Tieghan Gerard Is Bringing Fall Recipes To Your Doorstep This Season - Exclusive Interview

It's officially Half-Baked Harvest season, which means delicious recipes are on the way. Coming from a family of 10, Tieghan Gerard started her food blog back in 2012 for families with lots of mouths to feed. In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, the content creator detailed her latest big project — fans can now bring fall-inspired Half-Baked Harvest recipes straight to their doorstep with Home Chef! The limited time menu is officially ready to order, in addition to an exclusive "Nine Favorite Fall Things" giveaway courtesy of the popular meal kit brand. 

The spicy roasted red pepper pizza, one-sheet hot honey mustard chicken, and chipotle salmon tacos have particularly caught our eye (and stomachs). Along with Gerard's upcoming recipes, the cookbook author revealed the most underrated ingredient for fall salads, the holiday meal to make on a whim, and the pasta you should be making as the weather gets crisper and colder. Let's just say we are running to grab apple cider, canned pumpkin, and staple fall spices immediately.

Get ready for some Fall-inspired meal kits

Let's start to talk about your new partnership with Home Chef. Which recipe are you most looking forward to sharing?

There's so many great ones that we created. I think that people will honestly love all of these, so I'm very excited about them. They're really great for fall. The hot honey mustard chicken is so delicious. The beef tacos are my favorite. There's a salmon taco. There are so many. There's a great red pepper pizza. I'm so excited to be sharing all of them.

I'm excited to see them as well. With fall coming up, what's your recommendation for a simple fall meal that fans can enjoy?

Any of these Home Chef meals are going to be so great for that. All of them are so perfect for fall. I curated them to be for fall, knowing when this was going to launch. The hot honey mustard chicken alone is great, it's with crispy Brussels sprouts, which are very in season for fall. You have your tacos, which are a very cozy comfort food because I grew up with my dad's tacos, so that is literally my dad's taco recipe that we're sharing, which is so exciting. The creamy white bean lemon orzo soup is great for fall. It's really warm, it's cozy, it's healthy. There's some really great ones within our Home Chef recipes.

The hot honey chicken, is that chicken wings or is that boneless chicken?

No, it has boneless chicken breasts, so I feel like everybody will really enjoy that. It's a little bit healthier than a wing and so delicious.

Don't underestimate fig preserves

As we get into the fall and winter, do you have any favorite fall or winter salads that you're excited to do up?

Oh, yeah. I have [two] fall harvest salad[s] that I shared, because I love a great fall harvest salad. The one I shared last year is truly one of my favorites. It's a very simple, very easy fall harvest salad with apples, there's crispy prosciutto, there's feta cheese, and a really great apple cider vinaigrette dressing. It's really yummy. It's light. It's easy to prepare, and it's beautiful too. There's fresh honey crisp apples in there. It's a great salad.

Are there any ingredients that you feel people don't usually think to put in their salads that maybe they're missing out on?

So many things. I am a big fruit-in-salad girl, so that is something I think that people really miss out on. A great apple salad is really good. Using things like figs or persimmons, especially in the fall, are so great in a salad. They can also add [to it]. I love to do a fig preserve in a salad dressing in the fall. It adds so much to your dressing. It adds this touch of sweetness that — a lot of people will add a pinch of sugar, which I never do, to a dressing, but I'll add a great flavor like a fig preserve or some kind of jam, honey, or maple. It warms everything up, and it adds a more complex flavor.

Fig preserves are delicious, especially with the charcuterie board.

Oh my gosh. They're the best. People underrate figs and they don't use them and I'm like, "No, you guys, the figs are the best."

I'm going to take that with me because I didn't think about that at all. That's very smart.

I go to Whole Foods and I get the fig preserves there, and they're the best.

Whole Foods is where you normally grab them?

Yeah, but I'd check at Kroger — they also have it too. I love to use apple butter. People don't use apple butter enough, and it's one of the most delicious flavors. I make mine at home a lot in the fall, but I'm also not opposed to a great store-bought apple butter.

For apple butter, is that normally on the sweeter side?

Apple butter is definitely normally on the sweeter side. It depends. When I make it at home, I make it less sweet, but the ones you're going to get at the store are going to be on the sweeter side, so I'll use it a lot in baking. A tablespoon in a sauce or a dressing can really add this warm fall flavor to so many dishes, and people are like, "I don't know what that is," but I really like that.

Always have a lasagna ready during the holidays

You often switch between salted butter, cashew butter, and brown butter for desserts. How do you know when to use which kind?

It's whatever works, whatever the recipe's going to need. You can really never go wrong doing brown butter. It's such a great flavor that can add a richness. It's not always needed, because you don't want to overpower other flavors going on, but in the fall, it's really warm and great. I love to use things like maple. It's another really warming great element to any kind of baked good. I try whenever I can to not use processed sugars. I know that depends on who you talk to, but I like to think that maple and honey are a little bit healthier than white sugar.

With the holidays coming up too, what would you say your favorite meal is to cook for unexpected holiday guests or something that freezes particularly well?

I always say go for a lasagna, because you can make it ahead of time and that's also something that freezes really well, any pasta style dish. What's great about lasagna is you can make one or two, maybe make more of a meat-heavy one, and then if some of your guests are vegetarian or they're gluten-free, you can do that, and that way they're not [ex]cluded from your dinner.

Do you have any recommendations on how to upgrade basic meals when you're cooking for a crowd, so the food feels elevated, but it's not too over complicated?

The simplest way to do that is so easy, to add a pretty garnish. So many of my recipes are about the presentation and how I played it. They're very simple. In the fall, if it works within the recipe, I love to do a sprinkle of pomegranate, or dried cranberries, or something like that. You can never go wrong with an edible flower. Dahlias are in season for fall, and a lot of people don't know this, but dahlias are edible. I love to do things like sage brown butter, maybe on top of a dish. 

If you're like, "Oh my gosh, this feels like it needs something to make it look yummier," brown a little bit of butter and then add your favorite herb that works in that dish, and drizzle it over that dish. I do that a lot, and it also enhances the flavor of your recipe. You could never go wrong with an element of color to finish your dish. It really adds to that elevated feel.

The sage butter I've had in ravioli, and it is so good, like a butternut squash ravioli — next level.

It's delicious. Instead of sautéing your garlic, roast it up in the oven. It adds a better flavor, and it definitely makes you look a little fancier.

Apple desserts are a fall staple

What's your go-to fall dessert? I know we briefly touched on desserts before.

There's so many good ones, so it's hard to pick one. I have some really great brown sugar maple cookies that are so yummy and delicious and always such a hit, and they scream "fall" to me. I have some great pumpkin breads. Some of my apple desserts are my absolute favorite. I have some baked apple cider donuts that I love, so those are always a go-to every season.

You post a lot of summer inspired cake recipes. I saw a swirled blackberry lavender sheet cake or your vanilla peach mug cake. Are there any ingredient additions you can easily give cake recipes for the fall or winter?

I have some really great cupcakes or layer cakes, whatever you enjoy. Chai pumpkin is one of them. I have some really great pumpkin cupcakes that are so delicious and honestly, pretty simple to make, so I love that. If you're looking for a layer cake, there's also a great pumpkin layer cake with some chai flavors in there that are all so good and great for fall. If you're looking for a winter one ... It's a white chocolate layer cake that is really festive. It's all white and everything, so that's a good one.

With ingredients like chai or white chocolate or anything else they're trying to incorporate into dessert recipes, is there a common mistake that you see people making?

Not really if they're following the recipe, honestly. If there's something like a brown butter in there, there's a point when your butter is brown and then it's burnt, so you have to watch it and use your nose to smell when it's done, and get it off the heat when it smells nice and toasted and warm and delicious, then you'll know when it's burnt.

Gerard has more collaborations on the way

I'm going to switch gears here to talk about pasta for a second, because our readers love any type of pasta tips or anything like that. Are there any unexpected ingredients you think that people should be putting in pasta? It could be fall or in general.

I love to do things like pumpkin and butternut squash, and pumpkin is something that people don't use enough in a savory way. People try to bake with it always, and I think it's actually really great savory. So I would definitely recommend using pumpkin. I do a really great, I have a great pumpkin feta cheese sauce, and I have a few really good pumpkin pastas, and also pumpkin pizzas too.

Oh, pumpkin pizzas. This is going to be another fall oriented question, what are three foods that you always have to have in your pantry during the fall?

A can of pumpkin is essential, but honestly, I don't have to have it. I would do something like apple butter [or] apple cider. You want to keep your spices stocked, like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, all those really warming spices that can create a fall dish, sweet or savory.

Do you have any other upcoming projects or anything else you'd like to speak on?

We're launching two new candles with Snif, and I'm so excited about those. They will be fall focused and then holiday focused, so that'll be fun. We have all these Home Chef recipes launching that I'm so excited about, and a few other collaborations coming up next year that I'm very excited about as well. It's a busy fall.

When you say collaboration, is that more consumer good products or is it social media content creation?

No, we have some product launching that I'm really excited about within the next year.

You can now order Half-Baked Harvest recipes on the Home Chef website. The "Nine Favorite Fall Things" giveaway will be available to enter on September 13 at 12 p.m. CT. Keep up with Tieghan Gerard's latest recipes on her Instagram page.

This interview has been edited for clarity.