When does fall start? I always forget, because I’m too immersed in doing things like cooking down the giant bag of apples I just bought, or dreaming of the hearty chili I’ll get simmering on the stove. Oh, and adjusting to school starting up again. That one’s a biggie.
Dates be darned: maybe fall starts when it feels like fall. Seems there’s a roster of ingredients and flavors that everyone craves when leaves start to turn. How do you make those a reality in between raking the yard and dashing home from various practices after school or after work?
Never fear. We pulled together the best fall dinners for you to make on nights when you’re in a bit of a scurry. They deliver all the fall cozies you yearn for.
Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Enchiladas are always my order when we go to our local Mexican spot. Why? I love them, but I’m too lazy to make them. But this easy-to-assemble cheesy casserole is another story. You can use canned enchilada sauce or make your own; likewise, you can cook the chicken yourself or go with a rotisserie bird.
Paccheri With Quick Sausage Ragu
Paccheri are like giant ridged ziti, ideal for holding chunky sauces like this sausage ragu. If you can’t find paccheri, rigatoni is a fine substitute. Or even penne! Whichever pasta you opt for, this superb dinner is on the table in 30 minutes.
This meatloaf isn’t just the easiest. It’s the best. I based it on the one my mom made for years, but streamlined the mixing step by using a stand mixer. It’ll be your go-to from now on, I promise. Mom never lets anyone down.
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
A few simple elements—shredded chicken, Buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumbles—make this mashup of tacos and hot wings a hit. It’s ready in 20 minutes and is splendid with a bagged coleslaw kit.
Butternut Squash Risotto
“Oh, but risotto is so hard,” you may think. It’s not! It’s just rice and a few other ingredients cooked on the stove and stirred every now and then. If you have an antsy young helper, assign them the stirring task to keep them busy. A bag of refrigerated cubed butternut squash can shave down prep time (you’ll likely need to halve the cubes to keep the cook time on track)
Yes, it’s pumpkin season. Why not bring it to the dinner table in addition to your jack-o-lantern? This chili embraces canned beans and ground meat for a faster cooking time (the recipe calls for pork, but beef or turkey work just as well). If cutting up a pumpkin seems a drag, use thawed frozen butternut squash instead.
Steamed Salmon With Spicy Maple Sauce
The sweet and enticing flavors of maple glaze may convert those who aren’t salmon fans. If you don’t have a steamer like what the recipe calls for, you can follow the alternate directions for roasting in the oven.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With Five Spice
Versatility is what this recipe is all about. Serve it on buns or over rice. Slip it in fusion tacos. Serve it with a simple cucumber salad and call it a night.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
This colorful stunner is equally delicious warm or at room temp, fresh or made ahead. Leftovers are ace for lunch. It’s filling enough to stand on its own, but you can easily grill some chicken breasts to round it out.
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Of course chicken pot pie is great. But you know what’s just as great? A creamy, cozy soup that requires no fumbling with pastry or long bake time. Rotisserie chicken and a short simmer get the job done. Fast-baked seasoned oyster crackers make an optional topping, but a batch of canned biscuits or even saltines to serve alongside would work, too.