Homemade applesauce, yo. SO STUPID EASY, sooooo tasty, plus cheap and healthy…I adore this one.
There are TWO ingredients that are actually required: Apples, and a slow-cooker, by which I mean crockpot, instant pot, or even just the kind you can throw in the stove — all it needs to be is a way to cook stuff a long time without needing stirring.
That's it; put those two things together and you've got applesauce. (Do core/seed the apples. Do or don't skin them, cut them, etc as you prefer.)
Here's the like $0.25 of other ingredients I add (all at once, right in with the apples at the beginning) to make it extra lovely:
– a pat of butter
– a few tablespoons of sugar (though it's actually nice to make it without sugar and sprinkle some on the top as you serve it, imo)
– a few tablespoons of cinnamon
– if you want to get fancy, a bit of nutmeg or something
– or REALLY fancily, a few raspberries, or some maple syrup, or some spoonsful of fruit compote or coconut cream…!
Put those things in a slow-cooking device and cook until they're mush. Or until you like how mushy they are. Whatever; taste it every once in a while and take it off when you love it. I've successfully cooked applesauce for anywhere between 3 and 15 hours, and it's never, not that I can recall anyway, less than awesome.
Also makes a great offering to bring to parties, or nice gift if you can part with a ball jar and a ribbon. But mostly I just use it to have stupendously cheap, not-bad-for-you dessert food on hand, and for when I feel like something a little fancy for breakfast.