Brown butter cinnamon apples with walnuts

Cinnamon apples

I don’t always have my stuff together.

As much as I’d love to be the sort of person who preps meals for the week on Sundays, moving deftly through the kitchen wielding a knife and storage containers, it just never seems to happen. I can’t blame being busy for this; I mean, we’re all busy. The truth? I just don’t make the time.

In an effort to attack our grotesque grocery bills, though, I’m trying to get better about meal planning — and limiting the number of dinners and lunches we eat out. I started keeping a budget sheet at the beginning of September just to get an idea of where our funds are going, and it’s definitely been enlightening.

Apples

Where am I going with all this? Using up. Consolidation. Waste not, want not. When Spence grabs the big bag of apples at the grocery store for $5, I look at them warily . . . because until recently, most of them went into the garbage. They’d go bad before we’d have a chance to eat them — and having to toss money (er, food) into the trash feels awful.

I noticed quite a few of the apples on our kitchen table were getting to the end of their shelf life yesterday . . . so I did what any budget-conscious lady would do: I hurried up and cooked them. With a little inspiration from the Food Network, I whipped up some pan-fried apples that tasted delicious and soothed my guilty conscious.

Spencer happily declared that they “taste like fall,” too, so there’s that.

You know I’m all about that.

This dish comes together quickly, uses ingredients you probably already have on hand and would be a great alternative to a more traditionally sugary dessert. The result is a warm, tasty side — but if you’re feeling bold, you could certainly add brown sugar or up the amount of walnuts. Despite all that butter in there, I was trying to err on the side of healthy.

You win some, you lose some.



Brown butter cinnamon apples with walnuts

Ingredients:
Six medium red apples, cored and diced
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Pinch of salt

In a medium-sized skillet, add butter and cook over medium-high heat until melted. When the butter turns a golden brown (about 5 minutes), add apples, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook apples until softened but still firm, about 10 minutes, and add chopped walnuts. Cook together an additional 3-5 minutes until apples are fork tender. Serve immediately; refrigerate any leftovers. Serves 4.


IMG_5859


Advertisements

Healthy apple ‘pie’: Half a recipe


We’re in Apple-topia over here.

After last weekend’s trip to the orchard, we drove home with sore feet and bags of apples. My boyfriend is quite the winemaker these days (and even won “best in show” at the county fair this year — woo!); apple brew is one of the concoctions on his to-be-made list. So much of the fruit will be broken down for that.

But the rest? That’s for us. For desserts and snacks and dinners. We’ve been chopping up chicken and apple sausage for dinner, sauteed with slices of apples. I’ve been cutting them up as “dessert,” which isn’t nearly as appealing as, you know, chocolate — but in an effort to cut down on calories, I’m learning to live with it.

And then I found this recipe, which is really just half a recipe. There’s no cooking or real preparation involved. It’s succinct — but tasty. Here we go:


Cut an apple in half, removing seeds, and bake until soft. Top with 2 tablespoons of low-fat or fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon and one crumbled reduced-fat cinnamon graham cracker.


That’s it.

And it. was. delicious. No butter, no oil, no sugar (except from that solitary graham cracker, but that barely counts). For someone who craves a little sweetness after dinner, this was a treat. Okay, it’s not really pie, but the graham crackers allow me to pretend. I like pretending.

Since we have about 47 more apples to use before they spoil, I have a feeling it’ll be showing up in a kitchen near me quite soon.