Bring On The Fall

AE_foodsImages via Pinterest and linked below.

Here's my truth: I'm not inspired by summer foods.

Don't get me wrong - I love summer foods. Fresh fruits. Corn on the cob. Grilled stuff.

But it's the foods of fall, or at least the change in season, that gets me back in the kitchen again and feeling like I actually want to be cooking.

Maybe it's all about routine. Fall signals a return to routine (or the start of some new ones if you live in my house this year) and for me that usually means that I want to get stuff in order. Meal planning - or at least more intentional meals - usually comes up at this time of year.

I'm not complicated in the kitchen. Simple and easy and healthy is what I'm looking for when I browse recipes.

Here's some recipes I want to try in the next few weeks (all pinned to my recipe board on Pinterest - which by the way I've been loving again - feeling inspired rather than depleted and overwhelmed when browsing):

Aaron and I had a talk the other day about setting aside a weekend day to cook a whole bunch of meals to freeze for his house and for mine. I like the idea of combining our efforts in a method that will help both of us out during the week when dinnertime rolls around and the kids are hungry and we're each on our own.

If we do end up doing that I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm also thinking about signing up for emeals again. I like their suggestions, their shopping list, their instructions, and the variety. It's usually more food than the three of us eat (big meals every night) during one week but I like that I can print it all out and then refer back to it again.

And while on the topic of dinners and meal planning I want to recommend you check out Melanie Makes. She posts a new menu plan each week and there's often something from her list I'm interested in trying too.

I'm also really wanting to have turkey dinner sometime soon.

Do you have a favorite fall food or healthy freezer meal that's in your rotation?

45 thoughts

  1. Ewa

    2013-08-28 12:12:07 -0400

    Big emails fans here too! A bit ago they came out with a wonderful iphone app which makes the list use that much easier. You'll love it!

  2. MK Hennigan

    2013-08-28 12:14:48 -0400

    I have been using emeals for over a year and just recently changed to the clean eating menus. Even though I generally shop clean I love the fact that I really do not have to think about it with emeals. Love the convenience of the whole program and now I have a years full of inspiration that if a few meals from the current week do not suit our families taste I just reference back to previous weeks. This may sound nuts but I print two copies, one that I use for my grocery list and hang on my refrigerator to reference while cooking and the other copy goes in a sheet protector in a binder for future reference and they are put in in the order that I received them so they are using seasonal ingredients. Loved seeing your Paris pictures, my Husband and I where there in April spending an amazing twelve days. Looks like you all had an amazing trip too. Bonjour and Bon Apetit.

  3. Jennifer K

    2013-08-28 12:35:09 -0400

    Meal planning... That's something I really need to do!

    I don't usually freeze cooked final products. But I really like having cooked and shredded turkey or chicken I can pull out for making enchiladas, along with keeping frozen diced tomatoes/peppers/onions/etc. for quickly tossing into stews, stuff like that. So much healthier to dice up and freeze some organic tomatoes from the farmer's market than get them in a can later!

    Cooking together can be a great experience. Enjoy!

  4. Anna Aspnes

    2013-08-28 13:21:11 -0400

    I'm loving grass-fed beef short ribs in the crock pot rigt now. Never gets old regardless of season.

  5. Kim

    2013-08-28 13:23:23 -0400

    I'm a big fan of fall cooking and the new rhythms that come with the season (and I don't even have kids!). Last year I tried the service at and loved it! She gives you 5 meals/week for a month, complete with shopping lists and side dish ideas. The idea is that you spend 1 hour on Sunday prepping all of the meals, and then just quickly cook them (under half an hour) daily.

    I did the gluten free set and loved all of the fresh ingredients and whole foods. I like cooking simple recipes and these fit the bill!

    Everything we tried was delicious!

  6. Gina

    2013-08-28 13:31:04 -0400

    My girls are ready for pumpkin bread fresh out of the oven! I'm ready for Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks!

  7. Megan Anderson

    2013-08-28 14:02:08 -0400

    Autumn food is my very favorite. It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to this Fall!

    My favorite autumn recipe is creamy chicken apple chili. Sounds weird, but it is DELICIOUS:

  8. Amanda

    2013-08-28 15:40:48 -0400

    We've been craving the foods of fall as well. We bought a small turkey breast this week to make a traditional turkey, dressing, potato, etc. meal :) Love having that meal other times than the holidays.

  9. Heidi

    2013-08-28 17:08:31 -0400

    I have been so happy with the routine of school back so that I can start cooking. Healthy, simple and delicious is just what I'm looking for as well. Thought it was so fun to see that another Mom is on the same wave-length as me.

  10. Brooke

    2013-08-28 18:29:36 -0400

    You introduced me to the tostada a while back. We can't get the shells here in Australia so I've adapted it and use a flour tortilla. The best thing with this is that you can put anything on it. I've gone from using refried beans to using taco mince. Cook up a big batch and freeze it in family (whatever size your family is) portions and it's a quick meal. For my 2 year old I add meat and cheese and fold it over and cut it up like a pizza. I mix it up for my 5 year old adding a little salad on the side. For my hubby and I, I pile on the meat, cheese, and a big salad.

    I cook every second night. One meal (recipe) lasts us two meals which is fantastic. While having something new each night is wonderful I don't really have a list of regular meals I rotate. I have a huge recipe collection (Super Food Ideas Magazine) dating back to 2002 so I always have heaps of variety. I think that's what keeps us happy.

    Batch cooking with Aaron is an awesome idea!! I should do that with my parents - my Dad is a good cook!

  11. linda

    2013-08-28 20:56:27 -0400

    Also trying to get back in the routine of freezer meals. Favorite right now - stuffed shells, tons of combinations with meat or meatless and veggies. Pull as many as needed from freezer, pour on sauce and warm.
    In the fall, I also go for the oatmeal/apple recipes - crockpot oatmeal, or freezer friendly bake oatmeal from

  12. J3SS1C4

    2013-08-28 21:39:59 -0400

    I actually love summer foods here... But then again, we're coming out of winter here in Aus, and I'm just over winter foods at the moment. By the end of any season, I'm ready for the changes in what we eat! I love making big batches of stuff... I live with my partner, and even though there are only 2 of us, I regularly make searvings for 6+ so that we can have plenty of lunch leftovers and meals for nights neither of us want to cook, but I'm not good at spending a day a week or month doing it. Our freezer supply is running low at the moment though, so I might give this a try as well! :)

  13. Suzanne

    2013-08-28 22:32:37 -0400

    Throughout the year and especially now during tomato season, I frequently make a Turkish salad I picked up on a trip there. It's called Piyaz: white kidney beans, diced tomato, chopped scallions, diced cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice and salt (and sometimes a kick with red pepper flakes). Mix altogether and serve with a toasted cheese sandwich. Lotsa veggies and fiber :)

  14. Mindy

    2013-08-28 23:46:46 -0400

    A friend of mine recently shared that she uses The Fresh 20 instead of emeals. I think the meals use more fresh ingredients rather than processed foods. I haven't tried it out yet, but she said she is loving it. She and her husband do some of the prep work over the weekends to make it easy when they get home from work.

  15. Paula O

    2013-08-29 00:47:42 -0400

    Go to and search 8 crock pot meals in an hour! Even provides grocery list and you bang it out in one hour and freeze them, the night before I take it out and in the morning pop in the crockpot and done! Enjoy!

  16. Mye

    2013-08-29 10:52:15 -0400

    love the recipes, Ali! you just made me pin all of them. hubby had a slight change in diet lately and i've been looking for some new meals to add to my recipe book. thank you for sharing!

  17. Patti L

    2013-08-29 14:58:38 -0400

    I like the sound of those recipes, but I am def digging my heels in to fall...not ready to let go of summer. I do better with summer foods (zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes)! But what's nice is late harvest veggies can be used in a lot of fall meals too. I prefer vegetable chili the most, butternut squash soup (you can freeze leftover squash chopped). I prefer simple homemade meals, few ingredients, dial up flavor by using garlic, basil (homegrown!). The best side I've been making a lot lately is sweet potato fries - easy, delicious, and healthier than alternative. Season with a little cinnamon, paprika for a nice kick.

  18. Amber

    2013-08-29 16:03:53 -0400

    Yes yes yes. In the summer I do love to throw things together (pasta salads especially), but actual cooking... Not so much. I started doing freezer cooking with a friend and it is so awesome. The first time we each brought recipes and cooked a bunch of different things. We learned our lesson. The next time we chose one type of meat. So for instance we did all chicken. While the chicken was cooking in the George Forman grill we prepped everything else and then did a huge assembly. At the same time tortilla soup was cooking on the stove (and my baked to tomato sauce in the oven but that practically makes itself). We made forty meals (!!!) this way in seven hours. Intense but fun. So that's my tip do one meat only a cooking session.

  19. Justine

    2013-08-29 18:05:27 -0400

    Ali -
    Love this. Fall is my favorite season - and one of the only things I miss from the east coast now that I live in SoCal.
    I make a butternut squash soup that I basically make up - but it freezes well (if you end up having left overs!)
    1 bnut
    5 medium carrots
    Chop carrots & bnut, toss in olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet - 350* until the veggies are soft

    In a pot, cook 1 med sweet onion in butter... add roasted carrots and bnut.
    I use an immersion blender to smooth this out - you can always use a blender (be careful with hot liquids)
    Add chicken or veggie broth till it's as thin as you'd like, salt and pepper to taste - let it simmer for about 15min and you're good.

    That's it!

  20. Maria G.

    2013-08-30 04:08:35 -0400

    You said you’re not complicated in your kitchen, so am I. As for my favorite fall food I’d say I have a very long list, because I always cook a lot when I, my husband and my two sons have birthdays( can you imagine that in one family?). I like fruits a lot and I usually make chicken with lemon pasta (or whatever it’s called)… Do you make fruit salads on fall? They work pretty well for stomach and are full of vitamins.

  21. Helen Anne

    2013-08-30 18:56:13 -0400

    We tried the sweet & sticky chicken tonight. It was delicious! Thanks for the link.
    I haven't done a cooking weekend in a long time but like to make things that start out with similar instructions -- brown ground beef and onions. I do a huge batch of that then start making things likelasagna, Hamburger soup, chili, spaghetti sauce. For things like lasagna, I make the full recipe but assemble in smaller pans to make individual servings. When cooking, I shorten the cooking time then freeze. When I'm ready to eat the 15 or 20 minutes that's left is about whats need to heat the dish for dinner.

  22. tiffany h.

    2013-09-01 16:36:16 -0400

    Before signing up for emeals again look into Fresh 20. I've been very happy with their meal planning service. Keep us updated on how it goes once everyone is back into the fall routine.

  23. jaimee h.

    2013-09-03 12:26:03 -0400

    I LOVE this post and I too end up getting more inspired to get back into the kitchen to cook and bake in the Fall. It is my favorite season and the first chill in the air gets me stoked for coziness. I have a killer baked ziti recipe (I know all the ingredients by heart, so it's easy to stop at the store if I am missing something on the fly). I also start to really try utilizing my crock pot more. I work outside the home, so having healthy meals on weeknights are hard. I am always perusing pinterest to find things I want to try.

  24. Michelle

    2013-09-05 11:28:43 -0400

    On another note. I saw this, teared up, and wondered if you saw it.

    I tried the emeals thing, it didn't work for me. But I am glad I gave it a whirl!

  25. Charmayne Bowling

    2013-09-06 02:05:27 -0400

    2 Words = Dream Dinners ~ love it!!!

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