Thursday, December 12, 2013

SNOW!

We got snow Monday here in Maryland. Nothing significant but it was so pretty when it was coming down. This is the view from my kitchen window yesterday. I love the snow when it's falling...but that is the extent of my love for snow! This was actually snow and sleet coming down when I snapped this photo
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Collapsible Cake Carrier


I love this food carrier....I am always baking cupcakes, pies and layer cakes and even deviled eggs to take to parties and cookouts. I could never find a carrier that would work for me. If I baked a three layer cake the frosting would always touch the top. Cupcakes and deviled eggs would slide everywhere. But this past week I ordered this carrier and I love it.

It is collapsible so I can make it tall for cakes or short for pies and deviled eggs! I can even fit a tall 5 layer cake in it and it holds up 12-24 cupcakes. And the best part...I can collapse it and store it flat in my cabinet!

Thought I would share my find with you today.....here's the link if you're interested. Remember, anything you buy through Welcome Home supports the NO KILL Advocacy Group to save the lives of dogs and cats who are killed unnecessarily while they wait for their forever homes. So any purchase through my page goes to support a good cause.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AZSCTMO/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B00AZSCTMO&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&qid=1376943980&sr=8-1&keywords=progressive++cupcake+and+cake+carrier
See More
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♥ Creamy Shrimp Corn Chowder
























Sometimes you just need a bowl of hearty soup to comfort your soul on a cold snowy day. I made this over the weekend and froze it for a day like today. Having it now with some cheddar cheese biscuits....oh yum!

Creamy Shrimp Corn Chowder

4 slices bacon, chopped...
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
6 small red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cups of sweet corn (frozen or canned)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup flour
2 cups of half-and-half (heavy cream if you like your soup thick and creamy)
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled
1/2 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (optional)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a large Dutch Oven or soup pot, fry the bacon over medium high heat until almost crispy. Add onion and celery and cook until soft and translucent. Whisk in flour and continuing whisking and cooking until golden brown. Add the chicken broth, potatoes, corn, thyme, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil and then reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.

Meanwhile, spray a large saut√© pan with nonstick spray and over medium high heat saute the shrimp until pink and cooked through....usually about a minute or two per side. After the shrimp have cooked, remove from pan and chop into bite sized pieces and set aside. 




























One potatoes are fork tender, pour in half and half or heavy cream and stir until thickened. Add chopped, cooked shrimp. Simmer soup for another 10-15 minutes and ladle into bowls and serve.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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MY THREE COOKBOOKS


Need the perfect Christmas gift for the Welcome Home fan?

I have three cookbooks available for those of who yearn for good old fashioned, uncomplicated home-cooked southern food. The kind of food that memories are made of; and they all co...me 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.

My original cookbook 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. It's only $24.99 and can be purchased with your credit card or PayPal.

♥To purchase "Welcome Home Cooking" in E-book format for $24.99 today go to: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/412757-welcome-home-cooking

♥The book is also available in Softcover and hardback with a dust jacket (my preference) and hardback with an image wrap and no jacket. To purchase "Welcome Home Cooking" in hardback or soft cover go to: http://www.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=welcome+home+cooking. The link will also be in the comments below.

♥And for a limited time, there is a discount for friends of Welcome Home who want to purchase the books. The publisher is offering Welcome Home fans a discount that will give you 25% off the purchase of any print book only. At check out you simply enter this code in all caps: SAVE25% and your 25% discount will appear.
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My second cookbook, released this past October is called, "Home For Dinner." It is a beautiful 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. It's only $24.99 and can be purchased with your credit card or PayPal. It is full of easy to make dinner recipes for your family to enjoy. It also includes homemade soups and stews, breads, sides, and so much more.

♥To purchase "Home For Dinner" in E-book format for $24.99 today go to:http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/443961-home-for-dinner

♥To purchase "Home For Dinner" in hardback or soft cover go to:http://www.blurb.com/b/4696540-home-for-dinner

And for a limited time, there is a discount for friends of Welcome Home who want to purchase the books. The publisher is offering Welcome Home fans a discount that will give you 25% off the purchase of any print book only. At check out you simply enter this code in all caps: SAVE25% and your discount will appear.
______________________________________

My newest cookbook has just been released and is now available only at Blurb.com. It's called "Home Sweet Home" and it is a collection of my Mom's best desserts. It is a beautiful 100 page limited first edition cookbook with vibrant full page photos to match each completed dish. This is the third book in the Welcome Home series and in this one you'll find her homemade Pies, Cakes, and other delicious sweets just in time for the holidays.

♥It comes in both ebook and print. The ebook is available for downloading to as many devices as you have....iPad, iPad Touch, iPhone, Android Smartphone, desktops and laptops, and the cost is $24.99. So many of you enjoy printing recipes from your computer and taking a recipe with you to the store to buy your ingredients. This is the perfect way to do it. You can purchase the new ebook and have it in seconds by clicking on this link....we are standing by to help you if you need any.

Here is the link to the e-book: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/448415-home-sweet-home

♥The book is also available in Softcover and hardback with a dust jacket (my preference) and hardback with an image wrap and no jacket. 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. In other words, your print book is handmade upon order and ship anywhere in the world for a very low shipping price. It usually takes about a week to ten days to arrive. There is a 25% discount when you spend a total of $50 by typing: SAVE25% (IN ALL CAPS) for the promo code.

♥Here is the link to buy the print book in soft cover or hard copy:
http://www.blurb.com/b/4792119-home-sweet-home
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♥ Cheesy Mashed Potatoes


















Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 small can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and peel your potatoes (you can leave some of the skin on if you prefer as I did in the photo. Cut potatoes into large chunks and place in a large pot. Pour in enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 to 2 inches and then add a generous amount of salt. You want the water to taste salty. Place the potatoes on a burner and set to high heat and allow the water to boil rigorously. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Usually about 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander and return them to the pot and cover them to keep them warm. In a sauce pan, combine the butter and evaporated milk and heat on low until butter has melted and mixture is hot.

With a hand mixture, begin to whip the potatoes. Add small amounts of butter and cream as you continuing mixer until the potatoes are fluffy and creamy and when you get the right consistency you like best. As you are mixing add your salt and pepper to taste.

Top with Cheddar cheese and cover with foil for a few minutes until cheese has melted. You can also scoop potatoes in a bowl before adding the cheese and heat in microwave for a few seconds until cheese melts. Stir melted cheese into potatoes and serve.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

♥ Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies


























I watched Martha Stewart decorate Christmas cookies last weekend and she made it look so simple. So I got out my big Christmas Tree cookie cutters and made my own sugar cookie dough and icing and tried it. Look how pretty they turned out and it really wasn't hard at all. Just look closely at the cookie and you will see that I did it with the icing by just adding my dark green food coloring and dropping a spoonful at the top and then dragging it down to leave some extra at the bottom of each swipe. Then of course I added some sprinkles and even some chocolate fudge for the base. And I saved a little icing and added a little yellow food color for the star!

Sugar Cookies 

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1-1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour

4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons lemon juice
food coloring
your favorite sprinkles

Blend 2 cups butter and sugar together; stir in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add flour; mix until well blended. Shape into a ball; cover and chill for 4 hours to overnight.

Roll out dough 1⁄4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface; cut out with christmas tree or your favorite cookie cutters as desired. Arrange cookies on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden; cool.

Frosting

Combine powdered sugar, milk, remaining butter (melted), remaining vanilla, lemon juice and food coloring, if using, in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Frost cookies when cool. 


























 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Friday, December 06, 2013

♥ Ham, Peas & Creamy Noodles



























Ham, Peas & Creamy Noodles

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of heavy cream
16 ounces of cooked and shredded ham 
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
the zest from 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 pound of your favorite pasta, uncooked like this malfalda 


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet. Cook onion, stirring frequently until they are beginning to turn golden brown. Pour in the broth and cream. Bring to the boil then reduce to as quick simmer and cook until it begins to thicken up somewhat. Add in the ham and peas. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Stir in the pasta. Toss to combine and heat through. Serve immediately.


http://theenglishkitchen.blogspot.com/2013/01/ham-hock-peas-creamy-noodles.html#uds-search-results
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Monday, December 02, 2013

♥ Turkey and Dumplings

I always put my leftover turkey to good use after Thanksgiving. Here are the turkey and dumplings I just made this afternoon. Oh yum!

Turkey and Dumplings

Stock

3 quarts of water
2 chicken or turkey bouillon cubes
1 turkey carcass with scraps
2 cups cut up turkey pieces
Salt and pepper to taste


Dumplings

2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
lots of extra flour for dusting

Place turkey carcass along with meat scraps into a huge stock pot. Add any leftover broth or fat and bouillon cubes. Add 2 1/2 quarts of water so that water came to about 1 inch below the top of the pot. Heavily salt and pepper the water and carcass in the stock pot. Cover with lid and cook down several hours. I cooked mine about 5 hours. You will have to add about a quart of water half way through. Turn off heat and let carcass and broth cool while you make your dumplings.

About 30 minutes before you turn off the heat on the turkey stock you just made, start making your dumplings. Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl. Add in your eggs and stir with a wooden spoon. Next add the cold water and mix well to form a dough. You can add a little more water if needed. Turn out dough on a floured surface and sprinkle heavily with flour. Knead the dough until you get a smooth elastic texture.

Tear dough ball into 6 pieces. Use plenty of flour when working with your dough. Don’t worry about how much you are using. Any extra will go into the pot and naturally thicken the broth. With a rolling pin start rolling out dough. Roll a couple of times. Turn dough completely over and sprinkle with more flour if necessary. Roll a couple more times and turn dough 90 degrees.

Keep doing this a couple of times. Your dough is of right consistency because you have kneaded it long enough it rolls really easily and stretches like elastic. If not, you will really have to work it hard with a rolling pin to get it to roll out. Keep rolling your dough from the middle to the outside until you get a really thin dough. You will be able to tell when it is done because it almost stops being able to be rolled. Next, using a pastry wheel start cutting your dough for dumplings and once you have them cut, let your dough sit for at least an hour to dry out.

Remove the carcass, de-bone all the meat, and get the pot ready for boiling the dumplings. Add salt and pepper and a little parsley if desired to the pot and some water to fill about two-thirds of the way full. Bring the pot of liquid to a boil and begin dropping dumplings into the pot....you may want to add flour to keep them from sticking to your fingers. At this point, you can add larger pieces of left over turkey as I did if desired. Cover the pot of dumplings and cook for about 45 minutes or until done.

If you want a thicker broth like mine, just a tablespoon corn starch to a cup of cold water and mix thoroughly before adding to the boiling liquid.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Beautiful people do not just happen.

Beautiful people do not just happen.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat in their lives. They have known suffering, known struggle, and known loss. They have found their way out of the deepest lows.

These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with true compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern for others. Beautiful people do not just happen.

~Elizabeth Kubler Ross
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♥ Thanksgiving Southern Green Beans And Ham

















I made my Mom's country green beans and ham this Thanksgiving as my table just wouldn't be complete without them.

When I was little I can remember my Mom taking me out to the garden to pick fresh green beans. I thought it was so much fun carrying my little basket and walking behind her and watching her every move. Then we would sit out of the back porch and with two big bowls in our laps, we would snap them and I just loved that sound. What she created for supper that night with those green beans has never left my memory. She used to say, "we gonna have a big ol' mess of beans and cornbread tonight. What a supper!

Southern Green Beans And Ham

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced or chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 or 4 ham hocks, ham end pieces or ham shanks
2 to 3 pounds of fresh green beans, cleaned and snapped
3 cans chicken broth
3-4 cans of water (I use broth cans to measure)
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Place ham hocks or shanks in water enough to cover & let simmer a good 2 hours. Remove and set aside to cool. Reserve broth. When cool enough to handle, cut meat into chunks. If using ham end pieces like I did in the photo, set aside to use for later.

In a large heavy stock pot, melt butter on medium high. Add onions and garlic and ham. Cook until onions and garlic are tender and meat has browned just a little.

Turn down the heat to medium and add green beans, chicken broth and 3 cans of the broth from the cooked ham hocks. You want to just cover the beans with the liquid. If you need a bit more water, add it. Cover and cook beans for about an hour. Add, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Remove lid for the last 10 minutes of cook time. Check and re-season if necessary.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Roasted Carrots and Parsnips in Herb Garlic Butter

This is one of the easiest and most delicious side dishes. I didn't know what parsnips were all about until I tried this recipe a few months ago. They are delicious! They look like a white carrot and taste like a cross between a potato and a carrot. They are so good, especially when you roast them with carrots until they caramelize and then melt some herb butter over them. I buy Wegman's Shallot and Thyme butter and add garlic, but you can make your own with the recipe below.

 
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips in Herb Garlic Butter

5 large carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled
4 large parsnips (about 1 lb.), peeled
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the carrots and parsnips into 2 inch chunks and put them in a bowl. Toss with garlic oil and salt and pepper; toss with the oil. Sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper and toss again. Transfer the vegetables to a baking dish with sides and roast, stirring every 15 min., until the vegetables are nicely browned, 40 to 45 min. Remove from oven and pour in bowl. Toss with garlic herb butter and serve.

Homemade Garlic Butter

2 large heads/bulbs of garlic (use 3 if the heads/bulbs are small)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons oil
8 ounces butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off about 1/4 inch of the bottom of the garlic heads/bulbs to expose some of the flesh of the garlic (the part that is pointed). Add the garlic heads/bulbs to a large piece of foil (about 12 x 12-inch square). Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the garlic loosely with the foil and
transfer to the oven. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes or until the garlic is softened and lightly browned. Remove garlic from oven, carefully open foil and let cool to room temperature. Squeeze pulp of garlic into a medium sized bowl. Add butter and parsley and mix well.

Take a large piece of plastic wrap and transfer butter creating a 4-1/2-inch log along one side of the plastic wrap (leave a 2 inch space from the edge). Take the piece of plastic closest to the edge of the butter and place it over the butter. Roll the butter, wrapping it until it reaches the other edge. Twist the ends until the butter is tightly secured. Refrigerate to harden until you are ready to use it. Use parchment paper if you do not have plastic wrap or simply transfer the butter to an airtight container. To use, unwrap and slice.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

People love my homemade stuffing (dressing) and it is always a big hit every year. I make it the way I personally think dressing should taste and it comes out just perfect every single time. Not too many people know my secret. You see I don't like big chunks of wet soggy bread in my stuffing so I use the seasoned mix of breadcrumbs from a store bought stuffing mix. Then I add my own flavors and go...od things to make it perfect! You will be amazed at how this simple shortcut turns out incredible flavors in a this homemade stuffing!

Sausage Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

1 pound sweet Italian sausage or you can use a full roll of sage flavor Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage

2 (6 oz) boxes of Turkey or Chicken Stove Top stuffing
3 cups of chicken or turkey broth
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup water (if necessary)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins or sweet dried cranberries
1 cup of Fuji or Gala Apple, diced very small (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and set aside. In a small dry skillet, saute pecans over low heat for about 5 minute until lightly toasted and set aside. In a large skillet brown sausage that has been removed from casings. Drain off fat. Add onions, celery and carrots and saute until vegetables are tender and set aside.

In a a very large saucepan or dutch oven, add broth and butter and heat until boiling. Turn down heat and add the seasoned breadcrumbs from stuffing mix and mix well until crumbs have completely absorbed the liquid. Use the additional water if you think you need it. If there is a seasoning packet with your stuffing mix, add that too. Add in the sausage and vegetables. Add in pecans and cranberries and apples if you choose to use them. Mix well to combine all ingredients. Pour mix into prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes and then uncover and bake 15 minutes or until the top is slightly crisp and the stuffing is heated through.

*** Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Deep Fried Turkey






















So this past weekend I wanted to have a little mini Thanksgiving get together for a couple that will not be home for the holidays. And I wanted an excuse to bring out my Butterball Turkey Deep Fryer that I told you all about last week. I love this thing! It is truly amazing how simple it is to make a deep fried turkey and how it comes out perfect every time. It took only 35 minutes to fry this turkey from the second my oil heated up. The skin is golden and crispy and the white and dark meat is so moist it just gushes with butter when you slice into it! Here is the finished result and the step I took to make a 10.6 pound little butterball fresh turkey for my guests. I have also included the link again for those of you who might still want to buy it.

Deep Fried Turkey

2 and 1/2 gallons of Peanut Oil (oil can be reused)
1 10 lb. fresh turkey
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey in the sink under cold water (inside and out). Then completely and thoroughly dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels. You want to eliminate as much water as possible.

Season the inside and outside with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you might want to add. I stick with just salt and pepper for that true turkey taste. Simply rub the salt and pepper all over the inside and outside of the turkey. Put turkey in deep fry basket.

Heat the oil in your deep fryer. It took mine 35 minutes to heat to 375 degrees. Gently and carefully lower the turkey into hot oil and close the lid. Time it 4 minutes per pound of turkey. However my turkey was a 10 pounder and it only took 35 minutes. The temperature should be at 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh and breast.

Lift the basket and drain the turkey for at least 20-30 minutes before removing to platter to carve. Enjoy!

Here is the link for the Butterball Turkey Fryer at a special price through Amazon when you purchase it using this Welcome Home code. Remember when you buy anything through Welcome Home at Amazon you support the No Kill Advocacy Group that saves the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting in shelters for a new home.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BWKN0HC/ref=as_li_ss_sm_fb_us_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=399837&creativeASIN=B00BWKN0HC&linkCode=shr&tag=welchome08-20&=lawn-garden&qid=1384302121&sr=1-1

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

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Good Morning December 1st, 2013

















Good morning everyone. It's a cold morning here in Maryland with temperatures only in the low 20's. November sort of came and went in a hurry and all of a sudden it's December.

I am currently in hibernation at this time and will probably stay in hibernation for the next 108 days, 8 hours, 21 minutes, and 35 seconds. Not that I'm counting or anything.

My definition of hibernation means I do a...s little as possible outdoors and as much as possible indoors. I avoid being exposed to the harsh outside elements at all costs and only make it out of my cave when I absolutely have to. I stock my pantry with all the essentials necessary to make comfort foods during cold winter months. My freezer is stocked with homemade soups and stews, casseroles, and all the good things I've already cooked in preparation for cold winter days. The Slow Cooker is ready to fire up at any second and the fireplace is always going.

My closets are filled with winter scarves, sweaters, wool mittens and socks, as well as electric blankets and throws. And I can be found at anytime of the day all bundled in my sweats and my pink furry bunny slippers... with my Mom's old Pink Chenille robe very close by... just in case there is a draft somewhere in the room. And yes with all that, I still have a space heater at my feet trying to warm up the room to a nice even 85 degrees! I am not a winter person. I do not like cold, nor do my bones and joints and hands and feet, which will stay ice cold until sometime in May of next year.

So, welcome December....I'm armed and ready for you. Go ahead and throw out everything you've got. Bring on the frigid temperatures and the snow and the blizzards and your freezing rain. Bring on your gusts of wind and your harsh bitter cold and the sleet and the frosty icicles hanging off the roof tops. Bring it on.... 

 I am not coming out!
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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

Topping

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: NYtimes.com
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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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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

♥ Lemon Cream Pie



I have shared my Mom's Lemon Meringue Pie in the past but now I want you to see the difference in a lemon meringue and a Lemon Cream pie. A huge difference....this is an awesome creamy...almost velvety pie with a custard like filling and just a hint of tartness that goes beautifully with the whipped cream. I added a special garnish of white chocolate curls that made this pie the best pie I have ever eaten!



Mom's Lemon Cream Pie

Pie Shell: I made my Mom's easy pie shell recipe, but you can buy a ready made frozen pie shell if you need to save time. If you do, go with Marie Callender's.

Easy Pie crust:
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cup Crisco Shortening
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup water

This recipe makes 4 pie dough rounds. One for now and three to freeze for later. Mix flour, sugar, and salt. Cut-in the shortening with a fork or cutting tool. In a separate bowl mix vinegar, egg, and water. Add it to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork until moistened. Use your hands to mold into 4 equal balls. Use one now for your pie and freeze the others for future use.

Flour your surface and roll the crust starting from the middle and moving out, till it’s about 2 inches larger than the size of your pie dish. Try to work quickly and handle it as little as possible so it doesn't get tough. Gently roll your dough around your rolling pin and lay it in the pan. Then unroll the crust, and gently fit it in-place–don’t pull or tug on the crust. Use a knife to trim the uneven edges, leaving about a 1-inch overhang. Tuck the overhang under on the edge of your pan. Then use your fingers to pinch the edges for a decorative finish. Bake at 350 until golden brown. Cool completely before adding filling.

Lemon Cream Filling

1 cup sugar
3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 egg yolks slightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup frozen butter
1 cup sour cream

Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk in sauce pan, and cook over med heat until thick. Stir in the frozen butter and cool to room temp. Stir in the 1 cup of sour cream and Pour into pie cooked shell.

Whipped Cream and White Chocolate Topping:

1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Shaved White Chocolate Curls

Right before you are ready to serve your pie, place the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl (or stand mixer) and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form and you have whipped cream. Dollop the cream on top of the pie. Shave the white chocolate to garnish top...I used a cheese slicer. Serve and enjoy!

Photo property of ©Welcome Home 2013
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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: LEMONS

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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YOUR LIFE STORY

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 can.....it'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.

~Marty

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MY NEW COOKBOOKS

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: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/443961-home-for-dinner

To purchase "Home For Dinner" in hardback or soft cover go to: http://www.blurb.com/b/4696540-home-for-dinner
___________________________________

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: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/412757-welcome-home-cooking

To purchase "Welcome Home Cooking" in hardback or soft cover go to: http://www.blurb.com/search/site_search?search=welcome+home+cooking

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.

Amen.
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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."

~Marty
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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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