Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me and my steamy hot...
I know you knew where I was going with that.
I knew you'd know because you already know how I love spicy food. Give me chicken and waffles and I'll pass on the syrup and ask for the hot sauce. Spaghetti and meatballs? Crushed red pepper is a must! Heck, I'll put tabasco on my salsa. (Well... only if it's mild salsa!)
So of course, when I began thinking about chicken pot pie - SO the time of year for it if there ever was one - I started thinking that this one was going to need a little something to heat things up.
Just because the weather might be cooling off doesn't mean our food has to bland down! Chicken pot pie is a LEGIT comfort food, but spicy and zesty are things it usually isn't.
Beside, I am of the opinion that cooler weather should only mean hotter food. (Ever feel a little steamy just from eating a jalepeno? Try it. You might not need a sweater for a bit.) At the same time, if you're still a mild-to medium spice eater, this recipe really gets its kicks from moderate-yet-flavor-heavy Mexican spices like cumin and chili powder. The poblano pepper helps, too, but doesn't get in the way.
Beyond the harvest-festival-meets-Dia-de-los-Muertos thang goin' on here, I was serious about wanting to maintain the quintessential chicken-pot-pie filling. Veggies, chickeny gravy, and shredded chicken make up the body of their stuffed pepper "pots." Yes, it's still a "pot" pie, even when the pot is a pepper. No arguments.
Finally, if you've been liking my whole less-carbs approach to cooking lately (it has to happen for the sake of bikini prep!) this recipe is topped not with a crust, but a blend of Mexican cheeses, for a true "Baja Arizona" taste experience!
Still, per Arizona-girl style, you'll definitely catch me with a red-pepper shaker hovering around my plate. This is no big deal. It's how we do.
P.S. Stay tuned for my "peak-week" posts coming up Monday thru Friday! Bikini competition date is this October 25 + 26!
Baja Arizona Pot Pie
4 oz chicken breast
2 large red bell peppers
1 fresh poblano pepper (or other medium-hot pepper) diced (70 g)
1/4 c. frozen corn (35 g)
1/4 small yellow onion, diced (40 g)
1/3 c. frozen spinach (20 g)
3 oz chicken stock
1 oz half + half (or heavy cream)
1 T. tapioca flour (or other thickener, such as plain flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder)
1 oz (1/3 c. ) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 tsp. each: garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, chili powder
1/4 tsp. each: salt + pepper
Optional: Red pepper flakes to taste (in my case, this means NOT optional + a LOT!)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the chicken either by grilling, baking, or cooking on a pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray. (I used a George Foreman grill!) You want to cook the chicken all the way through, until no pink is left inside, but try not to overcook!
Chop up the chicken or shred with two forks to make small pieces.
Lightly saute or broil the diced poblano, corn (still frozen or thawed is ok), and diced onion until the edges are slightly browned. Remove to a small bowl. Squeeze out any excess moisture from the thawed spinach with a paper towel and add to the bowl.
In a small sauce pan, whisk the tapioca starch into the chicken stock and half and half. Bring the mixture to a light simmer and allow to thicken a few minutes while stirring with the whisk.
Remove from the heat and add the spices, a pinch of the cheese if you like, mixing well before adding the chicken, broiled veggies, and spinach.
Mix everything together and distribute evenly between the two red pepper "pots" and top with the remaining cheese.
Bake for about 18-22 minutes, depending on how done you like your peppers and how browned you want the cheese. 20 minutes seemed perfect to me!
Makes 2 main dish stuffed peppers
Per pepper: 222 calories; 7.4 g fat (3.5 g saturated); 20 g carbs; 3.7 g fiber (for about 16 g net carbs); 20.3 g protein (Bonus: 21% DV vitamin A; 224% DV vitamin C; 15% DV calcium; 6% DV Iron)