5 Cozy Weeknight Meals to Usher in Fall

Ease into fall with these weeknight recipes packed with broccoli, butternut squash, and more.

September Meal Plan Week 3

‘Tis the season for broccoli, butternut squash, and bourbon? No, not that last part. Actually, yes, to that part. Fall has arrived, and I’m here for all of the seasonal fruits and veg that comes with it. Now’s the peak time for picking up Brussels sprouts to serve alongside Tuesday’s Creamy Dijon Mustard Chicken or turnips to pair with Thursday’s Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops. 

The best place to find seasonal produce is your neighborhood farmer’s market. Vendors will not only have what’s local to your area, but I find they have expert advice on how to store, prepare, and serve their goods. 

Since apples are probably aplenty, buy a bushel and make applesauce! Applesauce also goes great with pork chops, so think about serving that on Thursday as well. Homemade applesauce can last in your fridge for a week and up to ten days. It can also be frozen or canned for longer term storage.

Whatever Fall produce you come home with from the market, you’re bound to find something in this week’s meal plan to enjoy it with. 

  • Sheet Pan Salmon and Broccoli with Miso Butter

    Sheet Pan Salmon with Broccoli - Ring the dinner bell!
    Sally Vargas

    Broccoli is really in season all year long these days, but it comes into peak around this time of year. This one-pan meal is ready to serve in a little over half an hour—prep and all. Serve it with steamed brown rice or on top of cooked ramen noodles, which is my preferred choice. I like to double the marinade and toss the ramen noodles in a small amount before topping it with the salmon and broccoli.

  • Creamy Dijon Mustard Chicken

    creamy dijon mustard chicken
    Elise Bauer

    This juicy Dijon-sauced chicken is ready in less than an hour, but you can’t tell by the hearty flavors it packs. Since parsnips are in season, I recommend boiling and mashing them (like you would potatoes) to serve with this meal. The caramelized flavor of Roasted Brussels Sprouts pairs so perfectly with the creamy mustard sauce here, too.

  • Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet Dinner

    Horizontal view of a large cast iron skillet filled with a butternut squash skillet dinner. Cilantro, quinoa, butternut squash and cotija cheese are visible in the pan. To the left is a yellow napkin with three forks on it. Above the forks are three small bowls. One small bowl of rice, a ramiken of roasted pumpkin seeds and a small platter of cilantro.
    Sally Vargas

    Winter squashes, like butternut, are my family’s favorite. This meatless skillet meal is a hearty midweek option with just a little bit of smokiness from ancho chili powder and fire-roasted tomatoes. If you don’t have red quinoa, replace it with rice. Make this a vegan recipe by omitting the cotija or replacing it with your favorite vegan cheese.

  • Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops

    Vermont Maple Syrup Pork Chops
    Elise Bauer

    Maple sap is usually harvested in late winter/early spring, but the syrup is a very popular flavor during the fall season. These succulent pork chops are a great dish to highlight the deep flavors of maple. Pair it up with roasted carrots and turnips to complete the meal.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Slow Cooker Bourbon Short Ribs with Cheesy Grits

    Braised Short Ribs in the Slow Cooker
    Nick Evans

    Fall means comfort to me. Warm sweaters, apple cider, and pumpkin-picking is kicking off, so I want to bring that comfort to the dinner table with these set-it-and-forget-it Slow Cooker Bourbon Short Ribs. After searing the short ribs, your slow cooker does the rest of the work. When dinnertime rolls around, cook up the creamy, cheesy grits and hunker down for a rich ending to another week.

  • Weekend Baking: Bisquick Apple Coffee Cake

    Bisquick Coffee Cake
    Elise Bauer

    I’m not a believer in coffee cake being only for breakfast. Coffee cake shouldn’t be put in a box like that. Make this coffee cake for dessert, then serve it a la mode with vanilla ice cream. And if you feel pressure to conform, eat it for breakfast in the morning as well.