When you’re going all the time, sometimes it’s hard to catch your breath and take in the beautiful things surrounding you. And my oh my, there are so many wonderful things to appreciate. People, different cultures, talents, successes (others and my own), the changing seasons, a comfortable bed to sleep in, the unconditional love I feel for my fiancé.
The world is changing. Right before our eyes. And at an epic speed that sometimes feels out of control and helpless.
So, here’s what I want you to do today: Recognize 3 simple things that you appreciate. Feel them, write them down, savor them and allow your brain to acknowledge that you are lucky to have it. Yes, lucky.
The other day I was checking out at Trader Joe’s with all the ingredients for this recipe. The TJ’s employee and I struck up conversation about how good a chicken pot pie sounded and how his mom used to make it for him as a kid. I explained that my plan was to lighten it up and make it dairy free with the Almond Breeze Almondmilk and vegan butter I had in my cart. He smiled as he packed my groceries away so that they fit effortlessly into paper sacks. Immediately I looked down, and thanked him for doing that. He said, “You’re doing the healthy cooking for your family, it’s the least I can do for you. Most families don’t get that kind of food.”
Right there and then, I knew we both appreciated each other, even if it was only for a few minutes. It made my day better and got me thinking about how quickly we forget to recognize and appreciate one another, and most importantly ourselves.
Later that evening, I got to work on my chicken pot pie. There was something special about doing what I loved. Something I could not take for granted. I knew needed to appreciate it more.
I acknowledged to myself that cooking was something I needed to slow down and take in with all my senses. Often I’m rushing to get a recipe done because of the daylight or because of a deadline; the only thing rushing does is take the creativity out of the craft.
Like painting is to an artist, cooking seems to lights my soul on fire. And so I took a step back, a deep breath, and determined myself to make this the best healthy chicken pot pie you’d ever have. I would take it slow, I would appreciate my craft and I would perfect the recipe.
The hearty sauce with chicken, vegetables, herbs and seasonings spoke to me with love as I they simmered and thickened on the stovetop. The sauce was made a little bit lighter with Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk instead of heavy cream, which made me happy. Vegan butter was used (and only a minimal amount) for the flaky whole wheat crust to keep it dairy free — dang, it’s goooood.
Bottom line: This chicken pot pie was simply glorious. (Tony even ate 3/4 of it in one night. Seriously, the man can eat.)
As the pie baked and bubbled in the oven, I set the table and remembered how important it is to do what sets your soul on fire. Because when you’re doing what you love, you have joy in your life and comfort in your heart. But above all, don’t forget to be kind and humble along the way.
I hope this lightened up healthy chicken pot pie brings you the utmost joy and comfort. You deserve every bite of it.
See how to make the healthy chicken pot pie here:
More healthy comfort food to try:
Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie
- For the crust:
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 3-5 tablespoons ice water
- 1/3 cup COLD vegan buttery stick (or regular unsalted butter if you are not dairy free)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter; divided (or regular butter)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- 1 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze AlmondMilk (must use Almond Breeze)
- 1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups diced gold potatoes (about 3/4 pound)
- 3 large carrots, sliced
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- Cooking spray
For the dough: Place flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Dice butter and place into flour mixture. (It is important for the butter to be COLD so sometimes I dice it up then place in a bowl and stick in the freezer for a few minutes.) Use a pastry knife and cut butter into flour until it is edamame or pea sized.
Using a large fork, add 3 tablespoons of the ice water to the mixture and combine. Continue adding water until dough just comes together. You may not need to add all the water; you want the dough to be smooth but neither wet nor dry. I find 4-5 tablespoons to be good.
If you want to make the dough in the food processor, here is how: Add the flour and salt with the regular blade attached, then add the diced cold butter. Pulse just a few times to lightly mix the ingredients until there are pea-sized balls. Add the water and process again until the dough is crumbly. Do not let it turn into a big dough ball or you will have overmixed the dough. Pour into a floured surface and gather into a disk, wrap in plastic and place in fridge until you are ready to roll out.
In a large pot, add 1 teaspoon butter and chicken. Cook chicken until no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Next add almond milk and chicken broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add in potatoes and carrots and boil for 3-4 minutes. (This helps to release the potato starch!). Drain the mixture over a bowl, reserving the cooking liquid (very important). Set aside the carrots and potatoes for later.
Next melt 1 teaspoon butter in the same pot you've been using. Add in onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
Vigorously whisk in 1/3 cup flour and 1/2 cup chicken broth at the same time until smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in reserved cooking liquid, potatoes, carrots, chicken, frozen peas, thyme, salt and pepper.
Simmer over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat a deep skillet or large deep dish pie pan with nonstick cooking spray (you can also use a 2 quart sized skillet). Add pot pie mixture.
Roll out the pie dough out on a very well floured surface so that it's large enough to cover the pie pan. Place on top of mixture, pressing the edges and sealing. Cut a few slits in top of crust or poke holes with a fork to let steam escape. Spray the top of the crust with a little nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 45-55 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Top crust with sea salt and extra fresh thyme. Enjoy!
Recipe by: Monique Volz | Photography by: Sarah Fennel