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Kale and White Bean Pot Pie with Chive Biscuits

Monday, November 20th 2023 6:00 am


2 T extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tsp, divided
1 C chopped onion
½ C chopped carrot
½ C chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp, dried
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp, dried
8 C chopped kale (1 small-to-medium bunch)  Spinach, Swiss Chard, collards may be substituted
¼ C white whole-wheat or All-Purpose flour
3 C low-sodium or chicken broth
1 15-ounce can white beans or garbanzo beans, rinsed
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
For the Biscuit Topping: 
You can substitute refrigerated biscuits such as “Grands” or biscuit mix (Bisquik) for the following ingredients.
1 C white whole-wheat or All-Purpose flour (see Tip)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
3 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 T minced fresh chives
½ C cold buttermilk OR ½ milk plus 1 tsp lemon juice

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or similar-size 2-quart baking dish) with cooking spray.
2.    Heat 2 T oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and rosemary; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add greens; cook, stirring often, until tender and wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 C flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.
3.    To prepare biscuits: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub butter into the dry ingredients. Stir in chives. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined. Form the dough into 6 biscuits and place on top of the vegetable mixture. Lightly brush with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Place the potpie on a baking sheet. OR use a packaged biscuit mix or pre-made refrigerated biscuits
4.    Bake until the biscuits are lightly browned and the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Try white whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour in baked goods. It's made from hard white wheat berries, which makes it lighter in color and flavor than regular whole-wheat flour, but with the same nutritional properties. Look for it near other whole-grain flours. For the best flavor, store it airtight in the freezer.
Cut down on dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in good shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
To make ahead:
Prepare through Step 2; refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before finishing.  If this dish proves to be comforting, you can make a double batch of the base and freeze half for another meal.  Label well, please and add to your freezer “pantry” list!
Notes:  Check your fridge and freezer for any leftover veg poultry or sausage that you can add to your pie.  If you use frozen spinach, thaw before adding and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.  If desired, add a little shredded Gruyère or Cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough.

With days getting shorter and varying degrees of chill in the air, it's officially comfort food season.  This Pot Pie recipe is rich with beans, greens and optional leftover veg and turkey!  Feelings of calm and comfort are expressed and elicited by certain dishes.  What foods soothe you?  When we are upset, some foods let us “crunch” through frustration.  This week’s Healing Secret of Food encourages us to be aware of our feelings before, during, and after eating.

Mac & cheese, soup and stew, meatloaf, baked potatoes, stuffed shells are typical comfort food dishes in American culture.  In my husband's family Chicken and Dumplings would be a comforting and homey meal.  In my family, when we were sick or chilled, we often had "Pastina" Soup made of tiny pasta stars, broth, butter, Parmesan and egg.  Beyond simple comfort, many foods have a physiological and emotional impact.  Carbs are calming.  Proteins provide strength and repair when in need of healing.  Craving crunchy foods can be a sign of frustration or anger as we chew away to let feelings out. 

Deborah Kesten encourages us to tune into our emotional state before, during and after meals.  She observes that by doing so, people consciously make healthier food choices.   Instead of asking "What do I 'feel' like eating?", checking in with our state of feeling glad, sad, mad, disgusted, weary or frustrated puts not only reason but love rather than emotion in the driver's seat.  A genuine respectful and loving approach to eating several times a day, is a healthy wholistic practice.  

"Be with me, abundant God, as I approach feeding my body and soul and nourishing others.  Remind me to slow down and breathe. Companion me, with your abiding presence as I plan what I will eat and serve my loved ones.   Help me to allow shopping and chopping,  stirring and thawing to be an experience of wonder and awe as you provide the nourishment, community and connection I crave.   Beloved nurturer, may your grace fill me with an awareness of you and the plenty you provide my body, my spirit, mind and heart.  May the ways I help feed others, be acts of love as much as possible.  Let it be so."

Bran "Penitential" Biscuits

Monday, February 27th 2023 6:00 am

1 C shortening (or 1/2 C margarine and 1/2 C butter)
4 T sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C blackstrap (or regular) molasses
3 C wheat bran (wheat germ or crushed bran flakes cereal)
3 C flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 C buttermilk OR 1 C milk plus 2 tsp lemon juice

Raisins or other dried fruit (optional)


  1. Cream shortening and sugar
  2. Add eggs and molasses
  3. Fold in dried fruit, if using
  4. Use ice cream scoop to drop biscuits onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutesMakes 18-24 biscuits depending upon size
  6. Mix bran, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together
  7. Add dry mixture to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk

This r
ecipe was provided through the kindness of Sister Marcella Marie Dreikosen and shared by St. Rose Convent nurse Zona Kern. Zona found it posted by Cwyn on a blog called "Death by Tea." Zona writes, “Over the years many sisters have mentioned that "penitential biscuits" were being served to them on occasion. (Apparently it used to be on Good Friday.) This year one of the sisters brought a biscuit to the nurses to try and it was very good. Later I googled "penitential biscuit" and this recipe attributed to Sister Marcella Marie Dreikosen came up!

In "Death by Tea" Cwyn writes: “These salty sweet biscuits were served on meatless Fridays along with salad for the noon meal. Sister Marcella ran the kitchen in those days. She is retired now, and graciously hunted down this old recipe which suggests it is no longer being made. The name Penitential Biscuit is a bit of a misnomer because they are so delicious, and Sister Marcella didn't like anyone calling them Penitential Biscuits.

"’It's a bran biscuit,’ she said, a little offended at the idea that the biscuits might be a penance to eat, or aren't very good.

“But in fact they are so wonderfully savory and sweet, we would say "Penitential" as a loving bit of humor, that we are supposed to be doing a penance but the sisters in the kitchen loved us all so much that instead we are eating beautifully.  Before today, I have not had these biscuits for 28 years. I put raisins in my recipe, though we never had raisins in these biscuits.”

Note from Vicki:
Lent invites us to simplify, to abstain from excess, to eat lower on the food chain, less meat and more plant and planet centered. What Lenten recipe do you consider too tasty to be "penitential?" Share it at

As Lent begins, you might enjoy a thoughtful essay by Dr. Christine Valters Paintner entitled "A Different Kind of Fast" written for Abbey of the Arts.

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