Autumn’s Best Cooked Apples

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Yummy Cooked Apples!

When Abby shared some of her favorite things of fall, I knew it was time for me to put a pot of apples on the stove.  Apples are plentiful this time of year in the United States.  Not only are they available at farmers markets but even the grocery stores are selling from new crops.

Cooked apples compliment a breakfast casserole, work perfectly as a brunch side dish,  or easily stand alone in a healthy and delicious “I need a snack” moment.


My sous chef dish-washing mom will happily clean-up a kitchen full of pots, pans, and bowls when there are apples simmering on the stove-top!

Truly, any type apples work in this recipe. With over 2,500 varieties in the U.S. alone, here is a short list of common choices.

Comparing Apples to Apples

This information came from All Recipes.com site.

Braeburn

Braeburns have a sweet-tart flavor, with a texture that remains firm when it’s baked. An all-purpose apple, it works well in pies and tarts where you don’t want the filling to be overly juicy.  For cooked apples, Braeburn works well but add a little extra water to begin.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Braeburn Apples

Photo by Meredith

Cortland

Cortlands are juicy and slightly tart, with bright red skin and snowy white flesh. They are a terrific baking apple: Use in pies, cobblers, and crisps. When sliced, Cortlands are excellent for salads and cheese plates, as the flesh doesn’t brown and discolor quickly.  Cortland works well for cooked apples because they stay pretty and white while cooking.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Cortland Apple

Photo by Meredith

Empire

Empires are a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious apples. Firm-textured and sweet-tart, the Empire is a fine all-purpose apple good for juice, sauce, pies, baking, salads, eating fresh, and drying.  I haven’t tried an Empire apple but will be looking for these next trip to the market.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Empire Apple

Photo by Meredith

Fuji

Firm, crisp, and juicy, Fuji apples are among the most popular apples for eating fresh, but they’re also great for baking, as they hold their shape when they cook. We love Fuji apples and use them in cooked apples and soon I will share a fabulous apple pie recipe made by my Sous Chef Dish-washing mom!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Fuji Apples

Photo by Meredith

Gala

A crisp, sweet apple with a mild flavor, Galas have yellow-orange skin with red striping. They’re best for salads, eating out-of-hand, applesauce, and pressing into cider.  Gala are a perfect apple to use in cooking apples. Really sweet!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Gala Apple

Photo by Meredith

Golden Delicious

The Golden Delicious is sweet, with a rich, mellow flavor. It is one of the best all-around cooking apples, as it maintains its shape after baking. I don’t use Golden Delicious much because they always seem too soft and I don’t want them mushy.  Maybe if they are super fresh they will cook well.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Golden Delicious Apples

Photo by Meredith

Granny Smith

One of the most popular tart apples, Granny Smiths are crisp and quite sour. They’re a good all-purpose cooking apple, and their flavor is enhanced when paired with sweeter, spicier apples in pies and crisps.  When using Granny Smith for this cooked apple recipe you will need to add a little extra water to begin.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Granny Smith Apples

Photo by Meredith

Honeycrisp

Developed in Minnesota and introduced fairly recently, Honeycrisps are fantastic eating apples. As the name indicates, they are crisp and juicy, with a honey-sweet and tart flavor. Honeycrisps are also good for baking and applesauce.  I adore Honeycrisp apples and highly recommend for cooked apples!

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Honeycrisp Apple

Photo by Meredith

Jonagold

A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, Jonagolds have a tangy-sweet flavor. With a yellow-green base and a blush stripe, is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Jonagold Apples

Photo by Meredith

Jonathan

Jonathans are quite tart, with a rich, slightly spicy apple flavor. They hold their shape well when baked. They are also good in salads and for applesauce.   Jonathan’s are a good apple to mix with a sweeter apple for rich cooked apples or chunky applesauce.

Best Apples for Baking and Cooking | Jonathan Apples

Photo by Meredith

I haven’t even scratched the surface of apple choices and you can find a few more here.  Mainly I want you to realize you can use whatever you have on hand.

Even though some apples are better suited for certain kinds of recipes than others, you don’t have to limit yourself to using just one kind of apple when you’re cooking or baking. Many cooks like to use a mixture of apples to get more complex flavors and textures.

If you’re buying apples during autumn’s apple season at farmers’ markets and specialty grocers, you have a better chance of finding regional and heirloom varieties. Be sure to ask the grower how they work in recipes!

I often cook these apples while making the rest of the breakfast.  A few minutes peeling and chunky apples and they can simmer until you are ready to put on the table.

One thing I know for sure — as soon as my Chief apple-loving husband and Sous Chef Dish-washing mom see this blog post they will be asking “when? soon? today?”  I can count on it.

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine


Autumn's Best Cooked Apples
 
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Uses for cooked apples can be as varied as types of apples available! Learning how to cook up a pot of apples will make this a go-to recipe when in a only-del replaceWithoutSep" id="193" data-gr-id="193">hurry, when planning a special breakfast or brunch, or just to cook up for the kids when they get home from school!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack!
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6 apples - your choice of variety - you can also mix and match for awesome flavors
  • water
  • 2 Tablespoons to ¼ cup brown sugar*
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Peel apples and cut in 1" chunks. Place in 2-3 quart saucepan.
  2. Cover bottom of a saucepan with ½" to 1" of water. If the apples are not a juicy variety, you may add more water as they cook.
  3. Sprinkle with spice.
  4. Cook over medium bringing to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Add sugar. Cook at least 10 to 15 minutes until apples are starting to release juice. Stir often. Stirring a bit briskly will mush the apples some and provide more of an "applesauce".
  5. Add more water if there is not enough juice released to cook the apples.
  6. Check taste for sweetness - sugar to taste. Add vanilla extract.
  7. Remove from stove, cool slightly, Enjoy!
Notes
* Apples can be sprinkled with Jack Daniels Whiskey or favorite bourbon before serving for an added kick of conversation!
* Spice can be varied to taste.
* Honey may be used in place of brown sugar.

Pumpkin Muffins and the Pumpkin Patch

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Who doesn't love fall?  If you don't, you can just leaf!  Okay, that pun was not my best.  But let's be honest, fall is arguably the best time of year.  It's finally cool enough to wear those cute sweaters, drink pumpkin lattes, and light cinnamon bun candles in every room! My nephew, Destin, just had his first birthday a few weeks ago, so my mom and I drove all the way to Oklahoma for his party.  Let me tell you, 12 hours is a LONG time to be in a car!  Unfortunately, my nephew probably won't remember that I was there,  so I made sure to get in the video.   Every little bit counts when you're competing for "favorite Aunt" status.My sister threw a perfectly sweet party at Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch.  We roasted smores, climbed hay bales, pet goats, and even got lost in a corn maze!  The adults had a great time, but honestly I think Destin's favorite thing was his new bouncy balls.  He's such an adorable little chunk!  Look at that face.  Yes, his cheeks are just as squishy as you are imagining them to be.We had a great week visiting with my sister, Anna.  I have to brag on her a little because she made some magazine-worthy meals while we were there.  I really enjoyed the delicious spaghetti squash pumpkin soup! Ever since that visit I've caught the disease. The fall fever.  The sweater spirit.  The pumpkin pox.  When it comes fall and winter, all I want to do is bake.  The only problem is that if I make it at my house, I'll eat everything!  So, at the coffee shop where I work, I made some acorn shaped pumpkin spice muffins with a maple glaze.  That would appease me.  I almost took some home to my family, but at the end of the day, I forgot.  The next morning I went to the gym like I normally do, and when I came home, the house smelled AMAZING!  To my surprise, when I walked in the kitchen, my dearest mother had made pumpkin muffins! She has made these muffins so many times for my brother and me.  They are my absolute favorite!  They are the perfect texture.  So moist, and delicious.  Sometimes she makes them with banana or applesauce instead of pumpkin.  I don't know which kind I like best... no wait, I do know. It's the ones with the chocolate chips! Those are my favorite. These muffins just make me feel warm inside.  Like snuggling up on the couch with a plaid blanket.  There's just something magical about them.  So, here's her recipe for pumpkin spice muffins.  I know first hand that these will make your family look forward to fall every year.  Enjoy!   Also,  you can follow my lovely mother on her blog at praiseyouinmystorm.wordpress.com Abby Hughes
Pumpkin Muffins
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
This versatile muffin is always a hit!
Author:
Serves: 24 medium muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pumpkin, bananas, or applesauce
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients.
  4. Stir flour mixture into liquid mixture just until combined.
  5. Scoop into greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake 15 minutes for mini muffins and 20 minutes for medium muffins.
Notes
Batter will keep in fridge for 4 days.

Undeserved and Unmerited Favor

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David and Catherine, May 2016

In June, after a 2-year battle with cancer my ex-husband, David Anderson passed away.  David and I married one month after I graduated from high school.  For 14 years we were married and  blessed with 2 sons.

Divorce was unchartered territory in David’s family and mine.  Through the years we stayed in touch.  A catch-up phone call here and there.  A visit with his mom in Colorado.  Family events and gatherings brought our paths to cross occasionally.  However, we lived in different parts of the country, and since he lived part-time in Mexico, even in different countries!

When he passed away friends and family asked me what I was going to do.  Was I traveling to Colorado for his celebration of life service?  I didn’t know.  Lee, my husband of 26 years let me know that he supported any decision I made about attending the service.  I was so torn.  David and I have a history and a shared love.  We were given two sons together.   We shared our life together for 14 years.  What is proper under the circumstances?  I truly didn’t know what to do so I Googled looking for an etiquette answer.  (Don’t judge – I really wanted to do the right thing but didn’t know what that was.)


Then the call came from my oldest son, “Mom, we want you here.”  Google answers aside, that is all I needed to hear.  I would go.  I would be there to support my sons and their families.  I would sit at the back. I would fade into the wall.  No one needs to know who I am.  My presence would be for my children, who had just lost their father.  After all, David had a lifetime full of friends I didn’t know, adventures I didn’t share, and a woman who had stood beside him for many years cared for him throughout his illness and loved him unconditionally.

David, Cory, and Chris, 1983

Arriving in Colorado the day before the service gave me time to spend with my sons, their wives, and my grandchildren.  We had an evening reminiscing fun memories, telling tales, and really loving on each other well.  It was exactly what David would have wanted for us.

When we arrived at the service I helped carry in flowers.  This is where my plan went awry.  As soon as I walked into the room David’s beloved Diane greeted me with open arms.  We had met before but this time was different.

Diane & David

Her face was lovely as she smiled through the grief and sadness of saying goodbye to her beloved.  Then she swept me through the room introducing me to other women and men who loved David.  Each one shared with me how they had met David and how he had affected their lives.  The service hadn’t even begun and yet I was gently folded into the beautiful landscape of David’s life.
As more and more people arrived the room filled.  The service was about to start.  I headed for the back row.  That is when Davida, David’s friend through the church,  grabbed my hand and took me towards the front row.  She said, “we want you here with your family and especially because we planned for your to speak, I mean, if you want to.”

Speak?  Me?  Every person in this room could speak of their life with David.  Everyone in the room had a connection to him and had meant something to him.  Me?  Speak?  I said a prayer as I took my seat between our sons.

grace
noun
1.  (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Unmerited favor.  I received a huge dose of unmerited favor that day and the days that would follow.  I didn’t deserve any seat of honor at the Celebration of Life service.  I didn’t deserve to share stories of David’s early life and our time together.  I didn’t even really deserve to be there and yet I was.

When I shared about my life with David, I told of the early years, a time when David was a rock star of the radio in the small town where we lived in Nebraska.  I shocked his friends who knew nothing of his time as a radio announcer, program director, and golden voice of the Nebraska radio airwaves.
I shared The Dash and encouraged those of us attending to take an introspective look at our own lives and the legacy we may each want to leave behind.   As I write today I am once again moved by the love and grace, truly unmerited favor I received that day.  It changed me.  The memory of that day is now a reminder for me to extend that same kind of love and grace wherever I can whenever I can.  I walked into the Celebration of Life Service a stranger to most and yet when I left I had experienced a powerful love between friends, family, and God.
For a good part of my life, I have claimed Romans 8:28 as my “life verse”.  You know, the scripture quote that seems to speak to you directly – the one that holds a very personal meaning for you.

What an awesome God we serve who can turn all things to good.  Thank you, Diane and friends, who extended to me, such undeserved love.  You have left a lovely mark on me.

~Blessings, Catherine

Sausage and Cheese Biscuit Cups

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Last week I was blessed and privileged to spend a few “retreat” days with ten incredible women of God.  These women have all been called by God to serve in the ministry of Community Bible Study and it was so evident to me that they each walk closely with God.  Wow, did we have an awesome experience!

Susan and Caryle setting up lunch!

It should be no surprise that I came home with RECIPES!  I mean really … women — retreat — eating – of course, we talked food!  If you have followed this blog very long you know I adore easy and delicious recipes!

Sausage & Cheese Biscuit Cups Ingredients

You are going to love, love, love this quick and easy breakfast treat!  Thank you, Susan, for sharing!  This recipe can be made with breakfast sausage, but Jimmy Dean fully cooked turkey sausage works so well.  It is 60% less fat than regular sausage and because it is fully cooked it makes the process so fast!


Grand biscuits work best because they are layered and can easily be split in half.  Half a biscuit fits best in each muffin tin.

A couple eggs, sausage, and cheese mixed together is the filling. Again, quick and easy!  I added pepper jack cheese to this batch of biscuits and it was fantastic!

This treat ends up flaky, cheesy and packed with flavor!  Looking at this picture I want to make them again soon. 🙂

With the addition of cooked apples (recipe coming soon), my sous-chef dish-washing mom was especially pleased!

Thank you to my sweet sisters-in-Christ for the fun, loving, Christ-centered time we spent together.  More recipes to come!

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

Sausage and Cheese Biscuit Cups
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick! Make these ... they are warm, cheesy, and oh so delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast and Brunch
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup Pepperjack cheese shredded (Optional)
  • I package Jimmy Dean turkey sausage (or 1 lb. sausage, cooked, crumbled, and drained)
  • 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ refrigerated biscuits (choose any of the Grands)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 16 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, mix eggs, cheese, and sausage.
  3. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; pull apart each biscuit in half, place half a biscuit in each muffin tin, smoothing the dough covering the entire cup.
  4. Fill each cup with egg, cheese, sausage mixture.
  5. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are cooked through. Cool in pan 2 minutes. Run knife or metal spatula around edges of cups; remove.
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
Turkey Sausage works great but you can also use cooked breakfast sausage, drained well.

 

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