At my house, I am usually the weekend cook. I get home later than my husband during the week, so he usually has to get the meals started before I get home, and often has them ready and on the table. He doesn't have much culinary imagination, but the man can follow directions well. That is basically all any woman wants in a man, right? He even follows recipes in English, if I have explained/translated any weird ingredients or terminology in advance. Today, however, I got to leave work a bit early and so I started dinner once he got home, while he blew bubbles with the toddler and the big girl was off at the neighbors' playing.
I took a risk today with red food items: warm bell peppers and tomatoes, all in one dish. Big girl's refusal to eat red foods is arbitrary. Sometimes she does, sometimes she picks around them and eats the rest, and sometimes we have World War III. You never know which one it will be.
I started out by making an all-butter crust. It was one of those, "a little of this, a little of that" moments. In fact, this entire dish falls into that category. Therefore my measurements are approximations. I was eyeballing it, to be honest. I pulsed flour and cubed cold butter in the food processor until marble to pea-sized bits of butter were left, then added a tablespoon of cold water, pulsed, and added a smidge more until the dough stuck together when pinched. Then, poured the mealy mass into my 9 inch pie/tart form.
I pressed it out to cover the bottom and up the sides. Then I baked it at 425F/220C until set, just shy of starting to turn golden, 10 minutes. During that time, I cut 2 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and sautéed, adding a few chopped shallots at the end. If you wanted to, you could cook the chicken and remove, then sauté 1 onion and some sliced mushrooms until soft. Hidden mushrooms aren't popular with the big girl, however.
Then I spooned the onion and chicken into the pie crust, which was out of the oven by now, and tossed in a chopped bell pepper and about 1/3 c. canned corn. Corn is an automatic selling point where the big girl is concerned, so I sometimes use it to make her forget the presence of other less desirable ingredients.
I mixed about 8 oz. cream cheese and a half cup of medium salsa in a large bowl, and spread on top. If you have normal children that weren't Mexican in a former life and do not enjoy spicy foods, I would go with mild. My oldest does, at least, which I attribute to the spicy cravings I had while she was in utero.
Then I garnished with a sliced Roma tomato and banana pepper rings. Jalapenos would do, but sometimes you just gotta use what you have in the fridge.
Then I sprinkled the top with shredded cheese, about 1/3 cup, and back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is all melted and starting to turn golden.
The final result. The big girl told me that the crust was really good and had 2 helpings. She did, however, only eat the crust off the second helping, so she must have liked it. No complaints about red food items, although I did cut around any trace of tomatoes when dishing up her portion. The toddler had already eaten baby food while waiting, to improve her mood, and just tasted a little. She spent the rest of the meal bending down and talking to her food in baby jabber, which her sister found hilarious.
Salsa chicken pie
6 T butter, cubed
3/4 c. flour
1-2 T cold water
2 T olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
3 shallots or 1 small onion
1/3 c. corn
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. cream cheese (8 oz)
1/2 c. salsa
1 Roma tomato, sliced
5-6 banana pepper or jalapeno rings
1/3 c. shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 425F/220C.
In food processor, pulse butter and flour until marble sized pieces of butter remain. Drizzle 1 T water and pulse first, then add a little bit more if needed, until you can pinch the dough and it sticks together. Press the dough out to cover bottom and sides of a 9 inch form, then pre-bake for 10 minutes, just prior to turning golden.
While baking, sauté chicken in olive oil until cooked, add onion and sauté a few more minutes until onion is soft and chicken starts to brown a little. When done, place chicken and onion in the pre-baked crust, then add chopped bell pepper and corn. In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese and salsa. Spread on the top of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Garnish with tomato and pepper slices, then top with shredded cheese. Bake 15 minutes again, until the cheese is melted and starts to turn golden brown.
Serves 2 adults and 2 kids.