Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
SAUSAGE WITH APPLES, FENNEL AND SAGE
Serve over buttered egg noodles.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 Granny Smith, empire or Jonagold apple, thinly sliced with peel on
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high. Add sausage and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Push sausage to side of pan and add fennel. Cook 2 minutes, or until pan is dry. Add chicken broth and apples, and cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 7 minutes, until apple and fennel are soft.
2. Stir in sage, salt and pepper; serve. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 241 calories, 22 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 11 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 1105 mg sodium
SPINACH, APPLE AND BACON SALAD
4 slices bacon
2 large Granny Smith, Braeburn or gala apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice, peel on
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1. Cook the bacon in a large, nonstick skillet. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble when cool.
2. Meanwhile, pour off and reserve all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from pan. Heat drippings in pan over medium high; add apples and cook until lightly golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer apples to a plate to cool.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings back to the pan. Heat over medium and whisk in the vinegar and Dijon. (Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.) Toss the warm dressing with the spinach, cooked apple, onion and bacon; serve. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 193 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium
APPLE-CREAM CHEESE DESSERT QUESADILLA
2 Granny Smith, empire or gala apples, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
Cinnamon sugar, optional: Combine 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Toss the apples, cinnamon and sugar together; set aside.
2. Mix cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth.
3. Spread half the cream cheese on the surface of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border clear.
4. Working one at a time, place the tortillas in a nonstick skillet heated over medium high. Top half the tortilla with half of the apple mixture and fold the unfilled side over to enclose the apples. Press lightly on the top of the quesadilla and cook until the underside is golden, about 1 minute longer. Flip and cook until the underside is golden and cheese is very soft, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
5. Sprinkle warm quesadilla with cinnamon sugar, if desired; repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla in half. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 273 calories, 6 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 317 mg sodium
Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples keep their crisp texture especially well when cooked.