Wednesday, December 18, 2013

♥ Shrimp Fried Rice

I love making Chinese Food at home. I don't know how authentic it would taste if I were serving Chinese guests but all my American friends love it. I think it tastes exactly like what I order at my favorite much so that I don't order out anymore. Try it and let me know what you think. I am betting you'll love it! 

Shrimp Fried Rice

1 cup of cooked rice
1/2 pound large shrimp, cleaned and chopped to bite sized pieces
2 eggs
2 green onions (scallions) green part chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of carrots, diced small
1/2 cup of peas
1 red onion, chopped or sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Olive Oil or peanut oil for frying

Beat eggs and set aside. Using a Wok or large Skillet, put heat up to high. When pan is very hot, Add peanut oil or olive oil and when it reaches a very hot temperature add your shrimp and cook and stir constantly until it just turns pink. Remove the shrimp to a plate and drain most of the oil, leaving just a small amount. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add petite mixed vegetables and keep stirring. Next add oyster sauce and stir again. Then add in beaten eggs and rice, stirring until eggs are cooked. Add soy sauce, and sesame oil and stir well while cooking. Finally, add the chopped green onion and stir for about a minute. Serve warm. 

 Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home
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♥ I'm Standing Right Next To You

I'm Standing Right Next To You

You can't see me or touch me or hear me, but I'm standing right next to you. 
 It's sad to see you cry for me. I wish you only knew.
That even though you think I'm gone, I've never left your side. You see, I've been right here all along, and watched you as you cried.

So please be brave and dry the tears,  don't let your grief show through.  I love you from a different place, and I'm standing right next to you.
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♥ Creamy Sausage and White Bean Soup

I love rich and creamy soups that start with a cream base and then come alive with herbs and vegetables and seasonings. I have looked at a couple of cans of white beans in my pantry for months now not knowing how I wanted to use them. So Saturday I came up with a homemade soup that I made up as I went along. That's what's so good about can add what you think you want it to taste like. This one was out of this world delicious. Thick and creamy with just the right spices. You didn't have to add too many because the sausage had plenty. I added a Cajun apple sausage for spice and an Italian sausage for a hearty texture and it came out perfect. You can add whatever sausage you like best. This is a keeper my friends. You will make this often. 

Creamy Sausage and White Bean Soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large carrot, shredded and finely chopped                                 
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of heavy cream (full cream)
1/2 cup half and half or milk as needed
1 can (14.5 fluid ounces) chicken broth
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, and drained
1/2 pound sliced Johnsonville Chicken Sausage Cajun Style (or any other link sausage you prefer, sliced into bite sized pieces)
1 (15.5 oz.) can of un-drained Cannellini beans (White Kidney Beans)
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium Skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onion and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until onion is tender. Add the carrot and sauté for another minute. Add the sliced link sausage and the Italian sausage and break up with wooden spoon as it cooks. Continue cooking until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next transfer mixture to Dutch oven or soup pot making sure to scrap bottom of skillet for all bits and pieces of sausage. Turn heat to medium high and whisk in flour. Cook for 2 minutes to make sure flour has browned lightly. Gradually stir in heavy cream and broth stirring or whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a low boil. Turn heat to a simmer and add beans. Cover with the lid and let the soup simmer for 2 hours.
If you want to make your soup thinner as it cooks, stir in a little half and half or milk to thin it out. I like my soup creamy and thick, so I do not add the additional milk and I use an immersion blender to mash and blend in most of the beans. You can also use a wooden spoon to mash the beans into the soup if you do not have an immersion blender. Or you can leave your beans whole. Add more salt and pepper to taste and ladle into bowls.
Note: You can also use Jimmy Dean regular pork sausage for this soup and got an entirely different flavor that was delicious. You can use chicken or turkey sausage too. 

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder...
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon coarse salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard cupcake pans with liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter and the sugar. Stir to combine, until the butter is melted and remove from heat.

Transfer to the bowl of mixer and beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until combined.

With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined. Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 -1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
peanut butter cups or miniatures chopped small
peanut butter morsels and chocolate chips

With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes. Decorate with peanut butter and chocolate chip morsels and candy if desired.

NOTE: Allergic to Peanut butter? Use this wonderful chocolate frosting...

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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♥ Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I made quite a few cookies, cupcakes and brownies for the Church bake sale this past weekend and I have already posted some photos and shared a few recipes here at Welcome Home. But of all the things I made these cupcakes sold the fastest ...and brought in the most money for the homeless. Maybe because all of us know how good they are! 

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling water
⅓ cup cocoa powder
⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Whisk water, cocoa, and chocolate chips in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until incorporated. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out with few dry crumbs attached, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool cupcakes in tin for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream

Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside or refrigerate.

Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

White drizzle for top:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoons milk (or more if necessary)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip to pipe your decorations on the cupcakes.


Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier. Smooth out any cream that is left on top with a spatula. Don't be afraid to overfill if you like the rich creamy center. I usally fill them until the cream starts to run out of the top. Chill cupcakes for about 10 minutes.

Next dip the tops of the cupcakes into the chocolate ganache and give them a little twirl to cover them completely. I usually tap my dipped cupcake on the tray or work surface and it will smooth out any bubbles. Chill for at least 20 minutes or until ganache is set.

Finally with your piping bag add your decorations on top. You can go with the traditional curly line or you can write what you'd like.
Store in the refrigerator.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Crockpot Lunch Carrier

I featured this the other day here at Welcome Home and over 500 of them sold in one day! Thank you so much for your contribution to the NO Kill Advocacy Group in their fight to save the lives of healthy dogs and cats who are killed in shelters while waiting for a home. This little tote is just perfect for all these wonderful soups I posted today. There are still a few available at the same price for Welcome Home fans. Just click on the link below and it will take you there.

What a great little gadget for under $20. It's the new "CrockPot Lunch Crock" portable food warmer. I like it because you can leave the warming base at work and simply carry the lightweight tote container to and from home with the little carrying handle for easy travel.

I used to get so tired of heating my food in that dirty microwave at work. It had food splattered all over it and it smelled bad. This little gadget plugs in right at your desk so you can enjoy last nights casserole or leftover soup or stew. Then take out the bowl with the handle and carry it home for the next day. It's dishwasher safe and holds up to 20 ounces of your favorite foods. It has a storage compartment for the cord and it comes in several colors too!

Remember whenever you order anything from Welcome Home at Amazon, your donation goes to the NO KILL Advocacy Group. Over 6 million dogs and cats are killed each year while waiting for someone to come and rescue them. We can stop this by supporting this group who needs our help. Click on this link that has the code of welchome08 and they will know you are a Welcome Home fan.

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♥ White Chocolate Cheesecake w/ Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Here is another cheesecake I made for you this past weekend. If you look closely at the one I posted yesterday and now this one, you will see that I actually used the same basic cheesecake filling for the recipe and just added different toppings. Never be afraid to make cheesecakes...they are so easy to make and you can be as creative as you like in changing them up with all kinds of additions. This one my friends is the most popular cake I make for friends and family. Why? Because it's chocolate and peanut butter!  Need I say more? 

White Chocolate Cheesecake w/ Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

10 ounces graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cheesecake Filling:

3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Ghirardelli or any premium white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees while crust is cooling and you make your batter. Place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl and set aside. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, and allow to stand for one minute. Stir the chocolate gently until melted completely.

In your mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate mixture. Once combined you can add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Once you've added all the eggs, mix in the vanilla and salt and pour into your prepared crust that has cooled in your spring form pan.

Set the pan onto a couple of heavy duty, large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof. Set the cheesecake into a large roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch. Bake at only 325 for the first hour and then reduce heat again down to only 300 degrees and bake for another hour or so or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool chill for at least 2 hours before adding topping.

Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Cup topping

1 cup chocolate chips (use dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped
Hershey's caramel ice cream topping

Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat. Pour chocolate ganache over cheese cake and allow to drip down sides. Top with chopped peanut butter cups. Drizzle caramel ice cream topping over the top.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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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'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.
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 sauté 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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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 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:

♥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: 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.

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:

♥To purchase "Home For Dinner" in hardback or soft cover go to:

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 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:

♥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:
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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.


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.
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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


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


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 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.

*** 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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