Cooking Up Some Fall Favorites

As a former teacher, I was thrilled when colleague gifted a couple of her friends with a cooking class with me. Instructing interested kitchen newbies is something I love to do. There was lots of fun and laughs as we took some of my fall favorite recipes for a spin. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to offer classes on a regular basis – in the meantime, please email me if you have any questions on the recipes offered during this little class at These dishes have been either on Yates Yummies or Oranges and Almonds in the past, and clicking on “Printable Recipe” for each will take you to a page that includes a link to the original blog post.

Sage Thyme Grilled Chicken or Pork – Serves Four to Six – Printable Recipe


4 to 6 chicken breasts or  1 to 2 pound pork tenderloin

2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press

1 sprig fresh sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cut the sage leaves off their stem and chop them up.  Blend them with the rest of the ingredients to make a paste.  Rub the mixture on the front and the back of the meat.

Grill over medium low for about 7 minutes a side.  Or, bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Juices will run clear if the meat is done. Let rest about 5 minutes before you slice to put on the salad.

Autumn Sweet Potato Rice Salad – Serves Four


2 large sweet potatoes

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 tart green apples, diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1/4 cup of finely diced purple onion

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Cook them over medium heat in salted water until tender/firm when pierced with a fork, but not overdone. Or, roast in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Put the sweet potato cubes, rice, apple, celery and onion in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder together. Pour the vinegar and oil mixture over the ingredients in the salad bowl and gently toss. This is refreshing chilled or equally as good at room temperature.

Steak Tips in Mushroom Wine Sauce – Serves Four – Printable Recipe


1 1/2 pound sirloin tip roast

1 carton of mushrooms

1 shallot

1 garlic clove

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup flour

2 cups beef broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash, rinse, and slice mushrooms. Cut meat into 2 inch wide strips and set it aside.

Peel and chop shallot. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in skillet and saute mushrooms and shallot until tender. Peel and mince garlic clove. Add to mushroom mixture and saute for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture into a baking dish, leaving the pan drippings still in the skillet.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the same pan. Allow butter to melt, then over medium heat, brown both sides of the meat pieces. It will have to be done in two batches so the pan isn’t too crowded and the meat strips have a chance to brown – about three to four minutes a side. When the meat is done, add to the mushrooms in the baking dish.

Put the skillet back on the heat and pour the 1/2 cup of wine in. Bring the wine up to a boil and scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to medium.

Sprinkle the flour over the wine and whisk it in; it will be thick and pasty. Then, a bit at a time, gradually add the beef broth while whisking constantly until the liquid is smooth. Add in the salt, pepper, and thyme. Keeping it over medium heat and whisking often, cook until the mixture thickens up. This will take about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the meat and mushrooms in the baking dish and give it a stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or wide noodles.

Hot Caramel Pears Delicious – Serves Six – Printable Recipe

1 can (1 lb. 13 0z.) pear halves

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup pear syrup (from can of pears)

1/4 cup (1/2 stic) butter

1 quart vanilla ice cream


Drain Pears, reserve syrup.  In sauce pan, combine cornstarch, brown sugar, and cinnamon; mix well.  Add in syrup.  Cook, stirring constantly until sugar boils, reduce heat and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add butter and pears and heat to serving temperature.  For each serving, place pear half in dish with a large scoop of ice cream, spoon sauce over ice cream and top with additional cinnamon if desired.  Makes 8 servings.

The girls and I had fun assembling a Libby’s Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Roll, But I also gave them the recipe for a great variation below:

Cranberry Bliss Sponge Cake Roll – Serves 12 – Printable Recipe


6 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, roughly chopped and divided

1 (8 oz.) brick cream cheese

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Also needed:

Parchment paper and 1 teaspoon butter

1 clean dish towel and 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Small wire mesh strainer and 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar


Preheat the oven to 350. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Smear the parchment paper with the butter. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the brown sugar and the egg yolks and beat just until mixed in.

Now add the flour and beat that just until mixed.

Stir in 1/4 cup of the dried cranberries.

Pour the mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter out evenly from end to end. Bake for 12 minutes. The sponge cake is done when it will be just starting to brown and will spring back when touched.

Immediately evenly sprinkle the clean dish towel with 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar. Invert the baking sheet onto the the dish towel and remove it, leaving the parchment paper covered sponge cake behind. Gently peel the parchment paper away from the cake. Don’t worry if the edges tear a bit; it will be hidden when the cake is rolled up.

Starting from one end, roll the sponge cake up, towel and all.

Place the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.

Cream all the ingredients with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Wait for the cake to completely cool, then gently unroll it. The surface of the cake may try to cling to the towel, but just carefully “peel” it away; any splits or tears won’t be noticeable once it’s rolled up again with filling. Gently spread the cream cheese mixture over the sponge cake, covering it from edge to edge.

Sprinkle the cranberries and white chocolate chips over the top.

Roll the sponge cake up again, this time without the towel 🙂 If it tries to stick to the towel, just carefully pry it away.

Place on a serving platter. Put one tablespoon confectioner’s sugar in the small mesh strainer. Shake over the top

Using a serrated knife, cut into one inch slices and serve.

Flour dusted but happy, the cooks of the mini-class call it a day! My colleague Liz on the left, has decided to launch a cooking blog of her own! Visit Nickel Plate Kitchen and check it out!

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And just for fun…




7 thoughts on “Cooking Up Some Fall Favorites

    1. Neil – thanks! But, it really isn’t that hard. The trick is to really cover the dish towel with lots of confectioner’s sugar. It’s really pretty forgiving and if it cracks – I just ice it 🙂

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