Great Ideas for a Bushel of Apples

You stopped by a roadside stand and picked up a fresh bushel of apples, now what do you do? Here are some fun ideas to use up every last delicious bite!

  1. Make a Brown Bag Apple Pie (my favorite).
  2. Turn some into enchanting tea lights for a fall party.
  3. Bake mini individual apple pies in their own shell.
  4. Make easy, delicious Peanut Butter Apple Crisp.
  5. Baked apple chips are a healthy snack for lunches.
  6. Make Shrunken Apple Head decorations for Halloween.
  7. Bake up a batch of Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars.
  8. Make some Crockpot Apple Butter and spread it on toast.
  9. Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bread makes a perfect breakfast.
  10. Make your own applesauce and can it to enjoy all winter.
  11. Make Apple, Baby Kale and Turkey Quesadillas.
  12. Apple Cheddar Scones are delicious with a cup of soup or tea.
  13. Spiced Apple Cider Sangria is the perfect drink for your autumn get togethers.
  14. Baked Apple Cider Donuts are delicious and, did I mention, baked!
  15. You’ll never be the same after making Apple Brownies.
  16. Start the morning with a Baked Apple Smoothie.
  17. Two words: Apple Fritters. Enough said.
  18. Apple Pie Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars – that’s a mouthful! And I want one!
  19. How about some Apple Walnut Pull-Apart Bread on a crisp fall afternoon?
  20. A healthy side dish of Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples is perfect with dinner.
  21. Enjoy a savory dinner of Roast Pork with Apples.
  22. Is there anything more festive than a homemade caramel apple in the fall?
  23. I can’t stop thinking about Seared Salmon with Caramelized Apples.
  24. Apple Coconut Pudding is a healthy and delicious treat.
  25. Apple Pie Fries give regular fries a run for their money.

What are your favorite apple ideas?

Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Roasted Chickpeas
Looking for a salty snack on Halloween? These crispy roasted chickpeas with Moroccan spices are just the thing to have on hand when you’re bombarded with buckets of sugar. It’s the perfect snack to balance out your Halloween sweet tooth! Pop them one at a time, by the handful or sprinkled on a delicious salad. These spicy, nutty, salty snacks are going to become your new favorite!

Roasted Chickpeas

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste
dried parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly rinse and drain chickpeas, then pat dry  and spread out on a baking sheet. Mix all spices (except for salt) in a small bowl. Drizzle oil over chickpeas and toss to get them covered in oil. Sprinkle spices all over chickpeas and toss until completely covered, then salt liberally. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until browning and rattling in the pan when shaken. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with parsley. Serve warm or room temperature.

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Pumpkin Pie Cookies
I love pumpkin pie and I love cookies, so this pumpkin pie cookie is the perfect hybrid for the season. Flakey, sugary pie crust enveloping velvety pumpkin pie filling—it’s a lovely little treat to make and share. Prepare these for Halloween with jack-o-lantern faces, or as pumpkins for Thanksgiving, or any other way you like.

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

1 batch of perfect pie crust (or a store bought crust)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk

1/8 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk, cream and sugar together. Add the egg mixture to the pumpkin mixture and combine thoroughly. On a floured surface, roll out pie crust to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and cut individual shapes. You’ll need two for each cookie. Use a sharp paring knife to cut vents or shapes into half of the pumpkin shapes. Place solid pumpkin shapes on a prepared cookie sheet. In a small bowl, whisk an egg yolk with water to create an egg wash. Brush some of the egg wash around the perimeter of the base of the solid  pumpkins. Place a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling in the center of the pumpkin shape. Place the vented top crust of the cookie on top, matching up the edges. Seal the two crusts together with a little bit of pressure around the perimeter. Brush a thin layer of egg wash over the entire surface of the top crust and sprinkle the entire top liberally with sugar. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and top crust is bubbly. Makes 8-12 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

HINT: Wouldn’t these be ideal as Thanksgiving placeholders? You could carve each person’s initials into each cookie!

Recipe: Walking Tacos

Mrs. Fields Secrets Walking Taco
Today’s recipe is one of my favorite party foods for fall. Whether you’re planning an evening bonfire or tailgating before the big game, this recipe is incredibly delicious and easy, great for outdoor get togethers and best of all—no plates required! Using individual bags of corn chips as the serving vessel, add your toppings to the bag and you’ve got a pseudo taco salad that is completely portable. The foil-lined bag actually helps to keep the meat and cheese warm, keeping each bite fresh and delicious no matter the temperatures outside!

Walking Tacos

12 individual serving size bags of corn chips
1 pound ground beef
1 large can chili
2 cups Velveeta cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons hot sauce

toppings
guacamole
diced tomatoes
sliced olives
sour cream
cilantro

Directions
In a large frying pan, brown ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Drain fat and add chili. Cut Velveeta cheese into cubes and place in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add milk and hot sauce and stir frequently until melted and smooth. For serving, open a bag of corn chips and add a generous scoop of the chili mixture on top of the chips inside. Top with a drizzle of melted cheese and desired toppings, then serve with a fork. Makes 12 tacos.

HINT: For an outdoor party, use slow cookers to keep chili and cheese warm for serving.

Recipe: Basic Cheesecake

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cheesecake

Cheesecake does not need to be an intimidating dessert to make. It’s actually not very hard at all as long as you have two very important things: the right baking pan and  patience. A springform pan is an absolute necessity and worth a small investment if you’re a cheesecake lover. The patience you already have inside yourself. You want time to make, bake and chill your cheesecake with no rushing. That’s how you end up with the wonderfully fluffy texture. Make your cheesecake the day before you need it and allow it to fully chill overnight. Trust me, it’s worth the wait. Are you ready to get started?

Cheesecake

graham cracker crust
6 tablespoons sugar
3 cups broken graham cracker pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted

Liberally butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the sugar and graham crackers in a food processor until you have a fine crumb. Slowly drizzle the butter in until well combined. If needed, add more butter until all of the crumbs are moist. Press into the bottom of the pan.

cheesecake
4 eggs, separated
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use a mixer to beat the egg yolks until light and lemon colored. Add the cream cheese, lemon juice, zest and sugar and beat until combined. Add sugar and whip until thick and fluffy in texture. Sprinkle flour on top and give a quick mix to incorporate. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are opaque and hold a soft peak. Use a spatula to carefully fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture to gently incorporate without over mixing. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and place the pan inside a larger baking dish such as a roasting pan or larger casserole dish. Add warm water to the baking pan to come within an inch of the top of the springform pan. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cheesecake is just set  and is very lightly browned, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and take the springform pan outside of the water bath to cool at least 30 minutes before removing it. Then, allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring it to the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.

HINT: Top your cheesecake with your favorite fruit pie filling, ganache or fresh berries.

Chicken Series: Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole

Mrs. Field Secrets Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
Get your taste buds revved and ready for this delicious chicken dinner, part of our Chicken Series (try Spicy Honey Chicken and Cheesy BBQ Chicken too). This is our third installment to get you out of a dinner rut and this Jalapeño Popper Chicken will do just that! If you’re a sucker for jalapeño poppers as an appetizer, you’ll love this dish. It’s got all the great Tex Mex flavors you love with a rich, creamy cheese sauce on top. My family loves this meal served nacho-style over chips, but you could try it over rice or even noodles. It could also work as a great party dip!

Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole
adapted from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 jalapeño peppers, diced (keep some seeds, according to your preferred spice level)
2 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced (seeds removed)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
4 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
4 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups sharp white cheddar, shredded
3/4 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for serving
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté onion, jalapeño and garlic in oil until tender and translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Add chopped chicken and cook until browned on all sides, then stir in corn and tomatoes. Butter a 9×13 baking pan. Add the chicken mixture and evenly spread out and top with 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips. In a large heavy-duty saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat, stir in flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Slowly whisk in milk, turn up heat and bring to a simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese and stir until completely melted then remove from heat (reserving 1/2 cup for topping). Pour cheese sauce over top of the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining tortilla chips and cheese over the top. Bake 40-45 minutes. Serve over chips, rice or noodles!

Chicken Series: Spicy Honey Chicken

Mrs. Fields Secrets Spicy Honey Chicken
We’re helping you climb out of your regular dinner rut with our chicken series, and today’s recipe is just about guaranteed to become a family favorite! This Spicy Honey Chicken recipe is easy to throw together on a weeknight, but tasty enough to serve at your weekend dinner party. Chop it up on a salad, serve it over rice, or stick it in between two slices of your favorite bread. It’s spicy enough to keep it exciting, and sweet enough to put a smile on your face. This is best cooked on an outside grill (the glazing process gets very smoky), but you can cook it however you like. Give it a try!

Spicy Honey Chicken
adapted slightly from Our Best Bites

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons canola oil

Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Glaze
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Garnish
1 ripe mango, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Directions
Combine all rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Heat grill or cooking source. Trim excess fat from chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Drizzle canola oil over chicken and use your hands to coat it evenly. Sprinkle the rub over all the chicken and toss it together to get it evenly coated. Add chicken to the hot grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. While the chicken is cooking, heat the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds to thin the texture. Whisk in the apple cider vinegar, then reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the glaze for serving. Brush the rest of the glaze on the chicken during the last minutes of cooking. (Get ready for a lot of smoke!) Flip the chicken over and glaze the other size thoroughly. Remove from grill and top with mango, green onion and reserved glaze.

HINT: This recipe works with chicken breasts, but is MUCH better with dark thigh meat. Trust me.

Chicken Series: Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cheesy BBQ Chicken If you’ve found yourself in a dinner rut, this series is just for you! We’ve got three fun chicken recipes to kickstart your creativity in the kitchen. This chicken recipe is a perfect transition recipe from summer into fall—bright, fresh flavors plus all the benefits of warm comfort foods. It’s just as perfect for a Wednesday night dinner as a Sunday afternoon football watch party. Savory grilled chicken slathered in tangy barbecue sauce and topped with melted smokey cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, fresh tomatoes and green onions. It’s a masterful mouthful!

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp, smokey cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 cups honey barbecue sauce
6 deli rolls
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare chicken breasts by pounding flat until each breast is an even half-inch thick. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then cook until just done, either on the grill or pan fried. Cut chicken into large pieces that will fit the deli rolls. Prepare a cookie sheet with crumpled aluminum foil and place chicken on top. Liberally coat each piece of chicken with the barbecue sauce, followed by the cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles, tomatoes and green onions. Heat in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve chicken on fresh deli rolls. Makes six sandwiches.

HINT: This is also a great recipe for leftover chicken, or rotisserie chicken. Speeds things up even faster!

HINT: Instead of a sandwich, serve this with rice or potatoes for a more formal meal.

Breakfast Brain Foods

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brain Foods for Breakfast
The difference between a good day and a great day can be a smart breakfast, packed full of vitamins and nutrients that will keep your brain alert all day long. Trade in starches, carbs and sugar for some of these delicious high-powered alternatives:

  • Yogurt parfait with plain Greek yogurt (protein), walnuts (omega-3s), and fresh berries (antioxidants) with a small drizzle of honey
  • Omelet (protein) cooked in olive oil with fresh tomatoes (antioxidant) and spinach (iron and fiber)
  • Fresh smoothie made with Greek yogurt (protein), fresh bananas (potassium), berries (antioxidants) and a spoonful of flax seed (fiber)
  • Homemade granola (fiber)  with fresh peaches (antioxidants)
  • Fresh muesli (flavanoids, fiber, protein) topped with fresh berries (antioxidants) and bananas (potassium).
  • Lox (protein and omega-3s) on whole grain toast (fiber) with a small smear of cream cheese
  • Breakfast cookies loaded with bran cereal and flax seeds (fiber), carrots (vitamin A), cranberries (antioxidants) and walnuts (omega-3s)

Try them out and see the difference!

Recipe: Rainbow Lunch Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Rainbow Lunch
Looking for creative ways to make your sack lunches more interesting and healthy? I’m loving the idea of rainbow lunches, which is small servings of a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins. The naturally occurring colors in foods like red peppers and purple grapes are related to special properties associated with those foods. The theory works this way: a colorful plate means a well-balanced and super-nutritious meal! This meal containing sliced red peppers, cubed sharp cheddar cheese, purple grapes, pink smoked ham, green snap peas with yellow hummus and sweet-and-spicy brown almonds (recipe below) is chock full of flavor, texture, vitamins, antioxidants and protein. Plus, it’s fun to eat with your hands (for kids or adults)!

This is just one example of a rainbow lunch. You can easily adapt this idea for every season and region. The key is a rainbow of colors, fresh as possible, and small portions, avoiding “beige” foods filled with carbs and processed chemicals. Take the kids with you to the grocery store and have them pick out a rainbow of foods to put in their lunches. Encourage them to be adventurous and creative and they’re likely to start trying a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.

Check out this helpful info graphic for more inspiration:

These sweet and spicy almonds are the perfect lunch box fare. Make a batch and grab a handful for each meal!

Sweet and Spicy Almonds
from Martha Stewart

2 1/2 cups unblanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook honey and water with olive oil, stirring, until combined, 1 minute. Add almonds; toss to coat. Transfer nuts to sugar mixture (do not scrape extra glaze into bowl); toss to coat. Cool in a single layer.

HINT: Store these almonds in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

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