Fall Into Healthy Holiday Cooking

As you may well know, I teach monthly cooking classes at Best Health at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem. Part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (anyone remember when it was just called Baptist Hospital??) this health and wellness center helps you learn how to stay healthy and maximize wellness in the face of health challenges. There are anywhere from 3 to 4 classes a month and they're always FREE. All you have to do is register online or by calling the center. And it's FREE.

You even get a friendly reminder call the day before to confirm that you'll be attending. And it's FREE. And if the class is "full" (I say "full", because people always sign up, say they're coming and then don't come) your name is simply put on the waiting list and then voila! Did I mention that it's FREE??

My last class, entitled "Fall Into Healthy Holiday Cooking" featured some fall favorites with new and delicious twists. The following is a dinner menu that can be mixed, matched, and adapted for your holiday (or any day) meal preparations.

I try to take pictures of all of the finished food, but I don't make it sometimes.

I talk too much and take too long and people are hungry for the FREE samples, so I'm lucky if I get one picture in.

Lucky for YOU, I test all of my recipes at home before sharing them. I formulate and test. A dietitian calculates the nutritional info. Together we come up with the best tasting, most nutritional recipes known to man (ok, maybe not, but I'm allowed to say this here. This is my blog).

This last class, there were technical difficulties, and I didn't get to finish everything. A first, I think. I had butternut squash risotto on the menu and all I was able to do was roast the squash. So...not pretty cadmium-colored rice today.

But! Today's recipes are available to download at the bottom of this post. And if you're a Best Health member who has had the opportunity to come to one of my classes and are visiting, Welcome!

First, we have fall fruit compote. The picture was not that great. I post crappy pics like a champ, but not today. To see what it looks like, you can click here.

Before I forget, I got some of those Debbie Meyer green vegetable bags. Dude. They're awesome. I've had these apples and pears in this bag for six weeks and they're fine. Just fine. I did an experiment and I put some potatoes and onions that were on the verge in one and they still rotted, just more slowly. So, only put fresh produce in these.

Next up, creamy spinach. You need to try this spinach. Substitute Swiss chard, kale or escarole, if you like. Three little wedges of Laughing Cow cheese make this vitamin-rich plant decadent and filling. It surprised me, the tastiness of this recipe. I'm not sure why my food surprises me when it tastes good, but after I'm on the Food Network, that will all change...I'm sure...

Last is mustard & sage crusted pork tenderloin. I love mustard and sage together. I put it in my gravy, put it on my chicken, mix it together and make a spread for my turkey and brie sandwiches, shake it up in powdered form in a bag for flavored pretzels...it's something I do a lot. And it is so delicious. And now you can do it, too. I urge you to do it. Try it and then come back here and tell me that I was right.

Root Vegetable Galette
Creamy Spinach
Butternut Squash Risotto
Mustard Sage Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Fall Fruit Compote

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. I've wondered about those bags. It's good to know that they really do work. Might have to get some next time I'm out shopping.

  2. mustard and sage, huh? Hmmm - and yea, i've heard about those bags. I need to try those.

  3. Hey Nikki, I'm so glad to finally hear from someone who actually uses those green veggie bags. I've been curious about them for a while now, but didn't want to spend the money unless I knew they actually worked. Thanks sweetie.

  4. I was curious before I invested. A lot of my organic produce goes bad before I can get to it, Love this spinach dish. cs loves spinach and this looks like a way to get him to eat more veg.

  5. I heard about those bags when I was planning on doing a long sailing trip as a way to keep things longer, glad to know they work.
    that pork sounds fabulous

  6. I just bought some bags. I'll let you know how it goes. Have I told you how jealous I am of your jobs?

  7. patsy: About 6 big and 6 small bags come in a box. I don't even use them all. And they're washable and reusable.

    D: Yes, sir, sage I think is a classic fall herb. Earthy, musty, and underused.

    teresa: I'm glad I was able to give them a good product review for you.

    kat: Ooooh, sailing! I'm sure the trip is over, but the bags would have been perfect.

    kristie: I know you. You'd try to put something in there like...I don't know, but something un-produce related. LOL
    I don't think you'd be jealous of my job(s) today...I'm really tired...

  8. I've been using some sort of tupperware like container that has an insert for my berries and the really do make them last longer. I'll have to try out these bags.

  9. I wish I could come to one of your glasses.

    The menu sounds scrumptious. I think you nailed it - very autumny.

  10. That menu sounds fantastic. Debby should send you some free bags for spreading the word.

  11. Great spinach recipe! I have some laughing cow light in the fridge...

  12. Mrs: I have a salad spinner that has a berry basket in it. The thing requires batteries. I've never seen such sport. Have you?

    Em: I wish you could, too. And you could be my executive sous chef. Because I know you know how to cook. Thanks for you help with the menu.

    Sue: Yes, she should. That would be awesome.

    Foodycat: Let me know if you decide to make it...it really *is* scrummy...

  13. Next time I shall try sage and mustard on pork.
    I have an Award for you to collect.

  14. Ivy: Let me know how it turns out! And I'll be coming by to collect my award soon! Thank you!

  15. Nikki, Do you wash your bags and reuse? I've used the same 4 green-bags since August! :)

    (my frugality knows no limits...)

  16. Vicci: I have been washing them out, yes. My mom gave me 6 of hers, so I have like 14 or so bags in the drawer. I'm holding out on a cabbage I got almost 2 months ago. I want to see what happens to it.


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