Saturday, September 21, 2013

Leader Enterprise - Sept. 18, 2013 - Apples



I do hope you enjoyed a great summer. Cooler days are ahead. Temperatures are dropping and leaves will soon begin changing colors. I love the splashes of orange pumpkins and leaves in my fall decorations throughout our home. It won't be long though and we'll be busy raking leaves and put away the summer furniture.

Fall is falling quickly along with the apples on the trees. Apples are thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and asthma. No wonder they say "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away"!

Select apples that are firm and bruise free. Store in refrigerator to slow ripening and keep the flavor. Chilled properly, they should last about 90 days. When I was a kid, we always wrapped apples separately in newspaper and stored them in a horse tank in our cool basement. That way, when one apple went bad, the ones around it were protected. There's another saying with much truth "One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch". I know that refers to many other things besides the fruit itself.

Don't wash apples until ready to eat. Apples should be stored in the refrigerator. Keeping them at room temperature will allow them to get mushy more quickly. Fresh apples make a great snack or dessert. Dip slices in peanut butter or serve with crackers and cheese for a quick snack. I love apples baked alongside pork or chopped into stuffing or sauces. One apple provides almost 20% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.

Here are some yummy recipes using apples and applesauce for your fall enjoyment.


SLOW COOKER HONEY DIJON PORK CHOPS AND APPLES



1-1/2 lbs. pork chops, boneless or bone-in

5 small apples, peeled and sliced

1 onion, sliced
3 Tb. honey
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
generous grinds of black pepper
1/3 c. apple juice
5 small (unpeeled) apples, sliced

Place pork chops in bottom of crock. In small bowl, combine honey, dijon, salt and pepper together. Pour over apples and onions; toss to coat. Place onions (& apples) (*see note)on top of chops in slow cooker. Add apple juice. Cook 4-5 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.(Note: May add apples after the first couple hours of cooking, so they will hold together better). If your chops are thin,cooking time will be reduced. We enjoy this dish served over rice. Yield:4-6 servings

APPLE CRISP PIZZA

Pastry for single crust pie (9-inch)
2/3 c. sugar
3 Tb. all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 medium gala apples, peeled and diced into 1/4" pieces
(use your favorite baking apple)

TOPPING:
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
(I like to add a little bit of grated fresh nutmeg too)
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350. Roll pastry to fit a 12"pizza pan; fold under or flute the edges. Combine sugar,flour and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add peeled, diced apples and toss. Arrange the apples in a single layer over the pie crust to completely cover it. Combine the first 5 topping ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the apples. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cut into pizza slices and serve warm with ice cream. Yield:10 - 12 pieces

Here's a couple of easy and delicious"Lighter Choices".



BUTTERSCOTCH APPLE MOUSSE



1 1/2 c. fat free (or 1%) milk

1 pkg. (4-serv.size) sugar free butterscotch pudding
1 large apple, peeled and chopped (honey crisp or gala)
1 1/2 c. fat free cool whip
1 pkg. sugar free Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
Mix milk and pudding in a mixing bowl for 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl and mix in chopped apple. Fold in whipped cream and top with chopped peanut butter cups. Chill and then serve.


HEALTHY BAKED OATMEAL


2 c. dry oatmeal

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 c. sugar or Splenda (or brown sugar)
1 c. fat free skim milk
1/2 c. Egg Beaters (or use egg whites) (I used 3 extra large egg whites)
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract or maple flavoring (I used 2 Tb. sugar free pancake syrup)
1 Tb. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8" square baking dish with cooking spray. In large (or medium) bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients, then stir the two together. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Yield: 6 servings

Would love to have you stop by the Leader office on Thursday, September 19, from 5-7 for my booksigning, if even just for a chat.