I used to live in a cute little town complete with a Main Street and a prestigious (enough) university. The university was important because it ensured that the town had excellent pizza, plus enough nice restaurants to accommodate the periodic influx of visiting parents who wanted a restaurant with reservations, good service, and a liquor license.
To be honest, my husband and I mostly took advantage of the pizza. Our kids were small, and so was our budget, but on my stroller-pushing walks down Main Street, I would stop and read the menus on display at the nicer places. My favorite splurge place had a seasonal menu, and it fascinated me. Four times a year they changed their menu – that was it. For 13 weeks at a time, they offered the same seven meals and, of course, seasonal desserts. Finally, one day it hit me – if a seasonal, repetitive menu was good enough for a restaurant I couldn’t afford, it was good enough for my family.
Thus was born my seasonal menu planning. My seasonal menu planning includes more than seven meals, but the spirit remains the same. I’m not a food blogger, so I will spare you from having to endure poorly-lit photos of our dinners. Instead, I will share with you links to some of the recipes I will be making this Fall.
All recipes have to be quick prep, or cook-aheadable (yes, I made that word up), and of course, delicious! In the immortal words of Julia Child, “Bon Appetit!”.
Lasagna and Meatballs from Posie Gets Cozy
Warning! If you watch this bolognese recipe video – you’re having this for dinner tonight.
Vegetarian or could be vegetarian:
Pancetta, White Bean, and Chard Pot Pies from Smitten Kitchen
Slow Cooker Beans and Rice from Food
This is a knockoff Pasta e Fagioli recipe from Damn Delicious and my kids loved it.
Nourishing Traditions Chili from Kids Live Longer
Simple Homemade Tomato Soup from Pinch of Yum
Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup from Cooking Classy
I have assembled the Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Tortilla Soup in my slow cooker insert the night before, put it in the fridge, and then just plopped into the slow cooker in the morning before work – super easy and super yummy.
My husband insists on this roast chicken from Michael Ruhlman.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic from Barefoot Contessa is a crowd pleaser. This past year I cooked it ahead, and had it ready for 10 starving thespians for their quick dinner between sports practice ending and theater practice beginning. There wasn’t a bite leftover. I miss those days and those kids already.
This tuna is good for those days that are still warm outside. Quick tip, I don’t stuff the cherry peppers. I chop them and mix them in with the tuna – much quicker and still delicious.
My youngest son made this Creamy One-Pot Spinach Shrimp Pasta as a treat for his sister’s birthday, and it was a huge hit. It tastes like a treat, but cooks without a ton of effort.
Beef and Bean Burritos from Pioneer Woman – seriously, she nails quick, easy, delicious.
Meatloaf with horseradish this recipe is from Food Network, but my husband has been making it this way forever. My guys love it.
Pork tenderloin with Mustard Roasted Potatoes from Ina Garten Food Network
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Casserole from Pioneer Woman. Maybe I should be her publicist – actually I don’t think she needs one – never mind!
Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Sliced Sirloin with Shaved Brussels Sprouts from Food 52. Trader Joe’s sells the shaved brussels sprouts too. This dinner is ready before you can change out of your work clothes.
Goulash from Smitten Kitchen is comfort food at its best.
Apple Cake from Smitten Kitchen
I’m a Gamecock fan now so these will have to be properly decorated! Football Cookies from Giada de Laurentiis
Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake from Nigella Lawson. It’s medicinal.
It’s Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream season!
If I can get some of these meals accomplished for my week, then I don’t feel too bad about throwing in some pizza nights, Chinese takeout nights, and sandwich nights along the way!