Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THERMAPEN OPEN BOX SALE!


























 The Thermapen: OPEN BOX SALE! 

I'm not a gourmet chef by any means. I don't have any type of formal culinary training whatsoever.  But I am a great home chef that was trained by one of the best cooks in the world......my Mom.  And when it comes to cooking a great meal at home she taught me that kitchen tools can make or break a great meal.   She used to say good things aren't cheap and cheap things are seldom good and that it's so important to always invest in the best kitchen tools money can buy.  She used to remind me that  when you buy a good kitchen tool, you might regret it once: when you buy it. But if you buy a cheaper less efficient  tool, you'll regret it every time you use it.  
I will be the first to admit, it was hard to spend to spend $96 for what I already knew was the best digital thermometer that money can buy:  The Thermapen.  I knew that a kitchen thermometer is one of the most important kitchen tools you need, but I couldn't bring myself to spend the money. Well, it didn't take long before I realized that if I were to add up all the cheap $10-$15 thermometers I have thrown away over the years,  I probably could have bought two or three of them. Not to mention the problem with those cheap tools suddenly failing. How much does it cost if you ruin a meal because something is over or under cooked?  Now I can honestly say that every expensive roast I serve, or steak I grill or candy I make, is done to perfection.  Always listen to your Mom! 





Well I have great news for you!  Now you can save over $20 on a Thermapen!  That's right, Themoworks is offering the

SPLASH-PROOF SUPER-FAST® THERMAPEN® to Welcome Home friends for only $74 while supplies last. This is an incredible offer.


Thermapens are rarely returned so they  almost never have enough units to hold an "Open Box Sale."  But now they have finally collected a small number here (and from the factory in England) that, for various reasons, we will not sell as new units. 

Some have slightly damaged packaging, there are a few sales demos, a tiny number are returns, a few have minor cosmetic flaws, and an even smaller number might be "refurbished" to like-new condition after very short term use.

All units in this sale will include instructions and the Thermapen User's Guidebook. All units are like-new and include the full warranty. All include a calibration certificate. In most cases, you won't be able to differentiate these from new stock. Only a limited number, in limited colors, are available. When they are gone, the offer expires.

Limit of 5 per customer. Don't wait!  Click on this link to get yours before they are all gone! 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Olive Cheddar Pinwheels

























What do you do when you have that single can of crescent rolls in the fridge and a half a jar of olives?  You create a recipe that is out of this world delicious!  The olives and the cream cheese are a winning combination in this delightful recipe and you'll call this a keeper my friends!  

Olive Cheddar Pinwheels

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (4 oz) package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Star Fine FoodsButter Flavored Olive Oil

























Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, mayonnaise, olives, in a mixing bowl.

























Open and unroll the can of crescent rolls onto a large piece of non-stick parchment paper or on a non-stick baking sheet. Press seams together to form a rectangle. With a rubber spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture over top of the dough leaving about 1/2 inch edge all around.

Start rolling into a log, using your fingers to keep it tightly rolled. Brush log with butter flavored olive oil. Cut log into slices and lay cut side down on an un-greased cookie sheet.


























Bake for 10-12 minutes until pinwheels are a light golden brown. Serve warm from the oven.


























STAR olives are available at select Safeway, Vons, King Soopers, Ralphs, Smiths, Savemart,

Raley’s, Lucky, Food 4 Less, Smart & Final, Bashas, Walmart, Thom Thumb and Randall’s stores 

and online at http://shop.starfinefoods.com/STAR-Olives/c/Star@Olives.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home

Sunday, January 11, 2015

WELCOME HOME IS NOW ON INSTAGRAM!

































Hello Friends! You can now find Welcome Home on INSTAGRAM! 

http://instagram.com/welcome_home_friends/

I have posted some of my favorite recipes there this morning for all of you who love Instagram and I will continue to post there frequently so that you will have some alternatives to Facebook.

If you are an Instagram user, I would love for you to follow me there. Simply click, on this link and it will take you to Welcome Home Friends. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

♥ Quick and Easy Chicken And Dumplings

























You say, "how did you make homemade chicken and dumplings so quickly?" It's easy. It took me all of 15 minutes. My secret was a store bought rotisserie chicken and Bisquick. Now don't knock Bisquick. It has all the same exact ingredients you use to make dumplings from scratch...things right out of your pantry. Here's the recipe. I even show you how to make your own Bisquick for those of you who can't get it in your country.


Quick and Easy Chicken And Dumplings

(Bisquick drop dumplings)

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skins and bones removed.
1 container of chicken stock
1 cup of water
Pepper to taste
2 cups of Bisquick
2/3 cup half and half (or more as needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh parsley for garnish

Pour chicken stock and water into large pot and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Cut off pieces of chicken and drop into boiling liquid. I use mostly the dark meat as it gives off more flavor. You can add as much chicken as you want. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium high and remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.



























Mix Bisquick and half and half until you form a soft dough. Drop by large rounded spoonfuls into slow boiling liquid. Turn down heat to low and cover pot. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until dumplings no longer doughy in the middle. Carefully add chicken pieces making sure you do not disturb dumplings so they do not break apart. Turn off the heat and serve. 

HOMEMADE BISQUICK

5 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening or very cold butter



Photo source: www.homesweethomemade.com
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives. I use my hands to blend into a fine sand-like mix. If you use cold butter, store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. If you used Crisco or any other shortening, store in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 6 months.

 















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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lemon Cream Cake

























Why do I love this cake?  Let me count the reasons!   First it's light and airy and so moist.  Next, it has a wonderful creamy filling with just a subtle hint of fresh lemon that makes it almost summery. And because it is simple and quick and perfect for those times when you really want to impress your guests.  This is a keeper my friends!

 Lemon Cream Cake

1 box white cake mix
, plus the oil, eggs, and water as directed
1 box  lemon cake mix
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium lemon, juiced
lemon zest of half the same lemon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (8 oz.) package Mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
Prepare the white cake according to the directions on the box. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into a 10 inch round baking pan.  I use a 10 inch spring form pan but you don't have to. 



While the cake is baking, make the filling.  Mix together the mascarpone, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and whipping cream. Add  the lemon zest of half the same lemon and then mix until creamy and smooth.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to completely cool.  Then with a serrated knife, carefully cut the cake in half.  On the bottom half of the cooled cake, drop dollops of the cream filling and smooth with rubber spatula.  Save some for the top of the cake.  Put on the other half of the cake and spread a thin layer of the remaining filling on top of the cake.

Next, make your crumb topping.  In a medium bowl, combine 1 and 3/4 cups of the lemon cake mix with about a tablespoon of  the butter flavored olive oil.  I like to start off with just a little oil and continue to add more until I get the perfect crumb topping.  Usually about 2-3 tablespoons.  


Sprinkle topping all over top of cake. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

You can buy Star Fine Foods Butter Flavored Olive Oil at Raley’s, Walmart, Stater Bros., Food Maxx and online at:   http://bit.ly/ButterFlavoredOliveOil.

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

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!

Southern Green Beans and Ham

























Since we're talking about my southern roots today and about good old country cooking...here's another great recipe I grew up on. My Mom used to come in from her garden and say, I'm fixin' to make a "mess o' beans and cornbread for supper."... And oh what a supper it was! Those beans would cook all day on the stove and smell so good. I make mine in the crockpot and they are perfect at the end of the day....

Southern Green Beans and Ham

2 ham hocks or 1-2 lb. Ham diced
4 slices bacon (raw)
2 onions, coarsely sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 -3 lbs fresh green beans
2 lbs new potatoes, quartered, peeled

If using ham hocks, place them along with the bacon in large Dutch oven pot or soup pot; cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil. Turn burner to medium to medium-high and let it come to a medium boil. Add the sliced onion. Let this cook while you wash and snap your beans (about an hour or more). If using a cooked ham, just add the bacon and onion at this stage and the ham will go in later.

Wash beans, cut off ends and break in half. Add beans, salt, sugar, and garlic to the ham hocks. Let it come to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. If you want to continue cooking them on the top of the stove, turn down the heat to medium and continue to slow boil for about an hour or more or less, depending on how well you like your beans cooked. About 15-20 minutes before done, add your potatoes. If you are using a cooked ham instead of ham hocks, you can add it with the potatoes. Continue slow cooking until tender. Remove ham hocks from pot and dice or shred and mix in.

If you want to slow cook your beans, move everything over to a crockpot, and cook on low for 6 hours.

♥ Buttermilk Biscuits
























I made biscuits this past weekend and as usual, when I go with my Mom's old recipe they just come out wonderful. These are my Mom's buttermilk biscuits and I just love the way they turn out so light and fluffy!

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold from the freezer
1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 450. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal. Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. At this point if it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.




























Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet touching each other. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until they are a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom. Do not over bake.

Hints: You want your ingredients to stay cold so you want to handle it as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits. So work quickly. If you use a food processor the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of over mixing. You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly. Don't roll these with a rolling pin or you will have tough biscuits.

You can also make them up and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, drop them into a Ziploc bag or container for up to one month. Then just bake frozen biscuits as you need them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Photograph is the property ©Welcome Home 2014

Mom's Southern Fried Chicken

I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one made fried chicken like my Mom. I can close my eyes and still see her hands dropping those battered chicken pieces in that hot oil in her big old cast iron skillet. I can still hear the sizzle of that hot oil and seeing her nod of approval as she flipped each piece over to expose that beautiful golden brown skin. My Dad always gets tears in his... eyes when I make it....he remembers too.

 
 
Mom's Southern Fried Chicken

1 (5 pound) whole frying chicken, cut into pieces
1 quart whole buttermilk (secret to moist, tender chicken)
vegetable oil or Peanut Oil for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you want a kick)
1 teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine chicken and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. In a large cast-iron skillet, add enough oil over low heat to come 1 inch up side of skillet.

In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Shake buttermilk off chicken and discard. Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat, gently shaking off excess.

Turn heat up to medium high. Place chicken in skillet, arranging thighs in the center and breasts and legs around edges. Fry chicken for 10 to 12 minutes per side or until golden brown. Turn down heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for about 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Turn heat back up to medium high and allow chicken to get as crispy as you like it. Serve and enjoy!

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

Monday, January 5, 2015

Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread























Sometimes I get up early in the morning and put on a big pot of beans, just like my Mom used to do. They were our special meal and I still love them today. She would go out to her garden and pull up some spring onions and make a big cast iron skillet of cornbread to go with them. My Mom called them Soup beans. Soup beans is a term common in the Southern United States, particularly the regions around the Appalachian Mountains. It refers to pinto or other brown dried beans cooked with pork as flavoring. They are considered a main course in the south and in Appalachia where food was scarce during the winter, these beans were a staple food. I cook mine with ham hocks, bacon or "fat back" as my Mom used to refer to it. I also mix my beans ....a 1/2 bag of Pintos and a 1/2 bag of red kidney beans and the flavors are just perfect.

Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread

1/2 lb. pinto beans
1/2 lb. red kidney beans
6 cups water
2-3 meaty ham hocks, or a slab of fat back
4 slices of bacon, fried and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight if you have time. The next day, rinse and drain them and put them to a soup pot or dutch oven with your ham hocks, bacon, onion, and garlic. Do not salt at this point or it will make your beans tough. Add in 6 cups of water or enough to just cover the beans. Cover them and bring to a full boil for about 10 minutes. Then turn down the temperature and let them cook until tender–at least 3 hours in a simmering pot. Stir from time to time and add more water if necessary. You want the gravy to look thick like a stew and not thin like water.


Next, remove the ham hocks and place on a plate. Then shred the ham hocks and put them back in the pot. Add salt and pepper, and allow beans to continue to cook on low while you make your cornbread.

By the time your cornbread is ready, the bean liquid should have reduced to a thick broth. Ladle out the beans into wide shallow bowls, then top the beans with onions if desired. Serve with a big slice of corn bread.


Southern Cornbread                                                                      




1/4 cup of bacon drippings
1-1/2 cups regular yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of buttermilk, more or less (see note on how to make your own buttermilk below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add the bacon drippings to a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven to melt the fat and heat the skillet. You want it very hot but not smoking.

In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the hot fat around to coat the entire skillet. Pour the fat from the skillet into the cornmeal mixture; stir. Stir in half of the buttermilk and add the egg; add more buttermilk as needed to make a thick but pourable batter. Mix the ingredients but don't beat or over mix. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet. You should hear it sizzle when it hits the skillet. Carefully place directly into the oven and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then very carefully turn the cornbread out onto a plate or platter to preserve that nice crispy crust!


 Pan Version: If you prefer to make this in a pan, just grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with vegetable shortening. Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into pan. Bake as above.


Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ­©Welcome Home


Friday, January 2, 2015

Grilled Chicken Salad with Pears and Almonds

























This salad is so fresh and crisp and the diced pears were just sweet enough to give it some extra flavor. My chicken was seared quickly so that the inside was just moist and fork tender. This is a keeper! 

Grilled Chicken Salad with Pears and Almonds

 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
 3 garlic cloves, crushed
 1 lemon, squeezed
 3 tablespoons of olive oil
 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
 2 small cans of pear halves, diced
 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, roasted
 1 small carrot, sliced
 1 bag of spring mix salad greens

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and oregano until well combined. Add the crushed garlic. Place the chicken breasts into a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Tightly close the bag and shake to make sure the marinade is well distributed. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour or up to overnight.





























Set a grill pan on medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once the grill pan is hot, add the chicken breast to the pan, discarding any leftover marinade. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Leave untouched for about 4 minutes, turn over and season again. Cook for another 4 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a large pan on medium heat, add the sliced almonds in one layer. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in batches. Stir frequently and cook the almonds until they are just golden brown. Keep a constant eye on the pan as the almonds will quickly go from golden brown to burnt. Remove from the heat and reserve.
In your serving bowl, add the mixed greens. Slice the chicken breasts and add to the salad. Drain the pears, dice and add them in. Add additional almonds before serving if desire. Serve with your favorite Vinaigrette or dressing. My favorite is my Asian dressing. 

Oriental Dressing

3 tablespoons honey
 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
 1/4 cup mayonnaise
 1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

Blend all ingredients in a small bow with electric mixer until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until read for use.


























Photography property of ©Welcome Home