Fall is a favorite season of many people for lots of different reasons.  Some love the fact that they don't have to deal with summer's heat and humidity and instead wake up to cool crisp mornings.  Some anticipate the colored foliage and others are busy picking their pro-football teams on their boards.  While I'm into football too, I get excited for Fall because it peaks the senses in the kitchen.  This collection of recipes is designed to touch all five of your senses.  Enjoy!

  • Cathy Kates
    Cathy Kates

    SMELL: Simmering Sweet Smells Of Holidays

    This makes the whole house smell incredible, like you've been baking all day.  Plus, it helps to hydrate the air and your skin.

    You Need:

    • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
    • 3 Bay Leaves
    • 1/4 C. Whole CLoves
    • 2 Lemon Sections with Rind
    • 2 Orange Section with Rind
    • 1 Quart of Water

    [for something different try using apples in places of the lemon and orange sections]

    Make it:

    Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer over heat.  Not only will this hydrate the air in your home but it makes your home smell like you've been baking pies.

  • Taste of Home
    Taste of Home

    TASTE: Autumn Pumpkin Chili

    This unique chili recipe not only addresses the taste of the season with pumpkin, but also the "heat" of the spice will tantalize your taste buds too.

    What You Need:

    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 small green pepper, chopped
    • 1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
    • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 4-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and sliced green onions

    Make it:

    Saute the onion and green and yellow peppers in oil in a large skillet until tender, thenadd garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Crumble turkey into skillet and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

    Then transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the pumpkin, tomatoes, chili powder, pepper and salt. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Serve with toppings of your choice. Yield: 4 serving


  • Taste of Home
    Taste of Home

    SOUND: Peppermint Popcorn

    I bet you were wondering what I was going to use for the sense of sound.  Popcorn of course, with a holiday twist.

    What You Need:

    • 1 pound white candy coating, coarsely chopped
    • 24 cups popped popcorn
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy (4 to 6 candy canes)
    • Red nonpareils, optional

    Make It:

    Using a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn and crushed candy. Then pour candy coating over top and toss to coat. Pour onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. If you choose to use nonpareils, this is when you should sprinkle them over the top of the popcorn.  After it hardens, break apart. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 24 servings.

  • Taste of Home
    Taste of Home

    SIGHT: Winter Wonderland Gingerbread Cottage Recipe

    What You Need:

    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
    • 1-1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 tablespoons molasses
    • 6 eggs
    • 6 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and allspice

    For The Icing and Decorations:

    • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
    • 6 tablespoons meringue powder
    • 3/4 cup warm water
    • Green and red gel food coloring
    • 1 wooden skewer (6 inches long)
    • Pastry tips—star tips #14 and 20, round tip #4 and leaf tip # 352
    • 5 pieces red rope licorice, divided
    • Red nonpareils, red milk chocolate M&M's, edible glitter and light bulb-shaped sprinkles
    • 4 cups Crispix
    • New small paintbrush
    • 19 large marshmallows
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 cups crisp rice cereal
    • Additional confectioners' sugar
    • 9 miniature candy canes, divided
    • 1 piece red Fruit by the Foot fruit roll (1-3/4 inches)
    • Red, green and purple tiny-size Chiclets gum
    • Granulated sugar and coarse sugar

    Make It:

    Make the dough first.  In a large bowl, cream butter and the sugars until light and fluffy, then add the molasses. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices in a small bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture, then mix well and chill for 1 hour. (the dough, not you, you need to make patterns).

    While your dough is chilling, trace patterns onto waxed paper and cut them out. After an hour, roll out your dough on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet to a 1/4-in. thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut out chimney pieces, house front and back. On house front, completely cut out door and window, saving the door piece. (After baking, you'll want to trim 1/4 in. from bottom of door piece.)

    Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until set. Immediately place patterns on cutouts and cut around edges to trim excess. (It will be easier to cut while warm). Cool on pans for 2 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks to cool completely.

    Cut out two house sides, about 5-7/16-in. long x 5-6/16-in. high. Using the scraps, re-roll and cut out two roof pieces, about 7-7/16-in. long x 7-13/16-in. high. Bake and cool as directed.

    Time to make the icing: Using a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and meringue powder. Add warm water; beat on low speed for 1 minute then beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Tint 1 cup green using food coloring, cover and set aside, leaving remaining icing white.

    Decorating the house pieces: Place the front of house front-side down on a waxed paper-lined work surface. For front window panes, cut skewer into one 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 in. piece and one 2-3/4 in. piece. Using your white icing, attach skewers; let dry completely.

    Next, place house sides and back on a waxed paper-lined work surface. Place house front with front side up. Using your #14 pastry tip, pipe shell border around edges of house pieces. Add shell border on front of house and around door opening. Now, using the #4 tip, pipe snowflakes and dots on front of house. Pipe side windows and front window panes over skewers.

    Now for the front shutters, cut two 2-1/2-in. pieces of red licorice and attach. Cut four pieces of licorice for side shutters; attach and let dry.

    Thin 1/4 cup icing with a little water and tint red; spread over door. Let dry completely. With white icing, pipe around door; add a window if desired and let dry. With tip #352 and reserved green icing, pipe green boughs above windows and door; add red nonpareils. Set aside remaining green icing for trees.

    To assemble house: Pipe icing along edges of house sides. Position at right angles to front of house. Press into place; prop with small cans. Pipe icing along inside edges for added stability. Repeat with back; let dry.

    To assemble chimney: Pipe icing along one side of front chimney piece and one adjoining side chimney piece. Position at right angles to each other and place on waxed paper; pipe icing along inside edge for added stability. Hold in place until secure. Repeat with remaining side and back pieces. Let dry completely. Spread icing over chimney; add M&M's.

    To assemble roof: Pipe white icing along top edges of house walls. Position one roof piece; prop with cans. Repeat. Let dry completely. Frost roof pieces; attach chimney and Crispix shingles. Using tip #4, pipe snow on roof and around chimney opening. With a paintbrush, lightly brush Crispix with water; sprinkle with edible glitter.

    To decorate: Using tip #20, pipe a rope border along edge of roof; attach light bulb sprinkles. Pipe rope borders where the roof meets the house and where walls join at each corner.

    For finishing touches: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallows and butter; heat until melted. Add crisp rice cereal. Form into tree shapes. With tip #352, pipe reserved green icing on trees. Sprinkle with edible glitter; decorate with light-bulb sprinkles and confectioners' sugar if desired.

    For bench, cut licorice into five 2-1/2-in. pieces. Cut curved ends from five candy canes, forming C-shaped pieces; set aside three curved pieces for fence and one straight piece for sled. With icing, attach one C-shaped piece to bottom of one whole candy cane (crook facing right), forming one side of bench frame. Repeat; let dry. Attach licorice pieces to bench frame pieces; prop and let dry. Add icing rivets.

    For sled, position reserved straight piece between two whole candy canes to form a sled; attach with icing. Attach Fruit by the Foot; let dry.

    For path, draw path pattern of your choice on waxed paper. Coat with icing; attach Chiclets and let dry.

    On a large covered board or tray, place the house and path. Add granulated sugar snow drifts; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Arrange the trees, bench, sled and Minty Snowmen around house. Insert reserved candy cane pieces into sugar for fence. Yield: 1 gingerbread cottage.

  • Taste of Home
    Taste of Home

    TOUCH: Appetizer Wreath Recipe

    What You Need:

    • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
    • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon dill weed
    • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
    • 1 cup finely chopped celery
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
    • Celery leaves

    MAKE IT:

    Do Not unroll the crescent dough when you remove it from its packaging. Cut each tube into eight slices. Arrange in an 11-in. circle on an ungreased 14-in. pizza pan.

    Then, bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely.

    In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and garlic powder until smooth. Spread over wreath; top with broccoli, celery and red pepper. This is the hard part for me, form a bow garnish with celery leaves. Yield: 16 servings.

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