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.

 

 

Mocha Chip Meringues

One of my favorite cookies happens to be a meringue.  We loved the taste of these cookies over the Christmas holiday this year.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe and as every one of her recipes, it worked perfectly. These cookies were crispy, but soft inside the center of the cookie.  The chocolate taste was just perfect and not overpowering.  I opted to use mini chocolate chips in the recipe, instead of the full size chips.  I found the substitute to be perfect and a nice improvement to her recommendations.

How to make the mocha chip meringues–gather these ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 egg whites at room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with two racks divided within the oven.  Add parchment paper or silpat mats to the cookie sheets.  In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy on medium speed.  Then add sugar mixture slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat about 6-8 minutes until very stiff. I used my stand mixer with the whipping whisk.  Add espresso powder and cocoa next.  Fold in chocolate chips at the end with a spatula.

Drop onto cookie sheets, one tablespoon at a time.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from cookies sheets.  Great recipe and these cookies are light and delicious.

Cherry Pistachio Shortbread cookies

Every Christmas I like to try at least one new cookie recipe, and this year I found a recipe in Yankee Magazine which was especially delicious.  My cookie tray looked quite festive with the red and green colors that this cookie contains. I did chill the dough overnight and baked them the next day.

Here are the ingredients to make the cookies:  2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, separated, 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts, chopped red candied cherries, 1/3 cup white sanding sugar.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat in the egg yolk and mix.  Add flour and pistachios. Blend until combined. Remove dough from the mixer, and hand mix in the cherries.  Divide the dough into 2 1/2 logs about 12 inches long.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight on a sheet pan.

  

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using parchment paper or silpat mats, cover the baking sheets.  Brush the egg white over the logs after unwrapping and place on waxed paper.  Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the logs and slice the cookies. Place on the baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Cool and serve.  These cookies can be frozen and kept to serve at a later time.

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.

 

Snowman dessert

Living in Michigan during the winter months encourages a love for all things cold and snowy.  We enjoyed these cute snowman desserts over the holiday, but they could be enjoyed all winter long.  Children would love these cute little snowman and they are super easy to construct.

The only ingredients are: vanilla ice cream, whipped cream in a can, mini chocolate chips, red Twizzlers, slivered almonds, butterscotch chips, large marshmallows, maraschino cherries with stems, and red decors.

I made the marshmallow heads in advance and kept them in the refrigerator.  I used the mini chocolate chips for the eyes, the slivered almond for the nose, the red decors for the mouth–using a bit of white icing to attach.  I cut the Twizzlers in advance and blotted the cherries to make certain they did not have any extra cherry juice for the finished product.

The butterscotch chips are used for the buttons and the whipped cream is used at the base of the snowman to resemble snow and finish the look on the plate.  Quite simple and cute for the winter months.

Other ideas for the body parts could include: candy canes for the arms, dried cranberries for the eyes, other small candies for buttons.

Thanksgiving turkey tray

For an afternoon holiday appetizer tray, I found this cute idea on Pinterest. If you haven’t found Pinterest yet, I highly recommend the website as a great way to find ideas for just about anything.  I have tried many great recipes on the site, and have saved more than 11,000 pins so far into various boards. Find me on Pinterest under my name.

Here is my version of an appetizer tray that I served on Thanksgiving day.  It was well received by my family. It was a cute way to serve a very basic appetizer while everyone was waiting for the main event. The relish tray is arranged in the shape of a turkey.

Earlier in the day, I cut and prepared the vegetables and then just before serving, arranged them on the tray.  It was easy and fun.  And also encouraged raw vegetable eating instead of other more caloric snacks!

 

Holiday apples

A new year 2017 is here and I have so much to share.  I have been cooking, baking and testing many recipes the past couple of months. And, I have found dozens of new treats. In fact, I have a stack of ideas that are just waiting to jump onto the pages of angelfoodgarden. The past seven years, I have used this blog to share recipes with my family and friends, and as an easy way to record what recipes have worked for me and have tasted great.  I have found it a fun way to look back and enjoy some of our best meals. So, Happy New Year to you as you join me in cooking, baking, and sharing in my gardening experiences in 2017.

And today, why not start with something so simple like oven baked apples?  No, not another apple crisp recipe, but just apples.  Sometimes, something as simple as slicing and baking a fruit can be so delicious.

For this easy recipe for the holidays, I used three Gala apples, sliced them, and placed them in a baking dish.  I sprinkled them lightly with cinnamon and sugar.  Next, I placed a few dots of stick margarine on top and placed the dish in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  They were delicious for one of our holiday dinners, served with ham and twice baked potatoes.  More apples could be prepared based on the quantity of people being served. So much great texture and better than making applesauce.

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Other options for preparation could include– using brown sugar, a splash of vanilla, or any combination desired. Also, these apples could be served with a dot of whipped cream.