Working at 7 AM has it’s perks. The earlier mornings lead to longer evenings to do other things. Either fun things, second jobs, or perhaps running errands. They also mean that one has the opportunity to work 2 of those hours customer-free and are left alone to finish work efficiently. Ah, the quiet serenity of early mornings!
2 hours in the morning before leaving on the half-hour walk to work, for myself, is ideal. A little over 1 hour to wake myself up properly, relax, play around on the internet, make coffee, have breakfast, maybe answer some questions for my customers. At about 10 till 6:00, I start the water in my shower, pick out something to wear for work and lay it out on my bed, jump into the hot water for around 5-10 minutes, dry my hair, throw on some eyeliner, and get dressed. Normally, a couple of chores are in order, washing the dishes that were used for breakfast that morning, putting away anything that may have been left out from the evening before (I prefer to leave a clean house), and say goodbye to whomever I was chatting with on the computer.
Then I leave for a pitch-black walk. The sun won’t even start rising until 45 minutes after I’m already there.
When I get there, no matter how great I looked when I left, I look like absolute crap. The wind tousles my hair too much and I look awful. Uhg. Every time. Luckily G is not here today.
I had half of a cranberry sandwich and soup for lunch.
After work I had to walk to buy more supplies. Then home. Then start and finish a project. So I pulled double-duty today. I will be doing this for the next couple of days as well.
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie
1 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 slices center-cut bacon
3 portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and diced (about 3 cups)
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup diced onions
2 lb. chicken breasts and thighs, diced
salt to taste
buttermilk biscuits (make your own if you can, but I can’t bake)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the butternut squash, milk, chicken broth and garlic in a small pot and set over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the smoked paprika and set aside.
- While the squash cooks, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the oil and the bacon and the onions. Saute until the bacon begins to crisp and the onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook through, about 10 more minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Grease a casserole dish. Place the contents of the skillet in the baking dish, then ladle the butternut squash puree evenly over the top. Halve the biscuits and place them in an even layer over the top.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and golden. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before servings.
Biscuits AB style
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
*Delicious!!! I couldn’t eat all of it, I made way too much. So I just threw the rest out. Leftovers are just not practical for someone like me. I just don’t ever, ever eat them.