An Apple (or more!) A Day: Fall Apple Recipes for Every Meal

Even though I’m writing this blog while its still in the 80s in Iowa, signs of fall are everywhere: The first Hawkeye football win, undergraduates taking over the Ped Mall in downtown Iowa City, kids back to school, and Wilson’s Apple Orchard is open! I love fall. I think it feels more like New Year’s than the January festivities. Maybe it’s because I work in education and campus is bursting with fresh faces and rejuvenated faculty. Could be that my thighs always do a happy dance when swim suit season is over. And, last but not least, it’s time to revel in fall comfort food in general and apples in particular.

I love apples. Apple pie, apple turnovers, apple cider (and her naughty sister, apple cider doughnuts!). I love apples because they can be used at any meal. Apple Pie? Sure! Served alongside pork chops seasoned with fresh thyme? Why not! We’ve all heard the saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ but I say why stop at one?

Here are my favorite ways to incorporate apples into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pie. (Note that pie has its own category because you can eat pie any time of day.)

If you’ve been living under a rock, devoid of apple trees and pie crust, Wilson’s Apple Orchard has a handy apple variety tutorial including their origin and the best way to enjoy them. I happen to have some apple experts in my family, so I asked my Aunt Nadine for advice on the best apples for cooking versus throwing in your bag for a healthy snack on the go. Her family owns a nursery in Washington with over a million trees, so she should know! For cooking, she looks for high-acid varieties. We’re talking Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Romes, and McIntosh.

{Side note: I have a love-hate relationship with the McIntosh. I think finding a good, crisp McIntosh is akin to scoring a parking spot in downtown IC: Hard to find, but when you do it’s oh so sweet…}

So, back to apples: Gala, Jazz, Honey Crisp, Ambrosia, Envy, and other New Zealand varieties are the best for eating fresh. Her most valuable piece of advice, however, was to, ‘Pick whatever is ready and make it work!’

Apples for Breakfast:

I came across this recipe for Homemade Apple Fritters while wandering in the land of Pinterest, looking for something to make with the random assortment of apples I happened to have at the time. I think they were Rome and Granny Smith, but, see note above about using what you have and making it work. This recipe is not one to make with the little ones because of the frying, but they will be lined up outside the kitchen once they smell the cinnamon-apple goodness!

apple fritters recipe

Apples for Lunch:

Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my favorite lunch foods on a cold fall afternoon. Apple Cinnamon Grilled Cheese is a delicious twist on a classic! I didn’t dip mine in maple syrup, mostly because I started eating it as soon as it came off of the grill and forgot—it was that good! This would also be a fun variation for your kids’ lunch.

Apples for Dinner:

Even though Martha Stewart is regarded by many as soooo 1995, I am an almost-devout follower. I say ‘almost’ devout because I didn’t write letters to her while she was in the pen but I own most of her cookbooks, including her 1995 Martha Stewart: Collected Recipes for Everyday where I found my go-to Pork Chop recipe when the colder weather calls for some serious comfort. And pork.

This recipe calls for big, thick, bone-in chops. Season both sides with salt and pepper, heat equal parts butter and oil (about a tablespoon of each) in a heavy-bottomed pan, and cook until nicely browned and opaque throughout, turning once. When you turn the chops, sprinkle on some fresh thyme. When the chops are done, remove them from the pan and tent with foil while you sauté about three cups of sliced apples (Granny Smith are my favorite here, but the ‘using what you have and making it work’ applies here too) in the pan drippings, adding a little more butter as needed, until they begin to get soft. Serve the pork chops with the apples mounded on top and alongside mashed potatoes.

Savory apples at their finest!

Apple Pie

Everyone has a favorite apple pie, but it’s my blog post so I’m sharing mine! My mom’s apple pie is the one dessert that, when I take it out of the oven, I can close my eyes and pretend I’m back in my childhood home in Oregon. I’ve adapted her filling recipe, using the Apple of Her Eye Pie filling from The New Basics cookbook, but leave mom’s crumb topping alone because it is perfect.

apple pie recipe

8 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
4 T. butter, melted
½ c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 T. corn starch
¾ t. cinnamon
1 t. lemon zest
1 t. vanilla

Combine all of the above ingredients and dump into your go-to pie crust. Top with a crumb mixture of:
1 c. flour, ½ to ¾ c. sugar and ½ cup softened butter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes, or until filling is bubbling and you have a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the ready.

See you at the orchard!


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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