We have been living out of suitcases for two and a half months as we’ve been out of our house for a remodel, and a lot of our regular routines have been up in the air. One of the biggest areas that has felt unsettled for us has been food. This was amplified by the fact that my oldest was doing a gluten challenge in August and September and after 10 years of eating gluten-free I literally did not know how to feed my family meals that included gluten. Ha! Now we have her test results back and know that she needs to remain gluten-free, and the heaviest travel portion of our remodel road trip are behind us, so it was time to hunker down and make a plan for food for autumn.
So it was perfect timing recently when I found the Autumn Meal Plan challenge from Families Who Cook. I went through the steps and at the end of the week I have a multi-week plan for dinners, along with shopping lists and prep work itemized for each day. I’ve been meal planning for years, but have not gone to the extent of creating shopping lists for pre-set meal plans or a list of prep tasks to do for each meal.
It feels really, really good to have a plan and to know that one thing will be predictable over the next couple months while lots of other stuff will be up in the air. I thought I’d share what I ended up with.
Over the past year or so I’ve been embracing the idea of themed meals for each day of the week. I choose loose categories and then that gives me the ability to add variety each week because I’m not a big fan of being pinned down. The categories that have been working for us are:
- Monday – Sheet pan or chicken
- Tuesday – Tacos / Mexican
- Wednesday – Soup
- Thursday – Meatballs
- Friday – Fish or vegetarian
- Saturday – Flex or takeout
- Sunday – Pot roast or beef stew
I never stick to this religiously, but it’s a helpful framework to start with. I created a couple of weekly plans so I can rotate through them. This is what I came up with:
- Monday – Roasted whole chicken with vegetables
- Tuesday – Cider-braised cabbage & apples with brats
- Wednesday – Chicken noodle soup
- Thursday – Beef chili w/ cornbread
- Friday – Salmon w/ broccoli and wild rice salad
- Saturday – Potato & chard frittata
- Sunday – Pot roast
- Monday – Autumn sheet pan chicken
- Tuesday – Tacos
- Wednesday – Creamy turmeric chicken & “rice” soup
- Thursday – Thanksgiving meatballs w/ mashed sweet potatoes & sautéed greens
- Friday – Curried lentil stew
- Saturday – One pan chicken and wild rice casserole
- Sunday – Beef stew
- Monday – Roasted chicken thighs & root vegetables
- Tuesday – Mexican rice bowls
- Wednesday – Turkey & wild rice soup
- Thursday – Asian meatballs w/ broth & veggies
- Friday – Pumpkin enchiladas
- Saturday – Brats & peppers
- Sunday – Leftovers or a frittata
I didn’t link to a ton of recipes because I’m a big fan of actual cookbooks. My very favorite is Nourishing Meals. Though not a cookbook, I really enjoy the recipes from Heather Bruggeman’s Autumn Country Kitchen course this time of year. The Thanksgiving Meatballs recipe is a fall staple for us and it’s in Practical Paleo, though I don’t use that cookbook very often. Some of these recipes – like the turkey and wild rice soup, the chicken noodle soup and the beef stew – are dishes I make often enough that I just wing them at this point.
I hope this is helpful! I’ve been dealing with a lot of overwhelm this fall and having a food plan in place is just one less thing for me to worry about. I would love to hear what’s cooking in your kitchen this fall!