Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Classic Cream Puff

You remember...when we were all little, it was always so much fun to get a dessert with lots of whipped cream and that cherry on top. Well who says we've outgrown that? But not just any many today are so artificial and almost bitter. That's why I only use Star Fine Foods Cherries for my desserts. Here is a classic cream puff filled with decadent whipped cream and dusted ever so lightly with powdered sugar...and the perfect ending...a cherry on top!

Classic Cream Puff

1-cup water
1/2-cup butter
1-cup all-purpose flour
1/4-teaspoon salt
4 eggs

powdered sugar for dusting

In a saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flour and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is smooth and shiny.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful about 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove puffs to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each for steam to escape. Cool. Split puffs and add filling.

Cream Filling

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream and sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Fill cream puff as much as you want!

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Disclaimer: I have an ongoing relationship with STAR Fine Foods for my recipes and photography using their wonderful products. This post is sponsored by STAR. I am compensated for my time and work and I am sent products as I request them. However, all opinions of the product stated in this post are 100% my own. I truly love their products!
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This Child Is Different

This Child Is Different
She is beautiful. She isn't white. She isn't black. She isn't Asian or Hispanic. She is of all these nationalities. She is different. I choose this picture to make a point and to support my efforts to stop racism and bigotry in this country.

Her mother is a black woman born in Ohio. Her father is white man born in California. Her grandmother on her mother's side is a native American Indian born in Wyoming.

Her grandfather on her father's side is Japanese, born in Hawaii. Her great grandmother is Jewish, an immigrant from Germany. Her great grandfather is a Roman Catholic from South America.

So does that mean no one hates her because she is a part of every race? Or does it mean all races hate her because she doesn't belong to any specific one. Would it be hard to find the right hate group for this little girl? Because she is different and not like any of the rest of us.

We need to end bigotry and racism in America....because God made us in many different colors. We are all his children regardless of what color our skin or our beliefs or who we love.
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Motherless Daughters

“When a daughter loses a mother, the intervals between responses to grief lengthen over time, but the longing never disappears. It always hovers right at the edge of awareness, prepared to surface at any time, in any place, and in the leastexpected ways.”

"I am fooling only myself when I say that my mother exists now only in the photographs on my desk or in my albums, or in the outline of my hand or in the armful of memories I still hold tight. She lives on in everything I say and do. Her presence influences who I was and her absence influences who I am."

“There is an emptiness inside of me -- a void that will never be filled. No one in my life will ever love me as my mother did. There is no love as pure, unconditional and strong as a mother's love. And I will never be loved that way again.”

“I truly believe that the death of my mother has made me the way I am today. I am a survivor, mentally strong, determined, strong willed, self-reliant, and independent. But I also keep most of my pain and anger inside because I refuse to be vulnerable to anyone."

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
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Monday, March 24, 2014

♥ Ham Salad

What's for lunch today? Well I see some leftover ham...not enough to make a whole meal but perfect for just a ham sandwich...maybe a ham salad sandwich for a change. Yum!

Ham Salad

2 cups diced ham, (remove any hard rind)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Dukes or Hellmann's)
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 hard boil eggs, chopped (optional)

Pulse ham in bowl of food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten one second pulses. If you don't have a food processor, you will want to finely chop your ham. Combine mayonnaise, relish, mustard, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add ham and mix. Serve chilled with crackers or on a sandwich roll with lettuce. 

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bacon Turkey Wrap

 Who doesn't love a good wrap now and then? Wonderful pinwheels stuffed with whatever you decide to create. This one is unique in that I added a surprise instead of mayonnaise and it turned out delicious!

Bacon Turkey Wrap

1 Tortilla wrap
Romaine lettuce or baby spinach leaves
Ripe tomato
Thick sliced turkey Breast;
slice or two of Swiss or Monterrey Jack Cheese
2 slices cooked bacon
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons strawberry cream cheese

Mix together the mayonnaise and cream cheese until well blended. 

Lay out tortilla on parchment paper spread on mayo mixture. Then layer the lettuce first, followed by bacon slices, then turkey, then cheese and finally your tomato slices. Roll into log and slice in half or in pieces and serve.

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

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Monday, March 17, 2014

People see God everyday.

"People see God everyday. They just don't recognize Him."

~Pearl Bailey

Photo Source: Galina Jacyna
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♥ Lobster Ravioli in a Lobster Cream Sauce

You ask where I've been this afternoon? I started craving pasta as I was posting them earlier today so I decided to go make some. This will be my dinner tonight with a nice salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread. Keep in mind, you can buy frozen ravioli and make this recipe, but I felt adventurous today and made my own. Once you realize how easy it is to make your own ravioli, you will keep on making them. This one's a keeper my friends!

Lobster Ravioli in a Lobster Cream Sauce

Homemade Ravioli (or frozen 15 ounce bag of Lobster Ravioli)

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 whole eggs (beaten)
2 egg yolks (save the whites for another recipe)

Place the flour in a mound on a smooth work area and make a well in the center. Pour the 2 beaten eggs and the two egg yolks in the middle of the well. Then slowly bring the flour into your eggs until every thing is mixed well. Next knead the dough by hand, and add more flour if you need in order to get a smooth consistency. Cut the dough in half and roll out each half very thin. Continue to roll out as many sheets as you can get from your dough.

Lay out the first piece of pasta dough on the table and place 1/4-ounce mounds of stuffing 2 inches apart. Using a pastry brush, brush egg white around each bit of stuffing, making the dough damp but not wet. Take the second piece of dough and lay on top of stuffing. Press around each ravioli being careful not to squeeze the stuffing out. Using a round ravioli cutter with jagged edges, cut each ravioli round and lay on a sheet of parchment paper until ready to boil. Gently place ravioli in boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Lobster Ravioli Filling (again you can buy frozen lobster ravioli)

2 ounces unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
2 cups cooked and finely chopped lobster meat (I get mine at Costco)
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of fine bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped chives
one large whole egg, slightly beaten

In a large sauté pan, add the butter and melt. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until golden brown. Add lobster meat, breadcrumbs, and chives and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes or until room temperature. Follow directions above to fill and cook your ravioli.

Lobster Cream Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic (smashed or crushed)
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped fine
1/2 cup cooked lobster meat, chopped
1/2 cup good quality dry white wine (or use chicken broth)
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. salt

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for three minutes until soft. Add the wine or chicken broth and heavy cream. Cook for 12 minutes over medium low heat. Add the salt and parsley and stir. Add the cooked ravioli to the sauce and let cook together for about 1 minute before serving.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

What is better than a chocolate chip cookie? A chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated.

Chill the dough in the refrigerate for 2 hours. Scoop out a 1/4 cup size of dough and roll it into a ball. Roll it around in some Chocolate Chips and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place 6 cookies on a sheet since they will spread due to their size. Bake for 12-14 minutes until just slightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let rest on the baking sheet. They might look a little under baked in the middle but they will continue to bake when removed from the oven.

Chocolate Dip

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening

In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted; stir until smooth. Dip half of each cooled cookie into melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

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Oatmeal Raisin Macadamia Nut Cookies

So what's your idea of the perfect cookie? I like my cookies thick and chewy. Soft on the inside with just the slightest bit of crisp all around the outside rim. I like them warm...just out of the oven....with a cold glass of milk that you sip between each bite of cookie. I likes lots of extras...nuts, and raisins, and chips, oh my!

Oatmeal Raisin Macadamia Nut Cookies

1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats (quick oats will work)
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/2 cup of macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Whisk the flour baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Then slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins, and nuts and mix until well combined.

Drop scoops of dough on your baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Cookies will be brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Let the cookies sit for a minute or two before transferring them to your cooling rack.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Deep Fried Shrimp

I love shrimp baskets when I order carryout. I like making my own at home even more because I can choose my bread coating and of course you always get more when you make them yourself! Tender succulent shrimp with a light crispy breading makes the perfect bite! I like to butterfly my shrimp first so that they lay flat and don't curl up when you fry them. Here's how you do that.

First rinse and drain your shrimp. Then peel them but leave the tails on. To butterfly a shrimp you simply make an incision on the back of the shrimp following the curve of the back. Remove the vein that runs along side and then gently lay out the shrimp out flat on a baking sheet. It's just that simple.

Deep Fried Shrimp

1 lb large shrimp, shelled and butterflied
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
3 cups vegetable or Peanut oil

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. Heat the oil on medium high heat in a deep and heavy pot or skillet until the oil sizzles. Dredge the shrimp in flour and then dip in the egg mixture. Then dredge in flour a second time and shake off the excess. Then dip the floured shrimp back in the egg mixture a second time and dredge in Panko bread crumbs. I usually put my Panko in a Ziplock and then add my shrimp and shake it to coat evenly.

Carefully fry the shrimp for about 3 minute or until it turns golden brown. Don't crowd your pot or skillet. Fry in batches for best results. Drain golden brown shrimp on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Serve hot with cocktail sauce.
Chunky Cocktail Sauce

1 (14-1/2 ounce can) diced tomatoes with onions, undrained
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home. Please feel free to share by ONLY using the Share button that Facebook has provided. Do not download my photo and recipe.
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Corned Beef and Cabbage



Monday is St. Paddy's Day. I'm not Irish...I don't even see any of that nationality in my mostly Native American ancestry....but just like my Mom, I make my corned beef and cabbage every year to celebrate the Irish on St. Patricks Day. You might have your own special way of making it, but I follow her simple recipe using a bottle of beer and my CrockPot (she used a dutch oven) and it comes out amazing!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 (4 pound) corned beef with season packet
1 (12 ounce) bottle Stout Beer
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 medium head of cabbage, cut into wedges
6 small potatoes, or larger potatoes halved
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 large bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper corns

Place onions and potatoes in the bottom of your Crockpot. Add in bay leaves, pepper corns, and Dijon mustard. Pour beer and chicken stock in.

Use paper towels, pat the corned beef and absorb any moisture. Then with your hands, rub the corned beef with the brown sugar and 1/2 of the seasoning packet that came with it.

Cover and cook on low setting 6 hours. Add cabbage wedges and remaining seasoning from packet and continue cooking another 2 hours, or until beef and cabbage are tender. Remove beef, potatoes, and vegetables to a platter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you would prefer not to use beer, follow the same recipe but substitute 4 cups of apple juice.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.

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Homemade Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks

I saw a recipe for mozzarella sticks on the food channel a few years ago and decided to make home made versus buying those frozen kind in a bag or box. Now I will never make them any other way. The trick is to freeze your cheese before frying it and to get your oil the right temperature. Nothing like the frozen ones you buy...these are so much better!

Homemade Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks
1 cup Italian-style dried breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (16-ounce) blocks pasteurized mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

Stir together the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and the salt. Dip the cheese sticks in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Roll the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Then repeat the process a second time for each stick. Cover and place in freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen.

Take cheese sticks out of the freezer and repeat last coating of egg and bread crumb mixture. Do not thaw cheese first. Put back in the freezer for about an hour.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat to at least 325 degrees. If you oil is not hot enough, it will not bubble and sizzle when you drop the sticks in. If it is too hot the cheese will ooze out before they have fried on the outside. So keep your oil hot by frying only a few sticks at a time...maybe 8 or so.

Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve with the Marinara Sauce.

Marinara Sauce (recipe from The Food Network)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Lodge Cast Iron Ccookware

NOTICE: Every time I have featured this special price on this beautiful Red Lodge Dutch Oven it sells out immediately. It comes in several colors at various prices but this is the one I use and it is gorgeous and the perfect cast iron dutch oven! So this is a first come, first served basis. Better hurry or it will be gone before you finish reading the post.

Who says Lodge Cast iron cookware only comes in black? Lodge is now releasing their full line of colors that are all the rage. This particular Dutch Oven was America's Test Kitchen choice. They have endorsed this as one of the best to buy and says it is as good if not better than those $300 Dutch ovens. And it's on sale at Amazon today for only $49.99 while supplies last.
That's a $68 savings when you use the code provided below.

Lodge Color is one of the newest lines from this respected American cast iron cookware company. Traditionally shaped and more affordable than some European brands, Lodge Color enameled cast iron is just as durable, requires no seasoning, and attractively serves at the table. Lodge infuses this 6-quart Dutch oven with two coats of hard-as-nails porcelain enamel, in a choice of several bright colors on the exterior, and which are nicely set off by a cream interior.

Oven-safe to 400 degrees so you can start a stew or casserole on the stove top and finish by baking it in the oven. Lodge enameled cast iron makes a smart choice due to its versatility-you can marinate raw meats in it, since it won't absorb odors or flavors, and you can braise, sauté, simmer, and bake in it. All Lodge enameled ware is covered by a lifetime warranty against defects.

This 6 Qt enamel Dutch oven is great for cooking on gas, electric, ceramic and induction cook tops, as well as in the oven. The porcelain surface eliminates the need to season cast iron. The cast iron has superior heat distribution and retention, evenly heating bottom sidewalls and even the lid. Tightly fitting lid seals in moisture. The excellent heat retention reduces the amount of energy needed for cooking. Two layers of very hard, glossy porcelain enamel are chip resistant and easy to clean.

Remember everything you purchase here at Welcome Home helps support NO KILL and Animal Rights groups in their efforts to save the lives of dogs and cats in this country who are killed unnecessarily while waiting for a new home. Here's your link to read more about this wonderful Lodge Cast iron Dutch Oven....
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Make Ahead Lasagna

Make Ahead Lasagna

1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian Sausage
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
1 jar (14 ounces) marinara sauce
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef and sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in pizza and marinara sauces. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta, Parmesan, parsley and pepper.
Spread 1 cup meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with four noodles, half of the cheese mixture, 1 cup meat sauce and 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, meat sauce and mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, covered, at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
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Salisbury Steak

My Mom use to call these Hamburger steaks but most people call them Salisbury steaks. All cooks have their specialty dish...a signature dish so to speak.... that we know will always get rave reviews from friends and family. This is good old fashioned comfort food my friends. Tender meat patties full of robust flavor served with mashed potatoes and green beans or corn. Now of course she made her own beef gravy but I found one that tastes identical and I use it to get the same wonderful recipe. You will love this recipe.

Salisbury Steak

2 lbs ground beef
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs or more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 - package Lipton’s Onion Soup with Mushrooms Mix
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 jars of Heinz Home Style Savory Beef Gravy (with or without mushrooms)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl along with a half cup of the beef gravy from one jar. Add more breadcrumbs as needed for the right consistency. Shape into oblong or thick round patties and set aside.

In large skillet, melt olive oil and then add butter. Brown patties over medium heat. Once browned, remove from skillet and drain off excess fat but do not wash or clean skillet. Add remaining beef gravy to the skillet making sure to blend the pieces of beef and onion and garlic left on the bottom. Add patties back in the skillet and cover simmering on low heat for about 40 minutes. Serve with gravy over rice, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles. Absolutely divine!

If you prefer to make your own homemade gravy for your steaks, follow these instructions....

Homemade beef gravy

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups of beef broth or beef stock
1 tablespoon of butter for finish

Melt butter in your same skillet that you browned the patties in. Stir bottom to gather the bits from the bottom of the skillet. Then whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk the flour for about 1-2 minutes until the flour is cooked. Slowly add the beef broth and whisk often for about 8-10 minutes. Whisking is the key to lump less gravy. Next whish in the cream which will thicken it slightly and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, add a tablespoon of butter and whisk in well. This will give your gravy that beautiful gloss. Add this instead of store bought gravy to your dish. 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Easy Homemade White Bread

I can't remember my Mom ever buying store bought bread. She would make her own. We always seemed to have homemade bread baking in the oven and the house smelled so good!

Easy Homemade White Bread

1-1/2 cups warm water, (temperature 110 degrees)
2-1/4 teaspoon or 1 pkg. (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup dry milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup canola oil
4-1/2 cups bread flour (more or less)

In large bowl, mix warm water and yeast. Add dry milk, sugar, salt, and canola oil. Stir. Add in enough bread flour to make a dough that follows the spoon around the bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding more bread flour as needed until the dough is firm and smooth to the touch. Place dough in medium greased bowl and then turn it upside down so that the top side is also lightly greased. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

Punch down dough and then dump the dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 5 minutes or until the bubbles are out of the bread. Shape dough into a round loaf and place in greased 1.5 quart round casserole dish. Cover it again and allow it to rise in warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. With sharp knife, slash top of bread. Brush a little egg white on top of the loaf if you want.

Bake bread at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the bread is golden in color and sounds hollow when top is tapped. Remove bread from the casserole dish and let cool on rack.
Serve warm out of the oven.

HINT: Use an electric knife to slice warm bread evenly without tearing while it is still warm.
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Beefy Mac and Cheese

I love simple casseroles that spell out comfort food. Don't you? Here's an old recipe from my Mom's collection and you probably one you will remember it when you were little. I used to come home for lunch and my Mom would have a big bowl of beefy mac and cheese waiting for me. She used to say this is "stick to your ribs good!" This is comfort food at it's best and your kids will love it! Sometimes I add crisp sweet corn and pinto beans!

Beefy Mac and Cheese

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni or any similar tube pasta
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 lb lean ground beef
1 (15 ounce) can tomatoes, drained and crushed or chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to directions; drain well and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet and add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the ground beef, breaking it up into pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula and sauté until browned. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended. Next add your crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme and oregano. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and then turn down heat to simmer and cook for about another minute. Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup cheddar cheese until melted. Add ground beef mixture. Then add in drained pasta and stir to combine. Pour in baking dish and top with remaining cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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