Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Quick And Easy Nachos

It just can't get much easier than this my friends. This is my go to when I am really hungry and want something delicious and fast. I am a simple girl with a simple appetite and so I keep my nachos pretty basic...but you can add anything you want to this basic recipe.

Quick And Easy Nachos

1/2 lb ground chuck...
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup mild cheddar
1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
1 can refried beans
Round nacho chips

Mix all three cheeses in a big bowl and set aside. On medium heat fry the ground chuck until brown, breaking in up with a wooden spoon.

While meat is frying, arrange a layer of nacho chips on a dinner plate that is microwave safe. Spread some of the refried beans on a few of the chips but not every one of them. Leave some without the beans.

Drain ground beef or use a slotted spoon to sprinkle meat over the first layer of nacho chips. Then sprinkle mixed cheeses all over the top.

Start the next layer. Spread some of the refried beans on a few of the next layer of chips then sprinkle meat and then cheese all over nachos.

Build a third layer exactly the same way. Then microwave plate uncovered on high for 2 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream or guacamole or salsa. Enjoy! 

Note: You can chilies, tomatoes, salsa, jalapenos, bacon, onions, olives, beans, and anything else you can think of.

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Mini Toffee Streusel Apple Cakes

These make such a pretty little individual dessert for each of your guess and they are so good. Decadent little mini apple pies with a Streusel topping and a wonderful toffee sauce that will have your guests asking for more! Top with ice... cream while they are still warm for an added treat!

Mini Toffee Streusel Apple Cakes

Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust 
4” spring form pans

Roll out and cut the dough into four 6-inch circles. Ease into four 4-inch spring form pans, chill in the refrigerator while you make the filling.


4 baking apples, (Gala, Golden Delicous, etc),  sliced or grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder (depending on your taste)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.


3-1/2 tablespoon cold butter, diced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix the streusel ingredients in a bowl until crumbly.


 ¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring cream, brown sugar and butter to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Take the saucepan out of the heat, stir in vanilla.


3 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
Whisk everything in a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide apple combination into prepared pans, put streusel over apples. Set the small spring form pans on a sheet pan or any large oven tray. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let them rest for about 15 minutes. Then remove pies from pans and place on serving plates. Drizzle with toffee sauce and sugar glaze on top.

Buy the four inch spring forms I use at Amazon.com by clicking here: 


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Homemade Apple Cake with Vanilla Glaze

One of the most moist cakes you'll ever make. This is one of those throw it all in a bowl, mix it up a little and bake kind of cakes! So easy to make and so delicious! I made one on Sunday and put it in the freezer for one of those too tired to make breakfast mornings. 

Apple Cake with Vanilla Glaze

3 cups peeled, diced or sliced Honey Crisp, Fuji, or Gala apples
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of one medium orange

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size bowl, sift together all purpose flour, wholewheat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

In a small bowl toss apples, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and lemon juice; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the white and brown sugars with the oil. Add one egg at a time mixing in each one thoroughly. Add the vanilla extract, apple juice and orange zest. 

Slowly stir in flour mixture into wet batter stirring just to combine. Fold in apples and any juices that have accumulated. Pour batter into a prepared 12-cup bundt or tube pan. Bake in preheated oven on the middle shelf for 55-60 minutes or until cake is done. 

Remove from oven and let cool in pan on baking rack for 10 minutes before turning out of pan. While cake cools, prepare the vanilla drizzle.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons whole milk

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons whole milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is thick but pourable. Let cool 5 minutes. Then use to drizzle over warm cake. Frosting will harden as cake cools.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Double Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Who said you can't have chocolate for breakfast?  And this is the perfect decadent and delightful muffin you've ever tasted!  Moist in the middle with chunks of half melted chocolate makes you savor every single bite.  Serve them warm out of the oven and top them with cream cheese or butter if you need a few extra calories.  Lol!  

Double Chocolate Chunk Muffins

6 tablespoons butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your muffin pans and add your liners and place on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler or a large bowl sitting on top of a saucepan of simmering water, add half of the chocolate with the butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour with all other dry ingredients and set aside.
 In another bowl, stir the buttermilk, egg and vanilla together until blended. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.  Then pour the melted chocolate in and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and quickly stir to blend just until smooth. Fold in the other half of the chopped un-melted chocolate.

Fill each muffin cup to the top and place on baking sheet in preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before removing each muffins from pan.

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Hot Buttered Rum Muffins

I make a lot of muffins...I freeze them and choose which one I might want for coffee in the morning. I give them away to friends, family and neighbors. I make them for the local church bake sale to raise money for the homeless. But of all the muffins I make, this is my favorite. Especially hot...just out of the oven. I can't even describe how good it is...it is fantastic. I freeze them immediately after making them so I'm not tempted to sit down and eat all of them at once!  

Hot Buttered Rum Muffins

12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon butter flavoring extract
1 1/2 teaspoons rum flavoring extract
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. bag butterscotch chips
2-3 tablespoons coarse sugar for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans and lightly spray with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray.

With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the rum and butter extracts, sour cream, and milk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the butterscotch chips with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans (using an ice cream or cookie scoop works well), filling each cup about 3/4 full. Then sprinkle with generous amount of coarse sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm right out of the oven!

NOTE: If you use regular muffin tins, this will make about 2 dozen small (not mini) muffins. But if you want big fluffy more impressive muffins like mine, go with the jumbo muffin tins as I did and you'll get a dozen from this recipe.

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♥ Caramel Apple Muffins

Oh what a wonderful muffin...with apples, cinnamon, pecans, caramel....Wow!  I made these this morning and my house still smells incredible!  They were so good hot out of the oven with a steaming hot cup of coffee! 

Caramel Apple Muffins

For the Streusel Topping:

2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Rolled Oats
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

3 Tablespoons butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of toasted pecan, chopped fine
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sliced apples

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Toast your pecans in a skillet on on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Increase your oven temperature to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers and spray lightly with cooking spray. (I made jumbo muffins). 

Prepare the topping by mixing the ingredients together until crumbly. Set aside. Prepare the filling by mixing the ingredients together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, and eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry mixture to the liquid, stirring just until combined.

Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Drop 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon filling onto each muffin, and some sliced apples and then top with the remaining batter. Sprinkle with topping, pressing it in lightly.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before transferring them from the pan to a rack to cool.

Browned Butter Icing:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until butter is lightly browned. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

♥ Pina Colada Muffins

I made these early this morning and my whole house smells so tropical! The smell of baked pineapple and sweet vanilla is all throughout the house! And these taste just as good as they look and smell!

Pina Colada Muffins

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 heaping cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put muffins liners in muffin tin. Take out buttermilk and eggs, so they can come to room temperature. In a large bowl, mix together flours, salt, baking powder, sugar, and coconut flakes. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and coconut extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix or your muffins will be dry. Chop pineapple chunks to make mini chunks and then gently fold into muffin batter. Again, folding just enough to distribute pineapple bits. Sprinkle top with a little coconut that will toast during baking time.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins feel set when gently pressed. Cool a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

These are so good as an appetizer or as a main dish for any meal. Serve them on a toothpick or over a fluffy bed of rice. They are delicious and very addicting....sweet and savory all mixed up into each bite. And for a little kick, add as much as you want with some red pepper flakes! 

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (any brand)
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch red pepper flakes (optional and only if you want a kick)
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup crushed pineapple

Pineapple Teriyaki Glaze

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl mix well. Form mixture into 1 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown on all sides, turning with tongs. You just want to brown them at this stage you will cook them through later. 


In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar, and honey together.

When the meatballs have browned, pour the sauce ingredients over the meatballs and gently turn the meatballs to coat them in the sauce. Heat the sauce for about 3-5 minutes.

In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup cold water. Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce being careful to mix around the meatballs so you don't break them apart. Continue to simmer the meatballs in the sauce over low heat until sauce is thick and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. If sauce gets too thick you can add water. Serve over rice. 

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Marshmallow Walnut Brownies

Now here's a recipe that dates back to my Mom's oldest recipes. you might remember your Mom or Grandmother making old fashioned walnut brownies. Try them with pecans or macadamia nuts!  YUM!

Walnut Brownies

2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
4 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper leaving extra paper on each end to use as a handle for removing brownies later. Then lightly grease the parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine cocoa, shortening and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Beat in eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour, blending well. Fold in chopped walnuts and spread batter evenly into bottom of the lined and greased baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and cool on rack.

Fudge Marshmallow Topping

2/3 cups Hershey's cocoa
4 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups miniature marshmallows

In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa, shortening and butter. Heat over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add eggs, vanilla and powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in the marshmallows. While mixture is still warm, pour over the cooled brownies.
Chill in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before cutting.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass

I love Chilean Sea Bass. It is the filet mignon of fish.  It’s the most incredibly delicious and uniquely buttery fish I have ever tasted. There’s simply nothing else quite like it.  The first time I ever tasted it was on a vacation in Las Vegas 10 years ago.  I was looking over the menu at a nice seafood restaurant and couldn't decide what to order.  The waiter suggested the pan seared Chilean Sea bass.  I had never heard of it and I was a little reluctant.  That's when he promised that if I didn't absolutely love it, he would give me dinner on the house that night. He was that sure.  So I said, okay why not.  When it came on a beautifully garnished plate, I was immediately curious.  It looked so good.  And then I took a bite. My taste buds exploded!  The flavor was incredible.  I couldn't put down my fork.  

I decided I would make it at home and went to the closest seafood house and bought my first fillets. I made it and it was delicious.  I would like to say it's like sweet buttery crab because of its most and tender texture. But it's not.  I would like to say it's like lobster because its so buttery.  But it's not.  Maybe a cross between both of those flavors but really unlike any other fish you will ever taste.  I seared it in Star Lemon Peel Olive Oil and served it over CaraMia Marinated Green Asparagus.  What a wonderful combination! 

Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass

2 pounds of Chilean Sea bass filets
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with Lemon Peel                    
1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
Light sprinkling of Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
1 jar of Cara Mia Marinated Asparagus

Pat the fish filets dry with a paper towel. You want to absorb most of the moisture.  Heat the butter and lemon Peel olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat until oil begins to ripple and smoke lightly. You want your skillet very hot to sear the skin of the fish.

Fry the fish skin side down for about 5 minutes until crisp and brown. Carefully flip the fish over and sear for about 3 minutes or until lightly golden.   Fish will flake nicely when done. Sprinkle with a little parsley and dill. 

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Serving Suggestion: Pictured with Cara Mia Marinated Asparagus! Delicious! 

Cara Mia Asparagus is available at select Walmart, Savemart, Schnucks, Smith’s, Ingles, Brookshire’s stores in either the produce section or canned vegetable aisle and online at http://bit.ly/CaraMiaAsparagus.

STAR Lemon Infused Olive Oil is available at Raley’s, Food Lion, Savemart and online at http://bit.ly/StarLemonOO.

Be sure to shop at Star Fine Foods for their other infused Garlic Oils. I use them and love them all!   http://www.starfinefoods.com/our-products/olive-oil/infused-oils/

Star Fine Foods now has a promo code for all Welcome Home fans that will give you a 10% discount on anything you order online. Just enter WELCOMEHOME10 at checkout!

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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Friday, April 10, 2015

♥ Ravioli and Meatball Casserole

This was one of those throw it all together recipes that ended up being absolutely delicious and I will make it over and over again! I make a mean Italian meatball and when you throw them in with some little ricotta stuffed ravioli and then top it all off with more cheese you've got a winner! 

Ravioli and Meatball Casserole

1 (26 ounce) Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, Onion, sauce
1 (24 ounce) package frozen cheese filled ravioli
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup of Colby Jack cheese

First cook the ravioli as directed on package, drain and add to a large bowl. Toss with about 1 cup or so of tomato sauce and set aside. You can add as much sauce as you like to the ravioli at this point. I like mine with less sauce. Next make your meatballs.

Italian Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup bread crumbs, fresh or dried
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 eggs

In a large bowl, lightly mix all ingredients by hand, but do not pack down meat mixture. Take a portion of meat in hand, and roll between palms to form a ball that is firmly packed but not compressed. Repeat, making each meatball about 2 inches in diameter. In a large, heavy pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add meatballs in batches. Do not crowd. Brown well on bottoms before turning, or meatballs will break apart. Continue cooking until browned all over. Remove meatballs to a shallow dish with about 1/2 cup of the sauce and then let meatballs cool slightly; cover and refrigerate until needed. Makes about 16 meatballs.

 Ravioli Casserole

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add all the ravioli to the dish and then top with half the cheese. Add your meatballs and top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with parsely and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. At this point you can add more sauce as needed. I like mine on the dry sauce so I don't add any, but you can make it as saucy as you like.

Bake for about 30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and fully melted. Serve with those garlic knots I put up earlier today!

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