. Taste, and season as necessary. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Divide the chicken pot pie filling between the six ramekins. Top with the puff pastry rounds, and serve! For the one-pot version, place the puff pastry rectangle on top of the filling. Cut into 6 slices, and serve. Enjoy!
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XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
How to make easy deconstructed chicken pot pie.

3 Bean Chili

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IT’S HERE.  THE SNOW.  IT’S HERE.

Also, I’m so cold right now that I’m having extreme difficulties typing, but the snow stuck today!

While I would have loved for Fall to stick around a little longer (because wearing dresses with tights is kinda my thing), I’m pretty excited for a real winter.  Living in a city surrounded by mountains is pretty much the best thing ever when it snows, because hills of green trees + white snow = the prettiest thing ever, I swear.

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In case I haven’t mentioned how oscillating Reno’s weather can be, about few days ago, it was 78* outside, and today, it was in the 30s, cloudy, rainy, snowy, stormy, etc.  In other words, it was a bad day to wear shorts with tights to class.  But I digress.  Winter lovers unite!

In celebration of the snow and almost freezing to death on my walk to class today, I decided to make one of my favorite winter meals: chili!  I love this chili, because

1. It’s easy, savory, and goes nicely with corn bread or tortillas.

2. It’s my mom’s recipe which always makes me feel at home.

3. One recipe feeds me for like, 2 weeks (if you highly disapprove of eating food that is older than a week, I apologize, just ignore this section of the list).

Bonus: It’s healthy!  I normally use ground turkey to make it a little healthier, although I like it better with ground beef.  Considering about 94% of my winter seasons are spent trying my hardest to avoid eating Christmas cookies and gravy for every meal, I love having a healthy comfort meal recipe.  (Although I am a strong advocate for eating cookies and gravy every once in a while).

Another bonus of having chili around is that if Reno decides to heat up to the 80s again (not unheard of), I can easily throw this into an omelet or serve it with some avocado and chips.  But for now, I’m going to snuggle up in a blanket with a big bowl of chili and hope for a long, cold winter.

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*Song of the Day: Baby–Devendra Banhart