I don’t know about you, but as soon as the days get shorter and the air starts to chill, I start craving heavier, heartier dinners. That’s especially true this year, after months and months of social distancing and staying home. At the same time, I’m also experiencing major meal prep fatigue. I don’t have the time or patience to dedicate to time-intensive recipes when it’s a full-time job just to cope with everything going on in the world.
The good news is that with the right recipe, you can get the best of both worlds.
Here are 5 easy fall dinners that give you that cozy vibe — without the hours in the kitchen. As we continue to move through the rest of this stress-filled year, these recipes remind us to take care of ourselves and to take it easy.
With fresh sage, ginger, rosemary, and extra-virgin olive oil, it’s absolutely packed with healthy ingredients that taste and smell amazing. It’s the perfect option for a light autumn dinner that still feels cozy. I like to serve it with a side of sourdough bread and grass-fed butter.
Pro Tip: To make this recipe even easier, buy pre-chopped or frozen butternut squash. It will save you time and the nerve-wracking experience that is trying to cut a squash without cutting a finger off in the process.
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of warm, savory grits? (If you’re from the south, you definitely know what I’m talking about.) Try this recipe from Maya Feller, R.D. M.S., registered dietitian and author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook. It features nutrient-rich seafood broth, celery seeds, and the option to sub quinoa for grits for extra protein and fiber.
Pro Tip: If you do use grits, I highly recommend using Bob’s Red Mill non-GMO, gluten-free corn grits.
This sweet potato casserole is just what you’re craving on any given cold, dark evening. It’s salty, sweet, and filled with antioxidants — and it will also make your home smell amazing. In an hour or less, you can have a rich, decadent dinner without sacrificing your health.
Pro Tip: To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute ghee or coconut oil; just make sure that it’s semi-solid (not melted) for the streusel topping.
The only thing that’s better than chicken tenders is healthy chicken tenders. And that’s exactly what this recipe delivers. They’re made with almond meal, egg whites, and plenty of seasoning to give you that cozy chicken tender feel.
When it comes to saving time, cleanup is just as important as prep. This one-pan recipe, which features a mix of seasonal produce, like cauliflower and kale, as well as canned beans and frozen veggies, succeeds at reducing both. All you need is a blender and a casserole dish, which means prep and cleanup are an absolute breeze. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes and you have a flavor-packed dinner with all the fall vibes.
Pro Tip: This is intended to be a full meal, but you can also add fried eggs, sliced avocado, or shredded rotisserie chicken for more oomph.