Thursday, July 2, 2015

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Glaze

I love this salad!   Such an intense sweet and tangy flavor from the creamy balsamic dressing that goes  perfectly with the ripe strawberries and sweet crunchy pecans!  Did I mention I love this salad?

Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Glaze

2-3 cups mixed greens (I like arugula and baby spinach)
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup candied pecans (see below)
1/4 cup red grapes, sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts   

Glaze the pecans:  In a saute pan, add the pecans and sugar and slowly heat on low until sugar starts to melt and pecans become toasted. Set aside to completely cook on wax paper.

Make the Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of honey

In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar and honey. Bring the glaze to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking regularly, until glaze thickens and becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let glaze cool completely before using it to top the salad.

Make the Salad

Chill two salad plates in the freezer while mixing salad.  

Rinse mixed greens, spin dry and add to a large bowl. In a large salad bowl, drizzle some of the balsamic down the sides of the bowl. Add in greens and strawberries; toss gently.  

Sprinkle in pecans and toss again. Finally add sliced grapes, cranberries, pine nuts and cheese. Remove salad plates from freezer and plate with lettuce mixture. Sprinkle on more pecans and drizzle with more glaze. 

Serve immediately.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

♥ Strawberry Shortcake

Who doesn't love strawberry short cake? Cold, creamy, sweet and light ....the perfect summer dessert.....who am I kidding? I would eat this any time of year! 

Strawberry Short Cake

4 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and stems removed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and toss to thoroughly coat strawberries. Let sit at room temperature at least 20 minutes before using. Strain berries, reserve syrup and set aside.


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two (8-inch) cake pans. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a mixing bowl; set aside. Mix together vegetable oil, water, lemon zest, vanilla, egg yolks, and 1 and 1/4 cups of the sugar. Mix for about 5-7 minutes until mixture is light and airy. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl; add dry ingredients and whip until smooth, about 1 minute more.

In a clean bowl, whip egg whites to medium peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute more. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the cake batter until evenly incorporated; gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Bake until surface of cakes springs back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove cakes from the oven, and let cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each, and turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.


1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream

Combine mascarpone cheese and heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream

Place the cleaned bowl of the stand mixer and the whip attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Combine vanilla extract, sugar, and heavy cream in the chilled bowl and whip at medium speed until medium peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least one hour.

Using a long serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes as necessary so they are level. Place cake rounds on a clean, dry surface and, using a pastry brush, brush 1/2 of the reserved strawberry syrup on the cut side of the first cake round; repeat on the cut side of the second cake round.

Evenly spread 1/2 of the filling over the cut side of the bottom cake layer. Arrange strawberries standing upright, stem end down, over the filling layer and trim as necessary to create an even layer. Cover berries with the remaining filling, being sure to fill in any empty space.

Place second cake layer over filling and strawberries, cut side down, pressing gently to secure it. Using an offset spatula or a long, thin spatula, spread 3/4 cup of the frosting in a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake. Return remaining frosting and cake to the refrigerator until frosting on cake is set, about 15 minutes.

Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides of the cake, saving some of the frosting to add to a piping bag if you choose to decorate. Let sit in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving.

Photograph is the property of  and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Yum is right!  These are my famous Magic Bars.  Well famous to all my friends and family that is. I can put out a plate of these at any given time and they will be gone within 5 minutes!  You can find the recipe in the 
new July issue of the Welcome Home online Magazine that just came out this morning. For those of you who have already subscribed, you can access the new July issue now.  It is waiting for your viewing pleasure! There is also important information about renewing your subscription this need to go check that out. 

For those of you who are new and have not subscribed yet....let me tell you about what you're missing. 

The Welcome Home Online Cooking Magazine is the perfect choice for those true followers of Welcome Home. If you love my home cooking then you definitely want to subscribe to my Online Cooking Magazine.  When you subscribe you will have instant access to over 400 exclusive recipes for members only. Recipes you won't find anywhere else.  There is page after page of big beautiful color photos.... many with photographed step by step instructions. And each month, for the next 12 months, you get to see another 25-30 more.  

This month is is loaded with recipes you won't find here or any place else. It's Barbecue Month and you'll find recipes for your summer cookouts and picnics and family gatherings. Like My Mom's Classic Summer Potato salad, homemade Brown Sugar baked beans, a wonderful Creamy Pasta Salad, Juicy Steaks and Grilled Chicken, Shrimp Kabobs, my Amazing Chocolate Pudding Cookie Cups and a low sugar Strawberry Cream Pie that will tempt you to sit down and eat the whole thing!  Plus, it's loaded with kitchen tips to make your life easier! 

 What would you pay for a Welcome Home cookbook with that many recipes?  How about only $24.00 for 400 never before seen recipes with full color photographs and the promise of another 350-400 to come over the next 12 months?   Would you pay that small amount?  Recipes you can print out and make your own cookbook?  Recipes you can view on your computer, tablet, Kindle or phone. 
Would you pay only $24 if you knew that by subscribing you are helping me save lives? 

You help me feed and clothe the hungry and those less fortunate that have no place to go. My goal is to show them we care. They need to know they are not alone and they are loved. You help me save the lives of dogs and cats that are killed in shelters. Over 6 millions dogs and cats are killed every year because no one gets there in time. My goal is to get them out of kill shelters and into temporary homes that can take care of them until someone comes along to give them a forever home. I personally buy them food, vitamins, toys, and bedding. I prepay for veterinary services and do whatever I can to help them while they wait. 

The value is there my friends. So what are you waiting for? Click here to subscribe to the Welcome Home Blog. I promise you won't regret that decision.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


For all subscribers to the Welcome Home Online Magazine:  It's time to renew.

The Welcome Home Online Blog Magazine began on August 1st, 2014. Your one year subscription for the 12 issues will end on July 30th of this year. Many of you are asking if the magazine will continue this year and how will the renewal process work. 

The answer is yes.  The magazine will continue for another 12 months and nothing will change once you renew your subscription.  This is how the renewal process will work: 

1. If you are paid for a subscription in the last year, it means you are a subscriber.  You paid your $24 subscription for 12 issues.  The first issue came out on August 1, 2014 and this is the last of 12 issues.  Even if you subscribed to the magazine later than August of 2014, you have had access to 12 issues regardless of when you began your subscription. So in essence you paid for 12 issues and you received 12 issues and about 350 recipes. 

2. However,  you will now need to renew your subscription if you want to continue seeing the Online Magazine and the next 12 issues to come.  The subscription price will be the same at only $2 an issue or $24 a year (12 issues). 

NOTE:  There is an exception: If you subscribed to the Welcome Home magazine in the last 30 days....from June 1st, 2015 through June 30th 2015, you do not need to renew. Sit back and enjoy. Your subscription is paid for through July of next year.

Here is the link for renewing your subscription.  That will take you to the blog.  Next click on the Magazine tab at the top.  Then Scroll to the bottom portion of the page and you will see Subscription Renewal. Simply click on the button that says BUY From 2CO.  Then type in your credit card information and other required information and you are all set.

3. You will be able to use your credit card to pay for your new subscription. For those of you who paid by check the first time, you will be able to pay the same way this time and you need to contact me for details by messaging me. There will not be an easy pay system set up this time so the full $24 subscription price will be set to be paid at the time of renewal. 

4. You will have from now through July 28th to get your $24 renewal paid. If you pay at anytime in July, we will get notification and will lock in another 12 issues for you. Nothing will change at all. You will continue to have access to the magazine exactly the same way as you have it now. On August 1st, 2015 you will see the new issue and you will continue to get a new issue each month for the next 12 months. That is what your $24 pays for....future issues. You will also continue to be a member of the Welcome Home Magazine Fan Club group.  Again, here is the link to renew:

5. Some of you received complimentary subscriptions from   anonymous friends who wanted to help others get the magazine.  They only asked that you please pay it forward as your way of saying thank you for that free subscription.  I cannot promise those same friends will offer additional free subscriptions this time but if you would like to be placed on a pay it forward list, please email me at: and we will make sure your name is there for any donated subscriptions that come in. 

If  You do Not Renew in July: 

6.  If you choose not to renew your subscription prior to midnight on July 28th, you will lose access to the magazine and the fan club group. The link you currently have will expire on July 30th at midnight.  From that point on you will get a message that says ACCESS DENIED when you  attempt to use your key link address. It will remain inaccessible until you pay the subscription cost of $24. 

7.  If you have no plans of renewing your subscription in July and choose not see the 12 new upcoming issues through July of 2016,  now is the time to make sure you print out the recipes you want to keep. Remember, if you choose not to pay the $24 subscription price in July, you will no longer have access to the magazine nor will you be able to see future recipes to come. So if you would like to save any of the past posts then you should print them out. 

You paid for the last 12 issues or 350+ posts. You are free to print out what you paid for. However, if you do not renew the subscription, you will no longer have access to any of the past recipes posted or new recipes to come as of August 1st. 

This might seem more complicated than you think, but it's very simple. Renew your subscription in between now and July 28th and nothing changes. If you have any questions please feel free to message me or email me at

Click here to renew your subscription now:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Mini Maryland Crab Bites

This is my most requested party food. It's no wonder that when I ask anyone "what can I bring"  these always come up. I made these for friends lost weekend and needless to say, they were gone in less than 10 minutes. They are a favorite to serve as a meal or an appetizer and you can decide if you want to make them larger dinner sized crab cakes or these mini bites like I made. Either way they are sooooo goood!

My Mini Maryland Crab Bites

2 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 teaspoons milk
1 tablespoon Hellman's mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon OLD BAY Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound FRESH jumbo lump crab meat

I make my own breadcrumbs by adding bread to food processor and pulsing until fine crumbs. Then moisten the crumbs in the milk.

Add mayo, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, baking powder, OLD BAY, salt, egg and the crab meat mixing very lightly so as not to break up to much of the crab. Using a small scoop or your hands form the mixture into small balls and lay on parchment paper on a baking sheet. 

Refrigerate crab bites for 30 minutes which will help them hold their shape while cooking. You can choose to broil or fry.

If baking or broiling: Make sure you drop a couple of ice cubes onto the baking tray between the crab bites before you bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

To deep fry as shown in my photo: Fill your deep skillet with peanut oil or vegetable oil and deep fry your bites in batches until golden and crispy on the outside...about 5 minutes or less. Then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. You can also use a deep fryer with a basket to make these.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Classic Corned Beef on Rye

It's lunch time!  Who doesn't love this classic sandwich? Tender corned beef on fresh rye bread with a touch of creamy cold slaw to top it all off!  Oh Yum! 

Classic Corned Beef on Rye
4 ounces thinly sliced corned beef
2 slices rye or pumpernickel bread (I used marbled rye)
2 slices Swiss cheese
sauerkraut, well drained
1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing

 Top each bread slice with half the corned beef, a slice of cheese, a little dressing, and some sauerkraut. Microwave on low until meat is warm and cheese has melted.  Add top slice of bread.

Classic Reuben:

Lightly spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place 2 bread slices, butter side down, in skillet. Top each bread slice with 2 slices cheese, 1 tablespoon dressing, 3 ounces corned beef and 1/4 of the sauerkraut. Top with 2 bread slices butter side up.

Cook sandwiches 4 to 6 minutes or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted, turning once. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve with additional Thousand Island dressing, if desired.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

♥ Tomato Sandwich

 It's sandwich day here at Welcome Home and in my opinion there is no better sandwich than a big ol' juicy Mater Sammich!  I took this one last summer and can't wait for that first one of the season this year!

I can't wait to pick my first this year!  I like mine on fresh white bread with Hellman's mayo and a little salt and pepper. How do you like yours?

Tomato:  Big and juicy!  Bread:  must be super fresh!  Mayo: Hellman's or Dukes and a touch of salt and pepper!  
The perfect sandwich!

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

How good does it get? Sometimes you can't get that one dessert that was so delicious out of your head. This is one that I have cravings for and if I see it on the menu I always order it. This is so easy to make and one of those desserts you just don't forget! This is my Mom's original recipe and it brings back so many memories.

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 cups heavy cream
10 slices hearty thick sliced white bread, toasted and cut into cubes
1 cup raisins (optional)

Vanilla Cream Sauce

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

dash of ground nutmeg
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-quart or 9 x 13 baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, whisk 3 eggs, white sugar, 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of butter, and 3 cups of heavy cream together, and gently stir in the bread cubes and raisins. Lightly spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until browned and set in the middle, 50 to 55 minutes; cover the dish with foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let the pudding stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Vanilla Sauce

Whisk sugar, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, egg, butter, cream, and salt together in a heavy saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding, or serve on the side in a bowl.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

I love lemon desserts for summer cookouts and barbecues.  Seems I'm always on the lookout for something I can add lemon to.  So I made this recipe and took them to a friend's outdoor gathering last summer. They were gone in less than 30 minutes!  People went crazy over them and wanted more!  A little lemon cake covered with a white chocolate lemon ganache.  Now that's what I call a lemon treat! 

Lemon Drop Cupcakes

1 box lemon cake mix 
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix 
4 large eggs 
1 1/4 cups sour cream 
1/2 cup whole milk 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray. 

Using a hand mixer, mix the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Use a small cookie scoop to fill each cup about half full.  

Bake for about 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 2 minutes and then turn the muffin pan over on a wire rack so that all the muffins are upside down.  

Cool cakes completely and then you can dip them in the ganache. See recipe below.

White Chocolate Lemon Ganache

12 ounces white chocolate, chopped 
1/2 cup heavy cream 

Juice from 1/2 a lemon (add more or less to taste)
1 drop of yellow food coloring

Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, simmer the heavy cream over medium-high heat. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the ganache and set aside for drizzle later.

Next add lemon juice a little at a time to the remaining ganache and stir. Taste and add more or less depending on your preference. Add a drop of food coloring and stir until smooth. 

Dip the cooled cakes into the ganache. Drizzle with reserved white ganache once they have set.  Store in refrigerator.

Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Anyone can make lemon pepper chicken.  You sprinkle a little lemon pepper over some chicken and bake it. Right?  You do if you want dried out baked chicken that tastes a little like lemon with a hint of pepper and sits in your fridge for a week because nobody wants it.  Now on the other hand, if you want really good Lemon pepper chicken you really want to take the extra steps to make sure it's done right.  

I never met a chicken I didn't brine first. It's a must if you want delicious moist chicken every time you make it.  I soaked (brine) these incredibly moist and juicy chicken breasts in a mixture, lemon and garlic, with sea salt, thyme and black pepper.  Then I used Star Fine Foods Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Poultry and Fish which brings a wonderful harmony of flavor to the drippings.  I used those drippings to baste my chicken and bring out a wonderful rich flavor. These are truly incredible.

Use 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, with skin   See my brine recipe below.

Lemon Pepper Chicken 

1 cup flour 
2 tablespoons of Star Fine Foods Olive Oil for Poultry and Fish 
3 tablespoons butter 
Lemon Pepper seasoning 
1 whole lemon, cut in half 
2 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise 
1/4 cup of chicken broth 

First brine your chicken and make sure you have rinsed and patted it dry. See my brine recipe below.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil into a baking or roasting pan and add in three tablespoons of butter. Put your pan into the oven while it preheats. 

Add a cup of flour and a teaspoon of pepper in Ziploc bag.  Seal the bag and shake to mix well.   Add the chicken breasts and close and seal the bag again.  Shake the chicken in the flour to coat. 

Remove chicken one breast at a time and shake off most of the flour coating.  You only want a very light coating of flour on the chicken.  Repeat this step with each chicken breast. 

Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the roasting pan. Place each flour-coated chicken breast into the roasting pan.  Add in the peeled, halved shallots, the lemon halves and pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth into the pan around chicken. Next sprinkle each chicken breast with the lemon pepper seasoning.  You can add as much as you like.  Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast for about twenty minutes.  

Baste the chicken with the drippings and roast for another 20 minutes. Remove pan again and baste with more of the drippings.  This time sprinkle a little more lemon pepper over chicken and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes more or until the skin is crispy and golden brown.  The internal temperature should read at no less than 165 degrees when chicken is done and ready to serve.


6 tablespoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
6 cups water
3-4 boneless chicken breasts, with skin
zest of 2 lemons (2-3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/2 lemon sliced thin

In a ZipLoc resealable bag, combine water, salt, thyme, garlic, sliced lemon and black pepper.  Add chicken breasts and seal bag tightly.  Place bag in a large bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.  Do not brine longer than 15 hours.  Once chicken has been refrigerated in brine for 12 hours remove and rinse well under cold water.  Dispose of leftover brine.  

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Star Fine Foods Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Poultry and Fish is available at Select Raleys, Save Mart, Food Lion and Walmart stores and online here:

Star Fine Foods now has a promo code for all Welcome Home fans that will give you a 10% discount on anything you order online. Just enter WELCOMEHOME10 at checkout! 

Disclaimer: I have an ongoing relationship with STAR Fine Foods for my recipes and photography using their wonderful products. This post is sponsored by STAR. I am compensated for my time and work and I am sent products as I request them. However, all opinions of the product stated in this post are 100% my own. I truly love their products!