5 Cool Weather Weeknight Meals

When it’s cool, but not yet cold, cozy up with these weeknight meals of soup, roasts, apple treats, and more.

Almost-Cold Weather Recipes

It’s the first week of October and I am excited to prepare warm meals highlighting produce that comes to life when it starts getting cold outside.

The fruits and vegetables that go on our family’s table are often ones that are currently in season. We’ll be eating our share of apples, celery, carrots, and broccoli with tasty dinners all week long. 

Though they are available all year around, buying in-season produce lends to a sweeter and less bitter flavor. Plus, they are less expensive. Hurray! 

  • Minestrone Soup

    minestrone soup in bowl

    Elise Bauer

    Minestrone is a classic Italian soup that relies on early fall produce such as carrots, cabbage, and celery. Using canned beans keeps this soup squarely in the weeknight dinner category—it’ll be on your table in 60 minutes and the majority of it is hands-off. This version skips the pasta for a gluten-free version, but if gluten isn't a problem then add a small pasta, like ditalini, for a heartier dinner.

  • Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

    Broccoli Beef Stir-Fry
    Elise Bauer

    Let broccoli shine in this family favorite that’s ready in 30 minutes. The sauce is made with four simple ingredients: soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and black pepper. Slice sirloin or flank steak against the grain to keep it tender. We support you leaning on store-bought broccoli florets. I would cook the rice at the same time! 

  • Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder With Apple Gravy

    Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder With Apple Gravy
    Sally Vargas

    I would usually save a meal like this for the weekend, but it’s so simple that I’m going for it. Here is my plan: Prep the apples and vegetables and rub the pork shoulder the night before. Pop both in the fridge. The next day, throw them in the oven a few hours before dinner. 

    My favorite cooking apples are Jonagold or Fuji.

  • Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes

    Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes
    Sabrina Modelle

    Buy pre-cut broccoli and small potatoes for a meal that requires zero chopping. I use boneless chicken thighs because they are easy to slice and can be eaten with a fork—no messy fingers here. But I do admit that it’s hard to beat crisp-skinned bone-in chicken thighs. Serve with rice, bread, pasta, or salad—whatever you have readily available.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Avocado Tuna Salad

    Tuna Avocado Sandwich
    Elise Bauer

    Tuna salad gets an upgrade in this quick and easy recipe. Skip the mayo and instead add a creamy ripe avocado and a splash of lemon juice. Smear it in between two slices of toasted bread or make it a tuna melt by scooping some onto a piece of toast, adding a slice of cheese, and baking it until the cheese is melted. This recipe makes two sandwiches but is easy to scale up as needed.

  • Weekend Baking: Apple Turnovers

    Apple Turnovers
    Alison Bickel

    These handheld pastries are a fall highlight. The no-cook filling of apples, cinnamon, currants, and walnuts is spooned into store-bought puff pastry (check the frozen foods aisle.) I like to double the recipe and stock my freezer to bake and enjoy when I need a warm treat.