Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cooking with Apples!!

Now that we have picked all those apples it's time to get in the kitchen! I decided to split this into two posts.  Today we will talk about some options for apples in main dishes, sides, and dessert. My next post will give some simple snack ideas for your apples!

Here's a great opportunity to get the kids engaged....they are perfect "apple washers"! Lay down a towel next to the sink and let them go to town cleaning all the apples.

Let's start with the basic... applesauce. I love homemade, chunky applesauce. There is nothing better than the smell in your kitchen from applesauce simmering on the stove. My recipe for applesauce is really simple. Apples, cinnamon, and water. You can add sugar if you prefer, but I find the sweetness from the apples is just right for us. I like to use either McIntosh or Empire, and often mix them. The recipe below can easily be doubled or tripled. After the sauce is done cooking, allow it to cool and you can divide in freezer bags or containers. It warms up nicely. Nothing better than homemade applesauce to go with a pork roast on a cold January Sunday! Especially when you just need to heat from your freezer.

This is my recipe... its really simple!
15 apples, peeled and sliced (I use McIntosh or Empire)
2 TBSP Cinnamon
1/2 cup Water
Place all ingredients in a large pot.
Heat over medium-high heat until water simmers.
Reduce heat to low and cover.
Heat 20-30minutes or until apples soften, breaking up if desired.

Your kitchen will smell amazing!!  And as I mentioned, you can double the recipe and freeze!

Now let's work these apples into dinner with my Pork & Apple Kabobs.  These are a simple, but delicious dish everyone will love!  I put the pork in a simple marinade and then thread on a skewer, alternating pork, apple slices and onion. 
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp Ginger
Juice of one orange
Mix all together and add in bite size pieces of pork. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Chop up apples and onions into chunks and thread with the pork on skewers.  Pop them on grill, turning every 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through and serve with some brown rice and a veggie. It's a perfect early fall dinner.

Apples offer a great crunch and sweetness to salad. My favorite apple salad is this one.....
Field greens topped with chopped Granny Smith, cucumbers, walnuts, chicken, crumbled bleu cheese, and drizzle of balsamic. So many great flavors in one bite!

Now onto dessert. I love a simple apple crisp. Some roughly chopped apples tossed with cinnamon and topped with an oatmeal crumble. Served warm out of the oven... with a little vanilla ice cream... it's like happiness in a ramekin. Just like my applesauce, I try not to add much sugar to my apple crisp... letting the sweetness from the apples and the warmth of the cinnamon do their thing!
Here I filled 4 ramekins with thick apple slices & sprinkle with cinnamon. I used 5 medium McIntosh apples to fill these 4. Now onto the topping...

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/2 TSP cinnamon
2 TBSP unsalted butter (chopped into small pieces)
2 TBSP chopped walnuts (optional)
I just mix all these together in a bowl with my hands or you could use a pastry cutter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the topping. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm with a little scoop of ice cream!

On that note, I am hungry! Join me for the next post as we talk apple snack ideas.... there's always room for one more at our family table!


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