Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines 🍆🐟

Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

Not everyone likes sardines but Teresa and I love them! To be honest, when my husband & son heard I was making sardines & eggplant they made some weird faces. I told them that's what I was cooking so they could either join me or cook for themselves! The combination of eggplant, sardines, garlic, onions, and tomatoes was making my mouth water. This dish doesn't have a strong 'fishy' taste at all but the flavor is reminiscent of Sicilian cuisine. My son had one request; please add some tomato sauce to it. Since I didn't have any made I whipped up a quick sauce using Italian stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic & oil. At first, their faces were very skeptical and then they took their first bites. I'm pretty sure they didn't want to say they liked it, but those weird faces turned to smiles and both wanted to split the 4th eggplant, which I immediately said 'NO', it's mine and Teresa's lunch for tomorrow! Moral of the story: never be afraid to cook what comes into your head because it just might be a new family favorite...you never know. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 (4.375 oz) cans skinless boneless sardines in olive oil, drained and flaked
  • 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise (leave stems on)
  • 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 ½ large sweet onions, diced
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  (14 ounce) cans Hunt’s Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano (more or less to taste, fresh oregano may be substituted.)
  • 1/4 cup grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Quick Tomato Sauce (any homemade or jar sauce is fine) more if you are serving with pasta

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    2. Cut eggplants in half, lengthwise with the stem attached. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern being careful not to cut through the skins.
    3. In a large skillet on medium heat, heat 1/3 cup oil then lower heat. Add the eggplant, flesh down. Cover and cook until completely softened but not falling apart. About 10 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook until soft, about 5 minutes more. You may have to do this in 2 batches if your skillet isn’t large enough.
    4. When done, let cool in a separate dish. Once cooled, leaving a 1/8-inch border, gently scoop eggplant flesh into a bowl and chop. Lightly drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of a baking dish and place the eggplant shells gently inside, close to each other to support them from flattening.
    5. In the same pan, add the 1 Tablespoon EVOO and saute onions for about 6-7 minutes on medium heat. Add all remaining ingredients including the chopped eggplant & flaked sardines, except the grated Locatelli and mozzarella cheeses. Remove from heat and combine well.
    6. Sprinkle with Locatelli cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese then top with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of quick sauce down the middle, again sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese again. Bake about 5-10  minutes or until cheese melts.
    7. Serve by itself or over your favorite pasta!

    Note:


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    Quick Tomato Sauce – Twiins Style 🍝

    Quick Tomato Sauce - Twiins Style

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: Easy

    Don’t have time to make a pot of tomato sauce? This quick and easy sauce can be made in no time at all with staple ingredients from your pantry.

    Ingredients

    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian stewed tomatoes
    • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
    • 2 frozen Dorot garlic cubes
    • 2 Tablespoons Hunt’s Italian style tomato paste with garlic & basil
    • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning (more or less to taste)
    • Immersion blender

      Directions

      1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, heat the oil and add the garlic cubes. Sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
      2. Add tomato paste and stir well for a minute. Add the stewed tomatoes and stir well until the tomato paste is blended.
      3. Add 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender right in the saucepan,  purée the tomato mixture and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

      Note: Makes enough sauce for our Baked Stuffed Eggplant & Sardines (4) plus a few spoonfuls to top spaghetti.

      Pantry & Freezer Staples:

      2 cans stewed tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

      2 cans diced tomatoes, plain or Italian style, preferably Hunt’s

      2 cans tomato paste, preferably Hunt’s with garlic & basil

      1 tray Dorot’s frozen garlic cubes (you can get these at Target and most Harris Teeter grocery stores)

       


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      Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

      Orecchiette with Veal Chorizo

      • Servings: 4
      • Difficulty: Easy

      This recipe was actually a wonderful accident. I defrosted a pound of ground veal only to realize when I started to cook it that it was ground veal chorizo (quite spicy) Well it turned out pretty good and my family enjoyed it so here it is. Enjoy!

      Ingredients

      • 1 lb ground veal chorizo (spicy and gives a nice reddish color to the sauce)
      • 2 tablespoons EVOO
      • 1 large onion, finely minced
      • 1 large clove garlic, minced
      • salt & pepper to taste
      • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
      • 1/2 cup dry white wine
      • 2 Tablespoons capers (optional)
      • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      • 1 tsp chopped thyme
      • 1/2 tsp rosemary, chopped
      •  1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
      • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
      • 2 Tablespoons butter

        Directions

        1. In a large deep skillet, heat EVOO. Add the onion and minced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft, about 4-6  minutes.
        2. Raise heat to high. Add the ground veal then season with salt & pepper. Cook until veal is fully cooked and no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Any juices from the veal should be evaporated.
        3. Add the white wine. Bring to a boil. Boil until almost evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary, and optional capers then simmer over medium-low heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
        4. Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta liquid before draining well. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add the Parmigiano=Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley, and butter.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. If too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until the consistency desired.
        5. Serve right away with some crusty bread and Enjoy!

        Note: You can add vegetables of your choice to make this a one-pan meal.

        Recipe adapted from Quentin Bacon.

         


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        Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

        Gluten-Free Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

        • Servings: 6-8
        • Difficulty: Easy

        With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. This is the same recipe as our regular Tuscan Bean Soup using gluten-free pasta & broth in place of regular. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

        Ingredients

        • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
        • 1/4 cup EVOO
        • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
        • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
        • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
        • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
        • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
        • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
        • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
        • 2 tsp dried oregano
        • 1 tsp dried thyme
        • 1 tsp dried basil
        • 1 tsp dried rosemary
        • 2 large bay leaves
        • 1 tsp garlic powder
        • 2 tsp Kosher salt
        • 1/2 tsp black pepper
        • pinch red pepper flakes
        • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
        • 4 cups chicken broth (gluten-free)
        • 4 cups beef broth (gluten-free)
        • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
        • 3 ounces gluten-free Ditalini pasta (any small GF pasta may be substituted.)
        • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

          Directions

          1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
          2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
          3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
          4. Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of GF ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of GF pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
          5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
          6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the GF ditalini pasta following package directions.
          7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

          Note: Please make sure all your canned ingredients are gluten-free.

          You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

          , …

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          Tuscan Bean Soup – Twiins Style 🌻 🌻

          Tuscan Bean Soup - Twiins Style

          • Servings: 6-8
          • Difficulty: Easy

          With the first spoonful of our savory Tuscan Bean Soup you will be swept away to Tuscany admiring the sunflowers. It’s chock full of vegetables, delicious flavor & of course love! Serve as a main meal for either lunch or dinner and don't forget the toasted crusty bread to soak up every last drop. Enjoy!

          Ingredients

          • 1 (28-oz) can San Marzano tomatoesSan Marzano tomatoes, crush with clean hands
          • 1/4 cup EVOO
          • 3 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans with liquid (divided into 3/4 and 1/4)
          • 1 rounded tsp Hunt’s tomato paste with garlic & basil
          • 1 leek, chopped (both white & green parts)
          • 2 yellow onions, diced ( I was out of yellow onions so I substituted with red)
          • 2 cups large celery stalks, large dice (about 3-4 ribs)
          • 2 cups large carrots, large dice (about 5-6 peeled carrots)
          • 8-10 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped (Add more or less to suit your taste.)
          • 2 tsp dried oregano
          • 1 tsp dried thyme
          • 1 tsp dried basil
          • 1 tsp dried rosemary
          • 2 large bay leaves
          • 1 tsp garlic powder
          • 2 tsp Kosher salt
          • 1/2 tsp black pepper
          • pinch red pepper flakes
          • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach, torn by hand (escarole or kale may be substituted)
          • 4 cups chicken broth
          • 4 cups beef broth
          • 1 small piece of rind from a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
          • 3 ounces Ditalini pasta (any small pasta may be substituted.)
          • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

            Directions

            1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the EVOO.  When EVOO is hot enough add the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes.
            2. Add garlic, spinach, cheese rind, and 3/4 of the canned beans. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium-low flame until fragrant. Using an immersion blender, blend the remaining 1/4 beans then add to the pot and stir.
            3. Add the tomato paste and stir well.
            4. Add the hand crushed tomatoes, both broths & stir well. Add 3 oz of ditalini to the soup. (If you’re making more than 3 oz of pasta, we recommend you cook it separately & add right before serving.)
            5. Bring to a slow boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer about 40-45 minutes or until vegetable are done.
            6. While the soup is simmering, prepare the ditalini pasta following package directions.
            7. Ladle soup into bowls & add the pasta. Sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese (Pecorino Romano). Enjoy!

            Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta before freezing.

            To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.

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            Grandma’s Chicken Soup 😋😋

            Grandma's Chicken Soup

            • Servings: 4
            • Difficulty: Easy

            One of our very fondest childhood memories was of our Mom & Grandma Florence bringing us a bowl of their homemade chicken soup. It was the most comforting, get-well soup that we looked forward to whenever we caught a cold or were feeling a little under the weather. Today, there is still a nostalgic sense of well being whenever we make this soup. With every spoonful, we still feel the love and caring that went into every batch of this delicious soup from Mom and Grandma. You don't need to feel under the weather to enjoy this hearty flavorful soup. It's perfect on cold winter days to take away the chill.

            Ingredients

            • 4 chicken thighs with bone & skin
            • 2 Tablespoons butter
            • 1  large yellow onion, diced
            • 3 large celery stalks, large dice
            • 4 large carrots, large dice
            •  3  large garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 Tablespoons. Add more or less to suit your taste.
            • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
            • 1 tsp dried thyme
            • 1 large bay leaf
            • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh & chopped)
            • salt & pepper to taste
            • 8 ounces Ditalini (small round hollow tubes)  or Orzo (cook separately) or rice
            • 4 cups chicken broth
            • Pecorino Romano, freshly grated cheese (Locatelli), or Parmigiano Reggiano (not the stuff in the green container, please!)

              Directions

              1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add the butter. When melted & hot add the bay leaf & chicken thighs, skin-side down first until browned. Flip and brown the other side.  When fully cooked, remove to plate & set aside, discard bay leaf.
              2. In the same pot, add the EVOO, onion, celery, & carrots making sure to scrape all browned bits (fond) from the cooked chicken. Saute for about 5-7 minutes until softened.
              3. Add garlic, thyme & parsley & cook for another minute.
              4. Add the broth & combine.
              5. Remove the chicken skin then shred the chicken. Add to broth and low simmer for 20 minutes.
              6. While simmering, prepare the pasta of your choice while the broth is simmering.
              7. Ladle the chicken soup into bowls, add some cooked pasta or rice and garnish with Locatelli cheese and some fresh parsley if desired. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

               

              Note: You can double this recipe for a big batch to freeze for later use. Just don’t add the pasta or rice before freezing.

              To make this soup gluten-free, use GF broth & GF pasta.

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              Stretching Leftover Beef Stew

              Teresa made a delicious beef stew the other night and we all enjoyed it. There were about 2 cups of leftovers so we decided to stretch it into a second dinner by adding some mushrooms, red wine, Kalamata olives, leftover green beans, a cup of cherry tomatoes (halved) and 8 oz of uncooked ziti.

              No measurements are really needed. Just sauté the mushrooms in a little EVOO or butter, add the wine then leftover stew, simmer about 10-15 minutes. Add the olives & cherry tomatoes. We mixed the cooked & drained ziti with a ladle full of the stew mixture to coat the pasta then put the pasta on individual plates topped with stew mixture & garnished with fresh basil & Locatelli grated cheese.

              You could add feta cheese instead of Locatelli if you prefer. Any leftover vegetables will also work well.

               

               

              Homemade Balsamic Ranch Dressing – Twiins Style

              Homemade Balsamic Ranch Dressing - Twiins Style

              • Servings: 6-8
              • Difficulty: Easy

              Ranch dressing is delicious on salads, cooked vegetables, chicken tenders, and as a dip for fresh vegetables. When my grandsons were little boys ranch dressing was the perfect way to get them to eat fresh vegetables. They couldn't get enough. Actually, this dressing is good on everything!!! Our homemade Balsamic Ranch dressing is so good and easy to make you will never buy store-bought again! 😋❤️

              Ingredients

              • 1 cup mayonnaise
              • 1/2 cup buttermilk
              • 1 tsp. celery seed
              • 1 tsp. oregano
              • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
              • 1 clove garlic, minced
              • 1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
              • salt & pepper to taste

              Directions

              1. In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
              2. When ready to serve remove from refrigerator and pour over salad greens or vegetables.  Enjoy !

              Notes: Try adding blue cheese crumbles and bacon crumbles on top for an added touch…Delicious!

              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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              Shrimp Scampi Light – Twiins Style 🍤🍤

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

              Adapting our family favorite recipes into healthier versions has been a goal of ours this year. We never thought our beloved shrimp scampi could ever be healthy and still taste great. It was a challenge however, we succeeded to reduce the fat by 75% and keep all the flavor!  This lighter version tastes just as good as the original with a few minor tweaks. Our family enjoyed it and didn’t miss the fat. If you’re looking for a healthier, quick weeknight dinner, give this a try.😋 😋

              Ingredients

              • 2 lbs large raw shrimp (*to make your own homemade shrimp broth buy fresh large shrimp with the heads still attached – see recipe link below)
              • 4  Tablespoons salted butter
              • 1 tsp salt
              • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
              • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (divided)
              • 3/4 cup homemade shrimp broth (clam juice or chicken broth can be substituted)
              • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
              • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
              • lemon slices for garnish (may be omitted)
              • 1 lb Barilla Linguine
              • reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water after cooking to add to the garlic lemon juice before serving.

              Instructions

              1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
              2. Bring pasta water to a boil then add salt to the boiling water. Cover and lower flame to keep hot while prepping shrimp.
              3. Remove shells from shrimp, leaving the shell on the tail section only if preferred.
              4. Devein & wash under cold running water, then drain well on paper towels.
              5. Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan in the oven.
              6. Once melted, add the salt, garlic, 1/2 the shrimp broth, and 1/2 the chopped parsley; mix well.
              7. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the baking pan.
              8. Bake uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. (keep your eye on them)
              9. Turn the shrimp over, sprinkle with lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining shrimp broth, and remaining parsley.
              10. Bake 2-3 minutes, or just until tender & opaque. Do Not overcook shrimp or they will be tough.  (If using smaller shrimp, cut down on the cooking time)
              11. Remove the shrimp, toss some linguine in the pan with the garlic lemon juice. Place a portion of pasta on a plate. Pour a little additional juice on pasta and top with shrimp.
              12. Sprinkle your desired amount of Pecorino Romano cheese and garnish with lemon slices if desired.

              Shrimp Broth

              Ingredients

              • 2 1/4  lbs fresh large shrimp with heads attached.
              • Add 2 carrots, cut in half
              • Add 2 stalks of celery, cut in half
              • Add 1 large onion, quartered (red or yellow)
              • 3 large bay leaves
              • 12 peppercorns
              • Enough water to just cover all ingredients

               

              Directions

              1. Remove the heads by twisting downward and off. Place in an 8 quart stockpot.
              2. Remove all the legs and shells from the shrimp and place them in the stockpot.
              3. Set shrimp aside for scampi
              4. Add the vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaves and enough water just to cover the shells and vegetables.
              5. Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for about 2 hours. The liquid should reduce by 1/3 and turn a beautiful shrimp color.
              6. Never let the heat get to a boil. Keep on a slow simmer for 1½ to 2 hours.
              7. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
              8. Strain all ingredients and discard everything but the broth.
              9. Using cheesecloth, strain again to remove all sediment.
              10. You are now ready to use for scampi or freeze for later use. It’s worth making…

              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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              Gluten-Free Mini Turkey Meatballs 😋

              Gluten-Free Mini Turkey Meatballs

              • Servings: 105 1-inch round
              • Difficulty: Easy

              Turkey is a great alternative to beef as it reduces the amount of unhealthy fat in our daily consumption. Our turkey meatball recipe is easy & healthier alternative to beef meatballs. These meatballs add low-fat protein to homemade soups or broths like in our homemade Italian Wedding Soup (see link below). They are also perfect for an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce or a perfect complement to your favorite pasta dish, just choose the size you want to make. Not only are these meatballs packed with flavor, but they are also gluten-free.  To get our mini meatballs uniform in size, we used the 1-inch side of a melon baller, which is the perfect size for adding to our Italian Wedding Soup. Any size you make them will be delicious!

              Ingredients

              • 20.8 oz (1.3 lbs) ground turkey
              • 1/2  large onion, finely minced
              •  3-4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
              • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (see note for dried amounts)
              • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped (see note for dried amounts)
              • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (see note for dried amounts)
              • salt & pepper to taste
              • 1 large egg
              • 1/2 cup 4C Gluten-Free Seasoned Breadcrumbs
              • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated (Locatelli)

                Directions

                1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground turkey with all the ingredients.
                2. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
                3. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
                4. Wearing food-grade gloves, put a dab of EVOO on one glove, and rub your hands together. This prevents the meat mixture from sticking to your hands while forming into round balls.
                5. Using a 1-inch melon baller, scoop enough meat mixture to fill the baller. Shake into your hand and roll into a ball. Place each meatball onto the prepared baking sheet in even rows.
                6. Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes on the upper rack. of your oven. After 10-12 minutes put on broil for 2 minutes to lightly crisp the meatballs.
                7. Remove from oven and immediately remove to paper towels to drain. When completely cooled, place in plastic food storage bags and freeze. If using immediately, drop into your favorite broth or soup. Italian Wedding Soup

                Note: When using dried herbs in place of fresh, use the standard ratio of 1 tsp dried herbs for every 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs.

                 

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