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

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.

Summer Zucchini Bake

posted by Kim

 If you grow zucchini in your garden, you can see it is getting bigger and bigger due to early September temperatures climbing to the high 80s. Typically grocery stores sell small to medium sized zucchini, but the one seen below is obviously homegrown. Look at its size! My sister Kathi brought me this lovely zucchini after visiting Lake Erie Islands.

I didn't have much time so I wanted something quick. I thought a cheesy topping with a little crunch sounded simple enough, and surely the whole family would enjoy baked cheesy zucchini.

Clean the zucchini and scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Cut into quarters, then slice each quarter. Toss with a big glug of olive oil, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Grate 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of taleggio cheese, and a 1/2 cup gruyere cheese. Mix half of the cheese, gently, with the zucchini, and toss with 3 chopped green onions, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Spread mixture in a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese and 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs on top. Bake for another 5 minutes. The creamy cheese is balanced by the fresh tasting zucchini. The crunch of the panko bread crumbs adds a wonderful texture. My family enjoyed this dish; I hope your family enjoys it, too. 

Veal Parm Meatballs

posted by Kim & Carlinne

When we announced our Dinner: The Playbook giveaway winner we featured a picture of Jenny's Chicken Parm Meatballs, which were delicious. We were inspired by the simplicity of the recipe and decided to make veal meatballs, keeping with her theme of hitting the flavors of a particular dish, while actually making something else. With all that comes with the hectic week of getting back into the routine of school, we wanted simplicity yet craved scrumptious. We used ground veal instead of ground chicken and the results were amazing. Veal is so tender and makes a super soft and flavorful meatball.

Jenny's recipe suggests a pizza sauce, so we decided to make a quick, flavorful sauce using tomato paste. Just opening the can of tomato paste brought back a food memory for Carlinne. Her mom used cans of tomato paste for Sunday sauce, and Carlinne was transported back to her kitchen with its yellow linoleum floor, it was the seventies after all. The thick sauce was great for this dish and would be perfect for pizza, too. 

Using a thick sauce flavored with garlic, dried Italian herb seasoning, kosher salt, and red pepper flakes gave the provided a zesty balance to the rich, almost buttery veal meatballs. Simply add a big glug of olive oil to a hot pan. Add 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves, a big pinch of dried Italian herb seasoning, a big pinch of kosher salt, and several shakes of red pepper flakes until the garlic sizzles and is golden. Add a small can, about 6 ounces, of tomato paste and stir to get the flavorful oil infused. Remove a huge spoonful of the sauce from the pan and add to a small bowl along with a glug of olive oil. You will use this to brush on the meatballs.

To make the meatballs, combine 1 egg, about 1 cup of dried bread crumbs or matzo meal, a couple of big pinches of kosher salt, several grinds of black pepper, 1 grated garlic clove,  a big pinch of fennel seed and several shakes of red pepper flakes if you like heat. Stir until combined; add 1 package of ground veal, about 1 pound. Mix well, but gently. Form into meatballs and brush with the reserved sauce and olive oil mixture. Ours were about the size of a golf ball, and we baked them at 350 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. Serve warm with grated parmesan cheese and a baguette for an amazing veal parmesan sandwich. You can also serve the veal parm meatballs like we did last week when we featured the chicken parm meatballs. Over kale or any other green you like.  

Dinner: The Playbook Giveaway Winner

Posted by Kim & Carlinne

Chicken Parm Meatballs featured in Dinner: The Playbook. CW2C served them over a bed of sautéed kale.  

Thanks to all those who commented. Unfortunately there can only be one winner. And the winner is . . . Laurie! You will receive your copy in the mail soon. Based on readers' comments we will be featuring soup, after-school-snack, crock pot and ethnic recipes in upcoming posts.  If you are interested in making these delicious chicken parm meatballs in your dinner rotation, check out the recipe on A Cup of Jo.  You will be happy you did.

What to Cook this Labor Day Weekend

posted by Kim & Carlinne

A long holiday weekend usually means there will be extra celebrating which means extra cooking. Whether your plans include a picnic or a cookout we thought you'd appreciate a few recipe suggestions. We've included recipes for the grill as well as sides to choose from. Click on the name of the dish to read the recipe. Happy cooking!

Enjoy your weekend; we hope it's filled with friendship, food, and family!

Cookbook Giveaway

Posted by Kim & Carlinne

Would you like the recipe for these awesome looking meals?

Kale Cobb Salad

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts

Chicken Chili

Remember at the beginning of summer when we participated in Dinner: The Playbook Challenge? Jenny over at Dinner:  A Love Story just published her second book, which is available for purchase TODAY. One lucky CW2C reader will win a copy. Simply comment about what types of posts you would like CW2C to write. Are you looking for more chicken? quick soups? vegetarian? Maybe you are looking for less recipes and more how-to. Let us know; we truly want to hear from you. Everyone who comments gets their name in the pot for a chance to win Dinner: The Playbook. If you refer a friend to our blog and they subscribe, you earn another chance to win this awesome cookbook. Jenny's cookbook provides a game plan with specific strategies to get dinner on the table for you and your family to enjoy. Read this in depth description of the book and then don't forget to leave a comment and refer all of your friends!

Please make sure we have your email so we can contact you if you win. 

Friday Cocktail: Blueberry Fizz

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Happy Friday! Remember we talked about blueberry picking in Holland, MI? We hope you tried our scone recipe; fresh blueberry scones are amazing. If you follow our blog, you know we also love a good cocktail. This Blueberry Fizz is so refreshing and delicious we just know you will love it as much as we do. 

Fill the bottom of your glass with blueberries. Put ice, a 3 second pour of vodka and a ginormous squeeze of lime juice in a shaker. Shake shake shake. Pour over blueberries and top with Pellegrino (or any sparkling water). The lime and blueberry flavors are wonderful and the fizz from the sparkling water is really refreshing. 

Whatever your weekend brings, a Blueberry Fizz will fit right in. Cheers!

Matthew's Pear Apricot Turnover

posted by Kim

In life many of us, especially parents, try to lead by example. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. My family knows that I love to cook; I spend a lot of my time cooking and love when I have company in the kitchen helping me. 

With summer coming to an end, everyone is excited to sleep in while cramming in the last bit of fun and spontaneity. We decided to make a trip to the West Side Market, and on our drive down, Matthew asked if he could be in charge of our afternoon snack. Hearing those words always puts a big smile in my face. Knowing that he wanted to take charge in the kitchen and create something to share with his family made me realize he has been watching me.

Matthew chose beautiful, in season pears and a few dried apricots to make a sweet treat.    

Toss together, 2 chopped pears, a handful of chopped dried apricots and the juice of a half of a lemon. Roll out your puff pastry as seen above. If you have a homemade recipe that you like, by all means use it. This time Matthew chose to use store bought frozen pastry. Once the dough is rolled out, lightly flour and let rest a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of flour to your fruit mixture. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling to each pastry. Fold over gently and crimp the ends with your fingers then give it a little fancy look with a fork. Make a few slits in the top of each turnover to let some heat escape while it cooks. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown. While the turnover rests once it's out of the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. The combination of sweet and salty is pure perfection.

This delicious afternoon snack can be served alone or with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. Either way it will be a crowd pleaser in your kitchen. Thank you, Matthew!

Seasonal Stir Fry

posted by Kim & Carlinne

Cooking with seasonal vegetables takes a meal from great to exceptional. Besides tasting better and looking extraordinarily vibrant, buying vegetables that are in season is less expensive. The idea for this post started with "let's do a stir fry" and ended with what you see above by simply picking what looked extra good at the grocery store. To us, extra good vegetables are colorful and crisp, like they'd just been picked from a nearby farm. The only vegetable we knew we'd use before going shopping was rainbow carrots; we already had those in the CW2C refrigerator. 

We used the beautiful array of vegetables above for the Seasonal Stir Fry. Corn, green beans, Swiss chard, green onion, kale, and carrots. We also added garlic and ginger.

We chopped the vegetables and sautéed them in a couple of glugs of olive oil and a big pinch of kosher salt. First add the chopped green onion, then the chard stems. Allow to soften. Add sliced ginger, sliced garlic, and a big pinch of kosher salt. Cook for a few minutes. Add the chard leaves and allow to cook down. Add the kale and allow the leaves to wilt. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. Remember to season as you go, adding salt to each ingredient. Once the chard and kale are cooked to your liking, remove from the pan. Add another glug of olive oil to the hot pan. Toss in the green beans, corn, and carrots with a big pinch of kosher salt and allow to cook for a minute. The veggies will remain vibrant and crunchy. Add to the other vegetables. 

We found the original recipe for this teriyaki sauce on Food52.  We tweaked it (only slightly) and couldn't be happier with the results. Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup sake, 1/4 cup mirin, 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of honey in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk  2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the teriyaki thickens. Add a big pinch of red pepper flakes for heat and add more soy sauce, if needed.

This sauce would be the perfect glaze for a grilled pork tenderloin or grilled chicken breast along side our Seasonal Stir Fry. We drizzled it over the cooked vegetables.

Our Seasonal Stir Fry makes a lovely vegan meal. If you want to make it even more substantial, serve it over brown rice. Enjoy the beautiful, delicious vegetables that are in season right now.