Image courtesy of Meredith Kessler, Getty Images

Image courtesy of Meredith Kessler, Getty Images

When Meredith Kessler was growing up in Ohio, her friends and family would gather around for a good old-fashioned meal. Maybe that’s why now, even though she’s one of the top American Ironman triathletes, she still likes to sit down for a hearty — but healthy — chicken pot pie.

Kessler added a ninth Ironman title to her resume on Sunday, winning Ironman Arizona by a comfortable eight-minute margin. She shared the comfort food that fuels her races and hard training days.

Day and time: A lot of times, this seems to be a lucky meal before key workouts when I need some extra oomph. I try to eat it as a late lunch or early dinner. Add a Guinness and you’re golden. Chicken pot pie has a reputation for being heavy, yet this one is anything but. It’s actually quite healthy, perfectly filling and nutritious.

Place: At home or on the road before a race

What I’m eating: Healthy chicken pot pie

Why I’m eating it: It genuinely tastes delicious. It’s like having your main entree, salad, vegetable and even dessert all rolled in one. It also gives just the right amount of energy to propel you to have strong, focused and sustainable workouts the next day.

I like to keep things as simple and efficient as possible, and this dish embodies that. It is easy to prepare and does not require a huge amount of time to create, cook and present on a plate.

The recipe:

Chickenpotpie

Image from Meredith Kessler

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed. I often use already roasted Rotisserie chicken, which is super delicious and easy
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup leaks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 9-inch unbaked whole wheat pie crusts (or crust of your choice — can be gluten-free if you feel like it)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s heating, make a roux — a kind of sauce thickener — with the carrots, peas, celery and leaks. Saut√© it all in the olive oil.

Combine with the chicken in a saucepan. Then stir in flour, salt, pepper and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick — about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and remove from heat. Set it all aside.

Pour the whole chicken mixture in the bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until pie is golden-brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Savor and enjoy the tasty workout fuel!

Source: ESPN