A Hankering for Pie

strawberry pie slice

Recently, I became unafraid to make pie crust from scratch. It happened when Miss Priss I needed to bake a pie after she won a persuasive writing contest at school. We had to bring in the pie she described in her essay for a class pie tasting. I put off making the pie until the last minute– as in really late the night before it was due– and I was forced to make a homemade pie crust since I could not get to the grocery store at that late hour to buy a pre-made one. Turns out, they are not that hard to make, and you really do notice a difference. I’ve tried a few different recipes and prefer the crust recipes that use Crisco as opposed to butter (see links below).

sugar and cream pie slice

Miss Priss’ winning pie was a Chocolate Brownie Drizzle Pie from Paula Deen. Tonight we are having Strawberry Pie and last week (in honor of Pie Day) we ate this Sugar and Cream Pie that was heavenly.

Strawberry Pie Ingredients

  • 1-2 pints fresh strawberries, stems and leaves removed
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 1 9-in. baked pie shell
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Directions

  • Cut 1 pint strawberries into bite sized pieces and line the bottom of the baked pie shell with the strawberry pieces. I quartered the strawberries and dropped them into the crust, but you could slice them and place the slices evenly around the shell to make the pie more decorative.
  • In a saucepan, bring to a boil 6-8 whole strawberries with 3/4 c. water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Combine cornstarch and sugar and add to the berries.
  • With a whisk, stir constantly until the mixture is clear and thickened. Pour thickened strawberry mixture through a sieve to remove any chunky pieces.
  • Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the strawberry liquid.
  • Pour liquid over the strawberries in the pie shell. Chill several hours.
  • Serve topped with whipped cream.

strawberry pie

Notes

  • If you do not chill the strawberry pie long enough, the strawberry syrup will be runny and not hold together when you slice the pie. This does not affect the taste of the pie, but it looks pretty messy.
  • The original Crisco pie crust recipe can be found HERE. I use milk in place of the water.
  • Pioneer Woman has a good Crisco pie crust recipe HERE.

pie crust transfer

Make One; Freeze One

spaghetti pie bite

It is embarrassing how little food preparation I have done for my family in recent weeks. TheRoomDad has completely taken over weekend meals and school lunches. The best I have been able to do for weeknight meals is scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. He practically fell off his chair when I told him I was headed to the grocery store and had decided to make Spaghetti Pie for Sunday dinner.

My original Spaghetti Pie recipe came from the Beyond Parsley cookbook, but there are many Spaghetti Pie options if you run a Google search. Over time, I have adjusted my recipe slightly because I always make a double batch, so we can eat one pie and freeze one for later. The only reason I considered making Spaghetti Pie this Sunday was because it had the benefit of an extra freezable pie, so I could avoid preparing dinner on another night in the future.

spaghetti pie baked

Crust Ingredients (for 2 pies)

  • 2 boxes (16 oz.) thin spaghetti cooked and drained
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 t. dried basil

Meat Sauce Ingredients (for 2 pies)

  • ~1 lb. ground beef (find a package that is close to 1 lb.)
  • ~1 lb. Italian sausage (1 package)
  • 1 28-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 2 t. dried basil
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 1/2 c. white wine

Other Ingredients and Equipment (for 2 pies)

  • 1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 10-inch pie plates (can be disposable)

Directions

  • Make the crust first. Combine the cooked spaghetti with the other “crust” ingredients while the pasta is warm. Chop mixture with two knives until ingredients are well combined and spaghetti is in small sections. Put the two knives in the center of the ingredients and pull in opposite directions to chop the pasta. Repeat the knife movement moving the pan around, so all noodles are cut into small pieces.

spaghetti pie mixing noodles

  • Press half of the pasta mixture into each pie plate making sure the pasta covers the bottom and sides of the pie plates and set aside.

spaghetti pie crust

  • To make the filling, brown ground beef, sausage, and onion together. Drain the fat. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and heat thoroughly.

spaghetti pie sauce

  • Put the ricotta in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 T. warm water and mix together, so the ricotta will be easy to spread.
  • To assemble the pies, spread about half of the ricotta cheese on each pie “crust.” You may have some leftover ricotta.

spaghetti pie ricotta filling

  • Top the ricotta with meat sauce on each pie.

spaghetti pie assembly

  • Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each pie.

spaghetti pie cheese topping

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Freezing and Reheating Directions

  • Before baking, cover pie completely with foil wrapping around the bottom as well. I like to use the disposable pie pans that come with lids. I attach the plastic lid, then wrap completely in foil.

spaghetti pie freezing

  • Put covered Spaghetti Pie in the freezer.
  • When ready to eat, thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight keeping the covering on it.
  • Remove all coverings before baking. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top.
  • The pie can be reheated straight from the freezer. Remove any plastic covering and cover the top with foil only. Bake at 350 or 375 degrees until thawed in the center (test with a knife). Remove the foil covering and continue baking until golden brown on top and bubbly on the edges.

Notes

  • I think you could assemble the layers in a casserole dish rather than a pie pan and make a spaghetti casserole type thing.
  • Leftovers taste very good reheated.
  • These pies make great gifts for a new neighbor or a friend with a sick family member, new baby, etc. I have also given these pies to my children’s teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week with freezing and reheating instructions!

spaghetti pie slice

Do you have a recipe that you always double, so you can set a serving aside for later?

Sunday Linner

tomato pie baked

As soon as school starts, I lose touch with many friends until I resurface again in May when school ends for the year. This year, I am going to make more of an effort to be in better contact. It starts today with a Sunday family lunch/dinner. One of my mom friends from swim team is having us over this afternoon for late lunch/early dinner. It is a perfect time. I can still get all of my Sunday chores finished. We will be home in plenty of time to get kids ready to go back to school tomorrow and be in bed at a reasonable time, and I don’t need a babysitter since the kids are included. My contribution to this afternoon’s linner is a tomato pie.

What are other easy ways to stay in touch with adult friends during the school year? Do you feel like you disappear when after school activities and school projects start?

tomato pie slice

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust (I use store bought)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 bag basil, chopped
  • 1/2 bag chives, chopped
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. to 3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  • Cook pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan at 450 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. You may need to put uncooked beans or other pie weights in the pie crust to keep it from puffing up while it cooks.
  • Turn the oven down to 350 degrees after the pie shell is finished.

tomato pie tomato slices

  • While the pie crust is baking, cut tomatoes in slices and let drain on paper towel for 30 minutes.
  • In cooked pie shell, layer tomatoes, basil, chives, and green onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and repeat.

tomato pie layers

  • Mix mayonnaise and grated cheese and top the pie with the cheese mixture. You don’t have to spread the cheese mixture too much. Just dollop on the center and push down with the back of a spoon. It will spread as it bakes.
  • Sprinkle the bacon bits on top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

tomato pie toppings

I would like to give a shout out to the 30306 Book Club without which I would not have this tomato pie recipe. Many years ago when I was fun and single, I had an amazing book club in Atlanta. This recipe is from that book club. I miss you!