Paula's Pie Project Blog

52 different pies in 52 weeks

Pie #65- Tater Crust Tuna March 23, 2013

Lent is almost over and I knew this Lenten season I wanted to try to find another seafood savory pie since my last one was a “disaster” according to my husband. Pie #10, Seafood Pot pie was the only pie from the 2010 Pie Project, Travis “rated” below a seven. In fact he gave it a big, fat ZERO. That hurt. I know it wasn’t good, but I don’t believe it deserved a 0. No one gagged or barfed while eating it.  In fact, I almost thought about calling this Tater Crust Tuna pie “Seafood Retribution Pie” instead.

I picked out this recipe from my Google search since it had an interesting addition to its crust ingredients potato flakes. We Idahoans love our potatoes. Funny thing is that I rarely use potato flakes though. I always use the real deal when serving my family the starchy, tuberous vegetable, so off to the store I went to grab my box of instant potatoes.

Turns out the Tater Crust Tuna pie was a big hit a home. The husband loved it and 3 out of four boys ate it. (Just in case you were wondering, it was Ernie who turned his nose up to this one.)

For all of you looking to avoid a meat dish coming up this  Good Friday, try this! Yum!  It has simple ingredients, it is super easy to make and it is quite delicious!



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 can (2.8 ounces) french-fried onions, divided


  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup mashed potato flakes
  • 1 can (6-1/2 ounces) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives


  • In a small bowl, combine flour and potato flakes; cut in butter until crumbly. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is moist enough to hold together. Press pastry over bottom and up sides of an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Flute edge. Set aside 1/2 cup onions for topping. Sprinkle remaining onions into pastry shell.
  • In a large bowl, combine the egg, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, potato flakes, tuna and olives. Spoon into pastry crust.
  • Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and reserved onions; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Nutritional Facts1 serving (1 each) equals 380 calories, 24 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 81 mg cholesterol, 705 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 13 g protein.

Originally published as Tater Crust Tuna Pie in Country Woman January/February 1988, p29

Tater crust ingredients

Tater crust ingredients

Tater crust

Tater crust in the pie plate

Filling ingredients in the pie shell- Ready for the oven

Filling ingredients in the pie shell- oven ready!

Pie #56- Tater Crust Tuna

Pie #56- Tater Crust Tuna


Pie #60- Blue cheese February 18, 2013

A huge thank you to my NDA highschool classmate, Juliana Kascsak for sharing this recipe with me. The minute I saw it, I knew it would have to be posted in the blog. Thank you, Juliana!

This savory pie is perfect for a party… if you like blue cheese, you will love this pie! It is quick and very easy to make AND incredibly delicious!!!


2 large white onions sliced (or chunked) thickly

1 stick of butter

8 ounces of blue cheese

8 ounces of cream cheese

2 prepared pie crusts*

Black pepper

Place bottom layer of pie crust in a 9 “ pie plate.  Cut the blue and cream cheese into large chunks; place two cheeses in a large bowl.

Sauté onions and black pepper in butter till glassy.  When done pour entire pan of onion and butter mix over cheeses and stir till well combined.  Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust and flatten.  Top with second crust and crimp ends together.  Bake on a 350-degree oven till crust is brown… (You may egg wash the crust for shine if desired).

Serve right from the oven with fresh fruit or vegetables…crackers  are not really needed if you utilize the crust.


(*Since it is against my own rules of the blog to use prepared pie pastry crusts, I included the homemade pastry recipe that I used for this pie. )

Shortening pastry1

Shortening pastry2

Shortening pie pastry (double crust)

Basic shortening pie pastry (double crust)

Sauteing the onions and butter

Sauteing the onions and butter

Adding the onions to the blue cheese and cream cheese mixture

Adding the onions to the blue cheese and cream cheese mixture

The onion and cheese mixture in the pie filling

The onion and cheese mixture in the pie filling

Top crust on and adding the egg wash.

Top crust on and adding the egg wash.

Pie #60- Blue cheese

Pie #60- Blue cheese

The tasty slice!

The tasty slice of Pie #60- Blue cheese! YUM!!!

Personal Notes:

  • Simple and easy.
  • Extremely rich, so definitely slice your servings small. And don’t forget the red wine and fruit.
  • INCREDIBLE! Definitely a new addition to my favorite appetizer recipes.

Pie #57- Parmesan and Spinach February 10, 2013

Filed under: 2013 Pie Project,Pie #57- Parmesan & Spinach,Savory Pies — paulaspieproject @ 1:08 pm
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Rolling dough with my broken rolling pin, this is how #57 started out.  It is do-able, but not ideal. I have had this baby since my single days of living alone in my Lakewood apartment. It was a housewarming gift from my mother, the pie queen.  Sadly, it looks as if it is time for this beloved kitchen utensil to go into retirement.

My broken tool!

After starting out 2013 with four sweet pies in a row, I was glad to finally welcome the first savory pie of the year. I found this recipe on Food Network’s website a few years back and was eager to try it out.

Cooking th filling

Spinach, onion, bacon & parmesan on the stovetop

Pie pastry in a springform pan

Pie pastry in a springform pan

Adding the filling to the pastry shell

Adding the filling to the pastry shell

Ready for the oven

Top layer of pastry now on. Ready for the oven

Pie #57- Parmesan and Spinach

Pie #57- Parmesan and Spinach

Personal Notes:

  • I used the bacon instead of pancetta since I had it on hand. My family loves this particular pork product so I added 1 cup instead of the 1/4 cup  in hopes that it would offset the huge amount of spinach that was in the pie. (The boys were less than impressed.)
  • When baked, this became a really dense pie. I felt like I was getting two servings of vegetables in my one serving slice.
  • Yum! I would definitely make this one again. I happen to serve it for dinner one evening, but I would definitely make it for lunch or breakfast.

Unofficial Start- Turkey pasties January 7, 2013

Filed under: 2013 Pie Project,2013- Unofficial Start,Savory Pies — paulaspieproject @ 2:25 pm
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When I decided to pony up for round two of the pie project, my husband was thrilled beyond belief.  We began thumbing through old recipes from 2010 and tried to figure out which pies I needed to incorporate into this year’s edition. That’s where this pie started.

Travis was so excited for the upcoming Pie #53 that one evening he jumped right in and decided to make Cornish pasties. We had extra turkey left over from our post-Christmas feast. He made the filling, I made the crusts and TADAAA….turkey pasties! No recipe on this one- all ad-lib. Situation normal in the kitchen whenever my husband does the cooking. How fun for me to start the year off making a pie with my sweetie pie. Love you, Travis!

The pastie filling

The pastie filling

I used a salad plate to make a circular cut-out from the dough.

I used a salad plate to make a circular cut-out from the dough.

Travis fills the pastie with the delicious turkey, celery, carrot and onion filling.

Travis fills the pastie with the delicious turkey, celery, carrot and onion filling.

Brushing the pastie with egg.

Brushing the pastie with egg.

The finished product!

The finished product!


Pie #40- Green Tomato October 3, 2010

Filed under: 2010 Pie Project,Pie #40- Green Tomato,Savory Pies — paulaspieproject @ 6:33 pm
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I am afraid it is the last day of summer here in Boise today.  We have been blessed with high eighty/low ninety degree weather all week and I just walked in from soaking up the warm sunshine.  Good for the garden, I say and especially good for ripening all the green tomatoes still left in there.   I do love tomatoes and I suppose that is why every year the majority of real estate in our garden is taken up by tomato plants.

So after my Idaho state fruit pie, Pie #34- Huckleberry, my cousin’s wife, Molly Metzger, challenged me to find an Ohio buckeye pie recipe.  A REAL buckeye nut pie is a “no-go” since the buckeye nut is bitter and if eaten in quantity is poisonous to man.  I do have a recipe for a buckeye pie that doesn’t use the tree nuts.  It calls for peanut butter and chocolate instead, but you will have to wait until next week to read about that delicious concoction.

Yes, little did Molly and I know, Ohio HAS a state fruit.  Thanks due to the great efforts of the children in Washington Courthouse, Ohio the TOMATO was officially named the State Fruit in 2009.  (That town coincidently happens to be the current home of  my dear childhood friend, Lisa.) 

Even though I am in Idaho, I am a true Midwesterner through and through.  I can cook, make pies, clean and sew like the best of them in Amish country!  I would move back to the midwest in a heart beat to be closer to family and friends.  But my darling husband, insists the only way he’ll go back is in a small urn of ashes. (Nice. He’s from Ohio too.)  I remember as a new bride saying to my mother-in-law while packing up my things to move to Boise, “Don’t you worry, when we have kids, we will be back!”.  Right.  Four kids and almost 13 years later, here we still are… 

I met up with a long time family friend in Washington DC this summer when we were on our epic vacation.  Chrissy lives in Virginia with her husband and two kids.  And like me,  she jokes around saying as soon as her husband keels over, she is packing up and moving back to Chardon.  Ok, I might not be that hasty…I would let the kids finish school or sell the house first, but yes, I would definitely move back. 

So sorry Trav, I will be spreading your ashes all the way across the country….  And lucky for you Chrissy, since your husband is older than mine, you’ll no doubt be back in the heartland before me.  Because guess what?… This time I know for a fact… the grass IS greener in Ohio than it is in Idaho!  

Green grass, green tomatoes…this one is for you, Molly, and all those loved ones back in the buckeye state!

Savory Green Tomato Pie

Pie Crust (makes 2 crusts)

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold butter (diced into .5 inch cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Ice water

Mix flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl or food processor. Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Using a fork, slowly add just enough ice water to make the dough come together. Divide dough into two sections (one a bit larger than the other). Take the larger piece of dough and roll out to fit a 9 or 10 inch pie plate, form dough to pie plate, (don’t crimp)  and set in fridge. Roll out the smaller portion of dough to be the cover piece for the pie and place in fridge.

Green Tomato Filling

  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2-3 cups diced green tomatoes
  • 4-6 ounces Swiss cheese shredded (or cheddar, Gruyère, whatever you have in the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • .5 cup breadcrumbs (if you don’t have breadcrumbs around you can sub a couple of eggs and ¼ cup milk)
  • 1 pkg. of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 425. Sauté onions until translucent in a pan with a bit of oil or butter. Add diced green tomatoes and continue to sauté until the tomatoes have softened a little and any water from the vegetables has mostly evaporated. Add thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture cool a bit and transfer to a bowl. Add in the shredded Swiss, bacon and breadcrumbs and mix together thoroughly.  Dump the Green tomato mixture into the pie plate (with crust) smooth out and then place the top crust on, folding the top crust edges under the bottom crust edges along the rim, crimping as you go. Cut a few vents for steam in the top crust. Place pie in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 45-55 minutes, until the crust is an even golden color.

Let cool a bit and enjoy!

 Personal Notes:

  • It was my first time trying an all butter crust recipe.  Loved it.
  • No substitutions were used in this recipe.  I followed it exactly using the swiss cheese and the breadcrumb options.  
  • I love bacon and this ingredient completely enhanced the pie.  Don’t skimp here. 
  • Green tomatoes.  Who would have thought they would have so much flavor?  And they aren’t even runny!
  • This savory pie rates a 9.5 on my scale.  The texture was wonderful and the taste was delicious.




Pie #35- Tomato September 2, 2010

Filed under: 2010 Pie Project,Pie #35- Tomato,Savory Pies — paulaspieproject @ 10:35 pm
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A special note, today is my Dad’s 70th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Dad.  I love you SO much.  Hope you are enjoying the blog, but wish you were here eating the pie.

Now for the backstory….

Henry’s good friend Marilyn was at our house yesterday evening after school.  The two of them have been great friends since 2005 when their older brother’s (Nate and Patrick) started kindergarten together.  Now in second grade themselves, they have shared together many hours of school, play time and sleepovers.  If I had a girl of my own, I would want her to be just like Marilyn.  She is smart, tough and athletic.  My kind of girl.  She would just need a dye job to pass as my daughter.

Yesterday, after she and Henry finished completing their homework, Marilyn expressed interest in doing “a project”.  Little did she know, I really did have a project for her… 

I had fresh tomatoes from the garden and luckily had all but one of the ingredients to pull off this recipe.  After a quick call to my neighbor, who provided the heavy cream (which was my half and half substitute) I was ready to go.  No special trip to the grocery store needed.  And the BIG BONUS was I had willing helpers….

This pie is also about redemption.  Poor Sarah Leah Chase.  The last and only time I made a pie recipe from her Cold-Weather Cooking cookbook, my husband took one bite of  it and promptly rated it a big, fat ZERO.  (You can read his comments.  He was brutal.)  Too bad, since I spent a mini-fortune on all the seafood ingredients.  Pie #10- Seafood Pot was such a bust, it left me thinking I couldn’t touch this cookbook again with a ten-foot pole.  Well, Sarah, I think you are out of the dog house.  This one really hits the mark.

Ready, Set, Let’s Bake!

Personal Notes:

  • This is my moment that I admit I have very little patience.  Yes, I have trouble doing a project and not freaking out about all the food mess that ends up on the floor, and the walls, and the ceiling…..  I seriously had to take deep breaths while making this pie with these two!  Jeez, were they messy!
  •  I added fresh, grated parmesan to the crust ingredients, as the recipe suggested.  WOW!  My house smelled INCREDIBLE the whole time this pie was baking.  I will definitely remember that secret ingredient the next time I make a fancy quiche.  Yum!
  • Thanks again Kym and Jeff for the heavy cream.  My cow was all dried up last night.  Without it I could not have carried on this time. 
  • And thank you to my supper club comrade and pie-tasting friend, Sharon,  for letting me borrow your cookbook this whole ENTIRE year.
  • My pie-o-meter rates this one a 9.5.  The crust and the garden fresh tomatoes did it for me.  Plus the fact it became my dinner was a big bonus.




Pie #20- Spinach and Ricotta May 12, 2010

This pie and post is dedicated to my new friend, Michelle who celebrated her 42nd birthday last Friday.  She is such a beautiful woman inside and out and was the inspiration behind this particular pie and crust.

Michelle and the other ladies in my Friday morning prayer group have been wonderful supporters of the pie project since its first month.  They were guinea pigs for my first savory pie, Sausage Pie, way back in January on post #4.  What I did not realize at the time I made the sausage pie was that Michelle could not eat it due to her allergy to wheat and other grain flours.  Finding this out, got me on a whole tangent discussing gluten-free foods and recipes.  Michelle’s oldest daughter is also allergic to gluten and is a little “baking queen in the making”.  I copied this one from her cookbooks by Rebecca Reilly called Gluten-Free Baking.

This spinach and ricotta pie smelled heavenly coming out of the oven and was so tasty, I made it again this past Tuesday for another one of my favorite peeps- my dear friend Sharon.  Sharon’s birthday was last week also, but we chose to celebrate this week.  I made the spinach ricotta pie this time using my whole wheat crust pie pastry.   Both crusts took a back seat to the intense flavor of the spinach and ricotta.  They simply became a holder for the filling. 

As far as the gluten-free thing goes, the hardest part was tracking down the items in Fred Meyer.  Unbelievably, they had everything I needed and I did not have to make a special stop at the Co-op.  For the most part, the gluten-free crust looked, rolled and tasted just like a typical flaky pie pastry.  If you need to bake a gluten-free pie, it is really not as scary as it looks.

Make the mix first, then….

….combine the gluten-free mix to the rest of the crust ingredients.


 This top photo shows the gluten-free mix (brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch)


 Personal Notes

  • I made it twice, need I say more about how much I liked it?
  • Happy birthday Michelle and Sharon!