Celebrating the Fall Season with Michigan Apples
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN
This time of year brings colorful leaves, cooler weather and a yearning for Michigan apples – one of my favorite flavors of the season. If I drive just 20 minutes from my home in West Michigan, I will arrive in the heart of Michigan Apple country. It’s been a wonderful growing year and the trees are heavy with juicy, sweet apples ready to be harvested. Many of the apple orchards welcome visitors and my family always plans a fall trip to one or more of the farms to enjoy a glass of cold cider, take a hayride, and of course, to pick some apples to bring home for fall cooking and snacking.
Whether tailgating at a football game, enjoying an autumn inspired meal or planning a fun Halloween celebration, I hope you’ll join me in taking advantage of this bountiful harvest season by adding some delicious and nutritious Michigan Apples into your meals and snacks. I’ve shared some of my favorite recipes below for your fall get-togethers – enjoy!
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing dish to take to your next tailgating party we’ve got you covered! You’ll love the flavor that Michigan Apples brings to these tasty recipes.
Tips for a Terrific Tailgating Party:
Plan Ahead – use our menu suggestions to make your shopping list and don’t forget: folding table and chairs, cooler, ice, cooking/serving utensils, cutting board, plastic forks/knives/spoons, paper plates, clean up supplies, napkins, trash bags, containers for leftovers, bottle/wine opener, table cover.
Add Fall Favorites – Find recipes that celebrate the harvest season, make a centerpiece with colorful fall fruits and veggies and add a large bowl of Michigan Apples to the table for snacking.
Keep Food Safe – Pack food in coolers properly, bring disinfectant wipes and don’t keep food out for over 2 hours.
Autumn Dinner Party
Celebrate the season by inviting family or friends over for a dinner party and start in front of a bonfire with Hot Spice Apple Cider. This menu would also be great for progressive fall dinner with neighbors.
Hot Spiced Apple Cider
In a large pot, combine 8 cups Michigan Apple cider, 1 sliced Michigan Apple, 1 sliced orange, 2 cinnamon sticks, and a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger. Bring to a boil over high; reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. (Keep warm over low, up to 2 hours.) Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups dark rum if desired. Transfer to a punch bowl; serve warm.
Michigan Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Makes 4 servings
2 medium-sized acorn squash
4 links cooked chicken apple sausage
1 whole onion, chopped
1 large Michigan Apple, diced (Gala, Jonathan, MacIntosh or Ida Red)
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, (plus more for sprinkling on top)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve squash from stem to point and scoop out the pulp.
Drizzle a baking pan with a bit of olive oil, then place squash, cut side down on pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until squash is tender. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, slice sausage into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
Sauté onions in 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat until softened. About 7 minutes. Add to bowl with the sausage. Toss in cooked brown rice, apple, thyme, sage, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well.
Scoop out all but 1/2 an inch of flesh from the squash. Place squash in the bowl with the sausage mixture and stir well. Divide stuffing between the four squash shells, mounding slightly. Top with additional cheese and place on baking sheet.
Return pan to oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving: 492 Calories, 19g Fat, 58g Carbohydrate, 11g Fiber, 26g Protein
Green Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
Michigan Apple Pie – buy locally or make your own with a recipe from Michigan Apples
Halloween Party Treats
Celebrate Halloween with your little ghosts and goblins by making these fun and delicious recipes that include nutritious Michigan Apples. The Apple Mummies also make great school party treats.
Easy Apple Cider Punch
Mix together 6 cups of Michigan Apple cider, 1 (750 ml) bottle sparkling red grape juice, 2 cups orange juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and refrigerate until serving.
Caramel Apple Dip with Granola
Mix together 8 oz (1 block) reduced-fat cream cheese (softened), ½ cup brown sugar and ¼ cup caramel syrup in a small bowl. Top with 1/2 cup of your favorite granola and serve with sliced Michigan Apples.
Michigan Apple Mummies
Wrap Michigan Apples with gauze tape and add candy eyes.