Tag Archives: apples

Sausage stuffed baked apples

I would guess it’s pretty obvious, but I seriously love cooking. I mean, I go though those periods where I’m ready to throw in the dish towel and swear we’re only eating out from now on. Himself does try to help, but I imagine it’s about the same as me offering to build us a bookshelf. Not gonna happen.

Really though, what can be more magical than looking at disparate ingredients in your fridge and creating something amazing. Especially when it comes together with exactly no effort. Though not for the blog, that’s exactly what happened yesterday – some olives, a little (brand name) olive marinade, chicken breasts, leftover flatbread, all topped with tzatziki sauce. Put those ingredients together and we had a Greek feast.

I’ve still had that weirdo relationship with food ever since that plague-like episode with the stomach virus, so getting excited about a dish is a pretty fantastic occurrence here. And then to have not one, but two dishes I want to devour (besides bread and cheese that is), well then, that’s really saying something about those dishes.

The second of those dishes is these sausage stuffed apples. I know, they’re really more of a fall dish, but it’s cold enough up her this week, that I don’t feel a bit bad about sharing this. And before you say something silly about sausage and apples not going together, I bet you’d eat a sweet, nutty acorn squash stuffed with sausage, so there.

You can make this with any kind of sausage, but I was busy turning what was already in my fridge into awesome, and so I used hot and spicy pork sausage links. And we are talking serious heat here, my friends. Put that with the bite of the ginger and you have something I want to put in my mouth. Mmmmm. You should totally put this in your mouth too!

Enjoy!

Sausage stuffed apples

Sausage stuffed baked apples

(adapted from Morning Food: Breakfast, Brunches and More for Savoring the Best Part of the Day)

4 tart apples
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
4 ounces cooked sausage, crumbled or chopped (4 oz = appx 6 links)
¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Chopped green onions to garnish

Preheat oven to 275º. Wash and core the apples. Using a paring knife, enlarge the cored hole, until the remainder of the apple is about ½-¾ inches thick. Fold a 6-inch square of aluminum foil around the bottom of the apple. This will hold filling mixture in place.

Finely chop the insides of the apple you just removed. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add apple and ginger and cook 3 minutes.

Add sausage to apple and ginger mixture. Place cored apples in 8×8 pan and fill with sausage mixture. Cover pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and top each apple with cheese and onions. Return to oven uncovered until cheese melts. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Apple & lime cake

Oooof. Yup, that about sums up my week thus far. But today marks a rad turning point. This week has been filled with so much awesome (and one less than awesome), but I have a deep, dark secret. Someone might have a wee little (hah!) issue with anxiety.

Who knows what the turning point was, but after feeling like I needed to hide in a hole all week, suddenly today, there was just this sudden moment where I felt GREAT! It surely doesn’t hurt that all week people have been telling me how awesome I am, and admiring my skillz.

All the skillz except walking, that is. Someone may have ended up first on her behind and then secondly in the ER. I’m fine, but I took a tumble and landed on my wrist. Having broken the same wrist almost two years ago to the day (!!!), when it started to swell and bruise in that old familiar way, I hightailed it to the ER. A couple of x-rays and a few tears later, I just have a nasty sprain.

And not to get all gushy on you guys here, but Himself is pretty much the best ever. Despite being one-handed, my to-do list has been long enough for two people. He’s stepped up to the plate and helped with nearly each and every one. So here’s his reward. A delicious apple & lime cake. Made in adorable bundt pans.

Who doesn’t heart things in a miniature shape? I swear it totally makes it taste better. There’s no other excuse for why Himself and I both inhaled our respective pieces. Oh, it could also be the amazing flavor combination of apple and lime. So, if you’re not in possession of adorable, miniature bundt pans, you can still savor the deliciousness.

Enjoy!

Apple lime cake

Apple & lime cake

Adapted from the Perfect Baking cookbook

Cake:
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
5 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
⅔ cup applesauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 egg, lightly beaten

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 – 2 tablespoons lime juice
½ – ¾ teaspoon lime rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a deep 7-inch round cake pan or two 6-cup bundt pans.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add applesauce, lime juice, and egg, and mix thoroughly. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Spoon batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cake cool slightly before turning out onto baking rack to cool completely.

When cake has cooled completely, prepare glaze. Adjust lime juice and rind to your preferred intensity of lime flavor. Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over top of cake.

Apple and pear bread pudding

How do you warm a foodie’s heart? Himself has made a pretty good start. Huddled against the biting, snow swirled wind yesterday afternoon, I reached my icy hands into our cavernous mailbox and pulled out not one, but two, brightly colored foodie magazines. Someone knows me quite well and just added Saveur to my foodie subscriptions. Cold weather be damned, I’m immersing myself in pictures dripping with garden fresh veggies and the brightest citrus flavors. What, what was that? Oh don’t mind me, I’m just lost to the world over here.

It’s a good thing I finally cleaned up and organized all the recipes I’d already saved from my foodie magazines, because I just dog eared both these magazines. I mean the latest Saveur is all about grapefruit recipes, and we’ve already been over my recent obsession with citrus.

That citrus obsession continues with this bread pudding recipe. It’s from the humblest of ingredients, stale bread, too many eggs, fruit in the freezer that I wanted to use, but put them all together and they become something worthy enough for any foodie. Before we get to the recipe though, let’s talk about my BFF relationship with my chest freezer. Like any good country gal, I adore my chest freezer. My adoration for this appliance has soared to new heights as the temperatures plummeted to new lows. Reaching into a frosty freezer to find dinner is far better than heading out to my frosty car. My new BFF has totally encouraged my thriftiness too. Don’t worry, I’m not here for a lecture, but ever since my nifty-thrifty friend Joanna pointed out how much money is wasted on food ($2,200 per family per year!), I’ve wanted to save a little of that money for myself.

Enter the apples and pears in this bread pudding. Back in November, I bought up the last of the season’s peak pears and apples. And I bought A. Lot. So much that we couldn’t make our way through them, though I gave it my best shot. So I cooked up the fruit with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon, sauteing them in the littlest amount of butter until they were just slightly softened, but not anywhere near mushy. Let them cool, popped ‘em in some freezer bags, and let them chill away until inspiration struck.

That said, you probably don’t have fruit languishing in your freezer right now, but you could substitute any firm prepacked frozen fruit (thaw it first!) in the recipe, or just cook up your fresh apples and pears. Just avoid the mush or their glory will get lost in the pudding. You want these babies to shine!

However you decide to go with the fruit, do not wait to make this recipe. Nifty-thrifty Joanna would be so proud!

Enjoy!

Apple and pear bread pudding

Apple and pear bread pudding

Adapted from The Kitchn’s Sweet Bread Pudding

butter, to butter pan with
5 cups stale bread cut into cubes
2 cups half and half
½ cup 2% milk
4 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
pinch of salt
1 ½ cup cooked apples or pears or a mix of both
¼ cup raisins, optional

Butter bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch pan. Place bread pieces evenly in pan. Sprinkle bread with apples and pear mixture. If using, sprinkle a layer of raisins on top of the apples and pears.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt. Pour mixture over bread and fruit. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

At least 15 minutes before baking, remove pan from fridge and allow to approach room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake bread pudding for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with whipped cream or just as its own delicious self.

Apple upside-down pancake

I told you all earlier that due to some technical difficulties, I’ve been off work all week. Well, it ended up being a little longer than a week. I was sort of tied to the house to work with IT if necessary and await deliveries. And then all of the sudden I realized, this was like having one great big, long snow day, and I loved it. On a snow day, my coffee still brews at the same time, and I still haul myself out of bed, but then there’s oodles of time for me to fill. And fill it I did, with baking, with recipes, with needlepoint. This gal was in heaven. Warm cups of coffee, cold blustery weather outside, sunshine streaming in the windows, wildlife bounding through the snow. Sounds pretty perfect, right? That said, I’m pretty excited to be back to work tomorrow. Down time isn’t always paid time.

But snow days make me think of comfort food, and comfort food makes me think of breakfast for dinner. When we were growing up, I loved it when my brother and I got to spend the night at our cousins’ house. Running around being the queen of four little boys, what wasn’t to love? But then when we woke up, my aunt Linda would often make this amazing oven pancake with the syrup on the bottom where it could get all gooey and extra buttery. Mmmmm, my mouth waters just thinking of it. I fondly remember this pancake and so when I was thinking of ways to add apples into my everyday pancakes, this recipe sprang to mind. If you’re feeling indulgent, it’s a nice treat.

This is not your typical oven pancake. There’s none of the eggy poooof that you’re expecting. Nope, if you’re trying to imagine it, think pancake + pineapple upside-down cake, but with apples.

Enjoy!

Apple upside-down pancake

Apple upside-down pancake

Topping:
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup diced apples
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or if you have my favorite – Penzey’s cake spice

Pancake:
1 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
⅔ cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan combine all topping ingredients and cook until apples are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 8×8 pan, making sure apples are distributed evenly.

In a medium bowl mix pancake ingredients together. Carefully pour over apple and syrup mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Apple butterscotch bars

It’s been a slow news week here in Jessica-land. We’ve just been working at our respective jobs, getting ready for winter, and enjoying each other’s company and the amazing place in which we live. And you know what, it may not be the most exciting week ever, but it’s just what I needed. With another string of rainy days, I’ve had plenty of time to dig away at the unpacking and organizing, not to mention all the time in the world for curling up with some library books. In my mind, there’s not much better way to relax than with a cup of tea and a good book on that lovely, four-season porch. But, I’m in the home stretch with the home organization now. All we have left is unpacking and hanging pictures. It’s really starting to feel like home. I know, hearing that you guys are going to be clamoring for pictures again, but I really want everything to be perfect before I invite you all inside for the grand tour.

Luckily, these rainy days have also given me time to get some baking in. I’m still working my way through all the apples I bought at the farmers’ market. I still can’t say no to a fresh, organic apple. I already confessed my inability to pass up the apples, but I’ve got another confession for you. First, you have to promise not to hate.

Ok, here goes. I don’t really care for butterscotch. At. All. Himself thinks that’s just crazy talk, and I know many of you would agree. That said, I can’t get enough of these bars. The sweetness of butterscotch, which to me is usually a little cloying, is balanced by the tartness of the apples. And then bars, it is just such a loose term, I know. But these are somewhere between a cake and a blondie. They’re just airy enough that I can’t properly call them blondie, but cake-y, blondie, or bar, they are just plain delicious.

Enjoy!

Apple butterscotch bars

Apple butterscotch bars

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup diced apples
½ cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamed, add egg and vanilla. Mix well. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter and sugar mixture. Mix well. Add apples and butterscotch chips. Mixture will be thick. Pat into greased 8×8 pan. Bake 17-20 minutes until lightly golden on top.

Store in refrigerator.

Squash and apple gratin

The fall harvest is starting to show up everywhere, and I have a confession to make about it. I just cannot pass up winter squash or apples at this time of the year. I’ll open my refrigerator and suddenly find that I’m inundated with squash and apple. But then I’ll find myself passing by the farmers’ market or grocery store, or one of those rad roadside farm stands, and I just can’t help myself. It’s the only time of the year that I succumb to something like this, but guys, it’s bad.

So, what was I to do, but try to combine both the apples and squash in a casserole? It was the only answer, really. The sharp cheddar cheese is important. The flavors of the cheese and apple, bring the squash to the next level. Don’t mess around with those medium cheddars, they can’t stand up to this job. Save ‘em for your sandwiches and crackers.

So even if you take away nothing else from this post, I have to share this tip with you. I heard it a couple a years ago, and have been using it since. We all know winter squash is a right pain to cut. So here’s the trick, take a sharp knife and pierce the squash several times, then pop it in the microwave for two, maybe three minutes. Let it cool slightly, then slice it up. Easy, breezy.

And now back to that gratin. This recipe is adapted from an old Betty Crocker side dish cookbook for Squash and Cranberry Gratin, but is a little sweet to my taste, though I love the mix of squash and cranberry. You can expect to see those flavors in the near future.

Enjoy!

Squash and apple gratin

Squash and apple gratin

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Squash and Cranberry Gratin

3 cups winter squash (1 large-ish squash)
⅔ cup finely chopped tart apple (1 medium apple)
½ medium onion chopped
3 Tbsp butter, melted, divided
Salt and pepper to taste, be generous
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 teaspoon ground sage
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pierce squash several times with sharp knife. Microwave whole squash for 2 minutes. This will make the squash easier to cut. Cut squash into fourths and remove seeds. Place cut sides down in a microwave safe dish, cover and microwave until tender, about 14 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Discard squash seeds and scoop squash into a medium bowl, mix in apples, onions, garlic, sage and 2 Tbsp melted butter. Press into lightly greased casserole dish. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese over squash and then top cheese with panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Apple pear cardamom crumble

There’s no doubt, fall is on it’s way. We woke up to the first frost on Monday. It’s hard to mourn the end of summer when fall is just so beautiful, though. The brush surrounding the creek bed was all tipped in white, mist was rolling in, and the aspens shivered in their coats of gold. What’s not to like about that?

Fall is my very favorite time of year. The days are still warm enough to get outside, and the nights cool  enough to cuddle with a loved one under a blanket. Or just curl up in a big lounge chair outside, with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and a fantastic book. See, fall  is pretty awesome.

By this weekend, we should have the chimney cleaned and will be able to finally enjoy the fireplace too. Yeah, I know, for many people, fall is just the harbinger of winter. I get that, I dug out and washed all the sweaters in the house yesterday, but there’s always a trade right? Plus cuddly sweaters, can’t be beat. And I finally get to turn my oven back on for some serious baking. So, bring on the fall!

The flavors of fall can’t be beat either. Apples and winter squash made their debut at the farmers market last week. That first crisp, fresh off the tree, apple of the fall is the best tasting thing around. Until I figured out this apple pear cardamom crumble, that is. Even as I write this, I find myself craving another taste of it. Yup, gotta do it, you can wait a sec for me, right?

Ooooh, that is good. Unlike most apple crisps, this one holds it’s crisp to day two. Not that there’s going to much left on day two, not much at all.

I used State Fair apples, which were very small and very tart. Be sure to choose a tart apple, as the topping is very sweet. When chopping the apples and pears, remember the smaller they’re cut, the softer they’ll get. Mine were about a ½ inch dice, and so ended up nice and soft. If you want a crisper crumble, just increase the size. And lastly, if cardamom is not your thing (as if!), you can substitute cinnamon, but use about half the amount.

Apple Pear Cardamom CrumbleApple pear cardamom crumble

3 cups chopped pears (about 3 large pears)
3 cups cups chopped tart apples (about 9 small apples)
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp cardamom
Topping:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1-1/2 cup crushed graham crackers (about 1 sleeve)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples and pears together, and place in a non-stick 8×8 pan. Drizzle apples and pears with melted butter, sugar, and cardamom. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix butter, flour, brown sugar, and cardamom until crumbly. Add crushed grahams. Sprinkle mixture over apple and pear mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until graham topping begins to brown Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream, or enjoy all on its own!

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