Mini Chicken and Leek Pot Pies (Dairy-Free): #117 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When we were in Scotland, we had to visit the Queen’s castle there. And at the lovely Balmoral, we discovered this cookbook. It has some fantastic recipes, including mini chicken leek pies. I adapted it to a dairy-free version here. These make great picnic snacks too if there are any leftovers from dinner. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9 total)

PASTRY:
1/2 cup margarine – $1.24
2 cups flour – $0.32
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tsp sesame seeds – $0.10
2 tsp poppy seeds – $0.10
4 tbsp water – free
1 egg yolk – $0.29

FILLING:
1/2 lb chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces – $2.99
1 large leek – $1.49
2 tbsp margarine – $0.31
2 tsp each thyme and oregano – $1.12
2 eggs – $0.58
1/4 cup plain soy milk – $0.09
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the 1/2 cup margarine, flour, salt, and seeds. Rub it together with your hands until it turns into fine crumbs. In a small bowl, mix the water and egg yolk, then add slowly to the flour mixture while stirring together.

Use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball, but don’t over-knead or it will become tough. Cover the ball in cling wrap and put in the fridge for 20 minutes while you make the filling.

2. Cut the leek into quarters lengthwise, then slice finely. In a large pan, cook the leeks in the 2 tbsp margarine for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the herbs and chicken, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.

In a small bowl, mix 1 egg, plain soy milk, salt and pepper together, then pour this over the chicken and leeks and stir to combine. Put the finished filling in the fridge for 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes) before filling the pies.

3. Roll the pastry out to about 1/8 thick, then cut out circles using glasses you have on hand – a wider one for the base and a smaller one for the lid. Experiment with one first to see the right size depending on your muffin tin size. Press the larger circles into the muffin tin, making sure to get right into the corners.

Fill each pastry cup to the top with the chicken leek mixture. Rub a bit of water around the edge of the smaller pastry circle, and use it to cover the pastry cup. Pinch the edges together so the filling doesn’t leak out during baking.

Beat the last egg and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and brush it over the tops of the pies.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until they’re nice and golden. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. if you have extra filling leftover that didn’t fit in the pies, serve it as a side dish!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings 
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Moroccan Pie: #94 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

If you’ve watched the Great British Baking Show, this is one of the technical challenges the bakers were assigned. You start with a fragrant mix of squash, spinach, garbanzo beans (chick peas in Canada), nuts, cranberries, and lots of spices. Then you cover it in filo or puff pastry.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($17 total)

4 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil – $0.60
1 tsp each cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger – $1.12
1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed – $1.29
1 onion, chopped – $0.50
1 cup roasted almonds – $1.26
1 cup dried cranberries – $1.92
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 bag baby spinach – $1.99
1 can garbanzo beans – $0.99
1 pack puff pastry – $3.99
1 egg – $0.29
2 cups Greek yogurt for serving – $2.50

Directions

1. In a 9×13 baking dish, mix the squash, 4 tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and salt to taste. Toss to coat the squash all over with the topping. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes to soften and roast the squash.

2. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown. Then add the ginger, almonds, cranberries, honey, spinach, and garbanzo beans, stirring between each addition. Cook and stir until the spinach gets soft, then mix into the baked squash.

Spread evenly in the 9×13 baking pan.

3. Cut the puff pastry into strips and layer over top of the vegetables. Brush the top with the egg, then bake for 30-35 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve with scoops of Greek yogurt on the side.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 1 = inedible (pastry was too thick and kids didn’t love the spices)
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Australian Pie Floaters: #83 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When I first heard about this recipe, I thought it was strange to put a meat pie in a puddle of pea soup. But it actually turns out to be fantastic, like adding a healthy gravy to moisten your pie. I prototyped this recipe with store-bought pies and soup, but of course you could make your own too.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 total)

2 steak and stout pies (or other pot pies) – $6.99
1 package split pea soup – $1.99
6 oz sugar snap peas – $1.25

Directions

1. Heat the meat pies in the oven according to package directions (or get fancy and make your own homemade pies.)

2. Near the end of the pie baking time, heat the split pea soup in a small pot and add the sugar snap peas (or make your own split pea soup). 

3. Serve in individual bowls with the soup on the bottom and the pie placed gently on top. A nourishing winter dinner to warm hearts and bellies.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  1 = <4 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (beef)
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 12/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Key Lime Pie: #55 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Normally we tend towards chocolate desserts in our house, but this key lime pie was super easy to make and too good not to try. We used TruWhip (healthier version of CoolWhip) for the topping instead of whipping our own cream, and no one seemed to mind. 🙂

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($15 total)

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (crush up about 12 graham crackers) – $0.99
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.52
6 tbsp butter, melted – $0.93
2 cans sweetened condensed milk – $3.98
1 cup plain Greek yogurt – $1.25
1 tsp lime zest – included in lime juice cost below
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice – $2.99
1 tub TruWhip whipped topping – $3.99

Directions

1. Make the crust: mix the brown sugar and melted butter with the crushed cookie crumbs, press into 2 pie tins, and bake at 375F for 10 minutes, then cool.

2. Make the filling: whisk together the condensed milk, yogurt, lime juice and zest. Pour this mixture into the pie crusts and bake at 350F (note lower temperature than before) for 15 minutes. 

3. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until completely chilled. Top with whipped topping or whipped cream and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lemon Meringue Pie: #49 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I usually prefer anything chocolate for dessert, but lemon meringue pie is one exception. The creamy, tangy sweetness is refreshing and satisfying. This version has a shortbread cookie-like crust for an extra comforting treat.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter – $1.86
1 3/4 cup flour – $0.28
1/2 cup icing sugar – $0.44
1 whole egg – $0.29
1 tbsp + 1 3/4 cup water – free
6 lemons – $1.20
1/2 cup + 2 tsp cornstarch – $1.70
6 egg yolks + 6 egg whites – $1.75
1 cup + 1 cup sugar – $1.74

Directions

1. Make the pastry: Mix the butter and flour together until they become crumbly and there are no big chunks of butter. Feel free to use your hands! Add the icing sugar, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp water, and mix until it comes together into a ball of dough. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface first, or press it straight into 2 pie tins. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to firm up. Then bake the crust at 350F for 15 minutes. If you have baking beans, use them, if not I just put some empty jam jars into the pie crust to weigh it down during blind baking.

2. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: squeeze the juice out of the 6 lemons and grate the zest. In a small pot, mix the lemon juice and zest with 1/2 cup cornstarch. Add 1 3/4 cup boiling water and whisk to thicken the mixture over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of sugar and 6 egg yolks. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until thick enough to be a pie filling.

3. Pour the lemon filling into the pastry crust, then make the meringue: whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until you get soft peaks when you pull the beaters out of the bowl. Add 1 cup sugar gradually as you continue to mix, then add the 2 tsp cornstarch and whisk a bit longer. It should be nice and glossy and pretty stiff. Drop spoonfuls of the meringue on top of the lemon filling, and use the back of the spoon to make sure the meringue covers right to the edge of the pie. Feel free to make any design or pattern you like on top. 

Bake at 340F (dropped oven temperature from before) for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is nicely golden. I like to let it cool for 15 minutes and then chill it in the fridge before serving. 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Chocolate Cream Pie: #36 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

For a special celebration, you might like to make this chocolate cream pie. It has an Oreo cookie base, homemade chocolate pudding filling, and freshly whipped cream on top. It’s very rich, so I find it hard to get through a whole slice. But such a tasty treat!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 total)

2 cups Oreo or Joe-Joe’s cookie crumbs, crushed with the cream filling too – $1.92
5 tbsp + 2 tbsp butter – $1.09
1 cup sugar – $0.88
1/4 cup cornstarch – $0.40
1/3 cup cocoa – $0.33
3 cups half-and-half – $4.47
6 egg yolks (you can use the whites in an omelet or meringue) – $1.75 
2 tsp vanilla – $0.40
1 cup dark chocolate chunks – $1.00
2 cups whipping cream – $2.98
1/2 cup powdered sugar – $0.44

Directions

1. Mix the crushed cookie crumbs with 5 tbsp of melted butter, then press into a 9″ round pan to form a nice solid crust. Bake at 350F for 6 minutes and cool completely.

2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half, then the egg yolks, until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a medium pot and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to low and keep cooking and stirring for one more minute, then remove from heat. Mix in the 2 tbsp of butter, chocolate chunks and vanilla, then pour into the pie crust. Cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight to firm it up.

3. The next day, whip the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a cold metal bowl until stiff peaks form and you can scoop the cream onto the pie. Decorate with grated chocolate if desired.

Cut small slices and enjoy! 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Canadian Tourtiere: #20 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Growing up in Ontario, Canada, we didn’t get over to Quebec very often to enjoy the French-Canadian meat pie known as tourtiere. But living in California now, it’s nice to make Canadian recipes from all over the country. Here’s our tourtiere, loved by all ages. Eat it straight up or with a side salad.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 lb ground pork – $4.69
1 potato, peeled – $0.18
1 clove garlic, minced – $0.04
1 cup water – free
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce – $0.03
1/4 tsp mustard – $0.02
1/4 tsp cinnamon – $0.03
1/4 tsp cloves or nutmeg – $0.14
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pie crusts, thawed – $3.99
1 egg, beaten – $0.31

Directions

1. Mix the ground pork, whole peeled potato, garlic, water, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cinnamon, cloves/nutmeg, and salt and pepper in a pot over medium-high heat. 

Cover, bring just to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour. Take pie crusts out of the fridge to bring up to room temperature.

2. Take the potato out, mash it, and return to the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. You can also adjust the thickness, adding bread crumbs or water to make it into a thick spaghetti sauce texture. Cover and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Press one pie crust into a 9″ round pan and pour the meat mixture into it. 

3. Cover with the top crust, and pinch it well all around the sides to seal. Brush the entire top with egg wash and make slits in the crust. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then drop the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbly on top. Cool for 15 minutes, then cut into it and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!