Ah, fall season. A time for cooler temperatures and heartier meals. Some of my favorite meals in the fall center around a warm, comforting dish usually while watching a football game. Unfortunately, everyone gets to celebrate the autumnal seasonal sooner than our portion of Texas does, but that doesn't mean we can't plan out our fall meals in advance. We've compiled ten stick-to-your-ribs recipes that you should definitely make when the cooler temperatures arrive.
When that time comes, grab a blanket and cozy up to any of these dishes for a relaxing, enjoyable meal.
Chili and Cornbread In Texas, football season plus cool weather means chili (no beans) with cornbread is a go-to meal. Let the chili cook all day in a slow-cooker allowing those scents of meat, such as chuck roast, sirloin, venison or bison, plus spices from cumin, chili powder and chiles in adobo to engulf your kitchen. Top it with a dollop of sour cream, jalapeno slices, diced onions, chives and shredded cheese. Of course, this meal wouldn't be complete without a slice of cornbread; make it in the skillet for the ultimate comforting side.
Pot Roast Just about everyone will slow-cook a pot roast this fall and they will enjoy every single component, from the tender beef and warm Yukon gold potatoes to the sweet onions and carrots, oh and that incredible savory broth. The best parts about making pot roast are that you don't have to tend to it while it cooks and your home will smell amazing as the beef, potatoes and vegetables slow-cook throughout the day. There's nothing like coming home to the smell of cooked chuck roast, carrots, onions and potatoes.
Butternut Squash Pasta As if pasta wasn't hearty enough, go ahead and throw in diced or pureed butternut squash. You can use any type of pasta you prefer -- large shells are great for scooping up the winter squash, but large thick noodles also do a great job gathering up all of the goodies. Enhance the flavors of fall by quickly frying sage leaves with olive oil in a large hot skillet. Toss the pasta with the sage, cooked butternut squash, a hefty seasoning of cracked black pepper and salt, and grated Parmesan cheese for a creamy component.
Patty Melt My love for onions comes from my grandfather. He used to bite into an onion like you would an apple. If something comes with a generous helping of onions, I'm ordering it. And a Patty Melt is one of those things I can't resist. How can you not enjoy biting into a rye bread sandwich encasing a juicy ground beef patty topped with caramelized onions and an overwhelming amount of melted Swiss cheese? You can't! It's a million times better than a typical grilled cheese sandwich and it's certainly an awesome alternative to a cheeseburger. There's no doubt you'll be full for days after you consume one of these bad boys.
French Onion Soup Speaking of onions and cheese, you should add French onion soup to your list of recipes to make. The fall season is all about soups, and one of the best is a classic French onion. Make sure each ladle of white wine beef broth is loaded with the sweet, tender onions. But, we all know the best part is the broiled baguette slice topped with Gruyere cheese. The stringier the cheese is, the better.
Spaghetti Carbonara While most recipes say to mix the egg into the pasta to create a creamy sauce, I prefer to top my spaghetti with a fried egg. After I crack black pepper on top of the egg and pasta, then drizzle it all with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, I slice into the fried egg, releasing the runny yolk onto the pasta. Sliced portions of egg whites with the yolk-covered pasta creates a magical bite. Of course, don't forget to add thin slices of bacon to the dish.
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Poutine You could eat your french fries or frites with a simple seasoning of salt, or you could smother them in poutine, a light brown gravy sauce with soft, slightly melted cheese curds. Seriously, does it get more comforting than that? Cheese, gravy and potatoes are a match made in heaven. The salty, crispy deep-fried potatoes drenched in a smooth, savory brown gravy are enhanced by those crumbles of delicate cheese curds. While it's easily shared, after one bite you won't want to give another bite to anyone but yourself.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi To me, gnocchi are like pillows of comfort. Rather than making standard potato gnocchi, use the season's offerings of sweet potatoes. You can enhance the flavors of the gnocchi with brown butter and sage, like this recipe from Epicurious suggests. Each dumpling is mixed with cooked sweet potatoes, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and flour. Simply melt butter and cook with chopped fresh sage for a salty-savory sauce.
Short Ribs with Tagliatelle The first time I ate this meal, my mom served it in a giant bowl, placed it on the table and told everyone to dig in. It's a scrumptious dish that combines the heartiness and comfort of pasta and short ribs -- two things that are great individually, but together are phenomenal. The whole dish is then topped with chocolate shavings creating a sweet, savory combination you have to taste to believe. Check out this post on detailed instructions for making short ribs with tagliatelle.
Meatloaf Muffins No, these are not sweets. They are simply miniature servings of meatloaf made in a cupcake pan. Once you form the meatloaf into balls, place them into the cupcake pan and top with a ketchup-brown sugar glaze, then bake until cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes. I prefer serving mine with spaghetti squash and Brussels sprouts, but you can certainly make it even more comforting by sticking to the classic mashed potato side.