Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apples, More than Apple Pie

 
According to the calendar, it's fall.  According to the temperature, it's fall. 

For me, when fall rolls around, it's time to cook heartier dishes.  I want to cuddle up with warm food.  Turning on the oven means I don't have to turn on the heat.  Killing two birds with one stone.

Last week my local newspaper ran an article on the health benefits of apples.  If you need more reasons to eat apples here are few.
  • They are low in calories.  A medium size apple has only 80 calories.  They contain no fat or sodium.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C. 
  • About half of the fiber in apples is in the peel.  An apple with the peel contains about 3.3 grams of fiber, whereas, one without the peel has about 1.7 grams of fiber.  Applesauce and apple juice contain even less fiber.
  • Consumed whole, apples are a convenient and mess free snack. 
It seems that when we think of apples, we immediately think of pie, crisp and maybe applesauce.  That's too bad.  Apples work well in savory dishes.  They are a nice accompaniment go meats such as, pork and chicken.  Give them a try.

I decided to pair apples with sweet potatoes for an easy fall side dish.  Apples play a supporting role in this dish.  Stay tuned, we will cook apples again.  In the meantime, try this recipe for candied sweet potatoes with apples.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Apples

Serves 4. 

Ingredients:

cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons water or apple juice
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pound sweet potatoes, about 3 medium
1 large apple
¼ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions:

1.  In a small saucepan combine, brown sugar, water or apple juice, butter, and cinnamon.  Heat on low heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts.

2.  Coat a two-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

3.  Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Wash and core apple.  Cut into 12 wedges.  Layer apple and sweet potato slices in baking dish.  Pour sugar mixture over apple  and sweet potato slices.  Cover with lid or foil. 

4.  Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for about 45 minutes.  Remove covering and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Top with pecans and serve.

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