Hoootttt Pockets

I know we all make fun of Hot Pockets.  And by "we all," I mean those of us who appreciate the humor of Jim Gaffigan.  But all joking aside, you have to admit that the concept of a hot pocket - meat, cheese, and veggies in a crust - is not a bad one.  Here in Michigan, we call them pasties (pronounced like "past" not "paste").  They are also called hand pies.  I've made them numerous times because they are not super labor intensive (especially if you buy pre-made crust), they freeze well, and they're actually quite tasty.

With my travel season rapidly approaching, I was inspired to make up a whole bunch of hot pockets to freeze for Jeff to heat up easily while I'm gone, since he will be solo parenting quite a bit.  My tremendous working mom guilt (which only really rares its head if I have to work nights, weekends or travel) makes me want to make life as easy for him as possible.  Granted, it puts a lot of stress on me, but what else is new?

I was asked by several to document this crazy hot pocket madness process.  Ask and you shall receive.

First, however, I would like to point out that I took several shortcuts in the production of these tasty little meals (frozen veggies, store-bought pie crust, jarred marinara).  As such, I would like to pat myself on the back for cutting myself some slack.

Second, I would like to say that you could be super creative with these.  Meats, cheeses, veggies, sauce....the combinations are endless!  As long as the meat is cooked (and probably the potatoes as well, if you're using potatoes), the process and baking is pretty much the same.  Some other ideas off the top of my head: beef, potato and carrot; curried potatoes and cauliflower; chicken, broccoli and cheddar; barbecue pork, sweet potato and greens.  I like the idea of making sure they all have a vegetable (you know, to counter the buttery crust).  But these are the ones I made:


makes 12 hand pies, 3 different varieties (4 hand pies each type)
total cook/prep time: 1 hour (excluding freezing time)
all measurements are estimates

Step 1: Gather all your ingredients

3 packages refrigerated pie crust (each comes with 2 crusts)
About 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey 
1 small bag frozen mixed veggies (or fresh veggies - like the ones that would go in pot pie)
2 tbl butter
2 tbl milk
1 tbl flour
1 can black beans
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1 zucchini
1/2 green pepper
Cheddar Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese

Step 2: Brown Turkey

Season liberally with salt and pepper.  
Note: this is more than 1 1/2 lbs turkey.  I bought a 3 lb package (cheaper than two 1.25 lbs packages), browned up about 2.3 lbs, used some for turkey chili and the rest for hand pies.  The remaining 2/3 lb I made into burger patties and froze.

Step 3: Prep the other ingredients for you hand pies.

For Mexican Hand Pies: 
Chop the green pepper and combine with a drained and rinsed can of black beans.  Season with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to your liking.  Some cayenne would be nice, too.  If you like the heat.

For Pot Pie Hand Pies:
Melt 2 tbl butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds).  Pour into mixed veggies and season with thyme, herb de provence, salt and pepper.  Add 1 tbl flour and 2 tbl milk and mix.

For Italian Hand Pies:
Grate 1 zucchini.  Mix 1/2 to 1 cup of marinara sauce with zucchini, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step 4: Mix turkey in with the other ingredients.

Divide roughly in thirds.  You'll need less for the pot pie and Mexican hand pies because of all the beans and veggies.  

Step 5: Construct the Hand Pies

Unroll dough on parchment paper.  Cut each round in half (including the parchment).

Pile filling onto half of each half, leaving a little edge.  You can pile more than you think will fit, as the dough has some give.  For the Mexican and Italian hand pies, top with cheese (cheddar and mozzarella, respectively).

Fold the remaining dough over the filling and crimp with a fork.  They don't have to be pretty, clearly.  Cut slits on the top to vent.

Step 6: Freeze your hand pies.

Put pies on cookie sheets and put in freezer for about an hour.  If like me you have a small and full freezer, and can only freeze one sheet at a time, store the others on a cookie sheet in the fridge.

After about an hour, when pies are somewhat firm, wrap them (parchment and all) in plastic wrap.  You can fit 4 individually wrapped hand pies in a gallon freezer bag, which you can then label according to variety.

I neglected to take photos of this step.  I wasn't feeling well and needed a nap.

Step 7: Bake your hand pies.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Unwrap hand pies (but leave on parchment), place on baking sheet and bake frozen 28-30 minutes.  Serve with a green salad.

Obviously, I don't have pictures of the baked hand pies since I froze them all right away.


  1. I totally need to remember this for my post baby life!

  2. I was already excited for you to post this, but the Jim Gaffigan reference made it perfect!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts