Ginger Old Fashioned

Updated September 2019: How to make a ginger old fashioned with bourbon, ginger bitters, and of course, a classic twist.

An overhead image of two ginger old fashioneds on a marble counter next to a lemon, bar spoon, green bottle, and bottle of bitters.

Hello, my name is Sara Lynn, and I am a young NYC man living in the year 1958 a 20-something woman who loves old fashioned cocktails.  But you can call me Don Draper.

Today, I will be sharing my favorite old fashioned recipe, because it’s my birthday! And I will be celebrating with Bourbon, Angostura bitters, and orange peel all night long if I have my way.  However, I’ll try to sneak a lemon drop or Manhattan in, so I can feel like Carrie Bradshaw.  I may have an identity crisis at the end of the night, but so be it.  Tonight is for celebration and cake and drinks with my friends!

Last summer while I was in London, the beers and ciders became kind of mundane after my 200th IPA.  One night, a group of (other) Nevada students and I went to a bar down the road from our dorm where I asked the bartender if they could mix cocktails.  Ignoring the slightly dubious look in the recent high-school-grad-of-a-bartender’s eyes, I asked for an old fashioned, which he then responded with, “What’s in it?”.  It was then that I learned that English pubs are strictly for wine, beer, and cider.  Message received.

So, I had an old fashioned while I flew home to the states.

A side image of a man wearing a black apron dropping a lemon peel into a whiskey cocktail on a marble counter next to a bottle of whiskey and bottle of bitters.

From Tigger mug to crystal tumblers: the evolution of the ginger old fashioned.

My first old fashioned was made with Bulleit bourbon and served out of a Tigger coffee mug around Christmas time while it snowed outside.  That’s a true story.  I’ve come a long way since then, but I can’t say that scenario won’t reoccur.  I am in college after all, and sometimes Disney coffee mugs are the only vehicle for alcoholic beverages.  However, I still do not own whiskey glasses, so discount water glasses bought at Home Goods will have to do for now.  (2019 Update: I have graduated from college, and therefore, graduated from water glasses. We now own four whole crystal tumblers whoop whoop!)

How to make the perfect ginger old fashioned!

Another 2019 update: I have me a mans. And he knows how to make a damn good old fashioned. So, one weekend while he made me a ginger old fashioned, I took some photos, and now we have a great step-by-step tutorial! Thanks, Marc!

A man wearing black standing behind a marble counter topped with two rocks glasses. In the glasses are large ice cubes and they are next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

For the ginger old fashioned, you will need bourbon or rye (I like Bulleit), simple syrup or sugar cubes, ginger bitters, and a lemon and/or orange.

Start with a couple of glasses. Obviously, crystal tumblers are fancy AF, but a small water glass or even a Tigger mug will do! Place a large ice cube in each glass. I got my mold at Target, but you can use regular ice cubes if you’d like.

A side image of a man in black pouring whiskey over ice in a rocks glass on a marble counter. The man is holding a bottle of whiskey.

Pour two ounces of bourbon over the ice.

An image of a man in a black apron making a ginger old fashioned by pouring simple syrup over an ice cube in a rocks glass on a marble table.

Pour one-quarter ounce, a.k.a. one teaspoon, of simple syrup over the whiskey. I prefer to pour the simple syrup in after the whiskey (as opposed to before), to keep the simple syrup from settling at the bottom of the glass.

A side image of a man in a black smock pouring ginger bitters over a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter next to a lemon and wood knife.

Add two to three dashes of ginger bitters.

A side image of a man in a black apron stirring a ginger old fashioned on a white marble counter next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

If you have a swizzle spoon, now is the time to bust it out! Or, just use a regular spoon/iced tea spoon. Stir the drink until it’s properly chilled and a bit diluted, about 30 seconds.

A bartender wearing black twisting a lemon peel over two whiskey cocktails on a white counter next to a lemon and alcohol bottles.

Take a strip of lemon peel or orange peel, and twist it over the ginger old fashioned. If you use both, it’s called “rabbit ears”. Cute! Drop the peel in the glass for garnish.

A closeup photo of a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter with a man in black holding another cocktail in the background.

That’s it y’all! Ginger old fashioned complete.

Ginger Old Fashioned


A side image of a man wearing a black apron stirring a ginger old fashioned on a marble counter next to a bottle of bourbon, bottle of bitters, and green bottle of simple syrup.

Ginger Old Fashioned

If you're a fan of whiskey, you'll definitely want to try this ginger old fashioned! The ginger perfectly compliments the bourbon for a smoky, spicy, and perfectly sweet cocktail.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey (or rye, if desired)
  • .25 oz simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube*)
  • 2 dashes ginger bitters
  • Orange and/or lemon peel, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place a large ice cube, or a couple regular ice cubes, in a whiskey glass (or small water glass or Tigger mug).
  • Pour the bourbon over the ice cube. Add the simple syrup and ginger bitters. Stir for 30 seconds, until cold and properly diluted. Note: I add the simple syrup after the bourbon, so the simple syrup doesn’t settle at the bottom of the glass.
  • Twist the orange and/or lemon peel over the old fashioned. Tuck it into the side of the ice cube. Enjoy!

Notes

*If you’re using sugar cubes: Use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle the sugar cube with the ginger bitters. Add the ice and bourbon. Stir until cold and properly diluted, about 30 seconds. Finish with a twist. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 7.7gSodium: 54mgPotassium: 6mgSugar: 1.5gCalcium: 2mg
Keyword cocktails, drinks, gingerbread, whiskey
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

As a bday present to me, please make this ginger old fashioned tonight. Or, order one at your favorite bar 😉

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Dreaming by Seapony

Blackberry + Mint Limeade

IMG_6659

Summer has now officially approached in Reno.  In my Vegas-days, I used to loathe summer and its dry heat that would exceed far past the low hundreds.  Now living in Reno, the weather is a gamble, meaning I can be a little more friendly towards the summer months depending on the day.  For instance, yesterday the high was 75*F, but tomorrow could be 105*.  Luckily, I’m not too far from SF, which pretty much always has a low chill and Tahoe, which may be warm, but at least you can cool off in the melted-snow water.  However, I’m a huge fan of BBQs, as I’ve mentioned in the past, and even though I’m working as both a marketing intern and barista, I’m taking this summer as an opportunity to eat plenty of good food, explore new Northern Nevada attractions, and not be in school for the first time in 3 years.  Plus, my birthday is in July, so that’s always something I look forward to!  I’m also stoked to try out some new BBQ recipes, starting off with a twist on classic summer Lemonade.  Hello blackberry-mint limeade!

IMG_6663 (2)-2

When it comes to the lemonade-limeade debate, I wholeheartedly lean towards the limeade side.  Actually, I’m not really sure there is such a debate, but if there were I would always go Team Limeade.  Now that it’s summer, I’ve decided to try out my own variations on limeade (and maybe even lemonade, we’ll see…), and I thought the perfect way to start off the limeade experiment would be to use a berry that’s not as highly recognized as its berry counterparts.  I love how shiny and succulent blackberries are, and when they’re mixed into a limeade, it makes this beautiful fuchsia hue that would perfectly complement a BBQ.  Also, I added mint, because I was feeling fancy.

Before I share the recipe, I will first start off with a confession, because I’m not perfect, and I’ll readily admit that all the time in most circumstances, such as this one.  For this recipe, I decided to use already bottled limeade.  *gasp*, I know.  From someone who really goes out of her way to not use prepackaged stuff, this may be slightly shocking.  However, I can already find delicious, sweet, fresh-tasting limeade in the juice aisle at my local grocery, and I own no type of juicer whatsoever, so prebottled limeade it was.  On the other hand, if you are one who feels so inclined to make their own limeade, I’ve found a recipe from a trusted source with good reviews here.

IMG_6649

This limeade is refreshing and easily adaptable if you’d like to try another berry or herb.  I prefer my limeade sweeter, so I use more syrup, but if you like yours a little more tart, I’d use less syrup or even muddle some blackberries and mint in the bottom of your glass and just use a tiny bit of syrup.  Also, I used 3 mint leaves in my original recipe, and I found that the mint was very strong.  I’d recommend using only 2 mint leaves so the blackberry flavors are noticeable.  The mint can be very overpowering, but you can always add some straight to your drink if you want more of that flavor later!

A side photo of blackberry mint limeade on a white table surrounded by blackberries, limes, and mint.

Blackberry + Mint Limeade

Refreshing homemade limeade with blackberry mint syrup. Perfect for summer sipping!
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 4 fresh mint leaves (or basil!)
  • 2 liters limeade or lemonade
  • 12 oz vodka optional

Instructions
 

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and blackberries. Bring to a boil, smashing the berries with a wooden spoon. Boil until the syrup thickens slightly, about 3-5 minutes. Strain through a sieve if you don't want blackberry chunks.
  • In a pitcher, combine the limeade or lemonade and the blackberry + mint syrup. Start with 1/2 cup of the syrup, and add more to taste. Stir in vodka, if using. Serve over ice with mint and blackberries for garnish.

Notes

This syrup can be made with a variety of berries and herbs. So far, I have tried mint and basil with great results.
While a loyal member of Team Limeade, I also have tried this syrup with lemonade and it tastes amazing!
I occasionally use store-bought limeade, but now I typically make my own lemonade or limeade so I can control the sweetness.

Nutrition

Serving: 1glassCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 44.8gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 38mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 41gCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
Keyword berries, cocktails, drinks, lime
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: The Other Woman by Devendra Banhart

Strawberry and Grapefruit Galette

IMG_1257

First, let me start off by apologizing for the sheer amount of photos in this post alone.  It’s borderline absurd, but damn, for a dessert whose dough is made with a whole box of butter, that is one sexy little number.  I wish I had an excuse, but this galette is so pretty, and I just. couldn’t. stop.  It’s not every day that you make something with pie dough and think it’s sexy.  But that’s just how my brain functions, because I don’t care what people say, food is hot (literally and figuratively).

Moving on from my weird attraction to pie, which is actually a galette, which leads me to WHERE HAVE GALETTES BEEN ALL MY LIFE?  Seriously, I’ve been making pie when there were galettes in the world?  What is this?  I’ve been rolling and draping and pushing extra dough into little rips and pretending that I’m good at making pie when all I had to do the whole time was roll out a single piece of dough and fold?  Also, why did I never listen to my baking instructor and use egg wash until now?  I always thought it was an unnecessary extra step, but look at that crust.  Guys, I just can’t deal with it.

Furthermore, I know that it is rhubarb season, I promise nobody will let me forget that, but I just am not as excited about rhubarb as everyone else is.  It’s not that I don’t like rhubarb, it’s just that I’m destined to eat it at least four times in the weeklong that it’s in season, so I just don’t see a need to cook with it myself.  Also, I’m not going to lie, I just don’t find it as amazing as everyone else does.  I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal, I swear.  I just don’t look forward to it quite as much as the rest of the food-blogging world.  But I digress.  Long story short, this probably should have been a strawberry and rhubarb galette, but it was not, because I’m more of a citrus lady.  Namely, citrus that does not get quite enough credit.  A.K.A. grapefruit.  Now, I know that lemons are so versatile, and limes are just sooo good, but grapefruit does not get the recognition that it deserves.  And have you had it with strawberries?  I’m sorry, but it just needed to happen eventually, and I took the plunge.  You won’t regret it my friends, the two are destined to be together.

IMG_1225

IMG_1264

IMG_1236

Look at the beautiful reds and pinks and oranges and THE CRUMBLY CRUST.  Ughhhh ♥

A few notes about this recipe.  First off, I love using homemade pie crust.  Someday, I swear, I will give you a step-by-step tutorial for how to make it, because it’s so freakin’ easy.  I would have done it this time, but this pie dough was literally gifted to me, because that’s the kind of thing that happens in the food world.  That being said, I understand if it’s too much and you want to make it with pie dough from the freezer aisle.  In this case, please use the Pillsbury and the rolled kind, not the stuff already in the disposable tins.

Secondly, I chose to make 2 smaller galettes, but you can make one large one.  You would just use a larger dough diameter and reduce the amount of filling you make.

Thirdly, I recommend assembling the galette on the sheet pan you will bake it on.  Assembling it on the counter and trying to move it to the sheet pan is dirty work, and I would know, because I didn’t learn from my mistakes the first time and had to do it twice.

Fourthly, BAKE IT ON TINFOIL OR PARCHMENT PAPER I SWEAR THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.  These little suckers will leak juices like you wouldn’t believe (see pic above) and caramelized fruit juices will not release from a sheet pan, I’m telling you so.  On that note, you can also increase the cornstarch if you want more of a stable galette, but I like mine on the juicy side.

Lastly, serve this with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  My favorite is Talenti vanilla bean.

galette

By the way, if you read my Instagram , you saw that I posted about my VERY EXCITING RECIPE COMING SOON.  This is it.  I hope it was everything you wished it would be.  It definitely was for me.

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Away Frm U by Oberhofer

 

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!

An overhead image of a white plate of tacos with pork carnitas on a marble counter. Next to the plate is charred tortillas, a jar of pink onions, a glass of beer, and a wood board with cilantro.

Slow Cooked Carnitas

These slow cooker pork carnitas are one of my go-to dinners! The pork cooks all day in the slow cooker and then it is broiled in the oven to get nice and crispy. They are great in tacos, enchiladas, and burrito bowls, and the leftovers are delicious in soup.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings

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!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 7.9gProtein: 42.5gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8.4gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 164mgPotassium: 775mgFiber: 1.9gSugar: 3.8gCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg
Keyword main meals, mexican food, pork, tacos
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!

Chocolate Fondue for 2 (or 4 or 6 or…)

IMG_0997

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I promised I would make him dinner, because in all reality, I am much better at making food than I am trying to figure out what to buy people.  When I get a good gift idea in my head, I can’t be stopped, but when I cannot think of an amazing gift, dinner and dessert happens instead.  Not that dinner and dessert isn’t a good gift (because it’s one of my personal favorites), but it’s also fun to hand an SO something wrapped in a big bow.  But back to the boyfriend b-day dinner!…Long story short, the guy’s birthday was in late March and I just got around to making the dinner about a week ago.  Aaaaaand the best girlfriend award goes to…not me.  At least not in the timeliness category.  However, I think I made up for it plenty with chicken pot pie and chocolate fondue!  You can’t be sad with chocolate fondue, right?  RIGHT?

IMG_0976

IMG_0993

How you choose to fondue is up to you (I’m having too much fun with the rhyming, someone stop me), but the bf and I enjoyed it sitting on the floor at my coffee table while watching Lady and the Tramp (his choice, not mine!  Ugh <3).  I’m not going to tell you that doing it any other way is wrong, but this is probably the right one.  Lady and the Tramp included.

Now a quick story about the chocolate fondue:  The reason you see the fondue itself in a ramekin stuffed in a fondue pot is simple…When you are making chocolate fondue for 2, there is not enough volume for a large fondue pot which leads to the chocolate seizing, burning, and thickening.  Now, if you want to spend your dipping time adjusting temperature, stirring, and adding more cream, I promise you’ll still have fun, because that’s what my boyfriend and I had to do.  However, if you want to make your life easier, I have found that placing the chocolate fondue in a ramekin surrounded by water in the in a hot fondue pot leads to a smoother, less fussy product.  Wah-lah!  If you are making this recipe for 4 or more people, no need to worry about it!  There should be enough volume to cause no problems.  Also, if you do not have a fondue pot, you can easily make this in a heat proof bowl and just heat it back up in the micro as necessary!

IMG_0983

IMG_0973

I served my fondue with strawberries and homemade almond pound cake, but you can do marshmallows, pretzels, donuts, oranges, grapes, pineapple, potato chips, or whatever fun thing you have laying around your house.  However, I cannot recommend almond pound cake enough!

recipecard - Copy

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Lust for Life by Girls

Perfect 15-Minute Brownies

IMG_0524

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
The more I blog about food, the more I realize the virtue in simplicity.  When I first started blogging about food, I tried to be “out there” and “different” with my recipes, which sometimes worked in my favor and sometimes didn’t.  Over the years, I have come to realize that food is better when the natural flavors are vividly present.  Food photography is far more attractive when there’s not 20 props in the shot.  Seeing food in a more natural state is so much more appealing than when it’s edited to oblivion and covered with cutesy clip-art images.

That is not to say that I don’t like to try crazy recipes or eat foods with more complex flavors.  The best part about food is that it is so versatile and that options are limitless.  However, food is also better when it complements each other, not just when a bunch of delicious foods are thrown together.  I like pizza and ice cream, but does that mean I want pizza ice cream?  (The answer is no if you haven’t guessed already).

The whole point of ramble is that food is amazing and can definitely be an outlet for creativity; but that doesn’t mean that it has to be insanely complex.  Sometimes, I just want a regular brownie.  Not a cheesecake brownie.  Not an orange-and-thyme-infused brownie (not a real thing, but it could be).  Just a brownie.

IMG_0531

When you are in the mood for Just a Brownie, this is the go-to recipe.  Please don’t go to the store and buy a boxed mix, because odds are, you already have brownie ingredients in your home, and these are so much better.  They also only take 15 minutes to put together (I timed it).  After the batter is made, all you have to do is wash the 3 dishes the recipe requires and watch an episode of Seinfeld, and the brownies are already done!

IMG_0544

Your mission this weekend, should you choose to accept it, is to make these brownies.  Brownies are the perfect Sunday project without a huge time commitment (did I already mention that they only take 15 minutes to mix together), and they come out tasting pretty much like fudge mixed with cake.  I’d highly recommend serving them with ice cream, but that’s just one girl’s opinion on the matter…

Also, I threw some walnuts and hazelnuts on top of mine, because I’m a professional, but you definitely don’t have to.

IMG_0526

IMG_0550

IMG_0525

IMG_0541

IMG_0552

IMG_0529

IMG_0535

recipecard - Copy

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: Something Good This Way Comes by Jakob Dylan

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.


A very closeup image of a white bowl of chicken pot pie topped with puff pastry on a marble counter.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

This quick stovetop chicken pot pie with puff pastry crust is one of my favorite cozy meals! This pot pie is super simple and makes for a lovely weekend dinner.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings

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!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 31.6gProtein: 28.1gFat: 16.1gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 354mgPotassium: 815mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 4.6gCalcium: 89mgIron: 3mg
Keyword autumn, chicken, dinner, main meals, pie, winter
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO SaraLynn

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

Homemade Bagels

IMG_0282

About once a year, I get a strong yearning for summer.  The long days off, laying on the beach at Lake Tahoe, wearing light sun dresses and messy up-dos to keep the hair off my face, the smell of beer & cheeseburgers on the grill, Slurpees, riding bikes, bonfires when it starts to cool down at sunset, going on holiday, fireworks.  The time normally comes around late January/early February.  The holidays are over, so the snow isn’t lit up by Christmas lights, and comfort food feels too rich and loses its appeal.  Winter break has passed, and I’m back in school for “spring” semester, which is really just a tease, since it’s still 40* or below outside, and I’m tired of wearing the same sweaters and coats I’ve been wearing for months.  I stare longingly at my bikinis and dream of taking a roadtrip and going on hikes.

After a few days of missing summer, I normally resort back to my usual cold-dreary-weather-obsessed self, snuggle in my blanket with some hot tea, and watch a movie while the rain patters outside.  I indulge myself on the weekends with pot pie or roasted chicken, enjoy the cold Reno mornings surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and sip Guatemalas or Perus at the coffee shop.  Once summer comes around, I’m already dreaming of the brisk cold that sneaks in mid-September.

A couple of weekends ago, I went to Tahoe with a *special human* to see the snow on the lake, which I had never done before.  I took some pictures, and we climbed on rocks at Sand Harbor to watch the sun dip completely under the horizon, which was incredible, albeit slightly dangerous.  Kings Beach was filled with cute kids in puffy snow onesies and dogs prancing after tennis balls on the beach.  My faith in winter was restored, and bagels were consumed over coffee the next morning.

IMG_0306

Which leads me to the bagels.  Lately, with stormy clouds blanketing Reno on my days off, I’ve taken to trying out more difficult recipes that I’ve never attempted before.  Oftentimes, I find that the recipes are not as hard as I initially thought, and they taste much better and cleaner than their store bought alternatives.  Such was the case with these homemade bagels.  Seemingly intimidating, but actually so easy, and they take no more than two hours to make.

I’ve been staying off of the internet lately, mostly due to a recent computer update from a certain tech company, let’s call them Schmicroshoft (no names please), that refuses to connect my computer with my wifi, essentially leaving it unusable, and leaving me to try solution after solution to no avail (but also because people keep talking about politics on social media).  Long run-on-sentence short, I spent 2 hours on the phone with said company, and my computer still isn’t fixed, which is why I haven’t gotten the opportunity to share this recipe until now.  But I promise, it’s probably one of the most successful recipes I’ve made, and it’s versatile enough to add whatever ingredients you want.  Use an egg wash, and sprinkle the homemade bagels with seeds, garlic, onion, cheese.  Mix in blueberries or chocolate chips.  Take one straight out of the oven, toast in under the broiler for a few minutes, and smother it with a thick slab of butter or cream cheese.

Don’t forget the coffee.

IMG_0222

IMG_0225

IMG_0233

IMG_0236

IMG_0238

IMG_0241

IMG_0247

IMG_0262

IMG_0280

IMG_0295

recipecard - Copy

*Bagels require high gluten flour, or they do not come out nearly as well.  I easily found bread gluten at my local bulk grocery, but if you cannot find bread gluten, you could also use high-gluten flour.

*If you top your bagels with seeds, onions, garlic, or cheese, you will need to brush them first with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little water).  If you want blueberries or chocolate chips, you can mix them straight into the dough!

IMG_0298IMG_0303

XO SaraLynn
*Song of the Day: It’s Real by Real Estate*

 

Cinnamon Rolls

IMG_0166

IMG_0156

[Update 1/12/16: I made these rolls last weekend for the first time since I posted this recipe.  I changed the recipe up a little bit for experimentation, and ended up liking the new recipe more.  I added more butter (yikes, I know), tried traditional scalded milk instead of buttermilk, and used a different icing.  The original recipe is in the body of the post, and the new recipe is on a recipe card at the bottom of the post.  The new rolls are more fluffy, but if you prefer the old recipe, it’s still there, no worries!  I also updated some new pictures, since my photography has gotten significantly better (but still left the old ones with instructions and whatnot).  Hope you guys love!  Xo.]

DSCN4149

Guys.

These are so good.

Have you ever had like, a really really really good cinnamon roll?  Not like a Cinnabon one, but a really delicious, homemade cinnamon roll?  It’s a special kind of experience everyone should get to have.

I’m happy to report that you may now make your own if you truly wish to experience the phenomenon of eating an out-of-this-world cinnamon roll.

I have truly done it.  I have created the perfect cinnamon rolls.

They take pretty much all day to make, but they’re super easy.  I promise, you can make these!  Just make sure you have new yeast and everything is going to be okay.  You can do anything.

Sara Lynn: motivator and cinnamon roll goddess.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe you should make these cinnamon rolls and let me know if you think that I’m a cinnamon roll goddess.

A disclaimer about the following pictures:

1. My nail color randomly changes from red to sparkly pink because I got my nails done while the dough was rising.  I highly recommend you find something time consuming to do while you wait because cinnamon rolls take a long time to rise and a long time to make in general (but still so worth it).

2. The pictures change from good quality to bad quality because, again, they take a while to make and I ran out of daylight.

IMG_0146

Shall we get started?

Cinnamon Rolls:

1/2 c. warm water

1 package instant yeast

1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 c. melted butter

4 1/2 c. flour

Filling:

1/2 stick butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. white sugar

2 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon

Pinch salt

Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese

2 Tbs. butter

1 1/2-2 c. powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your icing!)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2-3 Tbs. milk, to thin

Pinch salt

DSCN4115

First, you’re going to want to mix together your warm water, yeast, and a tablespoon of sugar.  Set it aside to double in size!

DSCN4116

Mix 1/2 c. sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl.

DSCN4118

Nice and doubled!  Yay!

DSCN4119

Mix together buttermilk, egg, and butter.

DSCN4121

Add half of the flour mixture until it’s incorporated.

DSCN4122

Add the yeast mixture and stir together.

DSCN4123

It might not mix very well because it’s going to be very lumpy and thin like pancake batter.

DSCN4124

Mix in the rest of the flour and knead a few times with your hands.

DSCN4126

Knead until smooth and beautiful.

Set aside in a warm place covered with plastic wrap or a towel.  Let rise for 1-2 hours.

*insert random photo and nail color change*

DSCN4127

Once it has risen, punch the dough a few times.DSCN4128

Roll until about 1/8 inch thick.

DSCN4129

Brush with melted butter.

DSCN4130

Mix together cinnamon, sugars, and salt for your filling.

DSCN4133

And spread it all around!

DSCN4134

Roll it up.

DSCN4135

Brush it with more butter (sorry cholesterol).

DSCN4139

Cut into rolls that are about 2 inches wide.  You should have about 8 pretty ones.

DSCN4141

And a few not so pretty ones 🙁  Oops!

DSCN4137

Brush a parchment lined casserole dish with more butter.

DSCN4138

Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and sugar.

DSCN4142

Line the cinnamon rolls in the casserole dish.  Set them aside, covered, to rise for another hour or two.

DSCN4144

Look how pretty!!!  (That top left one is so sad.  Poor little guy.  Still delicious).

DSCN4143

Bake at 350* F for about 14-16 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

DSCN4145

Meanwhile, mix together the icing!  Whip butter and cream cheese together until incorporated.  Add sifted powdered sugar and vanilla.  Thin with milk.

(Uhm, is this not just the worst picture you’ve ever seen?  Did I even try?  Just trust me, it’s a delicious icing).

DSCN4146

Yay, they’re baked and beautiful!

DSCN4147

Spread frosting over warm cinnamon rolls.

DSCN4148

Hell yeah.

DSCN4150

IMG_0157

IMG_0154

IMG_0145

IMG_0160

Do you see that cinnamon filling?  Oh my gosh.  I might go grab one of my extras from the freezer right now.  They’re sooooo good.

Which reminds me, if you have too many because you made 11 cinnamon rolls and you live by yourself, just go ahead, wrap them in some plastic wrap individually and then place them in freezer bags.  They’ll stay good for a few months and you can indulge in cinnamon bun goodness whenever you want!

Go make these.  Right.  Now.

cinnamon roll recipe

cinnamon roll icing

* Notes*:  1. I use my mixer with dough hook, but these can also be made with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon!  I’ve done tries both methods and either works! 2. If your dough won’t rise, try heating oven to 250* F, turning oven off, and placing covered bowl of dough in warm oven (make sure bowl is oven proof!).  Leave alone for 2 hours.  3. If dough still won’t rise, your yeast is probably old.  Buy new yeast and start again.  4. Rolls can be made one night, and baked in the morning!  Just form the rolls and let them do their second rise in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours).  In the morning, remove from fridge, and let warm up for about an hour.  They will take longer to bake (upwards of about 30 or 40 minutes, so don’t worry if they don’t bake quickly!  Cover with foil halfway through if they start to brown too much.)

newblogsig

*Song of the Day: Won’t You Come Over by Devendra Banhart