It’s starting to feel a little bit more like fall, so I can finally make some cooler weather make-ahead meals. Sure, the temperature still reaches into the 70’s during the day, but the mornings and evenings are crisp and cool. That’s all I need to start looking for some heartier meals. I searched on Pinterest and found some recipes that would be perfect for this week.
This week at Giant, ground beef was on special. It was originally $3.99 a pound. There was a coupon in the weekly circular for $1.00 off a pound. Plus, I had received a coupon in the mail for another fifty cents off a pound. Top top it off, I received another coupon last week for $5.00 off a fresh meat purchase at Giant. That meant I got 3 pounds of ground beef for free. I don’t buy red meat very often, but I couldn’t turn down free food. I’ve been craving chili lately. I have a recipe for ground turkey chili that I love, but I decided to find one that used ground beef.
After searching on Pinterest for a while, I found the recipe for Slow Cooker Chili with Black Beans and Corn from Amy at Chew Out Loud. It sounded delicious, and it cooked in the slow cooker. I decided to use half of the ground beef for this recipe. After browning it on the stove, I dumped it and all of the other ingredients into the slow cooker and turned it on high. I was able to get all of my other meals prepared and run some errands while the chili cooked. It was finally ready last night after my kids went to bed. After smelling it all day, I couldn’t resist having a snack. I made some nachos by topping tortilla chips with the chili and cheese. It was delicious, and I can’t wait to eat it again Monday night!
Cooler weather also make me crave comfort foods. Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorites. I’ve been making Ina Garten’s Mac and Cheese recipe for years. I saw her make it on an episode of Barefoot Contessa years ago, and it looked so creamy and cheesy. I’ve been addicted ever since the first time I made it. Every time I make it for a get together or party, everyone requests the recipe. It’s that good. I didn’t put the tomatoes on top because I didn’t have any. Instead, I’m going to serve it with some steamed veggies, and it will be a perfect dinner for Tuesday night. Miss M and J are already excited. Just the words macaroni and cheese put a smile on their faces.
I decided to use the remaining ground beef for another family favorite – meatballs. My kids love meatballs and request them often. They order them all the time at restaurants, so I wanted to find a recipe that would be just as good. I discovered the Best Ever (Easy) Baked Meatballs from Jen at Yummy Healthy Easy. I quickly mixed up the ingredients and rolled the meatballs. After lining them up on my baking sheets, I popped them in the oven. Since I’ll be serving the meatballs as meatball subs, I topped them with marinara sauce when they came out of the oven. Now all I have to do is toast some rolls and melt some cheese over them Wednesday night. A salad will be a perfect side for our meatball subs.
My next cooler weather make-ahead meal is another recipe that will warm you up with the first bite. I’ve made the Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta from Sara at Budget Savvy Diva many times. I love chicken parmesan, and this pasta dish makes it so easy to serve on a busy weeknight. After cooking the pasta, I was able to put this together in under 10 minutes. Paired with some garlic bread, this will be a delicious meal for Thursday evening.
Pizza night this week is going to have a different twist. I found the recipe for Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas at Kalyn’s Kitchen. I have two eggplants in my refrigerator, and I was looking for a new way to use them. This recipe sounds easy, and my kids will eat any type of pizza. They also like eggplant, so I’m hoping this will be a winner.
I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies this week, but I realized that MIss M had gotten into my chocolate chips, and there were only a few left. She tends to sneak a little handful when I’m not looking. That ruined my chocolate chip cookie idea, so I looked for something else that would be easy and comforting. I really wanted something chocolatey, and I had cocoa powder. Brownies sounded like a good choice. I made the Homemade Brownie Mix from Amanda at I Am Baker. Since I wasn’t using the mix as a gift, I just combined the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and baked them. They came out just the way I like my brownies – crispy on top and around the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. Yum! Now I just needed some vanilla ice cream to make a brownie sundae. I told you I’m craving comfort foods this week. Luckily, these brownies are delicious on their own, since I didn’t buy any vanilla ice cream this week.
Now I’m ready for some cooler weather this week. I’ve already started pulling out some jackets and sweatshirts for the cooler mornings. Now my refrigerator is stocked with yummy meals for the cooler evenings. These meals will warm me up before I sit outside for soccer practice or go for a walk with Miss M. I hope you have a wonderful week filled with delicious food and lots of family time!