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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Countdown to Dinner: Pot pie is speedy comfort food

Thursday, March 08, 2001

Tested by Rebecca Sodergren

My grandmother's chicken pot pie was one of my favorite meals when I was a kid, but when I requested it, I think she used to groan under her breath. Think of all the work -- making pie crust, roasting and shredding chicken, making gravy from the chicken drippings, cooking potatoes and vegetables, and assembling the whole thing into a pie. It was an all-day project.

Marian Calligan's half-hour version of the classic dish is our Countdown winner this week. It may not be Grandma's, but it's tasty -- and for the working cook, it's a life-saver.

Knorr's Leek Soup Mix serves as the base, in place of gravy, and it thickens nicely.

We could have bought precooked rotisserie chicken to make this dish, but we decided to experiment. We plopped three chicken breasts into a frying pan and cooked them while the veggies, soup mix and milk began heating in a separate saucepan. Once the chicken was cooked through, we chopped it and added it to the veggies and soup, which had just begun to boil. Then we poured the whole concoction into the casserole dish as directed. Even with this variation, we still finished testing the recipe in just 32 minutes.

Calligan, of Cranberry, has submitted a Countdown winner twice -- her first, Sweet & Spicy Chicken, ran in 1999. She and husband Scott have two children, Marissa, 6, and Bryan, 3.

For submitting a winning entry, Calligan wins a cookbook. You could, too -- just see the instructions below the recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 can Veg-All mixed vegetables
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups milk
1 package Knorr's Leek Soup Mix
1 package (4.5 ounce) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In 2-quart saucepan, combine vegetables, chicken, milk and soup mix. Bring to a boil. Spoon into 1 1/2-quart casserole. Cut biscuits in half and arrange on top of chicken mixture.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are brown. Serves 4.

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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