Autumn Entertaining


Where are all my dahls who can cook?! Don’t y’all know the way to a mans heart is through his tummy! That’s how I got my man to pop the question in just 3 months {wink wink}! Seriously though…every girl needs to have at least one signiture dish that’s her “go to”, if not a whole menus worth of show stoppers,  to make for her man, family & friends.

Fall is my favorite time of year for alot of reasons…the change of the season, the beautiful vibrant colors on the trees, football, decorating, pumpkin spice candles, boots, scarves & fall clothes of course… But it’s the cooking & baking this time of year that I look forward to the most! It’s funny how certain smells bring you right back to when you were little at Mama’s house. There was always something baking that filled the air with cinnamon & spice & everything nice 😉 Those smells help me remember a time when the whole family got together at the table, said grace & ate…it’s a comforting feeling.

So I created an Autumn menu so you can have a little taste of “home” from my “Dahlhouse” to yours. I’ve even included my signature dish that won me an apron on the FOX TV show “Master Chef”… my Butternut Squash Ravioli w Brown Butter Sage Sauce topped w Shaved Parmesan Cheese & Pepitas. It’s Dahlicious! The menu also includes some of my favorite fall appetizers, salads, main dishes & desserts. They are so much fun to make & perfect for entertaining. Impress your guests or family this season & treat them to one of these Dahlicious Dishes! Dont forget to check out some essential kitchen tools & fall decor ideas ON SALE under the menu! Make your house super cozy this fall xoxo




Mushroom Wellington Cups


You don’t even realize how these will melt in your mouth…you’ll take grandma out for the last one. 












  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ¼ finely chopped shallot (1 large)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 12 oz mixed cremini & baby portabella mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary
  • sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 sheets of (12 x 16) frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 6 tbs melted butter


  • Preheat oven to 375
  • On high heat, melt butter with olive oil
  • Add shallots & garlic
  • Cook & stir for under a minute until fragrant
  • Add mushrooms, fresh herbs, salt & pepper
  • Cook stirring frequently until tender (6-7 minutes)
  • Add cream, simmer for 1 minute
  • Remove from heat & fold in cheeses
  • Let filling cool to room temperature
  • Lay phyllo dough sheet out (keep remaining sheets covered with a towel)
  • Lightly brush sheet with melted butter. Top with second sheet & repeat 3 x
  • Cut phyllo stack into four 3 in strips, cup each strip in 3 equal parts so you have a total of 12 squares (3×3 each)
  • Nestle each square into the cup of the mini muffin tin
  • Use ice cream scooper to scoop mushroom mixture into phyllo cup
  • Place in oven & bake til golden bubbly (12-14 minutes)
  • Cool 3 minutes & serve


Golden & Red Beet Salad



Perfect fall salad & loaded with vitamins. {PSA} Don’t get scared when you pee red 😉











  • 2 red beets
  • 2 golden beets
  • 1 tbs Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 1 tbs Honey Balsalmic vinegar
  • dash of sugar
  • pinch of sea salt & ground pepper
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • 1/4 cup of feta or goat cheese


  • Boil beets until tender (30-45 minutes…depending on the size)
  • drain (saving a splash of red water to add to dressing) & peel off skin
  • thinly slice beets
  • mix splash of red water with all ingredients for salad dressing & drizzle on warm beets
  • garnish with goat cheese or feta & top with slivered basil


Shaved Warm Brussels Sprout Salad w Crisp Bacon & Cranberry Walnut dressing

Bursting with fall flavors…everyone will be begging you for the recipe!





  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 clove garlic


  • Thinly slice Brussels sprouts
  • Heat olive oil on med & crisp crumbled bacon
  • Add Brussels & garlic
  • Cook for 8-9 minutes on medium heat, stirring often, until roasted (not too soft)
  • Remove from heat & make dressing

Put your hubs to work like I do. They say they’d rather be watching football, but I know he’d rather be slaving away in the kitchen with his lil pumpkin… why wouldn’t he? 😉

Sautee the brussels til golden & tender





  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • ½ cup Tessemeae’s lemon & garlic olive oil
  • dash of Balsamic vinagar
  • sea salt & ground pepper


  • Blend all ingredients in food processor
  • Mix into warm Brussels sprouts & serve!




Balsamic-Rosemary Pork Tenderloin w Homemade Cinnamon Apple Sauce



This recipe can be done so many ways…and the left over applesauce is perfect for pancakes!











For the balsamic-rosemary marinade

  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2 tsp. firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 2 1/2 lb. total
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Combine vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, pepper rosemary & garlic until fairly smooth
  • Place the tenderloins in a dish & pour the marinade over them. Cover and let stand at room temperature, turning occasionally, for up to 2 hours.
  • Grill meat over med high heat turning the meat every 4 to 5 minutes & baste with the marinade for up to 5 minutes before the meat is done until cooked to your liking, about 20 minutes total for medium (slightly pink at the center and juicy).
  • Transfer the tenderloins to a carving board, slice & serve


Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce


Did I mention fat-free & loaded with Vitamin C!











  • 4 Golden Dahlicious Apples (peeled, cored & cut into pieces)
  • 1 cup apple cidar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmug


  • Bring to a boil & cover for about 15-20 minutes until apples are tender.
  • Remove sticks
  • Puree in processor if you want smooth or mash w fork for chunky sauce
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon & serve warm


Butternut Squash Ravioli w Brown Butter Sage Sauce w Shaved Parmesan & Pepitas

The dish that won me an apron on Master Chef…










  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut & boiled for 10 minutes
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 48 square wonton wrappers (Nasoya brand…NOT Dynasty, they are too thin)
  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter
  • 15 fresh sage leaves
  • 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped hazelnuts


  • Warm the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallot and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook just until soft, about 1 minute longer.
  • Add the squash and stir to coat with the oil.
  • Remove from the heat and, using a potato masher or a large fork, mash the squash until smooth.
  • Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the egg yolk. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Put the egg white in a small bowl and beat it with a fork.
  • On a clean work surface, lay down 24 of the wonton wrappers
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of each wrapper with the beaten egg white.
  • Use mini ice cream scooper of the squash filling in the middle of each wrapper.
  • Top each with another wrapper, pressing firmly to seal the edges and taking care to press out any air bubbles.
  • Press edges down with fork.
  • Turn down the heat under the boiling water to medium. (You don’t want to cook ravioli in rapidly boiling water because they are likely to explode.) Gently lower the ravioli into the boiling water, 6 at a time, and cook until the wonton wrappers are soft, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer each batch of ravioli to an oiled baking sheet.

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the sage leaves. Cook until the sage leaves are crisp and the butter is brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Carefully add the ravioli to the pan, 6 at a time, and turn very gently to coat with the brown butter.
  • Transfer the ravioli to a serving dish.
  • Top with the remaining butter and sage leaves in the pan, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese & toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped hazelnuts (optional)
  • Season w sea salt & ground pepper.
  • Serve instantaneously 😉




Brussels Sprouts Gratin w Caramelized Shallots


again…knockin foes out for the last bite









For the topping

  • 3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the gratin

  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste, plus 2 tsp.
  • 2 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1/2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 jar (8 oz.) caramelized shallots, liquid strained off OR make yourself…slice & sautee 1 lg shallot, a tbs of butter & 1/2 tbs of sugar until browned on medium low heat ( 10 minutes) Then turn up to medium for 10 more minutes to brown & carmelized.


  • Preheat an oven to 375°F.
  • To make the topping, in a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, butter, lemon zest, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.
  • To make the gratin, grease a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick fry pan with the butter.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a bowl, stir together the flour, Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, the 2 tsp. salt and the pepper.
  • Stir in the cream, then the brussels sprouts and caramelized shallots.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared fry pan and smooth the top.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 35 minutes.
  • Let the gratin rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8.


Roasted Whole Purple Cauliflower


Everybody loves this and…it’s pretty 🙂










  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • 1 large head of purple cauliflower
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese


  • Pre Heat oven to 400
  • In a bowl, mix together all ingredients
  • Lather mixture over cauliflower
  • Sprinkle additional panko breadcrumbs, cheese & sea salt on top
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until you’re able to spear through entire head
  • Cool 5 minutes & serve

Roasted Corn on the Cob













  • 4 ears of corn (2 yellow & 2 red)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of crushed fresh garlic
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • dash of Lowery’s Seasoned Salt & ground pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish


  • Place corn on grill IN husk & close cover & cook for 20 minutes (turning every 5)
  • While corn is cooking, prepare mixture
  • In small pan, sautee butter & garlic for 3 minutes, remove from heat & add spices, cheese & parsley
  • Peel husks up, spread mixture over corn & serve




Pumpkin Swirl Brownies


Your family will be begging you to make this all the time. Perfect blend of chocolate & pumpkin!












  • 8 tbs (1 stick) butter
  • 6 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup pumpkin (fresh or can)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil



Stick knife in half way and swirl for a chocolate base or all the way in & swirl for a complete swirl brownie











  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it.
  • Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Beat in flour mixture.
  • In separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.
  • With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect.
  • Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.


 Classic Pumpkin Pie

The perfect classic pumpkin pie recipe…look no further dahls! And the fall cut out cookies…




  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs. water


  • In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine.
  • Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Add the 6 Tbs. ice water and pulse twice.
  • The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky.
  • If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Place 1 dough disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured waxed paper and roll out into a 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick.
  • Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish and press the dough into the dish.
  • Trim the edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
  • Fold under the excess dough and, using your thumb, decoratively flute the edges.
  • Roll out the remaining dough disk in the same manner.
  • Using decorative piecrust cutters, cut out about 30 cutouts and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the piecrust and the cutouts in the freezer for 30 minutes.


  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk


  • Preheat an oven to 375°
  • In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  • Add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the filling into the prebaked piecrust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 65 minutes, covering the edges of the crust with aluminum foil or a piecrust shield after 30 minutes if they brown too quickly.
  • Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving. Serves 10.


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Everyone loves the ginger snap crust…











For the gingersnap crust

  • 1/4 lb. gingersnaps (about 20 small cookies)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree


  • Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly butter a 9-inch spring form pan.
  • To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the gingersnaps and pecans and process until crumbly. Add the brown sugar and melted butter and pulse for a few seconds to blend. Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared pan. Use your fingers to pat the mixture into the bottom and evenly all the way up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cloves. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Using a rubber spatula, occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the brown sugar mixture, beating until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree, beating until smooth. Using the rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the chilled crust and smooth the top.
  • Bake the cheesecake until set or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.











Burlap Thankful Banner

Burlap Brown Pumpkin

Twig Turkey 

Gather Together Sign

Knit Owl Accent Pillow

Turkey, Pie & Football Wood Sign

Fall Berry Garland

Driftwood Turkey



CollagefallllHammered Copper Measuring Cups

Stone Pumpkin Jar

Staub Pumpkin Cocotte

Le Creuset Mini Crocotte & Cookbook

Emily Henry Ruffled Pie Dish

Copper Garlic Press

Herb Mill


Williams Sonoma Fall Cookie Cut-Outs

Alligator Chopper

Personalized Grill Set

Fall Mini Muffin Tin

Copper Measuring Spoons



Nanci Dahl
About me

Welcome Dahlings, I’m so happy you’ve taken the time to drop by my circus. I started this blog because I hope to inspire my fellow dahls with tips on how to be happy, healthy & fabulous! There will be fashion, beauty & travel tips from years in the entertainment industry. Everything from planning a party to trying to get pregnant…you’ll find it right here! We’ll talk about my “letter to God” to find my soul-mate, getting married in just 6 months, moving across the country from Nashville, Tennessee to Orange County, California and combining our country-coastal lifestyles together. I come from a big Italian family so there will be food & lots of it! I’ll share my Dahlicious recipes I learned how to make while being a contestant on MasterChef…and some family recipes that I will most likely be disowned for sharing ;) Please leave me any questions, comments or concerns…I really appreciate all your sweet support! I’m looking forward to getting to know all my dahls & making some new friends!


“Scary Sweater” Pumpkin Carving Party
October 19, 2018
Winter Entertaining
December 31, 2015
Thanksgiving at The Dahlhouse
November 30, 2015


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Reply May 5, 2016

I really like and appreciate your blog.Really thank you! Great.

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