15 minutes + $15 = 1 home-cooked dinner
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.
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.
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:
- If you use frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables, make sure the vegetables are not too frozen and icy, as it will water down the cream of potato soup. The recipe calls for a can of mixed vegetables, but you can substitute. I used a mixture of frozen peas and carrots.
- When you place one frozen pie crust on top of the other, it will look like a tent, but, as I learned, this is completely fine. Place the pie crusts into the oven for five minutes and then remove. After you’ve poured the chicken mixture into one crust, put the other crust on top, pinch the edges of the two crusts together to avoid spillage and then place the pie back into the oven. As it cooks, the top pie crust will deflate to look like a normal pie.
- If you are placing the pie tin on a cooking sheet, adjust your cooking time. I added another 10 minutes, but even an additional 5 minutes would have done the trick. This is to avoid a doughy crust.
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!