We welcome fall because it invites us to get cozy: warm spices, sweaters, cooler mornings and evenings, and a season full of holidays. But September is also full of transitions, with back-to-school season leading the charge. This year, I’m trying to welcome fall without the frenzy, and I am starting in my kitchen. Here are the quick and easy fall recipes we’ll be leaning on this season. They’re all simple, comforting, and kid-friendly.
Ten Quick & Easy Fall Recipes
These muffins are great for a quick breakfast or school lunches. For this Fall recipe, I like to cook the pumpkin and cinnamon in a pan on the stove for about 10 minutes to take some of the moisture and raw flavor out. Just be sure to let it cool before you mix up your batter!
PS– Whole wheat flour works in this recipe, too, and the orange juice takes the bitter flavor away!
This recipe made my ENTIRE family love oatmeal, and it’s quick enough for a weekday morning. Our favorite ways to make this oatmeal recipe are to toast 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans with the oats or to cook 1 chopped apple with butter and cinnamon in the pot for a few minutes before adding the oats. I also stir in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar or drizzle a bit of maple syrup on top at the end.
The first time I baked a batch of donuts at home, I felt like a hero. And this recipe only takes a little more than a half-hour, including baking time.
Simple Soup & Bread
Biscuits on the table never fail to bring out the smiles in our house. If you use a box grater for the butter, make sure the butter is frozen! But I prefer to use a food processor instead–pulse the butter and dry ingredients as few times as possible to get the sandy texture you need.
These don’t require boiling! They’re a little more time-consuming than the other recipes here because you need to shape them, but that makes for a fun family project! You could also just skip the traditional pretzel shape and make them as breadsticks or even pretzel nuggets.
Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup (without the cream!)
This is a creamy, soul-warming broccoli cheddar soup. But There. Is. No. Roux. No heavy cream, no condensed soup. The creamy comes from a potato, and I promise that it works.
Need a quick, kid-friendly soup using pantry ingredients? Check out this 15 Minute Miracle Minestrone. And my favorite kids-and-soup tip comes from my sister: let them drink the broth with a straw, then they can scoop the pasta and veggies with a spoon.
Quick One-Pan Dinners
This is essentially an Indian dish called Chana Masala. It’s warm and comforting, and a super quick one-pan meal. I love to stir in roasted sweet potatoes or cauliflower if I have them. (Or you could cook those veggies in the pan for a bit before continuing with the recipe.) If my kids are hesitant, I’ll scoop some of the sauce alongside naan or rice so that they can dip or mix on their own.
Roasted Eggplant with Sausage
Roasted diced eggplant is absolutely the way to go with this in-season vegetable. For this sheet pan supper, I dice up eggplant and red onion and arrange them on half of the pan; then I quarter a few small, red, or gold potatoes for my more reluctant eaters and arrange them on the other half. Then I nestle in our favorite sausages and roast the whole tray together. If I don’t have the potatoes, I just cook some pasta and sauce as a side.
I’ve also used the sheet pan method with boneless-skinless thighs (I cook them at 425F for 16-20 mins) and with salmon fillets (425F for 8 minutes). If you’re using longer-cooking veggies, give them a head start in the oven before adding the protein to the pan. We make this almost weekly, just changing up the spices: taco seasoning one week, barbeque the next. Try stirring curry powder or smoked paprika and coriander into full-fat yogurt. Then coat the chicken thighs in the spiced yogurt and let marinate for up to a day–it’s delicious!
No recipe here–peel and cube your favorite kind of apple. Toss with a bit of canola or vegetable oil, a pinch of salt, and a few shakes of cinnamon. Roast in a 425F oven for about 15 minutes, or until they’re just turning soft. These are firmer and drier than an apple pie filling, but with that same sweet-tart flavor. My kids love them as a snack, side dish with dinner, or oatmeal topping. You could also dice them a bit smaller and stir them into a bowl of cereal.
Applesauce Snack Cake (Kid-Friendly recipe!)
My kids love to help out in the kitchen and this Fall recipe is designed just for them! My favorite trick to make this snack cake a bit healthier: I process about 10 baby carrots in my food processor until they’re almost a paste and stir it into the wet ingredients. Then I use King Arthur White-Whole Wheat Flour (it doesn’t have quite as harsh of a taste like 100% whole wheat flour, but you could use that as well.). The carrots practically disappear into the batter and add a bit more moisture, which the whole wheat flour needs.
My sister makes these cookies for the holidays every year, but I think they’re also the perfect way to welcome cooler weather and warmer spices. My favorite tip (for any drop cookie recipe, really): Make a batch or two and freeze the uncooked cookie dough balls on a sheet tray, and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Then bake only as many as you need–they only take a minute or two longer in the oven. Freezing cookie dough is also a great way to bake up a variety of cookies if your family members all have different favorites!