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Do you have a hard time figuring out what to bring to parties? Man, I sure do.
After a several months of bringing roasted carrots, this healthy spinach salad is now my official go-to recipe for church functions, outdoor BBQ’s and laid-back Christmas parties.
That salad is SO easy, my kids could probably make it. Seriously! The ingredients are literally whatever you have in your house, making it very adaptable and very affordable.
Last weekend I swapped kale for spinach, red onion for white, kept the sunflower seeds and added bacon and dried cranberries. Even the super simple dressing (lemon juice + olive oil + salt + pepper + freshly pureed garlic) got rave reviews. It’s a winner for sure.
Now, a go-to dessert is a little bit trickier. I need something that doesn’t take much time, is healthy and is NOT full of sugar. These “rules” pretty much disqualify most desserts. And I’m left without a dish to bring.
A few weeks ago, Rachel from Nourishing Minimalism sent me a copy of her eBook Simple Desserts to review. Surely you can find an easy, healthy and simple recipe in a “simple desserts” cookbooks, right? After flipping through the pages on my Kindle, I found one. Actually, make that two.
I took her cheesecake peaches and combined the concept with her baked apples and came up with my own super easy, healthy and frugal dessert: cheesecake stuffed baked apples. It took maybe 15 minutes of hands-on and 30 minutes of baking (at my friends house… that was the day the oven died). They’re best warm, but still quite delicious cold.
This recipe is completely adaptable to what you have in your kitchen too. You can dress up the cheesecake flavor, or leave it plain. Just combine with whatever seasonal (and frugal) fruit you have in your kitchen and you’re good to go! Here are some combination ideas to get you started:
- maple cheesecake baked peaches
- vanilla bean cheesecake baked apples (recipe below)
- almond cheesecake baked pears
- cinnamon cheesecake baked persimmons
- mandarin orange cheesecake baked berries (use ramekins for baking)
Of course, you don’t need to go all out with the cheesecake flavors either. Take a cue from Rachel and mix just the cream cheese with just a little bit of natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup) and your flavor (i.e. orange puree/juice, almond extract, ground cinnamon, vanilla bean, etc.) and call it done! Let the fruit itself be the star of the show.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’t have to save it for a special occasion. You can dress up any “plain fruit” to make it a special night at home with the family, or when hosting friends for dinner. It’s also an EXCELLENT way to use up just a little bit of leftover cream cheese… which is always inevitable in our cheesecake loving house. 😉
- Wash, dry and cut the apples in half through the center of the apple so that you have one half with the stem, and another half with the bottom fuzz (do not cut from the top down).
- Combine cream cheese, stevia and eggs (if using) in a small bowl.
- Using a melon baller or a cookie scoop, scoop out the seeds from the center of the apple, leaving a small hole roughly 1" in diameter.
- Using the same baller/scooper, fill each hole with the cream cheese mixture.
- Place apples cream cheese side up in two 9"x13" glass baking dishes. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon (optional, but pretty!).
- Pour just enough water into dish to cover the bottom and bake at 375F for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Do you have a go-to dessert to bring to parties? Do you mind sharing with me?
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