Warm Pears and oranges

Tender pears and Mandarin oranges prove to be a delightful dessert when warmed in a slow cooker.  As I have shared in previous posts, fruit desserts are some of my favorites. Of course, they can also be served with a slice of pound cake, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, or even vanilla Greek yogurt.  This recipe is one to try before the warmer weather sneaks up on us this Spring.  The comforting flavors of this recipe can be enjoyed throughout the Fall and Winter months.

Here is how I make this recipe–gather these ingredients:  1 can sliced pears with juice, 1 can mandarin  oranges without juice, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 fresh Bosc pears peeled and sliced.  Additional fresh pears or canned pears could be substituted for each ingredient.

In a small bowl, combine these ingredients:  1/2 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 Tablespoons melted margarine.

Place the first set of ingredients in the slow cooker, and then cover with the ingredients from the bowl.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve warm. I topped each serving with whipped cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Yummy.

Baked pears

Throughout the winter months, I enjoy baked fruit.  First of all, I really enjoy a nice breakfast during the coldest of winter weather.  Also, I think warmed fruit is a nice option and great alternative to a cold fruit platter.  I like to serve cold fruit during the warmer months instead.

So, here is another basic recipe for baked fruit. This year, I made this recipe for baked pears on Christmas day for a breakfast side dish.  It was very tasty. The recipe can be increased based on the number of guests expected at your meal.

Gather these ingredients:  2-4 pears-peeled and cored, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the pear halves and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a small bowl, mix the margarine and brown sugar together.Spread the mixture over the pears.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Just before serving, add blackberries if desired.  Serve warm.



Bagel breakfast casserole

Cold weather is a great time to serve a hot breakfast to family and friends. Everyone just wants to gather around and drink a hot beverage while taking their time on a weekend morning.  Here is a great recipe that is a twist on the standard breakfast egg casserole.  I tried it with plain bagels, but sesame or other flavored bagels would also be worth a try. This dish will easily serve 6-8 people, especially if served with fruit or muffins.

Gather these ingredients:  4 toasted and chopped plain bagels, 6 eggs (I used 3 eggs and 3/4 cup Egg Beaters), 2 cups half-half or milk, 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 4 slices bacon chopped, and 4 green onions.

Place the bagels in a large 2 1/2 quart baking dish. In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, cheese, bacon, green onion, salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the bagels pressing down to cover all the surfaces.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.


When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover the dish and bake for 50 minutes or until puffed, browned and set.  Allow to cool a bit before serving.  Garnish with parsley flakes or chopped green onion.


A summer frittata

For a Sunday breakfast or for a weekday dinner, this frittata is so easy and so delicious.  Personally, the topping of roasted cherry tomatoes puts this dish over the top for me.  Using Bobby Flay’s recipe as inspiration from his Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook, I made this one my own.

Gather these ingredients for the roasted cherry tomatoes and begin the cooking process.  One pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, 1-2 sliced garlic cloves, drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley flakes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the tomatoes, garlic, seasonings and oil on a small sheet pan.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until they are soft and able to be broken apart easily. Bobby also suggests using fresh basil and adding at the end after cooking. I broke up the tomatoes and made a sauce for the frittata topping.


For the frittata, gather these ingredients:  2 tablespoons olive oil, red and yellow peppers, onion, salt, pepper, 8 eggs, Fontina cheese, oregano and parsley flakes.  I substituted half of the eggs with Egg Beaters.

Heat the oil in a very large non-stick skillet and add the peppers and onions.  Season and cook until the ingredients are soft but not browned.  Whisk the eggs and cheese in a bowl and pour into the hot skillet. Move the eggs around like would be done when making an omelet to insure all the eggs are cooked.  This step will take from 5-7 minutes.  Making sure that the frittata is cooked, slide out of the non-stick pan onto a firm surface. I used a pizza peel for presentation and cutting.  Slice and serve with the warm tomato sauce.


For a great presentation, add chopped basil to finish or sprinkle with other fresh herbs. Serve with a salad, fresh fruit, or crusty bread. This recipe will provide six servings.



Easter eggs

Just as many other households in America, I have always colored eggs for Easter.  Over the years I have tried many techniques, and this year was no different.  I found an idea and altered it some, based on what I had in my pantry.  The results were perfect.  Having years of experience in the kitchen helps to give one confidence in trying new things.

Here is the most cost effective and easy way to color hard boiled eggs.  Choose the number of eggs that will be colored and decide on the preferred colors for the project.  Any of these food products could be used for the eggs–jello, kool-aid mixes, or as I used Crystal Light drink mix.  Remember a basic fact, if the item will stain you or your clothing, it most likely will color an egg.


I started with 2 cups of water and added 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar.  Bring it up to a boil and then add one small package of the Crystal Light drink mix. If using the other options, try 2-3 tablespoons at first.  Reduce the temperature to a simmer and heat for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and slightly cool.  Place in a glass bowl with a spoon to dissipate the heat.  Cool the hard cooked eggs slightly as well and place in the bowl with the colored dye.  Allow to absorb the color for 5-10 minutes or as long as needed for the desired shades.


So fun and easy to prepare. Great to serve at a holiday Easter breakfast.


Hasselback Apples

Fruit desserts are some of my all-time favorites.  One of the easiest fruit desserts has to be this apple recipe.  Be sure to choose a Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apple, as some of the other softer flesh apples will not hold up during the cooking process.  I found this recipe last year in Cooking Light magazine and have moved it up in my list of tasty simple desserts.

Decide how many people will be served, and make the according number of apples, with one per guest as the standard serving size.  In less than one hour, everyone will have a heated dessert served with either vanilla ice cream or whipped cream that they will forever remember.


Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel, core and halve each apple, and then place cut side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Make even slices throughout the apple, making certain not to go all the way down to the baking dish.

Next combine an equal number of tablespoons of sugar and butter, along with 1/2 the amount of cinnamon.  Brush this mixture over the apples.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the apples are tender.

Finally, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 teaspoon flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.   Fan open the apple halves and spoon this mixture on top of the apples.  Bake again for another 10 minutes.  To finish the cooking process, broil for 2 minutes and serve warm.

This is a cozy dessert.  Serve when you have lots of time to savor the flavor and the warmth of the fruit. Yum.


Banana toast for breakfast

I continue to cook from one of my newest cookbooks, Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert.  I tried one of her breakfast recipes during the holidays, and really loved the taste and ease of preparation.  Any type of bread can be used–cinnamon swirl bread, raisin bread, cinnamon bread or other types of sweet breads.

The key to this recipe is the cinnamon.  I chose to serve the banana toast with soft cooked eggs for a delicious brunch.

Here is the recipe:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt one stick of margarine in the oven on a sheet pan.  Select six slices of cinnamon bread.  Mix 1/2 cup white sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. Slice two bananas.

Remove the pan from the oven and dip both sides of the bread in the margarine and leave on the pan.  Sprinkle the bread with half of the sugar.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Turn the slices over. Cover with banana slices with the remainder of sugar. Bake for a couple of minutes or broil for one minute.  Watch closely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.  This recipe could be served with maple syrup if desired.