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Author: Anna Thang

Home/Articles Posted by Anna Thang
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Bacon Double Cheeseburger Tater Tot Hotdish Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • frozen tater tots
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 8 oz bacon, chopped
  • 5-7 baby dill pickles, chopped
  • 5 slices of yellow America cheese
  • 4 slices of white American cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder

Optional Toppings

  • sliced pickles
  • burger sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, crisp up chopped bacon. Remove bacon bits. Keep the bacon drippings in the pan and drop in the chopped onion. Sauté until soft, 5-7 mins. Once onions are soft and translucent, add in ground beef. Brown that up for 7-9 mins or until there is no pink showing. Turn off the heat. Add in 2 slices of Kraft American cheese, chopped baby dill pickles, and bacon bits. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper to your liking. Mix everything until combined.

Top the mixture with 3 more slices of Kraft America cheese. Then top that with tater tots. We used about half a bag for our 8″ skillet.

Bake for 30 mins. Remove from oven and top with white American cheese and a few sliced pickles. Bake for an addition 3-5 mins or until cheese is nice and melted.

We topped ours with a drizzle of burger sauce. Enjoy!

*Notes : Just like when we make cheeseburgers at home, we recommend Kraft yellow American cheese and Land O’Lakes white American cheese. We find that those melt very nicely.

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Roasted Tomato Soup Recipe



  • 3-4 lbs tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3-4 slices of bacon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. We used a combination of Roma tomatoes and large on the vine, red tomatoes. Halve the Roma tomatoes and quarter the larger ones. Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Also chop the top portion of the head of garlic to expose the cloves and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes and garlic for an hour.
  2. When there is about 20 minutes left on the roasting, slice your bacon strips into 1/2 inch pieces. In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the bacon. Once browned, remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Keep the drippings in the pan and use that to sauté the onion. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are soft and slightly golden. Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar.
  3. At this point, the tomatoes and garlic should be done roasting. Squeeze the garlic cloves into the pan with the onions. Add oregano, thyme and broth. Bring this to a boil. Then add basil and the roasted tomatoes. Drop heat and simmer for 10-15 mins.
  4. Using an immersion blender,  blend the soup in the pot until smooth.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream.
  6. Serve with the crispy bacon and a drizzle of olive oil on top. We topped our with some garlic bread cheese and paired it with a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili Recipe


  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup corn (we used canned)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 oz Great Northern or cannellini bean
  • 8 oz green chilies
  • 2 jalapenos  diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 4 oz cream cheese

Toppings (optional)

  • Corn chips
  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno Slices
  1. Place 1 cup of beans in blender with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and blend until smooth. Set aside. In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter along with oil over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos. Sauté until softened, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Then add the pureed beans and broth mixture, remaining broth, remaining beans, green chilies, corn, lime juice, cumin, ancho chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Bring this to a boil and drop heat to a simmer.
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
  4. Add shredded chicken and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Turn heat off and stir in cream cheese.
  6. Serve with toppings of your choice. We used sour cream, blue corn tortilla chips and sliced jalapenos. Cheese and slice avocado would be good toppings as well. Enjoy!
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Wagyu Ragu Recipe


  • 2 lbs short ribs
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 stalk of celery diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Short Rib Ragu Pasta

  • 12 oz pasta
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 grated parmesan

Add olive oil to a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and cracked black pepper. Once the pan is hot, sear the short ribs until you get a nice brown crust. About 3-4 minutes per side.

Remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. You’ll want to drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat/oil left in the pot. In the same pot add carrots, onions and celery. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is deeply brown. Make sure to stir occasionally. Then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the mixture in the pot. Cook for 2 t0 3 minutes. Pour in the red wine to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that formed at the bottom of the pot. Reduce down until the wine is almost completely absorbed, about 3-4 minutes. Then add in the herbs, crushed tomatoes and beef broth.

Give that a stir and add in the short ribs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2.5-3 hours (stir occasionally) or until the short ribs are fall-apart tender. If the ragu becomes too thick, add more water/broth.

Carefully transfer the short ribs to a plate. Using tongs or a couple of forks, shred the short ribs into bite size pieces. Discard the bones. You can now remove and discard the spent herbs – bay leaf, rosemary and thyme stems. Return the shredded short ribs back to the pot and stir.

Short Rib Ragu Pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook accordingly. We tried this wagyu ragu with gnocchi and campanelle pasta. Save 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, add about 2 cups of the wagyu ragu into a skillet and bring up to a simmer. Stir in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Continue to simmer over low heat.  Once the pasta is done, add to the skillet with the meat sauce. Toss to coat. Add in pasta water to loosen up the pasta as needed. Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the pasta and sauce to unite together.

Top with additional parmesan cheese and enjoy.

We purchase our high quality meat from J. Morten’s Meat Market . Check out our article here for more information.


J. Morten’s Meats

If you’re a fan of high quality meats and like to splurge on you and/or yours, keep reading.  In March of 2020 we were supposed to take a vacation to WA. Covid prevented that trip. So, with the shut down approaching and having vacation money, we wanted to treat our household w/ some wagyu steaks. We drove to Hugo, MN where the only HQ family owned fine meat shop was located.  It was here at J. Morten’s Meat Market where we met the Meat Scientist, Dan. Now, this guy could talk to you for hours about Australian and Japanese meat cuts, marbling and beyond. A swell gent!  Long story short, we bought some lovely cuts and left filled with meat knowledge that we never knew we needed.

Fast Forward to this this past weekend. We took a trip to their new(er) Edina location. It’s the old Caribou at 50th & France. Beautiful location with a parking lot within feet of their side entrance. Here we met Brandon, who also shares the expertise of fine meat cuts. We walked away with a MS9+ Purebred ribeye from 2GR ranch in Australia as well as a NY Strip MS9 crossbred from Rangers Valley. Reverse sear was the method used on the ribeye.  While the strip was solely done pan seared. Decided to make a charcuterie board style presentation to feast on with fingerlings, smashed fingerlings, arugula salad, broccolini, tomatoes, carrots and an ample amount of Murray River finishing salt that also came from J. Morten’s. It was all melt-in-our-mouths magnificent! Dinner guests agreed! Kept it Aussie and paired with Penfolds Bin 389 Cab.  Side note:  We prefer the Australian wagyu over the Japanese.

The Purebred Wagyu that they get from Australia:

Because this is fourth generation cattle, i.e. it was originally a crossbred between wagyu and angus, and then over 3 more generations it was bred with fullblood to get to 94% wagyu, it is a pretty small herd with limited availability. This typically comes into the country just once per month, and they grab a bunch when they can, but it is a product that they do not always have in stock.

They typically stock the crossbred wagyu, as that is the most prevalent, and also what most wagyu in America is as well

They will switch between hybrid/crossbred and purebred of the same cut and grades depending upon availability. Unfortunately at this time they haven’t been able to get much fullblood out of Australia with the exception of some whole briskets.

Australian Wagyu is less expensive than Japanese due in part to the size of the country and the ability to raise more cattle, and also the fact that the animals are allowed to pasture for about the first half of their lives, and then put on feed for the remaining days. Up to 500 days on feed.

Australian Wagyu is graded based on marbling, and always as a minimum. Australian uses a number system, and is sometimes referred to as BMS, BM, or MS. The minimum grade is 3, and the maximum is 9 or 9+.  For frame of reference, USDA Prime comes in around 3.5. USDA Prime is also graded on a minimum system, which is why sometimes steaks look a lot better or a lot less marbled than your previous visit to the meat counter.


Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Flavor Boost Review

Our favorite blue box, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, recently came out with KRAFT® FLAVOR BOOST available for purchase via website only – https://flavorboost.kraftmacandcheese.com.  These BOOST seasoning mixes come in flavors that include creamy ranch, zesty pizza and kickin’ buffalo, and are now available in build-your-own Flavor Boosts bundles as well. The bundles are sold in 6, 15 and 24-packs which include a traditional blue box of MAC per packet of seasoning or a 24 pack of just the seasoning mixes alone. Steps on the website state to make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Original blue box as usual (don’t skip the original cheese packet.) Then mix in an entire flavor boost seasoning packet to your mac & cheese and enjoy.

We decide to try all three flavor boost at once. Ranked from favorite to least favorite, here is what we thought:

Kickin’ Buffalo

We got hit with garlic right away with a little kick of heat.  Nothing screamed buffalo to us. It was lacking the vinegar tang and spice that you typically taste in a buffalo sauce.  That being said, it was still our overall favorite.

Zesty Pizza

To us, this one tastes like marinara mixed with ketchup. We’re thinking maybe your kids would love it. This one smelled the best out of the three.

Creamy Ranch

Tangy! Borderline sour. That was all we got.  Looked the best!

Maybe mixing the Buffalo and Ranch would be the way to go.  Let us know if you give it a try.


We look forward to trying these seasonings with other house hold snack. Popcorn, perhaps?

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Tomato Tart


  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 6 oz feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into quarter inch rounds
  • 1/2-1 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1-2 tsp capers
  • 1 medium onion, caramelized
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a rolling pin, gently smooth out the creases on one sheet of puff pastry. Score a 1 inch border around the edge of the sheet using a knife. Do not cut all the way through. Next prick holes all over the center using a fork. Then brush the entire sheet with egg wash. Bake about 15 minutes. It should be puffed and golden. While that is baking, prepare the whipped feta. Add feta cheese, greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic and dill to a food processor. Process until combined and smooth. Set a side. Once the puff pastry is finished baking, take the back of a spoon and press down the center. Top the center with the feta mixture and then the caramelized onions.


Now arrange your tomatoes on top. We used an assortment of tomatoes that we found at the local farmers market. Season the tomatoes with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Garnish with more dill, capers and a drizzle of olive oil.

Dig in!


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Red White and Blue Cobbler


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt divided
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp orange zest, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup mixed berries (we used blackberries and blueberries)
  • 1 1/2 cup white peaches, pealed and sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • optional: whipped cream, ice cream or condensed milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12″ cast iron pan with 1 tbsp of butter. Rinse and prepare your fruit. We placed the berries, peaches and strawberries into separate bowls. We used frozen strawberries but fresh will work just as good. In a large bowl whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, cornstarch and 1 tsp of zest. Divide the mixture between the 3 different fruit bowls and toss. Stir a dash of vanilla and lemon juice into each bowl. Pour each mixture into the cast iron.

In another bowl add 2 tbsp sugar, remaining zest, flour, baking powder and  1/2 tsp salt. With a pastry cutter, cut in 3 tbsp of butter until you get peas size clumps. Stir in milk to soften the dough. Spoon the dough over the filling. Finally sprinkle with remaining sugar and bake for 35 minutes.

Enjoy with some whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. We didn’t have either so we improvised and drizzle some condensed milk over the top and it was delicious! Have a safe Independence Day!

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Summer Pasta Salad with Chicken


  • 8 oz Rotini pasta
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup red/orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli, blanched
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella pearls
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

This recipe is really simple and easy to put together. Cook your pasta according to the package directions and drain. For the chicken breast, we just seasoned ours with our favorite seasonings and seared each side for 5-minutes on medium-high heat. Let that rest for about 5-minutes and then dice into bite sized pieces. Put everything into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Just like that, you’re done! We ate ours over a bed of arugula. You can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. We think next time we’ll switch out the mozzarella and toss in some grated parmesan instead. Shrimp would be a nice substitute for the chicken. Other veggies you could add to this are cucumber, asparagus or zucchini. Let us know what you put in your salad!


The Music Man Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Review

Right before the pandemic started, we were able to see Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Fast forward about 16 months and Chanhassen Dinner Theater has finally announced the re-opening of The Music Man happening July 2nd, 2021. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Meredith Willson’s The Music Man review – No swindling here! We would definitely recommend giving all your monies to the CDT to see Meredith Willson’s to watch Mr. Hill con his way into your heart. The show will have your heart racing as you try to keep up with the upbeat musical numbers, from the opening act which grabs your attention with the fast talking sales men to the amazing quartet that sweep you away with their amazing a capella talent through out the show. Be prepared to laugh during this comedic musical as you journey back to 1912 and see what trouble has been brought to River City, Iowa. Follow “Professor” Harold Hill as he charms his way into the lives of the residents of River City to trick the money out of folks to start a youth marching band. Everyone is intrigues by Hill besides the skeptical librarian Marian Paroo and the town Mayor, George Shinn. Mayor Shinn begins searching for Professor Hill’s true credentials. Marian is ready to blow Hill’s cover but then has a change of heart when she witnesses her self-conscious brother, Winthrop, come out of his shell after he picks up a cornet. Does Hill follow through and leave town with more money is his pocket than he arrived with? Go see the show and find out!

The opening act was one of our favorite parts of the show. You’ll want to bop in your seat along with the salesmen as they sing “Rock Island”.  A group of salesmen talk about a salesman who doesn’t know the territory but somehow gets the sale. Listen closely because it’s fast paced and will have you saying “whadayatalk, whadayatalk, whadayatalk!” if you can’t keep up.

Main characters Michael Gruber as Harold Hill and Ann Michels as Marian Paroo meshed so well together making the show look that much more effortless.  We were was so happy to see the return of actress Ann Michels. Her voice captivates us as she sang “My White Knight’ leaving the entire audience in aw from her amazing voice and talent we were fortunate to witness.

Other memorable parts of the show were the making of the quartet and their many scenes throughout the show. You’ll fall in love with Alek Knezevich, Evan Tyler Wilson, John-Michael Zuerlein and Shad Olsen the same way they fell in love with themselves. The harmonization of “Sincere” a capella was executed effortlessly.

Despite a few fumbles, the recoveries were flawless. The show runs until December 31st, 2021. Use coupon code MMPC21 to get dinner free when ordered online before 7/1/21. *Limit 12 tickets, Not valid with offers/discounts, NYE or previous purchased tickets. Other restrictions may apply. *  We tried it and we recommend it. Now you have all the credentials. Go see the show!

Get tickets at https://chanhassendt.com/musicman/

Photo Credit : Dan Norman