As we approach the Holiday Season and the weather starts to turn colder, Open Heart Kitchen prepares healthy & nutritious versions of the comfort foods our diners have grown up on. Whether it be a traditional roast beef diner with mashed potatoes and gravy, salmon patties with lemon rice, or spinach lasagna, we hope that all who enter our doors feel welcome to sit down and enjoy a warming meal with their community.

Here are a couple of tried and true recipes we’ve made for our diners in recent weeks. We hope you’ll try them out and share our meals with your family.

Chef Liz’s Chicken Chili Verde

-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 large onion, peeled and chopped
-8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
-4 poblano peppers, roasted
-1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted
-1 pound tomatillos, or 1 16-oz container of tomatillo salsa, or canned crushed tomatillos
-1 tablespoon ground cumin
-1 tablespoon ground coriander
-1 tablespoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 bay leaf
-2 to 3 pound rotisserie chicken, shredded.
-4 cups chicken broth
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro

-Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
-Peel and wash the tomatillos so they are not sticky; cut into quarters.
-Cut the poblanos and jalapenos in half, remove seeds and stems, brush with a little oil, and place on foil-lined greased sheet pan. Roast in your oven until blistered and charred, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool then dice.
-Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, and chopped peppers. Sauté for 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt and saute for another minute.
-Stir in the tomatillos, pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
-Remove the bay leaf. Puree the vegetables and broth base using an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, then carefully puree in 3 batches using a blender. It does not have to be totally smooth, but the chunks of tomatillos should be blended in. Add back to pot, add in the shredded chicken, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
-Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Finally, stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve as-is, or with lime wedges and sliced avocado. You can also crush a few tortilla chips on top. Enjoy!

Chef Liz’s Individual Chicken Pot Pies

-4 cups chicken broth
-1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
-1 onion, finely chopped
-2 large carrots cut in 1/2-inch rounds
-1 rib celery, sliced
-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-Salt and black pepper
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1 store-bought 2-pound rotisserie chicken, shredded
-1 (7-ounce) bag frozen pearl onions
-1 (9-ounce) box frozen peas
-2 (9-ounce) packages store-bought rolled out pie dough
-Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
-In a large saucepan heat chicken broth over medium heat until hot.
-In saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until tender, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and saute another minute, then season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and stir together until it becomes pasty and lump-free, about 3 minutes. Stir in the hot broth and heavy cream, stir well and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken and frozen onions and peas. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
-Fill 6 oven-proof ramekins (12-ounce size), oven-proof bowls, or individual pie tins with the filling. Place on baking sheet.
-Sprinkle flour on your counter top. Roll out dough an extra inch. Using a biscuit round or mold, cut out dough to cover the tops of your oven-proof bowls, with about 1/2-inch hangover, depending on their size. Crimp the dough over the edge of the ramekin/bowl/pie tin. Brush with the egg wash and make 3 or 4 small slits on the top to vent. Sprinkle with kosher salt and place on a baking sheet. -Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and Enjoy!

-You can substitute the same amount of turkey for the chicken—use those leftovers from Thanksgiving!
-Want to make it vegetarian? Omit the meat and add in 1 cup of diced potatoes, 1 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup canned corn, or other vegetables you like.
-If you do not want to make individual pies, you can use 2, 9-inch pie pans, or a round , or a 9×13 casserole dish.

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