As our days get busier, we are far more likely to reach for pre-packaged mixes and other convenience foods to lighten our load and make dinner prep a bit easier. These are some of my favorite homemade kitchen helpers you can make in advance and keep handy for those extra-hectic evenings… or even the non-hectic ones. Work smarter, not harder!
For those nights when a little dessert would hit the spot, but you simply don’t have the time to throw anything complicated together, allow me to introduce you to your new secret weapon:
Whip up a jar ahead of time and keep it on hand for creating quick, delicious and healthy baked fruit desserts in no time flat.
Spend less than two minutes slicing the fruit and spreading maple-cinnamon butter on the slices, then bake until tender. By the time you’re finished with dinner, a lovely, warm dessert is waiting ♥
Sometimes it never makes it to a plate and we just eat directly out of the pan… we’re fancy like that.
No pie crust necessary.
Despite my poor Granny Smith tree not making it through the winter, we still ended up with a fair number of enormous Honeycrisp apples on our lonely surviving tree. So far, the majority of those apples have become maple-cinnamon baked apples.
This simple, yet decadent concoction combines the complex sweetness of maple syrup and butter with the warm, comforting spice of cinnamon.
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the concentrated sap of sugar maple trees. It doesn’t undergo the same extensive processing as refined white sugars. While still a sugar that should be used in moderation, maple syrup also has a lower glycemic index than white sugar and retains some of the nutritional value naturally found in maple sap, including calcium, potassium and small amounts of manganese and zinc.
Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true” cinnamon, comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. Ceylon cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-regulating properties.
Cinnamon is also promotes healthy digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, so not too shabby for an after-dinner indulgence!
This recipe works well for apples, pears and most stone fruits. You can try swapping out the maple syrup for honey for a (full) GAPS-friendly alternative.
It’s also super-easy to scale. Mr. Redheaded Herbalist and I typically only make half of a large apple at a time. It’s just enough for a light but satisfying after-dinner treat for the two of us.
I find this recipe to be especially handy for impromptu company or last-minute dessert cravings. Kid tested and approved!
Let me know if you try it!