Thursday, May 23, 2024

Patriotic Fudge Brownies

 Patriotic Fudge Brownies

Perfect for that Memorial Day or Fourth of July party, cookout or summer picnic, or whenever you want to show your American pride!  A great fudge brownie recipe, a little free hand and some tinted frosting can bring out the best holiday treat!  

Patriotic Fudge Brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and then stir in sugar until combined.  In a large bowl beat the eggs lightly and then add cocoa, salt, baking power and vanilla.  Add hot butter mixture and stir until smooth.
Next add the flour and chocolate chips and mix well.  Pour batter into a baking pan and bake  brownies for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before frosting, cutting and serving.

Once cooled, run a knife around the inside edge of the brownie pan. Cut into individual rectangular flag shapes. Mine are approximately 2-1/2'' wide by 1-1/2'' tall.


1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 tablespoon milk

Using a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.  With mixer still running add in vanilla.  Slowly mix in powdered sugar and melted white chocolate. Add enough milk to reach the consistency you like for your frosting. Reserve a little frosting into three separate small bowls and add a drop of red and blue food coloring to two of them. 

Once brownies have completely cooled, decorate by piping on stars and stripes.


Fit a pastry bag with a flat  tip with the red frosting. Pipe a small blue square at the top of each brownie and fill it in.  Next pipe on alternating straight lines of red and white frosting across brownies. Pipe one on top and the other on the bottom, onto the brownie, as shown in the pictures. Repeat until all brownies have red and white stripes. 

Finally, change to a small star tip and pipe on your stars in the blue square.

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Bacon Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich

 Bacon Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Tell me…..what is it about this sandwich that makes you want to stop what you’re doing and make one?  Is it the savory crispy bacon?  Maybe the fluffy scrambled eggs?  Maybe it’s the buttery grilled bread or the creamiest cheese.   I think it's all of the above….and I am on my way to the kitchen now.

Bacon Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon room temperature butter
4 slices whole wheat or white bread
2 slices slices Muenster or Colby-Jack cheese
4 slices fully-cooked bacon

     In a small bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until blended. 
     In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat some butter 
     until hot. 


Pour in egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan, forming large, soft curds. Continue cooking... pulling, lifting, and folding eggs -- until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Remove from skillet and set aside.



Spread a layer of butter evenly on 1 side of each bread slice. Place 2 slices on griddle, buttered side down. Top evenly with cheese and bacon. 


Add scrambled eggs and cover with remaining bread, buttered side up. 

 Grill sandwiches over medium heat, turning once, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.




Serve hot.   YUM! 

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Monday, May 20, 2024

Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

 Lemon Pepper Pasta Chicken












Did you know that all Italian food is not all about pizza and red sauce?  Italian food is actually broken up into two regions…Southern and Northern. The Mediterranean Sea plays an important part in Southern Italian cooking – from fresh seafood to the warm climate that is great for growing fresh herbs and vegetables, including peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. You’ll find a lot of mozzarella and fresh sweet basil and plenty of sausage. The abundance of tomatoes in Southern Italy brings us Pizza and other popular dishes that include lots of marinara and an abundance of olive oils.  

Personally, I love Northern Italian food and you’ll find many of my rich and creamy Northern Italian dishes here at Welcome Home.  The tomato sauces are replaced with creamy Alfredo’s and butter takes the place of olive oil.  While Southern Italy may hold the claim on pizza and spaghetti, Northern Italy has contributed cheeses….lots of cheeses. Especially the most important cooking, Parmesan cheese. The mountain terrain at the foot of the alps is perfect grazing land for sheep, goats, and cows that produce Parmigiano-Reggiano, asiago, gorgonzola, and pecorino cheeses.

Here is one of my favorite Northern Italian Meals.  Rich creamy pasta with a hint of lemon to give it a light airy touch and crispy tender chicken seasoned in lemon pepper.  OMG this is so good! 












Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta


4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

4 teaspoons lemon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces spaghetti noodles

3 cloves garlic minced

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

     ¼-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

 cup frozen peas

1 lemon zested and juiced

2 tablespoons butter cut in small cubes

2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Pat the chicken breast with a paper towel. In a small shallow bowl or pie tin, combine the flour, 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, and the lemon pepper. 













Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture pressing down to make sure the Parmesan cheese sticks. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 













Fry the chicken until it is golden brown on both sides and cooked through; at least 3-4 minutes each side and until temp is 165 degrees. Move chicken to a plate and cover it loosely with foil.













Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Do not overcook and drain well. 












Wipe the skillet fairly clean and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly. 

















Add the heavy cream and bring it to a simmer. Add the chicken broth a little at a time while the cream reduces and thickens. Add the 2 teaspoons of lemon pepper and stir well.













Add the peas, Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and lemon juice and continue simmering until the mixture is getting thick and reduced by about one third. Reduce the heat as low as it will go and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese in small increments stirring until it is melted. Do not add all at once or you will get a clumpy mess.







Add the cooked pasta to the sauce; tossing to coat. Add the butter stirring until melted and incorporated.  Stir in the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. 













Slice the chicken and add it to the pasta. Serve immediately.  Enjoy!







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Sweet and Tangy Macaroni Salad With Pineapple

This salad is delish! Don't let the sweetened condensed milk throw you...when added with the cider vinegar, it cuts most of the sweetness and you end up sweet and tangy dressing that is just wonderful. There will be no leftovers!

Sweet Macaroni Salad with Pineapple 

1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/4 cup celery, chopped 
1 1/2 cups of pineapple chunks
1/4 cup pineapple juice from canned pineapple
2 medium carrots, shredded 
1 small red onion, chopped 
1/2 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish
2 cups Hellman's mayonnaise 
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
3 hard boiled eggs, cooked and chopped
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (taste for sweetness)
1 cup apple cider vinegar 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. In a large serving bowl, combine the macaroni, carrots, celery, sweet pickle relish, and the onion. 

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, pineapple juice, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth. Pour over macaroni mixture and toss to coat. Then add chopped eggs and cheese and toss lightly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with egg wedges. Keep refrigerated if there's any leftovers!

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake

 Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake

So, I said to myself.... I want something cold and creamy....kind of like pudding...maybe vanilla pudding.  But I also want something with some substance like cake....soft moist cake....yellow to be exact. And I want something light and airy and sweet and pretty too.  So I came up with this last minute quick dessert that met all my cravings.....So, f you ever find yourself with a yellow cake mix, strawberries, vanilla pudding and fresh whipping cream on hand all at the same time, I strongly encourage you to make this strawberry pudding cake. This is a keeper! 

Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake
1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1 large box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 lb Fresh Strawberries, chopped
1 pint Fresh Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Sugar

Follow the directions on the back of the box of cake mix and pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan or baking dish.  While the cake is baking prepare vanilla pudding according to the directions on the box and chill in the refrigerator. 

Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Next,  spread the vanilla pudding all over the top of the cake and add about half of the strawberries on top.
Fresh Whipped Cream
Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream and vanilla. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.  

Next, add the fresh whipped cream and spread to cover top of cake.   Add remaining chopped strawberries on top. Chill until ready to serve.  
Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours.

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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pan Seared Rib Lamb Chops














Okay.... confession time. As shocking as it might sound, I have never had lamb in my life. That is until last night when I decided to try it. OMG it was far better than any steak I have ever had... far better than any pork chop. It is delicious and it was so easy to make. Costco had a Lamb Rib Rack, already Frenched and the price was so good I had to give it a go. So happy I did.  I made these beautiful chops in 30 minutes flat, including prep time and resting time.  I will definitely go back for more!

Note: Frenched means part of the meat and fat has been cut away to expose the bones. If it’s not pre-sold this way, ask the meat department to do it for you. Then just slice between the bones.


Pan Seared Rib Lamb Chops

2 lbs lamb rib chops, cut from a rack of lamb

5 plump garlic cloves, smashed

3 tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary


Take the lamb chops out of the fridge and let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes before you plan to cook them. This allows them to come up to temperature and cook much more evenly. 












Thoroughly pat lamb chops dry with paper towels, wiping away any possible bone fragments or shards.











Slice between ribs to separate chops, cutting them into even portions, 3/4″ to 1″ thick. If there is a thick layer of fat around your lamb chops, you may want to trim it before cooking since most of it won’t render.











Season the lamb chops with salt, pepper  and other seasonings on both sides. 













Heat the pan over medium-high heat until it is good and hot. You can the meat to sizzle immediately when it hits the pan so it develops a wonderful crust. Add the oil so it can get hot before placing the lamb chops in, making sure not to crowd the pan.

















Once the oil is hot, add chops and sear the lamb chops for 2-3 minutes without moving so that they can sear on one side, then use the tongs to flip and cook on the other side for another 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of chops and desired doneness on a thermometer.  


















Reduce the heat to low and add the butter and garlic to the pan. As the butter melts, spoon it over each of the lamb chops for about 3 minutes.

Remove chops from pan and transfer to a serving plate. Tent with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes, until they reach a temperature of 130 degrees when tested with a digital meat thermometer for medium-rare. Keep in mind the temperature rises up to 5 degrees as it rests.


















Lamb Chop Cooking Temperature Guide:

Remove at 125˚ for Rare to get ideal temp of 130˚
Remove at 130˚ for Medium Rare to get ideal temp of 135˚
Remove at 140˚ for Medium to get ideal temp of 145˚
Remove at 155˚ for Medium-Well to get ideal temp of 160˚
Remove at 160˚ for Well Done ideal temp of 165˚

NOTE: Lamb rib chops are best served medium-rare or medium. If you cook them any longer the meat will start to dry out and toughen.








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