It’s hard to believe we are at the end of the first week in December! Time to start baking our family’s traditional Christmas cookies to have ready to mail out to family members on the West Coast & beyond.
If you’ve never tried these recipes before, this is the time to start. Nothing says it’s the beginning of the holiday season like baking our Italian bakery-style cookies. They are delicious! My 8-year-old grandson is visiting from NY and he said the Rainbow Cookies are “Amazing”…music to our ears!
Make sure you have plenty of all-purpose flour, butter, almond paste, chopped pistachios, pignolias (pine nuts), chopped dates, and bittersweet chocolate chips on hand because these cookies fly off the plates.
Thai Sweet Chili Chicken Gluten-Free - Twiins Style
It's no secret our second favorite cuisine after Italian is Thai. Who can resist crispy, tender chicken bites coated in a scrumptious sweet chili & sesame seed sauce just like your favorite Thai restaurant? Since we haven't been going out during this pandemic, we wanted to reproduce the meals we would order at a restaurant. Tonight we served it over Jasmine brown rice which soaks up the flavorful sweet chili sauce. Our husbands gave us rave reviews so we hope your family will too. Try this recipe for a quick & easy weeknight meal or impress your friends & family with great appetizers once you can gather again. 😋😋
deep skillet or wok
oil for frying (peanut or canola or olive)
4 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
3/4 cup corn starch
1½ cups Thai sweet chili sauce (store-bought or homemade, check the label to make sure it’s GF)
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2-3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted in a small, dry skillet
2 cups brown jasmine rice
4 cups gluten-free chicken broth
Place brown jasmine rice in a medium bowl filled with cold water, enough to cover rice. Set aside for 20 minutes. (soaking in water helps breakdown the bran and keeps the rice from sticking together.)
While the rice is soaking, use this time to start prepping the chicken & the remainder of ingredients.
After 20 minutes, drain the rice and place in a medium saucepan. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, lower heat to a low simmer and cover. Cover and cook approximately 40 minutes, check after 30 minutes.
Using a shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt & pepper and mix well.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
Dip each piece of chicken into the egg then roll into the flour mixture to coat well. Repeat with all of the chicken pieces.
Heat about 3-inches of oil in a wok or deep skillet. Make sure oil is very hot before adding dredged chicken.
Fry 5-8 pieces of chicken at a time, depending on the width of your skillet, until golden brown. Do not overcrowd as it will cause the chicken to steam instead of crisping.
Remove and drain on paper towels then repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
Heat chili sauce until hot. Pour over the chicken bites to combine. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and green onions.
Spread cooked rice on a plate and top with sweet chili chicken bites. Garnish with extra green onions and enjoy!
Prep all ingredients
Frying dredged chicken pieces in a wok
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet
Place cooked chicken bites on paper towels to absorb excess oil
Thai Sweet Chili Chicken ready to serve
Plate & ready to eat & enjoy!
NOTE: If you want to include more vegetables in your meal, steam some broccoli or cut green beans and add to the chicken before serving.
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Two years ago Barbara bought a small chocolate mint potted plant because she loved the smell of it. She left it in the original 3-inch pot so it never grew much. There were enough leaves for maybe a few cups of tea every now and then. This year she decided to transplant it in the early spring into a much larger pot. She now has so much chocolate mint that we decided to try a new cocktail. Our Chocolate Mint Mojito was born! If your a fan of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, this delicious cocktail is for you and it can be enjoyed all summer long. ❤️ ❤️
16 fresh chocolate mint leaves (regular mint may be substituted)
2 ounces Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice
2 ounces Torani Dark Chocolate syrup
4 ounces Bacardi Coconut Rum (substitute with plain light rum if you’re not a fan of coconut)
6-12 ice cubes
4 ounces club soda
sprig of mint for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice.
Stir in the chocolate syrup and rum. Add the ice.
Shake at least 30 seconds. Stir in the club soda (don’t shake once you add the club soda).
Pour into a highball glass or your favorite martini glass.
Garnish with a lime slice and a sprig of mint. Enjoy!
After having a bumper crop of wild fennel, my friend Jane & I turned that crop into the most delicious homemade fennel liqueur. As Teresa and I have been experimenting with martini flavors, I turned to my gallons of homemade fennel liqueur and hence the birth of the Wild Fenneltini! It's delicious with either vodka (me) or gin (Teresa). Originally we made it like our Limoncello Drop Martini but it was a tad too strong so we took out the Triple Sec reducing the alcohol content. By all means, add it back in if you're brave!! If you like the taste of anise or black licorice you will love this martini. Enjoy!❤️ 🍸 🤣
1 ½ oz vodka or gin
1/2 oz Fennel Liqueur (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 oz Triple Sec (only if you’re brave)
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/8 cup lemon/lime seltzer
1/2 tsp caster sugar (granulated sugar is fine to use also)
5-7 ice cubes
lemon or lime twist
slice of lemon or lime for garnish (optional)
a sprig of fennel (optional)
Rub lemon or lime slice around the rim of a martini glass.
Place caster sugar on a flat plate. Take lemon or lime rimmed martini glass and dip into sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer until ready to pour into glasses.
Place ice in a shaker & add the vodka or gin, fennel liqueur, triple sec, lime seltzer, and sugar.
Shake at least 30 seconds then pour into a martini glass.
Garnish with lemon or lime slice, lemon or lime twist, or a sprig of fennel then enjoy!
Since we're going to be home for a while during our stay-at-home mandate, we decided to try a decadent, dessert-style drink. For anyone who loves chocolate, our chocolate martini is heavenly. Mmmm, Mmmm good. These just might be the best liquid dessert ever...give it a try...it's delicious. Stay safe & healthy. ❤️ 🍸 😋
3 oz Godiva original chocolate liqueur
3 oz Cream de Cacao (dark)
1 oz Absolute Vanilla Vodka
5 oz heavy cream (substitute with half & half optional)
5-7 cubes ice
2 well-chilled martini glasses
Torani chocolate syrup to dust rim of a martini glass (optional)
Rim the glasses in the chocolate syrup and chill.
In a shaker, place the ice cubes, vodka, Godiva liqueur, half & half, and cream de cacao. shake well for at least 30 seconds.
Remove chilled glasses and strain the martini into each glass. Enjoy!
Note: Can be garnished with chocolate curls, chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries or strawberries, or drizzles of chocolate syrup on top. Get creative with your favorite toppings.
Lately we have lots of time on our hands due to the current shelter at home mandate across the country. This was the perfect time for us to experiment with some cocktails to add to our Cocktail segment. We know you’ll find this drink to be refreshing and delicious. Give it a try. Enjoy!❤️ 🍸😋
3-4 oz vodka
1/4 cup fresh raspberries + more for garnish
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice + slices for garnish
4 Tablespoons caster sugar (granulated sugar is fine to use also)
1/4 cup lemon/lime seltzer
5-7 ice cubes
In a small bowl, muddle the raspberries with the sugar. Press through a mesh strainer to remove seeds, pressing down to release as much raspberry juice as possible.
Using a cocktail shaker add the raspberry purée, vodka, seltzer, lemon juice, and ice.
Shake at least 30 seconds then pour into a martini glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist and raspberries on a bamboo cocktail stick and enjoy.
Note: If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic cocktail, you can make it alcohol-free by substituting the vodka with lemon seltzer.
The time is now to get creative with some delicious cocktails to enjoy after dinner (or while cooking)! I was first introduced to a Lemon Drop Martini at one of our local restaurants (which escapes my memory right now). To my surprise, it was so delicious! On my next visit to the same restaurant, I again ordered their signature Lemon Drop Martini only this time I was disappointed. I guess it's true, the bartender/mixologist makes all the difference. Maybe he/she was off the night of my second visit. So Teresa and I set out to make the perfect Lemon Drop Martini. Through experimentation we found adding our homemade limoncello was the key ingredient for us. If you're not inclined to try making your own limoncello, you can buy a good quality bottle from your favorite liquor store. If you're like us who love anything with lemon, then this martini is for you. Give it a try...it's delicious. Enjoy!❤️ 🍸 🤣
These quick and easy Roast Beef Roll-Ups make an incredibly satisfying lunch or appetizer! The combined flavors of bell peppers, onions, and Picante provolone cheese are amazing. We've served these for lunch many times for out of town guests because they can be prepared ahead of time then baked 10 -15 minutes before serving. Everyone just loves them. Give them a try, we know you'll love them too! ❤️❤️
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 large green bell pepper
1 large red, orange or yellow bell pepper,
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
12 slices Boars Head roast beef (from the deli counter, slices should be thick enough to not shred when rolling up)
2 -3 cups Boars Head Picante provolone cheese (shredded). We buy a block of it from the deli counter and shred it ourselves for a really fresh taste. Use 2 cups if you don’t want a lot of cheese or 3 cups if you’re a cheese lover like us. (Cheddar, American, Mozzarella, or any soft cheese of your liking may be substituted for Provolone cheese.)
Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the peppers & onions until peppers are soft & onions are translucent. (about 10-15 minutes)
Season with salt & pepper. Remove from heat.
Lay a slice of roast beef on parchment paper. Have the short end of the roast beef facing you.
Sprinkle with approximately 2 Tablespoons of the shredded provolone cheese on top of the roast beef slice.
Place approximately 2 Tablespoons of the sauteed peppers & onions on top of the provolone cheese.
Start rolling up at the short end and place seam side down on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet or casserole dish. It’s ok if they touch each other.
Sprinkle more shredded provolone on top then place in 300ºF oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve warm.
Notes: We use Boars Head because it’s gluten-free. You can use whatever deli brand you like.
Depending on your crowd size you can double or triple this recipe. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave for no more than 30 seconds or in a 350ºF oven for about 4 minutes.
Featured photo and recipe adapted from Maria Emmerich, Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking.
Move over Chicken Marsala...we're here to introduce you to our juicy Chicken Maderia that will elevate your dinner to a whole new level that's sure to please! Tender chicken breasts combined with mushrooms and asparagus in a wonderful creamy Madeira sauce topped with melted gooey mozzarella (or as our old family from Brooklyn would say, Mootzadell, dropping the last vowel of a word was very common because they were always in a hurry! In carrying on that tradition, we think we'll start to call it Mootz) 😂😂 Whichever way you pronounce it, this dish is delicious. Our family loves this chicken dish and we hope it will become a new favorite of yours. We're sure your family and friends will be asking for more just like ours do so you might want to make a double batch! 😋 😋
12 -15 thinly sliced chicken breasts, season with salt & pepper
2 bundles of asparagus, blanched
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
4 Tablespoons EVOO, divided
32 oz small button mushrooms, washed and dried thoroughly
4 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
3 cups Madeira wine
3 cups beef stock or broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt & pepper to taste
Trim asparagus by snapping the ends off. Wash well and set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil, enough to cover asparagus and boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop color turning. Drain well then set aside.
In a large oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat melt half the butter & half the EVOO until hot. Add the whole mushrooms and cook 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes then add the garlic & parsley. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove the mushroom mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet on medium-high heat, add the remaining butter and EVOO. Once hot, place seasoned chicken breasts in a single layer and sear quickly about 2 minutes on each side, just to get golden brown. Do not overcook as the chicken will finish cooking when everything is combined. Remove chicken and drain in layers on paper towels. Set aside.
In the same skillet on high, add the Maderia wine and boil until reduced by half, approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the beef broth and boil for about 10 -12 minutes until reduced to half.
Reduce heat to medium. Stir in heavy cream and simmer until sauce thickens. Season with salt & pepper to taste. (Sauce will not be real thick; however, you may add a small amount of flour to thicken)
Add chicken back to skillet coating both sides with sauce. Add the mushroom mixture and asparagus on top then sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella.
Broil on top rack in the oven just until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, garnish with parsley and serve.
Notes: For a large crowd, simply triple the recipe. This recipe is Gluten-Free & Keto-Friendly as long as you don’t add flour. Chicken Madeira is a delicious meal on its own but if you’re looking to stretch it, serve with pasta or rice to soak up the amazing Madeira sauce.
Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite. As you may know, whenever possible we always make a gluten-free version of our recipes for Teresa’s husband Jack. We don’t want him to ever feel left out. This recipe was very easy to convert since you just replace regular penne pasta with Gluten-Free penne pasta. Thanks to great improvements in gluten-free products, having Celiac’s disease no longer means you have to miss out on delicious pasta meals.
This recipe is delicious and not your typical restaurant flavor. If you’re not a fan of a little heat, omit the cayenne but it’s really not a strong kick.
Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)