Fall in New England is the coziest and most comforting time of year, and apple picking is arguably one of the best aspects of fall. Ever since I was little, I have always loved going to the apple orchard with my family and walking down the endless rows of apple trees, trying to find the most abundant ones. Fall has changed now that I have gotten older, and apple picking has become a fall tradition for my boyfriend and I. Every year, when we’re asked by the cashier if we want a big or small bag of apples, we opt for the small one, because there’s only two of us and we can definitely finish a small bag of apples. Wrong. We still find ourselves handing out apples to everyone we know, in an attempt to prevent the fruit from going to waste. This year, we set out on a mission to find new and unique ways to eat apples. These recipes will never match the apple pie your mom makes, but they are still worth a try!
- Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes
Of course, apple pie and apple crisp are great fall desserts, but it’s time to reinvent the wheel a little bit. Apple cinnamon cupcakes are super easy to make, and they are a super convenient way to incorporate apples into a warm and comforting dessert. I found a recipe online that produced the most incredible cupcakes. The base was a spiced cake, with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and chunks of fresh apple, and they were topped with a salted caramel frosting. I personally did not create my own caramel for the frosting, but instead used a syrup that I found from Marshalls that can also be used in coffee and hot chocolate. Top it off with some extra cinnamon, and you have a dessert with the perfect fall flavors.
- Chicken Salad
I personally love chicken salad and I eat it all year round. There are so many different takes on a chicken salad that make it perfect for every season. This recipe is super quick and easy to make, and you can eat it over salad, on a wrap for lunch, or on a bagel or toast for breakfast. You start off by cooking and shredding chicken. I personally like to use chicken breasts because I prefer white meat, but to save time, you can also purchase and debone a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. After shredding the meat, you can add peeled and diced apple chunks, dried cranberries, and walnuts. Top with salt and pepper, and add a generous amount of mayonnaise. Mix until well combined. The walnuts and apples provide a great crunchy texture while the apples and cranberries add a nice burst of freshness and flavor.
- Turkey Burgers
I would have never expected apples and turkey to pair together so nicely, but they are a great match. I bought ground turkey and mixed that with diced apples, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. I formed burgers and cooked them on the stove with American cheese (swiss would also work really well). Toasted pretzel buns add a nice saltiness, but any type of bread would work great. I added the burger, sliced apples, honey mustard, and lettuce, forming the juiciest and most savory burgers ever. You could definitely change up the seasonings and toppings and I’m sure it would still taste great.
- Brussels Sprouts Salad
Fun fact: you don’t have to roast brussels sprouts for them to taste good! This salad is incredibly light and makes a great side dish. Shred a large amount of brussels sprouts into long strands. Add pomegranate seeds, diced apples, parmesan cheese, and bacon. Make a dressing out of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Drizzle on top and serve cold. It is one of my favorite salads to make and it is so unique!
- Pork Roast
This is a recipe my mom always made for us growing up. In a crockpot, combine a pork loin roast with a small amount of water. The seasoning can vary depending on your preferences, but when I typically have this dish, my mom adds cinnamon, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and garlic salt. You can also buy a pre-seasoned apple-wood smoked pork loin from the store. Slow-cook the pork and when it is about halfway done, add sliced apples that have been seasoned with brown sugar and cinnamon. The apples soften when cooking and become a nice compliment to the pork. You can serve this over any starch, but we typically make mashed potatoes or white rice, which allows the juices to soak in nicely.
Making these recipes this fall was so fulfilling and fun. I will definitely make these recipes again next year, and I am proud of myself for using all of the apples we picked without baking 10 pies.