GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There's nothing better than biting into a crisp Michigan Apple during the fall.
Michigan is the third largest producer of apples in the US, and we have more than 14.9 million apple trees in commercial production on 775 family-run orchards.
Eating Michigan apples supports local families!
Shari Steinbach is the nutrition & culinary consultant with Michigan Apples, she's sharing some healthy apple recipes for fall:
Apple & Almond Green Smoothie – What a delicious way to support your health and immune system! Makes 2 servings
2 cups lightly packed spinach 2 Gala apples, cored and roughly chopped ½ cup apple juice 3 tablespoons almond butter 1 cup ice
Directions: Put spinach in blender, then put apples, apple juice and almond butter on top of spinach; blend 1 minute or until smooth. Add ice and blend 30 seconds until smooth. Serve immediately.
Apple, Cranberry Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
5 ounces (about 5 cups) spring greens salad blend
2 small Michigan Apples (Gala, Jonagold, Ida Red, Honey Crisp)
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh apple cider 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt Sprinkle of ground clove to taste 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup canola oil
1. Make the dressing: In a jar, shake together all ingredients (except oil) until sugar is dissolved. Add oil and mix well before serving. (Refrigerate any extra dressing for up to one week.)
2. Slice the apples and place in diluted lemon juice for a few minutes to prevent browning. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Place greens in a large serving bowl. Top with sliced apples, dried cranberries and pepitas. Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad.
3. Drizzle the salad with just enough dressing to lightly coat the green (you probably won’t need all of it). Gently toss to mix all of the ingredients and serve.
Baked Squash with Apples & Chicken Sausage - Winter squash and Michigan Apples are so good for you and they pair deliciously in this recipe that includes brown rice and chicken sausage. All you need to complete this meal is a prepared green salad. Makes 4 hearty servings.
Note: The squash can be stuffed ahead and baked later in the day and this recipe can easily be cut in half if needed. (Michigan Apple suggestions: Braeburn, Cortland, Empire, Gala, Ida Red)
2 medium-sized acorn squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
3 links precooked apple-chicken sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 small Michigan Apples, cored, peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded park skim mozzarella cheese, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling on top)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve squash from stem to point and scoop out the pulp. (Note: to make the squash easier to cut, pierce with a knife and microwave for 2 minutes first).
2. Drizzle baking pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then place squash cut side down on pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until squash is tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Mix cooked onions with sausage, apples, brown rice, thyme, sage, pepper and cheese in a large bowl.
4. Scoop out all but 1/2 inch of flesh from each squash half. Place squash in the bowl with the sausage mixture and blend well. Divide stuffing between the 4 squash shells, packing firmly and mounding slightly to fit. Top with additional cheese and place on a baking sheet.
5. Return pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 470, Fat: 19.8g, Carbohydrate: 57g, Protein: 20g, Fiber: 12.6g, Sodium: 701mg
Caramel Apple Pie Bites – These little bite-sized servings are perfect for a fall or holiday celebration.
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce pkg. frozen puff pastry sheets
(1 sheet), thawed
1-1/2 cups finely chopped Michigan Apples
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10 caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons half-and-half
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
Sea salt flakes
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry sheet. Roll pastry into a 15x10-inch rectangle; cut into twenty-four 2-1/2-inch squares. Using a mini muffin cup pan, fit each square into each cup.
2. Stir together apples, sugar and cinnamon. Spoon mixture evenly into the puff pastry-lined cups. Bake about 15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Carefully remove bites from pan.
3. While the bites cook, heat and stir caramels and cream over very low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle bites with caramel sauce and sprinkle with pecans. Add a bit of sea salt and serve immediately.