Page Family Meat Pie Cook-Off

“Your life is a result of the choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it is time to start making better choices.”

2012 was a tough year. Not just for me, but for a lot of my loved ones. Change, death, loss, fear, confusion. You name it – we had it.

It was almost a year ago that I made a decision that would change my life as I knew it. Not just my life, but what I had envisioned for my life. It was a hard decision, but it was one that would lead to a happier and more content version of myself. A version of myself that I recognized again and actually liked.

I had come across the above quote, and it made me think about how unhappy I was, and why. Once I started making decisions that were better for me, and not anyone else, I started to love my life for the first time in a really long time.

I also stopped cooking, which led to the lack of posts over the past year.

It’s hard to do things with passion when you don’t know yourself anymore, so I took some time to figure out “me.” One thing is for sure, I still love being in the kitchen. It is still a place where I am comfortable, creative and anxiety free.

I decided that 2013 was going to be a positive, happy and exciting year. I needed it after the past year and so did the closest people to me in my life. We rang in the new year together on the beach and cheered to “new beginnings” and “happier times.”

My brother-in-law lost his mother almost a year ago. She loved “My Big Fat Italian Life” and saved all of my recipes. While I may have stopped blogging last year, I didn’t stop cooking. I was cooking for her when she couldn’t, and I just didn’t feel right blogging about it.

So, for Dianne, I am going to start sharing recipes again. I am going to dedicate the year of “new beginnings” and “happier times” to her. Cheers, Dianne!

Turn the Page

Every so often my family has a little friendly cooking competition. Everyone grew up in the kitchen and in the food industry, so it’s only natural that everyone thinks they are the “best” in the trade. While I was in Chicago I missed a few of the cook-offs, so when they decided to have a Super Bowl cook-off, I jumped at the chance!

I had made the Page Family Meat Pie before, but this time I knew I had to up the ante. These pies weren’t going to be just traditional meat pies, and I didn’t want to come in last! I decided to put a spin on the original recipe and it turned out pretty good!

I did forget to drain the meat all of the way, so I ended up with a runny consistency, but the flavor was great.

My Uncle Paul (aka Uncle Handsome) ended up winning, but I came in second (first for flavor).

Page Family Meat Pie

Ingredients

5 Yukon gold potatoes

1 large onion, finely chopped

7 pieces bacon

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 yellow pepper, finely chopped

2 lbs ground beef

David Page’s Special Seasoning

Salt & Pepper

Garlic Powder

Sage

1 egg

2 tbsp olive oil

½ cup milk

½ stick of butter

Philadelphia Cooking Cream, Savory Garlic

Salt & Pepper, to taste

2 pie shells

Box of Puff Pastry

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the potatoes and add to the boiling water. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the heat and set aside in a mixing bowl.

Yukon Gold Potatos

Yukon Gold Potatos

Finely chop the onion and set aside.

In a large skillet cook the bacon in an ungreased skillet on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

Chop the yellow and red pepper and set aside (do not get rid of the grease).

Red & Yellow Peppers

Add the onion and the beef to the skillet with the bacon grease. Season with David Page’s special seasoning, sage, salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder. Add the chopped peppers.

Meat Pie Filling

Take the bacon and chop into tiny pieces. Add to the meat.

Chopped Bacon

Add milk and butter to the potatoes and mash with a mixer. Add salt and pepper to taste and the cream cheese. Make sure to leave some lumps in the potatoes.

Add the pie shell to the pie pan.

Drain the beef. Once the meat is drained, mix with the potatoes and add to the pie shell.

Meat Pie

Beat 3 eggs in a bowl and brush on the edges of the pie crust and the top of the pie.

Meat Pie

Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (if the edges start to brown faster than the pie, add foil to the edges).

Lucia's Meat Pie

If you have left over filling, you can make mini meat pies, as well!

Roll out the puff pastry dough on a well-floured surface and cut dough into 3-inch squares.

Add filling to the center of each square, but be careful not to add too much filling or the pastry won’t close.

Brush beaten egg on the edges with a pastry brush.

Fold the square into a triangle and push the edges together (you can even use a fork to make a pattern).

Add more egg to the edges.

Place triangles on a baking sheet

Preheat the over to 375° and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Mini Meat Pies

The meat pie contest was a lot of fun, but I am pretty sure no one in my family wants to see another meat pie for a long, long time! It was a bit excessive…

Meat Pie Cook-Off

And to start 2013 off with a bang, we welcomed the newest member of the Page family at the end of 2012. Introducing baby Augustus or “Gus.” He is as cute as a button!

Baby Gus

I have a very, very long list of things to make and I’m excited to share them with you throughout the year! More updates to come…I promise!

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No Joke…I am STUFFED!!

So the peppers were MORE than a success.  I am sitting on the couch right now so stuffed from all of the delicious food from tonight’s dinner.  I am so glad I was able share my passion with such wonderful company tonight.  It is so nice to be able to enjoy great food and great company at the same time!

The recipe I posted the other day for the peppers is not necessarily correct, so making dinner tonight was, as usual, an adventure.  My mom and I wrote down a recipe the last time she made the peppers, the first time I ever learned to make them, and we did some guesstimations (I think I made up this word, but you get the point).  They were not so accurate…I had to make more rice than I thought, I used all of the sauce (I thought there would be some left over to freeze) and I didn’t end up using all of the peppers.

We went to the grocery store today and the peppers there were a joke!  The red peppers were so small and the yellow peppers were not ripe.  We ended up buying organic red peppers (which were $3 a pepper!!!).  That is just insane.  They were huge as well, which is probably why I did not need to use all of them.  For some reason the rice kept burning (of course I can make homemade pasta sauce, but fail at making rice.  Typical), but once I used a smaller pot and made a larger serving of rice, it turned out perfectly.  My sauce was delicious.  I made Jess taste it and once she said she could just keep eating spoonfuls of it, I knew it was done.  The beef didn’t seem to have enough flavor with the salt and pepper, so I did what I always do when my food needs more flavor,  I added my Grandpa’s seasoning, David Page’s Special Seasoning, and it tasted delicious!  For proof, check out the photo’s below.  My friends went to town on the stuffing before dinner was even in the oven!

All in all, tonight’s dinner was a successful Kitchen Adventure!  It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.  I am so excited for the warm weather here in Chicago and cannot wait for summer!  Next week I will be heading home for Easter, my FAVORITE holiday!  I am going to attempt baking some really pretty Easter desserts to share with my family…hopefully I won’t get as nervous as the last time I cooked for my family (they are all food snobs, but they are wonderful).

Here is a recap of Sunday Dinner below.  I could write more about dinner, but I will spare boring you with my words, and instead, make your mouth water!

Preparing the peppers!

Getting “Stuffed”

Stuffed Red Peppers


Our Lovely Family Dinner

Good and “Stuffed” – Proof Dinner was a Success!

~Jess made Chocolate Covered Strawberries~

I hope you enjoyed seeing another Kitchen Adventure and I hope the pictures inspire you to try them yourself!  I have felt so creative and challenged since starting this blog.  I hope to be able to inspire others as well!  Since it is spring and the sun is starting to shine again, everyone needs to indulge in their passions a little and jump into Spring!

I am coloring Easter Eggs this week, so hopefully there are more kitchen adventures to come before Easter.  The last time my roommate Alyssa colored Easter Eggs she stuck her entire hand into the dye to get out the egg.  Don’t judge her, she had never done this before..but I am very glad she reminded me of the incident today.

Night!

I’m “Stuffed”!

This Sunday I have decided to go back to the traditional, tried and true family recipes.  I am going to make Stuffed Peppers.  This meal is again one that I have made with my mother, but have never tried.  I love the rice stuffing, but I’ve never actually eaten it with the pepper.  My mom makes these for our Christmas Eve dinner and they are usually gone pretty quickly.  Most people in my family love them, so hopefully I won’t mess up this time!  And if I succeed…maybe I can take them over so my mom can lose about an hour of holiday stress this year!

My roommates are already planning on helping me with dinner and we are all going to the grocery on Saturday.  I am glad they are just as excited as I am about having family dinners on Sunday!  My friend Jill is coming into town tonight and we have reservations at Sushi Samba.  I am vowing to try something new when I go, so hopefully I will have something to fill you in on after this weekend!  I am getting nervous just saying that, but hopefully I will stick to it now that I have put it out there into cyber space…

So here is the Sunday dinner recipe.  If you are feeling like you need a challenge, or want to join in on the fun, make this for dinner Sunday and share your thoughts!

Stuffed Peppers (makes about 16 peppers)

8 Peppers (4 red and 4 yellow)

2 1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 large onion

2 1/2 cups cooked rice

3 1/2 cups sauce (this is usually pre-made so I will have to make my own batch!)

Salt & Pepper

Peppers:

Cut off top of peppers

Cut in half, but make sure to cut down the line where you will have a more concave pepper

Make sure to clean out so the pepper can hold the rice stuffing

Beef:

Heat in a pan until brown

Add onion (chopped)

Add salt & pepper

Drain once cooked and put back in pot

Rice:

Cook according to box

Add to meat mixture

Add 1 1/2 cups sauce

Preparing Entire Dish:

Add sauce to the bottom of pan

Stuff each pepper with rice and add to the pan (try to fit them as closely together as possible).

Cook at 350 degrees for an hour.

Also ~ Stay tuned next week for some fun Easter treats and even a Passover dessert in Honor of Ms. Alyssa Linder!

If I stick with it and actually join her during Passover I am going to make a special Passover dessert I found in Cooking Light!