One of my all time favorite cook books is Peg Bracken’s, I Hate to Cook Book. Published in 1960, it was an instant bestseller, and I was lucky enough to find a used paperback at some yard sale years later. The find was a godsend to me for three reasons. One, I hate to cook. Two, I was not the only one in the Universe to feel that way. Three, I could stop feeling guilty, which I instantly did. Obviously, this book, being a million dollar bestseller, proved that millions of other women felt exactly the way I did, which made me feel ecstatic. Being a woman, I used to believe with every fiber of my being that cooking came with my genes. Therefore, and worse yet, I was supposed to take to it like a duck to water. Not so.
Nothing bores me more than standing in the kitchen, assembling tons of ingredients just right—cleaning them, cutting them, dicing them, spicing them, sautéing them, mixing them—to cook a meal that is eaten in fifteen minutes. The mere thought of it makes me want to flee. The guy or gal who invented the microwave deserves a place in Heaven, as far as I’m concerned.
Given the choice between cooking a meal and writing a novel, I take the novel any day. But—my family had to eat, and even I had to eat, and so I did my best, with the help of Peg Bracken’s book and with all the other recipes I could find that took rarely more than 15 minutes to put together. And, actually and to my surprise, they were mostly healthy and wholesome.
The thing is—everyone who has ever come to my house loves my cooking. Beats me! Those “I hate to cook” recipe creators must have done something right. Even I, in rare moments of enlightenment, have unintentionally come up with a pretty darn good recipe, and so I thought I’d pass one of them on to all of you who’d rather write a novel or prefer a root canal to cooking.
Chicken Pot Pie
How fast do you want it? Is ten minutes prep time and thirty minutes in the oven fast enough?
If yes, here’s a quick and easy—and might I add yummy—recipe for which you need the following:
- 1 9in. Pie Plate
- 1 9in. frozen pie crust which will be the cover. (Take it out of the freezer before you do anything else, so it has a chance to soften a little. Or if you want to be ambitious, make your own pie crust, though none of us women who hate to cook would dream of it.)
Then mix together:
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 12.5 oz can of chicken breast or 1 ½ cups of cooked, diced chicken
- 1 and ½ cups of cooked, mixed vegetables
- 1 small tub (4 oz.) Eggbeater eggs (or one egg)
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 tsp Curry
- 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper to taste. (I add a little of both, and sometimes, when I feel like it and when I have it, I add ½ cup of diced, fresh celery, which makes it even yummier.)
- Spray the pie plate with a little butter flavored cooking spray, if you have it. (Cleans up easier this way.)
- Pour the above mixture into the pie plate.
- Turn the frozen pie crust upside down directly from the aluminum straight onto the top of the pie mixture as a cover. If it breaks, no big deal, patch it together as best you can. I do. Once it’s baked, no one can tell the difference, and it always comes out looking yummy.
- Cut slits into that cover to vent.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 30 min or until golden brown.
- Serves four.
A couple of hints:
- I use 98% fat free Campbell’s, but any other will do.)
- I use the chicken breast that comes in the Costco six-packs, but you may have some left-over chicken, or you can buy half a pound of roasted chicken breast from the Deli on the way home. As for the Costco brand, I mash the chicken, which is bit too chunky for me, with a fork in a soup plate before I add it to the mixture.
- I usually have some left over veggies from some meal. If not, I use the frozen kind that you cook in the bag in the microwave, which would add about 6 or 7 min to your prep time.
- The pie rarely comes out of the pie plate like a clean wedge, but what does it matter. It’s delicious, and that’s what counts.
And while it bakes, you can read a couple more chapters in my novel, Diary of a Naïve, if you’ve bought it, or go to my blog, http://umandel2.wordpress.com and read a chapter there. Or try The Good American, if you haven’t read it yet. And then, eat!