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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Apple-nana Bran Muffins

Last night I made a batch of healthy and delicious bran muffins. Bran muffins increased in popularity once the fiber craze caught on. Bran is a high-fiber food and eating a high fiber diet has been linked to lower heart disease and diabetes. I love making healthy muffins for an on-the-go snack or hearty breakfast. Each muffin contains roughly 200 calories, making them a lower-calorie, healthier substitute for high-calorie pastries. I recommend making a double batch and freezing half the muffins for snacks. 

Apple-nana Bran Muffins
(makes 2 dozen muffins)

3 cups bran 
3 cups white or whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg

4 eggs
8 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups apple-cinnamon apple sauce
2 large apple, peeled and diced
2 large bananas, peeled and diced
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12-section muffin pan. In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients through nutmeg. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and apple sauce. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Heat saute pan over medium heat. Add butter, agave, cinnamon and diced fruit. Mix well until fruit is soft and lightly browned. Add fruit to dough and mix again until combined. Divide half the batter into muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Once cooked, carefully remove muffins onto drying rack by loosening the edges with a butter knife. Repeat with remaining half of batter. Freeze or keep muffins at room temperature in sealed bag or Tupperware. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Haute Dish

Last week I took my friend Natalie out for her birthday at Haute Dish, the new upscale Midwestern joint on Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. I had been wanting to try this place since they opened in 2010, but never got in until now. I remember the chef and owner, Landon Schoenefeld, from our days at Nick & Eddie.  At Nick & Eddie, I couldn't help but notice Landon's attention to detail and creative ability in presentation. He would take a boring green salad and turn it into the Taj Mahal of salads! Landon's concept at Haute Dish is very smart and playful. Their slogan is "Classic Midwestern" fare, but with menu items such as Cheetos  duck in a can and tator-tots, the title "Classic" is a bit stretched. Natalie and I ordered a few delicious cocktails and bit into a few slices of bread when our server brought out a potato and leek amuse-bouche. The amuse-bouche is designed to wet our appetites, and it did just that. The shooter tasted of a pungent sour cream and potato dish, salty, creamy and delish! For an appetizer, we ordered the steak and eggs tartare and split their classic tator-tot hautedish for dinner. The appetizer arrived on a large platter with lettuce diamonds, a bloody mary-oyster shooter, egg in a hole and steak tartare. The tartare was some of the best I have had because of the depth of the flavor, achieved by the brine of capers, onions, salt, steak and herbs. For dinner, the tator tot hautedish exceeded our expectations. The braised short rib was fall-off-the-bone tender and paired with the softest tators I've ever had. The portions are large and ingredients hearty, so consider sharing with your fellow diners. I loved this restaurant and look forward to trying their stand-out brunch fare.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pizzeria Lola

Last week, my family and I finally tried the ever famous Pizzeria Lola, a new wood-fired pizza joint off of 55th and Xerxes. I first heard of Pizzeria Lola on the Food Network show, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." I was imediadlety excited to try this Minneapolis favorite once I saw they serve a Kimchi and Korean style pizza! The restaurant is designed for families and fun, with its own photo booth, bright whimsical decor and casual service. They do not take reservations and are ALWAYS busy, so be sure to arrive extra early. We tried their Sunnyside, Lady ZaZa and Korean BBQ pizzas. The Sunnyside pizza is served with two sunyside-up eggs which bake in the wood-fired oven as well as La Quercia guanciale, pecorino, cream, and leeks. This pizza was my favorite because it was simple yet packed with flavors of creamy cheese, rich egg yolk and bright leeks. The Korean BBQ pizza was also delicious, made with beef short ribs, mozzarella, scallions, arugula, sesame and a soy-chili vinaigrette. I loved the sweetness of the beef paired against the salty soy glaze. Lastly, the Lady ZaZa pizza as featured on the Food Network is made with house-made kimchi, Korean sausage, serrano peppers, scallions, sesame and a soy chili glaze. I have to admit, the kimchi was surprisingly too overpowering for me. Kimchi is such a strong flavor in itself, it was hard to taste anything else on the pizza. For dessert, I had to try their homemade vanilla soft serve drizzled with fruity extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Believe me when I say that olive oil and ice cream DO GO TOGETHER! The flavors of sweet, salty, nutty and fruity pair beautiful together creating a unique treat. I highly recommend trying this local favorite, and don't miss out on dessert!

Click the link below to watch Pizzeria Lola on the Food Network:

Click below to view their website:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pasta with Goat Cheese and Mushroom Cream

This weekend, my husband and I ventured up North to my families cabin near Two Harbors, MN. We planned to leave Friday night, but snow and icy roads kept us at bay until Saturday morning. When we finally arrived around 12pm, we walked into a freezing cabin without heat or water. Long story short, the heat stopped working causing the pipes to freeze.
I had planned to make a delicious pasta with mushrooms and goat cheese but without any water to boil or to clean the dishes, my pasta had to wait. Needless to say, the weekend was anything but glamourous. We left early Sunday morning, eager to shower and warm up at home. In the comforts of home, I got started on my pasta dish as pictured above. I found the recipe in Food & Wine magazine. This pasta is simple and quick enough to prepare last minute but tastes as if the sauce has been simmering for days! I substituded paparedelle noodles instead of using fettucine and added fresh basil. The creaminess of the goat cheese adds a rich depth, many cream sauces lack. Check out the recipe below!