An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but when you have bushels of apples you might want to figure out other ways to eat them. There's really something special about the autumn season when you can head to the orchard and pick your own apples off the trees. Apple picking is an annual outing for many families, which typically means large bags of apples in your home, just waiting to be consumed! When you grow tired of simply eating apples, try some of the following recipes to keep it interesting and make use of your fruit:

Pancake Bars With Baked Apple Streusel

(Adapted from this Easy Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel recipe.)

These are ideal for breakfast on the run, but they also make a great anytime snack. You should get about 20 pancake bars from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups buttermilk pancake mix
  • 2 cups granola
  • 2 ¾ cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted, melted butter
  • 1 apple, cut into ½-inch pieces

Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to your liking)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a large baking dish or two 8"x8" pans and line with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients except for granola and apples, and stir with a whisk (or fork if you can't find your whisk). Add the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in the granola and apples and stir lightly to coat both the apples and granola. The batter will be lumpy, but you want it all to be moist.

Pour into prepared pans. Allow batter to rest in pans while you prepare the Streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl. Use a fork to drizzle small amounts of prepared streusel topping over the pancake mixture. For a pretty appearance, you could use a pastry bag to make nice lines of streusel topping over the pancake mixture.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cut into bars (like granola bar shapes). You can eat now! These pancake bars will also freeze well if you wrap individually. Take them out the night before you want to eat them for breakfast and they'll be ready by morning (or you can always microwave them right out of the freezer).

Chicken Salad With Apples

This hearty chicken salad is ideal for lunch and will be enough to serve four.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 apple of your choice, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ stalk celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins or dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons green or red grapes, cut into halves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped or sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise (you can use light or fat free)

Use a large bowl and combine your cooked and diced chicken and all other ingredients. Mix well. You can serve over a bowl of lettuce for a salad, or put between two slices of your favorite bread for a hearty sandwich.

Apple Kale-slaw

For a new way to enjoy the traditional coleslaw of cabbage and a mayonnaise-based dressing, try using kale and apples. You should be able to serve 4-6 with this recipe as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • Poppy seed salad dressing (buying prepared dressing makes this dish super easy and fast, or you can make your own)
  • 1lb (about 2 bunches) flat-leaf kale
  • 2 apples, sliced into small slivers
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion

Wash and dry the kale thoroughly. Cut off the kale stems and throw away. Cut the kale into ¼-inch pieces and place in large bowl. Core apples, and cut into matchstick-sized slivers, and add to the kale in the bowl. If eating immediately, add dressing and combine. The slaw works best if you let it sit at least 15 minutes at room temperature to combine flavors, but you can also refrigerate prepared kale and apples and add the dressing when you are ready to enjoy.

Apple Chicken Pockets

Sweeten your basic chicken dinner with some apples for an interesting main dish. This would be great paired with green beans or asparagus. This recipe makes four servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 apples of your choice, cored and diced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (you can use low fat or fat free if you want)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons Italian or garlic seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Wooden toothpicks and nonstick spray

Spray 12 wooden toothpicks with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine apple, bread crumbs, cheese, and a little salt and pepper. Press your chicken breast halves flat with your hand or mallet, and then cut into the sides of each chicken breast to create a pocket. Try not to cut through the top, bottom or all the way through the piece of chicken.

Stuff each chicken pocket with the apple mixture and use toothpicks to pin the chicken closed to hold in place. Dredge chicken pockets in flour and tap off the excess.

Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown chicken three minutes on each side. Add half of the apple cider and broth into skillet, bring liquid to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover chicken and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked fully and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Remove chicken and cover with foil to keep warm, whisk remaining apple cider with mustard and pour into skillet with remaining juices. Bring to boil for 3 minutes on high and until liquid is slightly thickened. Spoon the gravy over chicken and serve.

Apple Pie Burritos

Feel like eating an apple pie for dessert, but don't want to make a crust? Try these quick and easy apple pie burritos for all of the flavor with much less effort. This recipe will serve 4.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples of your choice, diced
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 soft flour tortillas or burritos
  • ¼ cup of cheddar cheese (optional)

Peel and dice your apples. Place butter in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add diced apples, cinnamon, and sugar and mix thoroughly. Heat on medium until apples are slightly softened, stirring occasionally. (Heating for a very long time will turn them into applesauce!)

Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon apple mixture into tortilla or burritos, roll or fold to contain the apples and place in baking dish. Add cheddar cheese to the tortilla or burrito if you would like. Warm through in oven until cheese is melted, or until shells are heated through. Enjoy!