Tag Archives: apples

Moroccan Spiced Pork Chops

 It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Apples are the perfect foil for the warm and fragrant spices we associate with Moroccan cooking. Cumin, coriander and cloves complement the tartness of apples, mellowing the fruit and making it absolutely delicious. I most often think of these flavors resulting from a slow cooked tagine dish but with this recipe from Cooking Light you can enjoy these flavors in a lot less time.
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 6 ounce boneless pork loin chops
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped (I prefer Granny Smith)
1 cup apple cider

 **Moroccan Spice Mixture:

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
For the pork:
  • Rub 1 teaspoon of the Moroccan Spice Mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly on both sides of pork chops.
  • Melt the butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the pork chops four minutes on each side or until done.
  • Remove the pork chops from skillet and keep warm.
  • Add the onion and salt to the drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the apples and the cider.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until fruit is tender.
  • Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon Moroccan Spice Mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes.
  • Serve over the pork chops.


Serves 4




Sticky Apple Date Cake


What is sweet and tangy, moist and sticky and all around delicious? The answer is, this sticky apple date cake from Brooklyn Supper. I love this cake and it is a real treat for the senses. Filled with both dates and apples it is rich and dense. And when you add in a generous amount of fresh ginger, you are rewarded with a surprisingly zippiness in every bite. The ginger takes you by surprise but its warming flavor completes this cake making it a welcome treat. And by all means, don’t skip the caramel sauce. It makes this already great cake extra special. I love to serve the cake slightly warm; it makes the sauce extra drippy and delicious.


For the cake:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups copped dates

1 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons peeled, minced, fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups sweet-tart apples peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)

For the sauce:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the dates and water to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until dates start to soften, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the ginger.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  • Stir in the date mixture and then fold in the apples.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted and the sugar’s dissolved – about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream, bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and then turn heat to low.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, 5 – 7 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
  • Cool the cake for 15 minutes, then remove sides and set on a serving plate.
  • Use a toothpick to poke holes all over cake. Pour half the warm sauce over the cake.
  • Slice, and serve warm cake with a generous drizzle of sauce.
  • Leftovers will store well wrapped at room temperature for 3 days.

Serves 16

Chicken, Apple & Butternut Stew


For me, this stew is comfort in a bowl. The recipe is adapted from  Cooking Light, and it has quickly become a family favorite, making regular appearances on our dinner table and in lunch thermoses the next day. The dish starts simply enough with cubes of boneless chicken thighs which are moister and more flavorful than white meat. A combination of butternut squash and parsnips take the place of the customary potatoes and bring both a sweet and nutty flavor to the dish. But it doesn’t end there. Both sage and ginger add complexity to the dish which is finished off with crisp cider and a generous amount of tart apples which ups the flavor quotient. There are a lot of flavors in this dish but they complement each other with no two bites tasting the same. It encourages you to go back for more. And more…. And more…..


2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup  diced peeled parsnip
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry Normandy cider
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups chopped peeled Granny Smith apple
  • Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
  • Add one tablespoon of the oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add half of chicken to the pan and sauté 6 minutes or until browned.
  • Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pan.
  • Add the onion, sage and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the squash and parsnip then cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and cook for one minutes.
  • Stir in the cider and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits.
  • Stir in the chicken, the remaining salt and the remaining pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook, partially covered for 25 minutes.
  • Stir in the apples and cook for 5 minutes before serving.


Serves 4

Cinnamon-Apple Dutch Baby


Breakfast is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the day yet it is one that I am more apt to skip than not simply because I’m not a fan of cooking before I’ve had my morning dose of coffee. On weekends I love lounging around and sipping my coffee while I catch up on the news and plan my day ahead. By the time I am ready to get moving the breakfast hour has passed or what I want to make simply takes too long to get from bowl to table. But when I am really craving breakfast a Dutch baby is my go-to dish.

A Dutch baby is essentially a giant popover and it comes together and cooks up so quickly that it is silly not to make one. The key to a puffy Dutch baby is a very hot oven and eating it the minute it comes out of the oven. To achieve the hot oven I turn mine on before I start any of my other preparations. I cook the apples in the same cast iron skillet that I will bake in then pop the pan in the oven the minute my apples are done. It truly is fast; you can have go from bowl to table in twenty minutes. Why that’s just enough time to enjoy a second cup of coffee.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 semi-tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I like Pink Lady)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Melt the butter in a 9 inch cast iron skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Add the sliced apples and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Stirring occasionally, sautee the apples until they are soft and the sugar begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add the batter to the apples and immediately place the skillet in the oven.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until puffed and browned.
  • Serve immediately.

Apple Dijon Pork Saute

photo 2-227

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Thinking it is fatty many people tend to avoid pork. Some pork is fatty–bacon anyone???- but cuts like pork tenderloin are lean and easy to cook. When you slice the tenderloin into coins it cooks even faster making it a perfect meat for a fast Friday night dinner. The pork is quickly sauteed in olive oil then added to a creamy Dijon mustard and apple juice sauce. Serve over a bed of brown rice or orzo with a green vegetable and dinner is served.


1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup apple juice

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

3 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Generously sprinkle the pork coins on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • When the oil is hot, add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the pork is no longer pink in the middle. Remove the pork from the pan and place on a large plate tented with foil.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet.  Add the shallot and salt and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the apple juice and cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Cook for approximately 9 minutes or until the mixture is syrupy.
  • Stir in any of the pork juices.
  • Turn the temperature to low and slowly whisk in the butter.
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard and cream then return the pork to the pan.
  • Cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 4

Apple Speculoos Bars

photo 3-240

For the uninitiated Speculoos are Belgian cookies. Wonderfully crisp buttery and spice filled cookies that are served alongside coffee and cappuccino in cafes and coffee houses across the country. You can also buy them by the bagful in grocery stores; yes they are that good and addictive. They are similar to a gingersnap but less gingery–if that makes any sense. However you describe them, they are that good. And as if the cookies themselves weren’t enough they even sell the cookies in paste form. Similar in texture to peanut butter or Nutella the cookies are ground up into a creamy spread that can be smeared onto toast, sliced fruit or eaten with a spoon directly from a jar. (Not that I would know anything about that). And every Belgian pantry, including my own, always has a jar of this yummy goodness on hand.

And having a jar of Speculoos was perfect after I bought a bag of apples from the market and decided to bake these apple bars from the Yankee Kitchen Ninja. The Ninj’s recipe called for Biscoff which is essentially Speculoos with a different name. Bar cookies are great since they only require one baking pan and these cookies are no exception, coming together quickly and filling your entire house with the warm smell of caramel apples and spicy Speculoos. Your neighbors will be jealous!

Apple Speculoos Bars

8 tablespoons butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup Speculoos spread
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 small apples, peeled, cored and diced

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the butter and sugar in heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Stir continually until the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the Speculoos spread. Cool slightly. (The batter will be very stiff but this is OK).
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture, beating well between each addition.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  •  Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until smooth.
  • Fold in the apples as best you can.
  • Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Yields: 24 bars

Cilantro Shrimp w/ Apple-Raisin Sauce over Curried Polenta

photo 4-20

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This meal only appears complicated but in reality is fast.  There are three components in this dish but each cooks in a matter of minutes and when combined on the plate create a satisfying Indian-esque meal. The original recipe from Cuisine at Home used sea scallops but I substituted shrimp with tasty results.  Fresh steamed broccoli completed the meal.


For the sauce:

1/2 cup peeled and diced Granny Smith apple

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 teaspoons minced orange zest

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine the apple, raisins, orange juice, broth, onion, zest, honey, and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the apples are tender.
  • Stir in the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Keep warm while you make the remaining meal components.

For the shrimp:

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 pound fresh or frozen raw shrimp

1/3 cup minced cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat the oil in a large saute pan until it shimmers.
  • Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add the shrimp to the oil and tossing occasionally,  saute until cooked through, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Off the heat and stir in the cilantro.

For the polenta:

4 cups whole milk

1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder

1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped scallion greens

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Combine the polenta and curry powder and slowly whisk it into the milk.
  • Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and smooth, 4-5 minutes.  Be sure to mix continually otherwise lumps will form.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, tomatoes, and scallions.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serves: 4

Curried Pumpkin Chicken


I don’t use my crockpot very often but when I do, I’m reminded of the easy and delicious meals that can be made in it. After all, there is nothing better than walking in the door at the end of a long day and being greeted by the smell of a warm meal waiting for you. It really is so easy……

And because it is fall, my cooking inspiration has turned to all things pumpkin. I’ve been baking up a storm with pumpkin inspired dishes over the past couple of weeks so when I saw the extra can of pumpkin puree sitting in the pantry I was inspired to turn it into an entree. And that is just what I did.


1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

1 15 ounce can coconut milk

3 tablespoons red curry paste, more or less to taste depending upon your personal preferences

1 red onion, thinly sliced

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced

  • Combine the pumpkin puree, coconut milk and curry paste in the bottom of a medium to large sized crock pot.
  • Distribute the onion slices evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture.
  • Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce then top with the sliced apple.
  • Cover the pot and cook the chicken on the low setting for six hours.
  • Serve over basmati rice or rice noodles.

Serves 4

Maple Ginger Chicken & Apples

maple chix

Its been a while (way too long in fact) since I’ve delved in the Yankee Kitchen Ninja website in search of dinner inspiration. Every time I check out this wonderfully creative site I come away with a whole list of dinner and baking ideas. And of course my recent foray wasn’t any different and one look had me breaking out my baking dishes and planning dinner.

This easy and delicious recipe for maple ginger chicken and apples actually comes from Maple by Katie Webster and is the perfect fall dinner. The ingredients are simple, yet when combined together, are  delicious and turn ordinary chicken into anything but.  Everything about this dish simply makes me homesick for New England.

For best results, marinate the chicken overnight before cooking. This requires a bit of planning but the results don’t disappoint.

1 shallot, finely sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dark pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus additional sprigs for the pan
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks–I like to use a combination of the two
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered

  • Combine the shallot, apple cider, maple syrup, ginger, vinegar, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag and use your hands to massage all of the ingredients together.
  • Place the bag on a large rimmed dish, add the chicken parts then reseal the bag.
  • Ensure that as much of the chicken is covered in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the chicken and the marinade.
  • When you are ready to cook preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat it lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Take the chicken from the bag and arrange the pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Nestle the apples around the chicken, add the reserved thyme sprigs and pour some of the marinade over the chicken.
  • Bake, basting occasionally, for about an hour or until fully cooked.
  • Serve, topped with the sauce, alongside noodles or potatoes.

Serves 4

Apple Butter

photo 3-252

I love fruit butters. They are naturally sweet and are the perfect topping to smear onto toast, muffins or even sandwiches. They are also an ideal way to use up less than perfect fruit. You can make large batches and can them or you can make them in smaller quantities and use or gift them right away. (This is ideal for me since with frequent moves I am hesitant to can large quantities of anything lest I have to move them or even worse, leave them behind).

Last winter I was gifted with two cookbooks, Put ’em Up and the companion Put ’em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Skimming through the pages I dreamed of making the variety of preserved vegetables and fruits that filled the pages. But alas, with yet another move on the horizon I didn’t want to start canning. Fast forward several months with the move completed, being settled into our new house and with seasonal fruits ripe for the picking (and canning), and I was ready to dig back into the books and actually make them. And my first recipe? Apple butter of course.

Sherri’s recipe called for using a combination of apples and pears but having just returned from apple picking I used only apples. For interest I did use a combination of both sweeter and more tart varieties and added additional cinnamon for flavor. The apple butter cooked up sweet and rich and I find myself slathering it on everything from the banana muffins pictured above to fresh baguettes covered in tangy goat cheese. And there wasn’t any need to worry about having to preserve any; it has already disappeared so it is time to make some more. (Or try one of the other fabulous recipe ideas in the book).

Apple Butter

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

4 pounds apples (use a single kind or a variety)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • Pour the water and the lemon juice in a large nonreactive stockpot.
  • Peel, core and chop the apples and drop them into the water to prevent browning.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the fruit is tender, approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and pass the entire mixture through a food mill.
  • Return the apples to the pot, add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves and stir well.
  • Continue to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until has cooked down and is thick and rich, approximately 40-50 minutes. Take care that the mixture does not burn and reduce the heat if necessary.
  • Transfer the apple butter to glass jar, cool and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yields 4 cups

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