University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

15 minutes + $15 = 1 home-cooked dinner

By Allison Churchman Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My first-ever chicken pot pie was a success!Allison ChurchmanMy first-ever chicken pot pie was a success!

It pains me to say that, although I love food, I am probably the worst cook ever.

In fact, I firmly believe that cooking disasters are my forte. I am not talking a basic “it-tastes-like-an-entire-bottle-of-salt-was-used” problem, but rather the dangerous “sweet-potato-catches-on-fire-in-the-microwave” or “burns-peanut-butter-while-attempting-to-melt-it” kind of cooking disasters.

So, in an effort to avoid catching my apartment complex on fire, I play it safe and avoid cooking meals that require the use of an oven. But a week ago, I finally decided to try out my oven and put my unfortunate cooking skills to the test.

I recently found Chef D’s College Student Cookbook on the USC Engemann Student Health Center Website.  Chef D, which has over 200 recipes for salads, soups, breakfast, snacks, main dishes, and more, is an acronym for Cheap, Healthy, Easy, Fast and Delicious.

After scrolling through the cookbook, I was surprised to find how simple – and foolproof – the recipes looked. One particular recipe, the chicken pot pie, caught my eye, and I knew that I had to try it.

Ingredients for the chicken pot pie

Ingredients for the chicken pot pie

The recipe calls for two frozen pie crusts, two cans of cream of potato soup, two grilled chicken breasts or three small cans of white chicken, half a cup of milk, one 15-ounce can of vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste. Altogether, the ingredients cost about $15 .

The best part of this recipe is that you are left with plenty of leftovers for the remainder of the week. Or, if you are in the mood to share, then cook this meal with roommates or friends.

Overall, the meal should take about an hour to prepare (15 minutes) and bake (45 minutes).

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and while you are waiting, cook the cut-up chicken breast in a skillet. Once the chicken is cooked, mix all ingredients – cream of potato soup, chicken, milk, vegetables, salt and pepper – together and dump into one of the pie crusts. Place the second pie crust on top and bake for 45 minutes. Voilà! It is that easy.

The leftovers will be easy to reheat later.

The leftovers will be easy to reheat later.

I highly recommend this tasty and extremely easy recipe for students like myself who are prone to cooking disasters.

Here are some tips for a completely foolproof cooking session:

My roommate said, “This is the best chicken pot pie I’ve ever had!” Okay, so it was the first time she’d tasted chicken pot pie, but at least someone approved of my cooking skills. I’d say mission accomplished!

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