Star Baker

I’m not ashamed to admit that trying to keep my children alive by way of feeding them healthy nutritious meals is a battle im constantly fighting,,,and loosing.

Not one to give up, I tirelessly argue, coax, encourage, force(?!) two of my little darlings to eat the food i’ve lovingly prepared. If your kids are fussy too(two of mine are, two are not) you’ll know how gut wrenchingly upsetting it can be to run this gauntlet on a daily/weekly/yearly basis. We’re all just trying to do our best for them yet they continually rebuff our best efforts of making food enticing enough for them to at least TRY some of it?

So i thought id write this post to possibly help out another parent who may be upset and frustrated, possibly just to confirm ‘yep, we’re all going through the same shit’.

In my mind, i feel like if the kids can be involved in what you’re making for them there’s a teeny tiny chance that they may be more up for trying it! Quite often now ruby helps me to prepare tea. of course there are still things which she’ll point blank refuse to eat(pasta!). At age 12 she is obviously a lot more capable than a younger child, but you’ll know what your child can & cant get involved with.

In the winter its far easier to make meals with ‘hidden’ veg i think? They can be blended into bolognaise, soup, shepherds pie, stews. This week though, i wanted to try making a pie, which i hoped most of the family would enjoy. Having a family as big as ours, i have to keep to a budget when planning meals, and often adapt recipes i find online to make them more affordable for us!

For our pie, we used a bag of Iceland frozen chicken breasts, there’s no difference in flavour to fresh ones & the’ye far cheaper(if you’ve never tried them, trust me on this one!) I also wanted to add some leeks-a vegetable none of us ever eat, mushrooms, & onions. We also had a big chunk of an Aldi gammon joint leftover from earlier in the week so i added an equal amount of ham to chicken(yep, we’re big meat eaters if you haven’t already guessed!).

(Gorgeous pie dishes available from Sophia Victoria Joy)

As this is a made up recipe you can pretty much wing it as i did and add whatever you like, the basic principle will still be the same.

Fry off half a bag of frozen chopped onions(ain’t no mother-of-four-farmers-wife got time to stand around chopping onions), two large leeks, we chopped these up TINY to be more child friendly (read as unrecognisable) and a punnet of mushrooms. If you have a toddler-they can easily chop mushrooms!. In a separate pan i gently fried the chopped up chicken pieces.

Now you need to make up some stock, we used two oxo chicken stock pots, with 1000ml of water. Once all of your ingredients are cooked through, its onto the next stage, mixing it altogether!

Firstly, sprinkle three tablespoons of plain flour over the chicken pieces and slowly add the stock, stirring all the time, once its all gently blended bung in the veg. Hopefully you wont get any flour lumps, but for a definite lump free mixture you could make this in a separate pan with a sieve on hand to rescue any disasters(i speak from experience here!).

I then gently let all the flavours swish about in the pan for five minutes, you can add also add in some garlic, or bay leaves, whatever you fancy really at this stage. Then its onto the pie construction.

We used one pack of Aldi puff pastry, which was just enough for the two dishes we used. I think in future, i’ll buy two packs, but, you live and learn.

Having never written a recipe blog post before, things are coming to me as i go along, so i’m just gonna add, before you fill your pie dish, turn it upside down on top of the laid out sheet of pastry to make sure its going to cover it!…

Then transfer your meaty, veggie mixture into your chosen receptacle, whack the pastry on top, brush the pastry with egg wash(one whole egg, whipped up with a fork in a mug) so that it goes golden as it bakes…..ET VOILA! I have an electric oven, so i baked it on 180 for about twenty five minutes, just take it out when the pastry is golden brown.

Now, if you’re lucky, you will all have survived with your sanity.  Before setting out to create the chicken pie of dreams, i thought my main problem was actually getting everyone to eat the sodding thing. But if you’ve come here via my Instagram page, you’ll know, that that was the least of my worries.

you may have noticed that there are no carefully staged, beautifully shot photos of me & Ruby baking this meal, my reality is i don’t have an insta husband stashed away who can take those kind of photos for me, i was a sweaty sweary mess, poppy was too busy trying to keep Annie alive to take any, and the kitchen was a non insta friendly shit hole, so please accept my apologies.

Despite the above, i can confirm that five out of six of us ate (& ENJOYED) the chicken pie of dreams!

So if you do give it a go, & by this stage you’re not too pissed/its not midnight/you actually remembered to buy some as well as the other ingredients on this list, you could opt to serve some vegetables with ‘the pie’, just, ya know, thought i’d add that in there for sarcastic effect.

Much love,

Kirsty xxx

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