Ah the 70s! What comes to mind when you think of the 1970s? I personally think of Sanford and Son (of course its theme song is now playing in my head). Ever since Wing brought home a set of his mom’s General Mills/Betty Crocker recipe cards, dated 1971, I’ve been wanting to try a throwback dinner! And cheeseburger pie (on card #2, “Entertaining on a shoestring”) just plain sounds retro! But we decided to mix generations and make, along side the 70s dish, a modern version of “fries” – spinach and potato pancakes because we had an expiring bag of spinach we wanted to use. The pancakes are from a slow cooker book, Southwest Slow Cooking by Tammy Biber and Theresa Howell, that I bought on a trip to Phoenix. (My little sales pitch: it’s one of my favorite cookbooks! We have loved just about every recipe we’ve made from it. No, I’m not involved in proceeds in any way, shape, or form. I just seriously love it.) But with this recipe, we didn’t bother using the slow cooker. There’s just no need (except maybe to ensure that the flavors blend, but it was still great the way we made it).

Spinach Potatoes

Cheeseburger pics

I was slightly scared to try the cheeseburger pie because I’ve made some recipes out of an old cookbook that my mom has and some were, um, disgusting (I wasn’t worried about the potato spinach pancakes because Biber and Howell haven’t let us down yet). But I’m always willing to try new things and this was definitely new to both me and Wing. When we plated the food and sat down to eat, I dug into the pancakes first. Man, they were good. Crunchy outside and steaming cheesy potato inside. I let Wing try his cheeseburger pie before I did because if he doesn’t like it, I know I won’t. But he ate a bite and nodded his head with a smile. Safe! I tried a bit and it was bursting with flavor. The pie crust balanced the meat and cheese, and the chili topping gave it a small kick. We will definitely be making this dish again! The only thing that could have made this meal that much better would have been some Ripple! Below are our versions of the recipes (minus the Ripple).

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 stick or ½ packet of pie crust
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt, dry mustard
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt & pepper
  • Oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumb (used garlic & herb)
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (divided)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce
  • Black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pastry for 9-inch one-crust pie as directed on package. Set aside.

In medium bowl, beat egg and milk. Stir in salt, dry mustard, and cheeses. Set aside.

In medium skillet, cook and stir meat until brown. Drain off fat. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, bread crumbs, ½ the tomato sauce, onion, green pepper, and spinach. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Spread cheese mixture over filling.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together remaining tomato sauce, chili sauce and black pepper.

When pastry is golden brown and cheese topping is melted and bubbly, cut pie into wedges. Serve tomato/chili mix with pie.

Spinach & Potato Pancakes

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped spinach leaves
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add potatoes and garlic; cover and cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Mash and add remaining ingredients, except for the oil.

Mix potato mixture well with your hands and form into patties. Fry in hot oil until patties are golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with paper towels. Serve with salsa and slices of avocado.

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