Page Family Meat Pie

While I was home for Easter I got to spend that Saturday with my mom and my cousin Concetta cooking, laughing and just having a fun girls day. When I woke up Saturday morning, it was to my favorite smell in the world, my mom’s spaghetti sauce! I told her that I hope heaven smells like her sauce and she laughed at me. She might have been laughing at the fat girl who is inside of me, or maybe she was just flattered. I will choose to go with the latter. Her sauce not only smells delicious, but it reminds me of home. It reminds me of my childhood, of my Grandparents house for Sunday dinners and our Thursday night pasta dinners we had growing up. It reminds me of family and is always equated with good memories and most of all, love. I may just love to eat pasta, but honestly, there is more to it. There is a history that I enjoy “coming home to” every now and then.

While the sauce was cooking, I decided to make something of my own. I had come across a recipe in a family cookbook for a meat pie that was my Grandpa’s family recipe and thought it would be the perfect addition to my family recipe collection. It turned out great (I did a little altering though!) and I got the seal of approval from my Grandpa and his sister, my Aunt Marie, who happens to be the “Meat Pie Queen.” It was actually her recipe I used, so thank you for sharing Aunt Marie!

Page Family Meat Pie

Ingredients (makes 2 pies)

3 lbs ground beef

1 large onion, chopping finely

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground sage (taste before using all the sage)

5 potatoes

2 pie shells

1/2 cup milk

1/2 stick of butter

Peel potatoes and finely chop onion. Add the potatoes to a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. In a large skillet, heat oil and add beef and onion. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Once the beef is cooked, set aside to cool. Then, once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove and put into a mixing bowl. Add the milk and butter and mash. Be sure to leave some chunks in the potatoes. Mix with the beef and add to the pie shell.

Once the mixture is in the pie shell, spread some melted butter to the top of the pie in order to make the pie shelly crispy and to get a golden brown color.

Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Slice and enjoy!

I had dinner plans that night to go to my Uncle Hank’s Italian restaurant in Indy, Amici’s, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the pie for dinner, but luckily my Uncle Phil stopped by for a visit and had dinner with my parents.

It’s been a pretty busy spring and I have been really bad about posting, and just as bad about cooking. It’s sad, but it really is hard to find the time to get to the grocery store and make the time to actually cook something! I was at a wedding last weekend though, and had some of the BEST food I’ve ever had. I ate so much my dress barely fit by the end of the night!

It was such a fun weekend! We had a great girl’s getaway and spent the weekend gambling, eating, laughing and dancing the night away to celebrate Leah and Rob’s wedding!

Lucia’s Survival Guide and Cookbook

I finally downloaded pictures from Easter and am trying to decide what I want to do this weekend.  I am heading back to Indy again and am really looking forward to having a more relaxed weekend compared to last weekend.  Saturday my sister and I are going to look at invitations for her wedding.  I can’t believe it is approaching so quickly!  I don’t think these kitchen adventures are helping me get into great shape for her big day, but oh well.  You do what you gotta do!  Hopefully I can come up with something great tomorrow…maybe I will go back to basics and make meatballs.  Sunday’s are spent sitting around my Grandparents kitchen table eating and catching up, so normally I could have made something to bring there, but it is my cousins baby shower, so that is not an option.  Hopefully something inspires me tomorrow….

Tonight for dinner my roommate heated up some of her homemade matzah ball soup and in true Italian fashion….I tried to top it off with some parmesan cheese.  Apparently only Italians add parmesan to their soups!    I got another present for my Kitchen Adventure!!  My Grandpa found a cookbook called “Lucia’s Survival Guide and Cookbook” and on the inside…the book is dedicated “To Gina, who was the inspiration for writing this guide.”  How ironic,  Lucia’s survival guide dedicated to Gina…Gina is my sisters name.  Gina is also my best friend and someone I would dedicate a book to because she is someone I admire most.  The book was not only meaningful because it came from my Grandpa, but it was extra meaningful because it has some irony to it!

Here are the pictures from the weekend and the recipe for the Italian Cream Cake!

Italian Cream Cake

Preheat oven to 350°

Grease and flour three 9 inch cake pans

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter, softened

2 cups of sugar

5 eggs – separated

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup coconut

1 cup pecans, chopped

Beat softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolks, oil, flour, vanilla and buttermilk. Mix until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the coconut and 1/2 cup of the pecans. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy (hint: they should form peaks). Fold egg whites into batter.

Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Ice with cream cheese icing (recipe below)

Cream Cheese Icing

**Makes enough icing for 1 cake (3 layers)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 boxes of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 1/2 boxes Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 sticks softened butter

2 tsp Pure Vanilla extract

In a mixer, add cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla.  Mix well until creamy and light.

Batter from the Carrot Cake…not including all the ingredients though!

The Italian Cream Cake requires egg whites – you can tell they are finished when they form peaks!

After a long day of baking – here is half of the mess

Italian Cream Cake

Carrot Cake

Scrape It Don’t Shake It!!

So I had a few things planned for my Easter activities, but they all unfortunately fell through.  The weather here in Chicago was SO nice, I couldn’t bring myself to stay inside after work coloring Easter eggs…so that never happened.  I was so flustered while packing Thursday night to go home, I  forgot to pack my recipes of inspiration for holiday flare and was unable to find them online in time to make them for everyone.  SO, instead, I went with second best.  I made an Italian Cream Cake and a Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing.

Let me tell you, I am so glad I did not find the recipes in time because I learned so much while baking with my mom (actually I did the baking, prepping, and cleaning while she did the directing and watching).  Similar to my first kitchen adventure when I was making dinner for my cousins, I learned a few things in the kitchen.

1. there is a difference between a wet measure and a dry measure.  How was I suppose to know that?  Who tells you these things?  It’s not like I had baking class in high school (thanks a lot Brebeuf…useless).  I asked my mom how she knew this little fact and she had no clue.  So here I am telling all of you – there is a difference.

2.  Do not shake off the extra flour when measuring.  You have to scrape it off the top or it will make your cake heavy.  Do not shake off the baking soda or the baking powder either.  You MUST scrape it off.  Ok, seriously?   That just seems absurd to me…what is a little shake going to do?  Apparently, a lot.  So don’t shake…scrape!

3. When the directions say combined and sift….you should always combined the ingredients in the sifter and THEN sift.  Sifting one at a time is not correct.  Adding all together without sifting is not correct and if it says combined into wet ingredients…combined together first then add.  DO NOT add one at a time.  Good thing I have baking 101 right in my own home kitchen thanks to my mother.

4. I don’t know how people bake without high-tech tools.  I could never accomplish what I did without the Kitchen Aid Pro.  That thing is a God Send.

5. When filling your cake pans, use a measuring cup and put about 2 cups in each round pan in order to make your cakes even after baking.

I was so grateful to learn all of these things over the weekend, so I hope you are equally as intrigued and appreciative!  My cakes turned out fabulous.  I was able to share a piece of the Italian Cream Cake with my sister before it was too late.  The cake was gone within 30 minutes after lunch (my family usually hides pieces of this cake to take home with them – it is a coveted dessert in the Bayt family!).  The carrot cake was taken to my mom’s family and I tasted a little bite of it.

I don’t usually choose carrot cake as my dessert option.  I was always freaked out by the fact that it had carrots in it and in my mind carrots ≠ dessert.  But in the cakes defense…it tastes nothing like carrots and was actually really good.

It was nice being able to spend the day baking with my mom, but it was exhausting….I was glad to finally be done and head out to my friends to watch the Butler game!  Sad ending last night, but so proud of them!