Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

I love a potpie. Yum! And this past week I was scouring the Internet for a good venison potpie recipe and just couldn’t find one that spoke to me. A lot of them incorporated secondary meats like bacon (blech) and other culinary evils such as mushrooms (it’s fungus, people). So I decided to create my own. Credit where credit is due, though: my recipe was inspired and influenced by my favorite chicken potpie recipe. But I tweaked it to work for venison and also to optimize the crust-to-filling ratio. Serve with a side of mashed potatoes and a little bit of apple sauce, if you’re so inclined (my mom and I love apple sauce with red meat dishes, cranberry sauce with white meat dishes…so good!).

Oh, and I imagine this would also be delicious with stew beef if you'd prefer it. 

Widgapae Perfect Venison Pot Pie 
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts (should come with two crusts)
  • 1 package deep dish frozen pie crusts (should come with two crusts)
  • 2 ¾ pounds cubed venison steak (like you’d put in a stew)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Half a bag Steam n’ Mash potatoes (these are in the frozen French fry section at the grocery store)
  • 1 bag steamable frozen mixed veggies
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon steak seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • ½ teaspoon garlic-in-a-jar 
  • 1 ¼ cup skim milk
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounce) 98% fat free cream of celery soup (Campbell’s or store brand both work fine)
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounce) beef broth
  •  ¼ cup fat free sour cream

~Heat oven to 375°F. 

~Remove refrigerated pie crusts from box so that they can soften.
~In a 3-quart sauté pan, cook the venison meat in olive oil and the Worcestershire sauce (I cooked it, covered, over a very low heat for about 30 minutes). 

~Microwave and drain vegetables per directions on packaging. 

~While the meat and vegetables are cooking, whisk together flour, salt, steak seasoning, pepper, onion flakes, garlic, and milk in 2-quart saucepan until blended. Cook mixture over medium heat until sauce thickens (should take about 5 or 6 minutes). Be sure to stir continuously so the mixture doesn’t cling to the bottom of the pan and burn. 

~Stir in soup, beef broth, and sour cream. Add meat and vegetables (don’t mash the potatoes obviously; just put the little chunks in whole). Mix well. Cook until heated through (remember to keep stirring). 

~Open frozen pie crust bottoms and separate. Pour filling equally into each crust. Unroll top crusts (the refrigerated ones) and place one over each pie. There will be excess around the edges; flute it however you like (I like to make thick edges rather than let the excess hang over the side). 

~Cut a few slits in the middle of the pies to vent them. 

~Bake the pies at 375° for approximately 50-65 minutes (the cooking time will vary depending on your oven, but you want the crusts to be brown and you should see the filling bubbling through the slits). When it’s done cooking, let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving it because it will be piping hot!

Enjoy, and definitely let me know what you think!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Home Maintenance on the Cheap:

Slow-Running Faucet
It's weird, but one of the things in life that truly brings me joy is being able to correctly fix something in my home on my own (or Chris being able to fix something, which happens more often). Seriously, one of the best feelings ever. Built circa 1958, our house is old - for Texas (cue snickering and scoffing from the folks in New England, where it's not uncommon for people to live in houses built in the 18th and 19th centuries).  But, for whatever reason, houses here that have been around for longer than 10 years are considered "older." So ours is basically ancient. And I get a little anxious and dramatic when I think something in the house is broken. Therefore, when the faucet in our master bathroom sink started running slowly a while back, I almost had a meltdown. I convinced myself that there was a major pipe leak between the road and the bathroom pipes and that we were about to have to shell out some major money for a repair. Then I picked myself up off the floor, wiped away the tears, and started actually thinking clearly (kidding about the floor and the tears...yeah, kidding). I decided to clean the aerator screen (the little screen on the very end of the faucet) and see if that would help. I cleaned the aerator screen, returned it to the faucet and, lo-and-behold, the water came gushing out at the normal speed. Hallelujah! And all it took was some white vinegar and a pair of pliers. This weekend, I noticed the faucet running a little slowly again, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and give the screen a good cleaning, then put pictures and instructions on the blog to help people who may run into a similar problem. Happy maintaining!


Welcome to the Widgapae blog! What is widgapae, you ask? Well, the short answer is: widgapae is the good stuff. The things that make you happy to be alive. The things that live in your memory immersed in a halo of sunlight. This blog is about the widgapae in my life: my sweet husband and pups, my family and friends, the projects that bring me joy and let me feel creative, making a delicious meal even when I think I'm not really into cooking, and the wonderful ideas with which other people inspire me. I hope you enjoy it!