Apples and Cranberries and Pears! Oh My!

I must have The Wizard of Oz on the brain or something. Imagine if Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Tin Man had encountered these fearsome fruits on their journey along the yellow brick road. I'd say that's preferable to lions, tigers and bears.

But then again, that would probably make for a pretty lame movie. More like Veggie Tales than the story we all know and love.

Maybe if Dorothy could have tasted this Pear Walnut Salad or this Apple Cranberry Chicken she wouldn't have been in such a hurry to get back to Kansas. I'm betting Auntie Em didn't know how to make Apple Cheese and Potato Cakes like me. Just saying...

As promised here are my recipes for the entrée of my Autumn Dinner Party. I could have separated them into three different posts, but why leave you in suspense? I'm not a cruel person. Also they're best enjoyed altogether, so here you go! Pear Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette Serves 4 -5 people.

Source: My imagination.

1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp onion, chopped 1 tbsp honey 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard 1 cup olive oil

8 cups fresh mixed greens 1 pear, thinly sliced and cored 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted 1/4 cup feta cheese

Note: The dressing can be made ahead of time or even the day before as a time saver. Printer-Friendly Version

In a food processor combine all but the olive oil and puree it until it's smooth. Gradually add the olive oil and mix it until it's well blended.

In a large bowl add the mixed greens and sliced pear. Toss it with enough dressing to coat everything then sprinkle the top with the walnuts and feta cheese. Serve the remaining dressing at the table.

Apple Cheese and Potato Cakes Makes 4 cakes.

4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces 4 McIntosh apples, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces 2 tbsp butter Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 1/4 cup green onion, chopped 1/2 cup bread crumbs Printer-Friendly Version

In a large pot combine the chopped potatoes and apples then cover them with cold water and bring them to a boil. Once the water boils reduce the heat to a more manageable medium high heat and let them simmer for about 30 minutes until they're tender.

Drain off the water then add the butter, salt and pepper and mash them with a potato masher until the lumps are mostly gone then whisk it until it appears creamy. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Liberally oil a large frying pan and heat it on medium high heat. Once the potato mixture is cooled off mix in the green onion and cheese. Form about 4 1 inch thick patties then dredge them in the bread crumbs. Fry them in the prepared pan, turning them once until each side is golden brown and crispy.

Apple Cranberry Chicken Serves 4.

Source: My imagination.

1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp oil 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/4 cup onion, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup apple juice 1/2 tsp fresh sage, chopped 1 tsp fresh thyme 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup water 1 apple, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed Printer-Friendly Version

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Grease an 11 x 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray then set it aside.

Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat then add the oil and butter. Brown the chicken breasts on each side while caramelizing the onions and season them with salt and pepper.

Once they're sufficiently browned transfer them to the prepared dish along with the onions and apple juice. Sprinkle the top with the fresh sage and thyme then roast the chicken uncovered in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until the juices run clear.

In the meantime, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat it to a boil, making sure to stir it to dissolve the sugar. Add the chopped apple and cranberries and let it simmer until the cranberries pop, about 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly and thicken before serving it on the chicken. Enjoy!

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