Pasta Salad & Lemon-Orange Vinagarette

Pasta Salad with Lemon-Orange Vinaigrette

I am really loving salads of all sorts right now! I came up with this salad recipe by using leftovers I had in the fridge and pantry. It is so light and refreshing, but I have to say, the dressing makes this salad. Hope you enjoy.

Ingredients: (For the salad)

*8-10 oz of uncooked bowtie pasta ( you can use any pasta you have on hand)

*1 cup of seedless grapes – halved

*1 orange, peeled and segmented

*1 bag of fresh broccoli cut into bite size pieces

*1/4 cup of almond slivers

*1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of pepper


Ingredients: (for the dressing)

*1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I recommend Simply Infused!)

*1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper

*the zest of 1/2 lemon and the zest of 1/2 orange

*the juice of one lemon and the juice of 1 orange

*1 tsp coarse mustard

*1 Tbs honey

*1 Tbs apple cider vinegar


*Cook the pasta according to directions on box, drain, rinse with cold water

*Chop broccoli, grapes and orange

*Combine the pasta, broccoli, grapes, almonds, salt, pepper and orange segments

For the dressing:

*Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. I use Ball jars because they are easy. Shake until mixed. Pour over salad and put in fridge for 30 minutes or longer and serve cold!





Alouette Cheese, Chorizo & Potato Rustic Pie

Alouette Cheese Rustic Pie

I have had a slight  obsession lately with rustic pies and Alouette spreadable cheese. This recipe is similar in construction as a previous post I did for Rustic Ham and Cheese Pie. This time I wanted to develop a pie that had a little more “bite” to it! This pie could be cut into squares for an appetizer or slices for any meal. It is soooo good!  Let’s get started!


-1 container of Alouette Smoky Jalapeno Cheese Spread

-1 pkg (2 sheets) of Pillusbury Puff Pastry

-1 large egg plus 2 Tbs of water whisked

-1 tsp black pepper

-Kosher salt

-1 Tbs of olive oil (more if needed)

-16 oz Johnsonville Farms Chorizo Ground Sausage

-1 Lb package of Simply Potatoes diced potatoes

-1 to 2 tsp Srircha

-1 10-oz can of Rotel Tomatoes

-6 oz of Sargento shredded Pepper Jack


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Unroll one sheet of the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface

-Gently roll with a rolling pin to increase the pastry by about 1″.

-Place the rolled pastry onto a sheet pan lined with parchment and spray lightly with Pam

-Next, In a large preheated skillet brown your chorizo, drain and set aside. In the same skillet add about 1 to 2 Tbs of olive oil and add the diced potatoes in a single layer and brown until crispy (about 8 minutes), flip and do the same on the other side.

-Drain your can of rotel tomatoes making sure you remove as much liquid as possible(you can even squeeze the juice thru a piece of cheesecloth.

-Now add the tomotoes and the chorizo back into the skillet with the cooked potatoes and add the Sriacha sauce and simmer on low for about 5 minutes, stirring as you go.

-Spread 1/2 of the container of Alouette Jalapeno Spread on the pastry leaving a 1″ border.

-Carefully spoon the skillet mixture onto your 1st pastry sheet and spread evenly over the pastry leaving about a 1″ border between where the spread stops and the pastry stops

-Using a pastry brush, brush some of the egg wash around the entire  1″ border on the pie.

-Roll out your second puff pastry and roll out to increase size by 1″

-Spread the remaining 1/2 container of Alouette cheese on the 2nd pastry

-Lay the 2nd puff pastry over the  pie with the cheese spread side facing down and work around the pie to fold the bottom pastry over the top and press with a fork to seal

-Brush the entire top with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt

-Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes




Simply Infused Giveaway!

Simply Infused is a speciality Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Shop located in beautiful Mount Laurel. It is such a treat to visit this shop and once you do you will become addicted to cooking with these superb oils and vinegars.  I am partnering with owner, Cheryl Harper, for a free group tasting session!

Here’s how it works. Copy and past the following onto your facebook page. It’s that simple! I will receive notification of all reposts.

“PLEASE support my friend, Wren Manners, owner of Wren’s Cooking With a Twist, in helping grow her business by following her on her new website, You can sign up for email updates/recipes at the end of her most recent post.”

Rules:  The tasting session is a free giveaway and can hold a group up to 25-30. Bring a large group – it makes it more fun! I will draw 2 names at random on Friday, April 22nd and will post the winner on my facebook page and my website. I am available to cater your event and can give you price per person for your choice of 3 to 6 gourmet appetizers and will get this information to the 2 winners after they are announced. This is a great treat for moms that need a group night out, a birthday, bridal shower event, graduation party or just about anything. Good luck everyone!!
Remember – you must repost to be entered. Good luck!

Fried Pork Chops

Pan Fried Pork Chops

I’ve had 30+ years of married life perfecting the art of fried pork chops. I have tried just about every combination of spices and wet ingredients and have finally found the PERFECT fried pork chop. The unlikely ingredient……honey!   Also, you can use boneless pork chops but I think the “bone in” is best because it renders that little bit of extra “fat”. This recipe is so worth a try if you want a tried and true, no fail pork chop your family will ask for again and again.


-4 boneless or bone in pork chop

-2 tsp of pepper ( I love pepper! – even more than salt)

-1 tsp salt

-1 cup flour

-1/2 cup HONEY

-1/2 cup of canola oil

-2 tsp butter

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1/2 tsp smoked paprika

-1 cup buttermilk


-Combine your flour, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne and mix well

-Set up your dredging station with 4 trays:  2 trays with 1/2 cup of flour mixture in each, 1 tray with buttermilk, 1 tray with honey

-Heat your canola oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

-Dredge each pork chop in this order:  Buttermilk, flour, honey, flour

-Place the chops in the preheated skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Delicious and simple!



Dak’s Spices Special Sale!

My favorite spice, Dak’s, is running a 3 pack gift set special for under $20 with free shipping.  You can pick and choose  3 blends.  This is a limited time offer that will expire next Sunday the 17th.  This is your chance to try these great salt free spices. Just click on the Dak’s picture above and it will take you directly to their site to purchase. Happy spicing!

Brunch Hashbrown Omlette Sandwich

Hashbrown Omlette Sandwich

I have named this the Sunday brunch “Hashomwich”. I was playing around with one of my favorite cooking tools – my GE Waffle Iron and some favorite ingredients to come up with a little “twist” for brunch today.


My husband, David, and I enjoy our weekend breakfast time together. We stay so busy during the week that we rarely sit down for breakfast. This was so much fun to assemble – needless to say my husband wanted another one – but I said too late – waffle maker is clean and put up!

Give this a try and let me know what you think!


4 Servings

-1 lb bag of Simply Potato Hashbrowns

-4 large eggs

-1/2 cup fresh mushrooms

-1/2 cup diced onions

-salt and pepper

-1 tsp of Daks Lemon Pepper Spice

-4 slice Sargento pepper jack cheese

-6 slices of cooked bacon

-2 tbs maple syrup

-1 tbs olive oil

-1 tbs chopped scallions


**Bacon prep:  I like to cook my bacon in the oven – less mess. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Lay the slices of bacon in a single layer and brush the maple syrup on each slice and a generous sprinkle of pepper on each. Bake for 6 minutes, flip the bacon and cook another 6 min. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

-Preheat your waffle iron on medium high for about 7 minutes.

-While you are waiting on your waffle iron, heat a skillet with the olive oil and add the mushrooms and onions and saute till translucent, about 8 minutes over medium heat and set aside.

-Place about 3/4 cup of the hashbrown on both sides of the sprayed waffle iron (I like Pam). Close the waffle maker and cook for about 8 minutes. You can remove them when they are crispy on the outside and can be removed in two hash cakes. Repeat the same process until you have 4 sandwiches (top and bottom). Set aside.

-Whisk up 4 eggs and pour into a preheated, Pam sprayed large skillet. When the omlette begins to set on top add your mushrooms and onions and Daks lemon pepper and flip into one large omlette. Cut the omlette into 4 squares (its ok if they are a little “odd” shaped)

Assembly: (The fun part!)

-Hashbrown cake on the bottom

-Omlette square on top of hashbrown

-Slice of pepper jack cheese on top of omlette

-Top with a few slices of bacon

-A sprinkle of green onions

-Top with your final hashbrown cake.

Serve. Enjoy!




Business is Booming!

Wren’s Cooking With A TwistBusiness is Booming!

I never would have imagined when I began this small catering business it would grow so quickly but I KNEW I would love it as much as I do!  I am constantly testing and twisting to bring you new and delicious dishes. If you are in the Birmingham area and have a need for a “small” group caterer you can easily contact me at You won’t be disappointed!    Have a wonderful weekend and please help me spread the word by reposting on your facebook page or pinterest!  xoxo Wren


Lemon, Butter and Thyme Chicken

Lemon, Butter and  Thyme Chicken

Lemon, Butter and Thyme Chicken


I have experimented with so many versions of this recipe and after many attempts I can tell you – if you don’t try any of my recipes you MUST try this one. The flavor and moistness of this chicken make it a dish that would make your recipe box and be used time and time again!


-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

-1/2 cup of flour

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp pepper

-1/3 cup butter

-1 tbs olive oil

-4 lemons

-1 clove garlic minced

-2 tbs fresh thyme

-1 tsp of Italian seasoning and or lemon pepper. I prefer Dak’s Spices. (


-Set up a breading station with 2 trays. Place the flour, salt and pepper in one tray and the juice of 2 lemons in the other tray.

-Place your chicken breast into a gallon size zip lock bag and pound with a mallet to 1/2 inch thickness. I recommend using a zip lock bag instead of plastic wrap because it keeps any contaminants from the chicken inside the bag.

-Preheat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter, add the olive oil and the juice of your 3rd lemon

-Dredge each chicken breast on both sides in the lemon juice, then dredge each piece in the flour mixture.

-Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle each side while frying with the Italian seasoning or Daks Green Zest and/or Lemon Pepper.

-Remove your chicken and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime, cut your 4th lemon into slices and add them to the skillet with your Thyme and saute for 2-3 minutes.

-Plate your chicken and top it with the sauteed lemons and pour the drippings over the chicken. Enjoy!

Serves 4