Semi-Homemade Fall Menu Ideas


Fall is the time of year in Minnesota when the air turns cool, the leaves drop and we mourn the end of summer.  I choose to think of it as the beginning of comfort food season.  A period of time when we can give ourselves permission to enjoy dishes that are just a little sweeter, a little higher on the calorie scale and that during the spring and summer may give us pause.  We’re still utilizing a variety of splendid fruits but now they are wrapped in delicate pastries, folded into beautiful harvest pies and added to rich bread puddings.  I truly believe that our senses can perceive the shift in seasons and our palates are inspired accordingly.

Many of us will be entertaining guests this holiday season.  Having quick, enticing and most importantly, delicious menu ideas is essential.  The three that I have provided below allow for a minimal time commitment while utilizing maximum flavor and creativity.

Apple Cider Cake with Talenti Gelato and Caramel Sauce


This is a fast & luscious semi-homemade apple inspired recipe, a true show stopper for guests.  The beauty is, it’s ready in no time.
I picked up an apple cider pudding cake from Lunds & Byerly’s and topped 2 small slices with a generous scoop of Talenti Caramel Apple Pie Gelato.
Drizzle it with your choice of caramel topping.  You can do this with any apple dessert (pie, crisp, turnovers)

Apple Crisp Shooters with Whipped Cream & Nutmeg


You can create this recipe with a homemade or store-bought apple crisp.  You could use an apple or pecan pie as well. Spoon your dessert into 10 – 12 mini serving glasses.  Top each one with a generous dollop of whipped cream (see recipe below), sprinkle with fresh grated nutmeg.

Whipped Cream


  1. One Cup Heavy Whipping Cream, Chilled
  2. 1-2 tablespoons Powdered Sugar


  1. Beat heavy whipping cream in a medium bowl until medium peaks form.
  2. Gently fold in the powdered sugar (Add more if desired to bring it to the preferred level of sweetness)
  3. Optional: I often stir a touch of spiced rum, bourbon or brandy into to the whipped cream.

Belgian Waffles with Sautéed Apples, Whipped Cream & Candied Pecans


We are brunch lovers at our house.  This waffle recipe is a real crowd pleaser.  The Belgian waffles come in a pack of four and are from the frozen food section at Trader Joes.  I like the baking (not the toaster) option.  They take approximately 5-6 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Since they are on the thicker side I find baking yields more uniformity in terms of overall crispness and warmth.


  1. One four-pack of Belgian waffles, heated according to package instructions
  2. Sautéed Apples (see recipe below)
  3. Whipped Cream (see recipe above)
  4. 1 cup of Candied pecans, chopped (optional, these were also purchased at Trader Joes)

Sautéed Apples


  1. 4 apples, sliced (I prefer Granny Smith for this recipe)
  2. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  3.  2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (preferably fresh)


  1. Melt butter in a skillet over med-high heat.  Add apples and cook until they just begin to soften, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples and cook until brown sugar is dissolved and apples are fully coated.  Remove from heat, set aside until waffles are ready.
  3. Plate warm waffles, top each one with 1/4 of the apple mixture and a generous spoonful of whipped cream.
  4. Sprinkle with chopped candied pecans

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Please feel free to comment and share your favorite fall/harvest recipe ideas.




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