Whole Foods’ Assorted Entertainment Crackers

Close-up of the crackers
Close-up of the crackers

This isn’t the sort of review you would normally find on our gourmet extravaganza blog. We mainly review restaurants we have been to and dishes we have made. However, when I opened up this box of crackers I recently purchased at Whole Foods on Fairview and Grand in St. Paul, I knew that I had to write a review.

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Oven-roasted garlic and rosemary sweet potatoes

Oven-roasted garlic and rosemary sweet potatoes
Oven-roasted garlic and rosemary sweet potatoes

This simple and delicious sweet potato recipe is a recent discovery of mine — and it’s so good that I’ve made it at least once a week since.

I found a recipe for roasted potatoes in Michael’s Betty Crocker cookbook a couple weeks ago, and fully intended to follow the recipe. But then I opened the cupboard door and saw some sweet potatoes. A few modifications and thirty minutes later, this savory side dish flavored with rosemary, thyme, and roasted garlic came out of the oven.

I served this simple side dish with ham and cheese grits, fried andouille and red peppers, and a salad. It was a hit with both myself and Michael! Try this delicious dish for yourself by following the simple recipe below:

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Cafe Latté on Grand Avenue

Cafe Latté store front
Cafe Latté store front

A trip to Cafe Latté is a must for anybody living in or visiting the Twin Cities. Located on St. Paul’s famous Grand Ave., Cafe Latté has what is arguably the best cake to be found in the Twin Cities area. In addition cake, they also offer several different types of soups, salads, and sandwiches, which vary from day to day and season to season.

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Steamy ham and cheese grits

Steamy ham and cheese grits

What can we say about grits other than, “they’re pretty ‘grit’ “? Many moons ago, before this long and cold winter came and overstayed its welcome (it’s still here!), Jane and I were reading recipes online and somehow got on the topic of grits. “What are these crazy ‘grit’ things, and how do they taste?”, we wondered. Being the “good northerners” that we were, we proceeded to mock them and spread nasty rumors about how we’ve heard that they’re something like oatmeal. Boy, were we ever wrong.

Grits, my friends, are an amazing and versatile dish made from crushed, dried corn kernels that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They can also be mixed with cheese, meat, and vegetables to contend as a main dish in their own right, guaranteed to stick to your ribs and provide you with that good ole “southern comfort” feeling. After making and eating grits, we repented of our ignorant northerner ways, and invited grits into our home as a family recipe. Since that time, we have begun to experiment by using grits as a base for amazing main dishes, such as this recipe here.

To make our delicious steamy ham and cheese grits, you will need the list of ingredients below, an 8″x4″ meatloaf pan (nonstick works best), and an oven preheated to 350 degrees. You may find that an 8″x4″ pan does not make nearly enough of these delicious grits (we never have leftovers with this size). In that case, you can double the recipe for an 8″x8″ pan (this also fits well in a 9″x9″), or triple the recipe for a 9″x13″ pan of these steamy grits.

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Delicious BBQ turkey chickpea chili

Delicious BBQ turkey chickpea chili

This BBQ turkey chili recipe is one of my most famous discoveries, and it is an honor to be able to share it on this blog. Jane and I really love this delicious turkey chili dish on rice, and are thrilled to “gobble” down the leftovers each time we make it.

This legendary recipe was discovered in the dead of a Minnesota winter when it was too cold to brave the outdoors and risk our lives to buy fresh groceries at the store. We scoured the freezer and pantry in our famished state for any sort of items we could use to make a hearty dish of satisfying sustenance. Ever since that fateful moment, this dish has been a legend, and has been enjoyed by us many a time in both times of few and times of plenty.

In order to make this mouth-watering, savory, and delicious BBQ turkey chickpea chili on rice, you will need the following list of ingredients, a large frying pan, and a crockpot (optional).

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Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis

Midtown Global Market store front
Midtown Global Market store front

Among all the places in the Twin Cities, there are few to none which can be compared with Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market. Located on East Lake Street in south Minneapolis, Midtown Global Market offers a vast array of foods ranging all the way from Hispanic to Caribbean to African to Middle Eastern to Asian and back. In addition to hot and prepared food, there are many small shops and stalls which sell spices, normally hard to find ingredients, canned goods, frozen goods, baked goods, cheeses, and handmade crafts. On occasion, musicians add their own “spice” to the market by performing at the center. A visit to the market is a must for anyone living in the Twin Cities.

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Savory turkey burgers on flatbread topped with onions, mushrooms, and Dubliner cheese

Savory turkey burgers on flatbread

After reading this turkey burger recipe on Crepes of Wrath several months ago, I bookmarked it and then promptly forgot about it — until last Friday, when I was searching for some dinner inspiration online.

These turkey burgers were absolutely delicious. I modified several of the ingredients to the what I had on hand, and since we didn’t have buns or bread, I used our pizza dough recipe to make flatbread instead.

The pita-like breads were the perfect complement to the juicy, savory turkey burgers, which we topped with Dubliner cheese and caramelized onions and mushrooms. Served alongside a simple spinach salad of carrots, cheese, pistachios, and raisins, it’s a meal that we will definitely be repeating in the future.

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Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

I’ve always been intrigued by recipes for stuffed peppers, though I’ve never made them. So, last weekend I decided enough was enough — and planned to make stuffed green peppers.

Last Sunday, Michael and I ended up spending a leisurely afternoon with friends at an antique show at the HarMar Mall in Roseville. While there, Michael went to Cub Foods for me to buy a couple green peppers to stuff. He came back with 3 red peppers instead — they were on sale for $1 each! So naturally, we then returned to the store together and bought even more of them, and my plans were changed to stuffed red peppers.

Well, it turns out that my first attempt at stuffed peppers was quite the successful attempt, despite my approach of using as many leftovers as I could find in the fridge. By using leftover rice in the recipe, total prep + cooking time is an easy 45 minutes. The filling in this recipe makes enough to fill 3 peppers, halved lengthwise, though I only stuffed 2 peppers and saved the rest of the filling to use later.

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Noodles & Company @ Mall of America

Indonesian peanut sauté from Noodles & Company
Indonesian peanut sauté from Noodles & Company

Last Thursday, Jane and I visited the Noodles & Company at the Mall of America for a bite to eat. Noodles & Company is a quick and casual dining experience with over 20 locations in the Twin Cities, and many more across the country. They serve soups, salads, some sandwiches and many noodle dishes inspired by Asian, Mediterranean, and traditional American recipes. My personal favorite dish from Noodles & Company is the Indonesian peanut sauté — a dish consisting of rice noodles in a peanut sauce with stir-fried broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, cilantro, and lime. This time I elected for the $7.75 “make it a trio” option, adding meatballs and a coconut-hinted Thai curry soup. Jane also decided to “make it a trio” with her Chinese chop salad and go with the grilled chicken breast and the tomato basil bisque soup. The Chinese chop salad Jane decided on is billed as having sesame-soy tossed mixed greens, bean sprouts, cabbage, red pepper, cucumbers, carrots, and fried wontons.

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Tomato sausage polenta

Tomato sausage polenta

My mom found this recipe in one of her Taste of Home cooking magazines several years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It combines a cornbread-like polenta with a simple tomato-sausage sauce, which is topped with cheese and baked to perfection.

As my mom could tell you, I often request this dish when I’m visiting my parents’ house. Last week, I decided to try my own hand at making this delicious polenta. And, believe me, it was DELICIOUS. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list — it does take around an hour to make, but it’s still an easy weeknight recipe.

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