Cathie Campbell

Pot pies to warm your tummy during these freezing evenings

Each New Year, at least in our part of the world, is accompanied by cold weather. That's when I really appreciate a warm kitchen. If you are hungry for some hearty, cold-weather meals, I hope you find at least one recipe today that you will cut out and save, with plans to make for a winter supper at your house. Let's explore the world of pot pies, because they are always such great comfort food. May your year be filled with good health, lots of happiness and an abundance of good food.

Steak pot pie

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/4 pounds beef top sirloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

1 package (16-oz.) frozen vegetables for stew

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 jar (12-oz. mushroom or beef gravy

1 tube (8-oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef in batches; remove from pan. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

2. In same skillet, combine vegetables, water and thyme; stir in gravy. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are thawed. Stir in beef; remove from heat.

3. Unroll crescent dough and separate into eight triangles. Starting from the wide end of each triangle, roll up a third of the length and place over beef mixture with pointed ends toward the center.

4. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

Veggie pot pie

Made with garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

1 small onion, chopped

6 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

6 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups vegetable broth

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 can (15-oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/4 cups frozen, cubed hash-brown potatoes

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until translucent and tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

2. Stir in the vegetables, garbanzo beans, potatoes, cream and Italian seasoning. Divide mixture among four ungreased 10-ounce ramekins.

3. Unroll pastry; divide into four portions. Roll out each portion to fit ramekins; place pastry over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken pot pie

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes

1 3/4 cups sliced, peeled carrots

1 cup butter, cubed

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 cup flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups milk

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn

2 packages (14.1-oz. each) refrigerated pie pastry

1. Preheat oven to 425. Place potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender; drain.

2. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and potato mixture; remove from heat.

3. Unroll a pastry sheet into each of two 9-inch pie plates; trim against the plate edges. Add chicken mixture. Unroll remaining pastry; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in tops.

4. Option for freezing: Cover and freeze unbaked pies. To use, remove from freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Preheat oven to 425. Place pies on baking sheets; cover edges loosely with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 350; bake 70 to 80 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165.

5. For baking fresh: In preheated oven, bake 35 to 40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Super easy chicken pot pie

Adapted from a Pillsbury recipe.

1 box refrigerated 9-inch pie crusts

1 can (18.6-oz.) Progresso Rich & Hearty chicken pot pie style soup

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (I like a little extra corn)

2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare the pie crusts according to package directions, fitting one into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.

2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat soup, thawed vegetables and flour until warm. Spoon into prepared pie plate. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven or until crust is golden brown. After 15 minutes of baking, cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning (or use a pie shield made especially for this). Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Cut into wedges when ready to serve.