Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chocolate Rum Balls

Rum balls are not only delicious, they can make a great gift for family and friends. Wrap them in clear bags, put them in jars or tins or boxes tied with a ribbon and they become a delightful surprise.  I put them in mini papers and then in a small box with a bright red ribbon at Christmas and they are always a hit. They are so easy to make and you don't need an oven for these no bake goodies! 
Chocolate Rum Balls
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans 
1 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup rum

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 oz melted white chocolate
In a large bowl, mix together nuts, cookies, sugar and cocoa. Add in corn syrup and rum and mix until everything sticks together. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  Once chilled, make 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Place 4 ounces of chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in a heat proof bowl. Over a pot of simmering water, stir until melted. Pour into shallow bowl and dip balls into chocolate. Place back on cookie sheet. Then, they go back into the refrigerator until chocolate is set. 
Once they are set I like to melt some milk chocolate and drizzle over some of the balls and some white chocolate on the others.  But you can also roll the balls in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, coconut, chocolate jimmies, etc.

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

Cranberry Orange Chutney over Warm Baked Brie

When it comes to making  holiday appetizers, everyone needs just one very reliable  crowd pleaser.  Here is a pretty and easy appetizer that will be on your favorite list for every holiday get together. I mean, who wouldn't love warm cheese topped with a wonderful citrus flavored sweet cranberry sauce.  It's warm, sweet, savory and's the perfect holiday appetizer.

Cranberry Orange Chutney over Warm Baked Brie

1 (12 ounce bag) fresh cranberries
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
zest of 1 orange
dash of cinnamon
juice of one orange

Heat water in medium saucepan and add cranberries.  Add orange juice, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and bring to boil over medium high heat. Cranberries will begin to pop open and sauce will begin to thicken as you stir.  Continue to stir for another 10-15 minutes on low as mixture thickens. 

Remove from heat and into a heat proof bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour. It will become jelly-like as it cools.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Unwrap your wheel of brie and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet or oven proof pie plate. Bake the Brie for about 8-10 minutes until soft and warm. 

Spread the cranberry chutney over top and serve.  You can also add some chopped pecans or walnuts on top if desired.  Serve with crackers or warm bread rounds.

Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I happen to fall into the love category.  

I’m not sure why they fall into the hate category…I think mostly because of the way they are prepared. I think boiling or steaming makes them soggy and bitter. But when you oven roast Brussels Sprouts, they become amazing!  Roasting brings out the sweetness in them and changes haters into lovers instantly!  

I like to add a little red onion and some walnuts for a little extra nuttiness and crunch. Then I drizzle them with a little Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with garlic and roast them until they are tender on the inside and the edges of the leaves on the outside become perfectly crispy. This is the perfect recipe for a love/love relationship!

 How to pick out the right sprouts:  Look for hard, bright-green sprout heads and try to choose roughly the same size so they'll cook evenly.  Buy them lose in the produce section and not on the stalk. That way you can pick the ones you like best.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 small red onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small to medium skillet over medium heat, toast your walnuts for 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t burn. Set aside.
Clean and trim Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Slice your onions and chop your walnuts.

In a large bowl, combine sprouts, onion, salt and pepper. Add Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with Garlic and toss to coat well. 

Spread on sprouts and onions on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Remove from baking sheet and add the walnuts and toss well. Drizzle with more olive oil with garlic if desired. Serve immediately.

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

STAR Garlic Infused Olive Oil is available at Raley's and Save Mart stores and online at:

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!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

What is it about winter that makes you want to get up early and put on a pot of homemade soup?  Maybe all those times our Mom's told reminded us that a hearty bowl of soup would stick to your ribs? Maybe because you put so many great veggies and things that are good for you?  Maybe it just says comfort.  Maybe it makes us warmer and more cozy.  Whatever it is, as soon as the first  cold day arrives, you will find me in the kitchen chopping and slicing and filling  my soup pot with goodness!  And this is one of my favorites! 

Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

     2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 (15 ounce) cans white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 bunches kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
52 oz. good quality low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup ditalini pasta (or any small pasta)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and brown, stirring occasionally to break into smaller pieces, approximately 10 minutes.

Add onion and bay leaves. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. 

Add pasta, garlic and beans, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
Add kale, and cook until it becomes slightly wilted. Add chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and cover with lid.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes until pasta is tender, although a bit longer is completely fine. The soup will thicken as the pasta begin to release starch into the soup.  

Serve and enjoy!

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

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Caprese on Rosemary Skewers

I love Caprese.  There's just something about tomato and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil that creates a flavor explosion in your mouth. I like putting together a Caprese platter for my guests and watching how quickly they empty the tray.  This time I wanted to add a new twist. I decided to double the explosion of flavors with mozzarella balls marinated in one of my favorite Star Fine Food olive oils and use some grape tomatoes that would pop in your mouth. Instead of basil, this time, I skewered them on rosemary twigs and then I drizzled the whole thing with a wonderful glaze I made with Star's Balsamic Vinegar. This went over made a wonderful presentation and the glaze added perfect touch!    

Caprese on Rosemary Skewers

2 tablespoons brown sugar
16 small round mozzarella balls
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
16 rosemary twigs
 16 grape or cherry tomatoes

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for about 4 minutes or until sugar has completely dissolved and then bring mixture to a full boil. 

Next, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until liquid has reduced by one-third and is just slightly thick. It will continue to thicken as it cools.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or longer if needed).

Add mozzarella balls to a small bowl.  Pour in garlic olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Trim the leaves off the bottoms of the rosemary branches. Skewer on one to two mozzarella balls, then a tomato. Place onto a platter, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

When you are ready to serve, drizzle your balsamic glaze over your platter and enjoy! 

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

You can get Star Balsamic Vinegar of Modena- Gold Edition in select Walmart stores and online at:

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! 

STAR Roasted Garlic Olive Oil is available at Savemart, select Walmart stores and online at:

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!