Sometimes, you just need comfort food. The name encapsulates the essence of these recipes. With this set of healthy tweaks, you’ll be able to enjoy some of your favorite comfort meals even more.
Is there anything more comforting than chicken pot pie on a cold day? It’s got all the ingredients of chicken dinner with the heartiness of a stew. Regardless of if you use a pie crust or not, it’s easy to find something appealing about chicken pot pie.
Unfortunately, pot pie not only has the ingredients of a chicken dinner, but the calories of one too. We think it’s possible to cut some of the calories in pot pie and still enjoy it!
No Crust, No Problem
Our chicken pot pie was made famous by the Pennsylvania Dutch and is much closer to a stew or thick soup.
Did you know there are two kinds of chicken pot pie? Many of you will be familiar with the “classic” chicken pot pie, which has a crust and a little broth. For those of you that grew up around Pennsylvania (like us!), your chicken pot pie is a little different. Our chicken pot pie was made famous by the Pennsylvania Dutch and is much closer to a stew or thick soup.
The health advantage of this style of pot pie is the lack of crust. For reference, one standard Pillsbury pie crust comes in at 800 calories. That’s a lot of calories you can easily cut out!
Cracking the Crust Conundrum
If you’re craving a crust, there’s another recipe you can try. Traditional pie crusts are dense and buttery. This is what gives it the flaky texture. There’s another way to make crust that’s healthier and more filling.
Biscuit crusts offer much of the flavor of traditional pie crusts, but are much less dense.
Biscuit crusts offer much of the flavor of traditional pie crusts, but are much less dense. You can also substitute most of the ingredients for healthier alternatives. The simplest recipes are three ingredients total. Self-rising whole wheat flour can replace all-purpose flour, while margarine and low-fat milk can substitute for butter and milk.
What’s a Better Broth?
Chicken pot pie keeps the pie moist with a thick broth, and that’s where we can make the final healthy swap. Generally, chicken pot pie broth (or sauce) is a combination of four ingredients: butter, flour, chicken stock, and heavy cream. This shouldn’t be hard to improve on!
Most stores carry lighter versions of chicken stock. This can be low fat, low sodium, or even a combination. You can use the same alternatives to flour and butter you used in the crust.
The heavy cream is the where we have the most options, though. Depending on how much you want to cut calories, you can opt for half-and-half, milk, or even almond milk. One thing to note, the less fat the replacement has, the less thick the sauce will be.
Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
For the Crust
- 2 cups of self-rising whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of margarine
- 1 cup of 1% milk
For the Chicken Pot Pie
- 2 lean chicken or turkey breasts, cubed
- 3 cups of mixed vegetables
- 1 small sweet onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 cup of mushrooms (your choice)
- 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup of low fat chicken broth
- ½ cup of almond milk
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Cube the chicken or turkey breasts into roughly 1-inch pieces.
- Dice onions, mushrooms, and cloves of garlic.
- Add olive oil to a large pot and heat on the stove at medium-high heat. Once the pot is hot, add the chicken cubes and cook until the chicken is brown. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook until soft. Add the garlic and heat for about a minute.
- Add the chicken back into the pot and stir together while reheating everything.
- Toss the mixed vegetables into the pot. Cook the vegetables until heated through and the water from the thawing vegetables cooks down.
- Sprinkle the flour over the contents of the pot, stirring to cover everything.
- Pour the chicken broth and almond milk slowly into the pot, stirring while you add. Scrape up any bits from the chicken and onions on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a slow boil.
- Allow to cook down until the broth is at your preferred thickness.
- Grease a large 9x13 oven-safe pan and spoon in pot pie filling.
- Mix self-rising whole wheat flour and salt in a large bowl. Melt the margarine in a small dish and pour it and the milk into the flour mixture. Stir until batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Flatten the pot pie filling, and pour the batter evenly over top.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust browns and cooks through.