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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Favorites: Topless Chicken Pot Pie


Is Fall your favorite season? I must admit, I really love this time of year. In my neck of the woods, the days have noticeably become shorter and the temperature cooler. Each year when this happens I automatically start cooking some of our favorite fall foods. This includes several savory dinner entrées, yummy fall breads, and basically anything with pumpkin.

So, for the next 4 weeks, I am going to do a Recipe Doctor “makeover” on 4 Fall Food Favorites, starting with two favorite savory entrées (healthful variations on Chicken Pot Pie and Slow-Cooker Pot Roast) and working our way to a a favorite fall bread and dessert!


Photo Credit: Elaine Magee

Break your addiction to frozen pot pies with this recipe for Topless Chicken Pot Pie.

Your typical chicken pot pie has fat, saturated fat and calories coming at you from three directions; the top crust, the creamy filling, and the bottom crust. We are making a lower fat, higher fiber crumb topping to replace the top pie crust and we are making a lighter filling using only a couple teaspoons of olive or canola oil to sauté lots of vegetables; plus a cream sauce made with 2 tablespoons of whipped butter or less fat margarine, fat free half and half and skinless chicken breast. If you want to keep the bottom crust, choose a whole-wheat pie crust if possible. Or, if you are really feeling like trimming calories and fat grams, the pot pie can be bottomless as well.

Time Saving Note: If you want to trim some prep time, substitute 1 2/3 cups Bertolli Mushroom Alfredo (bottled) for the homemade white sauce. You can also make this dish with or without the bottom crust.


1 whole-wheat pie crust, uncooked (optional)

2 teaspoons olive oil or canola oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped or sliced celery
3/4 cup chopped carrot (baby carrots can be used)
1 teaspoon minced or chopped garlic
3 cups diced roasted or grilled skinless and boneless chicken breast

Homemade White Sauce Option:
1/2 cup light cream cheese
1 cup fat free half and half
1 tablespoon unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper

1/3 cup Panko crumbs
1/3 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
Olive oil or canola cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Set pie crust, if desired, in a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan if not already in one or divide crust into 5 equal circles if using individual pot pie dishes. If making individual pot pies, place each of the crust circles into an individual dish or ramekin about 4- to 4.5-inches wide, set aide.
  2. Pour 2 teaspoons oil into a medium nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, stir in the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute. Scoop this mixture into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine light cream cheese, half and half and flour in a small food processor (or electric mixer) pulsing until smooth. In same medium saucepan over medium-high heat, pour in the cream cheese mixture and continue to stir and gently boil until it thickens (about 2 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the pepper, sautéed vegetables and diced chicken. Spoon mixture into the crust lined pie plate or if making individual pot pies, divide the filling between the 5 individual dishes (about 1 1/4 cups).
  4. For the topping, in medium sized bowl, combine the Panko, oats, and Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes. Spread topping over the top of the large pot pie or 5 small pot pies. Coat the top generously with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Place pot pie(s) on a cookie sheet and bake in oven for about 30 minutes (for one large pie) or 20 minutes (for individual pies) or until crust is nicely browned.

Yield: Makes 5 servings

With Bottom Crust
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members journal as: 2 cups “hearty stew” OR 1 portion frozen dinner regular + 1/2 cup vegetables with 1 tsp fat OR 1 serving of “lean meat with sauce” + 1 cup vegetables without added fat + 1 slice bread (1 serving of regular crackers can be substituted)

Per serving (with bottom crust): 440 calories, 36 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 93 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 564 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 36 percent.

Without Bottom Crust
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic Members journal as: 1 1/2 cups “hearty stews” OR 1 portion light frozen dinner + 1/2 cup vegetables with 1 tsp fat OR 1 serving of “lean meat with sauce” + 1 cup vegetables without added fat.

Per serving (without bottom crust): 320 calories, 35 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 93 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 401 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 31 percent.

Week #1: Topless Chicken Pot Pie
Week #2: Super Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Week #3: Spiced Apple Cake

Week #4: Ginger Pumpkin Bread

Related Topics:

Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 10:26 am

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