My sister is a farmer, and my father is a chef. He’s not a professional cook, but he’s a master in the kitchen. Both of their meals rival any restaurant’s – of course, in different ways – but I’d challenge their gnocchi or pies to almost anyone.

I try to be like them, but it’s an uphill battle.

My sister was visiting a couple of weeks ago, and the whole family came over for dinner. We’ve been using Green Chef for some of our meal delivery during the week (where the ingredients come but you have to prepare them). She was slightly horrified by the waste that these services create, and a little part of my tree-hugging heart dies every time I open one of the boxes too. But there’s something to be said for the simplicity.

This night, however, knowing my audience, I opted to make dinner from scratch, a veggie stir fry with peanut sauce. Halfway through cooking it, something happened with my 9-month-old son. I don’t remember the exact situation, but I think the zipper on his sleepsack snapped right before bedtime, and I had to run to the neighbors to borrow theirs. Mini issues, or opportunities for problem-solving, come on the regular with a baby.

Of course my sister had to take over and finish cooking the meal. She tenderly stirred the noodles and got the cook time just right. Naturally, she crushed it and we all ate another fabulous family meal.

The point is, I’m thankful for a family that values sitting around a table with each other. And I’m also thankful for recipes that are easy to prep and pull out for mid-week dinners when anything can interrupt cooking. This spinach pot pie is one of those.

Crispy Spinach Pot Pie


30 ounces frozen spinach, thawed

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, minced

2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place spinach in the center of a clean kitchen towel, fold up edges and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat.

Transfer 2 tablespoons butter to a small bowl. Add minced onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool slightly, then stir in spinach, ricotta, eggs, feta, dill, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Lay first sheet of phyllo dough over the spinach-ricotta mixture in the skillet and brush the top with some of the reserved melted butter. One at a time, layer remaining five sheets, brushing each one with butter. Rotate and scrunch each sheet slightly so edges are offset and the top is ruffled. Transfer pie to oven and bake until it’s golden brown and heated through, about 35 minutes.

Christine Benedetti writes about food here every other week. Mostly the plant kind. She’s editor-in-chief of Aspen magazine, but you can reach her @cabenedetti.