Monday, March 30, 2015

Mushroom Swiss Sliders

























Don't you just love sliders?  There's just something that makes them so much better than eating those bigger burgers. These little juicy morsels are a huge favorite among my friends. There's a secret to them....they have a little kick from the Cara Mia marinated mushrooms I add to the mix.  Tender juicy little burgers filled with cheese and just the right amount of zest that give them even more flavor. These have been a huge success!

Mushroom Swiss Sliders

1 pound ground Chuck 
1/2 cup Cara Mia Marinated Mushrooms, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons of heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
8 small dinner rolls or potato rolls

Add chopped mushrooms in a small bowl and add shredded Swiss cheese and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix ground chuck with Worcestershire sauce, cream, salt and pepper. Lightly mix in the chopped mushrooms and the cheese and form mixture into sliders. Make a depression in each burger with your thumb so they continue to lay flat while cooking.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.





Pan frying in cast iron or heavy skillet: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to 12 inch cast iron skillet. Sear burgers over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare.






NOTE: Top each burger with a little more shredded cheese and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to help melt the cheese before putting the burgers on buns. Then top with your favorite toppings.  Don't forget to
serve a few mushrooms on the side!  They are so good!


























The Cara Mia mushrooms are available in the produce section or canned vegetable aisle at these retailers: Savemart, Smart & Final, select Walmart stores, King Soopers, select Kroger stores, Schnucks, select Supervalu/Albertsons stores and Ingles markets. They can also can be purchased online at ...http://bit.ly/CMmushrooms.


























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!

My Mom's Famous Lemon Bars
























My Mom made the best lemon bars. They just had the perfect blend of sweet and tart and everyone loved them...especially my Dad. So this past weekend, I wanted to make him something special for a summer treat. I made these and he was so thrilled that I had remembered they were his favorite. I know you will love these lemon bars. Friends have said they are the best they've ever had.

My Mom's Famous Lemon Bars

Filling:

 6 whole eggs
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
zest from 2-3 lemons (2 tablespoons)

Crust:

 3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups of butter (3 sticks) melted

Filling: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light in color. Add in the sugar, baking powder and flour and stir until combined. Add the lemon zest and the lemon fresh lemon juice and stir well. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.



Crust: Mix flour and powdered sugar together. Add the melted butter and mix until just crumbly. Press the crumbs firmly into the pan making an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove crust from oven and pour your lemon filling over the crust making sure you get an even layer. Bake for an additional 45 minutes until lemon filling is set and no longer jiggles in the middle.

Topping:
 You can just use powdered sugar for your topping but I usually reserve 1/4 cup crust mixture and mix it with an additional 2 teaspoons of flour and 2 teaspoons of sugar and crumble it up with my fingers until fine. Then I sprinkle the mixture over the top of lemon filling before baking. After baking, I then sprinkle with more powdered sugar before cutting into squares.

Important note: Let this cool completely before you cut it. Then dust and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated until gone....which isn't long around here! 


























Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Lettuce Wedge with Blue Cheese Dressing and Bacon


























I love lettuce wedges instead of your traditional salad. Okay, I know they all taste the same....but there is something about a wedge of cold crisp iceberg lettuce with homemade creamy blue cheese dressing and sweet little ripe cherry tomatoes with warm crunchy fried bacon on top. Did that just make you hungry? 

Lettuce Wedge with Blue Cheese Dressing and Bacon

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
6 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Wedge Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, cored and cut into quartered wedges
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes or 1 medium tomato, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste



























Blue Cheese Dressing

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Add the cheese and mix just until blended. Chill in an airtight container in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve a generous amount of dressing over each lettuce wedge and top with the bacon and tomato. Season with salt and pepper.

























Photography is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Mom's Coconut Custard Meringue Pie

























The combination of a smooth and creamy custard and sweet coconut is what I call incredible!  Then top it with a light fluffy meringue....oh my! I loved this pie when I was little and my Mom could make meringue that stood up so tall! She taught me all the tricks to making "mile-high" meringue. I will share them with you at the end of the recipe.


My Mom's Coconut Custard 
Meringue Pie

Pie Shell:

1 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut in small cubes or slices
1/4 cup Shortening (I use Crisco)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

1 1/4 cup of sweetened flaked coconut, divided
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of whole milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Meringue:

1/2 cup water
1 cup super fine sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter, lard and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the ice water and toss with a fork to blend. Gather the dough into a ball. If excess flour remains, add a few drops more ice water. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pastry into a 12 inch circle. Fit into a 9 inch pie pan and fold edge under. Then line the pastry shell with a sheet of foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Set pie pan on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake another 5 minutes until bottom firm and light golden, Cool on a rack. I usually brush my crust with an egg white and a little water before baking to keep it from getting soggy.


Filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then spread 3/4 cup of the coconut on a baking sheet and then place your baking sheet in the oven and bake your coconut for 5 minutes or until its golden brown. You will need to stir your coconut around occasionally. When done, transfer your toasted coconut to a plate and let it cool a bit.



























To make the custard, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk until smooth in a heavy large saucepan. Cook and stir the mixture over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. You will then want to reduce the heat and cook while stirring for 2 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and then stir in a small amount of hot mixture into a bowl that you have beaten your eggs in. This is called tempering the eggs and you do it so that you don’t create scrambled eggs in your mixture. Once the eggs are tempered add in your egg mixture to the saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Your next step is to remove the saucepan from the heat and then gently stir in your toasted coconut, butter and vanilla extract. After your custard has cooled slightly you will want to pour your custard into the pie shell that you have already baked. Set your pie aside to cool while you make your meringue topping.

Meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat. Once syrup comes to rolling boil, cook 4 minutes (mixture will become slightly thickened and syrupy). Remove from heat and set aside.

With electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl at medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat, gradually increasing speed to medium-high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into egg whites. Add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes very thick and shiny, 5 to 9 minutes.





























Using rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling, making sure meringue touches edges of crust. That's an important step so that meringue does not begin to shrink and pull away from crust, leaving a gap.

Use spatula to create peaks all over meringue and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Place the pie into your preheated oven and bake at 325 degrees or until the meringue is golden brown. This should take 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure that the coconut you sprinkled on top doesn't burn. Then cool on a wire rack to room temperature. YUM!

Tips for making the perfect tall meringue.....

Always make sure your bowl and beaters are free of any grease or oil. The tiniest speck of oil causes great volume loss.

Always use eggs that are a few days old and make sure they are at room temperature before you use them. If you have to start with cold eggs, put them in a bowl of warm water to bring their temperature.

Don’t use your hands to separate the egg yolk from the whites. I know its the most convenient way for most of us, but oil can wreck a good meringue too! Just use the shells, transferring the yolk back and forth between the two and letting the whites fall into one bowl and the yolks into another.

Use glass or metal bowls and keep your hands out of the bowls and away from any surface that would touch the egg whites. You want no oil whatsoever. Plastic bowls often retain oils from foods and the slightest oil from your hands will not help your meringue.

Add the sugar after the whites have reached the soft peak stage when they're fluffy and when you lift the beater the peaks fold over the beater edge). Superfine sugar works the best when making meringues. (Don’t worry if you don't have this in the pantry because you can make your own using your food processor or blender by pulsing your sugar a few times to break the crystals up into smaller ones).

Your meringue is done when you lift the beater out and the whites stand at attention! Don't stop and take a break during the beating process, start it and work it through and you'll have the perfect mile high meringue for your pies!

By the way, don't put a meringue pie in the refrigerator. Store at room temp under a glass or metal bowl. If you store in the fridge, you'll have leaky, weepy meringue. Enjoy!



























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

Mini Apple Pies



I make a lot of cakes and pies in individual or mini sizes. I find it much better for someone who doesn't have a big family or not a lot of guests to bake for. Apple Pie is always best when served just out of the oven and still warm. Making smaller sizes assures that you always have a fresh slice! I freeze these and then take them out and bake them frozen for about an hour.

Mini Apple Pies

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 small Fuji or Gala apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 beaten egg plus 2 teaspoons water for egg wash

Unroll the pie crusts onto parchment paper on counter or work space when they've reached room temperature. Cut circles a little larger than your pie pans leaving an overhang that you can crimp later. Place the pie dough in your pie pans and gently mold to fit on bottom and sides. Trim off the excess dough so it creates a little edge along the rim of the dish. Set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together and then toss in apples and make sure they are well coated. Scoop out apple filling to fill the pie shell. As you can see I like to fill mine high but you can fill them with less if you prefer. 





























Next, brush the egg wash all along the outside rim of your shell so the two pie circles will stick together. Place another dough circle on top and press down around the edges. Using the prongs of the fork, press along the edges of the pie to seal the edges. Next brush more egg wash on top of the pies and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon if desired. Cut 4 slits on top to allow steam to escape while baking. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops are golden.

If you want to drizzle some icing on top, mix 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar with a little milk until you get the consistency you like and then drizzle over top of warm pie. Serve warm or at room temperature...add some vanilla ice cream for a real treat! 


























Here is a link to buy a set of non stick mini pie pans that work perfectly with this recipe. A great offer for the fans of Welcome Home at under $10 for a set of 4.

Remember everything you purchase here at Welcome Home helps support NO KILL and Animal Rights groups in their efforts to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for a new home. 






http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F7A5PS/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B000F7A5PS&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1394665220&sr=8-1&keywords=mini+pie+tins

Photographs are copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

Chicken and Rice Soup


It's time to bring out the soup from the freezer that I made earlier this year. I make big batches of it and freeze it for those days when I'm snowed in. This is one of my favorites...and if you have the sniffles....this is the cure!

Chicken and Rice Soup

Homemade Chicken Stock

1 whole chicken (4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch lengths
2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch lengths
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns or 2 teaspoons pepper

Place chicken parts in a stockpot just large enough to hold them with about 3 inches of room above and add enough water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, using a ladle to skim fat that rose to the top.



























Add vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours. Remove chicken and set aside until cool enough to shred or dice for soup. Strain stock through a cheese cloth lined colander into a large heatproof bowl or pot; do not press on solids. Discard solids. Skim off fat.

Soup

Chicken stock from above recipe
Chicken, diced into bite sized pieces
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup green beans, frozen or canned
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Return the strained chicken stock to the pot, stir in the rice, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook until the rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.



























Meanwhile, once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces and add to the stock along with the celery, carrots, onion, green beans garlic, and tarragon. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat on low and simmer for a hour. Season to taste and stir in some parsley if desired.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quick and Easy Strawberry Shortcake

































Quick and Easy Strawberry Shortcake

1 pound of fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Dry the strawberries. Pat the fruit dry with paper towels to soak up any excess water. Slice the tops off with a sharp knife, so that you end up with a clean and flat top. Mix sugar with strawberries. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare cake.

Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature...


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, use a serrated knife, split the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate. Pipe in whipped cream (below) on bottom and top with top half of cake. Fill top with strawberries and surround with more whipped cream.


































Sweetened Whipped Cream                                                             


1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (also known as whipping cream or full cream)
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

In a small pan, mix together gelatin and cold water and let stand until thick.

Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat; cool but do not allow it to set up. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatin to whipping cream. Whip at high speed until stiff.


























Photographs are copyrighted and the property of Welcome Home.

The Spring Edition of the Welcome Home Magazine is coming
























These delicious little carrot cakes will be a huge hit at your Easter get together this year. I made them special for the loyal fans of my Welcome Home online blog magazine. They always count on me to bring them something different and special! These are just a hint of what's to come in the next issue of the Welcome Home Online Magazine. 

It's the Spring issue coming out on April 1st and it is loaded with great recipes for your Easter dinner. But it doesn't stop there. I have include my best spring recipes too. And lots of helpful cooking hints and helpful tips. 
Remember these recipes are my favorites and have never been seen before. You'll only find them in the online magazine. 

Why should you subscribe? 

This is not a print or paper magazine. It's a webpage. The magazine is a big and bright website that flashes up on your screen once you are given the key to unlock it. It is colorful and vibrant and so easy to read on your computer, tablet or cell phone. You can take it with you wherever you go and see it on your phone or tablet or Kindle or Nook. You say you like your magazines in print format? Okay....so print the recipes out and put them in your own binder and you'll have them in print format.

Or you can sit back and relax and read it in front of your laptop or desktop computer. You can visit it whenever you want and see all the current and past issues as soon as you buy it. And because it comes out once a month, you'll find yourself eagerly waiting to see what is in each new issue! Are you looking for recipes that are easy to make and absolutely delicious? You'll find them in the magazine. 

Each month, I post as many as 25-30 brand new, never before seen recipes from my very own collection. Recipes that are quick and easy to make for any meal or occasion. You'll find beautiful photos of each finished dish and in even step by step instructions on how to prepare it. Right now there are over 300 recipes that you will have access to and another 300 or so coming if you subscribe. Do you like kitchen tips and how to's that can save you time and money? I like to share my own with you in the magazine. I bring you ideas and tips that you'll love and they'll make you say, "Why didn't I think of that!"

I share other advice too...like answers to questions when you get stuck on making any recipe. Do you like cool kitchen gadgets and tools to make your life in the kitchen easier? Yep, those are there too! I pick the coolest ones I can find and put them in the magazine each month...but only after I personally try them out first! And I find the best price for them so you pay less for whatever you like. And there's a gift shop too! Where you can also find some of the nicest gifts for your friends and family and even yourself when you deserve a treat! Again I shop for the best prices and pass them on to you. We even have gifts for your fur baby too! And each month we add even more gifts for you to choose from. 

And you get all that for only $2 an issue! I promise you'll instantly see the value when you see all the work that goes into it. This magazine is so well worth the money spent. And there's an added bonus: Once you purchase the magazine, you'll be invited to join an exclusive private Fan Club for subscribers only. There you'll find even more recipes and tips! We have a group of subscribers there now having a great time sharing even more recipes and fun ideas. 

And now the best part....some of the proceeds from the sale of The Welcome Home Kitchen Magazine will help me save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in Kill shelters for someone to come and adopt them. I have been there my friends. I have held them during those last hours before they are led down a long dark hallway to their death. I wanted them to feel loved before their lives were taken. And it broke my heart watching how excited they were as they thought they were being taken to re-unite with their families. People they loved so much and were so worried about when they didn't see them again. But I've have also seen them rescued at the last minute by NO KILL volunteers who take them in and love and care for them until they are adopted by a new forever family.

That's why I do this....that's why you should buy this magazine. Some of the proceeds will help me feed the homeless who are about to face another cold winter on the streets. I take them warm food and drinks and warm clothes and blankets to shelter them from the harshness of winter. I have been doing it for years and have lost some that have not made it through to Spring. They count on me. They depend on me and I will never let them down. But I need your help. 

So consider your purchase of this wonderful magazine a bonus for helping the homeless....two legged and four legged. Look at it as a way to make sure they get food and warmth. To make sure they feel loved and wanted. They say that only a hungry person can understand the true pain of hunger. Those of us who have never been there can't even imagine. But we can help with kindness. And kindness is serene when nothing is expected in return. True kindness comes from a heart that doesn't differentiate between the hunger of an animal or a human. 

So what are you waiting for?  Click on the link and you'll be enjoying it within minutes.

My Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie

























I loved this pie when I was little and my Mom could make meringue that stood up so tall!  She taught me all the tricks to making "mile-high" meringue. I will share them with you at the end of the recipe.

My Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie

Pie Shell:

1 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled, cut in small cubes or slices
1/4 cup Shortening (I use Crisco)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut in pieces

Meringue:

1/2 cup water
1 cup super fine sugar
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter, lard and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the ice water and toss with a fork to blend. Gather the dough into a ball. If excess flour remains, add a few drops more ice water. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.


























Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pastry into a 12 inch circle. Fit into a 9 inch pie pan and fold edge under. Then line the pastry shell with a sheet of foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Set pie pan on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake another 5 minutes until bottom firm and light golden, Cool on a rack. I usually brush my crust with an egg white and a little water to keep it from getting soggy.

Filling: In heavy saucepan combine 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the 4 egg yolks and the lemon juice. Add 2 cups cold water and whisk until blended. Cook over moderate heat, whisking until it comes to a boil. Boil, stirring, 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and butter. Stir until the butter is completely melted. Pour into pie shell, cover with a round of wax paper pressed directly on the surface and cool for at least two hours in refrigerator before adding meringue.

Meringue: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to vigorous boil over medium-high heat. Once syrup comes to rolling boil, cook 4 minutes (mixture will become slightly thickened and syrupy). Remove from heat and set aside.

With electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl at medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat, gradually increasing speed to medium-high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into egg whites. Add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes very thick and shiny, 5 to 9 minutes.

Using rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling, making sure meringue touches edges of crust. That's an important step so that meringue does not begin to shrink and pull away from crust, leaving a gap. 



























Use spatula to create peaks all over meringue. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until peaks turn golden brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. YUM!

Tips for making the perfect tall meringue.....

Always make sure your bowl and beaters are free of any grease or oil. The tiniest speck of oil causes great volume loss.

Always use eggs that are a few days old and make sure they are at room temperature before you use them. If you have to start with cold eggs, put them in a bowl of warm water to bring their temperature.

Don’t use your hands to separate the egg yolk from the whites. I know its the most convenient way for most of us, but oil can wreck a good meringue too! Just use the shells, transferring the yolk back and forth between the two and letting the whites fall into one bowl and the yolks into another.

Use glass or metal bowls and keep your hands out of the bowls and away from any surface that would touch the egg whites. You want no oil whatsoever. Plastic bowls often retain oils from foods and the slightest oil from your hands will not help your meringue.

Add the sugar after the whites have reached the soft peak stage when they're fluffy and when you lift the beater the peaks fold over the beater edge). Superfine sugar works the best when making meringues. (Don’t worry if you don't have this in the pantry because you can make your own using your food processor or blender by pulsing your sugar a few times to break the crystals up into smaller ones).

Your meringue is done when you lift the beater out and the whites stand at attention! Don't stop and take a break during the beating process, start it and work it through and you'll have the perfect mile high meringue for your pies!

By the way, don't put a meringue pie in the refrigerator. Store at room temp under a glass or metal bowl. If you store in the fridge, you'll have leaky, weepy meringue. Enjoy!

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Artichoke Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms





















Recently, I was having some old friends over for one of my home cooked meals. My plans were to make one of my favorite comfort meals like Swiss Steak, Mashed potatoes, mac and cheese.  But when one of friends informed me at the last minute that he and his wife had just recently changed their diet and were now vegetarians, I had to move quickly to come up with a new plan.

When I got to the store and saw these big, beautiful hamburger-sized Portebella Mushrooms, I remembered the Cara Mia Marinated Artichoke Hearts  I had in my pantry and I instantly knew I could put together a scrumptious meal that everyone would love. These are so good in fact, everyone loved them! Dinner was a total hit! We all loved this recipe and I will make it for years to come.

Artichoke Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

6 medium to large Portobello mushrooms 
Extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 
1 large shallot,minced 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 cup Cara Mia Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped 
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs 
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
½ cup chicken stock 
¼ cup sour cream 
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Wipe any dirt off the mushrooms with a damp cloth, then remove each stem and, using a teaspoon, gently scrape out the gills and dispose.

Place the mushrooms on the sheet pan and brush them on both sides with olive oil. Starting with the cut side down, broil the mushrooms for 3 minutes, turn them and broil for another 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and set the pan aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.





























In a skillet, add the olive oil and saute the shallots and garlic until tender. Add some salt and pepper and remove from heat. Next add the chopped artichoke hearts to the pan and mix with the onions and garlic. Continue sauteing the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove the artichoke mixture from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs to the mixture and combine (a fork works best for this). Add in the Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and mix again. Add the chicken stock and the sour cream, and mix well – the mixture should be thick and bind together.


























Spoon the mixture onto each mushroom cap, pressing down so that the mushrooms are packed with the filling. Place the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Next Evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella onto each mushroom, return the pan to the oven. Bake or broil until cheese has melted. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.





























Cara Mia Artichoke Hearts can be found at: Walmart stores, Stater Bros. and online at http://bit.ly/grilledartichokes


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!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Garlic Pesto Butter Roasted Salmon































Garlic Pesto Butter Roasted Salmon

2 lbs skinless Salmon Fillets cut into serving sizes
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons pesto (any brand) 
2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, chopped fine (save a few sprigs to top salmon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Make a compound butter by mixing  softened butter, basil, and pesto until smooth.  Refrigerate until butter becomes firm again. 

























Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat salmon dry with a paper towels and rub with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and chopped dill weed. Then top each filet with two or three sprigs of fresh dill weed.  

Remove butter from refrigerator and add a scoop to each salmon fillet. Roast in over for about 15 minutes (depending on thickness of fillet) or until salmon flakes easily in the middle or thickest part. If you want to use a thermometer, it should register 125 degrees in the center of the fillet. 

































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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!