If you saw my Facebook post on Saturday night, I decided  to whip up a Cheesecake made with Ricotta cheese.  We were out to eat at one of our favorite Italian restaurants and the owner came over to let us know that he had made a new dessert to add to the menu, Cheesecake made with Ricotta cheese and that it had a hint of lemon. Dinner was so filling, we decided to pass.  However, low and behold on Saturday morning, a few recipes for Cheesecake made with Ricotta cheese came up on my Instagram (surprise, surprise).  Anyway, I tried one, anticipating that it just might make a Marvelous Monday. Well, it didn't.  It tasted good, it was simple, and good, but it just didn't have that "Wow" factor. Which got me thinking, even thought it was simple and good, Marvelous Monday 'MUSTS', it lacked looking appetizing as well, so now, the new gold standard to make it to Marvelous Monday now, "Something Simple, Something Good and Something that Looks as good as it tastes".  I'll have to come up with a better way to say that.  I have a friend who makes a good cheesecake with sour cream.  She's a fabulous with food, so trying her recipe would be a good idea for a later M/M. So without further adieu, here is this week's Marvelous Monday (drum roll please............)

    Usually, I don’t  include a Marvelous Monday from my book, It’s a Great Day to…Gather Around a Table, as I respect those who purchased the book and wouldn’t want to put the book online, when they were nice enough to buy a copy.  This week, I make an exception and here’s why.   It’s been decided by me, that this is one on those recipes one really DOES need to make at least once in their life time, because it is SO well worth the effort.  Make it and you’ll see.  NO, TASTE what I’m talking about.  Back in Grand Blanc, in the fall, in the first grade, Miss Dorf, at Reid Elementary made homemade applesauce.  The entire school smelled like baking apples that day.  When our kids were in pre-school growing up, they too had a teacher who, after a field trip to Porter’s Orchard in Goodrich, made applesauce the next day of class.  As I was going to collect the children from pre-school that day, I again detected the scent of baking apples.  When our kids were starting to eat solid foods, homemade applesauce just seemed like a “must” as a first food.  Originally, I just baked some apples with nothing else and mashed them.  When I started hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house, there were so many little ones and it just seemed like a good thing to include Homemade Applesauce along with all the other usual sides like, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and “cream” of butternut squash soup (which is also in my book, and it’s not made with cream, it’s healthier), since it seemed like a good choice for the little ones.   As the years went on, everyone seemed to enjoy the Applesauce on the buffet table on Thanksgiving and it remains a staple item on the menu for Thanksgiving to this day.

    As soon as it turns September and we have a chilly morning, it starts to seem like Applesauce season and for sure a trip to Porter’s, although a trip to your favorite grocery store will most certainly be more than adequate with a nice selection of apples to choose from.  Lately, I have enjoyed using Sweetango apples, a newer variety from the Honey Crisp ‘family.’  We first saw and purchased these apples in Charlevoix at the Apple Festival a few years back and the last few seasons I have seen them in the local grocery store.  In selecting apples for applesauce, I like a selection of both tart and sweet in equal  parts, but I have been known to peel and bake what is on hand too, so don’t think you need to make a special trip to the orchard or grocery store if you have the adequate amount on hand to make a recipe.  If I had to select a ‘key’ ingredient in the recipe in my book which has evolved over the years, in addition to good apples, I would have to say it’s the orange zest and juice.  Other recipes I have tried included lemon zest, juice or both, and for my taste buds and those who have been part of taste testing over the years, the orange juice and zest seems to win the prize.  The addition of a little bit of unsalted butter seems to add to the smoothness of the recipe.  Some recipes direct to run the baked apples through a food mill, in my experience, using a masher or whisk-remember to use a silicone whisk if you are using a LeCreuset or other fine porcelain Dutch oven or baking dish so as not to scratch the surface.  I have also used a hand emulsifier for a smoother consistency. As for spices, I just like to add a little.  Other recipes include more cinnamon, and allspice, I like the predominate flavor to be that of the apples and just a hint of these spices lets as much as the apple flavor to come through and the spices just help to enhance the apple flavor.

Homemade Applesauce is so easy and the results are absolutely delicious.

    Sugar.  Although I use brown sugar, if you happen not to have brown sugar on hand, use half the amount of white sugar and a teaspoon of molasses.  You most likely have those two ingredients on hand if you do some baking.

    A few other thoughts on Homemade Applesauce.  It is a good dish to take if you are not hosting Thanksgiving (or another fall/winter Family gathering, holiday or Christmas) and it  is very easily made a few days in advance and kept in the fridg until the day to be served.  During the fall and winter, I make this dish frequently and keep it on hand for side dishes and snacks.  It’s something nice to take to someone a little under the weather too.  For an applesauce that is  pink in color, leave a few pieces of bright red apple peel and just take them out with tongs or a fork before you whisk or mash the baked apples.  Whisk or mash until the texture is to your liking.  We like ours mostly smooth with some random chunks.  However you make yours, most likely, making Homemade Applesauce will make you smile, please your taste buds and may even prompt you to say out loud…It’s a Great Day 🍎

Applesauce Recipe

I like using different varieties of apples to vary the flavor depending on what is available.


-4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces

-6 pounds of a variety of apples (approximately 16 apples)

-1/4 cup brown sugar

-juice and zest of 1 orange

-1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Wash, dry, peel, core and and quarter apples.  Place them in a large Dutch oven.  Add the orange juice, zest, brown sugar, allspice and cinnamon and turn over all ingredients.  Place lid on your pot and bake for about an 1 1/2 hours.  Blend with a whisk and serve warm or at room temperature.  Remaining applesauce should  be stored in the refrigerator or frozen in freezer bags.

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