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Dinner and a Movie: Harriet the Spy


Dinner and a Movie is a fun family night with Harriet the Spy. Get recipes for Roasted Tomato Soup, Patty Melt Sandwiches, and Divine Chocolate Cake

Harriet the Spy is one of those stories that reminds you exactly what middle school was like.  You laugh, you cringe, you remember the friendships, you remember friends turning on each other…

Like I said, you cringe.

But it’s also a feel-good movie that your kids will love and since it was released in 1996, there’s a good chance they haven’t seen it.

They totally should.

Harriet the Spy

Based on Louise Fitzhugh’s book of the same name, Harriet the Spy is the story of Harriet M. Welsch, future writer and super-spy. Harriet lives with her parents and her nanny, Golly. Her best friends, Sport and Janie, are super supportive of her until the class mean girl gets hold of Harriet’s journal and reads it aloud for the entire class to hear. Since Harriet is as truthful as she can be in her notebooks, some of her observations come across as mean.

Yeah, the whole class turns against her.  But before the end of the movie, Harriet has learned to stand on her own and just about everybody has learned what real friendship means.

So it’s all good.


Roasted Tomato Soup and Patty Melt Sandwiches are a great meal to accompany Harriet the Spy

Harriet’s favorite meal is tomato sandwiches, and she shares tomato soup with Golly and Golly’s boyfriend one very important night.  So I kinda combined the two to come up with an a.maz.ing. meal that your family is gonna love.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup to have with the film Harriet the Spy for a fun family night

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What You Need

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced (I used half a yellow and half a red)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes with basil & oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk

What You Do

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt & pepper to taste
  • Spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast 35-45 minutes until brown in spots
  • Over medium heat in a Dutch oven, saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent
  • Add roasted and canned tomatoes, bay leaf, sugar, and broth
  • Bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes
  • Remove bay leaf and transfer to a food processor
  • Pulse until smooth and return to Dutch oven
  • Add milk and heat through

Patty Melt Sandwiches

Recipe for Patty Melt Sandwiches to have for a fun family night with the film Harriet the Spy

Patty Melt Sandwiches

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What you need

  • 5 thin burger patties, cooked
  • 10 slices wheat bread
  • 1 onion, caramelized (I used half a yellow and half a red–get it?)
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 5 slices cheese of choice (we’re firm believers in American for grilled cheese)

What you do

  • Lightly oil and heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat
  • Butter one side of each slice of bread
  • Top 5 slices of bread with cheese and onions, butter side down
  • Top onions with a burger patty and another slice of bread, butter side up
  • Heat sandwiches on griddle 2-3 minutes until bottoms are golden brown and cheese is melted
  • Flip and heat other side 2-3 minutes until tops are golden brown
  • Cut in half diagonally


Harriet’s evil classmates dive into a delicious-looking chocolate cake at their Harriet-Hating Clubhouse. Your kids will be totally jealous unless they are munching on this cake, too.

Divine Chocolate Cake

Divine chocolate cake recipe for Dinner and a Movie with Harriet the Spy

Divine Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What you need

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz (3 squares) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  •  2 oz milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5 Tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp light cream, room temperature
  • 1 lb sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

What you do

  • Lightly butter and flour the inside of 2 9-inch round cake pans
  • Line each with a circle of waxed paper and set aside
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl (you sifted the flour, right?)
  • In a mixer bowl, cream the butter on moderate speed for 3 minutes
  • Beat in sugar, mixing well
  • Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each one
  • Blend in vanilla extract and melted chocolate on low speed until mixture is entirely chocolate colored
  • With the mixture on low speed, alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk, ending with flour
  • Pour batter in equal portions into prepared pans
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until a wooden toothpick  inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean
  • Cool on wire racks 3-5 minutes then invert onto wire racks to cool
  • Make frosting while cake cools

For the frosting:

  • Heat butter, chocolate, milk, and cream in a large saucepan over low heat and cook stirring occasionally until chocolate is completely melted
  • Remove from heat and beat in sugar, vanilla, and salt
  • Frost cake immediately

I mean, you guys.  Commiserating over chocolate cake?  ‘Nuff said.

Looking for more family fun? Check out:

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Dinner and a Movie: Hotel for Dogs

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Recipes pulled from the movie iinclude Slow Cooker Beef Ragout, Creamy Tomato Soup, Easy Peasy Braided Bread, and Vanilla Pudding Pie

Dinner and a Movie: Beauty and the Beast

Dinner and a Movie: The Little Prince includes recipes for Cinnamon Pancakes, Baked Bacon, Cheesy Scrambled Eggs, and Apple Cinnamon Popcorn

Dinner and a Movie: The Little Prince

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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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