Homestyle Bakes Chicken and Biscuits - my favorite childhood dinner
I remember when I was young and my mom went back to college, my family started buying Banquet brand Homestyle Bakes, specifically the country chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuits variety. It was hands down my favorite meal for most of middle school, and part of high school. And what made it better was that it was easy enough that I could prepare it myself! It was one of my early forays into cooking for a family, and I loved it. The Homestyle Bake would involve mixing mashed potato powder with water, spreading it over a Pyrex, then layering on canned chicken in gravy, and finally, preparing and placing the biscuits. Then it baked for maybe 30 minutes and the whole family was fed from a single box, with so little effort a child did it.
Today, while I fondly remember the Homestyle Bakes of my childhood, I prefer to use fewer pre-packaged ingredients in favor of fresh vegetables and more meat to get to my daily protein goals. This makes the Homestyle Bake box sets a hard sell, but luckily, I stumbled upon a recipe that brings back those same memories and flavor, with all fresh ingredients!
Simple Ingredients, Big Flavor
The same way I enjoyed Homestyle Bakes as a child, I also loved pot pies. Needless to say, as an adult on a diet, I found myself looking for a way to have a pot pie without all those pie crust calories. And that’s how I stumbled upon a turkey biscuit pot pie recipe. Of course I didn’t have turkey, so I substituted cubed chicken, and I chose my own vegetables to add to the dish, but the moment I tasted it, I knew I had found something special. The flavor was an exact match to the Homestyle Bake that I loved as a child! As I learned, the flavor of this recipe really comes from the skillet fried chicken, mixed into the otherwise simple gravy. It’s a very comforting flavor, with the thick sauce only making it better.
A copycat Homestyle Bakes with all Fresh Ingredients
In this recipe, I use fresh chicken, onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes to make a hearty base of meat and vegetables. Carrots, onion, and celery are all very low calorie, so I encourage you to use however much you want of these. The potatoes are a little more caloric, so I like to keep it to about 2 small potatoes in the recipe, since I want more protein calories from the chicken.
I know these ingredients don’t immediately seem to match the Homestyle Biscuit country chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuits meal, but trust me, these fresh ingredients really make the right flavor. Frying the onions, celery, and carrots in the same skillet the chicken fried in really creates the perfect base for the sauce. The cubed potatoes add the same flavor, though a different texture than the mashed potatoes. I rather prefer the cubed potatoes, since they give the meal a bit more bite. If the mashed potatoes were your favorite part of the meal, you could easily boil and mash the potatoes in this recipe and spread that over the Pyrex before adding the sauce.
Substitutions for Homestyle Bakes Chicken and Biscuits
Maybe carrots, celery, and potatoes aren’t your preferred veggies. Well, good news, you can substitute these with just about any veggies you want! I recommend keeping the onion for the sake of the sauce flavor, but you could easily substitute out the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Carrots and celery could be substituted for broccoli and peas, or any other combination. However, I would recommend that if you substitute out the potatoes, be sure to replace them with another starchy vegetable, such as a squash or turnip.
Tips cutting butter into biscuit dough
You might read this recipe and see talk about cutting butter into flour and think – but I don’t have a pastry cutter. That’s ok! I don’t have a pastry cuter either! My tip: use a fork and carefully target butter chunks in the flour. By pushing the butter with the fork, it will slowly but surely reduce the size of butter clumps, and fully integrate them into the flour mixture. And that is how I’ve survived all these years without a pastry cutter.
Sides and Substitutions for Homestyle Bakes Chicken and Biscuits
Here are a few ways to spice up this meal:
- Add ¼ to ½ tsp of smoked gochugaru powder when you add the other spices for a delightfully spicy take on this recipe.
- This meal can serve 4-6 people. If you want to feed 6, I recommend serving it with my Turmeric Yellow Basmati Rice as a tasty side dish.
- This meal would also be fun served with my Yellow Squash Fritters as a side!
- Add a bbq flavor to this meal by substituting the chicken with my Smoked Boston Butt, and switching out the celery for summer corn.
Copycat Homestyle Bakes Chicken and Biscuits
Homestyle Bakes Chicken and Biscuits
- 1 9x13 Pyrex Dish
- 1 Skillet
- 2 lb Chicken Breast, cubed
- 1 cup cubed potato
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups Chicken Broth (or 2 cups water with 2 tsp chicken bouillon)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ cup Milk
- ½ cup Shredded cheddar cheese (2 oz)
- Finely dice onions, and chop carrots, celery, and potato into small, bite size pieces.
- In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp canola oil on high heat. Once hot, add the diced chicken. Salt and pepper to taste while the bottom side cooks. Once the bottom of the chicken has started to brown, begin turning in sections, and allow the other side to brown.NOTE: It’s not important that every piece of chicken browns. The browning is to add flavor and to create flavorful chicken juices that will be added back to the bake.
- After another 2-3 minutes, the chicken pieces should be lightly browned on 2 sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. The chicken will not be cooked through at this point, and that’s ok.
- In the same skillet, add 3 tbsp butter, allow to melt slightly, then add the onions. Fry the onions in the butter for 2-3 minutes, or until the butter has melted and the onions are softened. Now add the carrots, celery, and potato. Fry these together on medium heat until the potatoes are beginning to brown, and the other veggies are softened, approximately 10 minutes.
- Keeping the heat at medium, add 3 tbsp flour to the veggies, and stir to combine. Now add the chicken and any juices on the plate back to the skillet, and stir again to combine.
- Finally, add the chicken broth and all the spices. Stir well to combine, and allow this to simmer until the sauce is thickened, at most 5 minutes.
- While the chicken and veggies simmer, combine flour, baking powder, and 1 tbsp butter in a bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour. It should still look mostly like flour when you’re done.
- Now add the milk and cheddar cheese to the biscuit mix and stir well to combine.
- Once the chicken and veggies sauce has thickened, pour it into a 9x13 Pyrex dish and spread out evenly. Divide the biscuit mix into 6 pieces and lay out to top even portions in the Pyrex.
- Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes, then serve and enjoy 🙂