Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Well, I’m back in Limerick for school! Kevin is staying with me for about a week, and now I can resume cooking for him. I just bought a food processor/blender, and I really wanted to use it. So, I decided to make some puff pastry with the food processor. I thought a chicken pot pie would be perfect. I recently saw someone make mini ones, so I decided to try.

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I had found a recipe for the puff pastry dough, but then when I was about to cook it, I couldn’t find it. I ended up making it up as I went along, and it didn’t turn out too bad!

Starting off, I peeled and cut carrots (about 4 medium sized ones) into little chunks. I cut them lengthwise in half, then cut those pieces lengthwise, then chopped those into little cubes. I boiled them in hot water while preparing the meat.

Boiling the Cut Carrots

Boiling the Cut Carrots

The butcher I normally go to for my meat was closed, so I ended up buying my meat in Tescos which is not my favourite thing! It always goes off faster and overall, is just usually not as tasty. Handy enough, though, they had pre-sliced chicken breasts which made my job much easier and faster. I chopped up the chicken into small bits, and fried it up in a pan with a bit of butter.

Cut Chicken

Cut Chicken

While, the chicken was frying, I made the puff pastry. I added about 2 cups of flour (a little bit more later on), 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), and about 1 1/3 cups of water. I just kind of judged how much water should go in by stopping and feeling the dough along the way. Basically, I threw all of that into the food processor, turned it on, and waited for it to form a dough ball. Easy enough!

Pastry in Food Processor

Pastry in Food Processor

To make “mini” chicken pot pies, I used a muffin tin. It was non-stick, so I didn’t add any oil or anything to it. I took a spoonful of the dough (didn’t even roll it out!) and molded it around in the holes. Here’s where I went a bit wrong: I only placed them in the oven for about 5 min, when I should have left them until the pasty was completely cooked through. If I had cooked them properly, I would have either baked the pastry on its own in the tin for about 15 minutes until golden brown, or filled the little pies with their filling, covered with aluminum foil, and baked for about 20-25 minutes.

Pastry in Muffin Tin

Pastry in Muffin Tin

While the pastry was cooking before the chicken cooked through entirely, I added the carrots and the peas. I let that cook until the chicken was completely cooked through and the peas were soft. Then I poured in the cream of chicken soup. I stirred than in until every little pea, carrot, and slice of chicken was coated. I ended up not making enough pastry and just ate the filling on its own as well. It tastes just as good!

Carrots, Chicken, and Peas

Carrots, Chicken, and Peas

These little pot pies make great leftovers! Just reheat in the oven or microwave. Make sure to cover them to ensure the filling does not dry out. These were the easiest chicken pot pies I ever made; and they were delicious! Kevin loved them, and ate them all up!

Recipe:

Filling:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup

Pastry:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups flour (plus a little more)
  • 1 1/3 cup water

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel, slice, and cut carrots into small little chunks. Boil until cooked through. Chop of chicken into small little pieces, approximately the same size as the carrots. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and begin frying the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pastry. Toss all the ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until a dough ball is formed.

Grease muffin tins if they are non-stick.

Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the carrots and peas. Cook until the peas start softening, then pour in the cream of chicken soup. Stir and mix until the chicken, peas, and carrots are covered with the soup. Remove from heat.

Spoon the pastry into each hole of the muffin tin and push it around with fingers until it lines each muffin area. Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Spoon in the filling.

Enjoy!

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How to Cut a Bell Pepper

Awhile back, Kevin started watching Gordon Ramsey’s show “Kitchen Nightmares.” I think we watched about a full season of it in two days! Gordon Ramsey is an amazing chef, and Kevin learned how to “correctly” cut a bell pepper from him and taught me.

Normally, I would cut off the top bit and then cut out the seed core. This way cuts the bell pepper into semi-flat chunks (easier to chop up into little bits later), and eliminates the white inside bits.

Directions:

First cut the stem off as much as possible and lay the pepper top down on a cutting board.

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After laying it flat on its top, position your knife diagonally on the top bit to cut down the sides following the curve of the pepper.

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Turn the bell pepper to cut all the way around the pepper trying to leave the white “stem” pieces. It should look something like the picture below. All of the pieces cut should be relatively flat and easier to chop into smaller pieces.

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Enjoy!

Summer Tip: Garlic

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Currently I am home for summer break which means I’m not cooking for Kevin right now. I do though have a simple tip while I’m not adding recipes!

Many recipes call for onions; but Kevin hates onions with a passion, and I know there are people out there just like him. When cooking for him, I want to make the dish without the onions, but I still want it to taste just as good as the original and have great flavors. Therefore, when a recipe calls for onions (like if it wanted the onions fried to add flavor) I add some garlic instead. I don’t add too much where the dish suddenly becomes an over-the-top garlic dish, but just a little to add some extra flavor like a spice.

So there’s my tip: add a bit of garlic! This usually works for me, and there are no onions involved!

Cheese Potato Puff

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Potatoes are definitely popular in Ireland, and they are a vegetable that Kevin will eat. Instead of just cooking up the normal mashed potato or baked potato which can definitely becoming boring, this dish is delicious and has more flavors.

This recipe came from my great-great Aunt; and one day when I was looking for a new side dish to cook for dinner for Kevin, I found it in my recipe book. I saw that it included cheese and potatoes–two things I knew he would like. No onions, no complex flavors, but it still looked more interesting than the plain mashed potatoes! The name intrigued me as well: “puff”. When cooked, the potatoes do puff up a bit making them more fluffy. The only thing to be careful of is to make sure not to cook the potatoes too long or they will become dry. Also, the dish can be prepared beforehand, refrigerated, and cooked later, but  I just made it one go. On my great-great-Aunt’s recipe, there was a little note that said: “great company dish.” I assume that is because its easy, delicious, can be prepared beforehand, and a majority of people will like it. It was a success with Kevin!

The original recipe calls for more potatoes than I used. I used a majority of a small bag of baby potatoes that can be bought in Tesco or Dunnes stores. I may have not followed the recipe exactly, but I instead just put in about how many potatoes I thought we could eat and just went along with that. I did the same with the cheese; I didn’t measure out exactly 1 1/8 cup of cheddar cheese, but grated about as much as I thought would work with potatoes and mix well. The amount of milk really depends on how much the potatoes need when mashing and melting the cheese and butter. If it’s not really creamy, maybe add some more milk. In Kevin and my apartment in college, we did not have a 13×9″ pan, so I simply used a more loaf style pan to cook it in. Also, the temperature to cook it in Celsius is 175 degrees (I always had to convert my recipes temperatures to cook over in Ireland!). This recipe is great because the amounts can be easily altered and played around with, and it works out well!

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(Mixing the ingredients after mashing the potatoes)

Recipe:

  • 6 medium potatoes (or a pack of baby potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/8 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
  • dash of salt to taste
  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions:

Peel the potatoes and boil in water until tender. Mash the potatoes and add butter, cheese, milk, and salt and beat over low heat until the butter and cheese are melted. Fold in the egg and pour into a greased 13×9 in pan. Bake in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 30-45 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE.

Enjoy!

Breakfast Belgium Waffles

For countless years now, I have eaten Belgium waffles for breakfast almost every day. Normally, I would make them from an instant mix available at most grocery stores. When I moved to UL for college, I found that Ireland did not have instant Belgium waffle mix–or at least I couldn’t find it. Breakfast waffles really aren’t too popular over there, and I had a really difficult time even finding a waffle iron to cook them in. My parents ended up buying one online for me and having it shipped, because I really couldn’t go without waffles. They bought me a Belgium waffle iron as these irons have more depth to them to create a fluffier less dense waffle. The next step after simply attaining the waffle iron was finding a recipe for the waffles. While many required the mix to sit overnight or the eggs to be fluffed up, I, as a college student, didn’t really have time for that! I ended up modifying and combining basic recipes to make a batter that tasted great and took no time to create! I actually prefer the homemade batter to the instant mix.

Most of my friends at UL hadn’t ever eaten Belgium waffles before, and I decided to cook them for them. Kevin definitely fell in love with them. If I ever tried to eat them around him, he always took one for himself. While I never eat my waffles with syrup which is quite odd for most Americans–my parents always make fun of me for it–, the plain waffles definitely caught on in Ireland with my friends! Normally, I just add chocolate chips to the mix, and that makes them sweet and nummy. Sometimes I add Nutella on the top as well to make them even more chocolately, but Kevin doesn’t. The mix normally lasts me about 3 days with me eating 3 waffles a day. 

Kevin loves the waffles so much, whenever I leave the country, he takes my waffle iron to make waffles for himself. These Belgium waffles really are easy, delicious, and perfect without syrup to make great hand food! 

Recipe: 

  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 3/4 cups milk 
  • 3/4 cup oil 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • dash of vanilla 
  • dash of salt
  • chocolate chips (optional) 
  • nutella (optional) 
  • spray-oil or make sure to have a really good non-stick waffle iron

Instructions: 

Basically, mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips together in a bowl by whisking until smooth. Add the chocolate chips before adding the mix to the waffle iron. Spray waffle iron with oil to make sure the waffle doesn’t stick to the edges. Pour the mix into the waffle iron until it’s almost full. Do NOT fill the waffle iron all the way. The batter will overflow. Cook for about 2 minutes or however long it takes your waffle iron. Spread Nutella on the top of the waffles to make them extra delicious! 

Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Curry

This is a simple dish that Kevin has made for me countless times, and I have fallen in love with it. While curry is incredibly popular in Ireland and the UK, it’s not as easily found in the States. In about every shop in Ireland,  a person can find instant curry sauce, and it makes a simple yet delicious dinner.

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When I went back to the States for Christmas and summer break, I really missed the curry, so I searched around to see if I could find the instant curry mix. I had to go to a more specialized store for it, but I found instant curry in a little box similar to what beef/chicken stock cubes come in. When I dissolved the cubes in hot water like the instructions said, the sauce ended up being a bit too runny and not thick enough. Therefore, I took some cornstarch dissolved in water and added it to the sauce to thicken it up. Of course if you’re in Ireland or the UK, you won’t have this problem since the curry is everywhere!

Anyways, there’s only 5 ingredients in this dish. There’s chicken, bell peppers, chillies, curry, and rice. Kevin always used a variety of colors of bell peppers which made the dish look gorgeous. I know that in the states the red bell peppers are a bit more expensive, so green works just as well (but if you can get your hands on some red then use them!).

The curry can be as spicy as you want. The spice level really depends on the type and amount of chili used. One time I bought these medium-sized red chilies at Tesco for curry, and one-to-two was so hot Kevin and I were coughing while cooking the dish! The other day I made this for my parents, and I only used half a jalapeño, which turned out to be incredibly mild. So the amount of spice is really up to you!

Recipe for 2 people (can easily be doubled-tripled for however many):

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • 3 bell peppers cut into slices (use assorted colors)
  • 3/4 red chili
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
  • instant curry (yellow)

Instructions:

Cut up the chicken and bell peppers into cubes and slice the chili pepper. Start by boiling the rice, and heat a large fry pan to about medium-high heat. Add a little dash of olive oil, then add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is almost cooked the entire way through, then add the bell peppers and chili. While those are cooking, start making the curry. Make sure to use a large saucepan for this as everything will be added to it. Follow the instructions on the instant curry package. Check on the chicken and bell peppers. The bell peppers are cooked when they look slightly translucent. When they are finished, add to the curry sauce and stir. When plating, put chicken curry over the rice.

There, that’s it! It only takes maybe 30-45 minutes to cook, and it’s delicious. There’s no onions, no tomatoes, and nothing sweet. The heat level can be altered making this dish great for any picky eater!

Enjoy!

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog, Cooking for Kevin! My name is Lauren, and I am currently a college student at the University of Limerick. I love cooking, and about a year ago I started dating (and cooking for) Kevin who is quite a picky eater. He hates onions with a passion, doesn’t really like anything with too many tomatoes, and God-forbid there is anything relatively sweet in his meat! I still wanted to cook meals that I liked, so I started working on changing/creating dishes that not only were inexpensive (I am a college student!), but also were delicious to the both of us. I really enjoy cooking for him and making dishes that he enjoys; and I know there are people out there similar to him, so why not share them? Hopefully everyone will enjoy!