Our Thanksgiving Favorites

We are taking time out between movies to talk about one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving!  Yes, we love it of course for the eating, but also because it’s one way to bring family together…whether we like it or not…just kidding!  So with this post, all three of us wanted to share our favorite Thanksgiving dinner dishes and Thanksgiving themed movies.  Enjoy and have a great holiday!

Mimi’s Favorite:  Home for the Holidays…for Cocktails and Turkey

On one of my many recent trips to BevMo (research for the blog, of course), I came across a six-pack of Ace Pumpkin Hard Cider and I couldn’t resist tossing it into the shopping cart.  On the way home my head was spinning with ideas about what I could do with this new discovery–spiced cider pumpkin cake with a sour cream glaze, perhaps….or maybe in a hardy stew with beef and root veggies?  But then I got distracted with all the other recipes I was creating for So I Married An Axe Murderer and the Ocean’s Trilogy… until now that is, with Thanksgiving upon us.   All the familiar stresses associated with the impending holiday… shopping for the big meal, cooking The Bird, dealing with family dynamics…is enough to make a girl want a cocktail…or two!  So, of course, the first thing I came up with for the pumpkin cider was a cocktail I’m calling The Turkey Trot, a tantalizing concoction that is a lovely balance of “Thanksgiving” flavors–pumpkin, pomegranate, bourbon, and thyme.  Angostura bitters adds a touch of complexity and ties these flavors together.  Garnished with a vibrant slice of Fuyu persimmon, this cocktail is a bright and festive way to celebrate Thanksgiving.


Serves 2

2 oz. Bourbon (preferably Bulleit)

2 oz. Pomegranate Liqueur (Pama)

1 oz. Lemon Juice

1 oz. Thyme-Infused Simple Syrup*

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 bottle Ace Pumpkin Hard Cider, chilled

2 slices Fuyu Persimmon for garnish

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes and shake.  Strain the chilled liquor into two martini glasses, then top off with pumpkin hard cider.  Garnish each cocktail with a fresh slice of Fuyu persimmon.

*To make the thyme-infused simple syrup, combine a cup of sugar with a cup of water and two small sprigs of fresh thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Strain out the thyme.

No surprise, one of my favorite Thanksgiving-themed movies, is the often underrated Home for the Holidays (1995), directed by Jodie Foster, featuring a stellar cast, including Holly Hunter, Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, and Robert Downey Jr. (in his wildly unpredictable, drug-addicted pre-Iron Man phase).  It’s a dramedy that fully embraces all the dysfunction in holiday family dynamics, in which all the emotional and psychological baggage we carefully stuff into our closets get dragged out (literally and figuratively) when we gather together to celebrate the holidays.  And once we crack open that baggage, it’s hard to stuff everything back in again…kind of like the Thanksgiving turkey.

Whether in movies or real life, the poor bird always seems to be at the center of every conflict, every neurosis…particularly if you’re the one tasked with cooking it.  It’s a responsibility many avoid like the plague.  Whether I want it or not, the responsibility for cooking the blessed bird for my family usually falls on me (along with all the stuffing, gravy and cranberry relish)…ever since I began my professional culinary career that is.  To keep it interesting, I try to change things up a little each year.  This year, I’ll be using the pumpkin cider in the brine as well as the gravy.

This Year’s Turkey Brine

Enough for 20-22 lb turkey

6 qt. cold water

6 qt. ice

2 -12 oz. Ace Pumpkin Hard Cider

2 cups Kosher Salt

2 cups Brown Sugar

3 Rosemary Sprigs

3 Thyme Sprigs

3 Sage Sprigs

4 Celery Stalks, cut into large pieces

2 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns

Bring to a boil 2 qts. water with the salt and brown sugar; stir to dissolve ingredients then allow liquid to cool to room temperature.  Transfer the brine base into a water-tight insulated cooler large enough to hold the turkey, then add the remaining water, ice and aromatics.  Carefully lower the prepped raw turkey (meaning, take the bag of neck and organs out and rinse the bird off in cold water first!) into the brine and cover.  Let the bird sit in the brine for about 8-12 hrs.  Drain off the brine and pat the bird dry with paper towels.  Turkey is now ready to be seasoned and roasted to your liking.

Laura’s Favorite: The Reason for the Season with a Side of Cranberry Sauce

Although I believe that the first Addams Family was better, the Thanksgiving scene in Addams Family Values is one of my favorite Thanksgiving moments.  Christina Ricci was the perfect casting choice to portray Wednesday Addams.  She delivers a morbid, deadpan performance as she takes back Thanksgiving from the pilgrims who brought sickness and death to so many native Americans. Wednesday was, also, able to get revenge on the girls who had made her time at camp so miserable.  Of course, one of the reasons Wednesday was unhappy was because she wanted to be back with her family and save her Uncle Fester who was married to the Black Widow.  The Addams Family, although odd to some, has a very loving family dynamic, and they are always there for one another when needed.  If this movie doesn’t epitomize the essence of  Thanksgiving, then I don’t know what does.

One of my favorite sides for Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce.  My grandmother makes a cranberry salad every year which is just the right mix of sweet and tart.  I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in a long time though, so I will be creating my own cranberry sauce this year.  It is a typical recipe that you can find on the back of your cranberry bag.  I will be adding dark cherries to give it a little bit of sweetness.  My family would probably add pecans to it because they usually put pecans in everything, but I’ll just stick to the saucy texture.  If you want to tie it to the movie, think about the blood from the scalping or the blood of family. Either way, it’s good eatin.’


Cranberry and Cherry Sauce

1 package of fresh cranberries

1 cup of orange juice

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of frozen dark sweet cherries

Bring sugar and juice to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for about 5 min. Put in rinsed cranberries and continue to simmer until they burst wide open. Add cherries. When everything starts to lose their shape and liquid becomes saucy, then take the pot off of the burner and let it sit. When everything is cooled down, stick it in the fridge.  On Thanksgiving Day, serve in a beautiful dish and get ready to pucker.

Rina’s Favorite: Sweet Potatoes and Sisters

For the longest time, Hannah and Her Sisters was one of my favorite movies. I watched it over and over again, memorized the lines and played the movie soundtrack LP into the ground. But now I just try to forget who directed and wrote the movie, and focus on the memorable performances of the insanely talented all-star ensemble cast, particularly the actresses who played the three sisters which the movie revolves around. There is the oldest sister, Hannah (Mia Farrow) who seems to be the most successful and dependable of the three; the artistic and sensitive middle sister, Lee (Barbara Hershey); and the scatterbrain youngest sister, Holly (played by one of my favorite actresses, Diane Wiest). My own two sisters and I like to pretend that the dynamic between Hannah and her sisters mirrors our own relationship, each of us trying to figure out what real happiness is for us in our own lives, but it’s probably more so because we just want to recreate this mesmerizing scene in real life:

I never really thought of Hannah and Her Sisters as mainly a Thanksgiving movie as it also chronicles an entire two-year span of these sisters’ lives; but the movie is broken up into three acts, each one consisting of a pivotal Thanksgiving dinner scene that serves as a compass point in the movie. It’s in these scenes where we find the answers to what’s been happening to each sister since the last time they all came together for thanksgiving just as we all experience in real-life Thanksgiving dinners: who’s Lee dating now? What career path is Holly venturing into this time? And which family member is Hannah supporting this year? As an ode to Hannah, I decided to share my tried and true, always-reliable Roasted Sweet “Country Potatoes” and Yams recipe. I say “country potatoes” because not only is it good for Thanksgiving dinner but you can always use what’s left over for breakfast the next morning with a nice corned beef hash and a poached egg.

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Roasted Sweet Country Potatoes and Yams

3-4 large sweet potatoes or yams (I actually use both to give it some variety in flavor, texture and color)

3 Tb of vegetable oil

1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

1 Tb of Cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Get a baking sheet, line it with aluminum foil. Grease the baking sheet/aluminum foil with vegetable oil. Cut the peeled or unpeeled sweet potatoes and yams into medium-sized cubes and lay them on top of the oil. Drizzle honey,  more oil, sprinkle cinnamon, salt and pepper all over the sweet potatoes and yams to your taste. Put the sheet of sweet potatoes and yams into the oven for about 20-30 minute, until they look brown and crisp. Take them out of the oven and add more oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss them all together into a serving bowl; or pour onto a paper-lined basket and eat them like french fries. The latter is usually the case for my household because I’m the only one in my family who likes sweet potatoes!

Have a safe and happy thanksgiving everyone!

Honor among thieves

To wrap up our tribute to Ocean’s Thirteen–yeah, it’s taken me a while (day jobs can be a real time suck)–I’ve come up with two more recipes inspired by the gamblers and con men who inhabit the luxurious Asian-themed hotel casino central to the movie.   Justice for Reuben is what galvanizes the Ocean’s crew, so we initially toyed with the idea of making a “Reuben’s Reuben.”  But with Asian food on our brains after our Max’s Restaurant outing, Rina and I thought it might be more interesting to take elements of the Reuben sandwich and add an Asian twist (e.g. slaw in place of sauerkraut)–something a high roller at The Bank might partake if he wanted a bite to eat but didn’t want to leave the gaming table, especially when six figures are on the line.

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A classic Reuben sandwich–butter-grilled rye bread layered with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing–is a deliciously messy, gut-busting two-handed affair, not exactly gambler-friendly.  My lighter, more portable alternative is The Asian Grilled Pork Slider–grilled thin slices of pork loin marinated in miso, Korean chili paste and fresh pineapple puree and crisp slaw tossed in a sesame vinaigrette sandwiched inside a toasted King’s Hawaiian slider roll dressed with wasabi mayo.  You can easily down three of these sliders without missing a hand!

The Asian Grilled Pork Slider

Yields: 6 sliders

Grilled Pork:

3 Thin Center Cut Pork Loin Slices (about 7-8 oz.)

2 Tbsp. Miso Paste

1 Tbsp. Korean Chili Paste (Gochujang)

2 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Finely Grated Ginger

1 Garlic Clove, finely minced

2 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar

3 Tbsp. Sake or Rice Wine

2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1/2 cup Fresh Pineapple Puree

Cut the pork loin slices in half.  Using a meat mallet, pound the slices to 1/4″ thickness.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients and submerge the pork into the mixture.  Let the pork sit in the marinade for about 30 mins.  Drain off the liquid and cook the pork slices on a well-oiled cast iron grill on high for about 2 mins. on each side.  Set the pork aside to rest.

Asian Slaw:

2  cups Shredded Green Cabbage

1 Medium Carrot, peeled, shredded or julienned

1 Small Asian Pear, peeled and julienned

1/2 Small Red Bell Pepper, julienned

2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds

3 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil

2 tsp. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Sea or Kosher Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients, then drizzle over the slaw and toss together to thoroughly coat the slaw.



6 King’s Hawaiian Rolls, split and toasted

2 Tbsp. Wasabi Mayo

Spread wasabi mayo on both sides of the rolls.  Cut the pork into smaller pieces to fit onto the bottom half of the rolls.  Layer a small handful of slaw over the pork, then top with other half of the roll.



No menu is complete without dessert, and like the slider, this one is also very gambler-friendly.  My Matcha Green Tea Mochi Butter Cake is a nod to the Japanese contingent.  Cut into neat bite-sized squares, this delightfully tender and chewy rice cake is perfumed with the verdant green of pure matcha powder and offers just the right amount of sweetness for the discerning palate.


Matcha Green Tea Mochi Butter Cake

1-1/2 cups Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour

1 cup + 3 Tbsp. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Sea or Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Matcha Green Tea Powder

3 Eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Tbsp. Light Rum

3/4 cup Whole Milk

1 cup Coconut Milk

4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted

Sifted the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Whisk together the wet ingredients, then gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until fully incorporated.  Pour the batter into a greased and lined 1/4 sheet pan and bake at 350°F for about 18-20 mins, or until cake tests done.  Cool completely before cutting into 1-1/2″ squares.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Matcha Green Tea Mochi Butter Cake
Matcha Green Tea Mochi Butter Cake








Small Dice Challenge: Gigi Edition

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and my family came up from Texas to visit.  My mom, aka Gigi, who I have mentioned before, is a master in the kitchen.  She always kept us well-fed growing up and then some.  I decided to challenge her for this week’s Small Dice.  I chose the following:


  • Organic Dark Sweet Cherries
  • Hellman’s Real Mayo
  • Organic Firm Tofu
  • Pecans my mom brought from Texas (FYI, I grew up on a Pecan farm)

My kids tested the ingredients first to make sure they were good to eat before Gigi started cooking.

Gigi could easily be a contestant on Chopped. As soon as I gave her the ingredients, she started right away without a word.  She is so graceful in the kitchen; the exact opposite of me. She is Cyd Charisse to my Lucille Ball.  Gigi went right away to the pecans.  She mixed them with honey and salt and put them in the oven at 350° degrees.  They were in there for about 10 minutes, but, in hindsight, she said they should’ve been in there for 5 minutes.  Though they were a little toasty, she picked them off of the foil and tried to chop them with the blender.  They were getting too fine though, so she used a knife to cut them up instead and put them aside in a bowl.

Next, Gigi went for the tofu and the mayo.  She coated the tofu with mayo, seasoning, and flour; then fried them.  After getting a lovely tan crust on them, she took them out and sprinkled on some paprika.

I do wish Gigi had access to the Chopped kitchen supplies.  She kept asking me for certain things which I didn’t have.

Gigi: “Do you have chicken stock?”

Me: “Nope.”

Gigi: “Garlic salt.”

Me: “Nope.”

Gigi: “Couscous.”


After rolling her eyes at me, she found some quinoa, which I rarely cook, but for some reason, have.  She seasoned it with my spices that may or may not be expired and, threw in some cherries.



On top of everything else, she baked some sweet potatoes that were used in a prior challenge, but didn’t go over well then.  She, also, sauteed some green beans.  When she plated, Gigi laid the tofu, sweet potatoes, and pecans on top of the quinoa.  She added pecans on the green beans, as well.


I was the first to start eating because I was the first in the kitchen and no point in letting it get cold. It was absolutely delicious.  I’m not huge on quinoa, of course, I probably don’t cook it right.  Gigi made them perfectly though.  They weren’t clumpy or dry as I have come to know them.  The tofu was firm and crispy, not at all slimy.  The pecans were the best of all.  They brought everything together and were even good for snacking on later.  My dad and I got seconds of everything.  My daughter was a little harder to please.  She loves green beans, but had a hard time getting started on the tofu and quinoa.  She finished most of it….eventually.  4 stars for Gigi.

Follow the Nose


In Ocean’s Thirteen, nothing smells sweeter for the crew than revenge, especially when it involves getting justice for one of their own.  This time the one who has been wronged is Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), who is conned out of his rightful stake in Vegas’s newest and brightest hotel casino The Bank, by his unscrupulous business partner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), an odiously self-absorbed, ambitious hotelier. Reuben consequently suffers a heart attack which leaves him bedridden; and Danny and Rusty come up with a complicated scheme to ruin Bank by essentially rigging all the casino games to force a payout of over $500 million in winnings at one go, coercing Bank to cede control of the casino to the board.

While there are lots of moving parts in this movie, Ocean’s Thirteen manages to juggle all these plot twists and turns (unlike Ocean’s Twelve) without losing sight of the end game and more importantly its emotional core—loyalty and honor among thieves. This is symbolized by the “taking down” of the slick, mechanized, monolithic new Vegas hotel casino by old school Vegas ingenuity.  True, technology plays a key role in the con, but it’s the characters—the con men themselves who work the system. Rusty impersonates a seismologist to convince Willy Bank to implement an earthquake evacuation code, while Basher masquerades as an “Evel Knievel” wannabe to distract him.  The most memorable con is Linus, wearing a prominent prosthetic nose, posing as the right hand man of a Chinese high-roller (aka Yen).  Nicknamed “The Nose,” he works to seduce Bank’s assistant Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin) to gain access to the four diamond necklaces on display at the hotel.

Since everything about Linus’s Lenny Pepperidge persona revolves around the sense of smell, we thought it would be fun to come up with a couple of things that play on the idea of “fragrance.”  Of course, the first is a cocktail.  Now you wouldn’t necessarily think a Mai Tai as fitting the bill (okay, Rina was very insistent that we make a tall, frothy, fruity tropical drink), but my version uses the sweetly aromatic calamansi (inspired by our Max’s Restaurant outing) instead of orange juice, combined with fresh ripe pineapple, two kinds of rum, orange liqueur, and my delicious (also aromatic) homemade cherry vanilla syrup, a byproduct of the macerated cherries I used for Tess’s Regret from the previous Ocean’s post.  Besides, Lenny works for a Chinese man and they are staying at an Asian-themed hotel, which by the way has inspired the rest of the Ocean’s Thirteen menu.  Be forewarned, this pleasantly seductive cocktail packs a punch! Sip leisurely.


The Bank Mai Tai

1-1/2 oz. Dark Rum

1-1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Orange Liqueur (e.g Triple Sec, Cointreau)

4 oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice

2 oz. Calamansi Concentrate

1 oz. Cherry Vanilla Syrup (or Grenadine)

juice of 1/2 Small Lime

*pineapple wedge for garnish

Combine all the ingredients with 4-5 ice cubes in a blender and blend until frothy.  Pour drink into a tall hurricane glass and garnish with a wedge of pineapple.

Frangrant Shrimp Dumplings

Fragrant Shrimp Dumplings

We tossed around several ideas for an accompaniment to the Mai Tai.  What I ultimately decided upon was a steamed shrimp dumpling perfumed with a blend of aromatics–lemongrass, ginger, garlic and a touch of toasted sesame oil–which is an excellent fit for my Asian-inspired menu, not to mention an inside joke because the poor hapless Five Diamond Award reviewer gets treated to a toxic dumpling courtesy of the Ocean’s gang.  But don’t worry, these dumplings are perfectly safe to eat…unless you’re allergic to shrimp that is.

Yields: about 30

9 oz. Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp. Finely Minced Lemongrass

2 tsp. Finely Grated Ginger

1 tsp. Finely Minced Garlic

2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Scallion

2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Shiitake Mushrooms

1 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper

2 Tbsp. Rendered Pork or Bacon Fat

1/8 tsp. Ground White Pepper

2 tsp. Corn Starch

1/2 tsp. Sea or Kosher Salt

1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil

1 Tbsp. Rice Wine

1/2 package Wonton Wrappers

1 egg white

Combine the chopped aromatics, mushroom and bell pepper in a bowl.  Cut the shrimp into peanut-sized pieces then add to the bowl.  Mix in the remaining flavorings.  To assemble, place about a teaspoon of filling into the center of a wrapper, dab the edges with a little egg white, then fold in half to form a triangle.  Dab one corner with more egg white and pinch the ends together to form a bonnet shape.  Place the dumplings on a greased and lined steamer basket and steam on high for about 7-8 mins.  Serve dumplings with soy sauce mix with a little rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and chili oil.

Stay tuned for more recipes…

What happened in Vegas most definitely should’ve stayed in Vegas

When we decided to tackle the Ocean’s Trilogy, one thing we all agreed on right from the start was that Ocean’s Twelve, for lack of a better word, sucked.   The story line was convoluted, while the pace, in comparison to the Ocean’s Eleven and Thirteen, laborious.  The big heist this time, payback for stealing the 160 million from Terry Benedict, seemed more like plot device to get the Ocean’s gang across the Atlantic–their trek through Europe feeling like a misguided road trip in which they keep picking up more characters that simply drag on the narrative.

One bright spot, however, is the dashing Baron Francois Toulour, played by the charming Vincent Cassel, whom we all agreed stole the show with his memorable balletic “laser dance.”

His “Night Fox” is confident, sexy, and wickedly intelligent, a worthy opponent to Danny Ocean.  Since he’s the only “new” character we actually liked in this second installment of the trilogy–and he does reappear in Ocean’s Thirteen–I decided to create a pastry that salutes this most appealing of jewel thieves.  Frenchy’s Gianduja Twists is puff pastry, layered with a decadent homemade bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut spread, cut into strips, crusted with raw sugar and twisted.  Once baked to a crispy golden brown, it resembles the arabesque lines of The Night Fox’s laser dance, sinfully dark and delicious layers of gianduja revealing itself as you untwist the pastry.  Savor it with a rich foamy cappuccino!


Frenchy’s Gianduja Twists

Yield:  about 12 Twists

1 package Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed (in refrigerator)

1/4 cup Hazelnut Butter

1/2 cup Bittersweet Ganache*

1/4 cup Raw Turbinado Sugar

1 Egg (beaten with 1 Tbsp. water)

*see ganache recipe in last week’s Ocean’s Eleven post, omitting the spices

Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut each sheet of puff pastry into 3 strips along the fold lines (careful to use a straight up and down motion rather than a sawing motion).   Mix together the hazelnut butter and ganache to form the gianduja filling.  Spread a layer of the filling onto four of the six puff strips.  Sandwich one plain puff strip in between two coated with gianduja.  Cut each sandwiched strip into 3 narrow strips, then each narrow strip in half.  Brush each side with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar.  Gently pull and stretch each strip at the ends, then twist each end in opposite directions, 4-5 times.  Press the ends of each strip into the parchment-lined sheet pan to secure the twist.  Bake the puff twists in a 425°F oven for 15-18 mins. or until they are golden brown.


Small Dice Challenge: Leftovers

Last week, we went to the library for the Day of the Dead story time.  This one kid proudly announced that he was “a little sick” after my son had been chewing greedily on the same chair the kid had just infected.  Sure enough, a few days later, we were the living dead.

At the library’s story time. Can you see the future of our demise in his eyes?

Throughout the week, I cooked easy meals that mainly required just dumping and heating.  Usually I try to cook just enough for my daughter and me, making sure to have some left over for my husband when gets home from work. This week though, my husband wasn’t trusting my hygiene and politely passed.  So, I decided to create a challenge with my leftovers.  If anything, it’s good practice for after Thanksgiving.

I mulled over my ingredients and decided to make a frittata with the spaghetti.  In other words, I added eggs to it and fried it up.

My daughter: “What are you making?”

Me: “A frittata.”

My daughter: “I know what that is.  It was on my show.”

Me: “What did they do with it?” (Maybe I could get some ideas)

My daughter: “They made it.”

Me: “What did it look like?”

My daughter: “A taco.”

I probably should have added another egg or, at least, mixed it up better.  It was a little hard to flip, but it stayed together okay.


While the frittata was frying, I thought I could make a mini pot pie with the bread, beans, and chicken.  First, I soaked the bread in milk to soften it, so it would shape better when I put it into the muffin pan. I might have used too much milk, since my daughter pointed out that she was making “puddles” as she squished the bread into the pan.

I had my daughter mix the beans with the chicken and rice and put it into the bread “crust.” I also threw some bread on top for good measure. Then, we put it into the oven at—you guessed it— 350°.  It took about 30 minutes for it to not be so mushy.

We ate the frittata first because it was ready first.  I cut it like a pizza because I thought it would be more appealing to my daughter.  She enjoyed it.  She said, “I like the cheese and the noodles altogether.”  She ate two “slices.”

Now, to explain my mini pot pies.  They didn’t come out as such.  The best way I could describe it is if you have ever had cornbread dressing.  My mom makes it every year for Thanksgiving.  My daughter liked it, and it was pretty flavorful, so it worked out in the end.