Creamy Mushroom Soup and Topless Veggie Pot Pie (Two for One Recipe)

Three ingredients make the base for two comforting dishes.

(Rachel, the daughter)

Today was a gorgeous day, a two park kind of day.

Jackson and I started our morning with a walk to the little park in our neighborhood. He was happily throwing wood chips onto the slide when a man jogged past us. Jackson immediately took off, climbed out of the wood chip-filled playground pit and chased after the man, hollering “Da Da, Da Da.”

To my child’s credit, the man was bald like his daddy. He is close to the same age and height as his daddy with a similar build. The man was wearing nothing but a pair of royal blue athletic shorts almost identical to his daddy’s coaching shorts. In fact, the only tiny difference I could see between the jogger and his daddy was that the jogger’s bald head and broad shoulders were as black as a cup of coffee and his daddy is as white as a splash of cream.

I quickly grabbed Jackson and distracted him pointing to a fountain in the pond nearby. Thankfully, I don’t think the guy heard him. That could have been an awkward conversation. Um sorry, he thinks your his dad. Well, I mean, you look kind of like his dad. Not really. You’re bald and wear blue shorts that’s kind of it. Well, uh, have a nice run. I’ll see you at the paternity results hearing. Haha. Just kidding. <<Insert me laughing overly loud at my own bad joke.>>

We headed home for lunch and nap time, then met a friend at our city park. After a busted lip (Jackson’s) on the playground equipment, we meandered over to the volleyball pit, or in a 1-year old’s world, the biggest sandbox ever. Within minutes, Jackson dropped to his knees, held his hands up to the sky, then dropped them to the ground in an “I’m not worthy” bow. With his mouth wide-open, he took a big bite of sand, sat back up on his knees and smiled. Whoa-oa-oa-oa!! Excellent! Party Time! (Are Wayne’s World references out of style yet?)

Yes, today was a two park kind of day, a soak in the sun and giggle at my crazy kid kind of day. This weekend we had our first rainy cold front, though. It was a cuddle up and eat a bowl of warm soup kind of weekend. On Saturday, I sauteed up a whole bulb of garlic and a pound of mushrooms for a big batch of creamy potato soup. And on Sunday, I combined two of the coziest most comforting recipes, pot pie and shepherds pie, and made a topless veggie pot pie using the potato soup as the filling.

These two healthy recipes will warm you up without sacrificing your figure for those glorious two park days that pop up in between Texas cold fronts.

Creamy Garlic, Potato, and Mushroom Soup

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

2 T. olive oil
6 c. sliced mushrooms
1 head of garlic (10-12 cloves), cloves peeled and gently smashed
8 small red potatoes, quartered
2 c. almond milk
2 c. mushroom or veggie broth or leftover potato water
s&p to taste

Directions

In a large pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a skillet, add mushrooms and stir occasionally until they soft and browned. Add garlic and a pinch of salt, saute until garlic is translucent. (Hint: Smash unpeeled garlic with the side of a wide chef’s knife to quickly pop off the peel and smash the clove simultaneously.)

Add garlic after mushrooms are browned and soft.

In a food processor, blend mushrooms and garlic (minus a few for garnish if desired), add potatoes and 1 cup of liquid. Blend again. Add remaining liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste (it may take up to a few teaspoons.) Blend until smooth. If needed, warm up on medium low in the pot the potatoes were cooking in.

Be sure to reserve 1 1/2 – 3 cups of soup for a pie or two!

Perfect for a rainy day

Topless Veggie Pot Pie

(using leftover Creamy Mushroom Soup)

3-4 servings (if you’re like me, you’ll wish you made two pies, so I suggest doubling the recipe)

Ingredients

1 9″ pie crust (I used Wholly Wholesome’s Organic Spelt Pie Crust which is vegan)
1 small onion
2 c. frozen mixed veggies (I used an organic corn, green bean, peas, and carrots blend)
1 1/2 c. creamy mushroom soup (see recipe above)
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil on  medium to medium high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, saute until soft. Add vegetables and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute five more minutes. Pour in mushroom soup and season with nutmeg. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pour mixture into pie filling. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove and cover pie crust edges with foil.

Cover the edges half way through cooking to prevent the crust from burning.

Cook for another 20 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

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Rustic Iron Skillet Pot Pie

Homestyle Iron Skillet Pot Pie

My daughter is usually somewhat appalled at the disorganization in my refrigerator, along with the occasional discovery of leftovers-turned-science experiments lurking in its dark recesses.

On her last visit to Denver, her husband Jared was hungry and I told him, “Just look in the fridge and see what looks good to you. You never know what you might find.”  To which Rachel immediately deadpanned, “Or what might jump out at you.”

So before I accidentally create new life forms from my leftovers,  I really do try to use them up in more timely fashion these days. There are certain recipes I  go-to when I need to use up the food I have on hand at the end of the week. This easy version of pot pie is one of the most successful and  requested ones.

It is a little slice of flaky, creamy, hot home-style goodness. I don’t know why pot pie tastes so much better in an iron skillet than in a pie pan, but it does. And you’ll be amazed how easy it is, how fast it cooks up and comes together. (However, if you don’t have an iron skillet,  it is still pretty darn amazing in a deep dish pie pan.)

Becky’s
Rustic Iron Skillet Pot Pie

Serves 4 to 5

Ingredients

1 pie crust, your favorite recipe, or refrigerated version or vegan version. (Click link for a great flaky vegan recipe!)

1/4 c. flour

2 T. olive oil

2 T. butter or Earth Balance (vegan)

1 1/2 c. chicken, veggie, or  beef broth

2 potatoes, peeled and  diced

4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1/4 c. teriyaki sauce

1/2 t. grated garlic

1/2 c. frozen corn

1/2 c. frozen peas

Any other bits of leftover cooked veggies you have on hand. (I had about a 1/2 c cooked mushrooms to toss into the mix tonight, along with some leftover sauteed onions & peppers.)

Leftover diced cooked meat: chicken or beef, or any combination to make 1 1/2 to 2 cups, depending on how much you like and how much room is left in the skillet! (I diced a large cooked chicken breast and a cup of diced leftover roast. I often use leftover Rotisserie chicken meat for this dish.)

For Vegans: Use 1 can drained kidney beans and 1 can drained butter beans in place of meat. The kidney beans add a nice firmness and color and the butter beans are big and creamy and well, buttery. The combination makes a very tasty veggie pot pie.  If you have a favorite vegan meat substitute, this could also be used.

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat to 400 degrees.

Cook diced potatoes and carrots in about two cups water with dash of salt, turning  burner to high to get a boil going, then down to medium heat to let them simmer.

While potatoes and carrots are cooking, mix 1/4 c. flour with 2 T. oil and 2 T. butter (Earth Balance for Vegans) in bottom of  10 inch iron skillet. Cook and stir constantly on medium heat until  a paste forms (happens quickly), and while stirring with one hand (use a whisk),  pour 2 1/2. cups veggie, beef or chicken broth slowly into skillet to make thickened gravy. (If you are new to gravy-making it helps to have a partner do the slow pouring of broth while you whisk.)

 

To the simmering gravy add:

2 T. teriyaki sauce

1/2 t. grated garlic

1/2 c. frozen corn

1/2 c. frozen peas

Any other leftover veggies you have on hand. (I had about a 1/2 c cooked mushrooms to toss in to the mix tonight, along with some leftover sauteed onions & peppers.)

To this add the drained, cooked carrots and potatoes. Gravy should be pretty thick and creamy (about consistency of heavy cream);  adjust to desired thickness by simmering more to thicken, or adding a little more broth to thin. (You can add a splash of half-in-half or cream if you want a more creamy gravy.)

At this point, add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Remove from burner.

Place uncooked pie crust over the top of the hot gravy-veggie mixture and carefully (that skillet is hot!) tuck the edges of the pie crust just inside the cast iron pan as pictured.  Cut decorative slits in pie crust with a sharp knife  to allow steam to escape.

Transfer skillet (using potholders) to 400 degree oven  for 20 minutes or until crust is flaky and golden.

Serve pot pie at the table in the skillet, with big spoon to let each person dip out what they want. (Be sure to wrap a tea towel around handle of iron skillet so nobody burns themselves touching it.)   Best served and eaten in bowls to catch every drop of goodness.  Serve with a simple side of sliced fresh fruit and you’ve got dinner!

Variations: Some people prefer more “crust” with their pot pie. I love pie crust, too, but too often the bottom of pot pies can be soggy. So I will simply cook an extra round of pie dough, flat, on a cookie sheet,  break it up in about 2 inch pieces, and serve in a bowl at the table, allowing “pie crust” lovers to add more crispy crusts to their bowl if desired. No soggy bottoms!