Stout Beer Chili - Pig of the MonthYou’re at an extreme disadvantage if you don’t like pumpkin around this time of year. Fall is synonymous with pumpkin flavored everything. Fall also brings a wealth of new meals into season. Yes, the summer days of salmon and peaches on the grill are gone, but that doesn’t mean that your dinners can’t still be delicious. Here are some fall meals to help ease the transition to colder weather.

Fall is a great time for soups and chili. Schedules pick up this time of year, and soup is an easy dinner that will warm you up instantly. One of my favorite fall meals is tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Now, that is a pretty standard dish, but there are several ways to mix it up. Instead of a regular grilled cheese—throw on some bacon, tomato and avocado or use different cheeses like pepper jack or fresh mozzarella.  If your family is really hungry, you can stuff macaroni and cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich. The tomato soup doesn’t have to be plain either. Mix it with some feta cheese, diced up red pepper and some basil for an extra punch of flavor.

Chili is another fall staple. Cooking it in your slow cooker gives you so many options. Let it cook and eat it after work, or keep it warm while you’re at the tailgate. For a healthier chili, use turkey burger instead of beef. I don’t think you can taste a difference, although I’ve heard contrary.  You can find a good slow cooker chili recipe here.

I think chicken potpie is an underrated dish—it’s got veggies, meat, and a delicious crispy crust all in one package. Plus, since it’s labeled as a pie it makes it even better. If you have little ones that resist veggies, fooling them with the pie label just might work.  There are lots of great-premade chicken potpies out there, but it’s actually pretty easy to make your own. Just take some piecrust dough and roll it over a pie pan (you might need another roll to use over the top). Mix up a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, a can of cream of chicken soup and two chicken breasts cut into chunks. Put it over the piecrust and cover with the rest of the crust. Cook it for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

I mentioned that everywhere you look there is a pumpkin flavored something. Well, you can bring it into your home! Not surprisingly, pretty much anything can be pumpkinized. Try making pumpkin pancakes for breakfast this weekend, and serve it with some whipped cream. Or try making stuffed pumpkins for dinner—what a fun way to eat! Obviously there are a plethora of pumpkin desserts—and just because it’s common doesn’t mean it isn’t just as delicious. Pies, rolls, dips, muffins—the options are endless. Twist it up this year and do something creative!

Yes, I am going to miss grilling season and watermelon, but after writing this I can’t wait to start making some fall dinners.  Do you have any special recipes that you enjoy preparing in the fall?


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