5 Hearty Dinners to Help You Feel Satisfied

When the weather cools, it’s time for hearty, filling comfort food! This meal plan is loaded with warming chicken and vegetable stew, creamy broccoli cheddar mac and cheese, Instant Pot balsamic pot roast, and steamed mussels in a rich tomato sauce. It’s like a warm hug from your kitchen.

"What's For Dinner?" with a plate of Steamed Mussels in Tomato Sauce on a plate behind the caption.

I’m on a mission with this week’s meal plan to celebrate all things YOU. Shocking to think of putting oneself first, isn’t it?

A hearty meal is what makes things feel right in my world. It gives me a deep sense of appreciation because I know I’m making good use of the bounty I’ve received. I’m hoping the same is true for you.

This year has been one for the record books. I know I’ve been consumed with thoughts of others: Is my family safe? How are my neighbors holding up? What’s going to happen to our community?

With all of that worry, I have often felt lost in the shuffle and I’m sure you have as well, but caretakers also have to take care of themselves. When was the last time you thought about what YOU wanted for dinner? Which meals will bring you comfort? Which will meals will bring you less stress and more joy?

I’m going to take a little time this month to help you focus on filling comfort food recipes that take advantage of the fresh root vegetables in season, as well as hearty winter veggies like broccoli and cabbage.

  • Hearty Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Stew

    Chicken Stew Recipe
    Sally Vargas

    This roux-thickened stew bolsters you against the frigid weather with a stick-to-your-ribs meal in a pot. This freezer-friendly recipe is a great one to double. It’ll make for a thaw-and-heat dinner later on in the winter. While it is a meal on its own, a few slices of warmed, crusty bread are a great addition.

  • Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese

    Broccoli Cheddar Mac Cheese
    Elise Bauer

    There’s not much to turn your nose up to when it comes to this cheesy meal. Make this for vegetarians by replacing the Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan with vegetarian versions. It’s filling enough to serve on its own, or pair it with a simple side salad of fresh greens and tomatoes.

  • Steamed Mussels in Tomato Sauce

    Mussels in tomato sauce recipe - overhead photo of mussels in cast iron pan with bread
    Nick Evans

    You’d think the little guys wouldn’t do a substantial job of filling you up, but the number of times my unemptied pan of mussels has mocked me begs to differ. Eat them solo, or pile them on top of a mound of fresh-cooked pasta, there’s really nothing more you can do to make this a meal worthy of repeat appearances.

  • Stuffed Pork Chops with Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

    Stuffed Pork Chops with Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
    Elise Bauer

    This dish fills my heart as well as my belly. It takes me back to Germany, the land of my twins’ birth, which gives me warm fuzzies. I’m glad these stuffing-filled chops are pretty hands-off when it comes to cooking, too, because sipping a glass of wine while it simmers makes me feel even cozier.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Instant Pot Pot Roast with Balsamic and Rosemary

    Instant Pot Pot Roast sliced and served on a platter with carrots and potatoes
    Coco Morante

    Wrap up this week of self-care comfort food with this easy Instant Pot recipe. Nothing else needs to be prepared as the starch and veggies are already in the pot with the meat. Just spoon and serve. This truly is a great start to your weekend.

  • Weekend Baking: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
    Megan Gordon

    This cookie must be in your meal plans on a regular basis, even if you don’t have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten. Flax, which is used to make the “egg” that’s used in this recipe, is easy to find in most grocery store baking aisles.