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Trading Post: When cooking with apples, use to flavor main dishes

Apples can be used in pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, breads and main dishes.
Apples can be used in pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, breads and main dishes.

When it comes to cooking with apples, desserts come to mind. Pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads are classics. But there are plenty of ways to incorporate apples into main dishes as well.

Diana Schumacher of Springfield has mastered that skill, and shares a couple of her recipes here.

Ham, Apple, Sweet Potato Casserole
(Makes 4 servings)

• 1 ham center slice, or 4 individual slices
 • 4 apples, quartered
• 3 medium sweet potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 3/4 cup hot water

1. Brown ham slightly on both sides and place in baking dish. Spread apples and sweet potatoes over ham and sprinkle with sugar.
2. Add hot water.
3. Cover and bake until tender, about 1 hour, in 350 F oven.
4. Baste occasionally while cooking.
5. Remove cover last 15 minutes to brown.

Country Ribs with Apples and Kraut
(Makes 6 servings)

• 3 pounds pork ribs, lean, country-trimmed of any excess fat
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 (16-ounce) can sauerkraut, undrained
• 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
• 1 (8-ounce) can stems-and-pieces mushrooms, drained
• 1 large apple (or 2 small ones), cored and cut into wedges
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1. Brown ribs in slow cooker pot (or skillet) on top of range over medium heat.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer cooker pot to base unit or transfer meat from skillet into cooker pot.
4. Layer sauerkraut, onions, mushrooms, apple wedges and brown sugar over ribs.
5. Sprinkle with celery seed.
6. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high until meat is tender.

• The Trading Post is a recipe-exchange column that runs every other week and is compiled by Kathryn Rem. Send recipes and recipe requests to the Trading Post, The State Journal-Register, P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705; fax to 788-1551; or email

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