2004-10-21 / Arts & Entertainment

Ask BETTY

Dear Betty,

My family’s excited about going on an outing to an apple orchard. Any ideas for what to do with the apples we bring home?

Tipton, Ind.

What a wonderful way to spend an autumn day! As you pick, here’s an easy way to figure how many pounds you’re getting: 1 pound is about 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small apples. When it comes to cooking and baking, 1 pound chopped or sliced translates to about 2 to 2 1/2 cups. Now for those fun ways to enjoy your apple bounty:

• Slice apples and drizzle with warm caramel sauce and top with chopped peanuts for caramel-apple sundaes.

• For an Oktoberfest supper, slice apples and sauté with a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until tender. Serve with pork chops or smoked sausage.

• Finely chop apples and combine with butter and brown sugar for a yummy filling for acorn squash.

• Make applesauce with your kids — it’s fun and easy! Peel 4 medium apples and cut into chunks. Put in a 2-quart saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the apples. When apples are tender, stir in 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 tea-spoon nutmeg.

• Bake a free-form apple pie. Place the pastry for a one-crust pie on an ungreased cookie sheet. Toss 4 cups thinly sliced apples, 1/3 cup flour and 2/3 cup packed brown sugar. Mound the filling on the pastry to within 3 inches of the edge, and dot with 1 tablespoon butter cut into pieces. Fold the pastry over the apples, pleating it so it lays flat, and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Bake at 425°F for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Betty Crocker

Want more ideas? www.BettyCrocker.com

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Timely Tips

EASY CLEAN-UP - I use my slow cooker a lot during the winter. To help with clean-up, I line the pot with aluminum foil. I fill it with my recipe, close, and cook as usual! When the family has eaten all they’re going to eat at that meal time, I just remove the foil, seal it well, and place in a plastic, zipper-type bag. I then place it in the refrigerator. If you do this, it will save you time and soap in scrubbing the pot. It’s also a great way to store the leftovers for another meal. Candice K.

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NO WASTE - Instead of throwing away the leftover small pieces of soap, I put them in a white sock, tie the end and use as a washcloth. Even the kids like this. Ginny R.

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VEGGIE TIP - When you buy fresh broccoli, don’t throw away the stalks after eating the flowerettes. There are lots of nutrients in them, and after all, you did pay good money for them. Chop the stalks in your food processor and then freeze for later use when making broccoli/cheese soup. Alterna-tively, you can use a good sharp knife to slice the peeled stalks into thin circles to use in casseroles or in stir-fry recipes. Camille M.

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HEAT IT UP - By purchasing a simple dryer vent control device, you can use the heat from the dryer for your basement or garage. You can find these inexpensive items in gift catalogs. Mandy E.

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TRICK OR TREAT - Like most mothers, I’m concerned about the amount of sweets my kids eat. When Halloween rolls around, it’s all but impossible to keep this at a minimum. I do my part, though, by giving kids who come to the house single-serving size boxes of cereal instead of candy. The kids enjoy it, and the moms are delirious! Hallie K.

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