Happy Friday! Is it just me or did this week fly by?! It wasn’t much busier than usual but boy the time sure did pass quickly. The weather finally seems to be cooperating (we’ll see how long it lasts!) and it is really starting to feel like fall.
The chilly, rainy weather has me craving warm comfort foods, and I have actually been enjoying cooking some of them these past few weeks. My husband took up a cooking hobby last year and pretty much cooked dinner for us every single day of the week, giving me a much needed break from the dreaded grocery store and regular meal of fish and salad. Our schedules have changed this year and I am now the one with the most time in the evenings, so here I am in the kitchen again.
When school started in September and my husband started teaching again, I was dreading trying to find different meals to cook every night. I am happy to report that almost two months after my return to cooking I am still enjoying it! I’ve been able to find so many different easy crock pot recipes, revisited some of my old favorites, and even experimented with some new dessert recipes.
Here are some of my favorite fall foods we’ve had this past month:
White Chicken Chili
This is one of my favorites every year! I love chili, but this one is especially good because I added cream cheese and ranch to it:) It is the thickest, most comforting chili I have every experienced. All of the ingredients are fresh and healthy, but the cream cheese makes it a little less healthy. I think it’s worth it though, it tastes the best on a chilly, dark evening!
The recipe is so easy, too! Ingredients:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 can corn (do not drain)
- 1 can black beans (rinse and drain)
- 1 packet ranch seasoning
- 1 8oz package cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Shredded cheddar cheese
To make – put all ingredients in the crockpot (except cheese) and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Serve with shredded cheese to taste!
Pot Roast and Mashed Potatoes
I had never made pot roast until a few weeks ago. I tend to stick with what I know in the meat department, which has always been just chicken and fish. This was my first time venturing outside the box and I’d say it was a success! I bough a chuck roast and poked holes in it before adding salt, pepper & herbs de province. I cooked the meat in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours and it smelled like heaven all day. I did cheat on the mashed potatoes and made them from a box, but homemade mashed potatoes are next on my list to conquer.
Quinoa & Grains
We found this mix at a local grocery shop and finally got around to trying it! I cooked the quinoa, rice and seasonings in chicken broth on the stove, and then added diced tomatoes, corn and peas to the mix when it was finished. We first had this as a meal by itself, but we decided to make some chicken and green beans to go with it as leftovers. It was really tasty! I made the quinoa and rice mix from Bountiful Pantry here.
Chicken Ranch Cheddar Pasta
Another favorite of mine – I think I love anything with ranch in it. It took me a few years to finally figure out how to thicken the sauce, but ever since I’ve figured it out this meal has been perfect. This is another great comfort meal for a fall evening!
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 pound penne
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 packet ranch
- 1/2 cup milk
Slice the chicken breasts into bite size pieces and cook with the butter on medium heat until browned.
While the chicken is cooking, cooking the penne on medium heat.
Sprinkle flour and ranch on the chicken and stir so the chicken is evenly coated. Add the milk and cook until it is bubbly and begins to thicken.
Pour on the cheese and stir until it is fully melted.
Add pasta to the mix and serve!
This was such and easy meal to make and even though it was an experiment it turned out really well! The recipe is here. I love eating colorful foods, especially in the fall!
Speaking of fall evenings… nothing makes me think of chilly weather more than soup. I made my own version of minestrone soup and it turned out really well! I added chicken and noodles to it so we could eat it alone for a full meal, but decided to make some grilled cheese to go along with it. Soup and grilled cheese is the perfect combination.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 cup green beans
- 2 1/2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 can red kidney beans
- 1 can great American beans
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1 cup macaroni
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
Mix the chicken, vegetable broth, olive oil, tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano and basil in the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add the green beans, zucchini, spinach, kidney beans, Great American beans, and macaroni to the crockpot and cook on high for 25 minutes before serving. Add Parmesan cheese to coat the top of the soup when ready to serve.
This was my first time making these cookies and they were definitely a hit! I would make these again and again just to have them in the house. The cookies were super easy to make and tasted even better than I imagined. I got the recipe here!
White Champagne Cake with Candied Strawberries
This cake turned out to be a much bigger project than I had anticipated! I got the recipe from the book “Here’s to Us” by Elin Hilderbrand, and have been wanting to try it out ever since I read it this summer. I found the time last week on a Friday, and spent my afternoon making it. I love the balance of champagne to sugar in the frosting and strawberries, and was really impressed by the flavor it brought. The cake turned out to be SO sweet, which actually works because then I’m not tempted to a eat a huge piece ;). You can find the book here!
It’s just such a classic that I had to include it:)
Fall seems to be the best time for those warm, home cooked meals and sweet, comforting treats. I’m not sure how long this excitement for cooking and baking will last, but I definitely plan to take advantage of it while it’s hear!
Hope you have a great Friday and have an exciting weekend ahead of you!