Say goodbye to sloppy spoonfuls of pot pie!
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mini chicken pot pies
Rachael Ray Show
| Credit: Rachael Ray Show

From noodle-stuffed peppers to choose-your-own-adventure 20-minute meals, Rachael Ray has been giving us some major pandemic dinner inspo this year. This week, she invited on her pal cookbook author/superdad/previous Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott to share sweet and savory ideas to send to friends as part of a DIY food gift basket

We're not kidding about that all-star dad status: Scott filmed the entire segment with his adorable toddler daughter Olive playing on her iPad in the background.

"While I'm so sad to be away from loved ones and extended family this year, my family and I are happy to do our part to slow the spread of Covid by staying home for holiday celebrations," explains Scott, about the reason why he designed this thoroughly modern, supremely cozy dish. "This pot pie recipe makes the best gift to grandma or aunties and uncles who have to spend the holidays alone since all they have to do is reheat and enjoy!"

Joining more sweet and sippable goodies, including a gingerbread trifle kit, snowflake marshmallow bars and a cocktail kit, Scott suggests adding at least one savory component to take your food gift to the next level.

"This is my version of a pot pie, but we're going to do it with a rotisserie chicken because it's easy," Scott says as he demonstrates to Ray how easy it really is.

He's also doing it with frozen puff pastry baked in a muffin tin, which we think is pretty brilliant. (Portable, portion-controlled and finally, a serving of pot pie that doesn't look like a gloppy mess!) 

To follow Scott's lead for his Chicken Pot Pie Muffins, stack a 6-inch square of puff pastry into each cooking spray-coated cup, pressing the dough into the corners to form a bowl shape. Pierce with a fork to allow steam to escape when the pot pie pastries bake, then, so they hold their shape better, freeze for about 15 minutes to allow the butter in the pastry to firm back up. Once the timer rings, stuff each pie shell with a small ball of foil to hold the dough down as it bakes to golden brown.

While the crust is getting its tan on, saute up some diced butternut squash and frozen pearl onions in butter and olive oil, then season with salt, pepper and a mix of cozy fall spices (including sage and thyme). Once those spices are toasted and the veggies are beginning to sweat, invite halved Brussels sprouts and sliced cremini mushrooms to the pot pie party. Pour in a glug of white wine to deglaze the pan, add broth and frozen peas (a must in any pot pie, in our opinion!) and a cornstarch-water slurry to thicken the sauce into a gravy-like consistency. It's now time for the star of the show: pulled chicken, which you can use from a rotisserie bird or leftovers, if you've got 'em.

As all this is happening, roast butternut squash and potatoes, peel off the skins and "blitz it all," Scott says, in a food processor with a splash of cream and a bit of melted butter. Once cool enough to handle, transfer this to a pastry bag ($9.59 on Amazon).

After pulling the golden puff pastries out of the oven, coat them in egg wash to make a "shield" of sorts so they don't get soggy from the filling. Scoop in said filling, evenly distributing it among the 12 pies. Then comes your crowning moment: pipe a pretty swirl of the squash-spud mix on top, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan and bake for 5 minutes more to get the pies nice and brown.

Allow to cool, package as desired and pop this pot pies on your the doorstep of your neighbor, co-worker, family member or Secret Santa. This Chicken Pot Pie Muffin recipe is one present they certainly won't be regifting!