Monday, November 7, 2011

Mission Impossible: Impossible Pie

The evening started out on a bad note, BART was delayed due to a protest at one of the stations and the kids and I ended up getting home later than planned. This is often the kiss of death for any meal that I have planned because if I get in that door late - even with a husband that will play with the kids and distract them from the kitchen - things go downhill fast. Not only was I on single parent duty that night, but I was late getting home! I soldiered on because there is nothing like a childhood craving to make me dig in my heels a little harder to get what I want.

I have no idea what made me suddenly want an Impossible Pie, but boy did I want one. The Impossible Pie was on heavy dinner rotation in my house growing up and I loved them all. I am sure my mother loved them because it was a throw together sort of dish - take your leftovers, add some cheese to it, put it in a greased pie dish, and pour Bisquick and eggs over the filling and dinner is done. I can even remember the white Pyrex pie plate coming out of the oven and wondering which delicious cheesy filling my mom had chosen for dinner that night.

A little history on how the Impossible Pie came to be. In 1981 the Bisquick company celebrated their 50th anniversary by publishing a cookbook of old and new recipes, including "a pie that did the impossible - formed its own crust as it baked." 
The Impossible Coconut Pie and Impossible Bacon Pie were the first recipes published in that book and homemakers across America quickly adapted the recipe to fit what their families would eat and sent in their recipes (with over 100 varieties!) to the Bisquick company for publication. And this was before the Internet, people! These industrious folks snail-mailed their own variations on the recipe to the company. Now we just blog about it. Crazy. The Bisquick company published these booklets for sale at grocery stores. My mom picked one up during a shopping trip and a regular rotation dish was born in our house.

So flash forward 30 years and there I was craving an Impossible Pie. I walked in the front door at 6:15 PM, flicked the oven on to 400 degrees and quickly got to work. Instead of using Bisquick, I subbed in Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking & Pancake Mix, the measurements from Bisquick to TJ's mix are exact. I mixed in a  combination of Gruy√®re and Monterey Jack cheeses, leftover chopped chicken and some left over steamed broccoli. I poured the TJ's mix over the filling and popped it in the oven for 30 minutes as promised. I served this alongside a small salad of avocado with cherry tomatoes. The kids loved it. And here I was thinking that they would just push it aside, but they both ate decent portions and I just sat there marveling how just one bite of that pie could transport me back to my childhood kitchen on Shawnee Lane, watching my mom bop around the kitchen while singing along to Alicia Bridges' "I Love the Nightlife" on the record player.

Thanks for the memories, Impossible Pie.


  1. Hooray for the Impossible Pie! My mom also made them often, and I make it every now and then, too. It's been awhile though; I'll have to put it on the menu soon. Your version for the filling sounds delicious!

  2. Thanks Lisa! I have been wanting to a try a variation on the one I made in this post, but chicken and broccoli are surefire winners with my kids.