It’s winter time which means comfort food, hot drinks and snuggling next to a warm fire. Every season we have go-to recipes and meals that we love to cook, yep, my husband cooks too. Stews, soups, chili, crockpot meals, and meat pies spell winter for us. What are your signature winter meals?
This winter is slightly different for my family. We had another baby in October and since our other two children had major dairy allergies we are treating baby #3 as if she does as well. It saves her the blood tests, x-rays and IVs. So, for her, I went completely dairy and casein free two months before she was born. I did with my first so it hasn’t been hard. My second had such a severe allergy we had to use a specialized formula.
The only hard part about going dairy Free has been giving up my favorite winter time meals. I don’t eat a lot of dairy, other than cheese, during other seasons. But I do love milky soups and cheesy crock-pot meals. So, this year I set out to find a way that my entire family could enjoy some of these comfort foods.
My all time favorite meal is Chicken Pot Pie. It’s an entire meal in a pie, how can you go wrong? With Greek origins, the pot pie is named because of the stew type meal within the pie. I prefer the Roman way, adding crust on top as well was the bottom creating a true ‘pot’ with a lid.
As I can no longer have my traditional chicken pot pie with dairy content I set out to find and make my own dairy free version. In my search, I stumbled upon this recipe from the website “Well Plated” that seemed to be close to the pie I typically make. The main ingredient I needed to replace was the cream of chicken soup that I normally use and this recipe seemed to give me something close. I adapted it to make it a little simpler since Most of the time I am chasing toddlers and holding a crying baby while cooking.
Other than Olive Oil, salt and pepper this is all you need. You can make your own pie crust, boil chicken breasts and cut up whole veggies if you want but I cheated and bought everything I could ready to go. I love using rotisserie chickens in soups and pies. They are very flavorful and easy to get the meat since it usually falls off the bone. I also like the white and dark meat combo, again, more flavor.
The Pillsbury Pie Crusts are all dairy free. In fact, I just found out that their crescent rolls are dairy free as well!! Guess how many cans I have in my fridge now? But these pie crust are great! They are not vegan, or gluten free but Pillsbury does have those options in a container. If you can’t find it, you can always make your own. I have a recipe that I will find and add later.
Take the two bagged crust out of the box and sit on the counter to soften. Grease the pie pan with butter or spray. I use Pam as its dairy free and works very well!
The first thing that I do is, cheat. Again. I use pre-sliced Baby Bella mushrooms and pre-diced yellow onions. If you don’t want to cheat, that’s fine slice a carton of Baby Bellas and chop up an whole medium sized yellow onion. Toss enough olive oil to coat your pan, turn it on medium-high heat and throw in the mushrooms. Cook them, stirring occasionally until they turn brown but don’t let them crisp, 5 minutes was enough for me. Then, add the onions and keep it going until the onions have become translucent.
Once the onions are finished, add the seasonings. I start with salt and pepper to taste then add the other seasonings. I love the taste is sautéed mushrooms and onions. I could eat this entire pan by myself as a meal. This is really great on steaks too!
Anyway, I like to add the seasonings at this point because I use dried. If you use fresh leaves wait until the end, after you add the milk. Dried herbs need to be heated and crushed to activate their flavors. If you really want to smell them, rub them in your hands before adding them to the pan!
Next, add the veggies. I use the Bird’s Eye SteamFresh bag of mixed vegetables. You can use any combination of fresh or frozen veggies that work for you. Canned would be okay but they are not as crispy so they may be a little mushy in the end. Some people like potatoes, you can get fresh diced potatoes in a green bag next to the eggs at the grocery store (Simply Potatoes).
Let the veggies cook for about 3 minutes to unfreeze and soften up. If you are using fresh, cook them longer, about 5-6 minutes.
While the veggies cook, in between stirring, pull the chicken meat off the rotisseried bird. I get every bit of meat that I can. It’s okay of you get a little fat or skin, it will just add flavor. Just watch out for the wings, sometimes the meat can be a little hard. You don’t want that in your pie. Toss it in when the veggies are almost finished to get a good flavor coating.
After the chicken goes in, add the flour and stir to make sure it mixes well. Cook the flour until it slightly browns, about 3 more minutes. I like to make sure there isn’t any white left. Then, add the almond milk 1/4 cup at a time.
If you can have dairy use cows milk. Any milk will work for this recipe, I prefer the taste (or lack of) of unsweetened original almond milk. If you have a milk allergy use coconut or rice milk.
Stir in the milk as you add it to incorporate all of the flour. This is where the cream of soup is substituted. The flour and milk mixture takes its place. Another reason I like the rotisserie chicken, it brings in more of a savory chicken flavor that is missing without the cream of chicken soup.
Once it’s mixed completely, let it simmer on low for about 3 minutes or until thickened. If it gets too thick you can always add more milk.
While the pie filling thickens open the pie crust bags and roll out one crust. Place it in the greased pie pan and press the edges down. Pour in the filling once the sauce is thicken.
Open the second crust bag and roll out the crust. Lay the second crust on top (closing the lid, making it a Pot Pie). Fold the edges down to fit the pie pan and press (with a fork or fingers) them down.
Use a sharp knife to cut four slits into the top crust to vent. In a small bowl add one egg plus one Tablespoon of water and beat. Using a pasty brush (fingers work too if you don’t have one) brush the whole top of the pie. This give the pie a shiny look while making the crust extra crispy without burning it.
Place pie in a pre-heated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees. Check the pie halfway through to make sure it’s not burning, it shouldn’t with the egg wash. Once the pie is finished, the contents are fully cooked so you are just baking the crust, let it sit on a wire rack or your stove for 5 minutes to set the filling.
I will also add that I use a convection oven while baking and most of the time when I cook. Convection moves the heat around in the same manor as a microwave (you can hear fans). It allows for quicker cooking times and a more even heat distribution. Not all ovens have it so if you are using a bake setting you may need to adjust for more cooking time.
I love that egg wash look. So orangey yellow and crispy! It’s almost like a puff pastry.
This pie is so delicious it’s pretty much gone on the first night. Both of my toddlers love it, as long as it’s a night they have decided to eat. If there are any leftovers they make great second or third day lunches. I hate leftovers. I’d rather cook every night than eat something twice in one week (weird, I know). But, I will eat this pie every day of the week!
Easy Dairy Free Chicken Pot Pie
A delicious alternative for those with a dairy allergy who just need some comfort food.
Adapted from: https://www.wellplated.com/healthy-chicken-pot-pie/
*to make recipe gluten free: use Pillsburg Gluten Free dough for the crust and gluten free all purpose flour or almond flour.
- olive oil
- 1 box Pillsbury Pie Crusts rolls or premade deep dish pie crust
- 8oz container sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 8oz container diced onions or 1 medium onion diced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 TBS thyme
- 1 TBS oregano
- 10 oz bag of Frozen Mixed Vegetables
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken meat removed from bone
- 2 to 2 1/2 cup unsweetened original almond milk
- Egg Wash (1 egg + 1 TSB water)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Let box of pie crust sit out at room temperature while making the filling. Grease a pie plate or tin.
- In a large deep skillet heat 2 TBS of olive oil on Med-High temp. When oil is hot add mushrooms and cook until tender and brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook another 3-5 minute until onions are clear.
- Add salt and pepper to taste as well as the garlic, thyme, and oregano. Stir to combine.
- Mix in the frozen vegetables and cook for about 3 minutes until carrots are soft. Add chicken meat pulled from rotisserie and stir.
- Sprinkle flour over veggie mixture and cook for about 3-4 minutes intil flour has coated the veggies and browned slightly.
- Pour almond milk over the flour mixture in small amounts, about 1/4 cup at a time to combine. Stir or whisk to incorporate all of the flour until no clumps are left. Bring to a boil while stirring to thicken. Cook, stirring frequently for, another 2-3 minutes. Sauce should be thick but runny.
- Roll out pie crust and place in the bottom of the greased pie pan. Push the sides and corners down so there are no gaps between crust and pan. Pour in milk, vegetable and chicken mixture. Roll out second pie crust. Lay second crust on top of the mixture. Press or fold down edges depending on the size of your pan.
- Using a sharp knife cut four slits into top of pie crust to vent. Brush beaten egg wash (one egg plus one TBS water) all over the top crust. Place in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Check halfway through, if top begins to brown add a layer of aluminum foil to cover.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving to set filling.