An Apple a Day

This is the time of the year when home-grown apples are abundant. All I have to do is look around when on a walk with my dogs in the morning or after supper.

Just down the block, the Vetters’ apple tree look like it’s almost ripe for the picking. And my former co-worker and gardening buddy, Darrel Koehler, who also lives nearby, has a tree that looks like it could collapse at any time from the weight of all the apples.

And just yesterday, Therese brought home a pail of apples from one of her co-workers, Holly Cronquist. I could go on, but you get the picture.  

So, with all that in mind, I’ve decided to share a recipe for baked apples, which came to me via e-mail this morning. I haven’t tried it yet, but it does look quite interesting. It pairs  apples with, among other things, cheese, cranberries, ham or sausage and a variety of spices. And although the recipe calls for using Granny Smiths, I’m sure any good-sized apple variety will do, even our home-grown ones.

As most of you know, the apple is one of nature’s powerhouse foods, chock-full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber. Maybe that why they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Baked Apples
½ cup finely chopped cooked ham or sausage
¼ cup diced celery
4 large Granny Smith Apples
2 tablespoons minced dried cranberries
¼ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon thyme
½ cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
2/3 to ¾ cup fat-free chicken broth
8-inch-square deep baking pan
Aluminum foil
Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, ham and celery until onion and celery are browned. While mixture is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples, starting at the top, ¼ of the way down sides. Core apples carefully, using an apple corer or small knife, to create a wide top opening (1½ to 2 inches in diameter) while keeping bottom intact.
Remove onion mixture from heat and place in small bowl. Add cranberries, sage, thyme and cheese, tossing mixture to combine well. Add chicken broth until mixture is moistened. Fill apples with mixture, dividing evenly, and set in pan. Pour water into pan, about ¼-inch deep. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.