… an Exclusive Multiples and More Interview (and Recipe) via the Casserole Queens.
Casserole Queens Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock have just delivered two deliciously, delectable, and darling twin…pot pies?!? You betcha. Twin pot pies are but one of many special deliveries borne of the kitchiest of kitchens on YouTube’s premier cooking channel, HUNGRY. Satiate your taste for charisma, nostalgia, and sheer kitchen covertness with the Casserole Queens, as they fill us up with twin-inspired cooking tips and tricks for the masses.
Family Affair Fare
“My family always sat at the table for meals. It was our time to be together and just catch up on the day’s events,” says CQ Sandy Pollock. “So many families are missing that connection today,” adds CQ Crystal Cook, “and we want so badly to inspire today’s young families to start those traditions with their kiddos.” Cook recalls the connectedness she felt as a result of family dinners, which often included extended family. “I’m pretty sure that we fed almost everyone in Blue Ridge (the small town located in the North Georgia Mountains) at some point or another, and with such a large cast of characters, dinner was rarely boring,” says Cook.
Forget the Dinner Roll-Pass the Casserole
For moms of multiples getting food on the table—and fast– is often of great necessity. Something which Pollock recalls from her childhood. “I have twin sisters, so my mom is an expert at getting food on the table,” says Pollock. “When I asked her what she recommends for parents of multiples and she said: Be prepared because by the time they are crying it’s too late!”
Before the tears appear, Pollock recommends that if at all possible, do the majority of cooking in large batches at the beginning of the week. Naturally, casseroles fit the bill. To double your casserole coverage, Cook suggests doubling up on portions (see recipe tips below). Casseroles also allow for stealthy vegetable integration, as explained by Cook, “Spinach, broccoli or peas can all be worked into wonderfully flavorful dishes⎯your kids may never know that something green hit their plate.”
Tips to Take Before You Bake
Casseroles prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer are an easy solution for providing a home-cooked meal on a busy day for mom’s with multiples! It’s just as simple to make two casseroles as it is one (one for now, one for later). They are easy to divide out into individual, oven-safe containers, such as ramekins. Here are some of our no fail freezer tips:
• To prepare: We have found that the best way to freeze a casserole is at the stage right before baking, when all the ingredients have already been prepped and cooked, and beautifully assembled in your favorite baking dish.
• To freeze: Low on casserole dishes? Keep what you have available by lining pans with heavy aluminum foil before assembling your recipe. Once frozen, you can simply lift the casserole out of the dish and tuck it back into the freezer. Your dish is now ready for other upcoming projects. Not only does your casserole stay neatly wrapped in foil in the freezer, but it also creates a lot more space for storing. We heart this tip!
- Always keep in mind that you should cool your casseroles completely before freezing. A quick way to do this is by setting the casserole in a pan of ice water to cool it to room temperature.
- Cover your casseroles with freezer-friendly products such as freezer paper, heavy foil, or a tight-fitting lid. We don’t use plastic wrap, as sometimes it sticks. Always have a permanent marker on hand to label it with the contents, number of servings, and date of freezing.
• To serve: To ensure quality, we recommend that you do not store your casserole for longer than 2 months in your freezer. You made it with love and fresh ingredients, so you’ll want it to taste that way.
Frozen casseroles cook best when they’re completely thawed; the best way to thaw a casserole before reheating is by letting it stand overnight in the refrigerator. Then, cook as directed by the recipe. If the casserole is for some reason not completely thawed, bake an additional 15 to 30 minutes or until the center is hot.
Twin Chicken Potpies
This recipe has been doubled for your convenience. If you are going to freeze one for use on another day, do so according to our “freezing tips.” If consuming immediately, then bake as instructed below. See tips above for more details on how to prepare, thaw, etc…
Low on time? Take advantage of pre-roasted chickens from your grocer and replace the hand cut and blanched veggies with 2 bags of frozen peas and carrots and 1 bag of frozen diced potatoes. Our lips are sealed! Just make note that by not blanching your veggies that you will miss some of the salt flavor, and therefore, you might need to add additional salt to the recipe.
Makes Two 9×13 Casseroles, 8 servings each
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 (3-pound) roasted chickens, boned and shredded
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 cups fresh peas, blanched*
3 cups carrots, diced and blanched*
Erin Davis, author of storybook App, The Pete and Sneakers Bath and Bedtime Show is a mom of three girls (ages 5 and under). When not creating Apps or running after twins and preschooler, Erin writes for various publications and daydreams about sleeping.