Chicken, Potato & Summer Vegetable Pot Pie

individual pot pies

“I think I’m ready to go back to school.”

My oldest daughter, who loves sleep and not having a schedule even more than, well…me, said those words to me yesterday. It’s hard to believe, but is there such a thing as too much summer?  Even I’m almost ready to get back into the school groove. Even though we’ve had a great summer – took a couple of fun family trips, slept in most days and did our best not to commit to much of anything – the cool days of fall, heavy sweaters and slow braises is starting to sound kinda nice.

chicken pot pies

Which means that it’s time to roast a turkey!

I’m not merely getting a jump on Thanksgiving (although that will be here before we know it – there’s already Halloween costumes in stores!). Every August I roast a turkey (or, as I’m doing this year, a few chickens) in an effort to make September meals easier and the back-to-school transition a cinch. I freeze the meat into portions that are just enough to make sandwiches for a weeks worth of school lunches. Sunday night I take a bag out of the freezer and it’s thawed by Monday morning. Sandwiches are ready to be made for the week which means I’m one step ahead of the game.

chicken pot pies
The leftover chicken or turkey meat is also great to make simple dinners that are easy and quick. Both the girls are already starting sports practice, which means that four nights a week I’ll be running them here and there, leaving me without much time to make a healthy dinner. Fortunately, I have a few other tricks up my sleeve to help simplify things:

  • While Farmers Markets are still around, I stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables and freeze them. They last a few months and I pull them out first thing in the morning when I know I’ll have a busy day. {Be sure to chop them up ahead of time and freeze in dinner-size portions.}
  • I plan my weekly dinner menu in advance. You know you’ve been there: on your way home after a day of running everywhere, and suddenly it occurs to you that you have no idea what to make for dinner. Instead of caving and heading for the drive-thru, I like to have a plan in place. I can’t tell you how much time this has saved me. Having an answer to the questions “What’s for dinner?” brings a satisfaction that only a parent could know!
  • You know those recipes that taste even better the next day? I plan for leftovers which makes our lives that much easier. {This is especially nice if you’ve got older kids who might be on different dinner schedules.}
  • If you’re making one lasagna, why not make two? Freezing dinners is one of my favorite things to do in the fall and winter. It’s a great way to plan for those nights when I don’t have a plan.
  • Use convenience foods when appropriate. Not all convenience foods are created equal. Find some high-quality foods that your family enjoys and don’t taste as if you’ve compromised. You’ve heard me rave about using Simply Potatoes products in many of the dishes I make, but I really can’t stress enough how much I love this product! It’s saved me many times when I was stuck with what to make for dinner. There’s just no way I’m going to peel, boil, mash and dice on a busy weeknight.

easy pot pies

The recipe I’m sharing with you today uses all of the tips above! I put the exact amounts of turkey and vegetables I’ll need into one freezer bag and label it “Pot Pie ingredients”. I can keep puff pastry in the freezer, too, and since I always have a bag of Simply Potatoes on hand, this recipe can come together with a snap!

What tips do you have for making weeknight meals easier? I’d love to hear them!

 

pot pies