Easy Autumn Dinners | Meal Plan Menu
With autumn in full swing, our healthy meal plan has a delicious menu of savory fall dishes!
To capture the warmth and comfort of the season, this week’s meal plan menu makes the most of spices, squashes, and fall fruits. There’s nothing quite like the delight of crisp apples and the coziness of butternut squash soup, baked potatoes, and creamy mac and cheese.
Treat yourself to coming home every night to an easy dinner that has already been planned for you. With our tips, tricks, and grocery lists, you’ll quickly be sitting down to a healthy home cooked meal as you watch the leaves change color outside your window.
“One of my favorite things about Cook Smarts is the seasonally appropriate recipes.”
– Heidi F. (Member since March 2017)
All meals come with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
Meal Planning Smarts
- Since apples and pears are in season right now, you’ll find an abundance of varieties available at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. This week we make use of pears, apples, and Asian pears, but our meal plans allow for easy customization, so you can select the color or variety that looks best to you!
- Monday’s pureed Butternut Squash Soup is too delectable to only have once. So, we use it again for a flare of flavor, creaminess, and nutrition in Tuesday’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe. (Plus, cooking once and eating twice really saves time in the kitchen!)
- Broccoli is not only vibrant, it is nutrient-dense as well. Get your vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium with Tuesday’s side dish and Wednesday’s baked potato topping.
- Old sour cream and cheddar cheese are some of the last things you want to find in your fridge, but it’s easy to forget to use them up. We make sure nothing goes to waste by utilizing both ingredients in two recipes this week.
- Since our butternut squash soup, baked potatoes, and meatloaf all reheat well, you can refrigerate or freeze them and then simply warm them up when you’re ready for another great meal.
- Leftover meatloaf makes great sandwiches, so slice some up and serve it on toasted bread with lettuce and your favorite condiments!
- Having baked potato leftovers is always a treat because they are so versatile! You can chop them up and add them to an omelet, bake them once more with our Twice-Baked Potatoes recipe, or blend them into a creamy Baked Potato Soup.
Tips for smarter meal planning come with every meal plan menu. The smarts above are only a portion of the tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and cook more efficiently. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service!
On the Menu
It’s not quite winter yet, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy a crisp and refreshing pear and celery slaw alongside pan-seared pork chops. To truly bring out the season, whip up a side of creamy soup from pureed butternut squash, onions, apples, and spices of fall.
This sweet and savory recipe is naturally gluten-free and only needs a couple ingredient omissions (sour cream and brown sugar) from the soup for those on the Paleo diet. Our vegetarian recipe swaps out the pork and slaw for a powerhouse kale salad with pears, celery, pecans, white beans, and a maple dijon dressing.
This 35-minute healthy mac and cheese recipe is filled with nutrients when you stir in some of Monday’s pureed butternut squash soup. Since one of the best vegetable companions for cheese is broccoli, make a simple side of roasted broccoli, shallots, and a spritz of lemon juice.
While vegetarians can relish this recipe just as it is, our gluten-free version makes the easy substitute of GF pasta and flour. Our Paleo recipe swaps out the mac and cheese for pan-seared salmon in a creamy butternut squash sauce.
WEDNESDAY | Baked Potato Bar with All the Fixin’s
Baked potatoes are a great go-to fall dinner because who doesn’t love a warm and customizable meal that’s ready in under an hour? When the potatoes are cooking, you can efficiently prep your toppings bar with bacon, cheese, onions, broccoli, chives, tomatoes, sour cream, and more! Load up your potatoes with your favorite toppings and sit down to a toasty dinner.
Our baked potato recipe is already gluten-free and takes the most simple alterations to become vegetarian and Paleo. Vegetarians can replace the bacon topping with lentils for a burst of protein while Paleo members use sweet potatoes and replace the dairy and bacon toppings with beef and pepitas.
We all know a meatloaf that is too dry is a meatloaf not enjoyed. We help you solve this problem by mixing in chopped chard and carrots to the ground beef for moisture and nutrients. Our other handy secret is baking the meatloaf in muffin tins for personal sized loaves that are easy to scale up or down, much faster to cook, and perfect to freeze for a quick dinner in the future. When you pair your meatloaf with a mixed greens and pear salad, you get a deliciously healthy autumn meal.
Those on a gluten-free diet simply need to use GF breadcrumbs in their meatloaf. Our Paleo meatloaf omits the breadcrumbs and swaps ketchup and Worcestershire sauce for tomato paste and coconut aminos. Instead of having meatloaf, vegetarians can enjoy their Thursday night with a colorful veggie hash recipe with a fried egg on top.