Hello and happy September! I love the Fall season so much. I love a cooler air, and color of the changing leaves, the clothes, and ALL THE SEASONAL FLAVORS! Fall is my favorite season to cook and bake (followed closely by Christmas but we’ll wait for that). There are so many warm and comforting flavor combinations and textures you can take advantage of during this season. I’m going to share 4 easy meals (with recipes) that you can whip up either very quickly, or ahead of time for company.
Last Minute Dinner Company
You got a call, dinner company coming in an hour. That’s great right? Of course it is! You’re already prepared and you’ve got a delicious fall inspired meal you can produce in less than an hour. You’re making:
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pumpkin Alfredo
For the Roasted Chicken Thighs: 6 Servings
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs (I always like to do a few extra in case a guest is really hungry)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 2 tsp Onion powder
- 3 tsp Dried Parsley
- Preheat oven to 400o F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl mix together dry herbs and spices.
- Use a paper towel to pat chicken dry, then rub both sides of chicken with olive oil.
- Rub the dry mixture all over chicken.
- Arrange chicken skin side up on your baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165o F.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
For the Pumpkin Alfredo: 6 Servings
- 1 LB Fettuccine cooked, reserve 1 cup pasta water
- 6 TBSP Salted Butter
- 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
- 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (be careful not to grab the pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 2/3 cup Half & Half
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 TBSP Fresh Parsley (optional for garnish)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add fettuccine. Cook until chewy, but firm. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and discard the rest.
- Meanwhile, melt butter over medium low heat and stir in garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Stir in Half & Half, Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, and nutmeg. Stir until cheese is full incorporated and mixture is heated through.
- Stir in pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until sauce is your desired consistency. ( A thick and creamy sauce need only 1/2 cup, thinner sauces will need more.)
- Add fettuccine and cook additional 2 minutes until pasta is well coated.
- Serve garnished with fresh Parsley and additional Parmesan cheese.
*NOTE: Utilize frozen vegetables here to add brussels sprout or green beans. I always like to keep one shelf of my freezer stocked with bags of frozen veggies that I can pop in the microwave at the last minute. Aldi has a great selection of these bags!
Feeding A Crowd
You’re talking to your husband and he asks “hey babe, do we have plans for Sunday?” He wants to have his whole family over for a Sunday lunch and catch up. Great! Let’s pull out a Fall themed feast that won’t stress to the max having to cook for 10 people. We’re making:
White Chicken Chili and Cornbread
For the White Chicken Chili: 10 Servings
- 1 1/2 LBS boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 TBSP Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper (I like white pepper for this recipe, but you can use either)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 can (small) diced green chilies
- 2 (15 oz) cans white beans (Drain and rinse ONE CAN ONLY. You want the liquid from the second can)
- Desired garnishes (can include sour cream, cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, etc)
- In a 6-8 quart crock-pot, mix together chicken stock, spices, and chilies.
- Add the white beans and place chicken in liquid.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Discard Bay leaves and remove chicken from crock-pot.
- Using a hand immersion blender or stand blender, puree approximately 2 cups of the chili. You want the rest to be intact.
- Slice or shred chicken and place back in the crock-pot.
- Serve with desired garnishes and cornbread (recipe to follow)
For the Cornbread: 16 Slices
- 2 cups Four
- 1 cup Cornmeal
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 TBSP Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 8 TBSP Salted Butter, melted (plus more more serving)
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 1/4 cup Whole Milk
- 3 Lg eggs
- Preheat oven to 350o F and butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- In large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal. sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
- In medium bowl, whisk together butter, oil, milk, and eggs.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour into baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, until inserted toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
- Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serve with butter.
*NOTE: You can use a store bought box of cornbread mix if you’d rather.
Meal Delivery for A Sick Friend
Your friend, or family, or neighbor, etc….is sick and you want to take them some Fall inspired soup that will be both delicious and healthy. You’re taking them:
Carrot Ginger Soup with Whole Wheat Bread
For the Carrot Ginger Soup: 4 Servings
- 8 medium Carrots
- 2/3 cup Red Split Lentils
- 1 small Onion
- 3 tsp grated Ginger (fresh)
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 4 TBSP coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Pumpkin seeds for crunchy garnish (optional)
- Wash, peel, and cut carrots into chunks. Rinse and drain lentils.
- In large pot, heat olive oil and add onion. Cook until onion starts to soften.
- Add carrots and lentils. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add stock, salt, ginger, and turmeric.
- Bring soup to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add in coconut milk.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.
For the Whole Wheat Bread: 1 Round Loaf
- 2 cups Water, warm
- 2 tsp Salt (I like using flaky sea salt)
- 1 tsp Yeast
- 3 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- In large mixing bowl, mix together water, salt, and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add in flour and mix until well combined.
- Cover dough with buttered plastic wrap or clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature overnight (or about 8 hours).
- Place a dutch oven in your oven and pre-heat to 450o F. Once heated, carefully remove dutch oven and place on counter.
- Flour you hands and shape dough into a circle. Drop into dutch oven.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for additional 20 minutes.
- Remove bread from dutch oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or wrapping in clean cheesecloth for transport.
*NOTE: You can always save yourself time and buy a loaf of crusty whole wheat bread from your local grocer or baker.
You had some company in town and you want to make them breakfast. You don’t want them to feel like they have to get up and come to the table to be able to eat, they need to relax. You make them:
Cranberry Orange Muffins and Coffee in Bed
For the Cranberry Orange Muffins: 18 Muffins
- 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
- 2 TBSP freshly grated orange peel
- 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 3 cups Flour
- 1 cup Sugar, divided
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 TBSP cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed is best)
- 2 LG Eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Pecans, crushed
- 4 TBSP cold unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 TBSP orange juice
Directions for muffins:
- Preheat oven to 425o F and butter a muffin tin (or you can use muffin cups).
- Wash cranberries and drain off water. Place in medium bowl.
- Add in nuts, orange peel, and 1/2 cups sugar and stir well to combine.
- In large bowl combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender.
- Add orange juice, eggs, and cranberry mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and top with streusel mixture.
- Bake for 5 minutes at 425o F.
- Reduce heat to 350o F and bake for an additional 16-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to wire rack and drizzle glaze on top of muffins.
Directions for streusel:
- Combine flour, brown sugar, and pecans in a small bowl.
- Cut in butter with pastry blender.
Directions for glaze:
- Combine powdered sugar and orange juice to make glaze. Use more or less orange juice as needed to reach desired consistency.
For the French Pressed Coffee: 4 servings
- 8 cup (34 oz) French press
- 10 TBSP Coffee beans, coarsely ground
- 6 cups fresh boiled water
- Bring water to a boil, then let sit for 2 minutes.
- If grinding your own beans (highly recommended) grind to coarse grind.
- Measure out 10 TBSP (can add more if you like stronger coffee) and place in French Press
- Pour hot water over ground and stir to coat all grounds.
- Let steep for 5 minutes, then push plunger down.
* NOTE: Place plate of muffins on a tray with French press, mug, small carafe of milk, and cloth napkin. Take to guest bedroom and leave on table just outside door.
Hopefully this guide will help you in someway this Fall season! Read through the recipes, or come up with some of your own, and then make a list of things to always have on hand for an easy quick prep. I love cooking for guests, and I really love cooking for guests in the Fall season. The delicious aromas that fill my house alone are worth inviting guests over! If you have any cool Fall inspired recipes or tips that you’d like to share, drop a comment below. I would love to feature your recipe here on the blog!