Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken Divan Casserole

This is what I call comfort food! I love casseroles. Here's another great one from Marie over at the English Kitchen.

Chicken Divan Casserole

1 medium head of fresh broccoli
1 lb of chicken breast tenders ...
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
splash of hot pepper sauce
2 cups cooked rice

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk or half and half, warmed
1/4 teaspoon of medium curry powder
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and white pepper to taste


1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Place the chicken into a saucepan along with cold water to cover. Add some salt and black pepper, the bay leaf and a splash of hot pepper sauce. Bring to the boil. Take off the heat, cover and set aside to cool.

Wash and trim the broccoli. Break up into bite sized florets. Peel the stems and cut into chunks. Steam until crispy tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt the butter for the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring for one minute. Whisk in the warm milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Crumble in the bouillon cube and whisk in along with the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Taste and add salt and white pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Open the rice and sprinkle it over the bottom of the dish. Drain the chicken and break into pieces, sprinkle this over the rice. Top with the broccoli florets and stems. Nap the top with the warm cheese sauce, covering everything completely and allowing it to sink down into the casserole dish. Mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over top of the casserole. If desired, spritz lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until heated through, bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Delicious!
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Basic Turkey Gravy

Basic Turkey Gravy

1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 cups turkey or chicken broth, warmed
Turkey drippings and giblets, optional

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on the onions, stirring constantly, and cook until flour is golden to brown. Adjust heat so mixture does not burn. Gradually whisk in 4 cups stock until mixture thickens and is smooth. If it is too thick, add more broth. Cool, cover and chill.

When ready to serve, reheat mixture over low heat, stirring. Scrape bottom of turkey pan and add drippings or giblets to gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.

Photo Source:
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Candied Sweet Potatoes

For those out there that are big fans of Candied Sweet Potatoes this is a quick and easy recipe for you.....

Candied Sweet Potatoes

 7-9 Sweet Potatoes (Yams), washed
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 cups mini marshmallows...
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Boil the yams in a large pot of salted water for about 30 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Use tongs to move potatoes to a plate to cool or drain in a colander and allow to completely cool. Peel the cooked potatoes and then slice them into 3/8 inch thick disks.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole pan with butter and layer the potatoes on their edge or side (not flat) in the pan. Place a small amount of butter between and on top of every few potato slices and sprinkle the brown sugar over the potatoes as you go. Sprinkle the marshmallows on top of the layered potatoes and bake for 20 minutes or until marshmallows are toasty and golden.

Photo Source: MSN ARABIA
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

♥ Molten Lava Cake

What could be better than chocolate cake? How about warm chocolate cake with melted hot chocolate fudge that oozes out of the center when you cut into it with your fork? Rich melted chocolate that's like the hot fudge topping on your vanilla ice cream sundae....did I say ice cream? Oh that would be so good with this easy to make decadent and delightful and delicious to die for dessert!

Molten Lava Cake

4 individual ramekins
1 (6 oz) Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate bar
8 tablespoons butter, diced and room temperature
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
Butter for Ramekins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or use a heat proof bowl sitting over a saucepan of hot simmering water. Stir until smooth and remove from heat. Add the diced butter and stir until it completely melts and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat your eggs and sugar until blended and light in color. Stir in your melted chocolate first and then the flour.
Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour. Grease 4 individual ramekins with butter, buttering the bottoms first and then up the sides. Then fill each one with chocolate batter, about two thirds full.

Set ramekins on baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Depending on how oozy you want your chocolate filling. Run a knife all around the outside of each ramekin when finished baking and invert on a plate.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or plain right out of the oven. Oh My!

***This Photograph was taken by the owner of Welcome Home and is copyrighted as the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Saturday, November 16, 2013


Food Tip for the day....
Why waste a whole lemon when you might only need a little lemon juice? Skewer your lemon instead.

If you only need a few drops of juice, puncture a small hole through the lemon's skin with a skewer or fork and squeeze what you need. Cutting them in half will only dry them out quicker. But this will preserve the whole lemon so you can use it again and again.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Jack Hollingsworth
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Whenever you don't understand what's happening in your life, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and say...."God, I know this is a part of your plan for me, but will you please just help me get through it?"

I very much believe in God, but I respect those who have chosen not to. I have watched him perform miracles in my own life, and so I am certain that he is real. At this point in my life, I pretty much sit back and allow God to write my life story without any interference on my part. I believe he has planned my life well in advance. He started planning it from the very moment I came here to start this journey and so I just go along for the ride. I sometimes sit back and review past chapters that God has written and I find them to be quite interesting. Sometimes they are very funny and sometimes terribly sad, but all the while inspiring. Reading back on what he has written so far makes perfect sense, even though it didn't seem so at the time.

I am always looking forward to the next chapter in God's story of my life and where it will take me. And sometimes when my life gets scary or worrisome, I know that there is a lesson there for me to learn and God has put some challenges there to see how I will handle them. I know that he will never give more than I can handle and no matter how much I wonder and worry about whatever comes next, I know that God knows full well what he is doing and he is in control. My mother taught me many years ago that "Faith is not believing God's knowing God WILL." Those words have gotten me through quite a few struggles in my lifetime.

God is writing your life story too and only he knows how the story ends. And while we worry and fear what might happen next, only he knows every detail of the next chapter. Just take some time to sit back and think about what he has written for you so far. Every single page seems to all fit together. Every chapter has an ending. He is the great author of your story and no matter what is going on in your life, just let him write it.


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I am just thrilled! I am getting hundreds of wonderful emails and messages from fans that have just received their new Home For Dinner Cookbook in hardback and soft cover today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving it and taking the time to let me know. An author always sits back and hopes for the best when a new book is released. These messages are putting all my fears to rest....thank you so much. A fan sent me a photo of her two books today, and she said I could share it with you. Thank you Agnes for your kind words and allowing me to share your photo.

For those of you who are not aware that I now have two cookbooks available....

They are both available now and they are perfect for those of you who yearn for good old fashioned, uncomplicated home-cooked southern food. The kind of food that memories are made of; and they both come to you straight from my Mother's recipe box. The proceeds go to support the No Kill Advocacy Group in their efforts to save the lives of healthy dogs and cats that are being killed while they wait and hope ...for their forever family to find them. Over 6 million dogs and cats will die this year while waiting. We can change this.

My newest cookbook, released just last week is called, "Home For Dinner." It's a beautiful and thick 152 page cookbook, with full page, full color, high quality photography that accompanies each recipe. It is now available in E-book format for your computer, iPad, iPhones and now for your Android Smart phones. Once you purchase the ebook, you own it and you can then download it to all your devices. It's only $24.99 and can be purchased with your credit card or PayPal.

The book is also available in a soft cover and hardback. It is bookstore quality and meant for those who are sticklers for top notch binding, gorgeous paper, and professional printing. This is not just an average cookbook. It is a limited first edition book and the production team at this publishing house produces each high quality book as they are ordered, which doesn't always lend itself to affordability. The books are not just sitting in a warehouse. They actually make your book as you order and ship it to you anywhere in the world. And for a limited time, you can take another 25% off a check out by entering the code SAVE25BLURB

To purchase "Home For Dinner" in E-book format for $24.99 today go to:

To purchase "Home For Dinner" in hardback or soft cover go to:

My original cookbook is still available too. It is called, "Welcome Home Cooking." This is a beautiful 196 page cookbook with full page, full color, high quality photography that accompanies each recipe. It includes Main Dishes, Salads, Breads and Rolls, Desserts, and so much more. It is now available in E-book format for your computer, iPad, iPhones and now for your Android Smart phones. Again, once you purchase it for only $24.99 you can download it to all your devices. The book is also available in a soft cover and hardback.

To purchase "Welcome Home Cooking" in E-book format for $24.99 today go to:

To purchase "Welcome Home Cooking" in hardback or soft cover go to:

And for a limited time, there is a 25% discount for friends of Welcome Home who want to purchase this book too. Enter the code SAVE25BLURB at checkout.

*The book is not available in bookstores. It is only available online through the publisher who offers and safe and secure site for purchasing it. You will receive your new book within 5 minutes if you order the ebook and within 10 days or so when you order hard or soft cover.
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♥ Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Okay, so here is my weakness...not a big piece of chocolate cake. Not a beautiful slice of fudge brownie pie. But Brussels Sprouts my friends. I love these things! Just one look at those crispy outer leaves is enough to set my heart a fl...utter! I ate this whole bowl in one sitting...those leaves you see are as crisp as potato chips! YUM!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray (I use Pam with butter). In a large bowl, add the butter and the olive oil and minced garlic and stir.

Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise and trim the bottom stems.
Toss the sprouts with the olive oil and butter mixture. Spread out on a baking sheet and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30 minutes turning them every 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Prayer For The Hungry

As we look forward and plan our wonderful Thanksgiving dinners this year, please take a few seconds to think of and pray for those that are less
fortunate. Please make a pledge to help those that
have no one and very little of their own. ...And tell yourself that from this day forward you will try to make a difference.

I have always said that if there was a little box on our tax returns that asked if we care to donate just $1 dollar to feed the hungry in this country, we could start to wipe out hunger in America.

Prayer For The Hungry

"Oh, God, when I have food
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless;

While I am in my warm home,
help me to remember the cold and the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer.

And in remembering those less fortunate,
please help me to destroy my complacency;
and please stir my compassion,
so that I am concerned enough to help;
By word and by deed,
those who cry out for the very things I might
take for granted.

Thank you God for all that I have. Help me find a way to give to others that need more than I.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

My Mother's Lap

My Mother's Lap

I have so many wonderful memories of the loving relationship I had with my Mom when I was growing up. I am always reluctant to allow myself to get too deep in remembering them all as it hurts far too much.

But of all the ...memories I cherish, it is the memory of always laying my head in her lap whenever I needed her. It was the safest place to be when my heart was broken. It was a place to go to when I needed to feel comfort and cherished and loved. There was no other place like it when I was scared or hurt or feeling lonely. I can still feel her soft hands stroking my hair and the sweet sound of her voice telling me how much she loved me and her promise that everything would be okay. And it just was. Everything was okay and all was well in the world when I heard those words and felt her warm touch.

And later...when I was a grown woman and life had dealt me a broken heart or presented me with an ultimatum I couldn't handle, I would run to her for those comforting moments, time and time again. It was where I needed to be, and no matter how grown up I really was, for those moments I was her baby again and she was my angel and my refuge and my safe haven. No matter how much pain or what it was that was hurting me, I knew I could get through it with her reassurance that I would be okay.

Of all the memories in my lifetime, those will forever be the most precious to me. Those times are what I long for and yearn for so often. Those times are gone now and the void is so overwhelming at times, it takes my breath away. Life still throws some curve balls and gives me some tough challenges and I still need so much to hear her tell me it will be okay. Sometimes, if I close my eyes tight and drown out the world, I can get lost in my memories of her and I can almost feel her hands stroking my hair.

Oh how ironic this journey of life can be... for little did I know that one day I would be comforting her and stroking her hair as she lay dying. And I would whisper those same words for the last time. "I love you Mom... more than life itself and I cannot bear the thought of going on without you. But I will be okay and I'll see you again. You can go now to a better place. I promise you everything will be okay."

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Tempura Shrimp

 I love making tempura anything! Why? Because it is so easy and I love the light and crispy coating that comes from this batter. The trick is using ice cold water for your batter. Once that cold batter hits that hot oil you get that crispy ...bubbly coating. So, why order tempura when you can make it so quickly at home? Once you try this batter, you'll be making tempura everything. In this recipe I made simple tempura shrimp but used to the same batter and oil to make tempura vegetables the same night. 

Tempura Shrimp

12 extra large shrimp, cleaned and peeled
1 cup ice cold water
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
cooking oil

In a bowl, mix the water and the egg together. In another bowl, mix the flour and baking soda together. Stir dry mix into the wet mix until combined – lumps are okay. Place the batter in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes while you prepare your shrimp. You want your batter as cold as possible.

Make little cuts across the center of the belly to keep the shrimp from curling during cooking. Run a skewer through each shrimp. In a deep pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil to about 350 degrees. Test the oil by dropping a tiny bit of batter into it. When it is the right temperature, it will sizzle and float to the top right away.

Dip the shrimp in the batter, coating completely, and then fry until one side is golden brown and flip. Fry until golden and remove to paper towel to drain. Remove the skewers and serve. Then use your same batter and oil to make whatever vegetables you like.

 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Stuffed Cranberry Sauce

You're going to remember this recipe. Not because you got it here. Not because it's a Paula Deen recipe. But because it is so easy to make and so delicious! I watched Paula make this on one of her Thanksgiving TV shows about five years ago and I have been making it ever since. It is a wonderful little side dish that you eat with a fork. I make it instead of cranberry relish and my guests love it.

Stuffed Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
(16oz) Jellied Cranberry Sauce, chilled
1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until creamy. It needs to be spreadable so if you need more mayo, add up to another 1/2 tablespoon but no more than 2 tablespoons total. Add pecans and mix well.

Slice cranberry sauce in 1/4 inch rounds and spread cream cheese mixture on one round and place another round on top, sandwich style. Keep in fridge until time to serve.
Garnish with a piece of mint for a pretty presentation.

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

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Memories of Thanksgiving

Good morning....and what a cold morning it is here in Maryland. Just a few weeks ago, I was sitting outside on my deck, having coffee in short sleeves and barefoot. Now, as I sit here looking out my window at the frost still clinging to my window panes, I am getting out a pen and paper right now so that I can add my electric portable heater, my pink furry bunny slippers and my pink chenille robe to my list of "Things To Be Thankful For This Year!"

Only 14 days left until my favorite holiday. I read over some of your menus yesterday on the good morning post and some are quite ambitious. Many of you will make the old fashioned traditional Thanksgiving goodies, while others will experiment with new recipes that change things up a little. I like to do both. This weekend I will be doing a trial run with a couple of new dishes I haven't made before, just to make sure they turn out perfectly for the big day. But for the most part I will stick with tradition and put out the same wonderful foods I remember as a kid.

My Mom would really put out a spread every Thanksgiving. What a joyous time with friends and family gathered all around. She was the star that day and all those oooohhs and aaaahhs would just make her light up when people would take that first bite of her wonderful home cooking. She loved Thanksgiving and she planned every single detail out perfectly. I can still remember her basting that gigantic 30 pound turkey that she pushed in the oven hours before the rest of us even got out of bed that morning. And the focal point of that dinner was always her homemade dressing that she would make in a big gray baking pan wrapped tight in aluminum foil, and every single person at that table couldn't wait to taste it, as it was passed around the table each year. She was truly in her element and she just loved cooking for so many at one time.

It really was a wonderful occasion when all of us gathered around her on that day. So much laughter and so much love surrounded her. And in later years, when she just didn't have the energy to host those big Thanksgiving feasts anymore, I carried on in her place and did my best to put out all the wonderful dishes she taught me how to make. She would feel so proud when people around that table would take a bite and say, "oh my, you cook just like your Mom" She loved that I had learned so much from her over the years.

Times have changed now. There are no big gatherings anymore. Divorces and funerals changed the guest list dramatically. Kids grew up and had families of their own now and celebrate their own Thanksgivings. People moved away for jobs in other states. Time really took it's toll on our family gatherings.

After my Mom moved to Heaven, it was all I could do to hold the family together. People just went their separate ways. So now it's a small gathering with only my Dad and my brother and my best friend Randy and of course me and my immediate family, Katie and Cooper, my two dogs, and Squeak, my outdoor cat.

The crowd is small and the turkey is not 30 pounds anymore. There are no huge bowls and platters of all "the fixins," as my Mom would say. It is not loud with laughter and different conversations all going on at the same time. It is not and will never be the same as I remember. It is a little more reserved as we quietly roll those memories around in our head of days gone by. There is an overall sadness as my Dad says our Thanksgiving prayer and breaks down and cries when he thanks God for those days with my Mom. And we all hold hands and cry with him as we honor her memory and give thanks for what we have.

This is my family and the room is filled with love and laughter and good food. We have fun and are fully aware of how precious time can be and we cherish every single moment. We play games and talk about the new topics of the day as we pass around the mashed potatoes and gravy and all our favorite dishes. And somewhere during that course of time, someone will say it....and I wait for it every year...."oh my gosh, you cook just like your Mom." And life is good and I know she would be proud that her family has gathered to share this new Thanksgiving day.
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Kiwi and Berries

Look what I made for you this past weekend. I like to make these perfect little 6 inch cheesecakes instead of the much bigger cheese cakes that end up in the freezer. I have included a link at the bottom of the recipe so you can find the little ...spring form pans I use.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Kiwi And Berries

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a spring form pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

For the cheesecake

1/3 cup whipping cream
1 cup good quality white chocolate chips
3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream for cheesecake batter

Over low heat in a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup of whipping cream until scalding. Stir in the white chocolate until melted. Set aside while you make the rest of the batter.

Cream together cream cheese and sugar until creamy and then add one egg at a time beating well after each one. Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate. Finally blend in the 1 cup of whipping cream.

Pour your batter into your prepared crust and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes depending on the size of your pan. The cheesecake will be slightly brown around the edges. It will be slightly wobbly just at the center. Allow the cheese cake to cool on a wire rack at room temperature.

When completely cool remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan by running a sharp knife around the outside edge before removing the sides of the pan and then run a knife under the crust to release it from the pan’s bottom. Cover the top with fresh raspberries and blueberries and slices of kiwi with a drizzle with raspberry glaze

NOTE: I bake my cheesecakes in a spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I usually use a 12 inch cake pan. Then I pour boiling water into the larger pan filling it 1/2 of the way to the top. I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil.

For the glaze and topping:

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon water
raspberries and blueberries and kiwi for garnish

Place the jam in a small saucepan. Heat the saucepan over low to medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add about 1 tablespoon of water and stir constantly over low heat, until the berries begin to break down and the sauce develops a thinner, pourable consistency. Taste and add sugar or a little honey if you want it sweeter. Turn off the heat when the sauce has reached the consistency you desire. Let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes or until it's still thin enough to pour but no longer piping hot. Drizzle over raspberries and blueberries and then store in refrigerator. If the sauce thickens too much, simply reheat it on the stove for a minute or two and allow it to thin.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. 

 If you are interested in these little 6 inch spring form pans you can click on this link to find them. Remember, anything you purchase on Amazon through Welcome Home will help me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for their forever homes. Note the Welchome08 in the link.

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Basic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I just posted that delicious homemade Tomato and Pancetta Soup and what goes better than a hot grilled cheese sandwich? So simple and good anytime. Now I know you are know how to make one...but remember I also have a young audience that follows me and are just learning how to cook. So this one is for them!

Basic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

4 slices white bread
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 slices Cheddar cheese

Preheat skillet or griddle over medium heat. Generously butter one side of each slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto griddle or in skillet and add 1 slice of cheese.

Butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of sandwich. Grill until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining 2 slices of bread, butter and slice of cheese.

You can use any type of bread. You can use any type of cheese. You can add bacon, tomato, a fried egg, or anything else you can think of to create the perfect sandwich just for you! Great with that tomato soup recipe I just put up!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Caramel Apple Crostada

These are so pretty and so easy to make. They are out of this world good when you take them out of the oven and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or two...or three.... Oh Yum!

Caramel Apple Crostada

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup frozen butter, cubed
1 egg
4-6 tablespoons of very cold ice water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
half and half or milk for brushing dough

Blend together four, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix in cold butter and pulse a few quick times. I usually use a food processor for this so that I can keep the butter cold..
Add egg mix until combined. Slowly add water, until crumbly/clumpy consistency is reached- add more water if dough doesn't start coming together. Turn out dough on lightly floured surface and continue to knead with hands for a few minutes (the consistency will be much like pie dough). Form the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Put it into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. In the mean time, start making apple filling.

Apple Filling

2 Fuji or Gala apples, peeled, and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6-7 pieces of Kraft caramels, cut into smaller chunks
powdered sugar
slivered almonds

Place prepared apple slices in a bowl and add cinnamon and sugar. Using your hands, evenly coat apples with cinnamon and sugar. Mix in pieces of caramel.

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut dough in half and then wrap second half with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Cut dough in half again and on a floured surface roll out to make two 4-5 inch wide crostadas. Place circles of dough on prepared baking pan.

Pile apple/caramel mixture in center of dough. Fold dough over apple mixture about 1-2 inches. Pinch your folds to seal dough.
Brush exposed crust with half and half or milk. Place crostatas in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples and the caramel start bubbling. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and slivered almonds if desired. Add vanilla ice cream or frozen whipped cream! Enjoy!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home

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Taco Bowls

I love making taco salads and it is so much fun to make your own golden brown taco bowls and then fill them what you like. I use anything handy to make them and you will see some photos in the comment section. But for these I used an oven proof bowl and I laid a flour tortilla on the outside and then pinched it a little on the edges. I have used the back side of a muffin tin, empty aluminum cans make great ones too.

Taco Bowls

Flour tortillas                                                                                   
olive oil or butter flavored cooking spray

Brush the inside of the tortilla with olive oil or spray the inside of each tortilla with butter flavored Pam. Then turn an oven safe bowl upside down and lay a tortilla on top of the bowl to get the shape you prefer. This makes the tortilla edges wavy like a seashell.

Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 5-7 minutes or until Tortilla becomes rigid and lightly browned. Remove the tortilla from the oven and let cool. Fill with your choice of ingredients and top with cheese, lettuce tomatoes and sour cream.

My Taco Bowl pictured above:

Leftover pot roast, shredded
leftover rice
Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon minced onion

I simply took leftover pot roast and warmed it in a skillet with the seasoning. I added some leftover rice and filled the taco bowl. In this photo you see shredded leftover pot roast, rice, cheese and nothing else. I melted the cheese in the oven and after I snapped the photo, I added some shredded lettuce and tomatoes and some sour cream for the top. Delicious!

You can use your choice of any ingredients:

ground beef or turnkey
refried beans
Spanish rice
black beans
black olives

The list can go on and on! Be creative!

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Just a little treat I made for you this past weekend. These are so easy to make and you always seem to have the ingredients in your pantry to whip up a batch for emergencies! Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate? Click on photo in the comment section of this post for a close up of the filling. YUM!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

1 (18 oz) jar of smooth peanut butter 
1 (16 oz.) box or bag of confectioners sugar
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 (12oz) bag of semi-sweet milk chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) bag of white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons of shortening (like Crisco)

In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, confectioners sugar and melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Continue to mix until smooth. I use my hands to mix and form into 1 inch balls.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Place the peanut butter balls on the cold baking sheet in rows, but not touching each other. Return to the freezer for another 5-7 minutes until they are set and ready for dipping.

While the peanut butter balls are chilling, melt the two chocolates in separate heat proof bowls over a sauce pan of simmering hot water. You can also use the microwave to melt the chocolate but set on low and only for 30 second intervals and keep stirring. When chocolate has melted, add the shortening and stir well.

Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Insert a toothpick or wooden skewer into a peanut butter ball and then dip it into the chocolate, turning quickly to cover the entire candy. Place onto the baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate had completely dried. Store the candies in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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