Guest Post: Eli from Coach Daddy Makes a Chicken Pot Pie from Skinny Kitchen

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

How’s this for a first: Today, I’ll write a guest post.

On my own blog. I feel like the Dos Equis guy. When I asked Nancy Fox from the Skinny Kitchen to guest post, she instead sent me a few recipes from her site to try with the kids. Her site’s loaded with delicious dishes.

You can cook healthier, without exotic ingredients or corrugated cardboard.

I wanted something so good even a kid would eat it. Even … my kids.

Grace knocked out the shopping list with me in Aldi.
Grace knocked out the shopping list with me in Aldi.

Something … healthy. And delicious.

It’s tougher to find than Michelle Obama will have you believe.

Marie chose Chicken Pot Pie.

No problem, kid. Watch dad work his magic.

This recipe calls for approximately 37 kilos of vegetables. (I’m not even certain what a kilo is, but it filled our box at Aldi.)

If I can pull this off … I could coach the New York Jets right into the playoffs next, and it wouldn’t be as big a deal.

Chicken Pot Pie, Skinny-fied

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Know those Family Circus comics, when Billy travels 137 nautical miles to reach a destination 3 feet away? That’s me, in the kitchen. I had to boil and reboil the broth 17 times because I had those 37 kilos of veggies to chop, like a Puritan.

2. Stir in onions, potato, sweet potato, carrots and celery. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 6 minutes.

Did I mention I had a lot of veggies to chop? While I watched my Rockies against the hated dodgers on my phone. While I waited for The Preakness. While not trying to chop off a digit when jockey Rosie Napravnik emerged on General A Rod. So dreamy.

3. Add chicken pieces and frozen peas, breaking them up. Bring back to a boil, turn heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, the dodgers took a 4-3 lead. !@#$%! And I might or might not have had to skimp on peas. Shh. The kids will be heartbroken. In related news, it’s OK to reboil broth 17 times. And it smells delicious.

sk54. Place a colander into a large bowl. Pour chicken, vegetables and broth into colander. Add strained broth back to the pan. Set aside chicken and vegetables.

Lucky for me (and my family), I know a colander isn’t that thing you use to get hair clots out of the shower drain. Unlike my noodle mishap with Marie the next day, I managed to drain, strain and maintain without losing any food.

5. In a separate small bowl, add flour. Gradually add milk to the flour stirring with a whisk, until well blended.

This sure didn’t look like pot pie to start. But it became more and more pot-pie-ish as I stirred. The Rockies pushed a run across the plate to tie the game at 4. I marked the occasion by wielding the whisk with vigor.

6. Increase heat to medium with the broth. Stir in milk/flour mixture with a whisk. Cook for 5 minutes or until thicken. Stir often.

I’m on a whisk roll. And fighting the clock. Elise needs a ride from uptown. During Taste of Charlotte, a citywide food festival. And the Charlotte Knights have a home baseball game. This dish stays in the oven for 13 minutes. You do the math.

Who's the idiot who put in the whole carrot?
Who’s the idiot who put in the whole carrot?

7. Add back chicken and vegetables, along with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Forgot the pepper! That’s OK. Pepper’s for grown folk. Kids think it’s too ‘spicy.’ By the way, California Chrome isn’t a Triple Crown winner. I’m not heartbroken. How could I root against Rosie?

8. Coat an 11 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray and pour in the chicken stew.

I made chicken stew. Next up: I’ll stop the spread of all infectious disease and determine whether purple is a boy or girl color.

9. Open the package of biscuits, separate them and place on top of chicken stew. Line them evenly over top.

Lucky me: My brother-in-law gave me a coupon for a free can of biscuits. (When you’re Food Lion brass, you’re good like that). It’s as if Jesus wanted us to make this recipe, too. And a biscuit is the perfect decoy for 37 kilos of veggies.

Proof that I sold the kids short on the frozen peas. Shh.
Proof that I sold the kids short on the frozen peas. Shh.

10. Place the pie on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 14 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown.

Psh. It ain’t Christmas. Who has foil when it’s not even Christmas? Besides white families. We did just fine with a cookie sheet, though. Mm. Biscuits.

11. To serve, spoon into each bowl and top with 1 biscuit. There will be two extra biscuits for whoever wants it.

Thing is, ours didn’t have two extra biscuits. Not by the time I got to it!

Serves 8 (each serving, 3/8ths of recipe and 1 biscuit)

What we loved

This turned out awesome. Without all the nitrates and other chemical compounds you get when you buy your pot pie in the grocer’s freezer. I think Kodak used that same formula to develop negatives.

Don’t drool on your keyboard.

And it’s low for Weight Watchers points, for those of you who count. I once did. But then I went to a fish camp that brought me a large plate of baby flounder. I can’t remember how many points they went for, but I should be able to eat again in 2034.

I digress.

This was a tasty dish everyone destroyed. Leftovers never had a chance, either.

Want Chicken Pot Pie, Skinny-fried, and other stellar Skinny Kitchen recipes? They’ll make you feel full without stuffing you full of bad stuff. Check out Nancy’s web site.



  1. Nancy Fox says:

    Coach Eli, you get 5 stars!!! I’m still cracking up.This is the first time I got to be the fly on the wall while you prepared my Chicken Pot Pie Skinny-fied. You are adorable! Thank you so much for sharing my recipe. I’m so happy you’re family gobbled it up!
    With my very best wishes,

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Nancy! I tried to capture the struggle of man (OK, of me) to cook. It’s a torture of love for me. Thanks so much for the wonderful idea of unleashing us on one of your awesome recipes, or was it unleashing one of your recipes on us?

      It’s gone. Every last bit. Even the peas.

      1. Nancy Fox says:

        My great pleasure Eli. The best part is how you get Grace and Aldi involved. Cooking with your kids is such an adventure with laughter and memories they’ll never forget!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I took a picture of our haul, but it included sweets and other junk that wasn’t in the recipe and shall remain a mystery for Grace and I to carry for always.

  2. jennifermccullough says:

    I once brought home a purple sipee cup for my son. My husband informed me that purple is in fact a girl color. What do you think, Eli?
    Seventeen times, eh? Good to know.
    I’m wondering how that CPP would turn out if you used frozen, pre-chopped vegetables? (I’m such a rebel in the kitchen that way.)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You were totally in the right, Jennifer. Purple is a boy color – why else would it be the Colorado Rockies’ primary color?

      Purple is definitely a boy color. Although we let the girls use it, too.

      Yes, precisely 17 times. I wouldn’t forget a detail like that.

      I think you’d be OK with the prechopped veggies, but you wouldn’t be able to strut around like a badass like I did.

  3. claywatkins says:

    Sounds pretty easy – we cool the same, but with different teams. Glad the kids enjoyed it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It was a snap, Clay. Don’t let the slammed cabinets, whammed skillets and almost inaudible curse words fool you. It was all worth it when the fam crushed it.

  4. Holly says:

    This sounds like a fab way to use 37kg of veg! I will admit I’ve never made a pie. Always buy. Maybe time to fix that.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If you have it laying around, Holly, there are far worse usages of such a haul of vegetation. Making it gives you such a sense of accomplishment. Blood, sweat and tears go into it – well, not actually, because that would make it high in sodium, and kind of gross.

      I bet you could pull this sort of thing off, Holly. I’d bet a bag of frozen peas on it.

      1. Holly says:

        I bet the frozen peas could go into it too 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Bags of frozen peas are best for sprained ankles, actually.

  5. E. says:

    I shouldn’t have read this while hungry…. If you hear what sounds like thunder but there’s not a cloud in the sky, it’s my stomach.
    That being said — tip from someone who spends a good chunk of time in the kitchen (I have healthy recipes that are pretty easy if you want ’em): chop veggies before you do anything else. Saves you the anxiety of burning/wasting/reboiling broth. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh, I could read a food post right after a five-course meal and still jones for it. Send me your favorite recipe, would you Erica?

      I’m going to take your veggie-chopping advice to heart. I kept the broth on a slow simmer after I boiled it up a few times. It made the house smell nice.

      I might put some on like potpourri.

  6. laurie27wsmith says:

    What a great way to spend time with the girls Eli, oh, and follow a favourite pastime, eating good food.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If there’s food, there’s happiness, mate. (Unless it’s tofu.)

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Tofu, hmm. Saw it once didn’t like it.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s unnatural mate. It’s like non-alcoholic beer or sugar-free candy.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Or vegetarian sausages!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s downright communist.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        Un-American activities eh?

      6. Eli Pacheco says:

        Not the America I know, mate.

  7. Lisa says:

    The large carrot in the photo cracked me up! Great recipe Coach! Going to have to give that one a try! Have a super day! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      How’d that dang thing get in there? I forgot to tell everyone that whoever found it gets to make the next pot pie, kind of like the baby cake for Mardi Gras.

      Let me know how yours turns out … if you manage to top this stellar effort, I’ll bring the kids.

  8. ksbeth says:

    wow, you really have some pull. however were you able to convince eli to guest post? i am impressed. i loved the cookorama. love the one giant carrot and i would love to eat this right now. i am also not worried about cc not taking the triple crown. what you have done here is a much greater accomplishment. )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      he’s an old college buddy of mine. or, he’s just old. anyway, to me, he’ll always just be eli from the block. the cookorama was a blast.

      you’d eat this at 5:27 a.m.est? that’s like, 4:27 cst.

      meh, i usually root for the triple crown hopeful, but i couldn’t get behind this particular horse. maybe it was the california thing – that’s where gross things like the raiders, lakers, and san francisco giants are.

  9. I was laughing (with you) through the whole post. I don’t know if that was the purpose? Just imagining you running back and forth, (re-)boiling the broth, juggling the colander (had to look up this word), chopping tons of veggies and whisking like a madman while cursing about the Dodgers. Did you actually manage to give Elise a ride while the pie was in the oven? The baseball game was a hint for much traffic, right?
    Question for Chef E: if there’s a Food Festival in town, why would you choose to cook that night?
    Question for Nancy: suppose you live in a quaint country where you can’t just purchase biscuits at Food Lion, what do you do? Make your own yeast dough?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wasn’t laughing at the time, but I definitely had enough wherewithal to take photos. I think the humor that comes out of my life is so ingrained, the best thing for me to do is pretend it’s intentional.

      Dang dodgers – the Rox came back and won but still. You’re supposed to cook with love, right? I cooked with hate while I watched that.

      With a little parental double-team, we wound up getting elise and I finally got a plateful of the remnants at around 9:30 p.m.

      The answer’s a cinch, TG – I could go shopping with Grace for a basket full of raw food, push myself in the kitchen and put on the table something I knew was as pure as I could make it. And peanut free (for Marie).

      Or, I could buy tickets for ungodly prices and trade them in at food trucks and wonder if the dude running the grill understood what I meant by peanut-free.

      Oh, and parking.

  10. The pot pie sounded delicious and I know if it was Nancy’s recipe then it had to be, but the commentary by you was even better! Seriously, I pinned for the recipe and commentary, too. You need to link this up at my blog tonight for the Pin It Hop (pretty please!!).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She brought the substance, I brought the … frozen peas. Thanks for the pin, Janine! I will link it up … send me an email when the link is ready?

      1. Well, the frozen peas are a necessity!m but still, the linkup goes live at 10 pm EST tonight, if I am awake will e-mail you, if not will let you know in the morning 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’ll be there!

      3. Awesome!!! 🙂

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’m on it this morning … I’m pretty clunky in Pinterest, so bear with me.

  11. kathyradigan says:

    How cool is this, two of my favorite bloggers in the same place!! Eli I ‘m so impressed, I have often thought of blogging about cooking one of Nancy’s recipes but you actually did it!! Great post! And, Nancy, one day I swear I will try this one, it looks so good!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We did this just for you, Kathy. Sometimes, you just have to peel up your sweet potatoes and say, ‘hell with it – I’m giving it a shot.’ Glad you liked it, and thanks.

      Nancy nailed it with this one … the kids put down the veggies like they were Skittles laced with whatever they put on Sour Patch Kids. Suckers.

  12. Cheryl says:

    If I could have as much fun cooking this as I did reading about you cooking it I would do it everynight. The microwave popcorn trade would go under in no time.

    The pea-skimping… was that for you or the girls?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The pea skimping was for all of us and for mankind. Imagine, whirled peas.

      1. Cheryl says:

        It would have been pea-SKIPPING for me. Hate those little boogers….
        Whirled Peas…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        when they’re covered in sauce and hidden under biscuits, you hardly even notice.

      3. Cheryl says:

        I shoiuld have closed that with…
        Peas Out…

  13. Rea says:

    It’s so terrific that you are guest posting on your own blog. Haven’t heard of that before. Haha. 🙂
    You cooking is like me cooking. I mean, I’m sure I can’t even compare to your pot pie because I’ve never cooked that in my life! My husband knows better than me in the kitchen.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s kind of like giving yourself a high-five. Or a haircut. I might even have me back.

      I love to cook, but it’s torturous to me. By the time I get something good on the table, I’m emotionally spent. Plus, I’ve been nibbling on stuff the whole time, so I’m also full.

  14. Kim says:

    What a fun way to make a dish – love all the side notes and add-ins!!
    And, good to know about boiling chicken broth over and over!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And just think – there were photos that just didn’t make the light of day. I’m glad to be a pioneer for potential kitchen mistakes.

  15. tamaralikecamera says:

    I got stuck on the Family Circus reference. It’s been awhile.
    My brother came to visit last fall and he made us chicken pot pies. That’s right. Pies. He used a pre-made crust, a rotisserie chicken, canned soup, and frozen vegetables. (I hate the word veggies) It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
    Don’t tell my mom this, though. She makes her dough from scratch, buys fresh vegetables from the CSA, makes her own broth, and even kills her own organic chicken.
    (one of those parts isn’t true)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Family Circus and Calvin and Hobbes. Oh, and Dennis the Menace. That’s the cool stuff.

      I bet he didn’t have to prepare this meal during the last leg of the Triple Crown and in a tight, extra-innings game against a hated rival such as the dodgers. Still, I’d have eaten one. Frozen vegetation and all.

      I bet the part that isn’t true is that she gets her veggies – I mean, vegetables – from the CSA. That’s right, right?

  16. Stephanie says:

    This looks like a great recipe to try and I love the play by play. I’ll bet my kids would love it.

    What stunned me most…the capital D on (one of the) dodgers. See it? I stopped in my tracks and I was totally confused as to where I was for a moment. (it’s in #2)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh it was delicious, and I couldn’t tell the tale without including dad-in-the-kitchen angst that accompanies me every time I wield the spatula.

      That’s.disgusting. I fixed that. I thought WordPress would default to lowercase for disgusting teams. I feel now like that guy on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (The Jim Carrey version) who thought he was kissing his wife but instead got the business end of the Grinch’s dog.

      (wipes mouth)

      Thanks Stephanie. Gross.

  17. Lauren says:

    This is so brilliant. You never fail to write what I least expect. Your play by play was amazing. I especially loved the “hated Dodgers” part, but 2nd-grade-Braves-worst-to-first-lovin’ Lauren is still holding a teeny tiny grudge.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You are too kind, Lauren. My teachers always said I did what they least expected, and sometimes that was even good!

      The play by play was to illustrate that I felt like I was a pioneer in the old west making grub from basically scratch. I didn’t have to kill the chicken, but I did have to defrost it.

      Grudges are like ‘good cholesterol.’ I think. So keep the grudge. I was hoping Colorado would put up double digits on your Braves last night. I won’t lie.

      Braves and Rox today again at 3:10. Braves win, I’ll put your blog button on my sidebar for a month. What do you offer?

  18. A play by play on the chicken pot pie…very creative! My husband makes a mean chicken pot pie AND shepard’s pie. My daughter informed us tonight that shepard’s pie might just be one of her favorite meals. He can cook all the time. Just kidding…I like to cook.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I just wanted to illustrate the struggle some dads face in the kitchen. We dads have to have those signature dishes, too. It’s extra awesome when it becomes a kids’ favorite as it has in your house.

      One of my proudest moments as a chef dad was making a chicken and pasta dish with peppers and onions. I worried the kids would pick out the vegetables, but they cleaned their plates.

      Of course, I lost that recipe.

      It’s just good to have a backup cook, isn’t it Michelle?

      1. It was fun to see this show up at Foodie Fridays! Pinned to the Foodie board…you’ll have to share recipes with us more often!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It was a blast! I need to write more recipe posts, because I think I’ve posted both with your Foodie Fridays. I’ll just have to show up as an observer until I do.

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