Chicken Pot Pie

This double crust chicken pot pie made with puff pastry is the ultimate comfort food. I cooked a rotisserie chicken the day before and had just the right amount of chicken left over to get a second meal out of it.

Servings – 2-3

Cook / Prep time – about 2 hours


  • 1 pound of cooked, pulled rotisserie chicken
  • 4 small red potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 small sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • pan spray
  • salt
  • pepper

Thaw the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator for two hours or overnight the day before. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.When the puff pastry is thawed, place on lightly floured counter and roll out to desired thickness and place the serving dish upside down over the puff pastry and using a knife or pizza cutter, cut a piece for the top of the pot pie and place it on a piece of wax paper and place it in the refrigerator. Cut out another piece of puff pastry for the bottom crust. Using pan spray, spray the bottom of the serving dish and place the bottom crust in the serving dish. Poke holes in the crust with a fork and place the bottom crust in the oven for 15 minutes.

While the bottom crust is cooking, clean and wash the vegetables and cut the onion, potato and carrots into 1/2 inch cubes. Mince the garlic clove.

Melt the butter in a skillet on low heat and add the carrots, onion, potatoes, celery and garlic and saute them until tender.

Check the bottom crust and turn it over. Poke more holes in the crust with a fork and cook another 15 minutes or until n nicely browned.

When vegetables are tender, add the flour and stir together. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes more. Turn up to medium heat and add the chicken broth. Cook until it thickens lightly. Dissolve the cornstarch into the milk. Add the cornstarch mixture to the vegetables and stir until thickened.

Remove the mixture from the heat and add the fresh thyme, peas, chicken and seasonings and mix together.

Pour the mixture over the bottom crust. Cover with the top crust. Slice an “X” into the middle of the top crust and brush it with butter.

Place the pot pie on a pan in case of spillage and place it in the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. That’s it!


Suggested songs for your listening pleasure while preparing chicken pot pie…

“Chicken Pot Pie” an unreleased song by Weird Al Yankovic. It was a parody of the James Bond theme “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings. Paul did not support the parody song because of his vegetarianism and suggested a name change to “Tofu Pot Pie” but Al didn’t think that would due to chickens clucking in the background so he did not release it. He has performed the song live in concert and it is available on Youtube.

Since it was Wille Nelson’s 86th birthday yesterday when I made the pot pie, let’s go with “Legend: the Best of Willie Nelson” released in May 2008.

If you would like to purchase the oval dish that I used, click the image below.

Morrison’s Cafeteria Custard Pie

I was asked recently if I had the recipe for Morrison’s Cafeteria custard pies. After managing Morrison’s Cafeterias for 17 years, I pretty much know all of their old recipes. Custards are sort of a poor man’s creme brûlée but a much less expensive alternative.

Back in 1987, I was asked to share the recipe with the food editor of the Fort Myers News Press and with permission from the corporate office, this is the recipe I shared with her back then. I broke down the original recipe for 10 pies to a recipe for just two pies.

I thought I would try to make one recently by doing half of the recipe below, and it turned out great! (with a few revisions). Below is the original newspaper article…

(Due to my poor editing skills, the blog continues below the blank spaces)

After 15 minutes, It looked like the pie was getting too brown so I turned the temperature down to 325 degrees and cooked it for an hour total before it set up. I also set the pie on a ridge sided pan so I could add a little water under the pie to help it set. I had enough custard mix left to make a custard cup also, and I also set that dish in a water bath. The custard cup was done in 30 minutes.


Suggested music for your listening pleasure while preparing custard pie….

Why not ? “Custard Pie” by Led Zeppelin from their album “Physical Graffiti” released in 1975.

“Someone’s in the Kitchen at Morrison’s” a popular advertising slogan from the 1980’s for Morrison’s Cafeterias sang like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”

“How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning” by Dean Martin featuring Helen O’Connell from the 1997 album “Memories Are Made of This”

“American Pie” a huge hit by Don McLean from his 1970 album “American Pie”

Applewood Smoked Beef Brisket

A couple of years ago, I bought an electric smoker after using a charcoal one for several years. I experimented with several cuts of meat on the electric smoker but I was never really satisfied with the results. Everything I cooked in it tasted like bologna even though I cut back on the amount of wood chips I used. This past weekend, I decided to go back to the future and dig out my old cheap Brinkmann charcoal smoker.

I have always been kind of old school anyway, preferring to cook meats with wood anyway like the pioneers did before electricity was ever invented. After reading several online BBQ forums regarding the Brinkmann smokers, I found out that almost all of the users of the Brinkmann charcoal smokers recommended modifying it to work better so I decided to try that.

I started by removing the legs of the smoker and placing them on the outside of the smoker. By doing that, you can lift the whole smoker (that I placed over a paver stone and a couple of bricks) to add more wood. Then I drilled several holes in the charcoal pan to allow for better air flow.

In addition to the meat and seasonings, you will need a bag of hardwood lump charcoal, 3 cans of hard cider and about 3 pounds of applewood smoking chips.

Prep time- 2 days

Brisket cook and rest time – about 7 hours

Servings – about 6

The day before…

Soak the applewood chips in the hard cider and mix the rub seasoning.

Rub seasoning

  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

For this recipe I used a 3 pound flat brisket. You will also need..

  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup apple juice

Score the brisket with a knife or razor. Rub the mustard and olive oil all over the brisket. Mix the rub spices together and rub them into the brisket. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day……

Poke holes in a foil grill bag. Drain the applewood chip liquid into the water pan and set the chips in the foil bag. Light the hardwood charcoal in the charcoal pan.

When the hardwood coals are white, add the bag of woodchips on top of the coals. Set the smoker shell on top of the coals and place the water pan with the cider in the middle. Set the brisket on the grate and cover it. Leave it alone and try to maintain a smoking temperature of 225 degrees without pulling the lid off for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 1/2 hours, add more hardwood charcoal if needed. Check the internal temperature of the brisket.

Note : The rule of thumb for smoking brisket is about 1 1/2 hours per pound. Due to past experience, I allowed for much more time than that. I probably checked the temp too often. I would suggest buying an internal temperature probe to keep from opening the lid too often and stalling the cooking process.checked the temp too often. I would suggest buying an temperature probe to keep from opening the lid too much and stalling the cooking process.

When the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 160 degrees, place the brisket in a foil bag with the apple juice. Seal it tight and put it back on the smoker. Continue to cook until the internal temperature is 190 degrees.

When the brisket reaches 190 degrees, wrap a towel around the foil pouch and place it in a cooler to rest for one hour. Slice against the grain and serve.

That’s it! Enjoy!

Suggested music for your listening pleasure while smoking the brisket…..

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by the Platters from their album “Remember When” released in 1958.

“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple from their album “Machine Head” released in May 1973.

“The Tracks of My Tears” written by Smokey Robinson and performed by The Miracles from the album “Going to a Go-Go” released in June 1965.

“Little Green Apples” by O.C. Smith from the album “Hickory Holler Revisited” released in September 1968.

Loaded Potato Soup

Soup for you! Here is a very flavorful loaded potato soup recipe that will warm your insides on a cool day…

Servings – about 4

Cook/Prep time – about an hour


  • 2 pounds potatoes (gold, russet or red)
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pint half & half
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt
  • pepper

Cook the 4 strips of bacon and reserve 1 tbsp bacon grease. Set bacon aside. Dice the potatoes. Add the 3 cups of chicken stock to a saucepan and add the potatoes. Boil the 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Peel and dice the onions and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon butter to saute pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute them until they are translucent. Add the onions to the potatoes. Using the same saute pan, add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and the bacon grease and simmer on low heat. Add the flour to make a roux and stir until smooth and bubbly. Turn the potatoes back on high and bring to a boil. Add the roux to the potato / chicken stock mixture and stir until thickened. Add the half and half and salt and pepper to taste and turn to low heat to simmer.

Chop the green onions. Crumble the bacon strips. Add half the cheddar cheese, green onions and crumbled bacon to the soup, reserving the rest for toppings. Add the sour cream and mix together to blend. Serve immediately or turn on low heat to keep warm and serve later. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onions. That’s it!


Suggested songs for your listening pleasure while preparing this soup…..

“Loaded” by ZZ Top from their 1996 album “Rhythmeen”

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” A duet of this George Gershwhin tune with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald from the 1957 album “Ella and Louis Again”

“Green Onions” by Booker T. & the M.G.’s from the album “Green Onions” released in September 1962.