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Creative cooking blog that shows how to prepare food for family and friends. ecipes and ideas that inspire you to enjoy cooking.

Zucchini Onion Quiche

posted by Kim

Looking for a meatless meal to share with your family during Lent? This quiche goes back many decades in my family. My grandma, aunts, and mom have all made this dish many times while I was growing up. It's a meal that can be prepared earlier in the day, then baked before you are ready to eat dinner. It also serves as the perfect lunch the next day, served at room temperature or warmed up. 
Zucchini Onion Quiche is very simple to make. Start by sautéing 3 zucchinis, diced, and 2 small sweet onions, diced, in a big swirl of olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Stir often. Turn off heat and allow to cool. While the sautéed mixture cools, whisk 6 large eggs, 1 cup bisquick, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon  of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve. 

From my family to yours. Enjoy!

Friday Cocktail: Rouge Manhattan

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Are you happy that it's Friday? We sure are, especially since we have a new cocktail to share with you.

Place several raspberries in a small glass. Pour Rouge Vermouth over top and let the berries soak for a bit. Transfer a couple of soaked berries per cocktail to a martini or rocks glass. Pour chilled vodka into glass, count to 3 and that's about the right amount. Garnish with a twist of orange. Cheers!

Happy Valentines Day!

Spice Up Your Kitchen Again

posted by Kim

Anything Spice Rub:  minced onion, minced garlic, yellow mustard seeds, kosher salt, lemon pepper, hungarian paprika, and sugar,

yellow mustard seed 

We have shared with you a few ways you can cook with our CW2C's taco seasoning. Now we have developed CW2C Anything Spice Rub. As the name suggests, you can use it on anything. Fish, chicken pork, or beef. Heck you can even try it on veggies! Below we show tilapia, prepared with Anything Spice Rub, and topped with a fresh squeeze of lemon.

This rub gives anything you coat it with an interesting, kid-friendly flavor and texture. We made a batch for Carlinne's neighbor and it was a big hit.

Kale Bruschetta

posted by Kim

Looking for an easy after school snack? Kale Bruschetta fills the need (and hungry stomachs)! Besides tasting delicious, the topping can be made earlier in the day. Toasting the baguette is all that's left to do when the kids get home from school. Most of the time when I make bruschetta I use chopped cilantro. This time I decided to chop kale in place of the cilantro. Matthew is the only food daredevil in the house that enjoys kale so I knew he would love this version of bruschetta. As for the others? They didn't even realize I had swapped ingredient, they loved this version so much they even came back for seconds.

Massage cleaned kale with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. While this marinates mince your other ingredients for the bruschetta. My sister Kathy will love this concept as she is the "mincer" of the family. If you do not have the time or patience to mince, chopping will work as well. Mince 1 vine ripe seeded tomato, 1 clove of garlic and 5 basil leavesMix together in a small bowl and add a small handful of kale that is now minced, a swirl of olive oil, a glug of balsamic vinegar, and season with kosher salt. Toast the baguette, that has been lightly olive oiled, in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove, top with the marinated mixture, sprinkle with BelGioioso Four Cheese Blend. Have bruschetta topping available in your refrigerator for that quick after school snack or the perfect appetizer with a glass of wine to end a long day. Either way you will be pleased.

What's for Dinner? One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken

posted by Kim

Most of us love a one-pot-meal every now and then. Sometimes? It's a necessity! It's never been something that I love; often taking on one flavor and texture which isn't very appealing. I have come to find out, after experimenting with a few one-pot dishes recently, this is not always true, especially for the one I am sharing today. It is a great meal to throw together quickly when you have limited time and has several layers of flavor. From the savory moist chicken to the sweet cherry tomatoes and the slight bitterness of the olives to the crisp tanginess of the lemon juice, all of the flavors of Mediterranean Chicken complement each other beautifully.

Toss all the ingredients into a large dutch oven. Start by placing your pieces of chicken on the bottom. I used a combination of  2 bone in breast meat, 4 drumsticks, and 3 large boneless breasts, for those of us that do not like to eating off the bone and acting like a caveman. Place on top of your chicken, 1 lemon sliced in half, 1 jar of strained kalamata olives, 1 small jar of strained green olives, 1 heavy handful of cherry tomatoes, 2 large sweet onions cut into quarters, 6 cloves of smashed garlic, 4 Turkish bay leaves  and a couple big swirls of olive oil. Seasoned with kosher salt and ground black pepper.  I wanted this dish to be full of herbal flavor also, so I combined, 2 teaspoons of french thyme, 1 teaspoon of rosemary, 1 teaspoon of tarragon, 2 teaspoons of herbs de provence and 1 heavy handful of fresh chopped parsley. Mix together and sprinkle over the pot of ingredients. Add a few more swirls of olive oil and 4 ladles of chicken stock. Roast for 60 minutes at 400 degrees checking occasionally to see if more liquid is needed to the bottom of the pan.
Serve on top of your favorite pasta or rice, or for a carb-free option, sautéed spinach works great and looks beautiful as you can see below. Add a squeeze of lemon on top and enjoy!

Savory Grain Salad

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Harvest Blend from Trader Joe's is a great staple for many of our dinners. We have featured it in previous posts and learned that there are many ways to incorporate Harvest Blend

Shown below, is a how-to, in pictures, illustrating this wonderfully simple grain salad. Eat this as a great stand alone lunch or the star side to your main dish for dinner. First start with a beautiful bowl of Harvest Blend. Cook according to the package's instructions. 

Once the Harvest Blend is cooked and cooled for five minutes or so,  add a large swirl of olive oil, the juice of a 1 lime, a large handful a black beans, a handful of craisins, and a handful of roasted almonds. To give this salad the creamy texture we were looking for, we added in a small amount of goat cheese. The goat cheese helps bind the ingredients together and gives the salad a distinct flavor and texture. Season the mixture with a big pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper.  Mix gently. If needed, add more olive oil or lime to juice to adjust to your liking. 

The base of the grain salad is, of course, some greens. We chose mixed greens as they are light and airy and would compliment the Harvest Blend perfectly. Toss the greens with a little olive oil and lime juice. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. 

Serve the greens with the grain salad and enjoy this light lunch or simple side.

New Year, New Soup

posted by Kim

Happy New Year! How is everyone doing with their resolutions after one week into 2015? I am not one to make a whole list of resolutions, but I like to focus on a couple of new things for the new year. One way I am going to do this in 2015 is by stepping out of my comfort zone in the kitchen, by trying new flavors, new bases and techniques. Today's soup is exactly that. 

I start most of my soups with the same base. Sautéed garlic, onion, bay leaves and chicken stock. However, the soup I feature today could not be more different from that. Borscht is a soup made with beet root as the main ingredient. It is a Ukrainian soup that is popular in many Eastern and Central European cuisines. The broth is made from using 3 bunches of cleaned beets (greens and root included), but reserving 1 bunch of greens for later, 1 large sweet onion, 1 tomato cut in half and 3 dried bay leaves. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for one hour. While the broth is simmering,  sauté 1 pound of sliced lean beef chuck in a swirl of olive oil until the meat is browned on both sides. While the meat is browning shred a 1/2 green cabbage, 2 carrots and the bunch of beet greens that was set aside. Now it's time to roast an entire bulb of garlic; this adds so much flavor to the soup. 

When the broth is done simmering, strain through a colander into another pot. Discard everything, but the beets. Dice them and toss in olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 mins. While the beets are roasting heat a stock pot with a swirl of olive oil and the cloves of roasted garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shredded beet greens, carrots and green cabbage and toss until slightly softened. Swirl in 1 TBSP of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp of dill and 2 tsp of oregano. While this simmers, add 1-2 cups of beef stock to the beet broth and let rest.

Now that your kitchen smells amazing lets merry all of the ingredients together to make an outstanding soup. Add everything into the broth and simmer on low for 15 mins.  Before serving squeeze a slice of lemon on top and a dollop of Crème fraîche or sour cream to finish it off.

This soup definetly took a little longer to make with the various steps involved. However, until you actually try this soup you will not understand how these flavors and textures lead to such a tasteful soup. Try to make this a new soup for your new year. It's a keeper for 2015!

Have a Party with Beer and Cheese!

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Do you ever have a party to go to or want to have a group of friends over spontaneously? Sometimes we feel we don't have the time, but a cheese plate and a six pack is easy for everyone to manage. Especially if you duplicate what we feature below.

Today we feature a few seasonal beers. We decided to explore a few new beers rather than rely on our standard choices. We were rewarded by adding new favorites to our list. We enjoyed Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale, Deschutes Brewery's Inversion IPA, and Stone Brewing Company's Coffee Milk Stout. We tasted each beer with each cheese and easily detected different flavors in both the beer and cheese depending on the pairing. The exceptional cheeses featured below are a smoked pepper jack, a creamy cheddar, Merlot Bellavitao, and a soft brie. Surprisingly the Inversion was the most food friendly, Neither of us is very fond of IPA, but this really knocked our socks off. We loved it with every cheese. We especially liked the Pumpkin Ale with the smoked pepper jack because the heat and smoky flavor of the cheese complimented the spices in the ale. The Merlot Bellavitano is a crowd pleasing cheese and really went well with each beer. The brie and coffee milk stout paired together really underscored their creaminess.  

To round out the cheese plate we added raspberries, a French baguette and slices of an Asian pear. If you are not a beer drinker, consider trying one of the beers we feature, they're really delicious! If you are rolling  your eyes and KNOW you are not an any-kind-of-beer drinker, then take a look at some of our favorite wines from this post. A few cheeses and several bottles of beer can turn any get together into a fun celebration.

Happy New Year!

'Tis the Season

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Great Lakes Christmas Ale is back and probably in many of your refrigerators right now. We know that we aren't the only ones who wait not-so-patiently for Christmas Ale season. Today we would like to share with you a few ways we have used Christmas Ale besides drinking if from a chilled glass.

Our most recent creation is a favorite of both of our families! We took the stout brownies we featured a few month ago and used a Christmas Ale instead. The spicy notes from the beer and the bittersweet chocolate kept everyone coming back for more. The beauty of the brownie is that it is perfect for taking to a party or serving at home to your friends and family. It's portable, and you can serve bite sizes pieces or giant portions that make a statement. How can you go wrong with chocolate?

Christmas Ale was the main star in these recipes, too.  

Christmas Ale ice cream 

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

It's Cookie Christmas Time!

posted by Kim & Carlinne

It's no secret that Cookie Christmas is one of our favorite traditions. This year we added two new cookies to our usual menu of cookies:  Vanilla Bean and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars.

The favorites that we bake every year are, CW2C Monster Cookie and the Chocolate Sugar Cookie pictured below and the popular Snickerdoodles featured in our opening picture.

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These delicious cookies could not be made without the use of the wonderful kitchen equipment that Carlinne's parents generously let us use every December!

If  you are baking this season let us know what your favorites are. We'd love to hear about your favorite Christmas tradition in the kitchen.