Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

Did you know that not everything has to be made from scratch……yep……there are shortcuts that are sometimes just as good!  This recipe is one of those. If you need a dessert for an upcoming event and want something that is not too difficult but full of yumminess this is the one for you.



  • 1 box of Pillsbury chocolate mix (yep – I said it – prepackaged cake mix!)
  • 1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 Tbs orange zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c mayo (trust me here)
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (still trust me) I used Simply Infused Dark Chocolate Balsamic and their Blood Orange olive oil instead of regular cooking oil.
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Chocolate Glaze: 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbs cocoa powder, 2 Tbs OJ


  • Prepare the cake mix as directed but substitute the water with orange juice.
  • To the cake mix add the balsamic, vanilla and mayo and 1 Tbs orange zest
  • Pour the batter into a greased “bundt” pan and bake according to package
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk all ingredients and set aside
  • Let the cake cool slightly and turn onto a cake stand. Drizzle the glaze over the top and sprinkle with the other Tbs of Orange zest.
  • cobc


Teriyaki Blackberry Skillet Chicken

Teriyaki Blackberry Chicken

It’s Summer! Anything goes! There are combinations of fruit and protein that go so well together that you would not normally consider. That’s why I am here!  This recipe is so light and tasty. Cook it and put your own “twist” on it. I served this dish over a bag of Success Boil and Bag rice that I boiled in a pot of pineapple juice instead of water. Delish!


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs of sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tsp sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Tsp Dak’s Blacken Spice
  • 1 Cup rinsed blackberries
  • 1 Tbs each of peanuts and pistachio nuts
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil thinly sliced (chiffonade:chopping technique of herbs into long thin strips)


  • In a small bowl whisk together teriyaki sauce, garlic, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar, Dak’s Blacken Spice
  • Drizzle a large skillet with oil and bring to medium heat. Season chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir 4-5 minutes until browned.
  • Add sauce to pan and continue to stir over heat for 3-4 more minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Add blackberries and basil and stir another 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts and  pistachio and serve immediately.







Crunchy Carmel Popcorn Ice Cream Cake

I am NOT a dessert person. Not that I cant make desserts. I can kick butt making them. I just don’t like them. Not ice cream, cakes, anything sweet. I know I know….there is something wrong with that. Well I saw a version of this on a cooking channel one day and decided I would put my own “twist” on it and make it for my Memorial Day get together. I thought to myself, “hmmm – I put some work into this little sweet dish – might as well give it a try”. TWO slices later….I had to stop and get a grip!  My guest begged for me to make it at every get together so I figured I had a winner! You can probably change this with many variations but I’m just sayin…..:)


  • 1 Gal of your favorite ice cream (I used vanilla but even something like Moose Tracks would be awesome!)
  • 2 Boxes of Cramel Corn Crunch and Munch
  • 1 squeeze bottle of Smuckers Carmel Ice Cream Topping
  • 1 Jar of Smuckers Fruit & Honey Tropical Spread (or any preserve spread) This tropical spread was just amazing and worked well with the bananas.


  • 2 large bananas
  • 9″ springfoam pan and a 9″ round cut out of parchment paper to go in the bottom of the pan. This makes it so much easier to get the cake out after it is frozen.


  • Cut out your parchment round to fit inside of your pan. I actually sprayed mine with a little Pam for easy removal.
  • Take your ice cream out and let it soften. If you need to you can even put the container in the microwave for about 15 seconds a few times to soften.
  • Dump your two boxes of Carmel Crunch and Munch into a large gallon size baggie, seal and pound the heck out of it. You want it to have visible pieces of popcorn so dont pound it into a powder form. You want the CRUNCH!
  • Cut your 2 banana into about 1/2″ slices.
  • Now you start assembly
  • First layer in the bottom of the pan is a solid layer of the popcorn
  • Second spread about a 2-3″ layer of your ice cream
  • Drizzle a good amount of the Honey & Fruit Tropical spread over the ice cream
  • A layer of bananas and a good drizzle of carmel syrup.
  • Start your 2nd layer in the exact order starting with the popcorn base endidng with the carmel drizzle  and a final dusting of the carmel popcorn
  • Freeze your cake for several hours.
  • When you are ready to serve, just place it on a pretty cake stand, pop open the springfoam pan (take a picture – its too pretty not to get one before you dig in!)
  • ENJOY!


Teriyaki Chicken & Rice Bowl

Teriyaki Bowl  I’ve just recently gotten into the concept of the “one bowl contains all” dinner. Now I am hooked. They are so versatile and colorful and easy peasy to throw together! Give this one a try – it promises not to disappoint.


  • 1 Lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 cup of fresh steamed broccoli
  • Optional: 1 green onion cut up, 1 medium sweet yellow pepper cut up (I like to char mine on the grill)

Teriyaki sauce:


Asian FavoritesGrilled Pepper

  • Prepare your rice and broccoli and set aside. I like to use Success Rice and Birds Eye Broccoli that can be steamed in the bag.
  • Heat a skillet with your olive oil to medium heat. Add chicken and saute until no longer pink.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare your teriyaki sauce. Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup and whisk until well combined. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken and mix.
  • Time to plate! (or “bowl”).  The base in the bowl is the rice and next to it the steamed broccoli. Pour the chicken over the rice and broccoli, garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and sweet pepper. Use the rest of your sauce to pour over your bowl.

Roasted Tilapia & Citrus Corn Relish

Grilled Talapia

This recipe is adapted from a similar one I saw on The Cooking Channel. Of course, I had to add my own “twist”. If you love Tilapia and have not grilled  it you are in for a treat! Don’t be intimidated by the number of ingredients – each one delivers it own special layer of flavor and makes this dish fantastic.

Citrus & Corn Relish Ingredients:

2 scallions finely chopped
1 large ear of corn
1 orange bell pepper , seeded and cut into large slices
1 yellow squash, cut into large slices
1 mango cut into large slices
3 canned pineapple rings
1 can of fire roasted tomato drained
1 purple onion sliced into large pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Citrus & Corn Relish Instructions:

-Whisk together, in a large mixing bowl, wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt &
   pepper. Put ALL the veggies and fruit into the mixing bowl and stir to coat.
-Heat grill to medium heat.
-Start with the corn and grill about 5 min, turning to get that “char”. Add the squash,
   pepper and onion and grill another 3 minutes. Add the mango and pineapple and
   scallions and grill an additional 2 minutes.
-Remove all from grill and chop into small chunks. Add the tomatoes. Pour the olive oil
   mixture over the veggies and stir to coat. Set aside till Tilapia is ready.
Grilled Veggies


-Four 4-oz Tilapia  fillets

-1 tablespoon soy sauce

-2 teaspoons grated ginger

-1 clove garlic, mashed
-Zest of 1 lemon
-Zest and juice of 1 orange
-Pinch of salt and pepper
-2 Tablespoons of olive oil
-4 large pieces of heavy duty tin foil
-Place a Tilapia fillet on each piece of tin foil and sprinkle both side with salt & pepper.
-Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, lemon and orange zest, orange juice and
-Fold up the sides on the tin foil around the Tilapia as if you are forming a tent. Divide the
  marinade over all 4 fillets and seal the top to encase the fish.
-Grill the Tilapia packets on grill for about 12 minutes.
-Remove from grill. Carefully open the foil packets and plate. Top with the relish and

Homemade Peanut Sauce

Homemade Peanut Sauce

I have really missed posting lately. I want to thank everyone for all your prayers regarding my mom. She is slowly declining and my focus for the last several weeks has been on her. I appreciate the continued prayers.

Homemade Peanut Sauce……..yum, yum, yum!  This sauce is so versatile. You can use it on oriental salads, Asian wraps, noodles …the list goes on and on. Most of the ingredients you may already have on hand. Give it a try – you will be hooked!


-1/4 cup light soy sauce-

-1/2 cup of peanut butter

-1 Tbs honey

-1/2 Tsp sesame oil

-2 Tbs rice vinegar

-1 Tbs Sweet Chili Sauce

-1 Tbs Hosin Sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together, store in a ball jar in fridge. Good for up to 2 weeks. !




Prayers requested

I know my followers have been wondering where I have been for the last week. I wanted to write a short post to let you know I am still here and will pick back up with post soon. My mom has been put under the care of hospice in another state and I am making trips as needed and have been gone for this past week. Please pray for God’s hand on her. Thank you all. Wren

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!