Simple Recipes.

Freezer Meals.

Minnesota Restaurant Reviews.

BB (Berries and Beets) Purple Smoothie

I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate more vegetables (AKA “undesirables,” to some people) into meals. It’s even easier to do with kids if you can leverage the fun colors. A purple smoothie? Yes, please.(AKA “undesirables,” to some people) into meals. It’s even easier to do with kids if you can leverage the fun colors. A purple smoothie? Yes, please. I was just thinking the other week about different ways to use the vacuum-packed beets in my pantry. When I received a Snapchat from my Aunt Michelle this morning showing her adding the gorgeous red root veggie to a smoothie, I knew exactly what I was having for breakfast. Here’s the beet-filled purple smoothie I whipped up this morning. The berries and banana in this smoothie really add some nice sweetness, and balance out the earthy flavors of the spinach and the beets — I promise. But if you’re nervous, feel free to use just one beet to start. (Bonus: It’s a non-dairy smoothie recipe. But if you’re a fan of cow’s milk, just substitute.) INGREDIENTS: 2 Beets, Cooked and Peeled 2 Cups Baby Spinach (because I add spinach to just about every smoothie) 1.5 Cups Rice Milk 2 Cups Mixed Berries (I happened to have blackberries and raspberries on hand) 1 Banana 6-8 Ice Cubes DIRECTIONS: Blend spinach, rice milk, and beets until liquefied. (I always mix the harder to blend items with the liquid first, to minimize any chunkiness in texture) Add berries and banana, blend thoroughly. Add ice, blend again – then pour and enjoy! This definitely makes one BIG purple smoothie, but it’s all good... read more

MaK’s Good Green Smoothie

Have you tried green juices or smoothies in the past and struggled with finding the right balance of veggies to fruit. You know, so you don’t feel like you’re drinking straight kale with a sprinkling of dirt? This green smoothie recipe is for you. This came about when I had a bunch of avocados to use up FAST, and my mini decided to go on an avocado strike. (Up until recently, she LOVED them. Toddlers. Go figure.)  I typically make protein shakes or smoothies, and present them to her as “ice cream.” She’s never turned one down. I win. Alright, you green smoothie maniacs who want things to be healthy AND taste good — here you go: INGREDIENTS: 1 Cup Fresh Spinach or Kale Leaves Optional: 2 Scoops Livfit Superfood Blend with Protein (Or Other “Greens” Powder) 2 Cups Milk (I use rice milk; you could use almond, or even orange juice) 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice (About 2 Whole Limes Worth) 1 Banana 1 Fresh Mango, peeled, pitted & chopped (could also substitute a handful of frozen mango chunks) 1 Ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped 5-6 Ice Cubes DIRECTIONS: Blend milk, lime juice, spinach, and greens/protein powder if using. Mixing leafy ingredients with liquid first will ensure a smooth blend, other you might end up with a stray whole spinach leave between sips. Not a “smooth” smoothie. Add banana, mango and avocado pieces. Blend for 60 seconds or longer, depending on the power of your blender. Lastly, pulse in ice cubes and blend until smooth, Add more liquid or ice until you reach your desired consistency. Typically... read more

Easy Creamy Coconut Sauce

If you struggle with the idea of cutting down on sauces from a packet or jar, this is the perfect starter for those who are just beginning their journey of cooking real food from scratch. The best part? This creamy, savory coconut sauce could make a piece of cardboard taste delicious — but it’s actually HEALTHY, and it really can go over just about anything, from chicken, to veggies, to fish. And it’s super fast to boot, so let’s get to it. INGREDIENTS: Sprayable Coconut Oil (Enough to coat your pan to sautee onions) 1 Small Onion (or 1/2 a large onion), diced 1 Clove of Garlic, chopped (Feel free to sub 1 teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh) 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk *Note: I recommend full fat coconut milk (I use Aroy-D). Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure it’s straight up coconut. Some discount brands will be “low fat” or will include several preservatives in their ingredients — these are processed, have little flavor, and have a waxy quality that isn’t great for that creamy quality you want in a sauce. DIRECTIONS: Put a saucepan on medium heat; once it’s hot, add your diced onions, stirring occupationally until they’re translucent Add chopped garlic and stir briefly, then pour in the coconut milk Simmer on medium heat, uncovered, until sauce is reduced and thickens — about 10 minutes. Pour over meat, vegetables, or anything you want! Creamy Coconut Sauce Tips: When I’m eating super clean, I don’t add any other seasonings, so this is a great sauce for low-sodium diets. If... read more

MaK’s Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

Every now and then, I crave a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger. But then realize I don’t have time to thaw burger, form patties, and flip them in the frying pan, all before the Midget’s 6:30pm bed time — so I came up with this quicker version a few years back, and it’s in high demand during football season. If you’re looking for a creative Super Bowl party recipe, it’s time to dole out some liquid bacon cheeseburger in a bowl. And good news — there’s still time to whip up a batch of bacon cheeseburger soup before the big game tonight! INGREDIENTS: 1 Large Onion, diced 3 Tbsps Flour 3 Tbsps Butter 1 Tbsp Chicken Stock Base (I use Better Than Boullion) 8-12 Slices of Cooked Bacon; chopped 1 lb – 1.5 lbs Ground Beef 1/4 Cup of Light to Medium  Bodied Beer (I used Fulton Lonely Blonde, which is something I drink regularly anyway) 4 Cups Water 2 Cups Half & Half 16 Oz. Natural American Cheese (If you’re not a “real food” freak like me, you’d use Velveeta, but I’m not about manufactured cheese, so I went on the hunt for a real, natural melting cheese and this works great.) 8 Oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (I hate how much junk  is in store bought sauces, so I made some homemade Worcestershire) 2 Tbsp Ketchup 2 Cups Diced Tomatoes 1 Cup Dill Pickles, chopped 2 Cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped DIRECTIONS: I typically keep a bit of pre-cooked bacon on hand, but if you’re starting from scratch, I recommend baking it on a foil-wrapped pan at 375° for... read more

A Review of Barley and Vine – Lakeville’s Newest Eatery

If you live anywhere in the Lakeville/Farmington/Apple Valley region, you can finally exhale. The newest eatery in Lakeville — Barley and Vine (formerly known as Copper River, formerly known as Molly Cool’s, and so on, and so forth) — has arrived. And spoiler alert: So far, it’s everything you wanted it to be. Let’s do a quick postmortem so we can get some closure. For the past 6 years, the big space with the awesome patio rotated owners and names, but not much else. Even at its best, we simply didn’t need another steak and chop house in our neighborhood. We needed a place with St. Paul-Minneapolis restaurant level flavor (at a better price) that was a close enough option for date night so we could try out our inexperienced fifteen year old neighbor as a babysitter. And though we mid-class-south-metro-suburbanites could shell out $12 for a glass of wine or $16 for a salad, let’s make it very clear: we don’t want to. That’s why we live in the ‘burbs. Our taxes suck, and we want the best of both worlds. So on day two of their much anticipated opening, my good friend Marsh and I ventured out 3 minutes west (see why we want this to succeed so badly? It’s literally next door.) to see if we were finally getting what we’ve been asking for. It was busy. Not too busy that we wanted to walk out, but a nice, balanced buzz of conversation hung in the air and a bustling service team weaved seamlessly between tables and the bar. We got excited. We were seated at... read more

Aunt Karla’s Easy Homemade Eggnog

Hi. My name’s MaK, and I refuse to buy eggnog from the store. Ever since my Aunt Karla visited us a couple years ago just before Christmas time and whipped up a batch of her delicious, EASY homemade eggnog from scratch, I simply cannot. To me, store bought eggnog is a thick mixture of processed eggs, sugar, and regret that’s just plain hard to swallow, and frankly does not mix well with brandy. So in order to share this lovely, Christmasy world where eggnog does not taste like liquid quiche, today I am sharing my Aunt Karl’s easy homemade eggnog recipe. Your family and any other holiday guests will thank you. *Disclaimer: This is an easy homemade eggnog recipe, because it is RAW. It is delicious. But I do not cook the eggs, so — consumption of raw food can cause illness, give you a tummyache, blah blah, etc. I choose to use this recipe because I get fresh, organic eggs from a source that I trust, but feel free to find a tempered egg recipe to if you’re not comfortable with the raw egg thing. What You’ll Need: A  Large Bowl (Or Empty 1-Gallon Bucket) WITH a Lid A standing mixer One Dozen Eggs 1 Cup Sugar 1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream 1 Pint Half and Half 1 Pint Milk 1 oz Rum Flavoring Directions: You need to crack the whole dozen eggs up, separating the whites from the yolks (get a few bowls out – one for yolks, one for whites, etc.) Put egg whites in mixer and whip to stiff peaks – the transfer egg whites... read more

Top 4 Thanksgiving Tips for Guests and Hosts

Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it’s here. Which means you’re either freaking out because you’re hosting, and in just a few short hours your semi-dysfunctional (they all are) family will be barreling through your door. That or you’re laying in bed reading this, thinking, “Thank God we’re not hosting…. Wait. Did I pick up the right kind of pie?” I’ve hosted and attended a few major holiday meals over the years, and it can be stressful on both ends. I’m no expert, but thought a quick collection of things I’ve learned might be helpful to someone to help Thanksgiving dinner go a big more smoothly. (Hopefully that someone is you. I’m not even sure anyone’s reading this. Hello?) So whether you’re a host or a guest, here are the best Thanksgiving tips I’ve learned over the years: 1. Hosting? Get up. Get UP. GET UP. Maybe you stayed up late the night before to make sure everything is set, and all that’s left to do is to pop things in the oven. But these Thanksgiving tips are from my own personal experience, and my own personal experience is that, just about the time I think there’s nothing I could’ve forgotten… I realize I’ve forgotten something. You’ll feel better if you get up early, make coffee, double check everything, and plan for any necessary last-minute store runs. Ok. Sorry I yelled. 2. Guest-ing? Bring something. Even if you were told “Don’t bring anything.” Everyone has that holiday super-host in the family. “Oh, don’t bring a thing, we’ve got it all covered.” Now, that may be true, but even if you love doing... read more

Easy One Pot Sausage Rigatoni

Temperatures have dropped, the wind has come up, and winter is on its way. With little daylight left to whip up something warm and filling for dinner, this one pot pasta (inspired by my dear friend, Marsh, who suggested a sausage rigatoni fix for an impromptu family dinner last night) is a winner on both time and taste. INGREDIENTS: 1 Box Rigatoni (or any other short cut pasta) 1 Small to Medium Onion, Diced (Whatever color you have on hand. We used white.) 1 Tablespoon of Flour 1 Package Italian Sausage -OR- 3-4 Whole Sausages w/ Casings Removed 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil 1/2 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese 2 Cups of Arugula (Chopped if you want smaller pieces) 2 Cups of Chicken Broth DIRECTIONS: First of all, let’s clear something up: the sausage rigatoni ends up in one pot, but you’ll also need a pan to brown your sausage while your pasta cooks. Sorry for the misleading title. 🙂 Place a large skillet or saucepan on medium heat; while this is warming up put a large pot of salted water on high to boil your pasta. Once your skillet is hot, add your sausage so it can start browning. (Remember, if you don’t have an actual package of ground sausage, you can always remove the casings of any breakfast sausage, bratwurst, etc. — whatever you have on hand.) *Note: In the next step you’ll start to make the roux (flour/fat mixture that will thicken our sauce). I used the fat that cooked off the sausage, but some sausage is greasier than others, so... read more

Get MaK and Cheese in Your Inbox

Thanks so much for visiting the MaK and Cheese Blog. If you’d like to get easy recipes or more Minneapolis restaurant reviews in your inbox, please subscribe!