Roundup: Apple Recipes for Columbus Day Weekend

With autumn upon us, and many schools closing for the Columbus Day holiday on Monday, this weekend is a perfect opportunity for a family apple-picking trip.

Panko Pecan Crusted Chicken with Apple Spinach and Raisin Relish 250x300 Roundup: Apple Recipes for Columbus Day Weekend Photo

Kiesha’s Panko-Pecan Crusted Chicken with Apple, Spinach and Raisin Relish.

But if you’re tired of the standard dishes that are typically made after a trip to the apple orchard – apple pies, turnovers, and other desserts – here are some suggestions for other ways to use that apple stash, courtesy of actual Vitals employees (including a certain blogger!).

Apples for dinner?

Vitals team member Kiesha is a pro in the office and in the kitchen. Here is her inventive recipe for Panko-Pecan Crusted Chicken w/Apple, Spinach & Raisin Relish.

Panko-Pecan Chicken Ingredients:

  •     3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  •     1/3 cup of chopped pecans
  •     1/2 cup of Panko style bread crumbs
  •     1 teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  •     3 tablespoons of melted butter
  •     spicy brown mustard
  •     salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small shallow dish, mix together the chopped pecans, rosemary, & panko bread crumbs. (The pecans I bought were halves, so I had to chopped them myself in the food processor.  While I was chopping them in there, I included the rosemary too.)  Set the crust mixture to the side.
  3. Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt & pepper.  Brush both sides of each piece with spicy brown mustard and drizzle one tablespoon of the melted butter over the chicken.
  4. Crust the chicken: Press one side of the chicken into the pecan & bread crumb mixture and lay the chicken on an ungreased cookie sheet crust side up.  If you see gaps in your crusting, then now is the time to sprinkle some of the crust mixture on top of the chicken until you get the coverage you want. Press it into the chicken a bit and then drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top of the crusted chicken.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Relish Ingredients

  •     1 apple finely chopped ( I used red to skip the tart of a green apple)
  •     1 cup of baby spinach leaves
  •     1/3 cup of golden raisins
  •     1/2 cup of chicken broth
  •     1 tablespoon of butter
  •     2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •     salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the chopped apple and raisins in a medium size pot with the butter.  While stirring, cook on medium-high heat until the apples are tender, about five-ten minutes.
  2. Add in about 3/4 of the spinach.  Continue to stir and cook until the spinach wilts.
  3. Add in the chicken broth and simmer for two minutes.
  4. Pour the entire relish mixture into a food processor along with the olive oil and salt and pepper.  Puree the mixture.
  5. Pour the relish back into the pot.  In the meantime, finely chop the remaining spinach leaves and add them to the relish and stir through (this is so you have tiny little pops of green color throughout).  All done.

An apple a day…

I’m sure you can complete the adage. I can personally attest to it being true. Whether it’s due to my youthful vigor or my diet, I eat an apple with lunch everyday, and haven’t been sick in years (knock on wood)! But a boring old apple would not be a fun lunch item.  Here’s how I eat my lunch apple:


  • 1 large red apple
  • 2 TBSP smooth or chunky peanut butter (I recommend organic, unsalted peanut butter)


  1. Halve and core a large apple. I prefer red over green, as I think they better compliment the peanut butter.
  2. Slather the inside of each half with a thin, even layer of peanut butter. The cored center will naturally hold more peanut butter – a nice treat if you’re a peanut butter fanatic like I am.
  3. For transportation, close the apple up and wrap it in tinfoil. This keeps the concoction intact until lunch time rolls around.
  4. To eat, split apart like you would an Oreo cookie, and go to town!

If you can’t bring yourself to eat an apple a day and, consequently, find yourself in need of a doctor, use the Vitals Doctor Finder to find the right care for you.