Date Nut Bread

Date Nut Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf (about 16 slices)
  • Difficulty: Easy

I have been making this date nut bread every Christmas morning for what seems like forever! Originally I got this recipe from my longtime friend, Linda O'Donnell. We were next door neighbors and best friends since 1970. A lot of baking went on between us during our children's youth. Every Christmas morning Gary & I would spread some cream cheese on a slice, grab a cup of coffee and watch the kids open presents. We absolutely love it.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups chopped dates ( I use Sun Maid or Dole)
  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts – nuts may be omitted)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease a 9¼ x 5¼ x 2¾ loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter & brown sugar with dates.
  • Pour the boiling water over the date mixture and cool.
  • When cool, add beaten egg & dry ingredients. Beat well.
  • Add nuts &  vanilla. Stir well.
  • Bake in loaf pan for 1 hour & 10 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.
  • When slightly cool, remove from loaf pan and continue cooling on rack.
  • After completely cooled, cover in plastic wrap to keep moist.

Note: No need to wait for Christmas! Enjoy this anytime with cream cheese or butter spread on top.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.


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Marinated Asparagus & Cheese

Marinated Asparagus

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Fresh asparagus marinated in olive oil & garlic are combined for some heavenly flavors on this light side dish. Top it with crumbled blue cheese (our husbands favorite, Boursin garlic & herb (Barbara's favorite) feta or Parmesan. Whatever cheese you choose, you will love these asparagus! 😋

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cheese of your choice (we used blue cheese and Boursin garlic & herb)
  • ice water in a large bowl (have ready while asparagus are cooking)

Directions

  1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the asparagus & cook uncovered for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus & put them into a bowl of ice water. Drain well & pat dry with paper towel.
  2. In a large plastic resealable bag, combine oil, vinegar, garlic, green onions, salt & pepper. Add asparagus; seal the bag and turn several times to coat well. Refrigerate a minimum of 1 hour.
  3. After an hour, remove from refrigerator and drain asparagus. (Discard remainder of marinade if not using for salad dressing or a rice dish)
  4. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle with your favorite cheese.


Note:  Left over marinade can be used to season rice or as a salad dressing. It’s really good and why waste all those great flavors!

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.


 

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Mom’s Spinach & Broccoli Pies

 

Our beautiful Mom (Eleanor DeBlasi Caronia) loved being surrounded by family. She would cook Sunday dinners that could feed an army and loved having our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins over to join us. We know how proud she would be to see us share our family recipes and finally have a collection for all our family and friends to share.❤

Spinach & broccoli pies are a family favorite; which Mom always made for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when the entire family would gather at our parents home. Many friends asked for this recipe over the years and we’re so happy to share it with you. Enjoy!

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 2  12-ounce bags of either frozen chopped spinach or baby broccoli† florets (cooked and drained very well, additional chopping until fine texture.)
  • 7 level Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 3 Tablespoons French’s® yellow mustard 
  • 12-ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese
  • 1 package Grands Pillsbury® Crescent Roll
  • 9″ pie pan

Instructions

  • Cook the frozen spinach or broccoli florets and drain well. When cooled chop fine and use paper towels to squeeze any excess liquid through a strainer.
  • In a large bowl mix onion, spinach or broccoli, shredded Swiss cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, and mustard. 
  • Separate crescent rolls.
  • Place crescent rolls into pie pan, wide side down.  Points hanging over the pie pan. 
  • Lay the mixture in a circle like a wreath leaving the center of pan open.
  • Fold pointed end of crescent rolls over mixture towards the center, tucking point in and leaving a small opening.
  • Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown (check after 20 minutes).

†  We use 2 – 12oz. bags of frozen baby broccoli florets that we finely chop after cooking & squeezing out all excess liquid. If you use frozen chopped broccoli in a bag, you get too many stems; which will change the texture.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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St. Joseph’s Spaghetti (Pasta con Sarde)

st joseph spaghettiMarch 19th has always been a special day of celebration for our family for that’s the day we celebrate the Feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). This feast honors Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and earthly father to Jesus.  Considered by Sicilians as the Patron Saint of their region, St. Joseph is said to have saved Sicily’s residents during one of their many devastating droughts. It is believed that the residents prayed to St. Joseph for rain. Their prayers were answered when the rain came. Their spring crops were spared from being destroyed, which prevented a widespread famine for Sicily. It is believed that this is the reason the celebration is held in March.

We celebrate every year because Joseph is the namesake of several of our family members, starting with our grandfather, father, son/nephew and 2  grandsons (Joseph as their middle name).

The menu for a St. Joseph celebration is rooted in the Sicilian tradition and because the holiday falls during Lent, meat is not eaten during the celebration, hence the sardine sauce. We can remember Grandma Tessie cooking spaghetti with a combination of sardines, onions, fennels, & raisins for the sauce topped with toasted breadcrumbs, known as the “poor man’s Parmigiano”, representing the sawdust left behind after a day’s work in his carpenter’s shop. She cooked this meal (which we grew to love) every March 19 until she was 97. At that last celebration, she asked who would carry on this tradition when she was gone. I told her not to worry, that I would. For the past 16 years, I have been making the Pasta con Sarde just as Grandma did, which is especially enjoyed by our Dad. The focus of the meal is on the Pasta con Sarde but we also enjoy the St. Joseph’s pastries. I always get them from Patsy’s & Son Italian Bakery in Lindenhurst, New York. They are the best I ever tasted and I’m a bit of a cannoli cream snob! If you find yourself on Long Island, do stop in to try their cannolis & cassata cake.

patsy store front

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups prepared Basic Tomato Sauce
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tablespoons EVOO
  • Pecorino Romano grated cheese for garnish
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti (slightly thicker than angel hair/capellini)

Instructions

  1. Sauté crushed garlic in EVOO in a large pot until golden. (Do not burn)
  2. Add the can of Cuoco Condimento per Pasta con Sarde.
  3. Stir well and simmer about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour 4 cups of prepared Basic Tomato Sauce to the sardine mixture breaking up the large pieces of sardines. Simmer about 30 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, toast the breadcrumbs in oven or stovetop,  but do not burn. Set aside in a serving dish.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt & a drop of EVOO.
  7. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  8. Warm a large serving bowl or platter then put the cooked pasta in it.
  9. Take some of the sauce mixture to coat the pasta & toss well.
  10. Add pasta to individual dishes and top with extra sauce, breadcrumbs & grated cheese.

Note: Our family likes to add a spoonful of ricotta cheese on top (optional).

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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Teresa’s Chicken Caccitore

If you’re looking for a real crowd pleaser with a little kick, look no further! This chicken dish is full of flavor and can be served with your favorite pasta or rice.

This is a gluten-free recipe; however, you can substitute regular flour and chicken broth if gluten isn’t a worry.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs, skin on (with or without the bone)
  • Basic Tomato Sauce (use the full recipe)
  • 1½ lbs. Barilla pasta of your choice
  • Bob’s Red Mills® Gluten Free all-purpose flour (regular all purpose flour may be substituted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning (we use Morton & Bassett)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 8 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 4-6 frozen Dorot® garlic cubes (regular garlic cloves, minced, may be substituted)
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 3/4 – 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup low sodium Progresso ® chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 3 Tablespoons drained capers
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt & pepper.
  2. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour.
  3. In a large skillet, add EVOO over medium-high heat.
  4. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on each side.
  5. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.
  6. Add peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the skillet (add EVOO to skillet if necessary). Saute until sweated and tender.
  7. Add wine & chicken broth. Simmer until reduced by half.
  8. Add capers and tomato sauce, stir well. Cook about 5 minutes on low.
  9. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  10. Place cooked pasta on a large serving platter & top with chicken and sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and grated Pecorino Romano cheese (we use Cello from Costco).

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

Picture coming soon!

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Broiled Ribeye Steak

Too cold to barbecue? Why not use the broiler? It’s so quick and easy.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 small ribeye steaks (about 16 oz. each)†
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • broiler pan with insert (baking sheet can also be used)

Instructions

  1. In a large sealable food storage bag, mix the oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the steaks, then seal the bag. Keep turning the bag until both sides are coated well with mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Place the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler unit.
  4. Line the broiler pan or a baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up and lay the broiler insert on top of the broiler pan.
  5. Place the empty broiler pan on the oven rack and preheat oven until hot, about 5 or 6 minutes. Remove the pan. Be careful, the pan is very hot.
  6. Place the steaks in the center and broil (no turning) until nicely browned.
    • Rare  – broil for 5 minutes and remove.
    • Medium Rare – broil for 6 minutes and remove.
  7. Let the steaks sit for about 8 minutes before eating.

My husband couldn’t believe they cooked so quickly. Rare was perfect for him. I like mine Medium Rare as shown in the photo below.

Serve with a vegetable, potatoes and a salad. Enjoy!

† A 16 oz. ribeye is way too much for me but not hubby. Leftovers can be sliced and added to a nice lunch salad.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

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Grandma Florence’s Chicken with Potatoes, Onions & Peas

grandmaflorence

Our beautiful Grandma Florence DeBlasi. She cooked wonderful Neopolitan cuisine which was learned from her native home in Naples, Italy. She was a master seamstress and made many of our childhood clothing and costumes. How lucky we were! ❤

 

Would you like to make dinner in one roasting pan and have an easy cleanup?

This simple recipe comes from our maternal grandmother Florence. Our family has been enjoying this dinner for as long as we can remember. We regret not having a written record of her wonderful meals but we’re on a journey to recreate them to share with you. Some crusty Italian bread to soak up the juice is a great way to enjoy this meal.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4  chicken legs (thigh and drumstick connected), skin on
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 cans Le Sueur® very young sweet peas in their liquid
  • 4 russet potatoes, cut in quarters & quarter again
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to sprinkle on skin of chicken
  • dash poultry seasoning

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Place potatoes and onions in a large roasting pan (9x12x2 or larger) and drizzle a little EVOO then add garlic.
  3. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, mix well.
  4. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, stir 2 or 3 times. (This starts softening the potatoes & onions)
  5. Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the skin side with salt, pepper, garlic powder & poultry seasoning.
  6. Place the pan back in the oven and cook for 20 minutes then turn the chicken skin side up.
  7. Continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes until skin is brown
  8. Add the 2 cans of peas with the liquid. Stir well and cook 10 – 15 minutes longer or until chicken skin is crisp and pulls away from the bone.

FYI…We use pink Himalayan salt for its natural mineral content which is not present in regular table salt. I found I’m not sensitive to the pink salt as I am with table salt.

Variations:

After our mother passed away, Dad made his own version sometimes adding mushrooms and Italian sausage. Most of the family loves Mom’s original but Dad’s is tasty too! Feel free to add your own favorite veggies.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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Shrimp Scampi 🍤🍤

Servings: 4-6                  Prep: 10-15 minutes                 Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

When our families were young, Barbara used to host Christmas Eve dinners in her tiny cape cod house. We never had a sit-down dinner back then so we would be scattered all over the kitchen and living room with 25 adults and children, give or take, but who’s counting? Her shrimp scampi became a favorite part of Christmas Eve dinner but you don’t need to wait for a holiday to enjoy it.  In our families, we usually serve this over pasta topped with Pecorino Romano grated cheese. 😋 😋

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs large raw shrimp
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • lemon slices for garnish (may be omitted)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Remove shells from shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail section only.
  3. Devein then wash under running cold water, and drain on paper towels.
  4. Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish in the oven.
  5. Add the salt, garlic, and 2 Tablespoon parsley; mix well.
  6. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in baking dish.
  7. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn the shrimp. Sprinkle with lemon peel, lemon juice, and remaining parsley.
  9. Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until tender. Do Not overcook shrimp or they will be tough.  (If using smaller shrimp, cut down on the cooking time)
  10. Arrange shrimp on a heated serving platter. Pour garlic butter over all. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

Serve over linguini pasta†, rice or a nice crusty Italian bread to soak up the butter.

†If serving over pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water after cooking to add to the butter sauce before serving.

Variation: Try adding some bay scallops to the shrimp!

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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