Girl Meets Farm

Farm Suppers

Episode Summary

Molly cooks up her most delicious and memorable suppers from her early days on the farm including two upper-Midwest classics for a weeknight dinner with her in-laws as well as a throwback to her "Pizza Friday" tradition. Below are the recipes used in today’s episode: Chicken Pot Hotdish: Sausage and Broccolini Pizza Pockets: Sweet Cookie Salad with Homemade Cookies and Mandarins: Listen to cookbook author, food blogger and Midwest transplant Molly Yeh prepare dishes inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage – with a taste of the Midwest – explaining her recipes and tips along the way. Want even more of Molly’s recipes? Stream full episodes of Girl Meets Farm on discovery+. Head to to start your 7-day free trial today. Terms apply.

Episode Notes

Molly cooks up her most delicious and memorable suppers from her early days on the farm including two upper-Midwest classics for a weeknight dinner with her in-laws as well as a throwback to her "Pizza Friday" tradition.

Below are the recipes used in today’s episode:

Chicken Pot Hotdish:

Sausage and Broccolini Pizza Pockets:

Sweet Cookie Salad with Homemade Cookies and Mandarins:

Listen to cookbook author, food blogger and Midwest transplant Molly Yeh prepare dishes inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage – with a taste of the Midwest – explaining her recipes and tips along the way.

Want even more of Molly’s recipes? Stream full episodes of Girl Meets Farm on discovery+. Head to to start your 7-day free trial today. Terms apply. 


Find episode transcript here:

Episode Transcription

[MUSIC PLAYING] MOLLY YEH: This week, I'm making some of our farm favorites. I'll start out with some sausage and broccolini pizza pockets for lunch out on the tractor with Nick, and then I'm cooking the ultimate upper Midwest dinner combo for Nick's parents, a chicken hot dish with a special spin. And my version of a local specialty, a sweet cookie salad with homemade cookies and mandarins.


Hey, this is me, Molly Yeh. I'm a cookbook author and food blogger. This is my husband, Nick. And this is our home, our farm on the North Dakota, Minnesota border, the place where I eat, sleep, and breathe food. My food is a delicious mix of my Chinese and Jewish heritage and the taste of the Midwest.


The sun rises in the morning. It sets in the evening and on Fridays we have pizza. Pizza Friday is a tradition that I grew up with in Chicago. I took with me to New York. And then, when I moved to the farm, I brought it here. Except for the problem is we live outside the realm of pizza delivery, so every Friday, we make pizza from scratch.


But during the really busy farming season, Nick's on a tractor like 30 hours a day, and so I bring him pizza out to the tractor, and I fold it into little pockets. So today, we're making pizza pockets. And I'm going to fill them with some Italian sausage, some fresh green broccolini, ton of cheese, and a little bit of lemon zest is going to give it a beautiful bright snack.


Before I get started prepping my fillings, the first thing I like to do is get my pizza dough out and let it sit at room temperature covered. This is going to help make the pizza dough much easier to work with and roll out. I'm using store-bought pizza dough here, but you can absolutely use homemade. First, I'm going to get some oil heating in my pan. And now I'm going to add my Italian sausage.


I love that sizzle. And I'm going to break it up with my spoon. And I'll cook it until it's brown on the outside and no longer pink on the inside. Italian sausage is one of the best smells. Now will this browns, I'm just going to chop up my garlic and my broccolini. I love lots of garlic, especially with green vegetables. Green vegetables plus garlic, plus lemon, is one of my favorite flavor combinations on the planet, especially mixed with cheese on a pizza.


Next, I'm going to chop up my broccolini. It's kind of like baby broccoli. It's a little bit sweeter and has a lighter flavor, and I just love it. I keep it on hand all the time to throw on pizzas, to put in stir fries, and it stays fresh for a pretty long time. We're going to cut this into bite-size pieces. And I like to use both the stalks and the florets of the broccolini. The stems are a lot more tender than regular broccoli stems. They're delicious.


My sausage is looking and smelling great. I'm going to transfer this to a nice big bowl that I'm going to use to mix up the rest of the ingredients. I'm using a slotted spoon so that I can let all the fat from the sausage stay in my pan because I'm going to use that sausage fat to cook my broccolini. All right, I'm setting my sausage aside. First, we're going to add our garlic. And that's going to cook on its own just for about a minute.


And I'm scraping up the little bits on the bottom. Those holds so much flavor. Now, I'll add my broccolini. And one of the things I love most about broccolini is that it cooks so quickly. So I'm only cooking this for about six or seven minutes until it's crisp tender, and then we'll be ready to roll. Now while this is cooking, I'm going to collect all of my cheese.


I love a combination of cheese because each cheese serves a different purpose. Mozzarella is going to get all melty and add those Instagram-worthy cheese pulls. Some Parmesan is going to give it that nice salty snap. And ricotta will just lend a beautiful creaminess. It's also going to help hold all of these fillings together. And if you have other cheeses that you want to use, you really can do no wrong with cheese and bread.


I'm going to stir this around and also add some fresh black pepper, crushed red pepper for spiciness. And something that you might not necessarily think of putting on a pizza but that I always love to add is lemon zest. And this is going to add just the perfect amount of brightness to our pizza. And I'm just dusting off the very top layer. It doesn't really taste lemony. It just adds a special suntan something. I want to make sure I'm not going down to the white layer.


At this point, if you want to add other spices, other herbs, other seasonings, other cheeses, go right ahead. You're not going to screw this up. Be careful not to go overboard on the salt because the sausage and the cheese is really salty already. I do want to salt my broccolini, though, to bring out that flavor. I'll give it a stir. And now the best part is we get to taste it. Mhm, mhm, I almost don't even want to put this in the pizza pockets because I just want to eat this bowl sitting on my couch.


I have my pizza dough here. So I'm just dusting my board with some flour so that it doesn't stick. I'm going to grab my rolling pin. I'm rolling up my dough until it's about 7 or 8 inches wide and about a 1/4 inch thick. You can help it along by giving it a tug. Typically, if I was just going to be eating these at home, I would serve them with some sauce for dipping in.


But because we need to steer a tractor with our one hand and eat our pizza pocket with the other hand, I'm just going to add my sauce directly to the center of my pocket. This is just a basic red tomato sauce, and I'll spread it around, leaving a 1-inch border to seal in our fillings. I'm going to pile my feelings onto my pizza dough just slightly off center so that it makes sense when I fold it over to seal. You can really pile the fillings in. These colors are beautiful. So here we go.


This is the scariest part because there's so much filling. You want to make sure that the dough stretches over it. But it's OK. We got this. And if you need to use your hands to pack down the filling, that's OK. So now I fold it over my pizza dough, and I'm using my fingers to seal it shut. We do not want any of our fillings leaking out. And now, once I've got it pinched together, I'm going to add a pretty little edge by just curling over my pizza dough and pressing it down.


This will help ensure that the fillings stay locked in that dough, and it'll also make it look cute. My pizza pockets are sealed. They're just about ready for the oven. Before I do that, I like getting a little bit of fresh cracked pepper because it looks pretty, and I love the flavor of pepper. And now they are ready to bake. I'm going to slide them onto my pizza stone, which is about 500 degrees. And if you don't have a pizza stone, you can simply bake them on a cookie sheet. These are going to bake for about 10 minutes until they're nice and brown.


The good pizza crust is a little crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The great thing about these is that I can wrap these up and take them out to the field. And by the time I take them out to the field, they will have cooled just enough to dig in.






NICK HAGEN: Pizza Friday my favorite day! All right.


MOLLY YEH: Are you hungry?


NICK HAGEN: You bet.


MOLLY YEH: OK. These are pizza pockets with broccolini and sausage, and mozzarella.


NICK HAGEN: Mhm, that is good stuff.


MOLLY YEH: Later on, Nick's parents are coming over for dinner. They live right across the street, so we see them all the time. And when they come for dinner, I love feeding them my versions of Midwestern classics. And one of my favorites of those is cookie salad. I remember when I moved here, it was my sister-in-law who said she was bringing a salad to the potluck, and I was like, great. I need some spinach. I need some greens in me. And she showed up with this tub of white fluff, and I was like, oh, my gosh, I'm not in New York anymore. What is this?


To start, I'll get rolling on the shortbread cookie dough. I put together some flour, sugar, and salt to balance out the sweetness. And I'll stir this around to combine my dry ingredients. Just slow. You don't want to get these ingredients flying everywhere. Then I add my vanilla and almond extract. While that's mixing, I'll grab my butter because you can't have shortbread without butter. I cut the butter into uniform cubes and add them in. And I'm mixing this until all of my mixture comes together to form a dough.


OK, so once we have these nice big clumps here, I can bring it all together with my hands. I'm going to divide it into two. I'll wrap this up and stick them in the refrigerator. About 30 minutes is enough, but if you'd like to make this an advance, a day or even two days beforehand is just fine. My cookie dough is chilled, and I'm ready to roll out these cookies. It's always a little firm when it comes out of the refrigerator. That's a good arm workout.


Now to cut this out, I use around biscuit cutter. And to make them look like store-bought chocolate stripe cookies, I punch out a little circle in the center. And I'm just using a piping tip here. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can just use the top of the glass. Once these are all stamped out, I'll go around with my piping tip and stamp out the centers.


Depending on how your cookie salad looks on top, you can tell like which farm you're from. OK, let's get these in the oven. I'll pop them into bake for just about 10 minutes until they're lightly browned around the edges. My cookies are cooled, and they're ready for the chocolate. Here's how I like to do them.


I have a piping bag here with melted chocolate. And if you don't have a piping bag, you can simply use a zip-top bag with the corner snipped off. I know that when you find them in the store, they have chocolate on the bottom and stripes on the top. I think that putting the chocolate on the bottom is a little fussy, so I just pipe thick stripes of chocolate on the top. Just enough. I messed this one up, so I have to eat it.


I love these little guys. Now I've just got to bake my pudding. I'm going to add some flour and sugar to my pot. And, of course, we'll add some salt to balance out that sweetness and make the flavor altogether brighter. And we're going to add some egg yolks to thicken it. I love the yolks from my chicken eggs. They are so bright and happy. And next, I'll add some heavy cream.


It's important to do all of this before I turn the heat on my stove because once the egg yolks get in there, they'll cook pretty quickly. So I want to whisk everything together and make it nice and smooth before we add our heat. And then, once we do get our heat on, I'm going to continue whisking constantly so that we don't end up with scrambled eggs to the bottom of our pot.


This will take a few minutes to heat up, so I think now is probably a good time to tell you something that I recently found out, and I'm still shocked about. And that's that cookie salad is typically served with the main course of the meal right next to the meat. My mother-in-law told me this. I thought I was hearing things. And then I went to Nick, and he said, yeah, that's how it works.


I love embracing Midwest culinary traditions. I do have my boundaries. So I haven't mixed the salad with the hot dish yet, but who knows, maybe one day. Oh, yeah, that's good. OK, I'm turning off my heat. I'm going to add in vanilla extract and some almond extract. Smells so good. Beautiful. To cool this, I'm going to scrape it into my bowl and cover my pudding so that the plastic wrap touches the top of the pudding. And this is so that as the pudding cools, it doesn't develop that weird skin on top of it.


Tonight, for Nick's parents, I am making a hot dish which is a cozy, warm, and delicious one-pot dinner that's very common around here. I had never heard of them until I moved here. But I learned about the recipe through one of Roxanne's church cookbooks. In these church cookbooks, there are tons of hot dishes. They're all so good. They're the perfect farmhouse supper.


Today, I'm putting my own spin on a classic but still topping it with a crunchy potato tart topping. It's kind of a hybrid of a chicken pot pie and your traditional potato tart hot dish. I'm starting here by adding some butter to my pan. Oh, is the sign of a good recipe when it starts with the butter. And then we're going to add an onion. I'm going to chop up this onion nice and small. And I like using yellow onion for this, but any onion will do.


OK, feeling that onion in my eyes. I'm not crying. You're crying. And I'll add this to my melted butter. Oh, that smells amazing. Yum. I'm going to add a little bit of salt. This will help draw the moisture out of our onion. Now, I'll chop up my carrots. At this point, if you have other vegetables that you want to add to your hot dish, peppers or celery, you can just chop them up and add them right in. Hot dishes are really forgiving that way.


I never peel my carrots. I don't mind a little bit of carrot peel. I'll add these to the onions. Now, these will cook for about 10 minutes until they're soft and the onions are translucent. Hot dishes freaked me out at first, and it's because I grew up in a house that did not allow cream soup past this front door. So when I moved here, and I learned about a hot dish, I really wanted to make it for Nick because that was his favorite food growing up.


So finally, I got around to going to the grocery store and buying a can of cream soup, and I put it in my cart and quickly covered it with kale. I was really afraid that my mom would somehow find out about it and scold me. And I got my cream soup home, and I suddenly heard my mom's voice in my head saying don't be silly. You can make this from scratch. And so, rather than using that cream soup, I did a simple roux. And it's so easy. That's what I've done ever since. That, along with the chicken pot pie mix ins, are what's at my hat dish apart from the traditional style made around here.


So let's get started on our roux here, which is fat and flour that's going to be used to thicken up our liquid. I have fat in my panel ready, which is the butter. And now I'm going to add some flour. We'll sprinkle this in. I'm stirring it around to coat the vegetables. We're essentially making a paste. That's going to thicken up my milk to give me that rich, thick cream soup texture.


Next, I'm going to add my milk, or milk, as they say around here sometimes. And I'm going to add it gradually to help make it really smooth. Adding it too quickly could yield some lumps. And I know that it's thick enough when the mixture coats the back of a spoon. I'll stir in the rest of my milk. And once this thickens, will add the rest of my ingredients. Beautiful. Chicken bullion will give it that delicious chicken soup flavor.


Next, I'm going to ask some frozen peas. You can use frozen or fresh. These little frozen guys are going to defrost as soon as they hit this hot soup. A little bit of time is going to go a long way, and now our chicken. A traditional tot hot dish uses ground beef. But because I'm making a chicken pot pie type of dish, I'm using chicken thighs. I've also made vegetarian hot dishes, which gets a little bit of Midwest side eye. And this chicken is going to go straight into my pot.


I'll give it a stir and cook this for about 10 or 15 minutes. So it looks like the guts of a chicken pot pie. I'll grab my casserole dish here. I'll pour it in. It smells so good. Now comes the fun part, our tots. There is a very particular way to put on the tots. You have to put them on in perfect rows and columns for maximum crispiness. I think Nick's going to be really excited about this.


I'll stick this in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes until my tots are golden and crispy on top. The pudding for my cookie salad has chilled, and now I've just got to put it all together. First, I'll take out about a third of the cookies for my topping and then bash up the rest. Then I had whipped cream to the pudding mixture to give it a lighter, fluffier texture. I add some drained mandarins keeping some back for the final decoration. I fold it all in and smooth down the top. I add the cookies and mandarins that I reserved to the top, and I make it a party with some sprinkles, of course.


NICK HAGEN: Can I give you some water here?


SPEAKER 3: Oh, I would love some water. I used to make a cookie salad, but these are amazing-looking cookies.


MOLLY YEH: Oh, yeah. It's gorgeous. It's bubbly. My tats are golden, and it smells insane. Hot dish is ready.


SPEAKER 3: Oh, my gosh.


NICK HAGEN: It's nice rows and columns.


MOLLY YEH: How is it?


NICK HAGEN: Excellent.


SPEAKER 3: Mhm, this is amazing.


NICK HAGEN: Awesome, Molly.


MOLLY YEH: OK, there's literally a tater tot in your cookie salad. That's weird. Eat it.


SPEAKER 3: It all blends together.


NICK HAGEN: Welcome to the Midwest.