Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts are one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. I happen to fall into the love category.  

I’m not sure why they fall into the hate category…I think mostly because of the way they are prepared. I think boiling or steaming makes them soggy and bitter. But when you oven roast Brussels Sprouts, they become amazing!  Roasting brings out the sweetness in them and changes haters into lovers instantly!  

I like to add a little red onion and some walnuts for a little extra nuttiness and crunch. Then I drizzle them with a little Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with garlic and roast them until they are tender on the inside and the edges of the leaves on the outside become perfectly crispy. This is the perfect recipe for a love/love relationship!

 How to pick out the right sprouts:  Look for hard, bright-green sprout heads and try to choose roughly the same size so they'll cook evenly.  Buy them lose in the produce section and not on the stalk. That way you can pick the ones you like best.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion and Walnuts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 small red onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small to medium skillet over medium heat, toast your walnuts for 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently so they don’t burn. Set aside.
Clean and trim Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Slice your onions and chop your walnuts.

In a large bowl, combine sprouts, onion, salt and pepper. Add Star Fine Foods Olive Oil with Garlic and toss to coat well. 

Spread on sprouts and onions on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Remove from baking sheet and add the walnuts and toss well. Drizzle with more olive oil with garlic if desired. Serve immediately.

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

STAR Garlic Infused Olive Oil is available at Raley's and Save Mart 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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Friday, December 04, 2015

Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

What is it about winter that makes you want to get up early and put on a pot of homemade soup?  Maybe all those times our Mom's told reminded us that a hearty bowl of soup would stick to your ribs? Maybe because you put so many great veggies and things that are good for you?  Maybe it just says comfort.  Maybe it makes us warmer and more cozy.  Whatever it is, as soon as the first  cold day arrives, you will find me in the kitchen chopping and slicing and filling  my soup pot with goodness!  And this is one of my favorites! 

Sausage, Bean and Kale Soup

     2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, casing removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 (15 ounce) cans white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 bunches kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
52 oz. good quality low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup ditalini pasta (or any small pasta)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and brown, stirring occasionally to break into smaller pieces, approximately 10 minutes.

Add onion and bay leaves. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. 

Add pasta, garlic and beans, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
Add kale, and cook until it becomes slightly wilted. Add chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and cover with lid.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes until pasta is tender, although a bit longer is completely fine. The soup will thicken as the pasta begin to release starch into the soup.  

Serve and enjoy!

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