Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the chill in the air, the color of the leaves, and the change in the menu (and I’m not talking about pumpkin spice). It’s not quite time for heavy stews and roasts just yet, but my family does start to ask for more cozy dishes like soup and pasta to fill them up after a long day of school and after-school shenanigans.
I tend to be spread a bit more thin this time of year, so I look for meals that are quick to prep and get on the table.
So grab your pen and paper, or open up that AnyList app and make a shopping list for these weeknight meal recipes for the week ahead.
Top Image: Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup from Baker by Nature, Sweet Potato & Sausage Quesadillas from Healthy Delicious and Shrimp Penne with Vodka Sauce from Girls Gone Gourmet
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For #MeatlessMonday I’m whipping up this Dominican Black Bean Stew from Vanessa at My Dominican Kitchen. This stew just warms you from the inside, without feeling heavy. The sofrito is super easy to make, and is a great way to use up some fresh herbs and vegetables that may still be hanging around your garden. From start to finish, this meal is on the table in under 30 minutes. If you have the time, I do suggest frying up a batch of tostones to serve on the side, but because I’m often running out of time, I just grab a bag of plantain chips to serve with it and no one complains.
Related: Tips on saving money at the grocery store
My kids could probably live on just quesadillas alone. And honestly, I would probably be okay with that if I didn’t have to eat with them. I discovered this recipe for Sweet Potato & Sausage Quesadillas from Healthy Delicious a while back and they make a fantastic fall meal. Sweet potato pairs perfectly with the sausage and they just speak “it is fall y’all.” Serve these with a green salad and, of course, a large bowl of guacamole.
Related: 20 folded sandwiches (aka quesadillas)
Fall and back to school season, typically means cold and flu (and I hope this isn’t Covid) season. Chicken noodle soup makes a weekly appearance on our dinner table from mid-September through November to help keep our immune systems as strong as possible. This Italian Chicken Tortellini Soup from Baker by Nature is super hearty and incorporates spinach and fresh herbs. I love roasting the chicken as it adds a homey flavor to the soup, but if you are short on time, a rotisserie chicken was made for this. You really don’t need to serve anything extra with this soup, but a loaf of crusty bread to dip in the broth is always welcome.
Related: 7 dinners staring a store bought rotisserie chicken
In the fall, I tend to upgrade two things: bowls and boots. I discovered these Stoneware Soup and Side Bowls from The Home Boom on Etsy and I love them. The bowl is not terribly huge (think more of a cup of soup size) but you can have your bread and cheese right there for easy dipping and less mess. The kids think they are our ‘special soup night bowls’, and hey – it’s the little wins in parenting.
Casseroles make a big comeback in the fall. This Loaded Baked Potato Chicken Casserole Recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen makes a comforting weeknight meal, and can also serve as a great addition to your tailgate party. Set up your favorite baked potato toppings like extra cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, or green chilis DIY style and serve with an ice cold salad.
One thing I tend to do is match colors of the food I cook to the season I am cooking in. A huge bowl of vodka sauce pasta just looks like fall to me. This recipe for Shrimp Penne with Vodka Sauce from Girls Gone Gourmet is perfect for a weeknight as it comes together in less than 30 minutes by using store bought marinara sauce. Please note that the recipe is for two – so scale for your family. We have recommended keeping a bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer, if for nothing else do it to use in this recipe. If you are nervous about using vodka, remember that when you cook with alcohol most of it burns off when cooking (so no one is getting drunk) and it leaves behind an amazing flavor. But you can always leave it out and just call it Shrimp Penne with No Vodka Sauce.
Follow our Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Families board on Pinterest @CoolMomEats for even more ideas!
I put these weekly meals plans together based on recipes I am actually cooking for my family, and with you in mind. If you have suggestions, tips or recommendations for recipes or other food bloggers I should check out please comment here, or shoot me a message in our Recipe Rescue group on Facebook. – Lisa