For the past couple of weeks I slept within the warm roomy confines of a brick and mortar structure. I cooked on a professional-grade range surrounded by granite and graced with a travertine back-splash. I even showered in a new space that rivals the interior room of most minivans.
Christmas on Chestnut Lane was among my favorites ever. It was also the Christmas I’ll surely remember with mixed emotion.
Our entire family ate at the same table for the first time in months — among the many boxes being packed for storage. I was able to see a few people that I’ve longed to look in the eyes — and a few others that I couldn’t care less about. I cooked several meals for my bride (including the homey Muffin Tin Chicken Pot Pies featured below) — and placed them in the freezer for her to eat once I’m gone. We held hands and embraced many times, but it wasn’t enough to keep me warm these 200 miles away.
As we sat opening gifts beneath a gaudy artificial tree perched atop a TV tray, I couldn’t help but to think about those moments being our last behind the pine curtain of northeast Texas. Strangely, it all hit home during a mid-holiday jaunt in a rental truck to the Jimmy Rockford, where my citrus trees now soak up the sun.
It was a good Christmas indeed. Still, my hope is that there will be no traveling home after this year’s holidays.
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Muffin Tin Chicken Pot Pies
- 2 cups – Chicken breast, cooked and chunked
- 1½ cups – Half and half
- 1 cup – Frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- 1 cup – Potatoes, boiled and cubed
- 2 TB – Minced onion
- 2 TB – Butter
- 1 tsp – Dried thyme
- 1 tsp – Kosher salt
- ½ tsp – Coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 – 8 oz pkgs. Crescent roll dough
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large saucepan, mash ¼ cup of the potatoes; add half & half and butter; turn heat to medium.
- Add chicken breast, potatoes, mixed vegetables, onion, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Warm until butter is melted, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and set saucepan aside.
- Grease or spray non-stick spray into muffin tin.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough so that there are no seams; cut pieces of dough so they fit in bottom and up sides of the tin.
- Line the muffin tin with the dough. (You should have plenty of dough remaining to top the pot pies.)
- Using a ladle, fill each 'pie' shell with the chicken mixture.
- Top each one with remaining dough, making sure to crimp the sides.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Allow the pies to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove with a silicone spatula.