Chicken and Leek Pie on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day was always important in my family when I was growing up. My father’s grandmother was from County Cork before she came to America, and my dad takes a lot of enjoyment from his Irish heritage. For a number of years I practiced Irish stepdancing, so March meant that my mom drove me around to numerous St. Patrick’s Day parties at Irish-American Clubs, pubs, museums, and churches where we were part of the St. Paddy’s Day show. My dad would play the Chieftains (well, we did that year-round) and mom made corned beef and cabbage. Corned beef and cabbage is an Irish-American dish that originated with Irish immigrants in New England and I, for one, love it! This year, however I wanted to try something different. I wanted to try something that might be more familiar to someone in Ireland. After a little searching around for a recipe, I landed on chicken and leek pie.

The preparation for this recipe was different than anything I had ever done, before, but I found that it smelled and tasted wonderful. I liked it even better cold the next day!

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Turkey Sloppy Joes With a Side of Sweet Potato Oven Fries

I did not grow up in a house that ever served sloppy joes – they were one of the foods my mother considered junk food, so she never made them. I do remember going to my grandmother’s house and getting to eat Manwich sloppy joes and drink cups of Sunny D and loving every bit of it… even though my mom pursed her lips when we asked for Sunny D because it wasn’t real juice.

Now, as an adult, there is a restaurant near my house that serves a lentil sloppy joe and big plates of delicious sweet potato fries, which was part of the inspiration for my Sunday night dinner this week. While scrolling through an extensive back log of recipes I haven’t tried yet, a lighter option for sloppy joe sandwiches sounded like just what I needed, and I knew that sweet potato fries had to be paired with it.

Although coordinating two untested recipes at the same time is often a good way for my kitchen to become a disaster, I actually found it very easy to make these together: I cut the potatoes and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge before making the sloppy joe meat, then as the sauce simmered, I finished making the fries. All the food was done at the same time and I felt like a genius.

Continue reading “Turkey Sloppy Joes With a Side of Sweet Potato Oven Fries”

Beginning Pickling: Dilly Beans!


A couple weeks ago, Joe made a very large pot of minestrone, for which he bought a full pound of green beans, using only a handful (“They were only a dollar!”) After the soup was made and we were looking at a large amount of beans in peril of going bad if we did not do something with them, we decided the best way to use them up would be to pickle them. Joe and I love pickles. Although Joe detested them until his mid-20s, now anything pickled he sees in the store he will pick up to try. (“Look! Pickled green tomatoes!” “What do you think pickled lemons are for?”) I was eager to try our hands at beginning to pickle things in our own kitchen. We made a batch of dilly beans and ate them so quickly, the next weekend we bought another pound just to pickle those, too. Continue reading “Beginning Pickling: Dilly Beans!”