Bonafide Provisions chicken bone broth
Shelf-stable stocks and broths are, by necessity, preservatives-heavy. But this certified organic product (24 oz.), made by simmering organic chicken bones in triple-filtered water for nearly 24 hours, relies solely upon mineral-rich sea salt, and the power of the freezer, to ensure a long shelf life. Simplicity wins every time, right? It’s more expensive than Kitchen Basic, Pacific, Swanson and other familiar brands, but the clean, golden color and rich, robust chicken flavor is worth the upcharge, especially during soup season. About $8.
Available at Lunds & Byerlys, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, some Walmart stores and some metro area natural food co-ops.
Wholly Veggie! veggie patties
Here’s a smart way to insert more vegetables into every meal. These patties — fashioned from peas, green beans, spinach, broccoli and parsley — not only add a jolt of much needed color into winter meals, but they’ve got a garden-fresh flavor. They’re gluten- and soy-free, but egg whites keep them from being vegan. Serve them (four per 10.6-oz. package) with scrambled eggs at breakfast, or turn them into burgers at dinner. Look for beet- and carrot-centric versions. $6.49.
Available at Target.
Wedge Co-op puff pastry sheets
On a per-ounce basis, this peerless product (22.4 oz.) is roughly twice the price of widely available Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, but that’s an all-shortening version, and the Wedge relies upon premium Minnesota-made Hope butter, and flour from Bay State Milling in Winona, Minn. “Puff pastry is not a place where you should skimp, and we know that shortening doesn’t have the flavor of butter,” said Missy Smith, the co-op’s culinary operations director. “It’s probably not a financially smart move for us to sell something that has more butter than flour, but this is a labor of love.” $14.99.
Available at Wedge Co-op and Linden Hills Co-op.
Dumpling & Strand noodles and pasta
Talk about an easy dinner. Relying upon locally produced and milled grains, co-founders Jeff Casper and Kelly McManus craft a wide range of sublime, made-in-Minnesota pastas and noodles (9 oz.) that cook in a flash (two minutes!) and are so flavorful — and in such beautiful, offbeat shapes — that they demand little more than a bit of grated cheese, a splash of olive oil and a toss of freshly chopped herbs. So easy, and so delicious. About $7.50.
Available at Kowalski’s Markets, many metro area natural food co-ops and France 44.
Local Roots soups
No Gopher State freezer should be without a box or two (12 oz.) of these made-in-Minneapolis soups. They’re notable not only for their convenience, but also their flavor, thanks to a reliance on fresh, local ingredients (including wild rice from the Red Lake Nation in northern Minnesota), which makes them far more lively than canned Progresso. Varieties include chicken noodle, chicken chili and a spiced-up (and vegan) black bean-roasted tomato. About $4.75.
Available at Kowalski’s Markets and most metro area natural food co-ops.
This energetic St. Louis Park enterprise bills its goodies as “smoothies on a stick,” an accurate description for fruit-packed frozen treats that aren’t the usual sugar bomb. Or diet buster, since they fall in the 120- to 190-calorie range. The wide range of pick-me-up flavors include mango, strawberry-banana, pineapple-coconut, raspberry-blueberry and cherry-chocolate. Boxes contain three 7.19-oz. bars. About $4.50.
Available at Cub Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, Costco, Fresh Thyme, Walmart and other retailers.
Sno Pac frozen vegetables and berries
From their acreage in Caledonia, Minn., the Gengler family has been in the farm-to-freezer business for four generations, so they know what they’re doing. Which is delivering just- harvested packages (10 oz.) of organic sweet corn, peas, green beans, spinach, edamame and berries that retain their color, texture and flavor despite long slumbers in the deep freeze. Prices vary.
Available at Lunds & Byerlys and most metro area natural food co-ops.
Black Forest Inn spaetzle
Another example of how three ingredients — flour, water and salt — can be manipulated to create seemingly countless outcomes. In this case, it’s an easy-to-prepare delicacy (12 oz.) from one of the Twin Cities’ oldest restaurants, still run by the Christ family after 54 years. “Little sparrows” are the epitome of simple cold-weather comfort food. Just cook, smother with butter and/or shredded cheese, and indulge. For better cooking results, skip the microwave. $4.79.
Available at Kowalski’s Markets and other retailers.
Mucci’s Italian pizzas
The popular St. Paul red sauce joint is giving supermarket shoppers a bake-at-home shot at the restaurant’s unique, liberally topped pizzas. The thick crusts are fried, which sets them apart from the Totino’s, Freschettas and Heggies of the world. Available in cheese, pepperoni and meatball. About $12.
Available at Kowalski’s Markets, Lunds & Byerlys, Jerry’s Foods, some Hy-Vee stores and some Festival Foods stores.