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My daughter and her family came to go “see the lights” Wednesday night. We had dinner first, an easy Southwestern chicken pot pie that was such a hit that I’ve included the recipe below. Comfort food is perfect on a wintry evening.

Then we loaded in our car and drove to the park in our town that is well-known for its annual Christmas light show. It’s a wonderful place to take a child.

Traffic crawled at 5 mph through the park, so our daughter got her child out of her car seat without worry. The air was cold, but it was still possible to roll down her window and let her see the lights with her head stuck out. She would have climbed out if we’d let go. Children don’t feel the cold when they are enjoying themselves and she was immersed in the experience. Music played in the park, and though we could tune our radio to the same station, it was magical to hear it playing outside and all around us.

Baby Girl sat there mesmerized. She couldn’t take it all in at once, turning from one sight to another, pointing, talking in her own language, laughing with delight, dancing to the music, and even clapping.

It is so fun to witness children when they are delighted. That’s one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Children can hardly wait to see what lies beneath fancy wrapping on gifts, they love to sing carols at full volume, they love to help bake goodies, and they love to deliver them.

This week one of the treats delivered to our house was accompanied by two sisters singing with all the off-key enthusiasm they could muster: “Feliz Navidad.” We were favored to receive two verses.

Don’t you love children’s view of Christmas? I’m afraid I hugged the stuffing out of my granddaughter.

Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie 

Corneal Pastry:

1 C. flour
1 C. yellow cornmeal
½ tsp. salt
½ C. unsalted butter
¼ C. water

4 green onions, cut diagonally into ½“ pieces.
2 carrots, pared, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
2 tsp. chili powder
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1½ C. flour
1½ C. milk
1 C. chicken broth
3 C. cooked chicken meat, cubed
1 can (15oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz. frozen corn or canned with red and green peppers
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained
¼ tsp. salt

  • Prepare Cornmeal pastry: combine flour, cornmeal and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 T. at a time and mix until pastry is moist enough to hold together. Shape into ball and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • Prepare Filling: Cook green onion, carrot and chili powder in butter in 10” skillet until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour; cook while stirring, 1 min. Stir in milk and broth; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken, black beans, corn kernels, green chilies and salt. Spoon chicken mixture into 13×9 baking dish.
  • Roll pastry out on lightly floured surface into thin rectangle. Roll onto pin and lay over chicken filling. Trim. Cut decorative vents. With excess pastry, may cut out shapes for the top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

From The Family Circle Cookbook: New Tastes for New Times, (Simon & Schuster 1992, 257, 258) 

I served it with a green salad and raspberry dressing. Simple, but yummy. B— declared it was “delicious” and had a second helping.