Traditional Italian Christmas Cookies – Twiins Style

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.

Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Italian Rainbow Cookies


Pignoli Cookies

Replace pignoli with sliced almonds topped with a candied cherry or chopped pistachios

The Best Gluten-Free New York Style Black & White Cookies

Date Nut Bread

(not a cookie but a long-time Christmas Morning tradition)

Chili – Award Winning Twiins Style, Gluten-Free🌶🌶

Chili - Award Winning Twiins Style, Gluten-Free🌶🌶

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: Easy

We are so excited to share with you our chili recipe which today took  first place for 'Traditional Chili' at Brunswick Forest Fitness & Wellness Center's '3rd Annual Chili & Mac n' Cheese Cook-Off'. We are especially excited that the chili was judged by several professional chefs & owner from our local area restaurants including Executive Chef Scott Euvrard from The Forest at Cape Fear National,  Sous Chef Jon Michael Rehm from UNCW, Chef Garrett Swain from The Joyce Irish Pub, and Tom Mills, owner of Little Pond Catering. Thank you so  much for voting for our chili.


  • 2 to 2.5 lbs 80% lean chuck ground beef
  • 2 lbs Neese’s hot sausage
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell peppers, seeds & ribs removed, diced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeds & ribs removed, diced
  • 2 cans black beans (15-ounce)
  • 1 can kidney beans (15-ounce)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (15-ounce)
  • 1 can pinto beans (15-ounce)
  • 2 can tomato sauce (15-ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp mild green chiles
  • 2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro in liquid
  • 2 packets McCormick’s Gluten-Free Chili mix (regular may be substituted if gluten is not an issue)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • smidge of Harissa paste (much less than 1/8 tsp)


    1. In a large dutch oven brown the meat, using a slotted spoon remove the meat & set aside. Discard all except 2 Tablespoons of remaining liquid in dutch oven to sauté the vegetables.
    2.  Add bell peppers & onions to the dutch oven & cook about 10 minutes until onions start to turn golden. Add garlic, chili mix, mild green chiles, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa paste, and smoked paprika, combine well then cook another minute. Add the Rotel tomatoes.
    3. Return meat mixture back to the dutch oven and mix well.
    4. Add Hunt’s tomato sauce. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add all the beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid partially open & reduce heat to low, stirring regularly for 2 hours.
    5. Remove cover and continue to cook on low 30 minutes or longer until chili thickens to your liking. (We love thick chili!)
    6. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot with your favorite garnishes: Sour Cream, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole and our Rustic Cornbread-Gluten Free. Enjoy!

    Notes: To say that Jack & Gary love spicy food is an understatement. If it were up to them, we would be eating this chili every other night! The blend of beef, sausage, beans, & spices makes this a delicious hearty chili for any night of the week and oh so simple to make.  Our recipe is for a crowd so if you’re just feeding a few, cut the recipe in half.  Any leftover chili can be frozen for 3-4 months at zero degrees in the freezer. Serve with your favorite toppings. For those who like extreme heat like our husbands, add your favorite hot sauce, chili peppers or Sriracha.

    Our chili recipe originated from Teresa’s daughter Tracy, a long time ago. Over the years we have adapted it to what it is today. Thank you Tracy. ❤️

    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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    Broccoli Patties

    Broccoli Patties

    • Servings: 9 patties
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Don't know what to do with those leftover veggies? Why not turn them into a delicious side or appetizer that is sure to please kids & adults! We often have leftover broccoli or zucchini as it's our husband's favorite vegetables. We were inspired to make these patties as a result of all the leftover breadcrumbs & egg while making breaded chicken cutlets. Our Mom taught us to not waste so she would mix these leftover ingredients together and form patties to fry with the chicken cutlets. As kids we loved them more than the chicken cutlets! 😋


    • 12-ounces chopped broccoli florets, cooked
    • 1¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs (we used Progresso, not gluten-free)
    • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 3/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/8 tsp salt (omit if salt sensitive)
    • dash of pepper to taste
    • Cooking Spray to coat baking sheet
    • 1  3½” lid (we used the lid from a 16-ounce Argo cornstarch container. Any size lid of your preference will work but the Argo lid was the perfect width & thickness of our patties)
    • plastic wrap


    1. In a large bowl combine beaten eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, cheddar cheese, oregano, cooked chopped broccoli, onions, garlic, salt & pepper, mixing well. Add the breadcrumbs mix together with a fork then mix by hand as you would making meatballs or meatloaf. Must be a thick, pasty texture.
    2. Preheat oven to 400ºF and spray baking pan with cooking spray.
    3. Place the plastic wrap over the lid, overhanging 3-inches in all directions. Fill with mixture slightly mounded, press down with your fingers, flip the patties over onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture.
    4. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
    5. Flip patties and continue baking another 7-10 minutes.
    6. Remove from oven  let stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.
    7. Can be dipped into your favorite dipping sauce i.e. ranch dressing, blue cheese, or tzatziki sauce.

    Note: This is a great way to make use of any leftover vegetables and makes a great grab-n-go snack.

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

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