Hearty Fall Flavors, On A Shoestring

Fall is most definitely in the air, and our "Chef on a Shoestring" has a menu to match the autumn mood.

Dede Wilson is a contributing editor at Bon Appetit magazine, and on The Early Show Saturday, she accepted our challenge of making a three-course meal for four on a budget of only $40.

She chose some of her favorite recipes found in the new Bon Appetit cookbook, "Fast, Easy, Fresh," by Barbara Fairchild (Wiley), to come up with a delicious menu.

Getting dinner on the table every night is challenge enough, and putting out something the family will rave about is next to impossible. But Bon Appetit's new cookbook is filled with 1,100 recipes that are, as the title says, fast, easy and fresh - and that will have everyone begging for seconds!

To see an excerpt from the book, click here.

Wilson has worked professionally for more than 20 years as a restaurant chef, bakery owner, caterer, recipe developer, TV and radio show host, and cookbook author.


Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing
Roast Chicken with Artichokes and Gremolata Butter
Spiced Winter Squash with Fennel
Ginger Baked Apples


Roaster Chicken: Tender, juicy flavor is the hallmark of a whole roaster chicken. Roasters have had time to develop nice, plump flesh, so the meat stays moist and juicy in the oven. Roasters are larger, about five to seven pounds. Their relatively larger size and higher fat content is just right for cooking evenly in the oven.

Gremolata: Typically, gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made of garlic, parsley, and lemon peel. Although it's a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it a wonderful addition to seafood dishes.

Fennel: It looks like celery, it's kin to carrots, and it tastes like sweet, mild licorice. Fennel's flavor is deep, but soft. It combines particularly well with other flavors and brings out their fullness. Raw fennel is crisp but tender, and adds delicious crunch and sweetness to salads and crudités. Cooked, it's soft and subtle. Fennel's feathery fronds make a flavorful garnish.

Rome Apple: The Rome apple is rounded, all red, and very glossy, with a thick skin and firm flesh. It's primarily used for baking, as its flavor develops when cooked, and it holds its shape well. It is less desirable as an eating apple, as it is not as sweet as other varieties. It comes to market in late September and is considered a good keeper.


Iceberg Wedges with Warm Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

Shedding its retro reputation, iceberg lettuce makes a delicious comeback in this classic salad. Warm, thickly sliced crisp bacon adds the crowning touch.

1½ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese
Buttermilk (optional)
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges, each with some core attached
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

MIX first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add blue cheese and stir until well blended. Thin dressing with buttermilk by tablespoonfuls, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

COOK bacon in large skillet over medium heat until golden brown and beginning to crisp. Arrange lettuce on plates. Spoon dressing over. Using slotted spoon, transfer warm bacon from skillet onto salads, dividing equally. Garnish with red onion.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.