Cooking with Kristin: These recipes put a new spin on ‘Minnesota Nice’ | News

While my family and I were sitting outside last night enjoying some grilled Kveno beef burgers, my eight-year-old son stated these burgers are tied with McDonalds for the best ever. I asked him how Juicy Lucy burgers rank? He had a blank look on his face. At that moment, I knew my husband and I failed our son. How could he have not yet had a Juicy Lucy? We are going to remedy that situation ASAP. The Juicy Lucy got me thinking of other great Minnesota food creations. Here are some of my favorite.

I must, of course, start with the Juicy Lucy. Whether you believe it was created at Matt’s Bar or the 5-8 Club (both in Minneapolis), this meaty, cheesy legendary burger is what dreams are made of.
Juicy Lucy
1 pound ground beef
3 slices Kraft American cheese
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
potato or other thin hamburger buns
butterhead lettuce
Divide beef into six (2.6-oz. each) balls. On a piece of plastic wrap, pat each ball into a five-inch round patty. Cut each piece of cheese into four squares. On three of the patties, stack four squares of cheese on top of each other. Top with remaining three patties. Press edges together and use the plastic wrap to help shape into a perfect circle as you press. Gently flatten patties back into five-inch circles. Season each patty on both side with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Let patties sit at room temp for 20 minutes. Heat a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. When hot, add patties and cook on each side for two-and-a-half minutes for medium. Don’t overcrowd your pan and work in batches as necessary. Let burgers rest on cutting board for five minutes. To assemble burgers, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on bottom bun, top with lettuce, a few pickle slices, burger and top bun.
Last August, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe set the Guinness World Record in Cass Lake, Minn. for the largest fry bread taco, weighing in at over 150 pounds. That’s a whole lot of deliciousness! Here’s a recipe for a smaller crowd.
Indian Fry Bread Tacos
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean)
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/3 cup water
oil for frying
2 tablespoons chopped lettuce
2 tablespoons chopped tomato
2 tablespoons salsa
2 tablespoons sour cream
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in hot water to form a soft dough. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. In a small skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Keep warm. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a four-inch circle. In an electric skillet, heat one inch of oil to 350 degrees. Fry bread circles in hot oil for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden; drain on paper towels. Top each with meat mixture, lettuce and tomato. Serve with salsa and sour cream.


Introduced in 1937 by Hormel in Austin, Minn., Spam is featured in a lot of dishes from sushi to casseroles and everything in between — including ice cream! This pork product has been fascinating people’s taste buds for decades and continues to have faithful fans from all the world. It simply can’t get more Minnesotan than a tasty Spam casserole, complete with tater tots.
Spam Tater Tots Casserole
1 can Spam with Real Hormel Bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
12 eggs, beaten
1 bag frozen tater tots
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
black pepper
In a frying pan, sauté onions with butter until soft, then remove from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, fry the Spam cubes until crisp and brown. Add the sautéed onions back into the frying pan and set pan aside. Separately, combine eggs, cheese, paprika, onion powder, salt, and lots of black pepper into a large bowl, then whisk together. Add in the tater tots and the sautéed onion and Spam mixture into the large bowl, then mix everything and add it all into a baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then broil for 15-20 more minutes until golden brown on top
Nordic Ware, based in St. Louis Park, Minn., introduced us to the Bundt pan in the 1950s. According to their website, Nordic Ware has sold over 70 million Bundt pans. Here’s a simple and scrumptious way to enjoy this Minnesota favorite cake pan.
Bundt Cake
nonstick cooking spray, for the pan
1 15.25-ounce box cake mix (any flavor)
1 pint high-quality ice cream (any flavor), completely melted
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with the cooking spray, making sure to cover the entire inner surface. Whisk together the cake mix, ice cream and eggs in a large bowl until well combined, then pour into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in middle of cake ring comes out clean and the sides of the cake are beginning to pull away from the edge of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then place a wire rack over the pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Cool completely.  

There’s plenty more Minnesota food creations out there to explore. Now I need to get going, I have a Juicy Lucy to make for a hungry hamburger-loving eight-year-old!

Kristin Kveno scours the internet, pours over old family recipes and searches everywhere in between to find interesting food ideas for feeding your crew. Do you have a recipe you want to share? You can reach Kristin at [email protected].    

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