How To Create a Healthy, Inexpensive Comfort Meal: Vegetable Pot Pie

by simplylife on October 9, 2011

Step 1.  Make it from scratch.  Sure you could go through the local drive-thru and get a “meal” for $5, but do you know what you’re really eating?  Making meals from scratch saves so much money (especially if you use the same ingredients for multiple dishes) and allows you to know what’s really in your food.

Step 2.  Use seasonal foods.  Having a CSA this year not only completely enlightened me to the time of year (and temperature) that lettuce grows but forced me to cook focusing on seasonal ingredients.  It removed the temptation to buy berries in the fall because they “looked good” at the grocery store and instead taught me how to creatively use 5 lbs. of potatoes because they’re spouting like wildflowers potatoes in season.  Plus, by doing this I’ve discovered that the same “food” has a completely different taste when it was just picked yesterday versus last week and then shipped on a large truck across the country. 


Step 3.  Don’t worry about being perfect.  Find out you’re missing a spice at the last minute?  Realize too late that your oven cooks unevenly?  No worries.  Google always seems to have a solution…and most people who don’t see the original recipe you’re following don’t even know or realize that “something’s missing.”  With this recipe, I made this pie crust and clearly cut it too big for the bowls.  Not to worry; I adjusted my thinking to say I gave it a “rustic look” and in the end, the extra crust was the perfect “dipper” to scoop-up the last bits of pot pie!  

I know many of you reading already love to cook and aren’t afraid of experimenting in the kitchen.  But if you have some hesitations, I’d like to tell you that a “pot pie” is the perfect meal to start with.  There are so many variations on this known comfort dish that what you put (or don’t put) in it, will be perfect.  You can cook it in a pie dish, but putting it in individual (heat safe) bowls not only makes it look more impressive but is also SO much easier when dealing with misshaped pie crusts and masking imperfections.

And the best part?  The ingredients in this dish are all incredibly inexpensive.  You can easily add last-night’s leftover chicken to the dish or as I did, throw-in a few green peppers that were on their last days to ensure they didn’t go to waste.  

This meal is not only claimed to be a “comfort meal” because of its warmth and heartiness, but because it welcomes you to make mistakes, improvise with ingredients and feed a family without sweating over the bill.

 

Vegetable Pot Pie with Homemade Crust
Pie crust adapted from Food Network

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
2 tbs. milk

For the filling:
Olive oil 
4 small red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped (optional)
3 tbs. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
fresh or ground thyme, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1.  Start by preparing the crust.  (The original directions have you do this in a food processor which I don’t have; if I did, I would definitely use it here).  Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the butter slowly and beat (or pulse) together until butter pieces are about the size of peas.  Beat the egg and milk in a bowl then add to the mixture.  Mix (or pulse) together until the dough sticks together (it may still be a little crumbly).  Pour dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball.  Lightly flatten then cover in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

2.  After dough has chilled, make the filling.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and potatoes and cook about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook 2-5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften but do not begin to brown.

3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook about 5 minutes, until the wine has evaporated. Add the milk, lower the heat, and simmer until in thickens about 3-5 minutes.

4. Stir in peas, corn, thyme, salt and pepper. Transfer to pie dish or oven safe bowls.  Roll the dough out and cover filling; don’t worry if it falls over the edge.  Cut small slits into crust.  Bake about 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Serve and enjoy!

~What is your favorite comfort meal?
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  • Lauren

    Looks great! Love it :D

  • allieksmith

    This looks so, so, SO delicious :)

  • Erica

    That looks so so good! The crust-mmmmm. I like the idea of individual portions because you can also customize for everyones tastes! I should finally email you back today

  • decocinasytacones

    Oh I love these!.
    Congratulations, they are beautiful as well as comforting!.
    Love
    Marialuisa

  • Geni

    There's nothing in the world I'd rather eat right now than some of that gorgeous and delicious looking pie!

  • Daisy

    such helpful tips. your pot pie is the ideal comfort food

  • Ranjani

    Looks awesome! If you ask me, you used exactly the right amount of dough =)

  • Junia

    wowzers, i've never made my own dough before. butter scares me lol. but this looks so comforting!

  • Sam

    1) I love that your vegetable pot pie recipe doesn't involve a can of cream of mushroom/asparagus/broccoli soup (not that I expected it would, but all of the recipes I've come across do.

    2) If it weren't so unseasonably warm, I'd be having this for dinner tonight!

  • Tasha

    I love homemade vegetable pot pies. Your version looks delicious and so cute in your little crocks, "rustic" crust and all.

  • foodfitnessfrolicking.com

    This looks so doughy and creamy and hearty and flavorful and delicious. Way way better than anything store bought! I love how simple the dough recipe is!

    My favorite comfort food is homemade macaroni and cheese! YUM.

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    This is excellent! I love that it looks rich and comforting but that there isn't tons of fat in the recipe! I'm adding to my "must eats"!

  • runwithbritt

    Yay! I'm so happy we found each other's blogs! I've been looking for a veggie pot pie recipe for so long. This is the answer to my prayers haha. :) Thanks for sharing this great recipe! :)

    • simplylife

      Oh great! That makes me so happy to hear! :)

  • WillJogForFood

    I really love pot pies! But my fave comfort food has to be mac & cheese!

  • http://lolalobato.blogspot.com/ lola lobato

    Looks beautiful with crust!

  • http://www.zomppa.com belinda @zomppa

    This is spot on. Food is perfect just the way it is, and homemade comforts are perfect. Live this, might show up more than once this winter

  • http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com Andrea@WellnessNotes

    Your chicken pot pies look soooo good! About 20 years ago, I used to eat a lot of frozen chicken pot pies. Yes, they were not healthy, but they were such comfort food to me… I’ll have to make your version soon!

    And I totally agree with you that making things from scratch and using seasonal, local ingredients saves a lot of money.

    Have a great week!

  • http://wayfaringchocolate.com Hannah

    This looks perfect for a family meal in the cooler weather!

  • http://tastingspot.com foodie @ tastingspot

    i like your pictures and would like to invite you to share them on tastingspot.com

  • http://www.ingoodtasteblog.net Maris (In Good Taste)

    I love your veggie pot pies and the soup/stew crocks you served them in. So pretty and elegant, but also comforting at the same time.

  • http://couscous-consciousness.blogspot.com Couscous & Consciousness

    Gorgeous looking pies. I love dishes like this that can accommodate a few random leftovers from the fridge, or can take on a “rustic” look to disguise some misshapen pastry :-)
    Sue

  • http://prathimarao.blogspot.com/ Prathima Rao

    I don`t think it can get any more rustic, comforting, hearty than this!!! A perfect Sunday meal or for any day of course!!! Nice clicks too :) This is the oerfect pot pie I have come across..And its veg too..:)

  • http://thesmartkitchenblog.com Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    That looks amazing.

    Clearly for my Vegan Month of Food I must now add “make vegan pot pie” to the list.

  • http://savoryandsavage.blogspot.com Emily@SavoryandSavage

    I looove any kind of pot pie and yours looks amazing!

    Great picts and I love the amount of crust you put on the pies. The more crust the better IMO.

  • http://swankydietitian.com Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    Wow, this look incredible!
    I am dying over that crust. I know I will have to make it this winter.

  • http://www.allthatimeating.com All That I’m Eating

    This looks amazing. So warm and comforting. I completely agree that fresh food tastes different to that shipped halfway round the world before you eat it. I do think my favourite comfort food has to be pies or potatoes cooked for a long time like dauphenoise.

  • http://hungryhungryrunner.com/ Molly@hungryhungryrunner.com

    Your pot pies look amazing! I love pot pies – they are one of the best comfort foods on the planet!

  • Mom

    I absolutely love the extra crust draping over your bowls (which I love).

    I think these pot pies are an excellent and impressive meal to enjoy!

  • http://www.everydayfoodie.ca Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    I just realized that I don’t think I have EVER had a homemade pot pie, and that makes me very sad. I must remedy this very soon.

  • http://tastyeasyhealthygreen.com sally

    These are great tips and the pot pies look fantastic. I have a fridge full of produce and another CSA delivery tonight, so I might have to make some of these pies.

  • http://sopranointherealworld.blogspot.com Kristina

    LOVE the rustic look! I pretty much love any food with a rustic look…it feels more real.

  • http://CreativeCookingCorner.com Karriann Graf

    This is really delicious!

    I love coconut in dough! :))

  • http://bigfatbaker.com BigFatBaker

    These look really tasty. I would probably throw some chicken in for the bf, and maybe some sweet potatoes or tofu for me! Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.skinnymommy.com Bree

    This looks fantastic-perfect for a fall day like today. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.fashionmeetsfood.com erica

    Yum! I love pot pie. I havent had it in forever and I am thinking that I definitely need to make it this weekend.

    xo

  • carey

    Made it tonight! Was delicious and comforting. Tasted healthy and whole, with great flavor.

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh GOOD!! Thank you so much for letting me know!

  • Stasia1119

    looks tasty but do I have to add the white wine?

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      definitely not! If you need a little more liquid, just add a bit more broth.

  • Raven

    I love the extra crust! I think that is my favorite part of any pot pie! I am going to try mini pot pies next time I make my recipe, thanks!
    http://www.cookeatdelicious.com/vegetables-recipes/vegetable-pot-pie-recipe.html

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