Time Saving Tips For Meal Planning

The holidays are a busy time of the year. Meal prep doesn’t have to add to the stress. Here are a few tips to help you through the season, make use of your leftovers and hopefully save you some time:

  • check your pantry, fridge & freezer at the beginning of each week

  • plan out your weekly menu according to what you have in stock

  • scale up (double) your recipes to use for lunches the next day

  • find recipes that incorporate leftovers

I often bake meat pies with leftovers. This is a great recipe to keep around for any time of the year, especially during the holidays. If you don’t have the time to make a crust, prepare the following recipe for filling, buy a ready made crust at the grocery store and bake according to the directions below.

This Turkey Pot Pie makes the most of Thanksgiving leftovers.

This Turkey Pot Pie makes the most of Thanksgiving leftovers.

A Traditional Chicken Pot Pie is sure to please a hungry family.

A Traditional Chicken Pot Pie is sure to please a hungry family.

Homemade Meat Pie

Recipe Inspired by Marguerite Patton’s Everyday Cookbook 1968

Filling:

  • 2 cups leftover meat cut into small 1” cubes (steak, turkey, chicken, whatever you have leftover; you can even use fish if the flesh is firm or veggie meat for vegans

  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots

  • 2 cups milk (you can substitute plain non-dairy milk as well, I use almond)

  • 2 Tablespoons butter (or for vegans non-dairy butter) cut into 1 inch cubes, softened

  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried sage (if using fresh, double the amount)

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (if you prefer gluten-free, substitute your favorite gluten-free flour blend instead)

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cut into cubes and softened (for vegan substitute a non-dairy butter) plus 2 Tablespoons set aside

  • 1 cup filtered ice water

  • 1 eight inch pie plate

  • pastry brush

Directions for Filling:

Heat the butter and flour on a low to medium flame in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Stir with whisk until the two blend together and begin to give off a toasty aroma. Add the garlic salt, sage, black pepper and whisk to incorporate. Slowly add the milk, and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. This should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending on your heat source. You don’t want the roux to boil, just thicken so lower the heat if it starts to bubble up. Remove from heat and pour into a large heat proof bowl. Add the frozen peas, carrots and leftover meat. Stir to coat and set aside.

Directions for Crust:

Sift 3 cups of flour into a large bowl. Add the salt and butter cubes. Using a pastry cutter or large tined fork, mix the butter and flour together until the mixture blends into a coarse, mealy mixture. Add the water 2 Tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together and is no longer dry and crumbly. Form into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from fridge and cut dough in half, lightly forming halves into rounds. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in pan and set aside. Place first round between two greased pieces of parchment paper and press down gently with the bottom of pie plate to flatten. Take your rolling pin and begin to roll out pastry starting from the center out and continue, turning the parchment as you flatten the pastry. When the dough reaches two inches beyond pie plate, you are done. Lift off top piece of parchment, turn crust over and center it on the pie plate. Remove the back piece of parchment paper and gently press the crust into the pan, leaving the crust to lie a little over the sides. Cut off any excess dough with scissors or knife. Brush the inside of crust with melted butter and add the filling. Repeat with the other half of crust centering the rolled out dough over the pie. Remove parchment and cut off any excess dough. Fold the top crust over the bottom, working your way around the pie, pinching the seam closed with your fingers as you go. Brush the top with the rest of the melted butter. Cut two steam vents in the center of the pie with the tip of a sharp knife, each vent should be about 3/4-1 inch long. Bake @ 350 degrees for about an hour or until the crust is lightly browned. Let sit for about half an hour before cutting. Serves 8 (unless you prefer two slices!)

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Laura Crotty