Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Welcome Home Recipe Club

Has everyone here at Welcome Home joined the club? The Welcome Home Recipe Club?

If not, you don't know what you're missing! Meet 6 of the best cooks on the Internet everyday as they share their favorite dishes with us. It's free to join. It only takes seconds. You get to learn how to make some incredible recipes.  So far we have over 4,700 members who love it there! 

So....what are you waiting for? Click on this link and join the club! I'll be waiting at the front door to let you in! See you there!

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

I have several recipes for Mac and cheese here at Welcome Home that are my go to recipes for most occasions. So why did I choose this one for Easter? Because when you want a really cheesy and creamy mac and cheese dish, this is the one. Absolutely delicious!

My Four Cheese Mac and Cheese
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
Pinch of cayenne powder
1 (16 ounce) box of elbow or spiral macaroni
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Fontina cheese
1/2 Gruyere cheese
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

In a medium saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half a little at a time. Stir 3-5 minutes while sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper, dried mustard, cayenne and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt and then pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes, until pasta is just slightly under cooked. Drain in a colander and return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir until melted and pasta is coated. Set aside

Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter or non stick cooking spray. in a large bowl mix all the remaining cheeses and toss lightly to blend. Place on-third of the pasta in the bottom of the greased baking dish. Top with one-third of the mixed cheeses. Top with another third of the macaroni and another third of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl combine the Panko bread and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix with fingers until crumbs are moistened. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees on center rack of oven for about 45 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.

Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Pan Seared Ribeye Pork Chops

When I was growing up my Mom made a lot of pork chops...probably as much as she made chicken. I loved her simple fried pork chops she fried in that cast iron skillet. Nothing fancy but oh so flavorful! She always served them with creamy mashed potatoes, fresh green beans from her garden, cornbread and there was always a bowl of homemade apple sauce on the table.
My Mom taught me how to buy them..., trim them and cook them. I always buy bone-in ribeye pork chops and I look for the ones with the most tenderloin still attached. Then I pretend they are ribeye steaks and cook them exactly the same way. I made these today and they are just out of the oven....

Pan Seared Ribeye Pork Chops

4 bone-in ribeye pork chops
2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Extra Virgin Olive Oil    
2 tablespoons of butter
2 cloves of garlic, whole                                                    
1 sprig of rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel to absorb all moisture. Generously salt and pepper each side. In a large Cast Iron skillet or a heavy sauté pan, heat the skillet till it’s extremely hot. Add oil and butter and wait for it to sizzle.

Add the pork chops and then lay the garlic and rosemary around the chops. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly. Arrange the chops in the pan with the thickest, boniest parts towards the center of the pan where they get the most heat.

Sear the chops on high for about 2 minutes, watching carefully to get a nice golden color. Then flip on the other side and do the same thing. Turn off the heat. Cast iron hold heat and there will be more than enough heat to finish cooking them.

Next transfer the cast iron pan to the oven and turn down the heat to 300 degrees. I like to slow cook mine on low oven heat for about 30 minutes with the skillet completely covered with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil. Once the temp has reached 145 degrees, remove skillet from oven and transfer chops to a clean plate to rest for 5 minutes.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©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!
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Here is one of those recipes that instantly brings back memories of my Mom. I loved watching her make this cake in her old cast iron skillet and I still make it exactly the same way today. It is one of the easiest cakes you will ever make... and it comes out just perfect every single time. You can take some short cuts here and even use a boxed yellow cake mix and you'll still get an incredibly moist cake that is so delicious! There's just something about warm pineapple cake with brown sugar that is so wonderful!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 can of whole pineapple slices (5-7 slices)
Maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter and brown sugar in a 10 inch cast iron skillet and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook until brown sugar starts to caramelize. Remove from heat and arrange pineapple slices in a circle on top of the brown sugar mixture and if desired, add a cherry to the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture a little at a time alternating with the milk.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar just until the whites hold a firm peak. With a large spatula gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter in two additions. Pour the batter into the cast iron skillet over top of the pineapples. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top of the cake has browned and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan (a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the pineapple) will come out clean).

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and then invert the cake onto your serving plate.

If you are looking for the perfect skillet for this recipe, look no more! Click on this link and you can purchase a seasoned, ready to use 10 inch Lodge Cast Iron skillet like the one I use. When you buy it here, proceeds will go to the NO KILL Advocacy group to save the lives of dogs and cats that are killed in shelters while waiting for their forever homes. Only $15.92.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Chocolate Mint Brownies

I will ask your forgiveness in advance on this one. But I do have my Chocoholics out there that need a fix now and then. This is for you my friends! Let's raise
our brownies in a toast to chocolate!

Chocolate Mint Brownies

1 stick of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. I like to leave an over hang of foil on the short sides of the pan to use for handles when I want to lift out. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and salt. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring well to combine. Whisk in the vanilla and then the eggs. Blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Cool Completely for at least an hour and then cut into bars.

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon of mint extract (I use Spearmint or regular mint)
2-3 drops green food coloring if desired

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Spread on cooled brownies, top with another brownie and refrigerate 1 hour or until set.

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cups semi sweet chocolate
1/3 cup butter

Heat ingredients over medium heat stirring constantly. When chocolate is melted and everything is combined, set aside to cool about 10 minutes. When still slightly warm, pour over the brownies spreading evenly. Return the pan to the refrigerator.

To serve allow to sit at room temperature about 10-15 minutes.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. 
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Frosted Fudge Brownies

What's better than a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie? That's easy...a decadent and delightful chocolate fudge-like brownie with a creamy rich chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry on top!

Frosted Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt...
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsalted butter, diced
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and then spray the paper with non-stick spray. I like to leave excess paper hanging over the ends so they are easy to lift out of the paper after baking.

Stir the butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, and then the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, and salt and stir. Next add the flour a little at a time and stir to blend evenly. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake brownies about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with just a little batter attached. Remove brownies using parchment paper on ends to life and allow to cool completely on rack. Using a biscuit cutter or any large cookie cutter, press firmly into the cooled brownie.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter at room temperature
3½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy (full) cream

Using a mixer, cream butter for a few minutes on medium speed. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed and mix until the sugar and cocoa are mixed well with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Photographs are the property of ©Welcome Home and are copyrighted.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pecan Coffee Cake

For those mornings when you want something in between a big egg and bacon breakfast but a little more than yogurt...I bring you my simple pecan coffee cake to have with your tea or coffee in the mornings. Love this recipe!

Pecan Coffee Cake


1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


1 3/4 all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened                                                  
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 5 inch rectangle cake pan or baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl. using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter for 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter, beating on low speed, after each addition until combined. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with filling and then gently spread on the remaining cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and add topping and drizzle.


1/4 cup of honey

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Brush honey on top of cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped nuts


1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 Tablespoons Cinnabon Gourmet Coffee Creamer (or use milk)

 Blend sugar and milk (or creamer) until smooth and add vanilla. Add more sugar or milk until you get the right consistency for drizzling. Serve cake warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Rosemary Garlic and Butter Rolls

The perfect crusty bread to go with so many of the soups I post here at Welcome Home. You will love the light and fluffy texture of the inside and the lightly crisp outside of these wonderful rolls. Click on the photo and look at that hint of rosemary....so good!

Rosemary Garlic and Butter Rolls

2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 rosemary sprig
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
Sprinkling of coarse sea salt

Whisk together 6 tablespoons of the butter with 1 cup of milk and the egg. Dissolve 2 teaspoons instant yeast in a bowl in 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir and set aside for about 3-5 minutes.

Warm the butter and milk slightly and transfer your yeast to a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt, then add some of the flour. Stir in the milk and mix until combined then add more flour. Continue mixing until all your dry and wet ingredients have been mixed together.

Next you want to begin kneading, using any additional flour only if the dough starts sticking to your hands. The dough will look really sticky at first, but that will resolve itself during kneading. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly butter a baking pan. Then transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and flatten it with your hand. Divide the dough in about 10 rolls using a sharp knife. Next use your hands to shape each piece into rolls.

Move the rolls to the baking pan but do not allow them to touch as they will continue to rise. Cover with a towel and let them rise for another 90 minutes or until they have doubled in size.

Pull the leaves off the rosemary and chop with the garlic. Add the remaining butter and mix well. Warm the butter mixture and brush all over rolls using a generous amount and then sprinkle with some course sea salt. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. 
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Monday, April 07, 2014

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 scallions, white and green parts separated, each cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons rice vinegar...
3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce ( I use Kikoman)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven for about 3-5 minutes. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch until the chicken is coated, season with a little salt and pepper. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, tossing often, until browned and cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and white parts of the scallions and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the vinegar to the pan, toss for 1 minute. Add the Hoisin sauce and a few tablespoons of water depending on the consistency you prefer; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in the scallion greens and cashews. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Serve over rice.

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

♥ White Bean Soup with Ham

I make soup in the fall and freeze it for the cold winter months ahead. This is one of my favorites and what I'm having for lunch today. I like my soup thick and creamy and this one turned out just right. Add a big old slice of corn bread and butter and you've got the perfect meal!

White Bean Soup with Ham

1 ham steak – cut into bite sized pieces (see note)
1 pound dried white cannellini beans
1 can of navy beans
1-1/2 cups of chopped onion
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the beans in water and discard any debris. I usually soak mine in water overnight and then drain the next day. 

 In a large soup or stockpot over low to medium heat, sauté the onions in the bacon drippings for about 5-10 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained white beans, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Open the can of navy beans and mashed them with the back of a spoon or run them through a food processor. I add them to make the soup thicker and more creamier. Stir the mashed beans into your soup pot along with the cubed ham. Simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes until thickened. Discard bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

NOTE:  I also make this with dice cooked chicken or turkey thighs. 

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home.

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