Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Caprese on Rosemary Skewers

I love Caprese.  There's just something about tomato and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil that creates a flavor explosion in your mouth. I like putting together a Caprese platter for my guests and watching how quickly they empty the tray.  This time I wanted to add a new twist. I decided to double the explosion of flavors with mozzarella balls marinated in one of my favorite Star Fine Food olive oils and use some grape tomatoes that would pop in your mouth. Instead of basil, this time, I skewered them on rosemary twigs and then I drizzled the whole thing with a wonderful glaze I made with Star's Balsamic Vinegar. This went over big...it made a wonderful presentation and the glaze added perfect touch!    

Caprese on Rosemary Skewers

2 tablespoons brown sugar
16 small round mozzarella balls
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
16 rosemary twigs
 16 grape or cherry tomatoes

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for about 4 minutes or until sugar has completely dissolved and then bring mixture to a full boil. 

Next, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until liquid has reduced by one-third and is just slightly thick. It will continue to thicken as it cools.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or longer if needed).

Add mozzarella balls to a small bowl.  Pour in garlic olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Trim the leaves off the bottoms of the rosemary branches. Skewer on one to two mozzarella balls, then a tomato. Place onto a platter, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

When you are ready to serve, drizzle your balsamic glaze over your platter and enjoy! 

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

You can get Star Balsamic Vinegar of Modena- Gold Edition in select Walmart stores and online at:


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! 

STAR Roasted Garlic Olive Oil is available at Savemart, select Walmart stores and online at:


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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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Cherry Cobbler Pie

Last time I was at Costco I saw the prettiest dark sweet Bing cherries. I walked by them several times but they kept calling out the words "cherry pie" to me so I bought them. The next day I made the easiest and one of the most delicious pies. I took some short cuts on the pie crust but you'd never know because Marie Callender makes the  best buttery and flaky refrigerated pie crusts! This pie turned out to be a winner. 

Black Cherry Cobbler Pie

1 pkg. (2 per pack) 9 or 10-inch frozen or refrigerated pie crusts
5 cups sweet cherries, pitted (See note below)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg for egg wash

Place the pitted cherries, sugar, almond extract, lemon juice and corn starch in a large bowl. Toss until the cherries are well coated with the sugar and other ingredients.

Make sure if using frozen crust, they are thawed completely. Use one for your pie and take the other out of its tin and on a lightly floured clean surface, roll out the dough. Using kitchen scissors or a pizza wheel, cut strips or shapes to go on top of pie filling.

Place the filling in the pie plate. Dot with small dabs of butter. Cover with strips or shapes or you can even drop dough on top of the pie filling for that cobbler effect. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water or milk. Use a brush to brush over the top crust. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if desired.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pie on a baking sheet on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes longer, or until the crust is nicely browned and the filling is thick and bubbly. Serve chilled or at room temperature.       

NOTE: If you can't get ripe sweet cherries where you are, you can use this Cherry Pie filling recipe for the same results:

1 can (14.5 oz) Oregon Dark Sweet Pitted Cherries
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract

Drain cherries, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to bring the drained cherry liquid up to 1 1/4 cups and add to small saucepan. Add cornstarch and sugar to saucepan, and heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to bubble and thickens. Continue whisking so no lumps form and filling is smooth. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and almond extract, fold in cherries. Follows the rest of the recipe above.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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Mom's Coconut Custard Pie

This is probably my favorite dessert and my Mom made it for my birthday every year, right on up until she moved to Heaven. You can make your own pie crust if you'd like but I take a short cut and use a thawed Marie Callender's deep dish flaky pie crust sold in the freezer section. I have included my Mom's easy pie crust recipe just in case. Click on the photos and take a closer look at that creamy custard!

Mom's Coconut Custard Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked refrigerated pie crust
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 full tablespoon vanilla extract
1 more egg separated (total of 4 eggs in recipe)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Separate one egg…keep the yolk for now and save the white for your egg wash later in the recipe.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream. Heat until just starting to boil – be sure to watch it because it will go from barely simmering to heavy boiling rather quickly. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, combine the one egg yolk, the three whole beaten eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Now slowly (it is important to pour very slowly) add in the hot milk mixture continuing to whisk vigorously and continuously so that the egg mixture already in the bowl does not cook. Once the hot milk mixture is completely blended in, add in the coconut and nutmeg and mix well.

Place the unbaked pie crust on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon mat. Brush the insides (bottom, sides and top) with that egg white you put aside to help prevent the crust from getting soggy. Carefully pour the custard mixture into the pie crust.

Bake for 35 minutes then carefully place strips of aluminum foil over the exposed crust to prevent it from getting too dark. Reduce the oven temp to only 250 degrees and put pie back into the oven to bake for about 20 minutes or until the filling is just about set. It should not be wet and jiggly but not completely firm or solid.

Remove from oven and cool on rack. When pie is just about room temperature then place in refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Basic Butter Pie Crust                             

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of frozen butter, cut into pieces
4-6 tablespoons cold ice water

Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter with your fingertips, pressing it into the flour mixture and breaking it up, until mixture resemble very coarse sand and no pieces larger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, stir in ice water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Press dough into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 30-60 minutes before rolling.

Place unwrapped dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a disc. Roll out until it is a circle about 11-inches in diameter. Hold your pie plate over the dough to ensure that there is enough overhang to cover the sides of the pie dish. Carefully roll dough around your rolling pin and unroll it into the pie plate. Press dough gently into the dish; do not stretch the dough.

Chill crust for 30 minutes before using to prevent the dough from shrinking during baking.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Homemade Turkey Jerky Treats For Dogs

So look what I made..... the ultimate dog treat!  Now you can make it too with this recipe!

There is a product out there that dogs love. I mean they really really love it. But who can afford it at 8 pieces for $10?  And do you know how much salt these people put in this treat!

 I called Blue Wilderness and asked them how much salt they put in their turkey jerky treats. The answer was astonishing. Each 1 ounce piece of their turkey jerky has over 350 mg of salt!  But why?  Dogs do not need that much salt in their diet.  Because salt is a mold inhibitor and all manufacturers use it. Loads of it....unhealthy loads of it!  If only I knew then what I know now.  That was bad news and like all the other foods and treats out there it becomes near impossible to find anything healthy.  

Go to plan B: make my own. I read the ingredients on the bag of Blue Wilderness. I am pretty good at creating my own recipes so I set out on this adventure to make Katie a copycat recipe of Blue Wilderness Turkey Jerky minus the salt.

No more paying $10 a bag for 8 chips. This big pile of healthy turkey jerky ended up costing me about $6 for and I got over 50 pieces from one pack of turkey tenderloins! 

The Verdict:

So I let the jerky continue to bake on very low heat until they got dry and crispy. Cooper was so excited he actually stood in front of the oven door and looked through the glass while they were baking. When I opened the oven door to check on them one last time, he had his head almost in the oven checking with me. I had to push him back! Finally, after a few hours of drying them in the oven on low heat they were done. And they came out perfect. 

What a healthy snack for your dogs....get the salt out of your fur baby's diet. We are killing our dogs with all the salt they put in commercial foods. Treat them to some real turkey jerky you made yourself!   So here is how I made these healthy treats.  I promise they will love them! 

Homemade Turkey Jerky Treats 

2 lbs. turkey tenderloins, fillets or boneless skinless turkey breast
1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Place a rack over the baking sheet that has also been sprayed with non-stick spray.  I use my cooling rack that I cool cookies on. You want to keep your turkey off the bottom of the pan so air can circulate beneath it.

Remove any visible fat off of the turkey. Using a sharp knife, slice partially frozen meat into very even, long, thin slices, about an 1/8th to ¼ inch thick slices. Slice the meat with the grain and that will make it chewier and less tough. Try to make all slices the same size and thickness.

Arrange your strips on your rack, making sure they are not touching and that air can circulate all around them.  Brush each strip lightly with molasses and place them in the oven. Half way through the cooking time, flip the strips over and brush again lightly with more molasses. I brushed mine a few more times during the cooking process.

These turkey strips will take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to fully dry depending on your oven and how thinly you cut the turkey strips. Start checking it once every hour after about 4 hours to see if it has dried completely. If the meat bends and seems spongy then it is not dried enough. Always opt for longer cooking times rather than under cooking the jerky strips.

You can also cut a strip open if you’re not sure to examine the inside. You should see no moisture at all, and it should be the same color throughout. If it’s not finished, put it back in for another hour. Once it gets close, check every half hour.  Once completely dry, cool them and cut them with scissors and serve!

NOTE:  Because these jerky treats contain no chemical preservatives, you’ll need to store them in the refrigerator or freezer. If you put them in brown paper bags and put them in the refrigerator they will stay dryer and can be stored for up to 3 weeks.  You can freeze them for 8 months in the freezer.

NOTE:  Baking times will vary due to difference in ovens, temperatures and meat size. Your jerky treats should be firm and dry, not at all soft or spongy. It is safer to go a little extra dry and firm than for the meat to be underdone.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

Turkey Marsala with "Bella" Mushrooms

     Who says you have to use chicken for this classic Chicken Marsala  
     recipe?  Why not use turkey?  I sautéed some turkey cutlets in my 
     favorite Star Fine Foods Extra Virgin Olive Oil and I am so glad I  
     did.  This came out even better than my usual recipe using chicken!

     I added some "Bella" mushrooms and some bacon and created a 
    thick rich sauce.  This is one of those meals that you savor every bite! 

Turkey Marsala  with "Bella" Mushrooms

2 lbs turkey breast cutlets
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 large shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound Porta "Bella" mushrooms, sliced thin
3/4 cup dry Marsala Wine
1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped 

In a large heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Brown cutlets for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.

Add bacon to the same skillet and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 3 more minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Stir the mushrooms occasionally, until liquid is evaporated. 

Add Marsala wine and cook until it has fully evaporated.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Next sprinkle in the flour whisk to blend it well. Add chicken stock a little at a time, continuing to whisk vigorously after each time you add more.  Make sure you whisk well after each time you add more and that you scrape the bottom and sides of pans to get all the bits added to the mix.  Repeat until all the chicken stock has been added.  

Let your sauce simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  Return turkey cutlets to pan and simmer for another 5 minutes on low until cutlets are heated through and sauce continues to thicken slightly.  Serve immediately.

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

Look for STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the olive oil section of our local grocery store or online at: 


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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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I love white chocolate. I just love the taste of it. Most people are dark and milk chocolate fans but I like white chocolate the most. So I love making cookies with white chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips whenever I can.  I love cookie because it is soft and chewy and has a lot of white chocolate in it.  I eat these warm...just out of the oven.  This is a keeper my friends!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour'
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces white chocolate baking bars, chopped in 1/2 inch chunks
1 jar of macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat both sugars, butter, shortening, vanilla and the egg in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.  You want your dough light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt.  At this point your dough will be much stiffer.  Then with a wooden spoon, stir in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Drop dough onto un-greased cookie sheet in rounded tablespoons and keep them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until very light brown.  Cookies may look under-cooked but remember they will continue to cook outside the oven for a bit.  Cool for about 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack.


Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home
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Monday, November 09, 2015

Homemade Beef Vegetable Soup

I'm not into those thin broth-like soups unless I am having Won Ton soup or Egg Drop soup. I like my soups thick and chunky. So when I make a home made beef vegetable soup....it is very close to a stew. I am definitely a meat and potatoes... girl and I like to eat my chunks of vegetables and beef...not drink them!

 Homemade Beef Vegetable Soup

1/4 cup flour
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cups beef broth (low sodium)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup peas, fresh, canned or frozen
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Lawry's seasoned salt
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Toss the beef and flour in a bowl until the beef is well coated. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat; add the beef and cook until nicely browned. Remove and set aside.

Pour in a little of the broth and scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to get all the brown bits mixed in. Then pour in the broth and add the remaining ingredients to the pot except for the potatoes and carrots and cream. 

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat so that the liquid comes to a slow simmer. Cook for about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Then add potatoes and carrots and cover and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour. Remove bay leaves and add the cream to the soup.

To thicken the broth, add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to a cup of cold water. Whisk until all lumps are removed and then add to the soup. Bring to boil and broth will thicken nicely.

Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home.
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