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

Thanksgiving Ideas: From Sides to Sweets

posted by Kim 

Need some last minute ideas for tomorrow? Well here are a few. Above is a vegetable that is often seen in some form or fashion on most thanksgiving tables: brussels sprouts. Most of us grew up not liking brussels sprouts, but times have sure changed.  Now there are so many ways to prepare that green veggie so many of us plugged our nose to eat. How about a tangy shredded brussels sprout salad. The preperation is quick and the end result will compliment your turkey perfectly. Thinly slice 12 large brussels sprouts, 5 mushrooms and peel using a vegetable peeler 1 carrot. In a sautée pan swirl a little olive oil and toss in the brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat. The brussels sprouts will remain crunchy and will turn to a vibrant green color. Season with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Top with the mushrooms, carrots, a handful of crasins and this wonderful zesty orange dressing. In a blender take 1 large orange, juiced and zested, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave, 1 clove of garlic, peeled, a pinch of kosher salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Blend together until smooth. While the blender is still going slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil until combined. Toss with salad and serve. 

Carrots seem to be a staple this time of year. Try heightening their flavor by tossing them in this simple citrus glaze.  Take 8 large carrots peeled and cut into matchsticks. Blanch them in boiling salted water for 5 minutes and drain. In a sautée pan add a big swirl of olive oil over medium heat. Add I head of roasted garlic and make a paste. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and wisk together. Squeeze the juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon into the mixture wisking until smooth. Season with kosher salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. Toss in carrots and serve.

To complete your thanksgiving dinner, here is a perfect sweet treat. Simply make a vanilla wafer cookie if you have extra time to spare or use store bought nilla wafers. Use frosting (as the glue) and add a hershey kiss to one side and a miniature white chocolate chip to the other side. Trim the cookie around the hershey kiss and you have perfect little acorns to share with your family and friends. 

Thanksgiving is a time when we are thankful for many things. On the top on our list is family, friendship and food! Being able to create and share such wonderful food with our family and friends gives us both a great feeling of accomplishment. Cook with 2 Chicks hope that all of you enjoy this time of thanks and cherish your thanksgiving day spent with your loved ones. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall Fennel Salad

posted by Kim

Fennel is an ingredient that I do not often cook with. The flavor of black liquorice is not a big hit with my family. However, I enjoy fennel and tonights salad was about me!  Honey crisp apples have been especially sweet this week. I knew that the black licorice flavor, the peppery taste of arugula and a sweet tangy honey crisp apple would be a great combinaiton.    

The four ingredients to this fall salad are arugula, fennel, honey crisp apple and dill. Dill is part of the celery family so I thought it would pair nicely with the other ingredients mentioned above.  Thinly slice 1 fennel bulb, 1 honey crisp apple and place onto of a bed of arugula. Sprinkle 1 tsp of dried dill and set aside while the dressing is being made.

Toss the salad with this zesty dressing by whisking together 4 TBSP of olive oil, 1/2 lemon squeezed, a few shakes of red pepper flakes and 1tsp of agave.  Taste the dressing and if it is a little to tangy add some water.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and let the flavors merry.  If a crisp flavorful salad is something you are looking for than look no further. The Fall Fennel Salad is exactly what your taste buds are craving.

CW2C Cuban Panini

posted by Kim

A couple of weeks ago we posted a brisket from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The dinner received rave reviews from my family. However, I bought a brisket that was a little too big, so we had leftovers. We usually don't eat left overs, unless they're transformed into something new. Unless it's for breakfast or an after school snack, my kids prefer not to eat the same dinner twice in the same week. With this in mind I decided to use the left over brisket in a totally different way (a panini) that would satisfy everyone. I have never made a cuban panini but have ordered one out and really enjoyed it. I knew that with the exception of the pickles for some, the panini  would be enjoyed by all.

Assembling the panini is so simple. Once the panini maker is hot, slice the ciabatta roll in half and lightly butter both sides. Put the buttered side down onto the panini maker and begin layering your ingredients. Start with a light spread of roasted garlic-dijon aioli. This mixture take seconds to make but is best when allowed to sit in the refrigerator for an hour to merry the flavors. Mix together 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard,  5 cloves of smashed roasted garlic, a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Place 2 slices of black forest ham for your next layer followed by a few sliced kosher dill pickles, a slice of swiss cheese and a final light slather of the aioli on the top half of the ciabatta roll. Slowly close the panini maker and let the magic happen. Cook the panini for 8-10 minutes. Remove and add your favorite coleslaw, if desired. I used a green cabbage instead of red; it was delicious. The coleslaw took this panini to the ultimate flavor explosion. Make this great CW2C Cuban Panini; you will love it!

What's For Dinner? Brisket and Roasted Potato 'n' Carrot Coins

posted by Kim

Having a spare hour on any day means it's a good day! It sure doesn't happen often, but when it does I love to pull out one of my favorite cookbooks and pick out the next family dinner. Carlinne and I have a few favorite cookbooks and browsing through them gives us both ideas for dinners that we have featured on CW2C. Both cookbooks by Jenny Rosenstratch from Dinner: A Love Story are favorites of ours.  Not only are her books easy to follow, but she also has many tasty recipes you will be sure to make again. Another cookbook on the top of our list is The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelaman. Not only are Deb's recipes to-die-for, her photos will make you think the food is right in front of you! My love for photography makes this cookbook especially appealing.

Deb's recipe for this "holiday brisket" (as she calls it) is quite simple. Mix together 1 cup of beef stock, 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 4 teaspoons of paprika, 2-3 teaspoons of worcestershire, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon  of onion powder. Pour the sauce directly on top of your 4-5 pound piece of beef brisket that is seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper  Bake in a Dutch oven for 3 hours at 350 degrees. 

When the meat is almost done, peel a bunch of carrots and a handful of small potatoes toss together with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of dried dill. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. After 20 minutes flip the vegetables and roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the brisket from the Dutch oven and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut the brisket into slices and return to the boiling sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. I served the brisket over noodles and topped it with the sauce. The roasted vegetables were perfect as a side to this delicious brisket.

If you are inspired by this meal, there are many more recipes that will please your family for any occasion in Deb's cookbook. It is worth the purchase; your family will be sure to thank you!  

Do you have a favorite cookbook? We would love to hear from you!

Fire Roasted Tomato and Barley Soup

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Fire Roasted Tomato and Barley Soup is hearty, thanks to the barley. It's perfect for fall and could even be considered a comfort food. If you need something to warm both the body and soul, try this soup.

It only took about 30 minutes to prepare this soup because  the barley was cooked earlier that morning. Barley takes about 40 minutes to prepare and is a great grain to have on hand. Sauté 3 chopped celery stalks and 1 large chopped sweet onion in a swirl of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a big glug of white wine and cook down for 3 minutes. Add several fresh basil leaves, chopped and the cooked barley. Add as much as you like to make this soup to as thick as you like. Add 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes and 2 cups of chicken stock. Stir and let simmer for 15 minutes. Top with shredded white cheddar and a slice of toasted baguette. Enjoy!

Chicken Isabella

Posted by Kim

With fall quickly arriving and winter not far behind we begin to think about comfort food. CW2C tends to stay on the lighter side with our meals, so we don't have a lot of comfort food recipes. However, once in a while, we like a meal that's cheesy and even slightly rich. Chicken Isabella has rich flavors, and when I make it today for my family, I recall many fond memories while the aromas fill the kitchen.

My Mom served this dish often when I was growing up. The recipe originated from her good friend who, coincidentally, has the last name Isabella. I guess that must have been a prediction of my future friendship with Carlinne. The hands-on time for this dish is in the preparation. Once you put it in the oven, you are free to do other things, like drink a glass of wine while your kitchen smells delicious.

Slice 6 chicken breasts into long pieces similar to chicken tenders, season with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover with 4-6 beaten eggs, and let rest in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Soaking the chicken in eggs is an important step; you won't believe how tender this chicken is. 

Once the chicken is tenderized, remove from the eggs. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Set up your dredging with the melted butter in one bowl and panko bread crumbs in another. Dip each chicken piece in the butter and then the bread crumbs. Once the pieces are breaded, they are ready to brown.

Swirl 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heated skillet. Once your oil is hot, place the tenders in the skillet without crowding. Cook on each side for 4-6 minutes until golden brown.  

Pour 2 cups of chicken stock into an oven-proof  9 X 13 pan. Add the chicken in an even layer. Add 4 cups of sautéed mushrooms on top of the chicken, and cover with provolone cheese. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 45 minutes. Serve with your favorite seasonal vegetable and enjoy!


What's For Dinner? Tomato Pie

posted by Kim

This is one of my Mom's favorite dishes so I must give her all the credit for this yummy  tomato pie.  The tomatoes are finally looking and tasting good.  I feel this summer it has taken them a little longer to reach thier full ripeness and flavor. So here it is.....if you love tomatoes as much as we do this dish is a must try for an upcoming dinner around your table.

Start by using the best tomatoes you can get your hands on. Slice, lay flat on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.  This helps to draw out the water in the tomato to keep your pie crust from getting soggy.  Let sit for 30 mins then pat dry.

Arrange your pie crust, store bought or homemade, in a 9 inch pie plate and begin layering.  Sprinkle a thin layer of shredded cheddar cheese and shredded white cheddar cheese, then top with your sliced tomatoes. Next layer with a simple creamy mixture of 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and parmesan cheese. Continue this process of layering until your ingredients are gone.

Gently lay another pie crust on top and crimp to make these beautiful edges.  Again this technique must be given credit to my Mom. She taught my girls how to make the perfect crimp.  See Meggie in action below!  Make a few slits on the top of pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. 

Once out of the oven let the pie sit for up to 3 hours to make sure the pie is completely set. Doing this will ease the first piece of the pie right out of the dish and the layers will sit perfectly.  Enjoy this pie alone or with a nice tossed green salad.

Hello-Fall-Goodbye-Summer Soup

posted by Kim & Carlinne

A few weeks ago we asked our readers what they'd like to see more of on CW2C. We heard many requests for more soup recipes. We are happy to respond, not only because we love our readers, but also we love soup! The soup featured today really bridges the seasonal vegetables of both summer and fall.

Peel and chop a medium size sweet potato. Toss with a glug of olive oil, several shakes of red pepper flakes and a huge pinch of kosher salt and a few shakes of smoked paprika. Spread evenly on a tray, and bake for about 40 minutes in an oven that has been heated to 425 degrees. While the potatoes are roasting, chop a baby patty pan squash (leave the skin on; it's beautiful and soft) Season with kosher salt and olive oil. Spread the chopped squash evenly on a second tray and cook for about 10 minutes.

While the veggies roast in the oven, get your broth and other soup components started.Chop  a medium size onion. Sauté with a big glug of olive oil and a big pinch of kosher salt in a soup pot that's been heated over medium high heat. If the onions begin to color, add a splash of chicken stock and allow to soften. Add 3 or 4 cloves of smashed garlic and cook until soft and beginning to turn golden. Add about 6 cups of chicken broth, or a combination of chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée the garlic, onion and broth which results in a very silky flavorful base for the soup. 

Remove the kernels from 3 ears of corn with a sharp knife. Put half into your broth and reserve the other half in a bowl. Add 2 big handfuls of arugula to the corn in the bowl. Add a big pinch of kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon. Add the cooked sweet potato and squash to your broth.

To serve the soup put a scoop of the lemony arugula and corn into a soup bowl. Ladle the soup over top and garnish with roasted, salted pumpkin seeds. This soup is the perfect marriage of summer and fall. The corn and citrusy greens represent summer with the sweet potato, squash and pumpkin seeds reminding us that we love fall, too. The flavors work so well together and the vegetable combination makes this soup hearty without being heavy.

We served a cheese quesadilla along side the soup; both paired beautifully with a dry, crisp white wine.

Stout Brownies

posted by Carlinne

You know how sometimes you need chocolate? Not want; but N-E-E-D. Brownies always offer a great chocolate fix. But these stout brownies? Amazing! Thank you, Joy the Baker. This recipe is exciting for a couple of reasons. First of all, hello? It's chocolate. Secondly, remember this? The Creme Brûlée Stout we used in our adult milkshake worked perfectly in this recipe. I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly and plan to make them again very soon. It probably goes without saying, but any stout or dark beer would work here. The Southern Tier brewery does such a nice job with their Creme Brûlée Stout. Click here for our Stout Brownies recipe. Let us know how you like them! Kim served our stout brownies with raspberries and basil. Not only does it make for a beautiful photograph, but also the flavors were fantastic together.


If a more traditional brownie is what you are looking for, these are delicious and still satisfy the chocolate craving. We featured this recipe back in February.