3 Quick and Healthy Fall Dinner Recipes

a bowl of chicken noodle soup

From helping with homework to packing lunches and washing uniforms, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to. However, there’s no reason to forego your regularly-scheduled family dinners: There are plenty of delicious, belly-warming dishes you can whip up in a jiffy and then re-serve as leftovers throughout the week. Fall in love with these quick and healthy recipes.

1. Classic Chicken Soup

The epitome of comfort food, chicken soup is a must on any table in the cold months. It’s yummy and nutritious – chock-full of protein-rich chicken and fresh veggies. Best of all, it tastes great reheated as leftovers, so one cooking session provides several meals throughout the week. This version takes just 15 minutes to prep, so you can accomplish other tasks as it simmers on the stove.

Hot chicken broth is soothing to a sore throat, so be sure to whip this up when someone you love gets sick.Hot broth is soothing to a sore throat, so be sure to whip this up when someone you love gets sick.

One 4-pound chicken
6 carrots, peeled
4 celery stalks
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Place the chicken in a large pot.
2. Cut 3 of the carrots and 2 of the celery stalks into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add the cut vegetables (including onion) to the pot with the salt, peppercorns and enough water to cover (about 8 cups).
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until chicken is cooked through (about 30 minutes).
6. Transfer chicken to a bowl and let cool.
7. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables.
8. Return the broth to the pot.
9. Thinly slice the remaining carrots and celery.
10. Add them to the broth and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes).
11. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and add it to the soup.
12. Ladle into individual bowls to serve.

(Recipe from August 2015 issue of Real Simple, as listed at realsimple.com.)

2. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Did you know that sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene, which can approve the appearance of your skin? This meatless dish is perfect for vegetarians, but you can always add store-bought roasted chicken if you desire. Enjoy this salad as a main dish in the evening, then pack the leftovers away to be eaten for lunch at school or the office.

1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
4 sweet potatoes
4 red bell peppers
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Roast sweet potatoes on one cooking sheet and red bell peppers on another.
3. In a salad bowl, combine spinach, cooked potatoes and cooked peppers.
4. Use a small dish to mix vinegar.
5. Pour vinegar over lettuce mixture and toss to coat.
6. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

“Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A and beta-carotene.”

3. Hearty Beef Stew

In this version, the traditional hearty, calorie-laden stew is lightened up by reducing the meat and replacing it with lots of flavorful vegetables. While this isn’t a “quick” recipe in the traditional sense, it allows for a heap of leftovers, which frees you up later on in the week! To save on time, you can always buy your veggies and herbs pre-cut; when it comes time to cook, just measure and toss in the pot!

1 pound beef round steak
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cups diced yellow onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup diced sweet potato
1/2 cup diced white potato with skin
1/2 cup diced mushroom
1 cup diced carrot
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup uncooked barley
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 cups low-sodium vegetable or beef stock
1 teaspoon dried crushed sage
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried minced rosemary
black pepper to taste

1. Heat grill or broiler (medium heat).
2. Grill or broil steak for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once.
3. Remove from heat and let rest.
4. In a large stockpot, saute vegetables in oil over medium-high heat until lightly brown (about 10 minutes).
5. Add barley and cook an additional 5 minutes.
6. Pat meat dry with a paper towel.
7. Dice grilled steak into half-inch pieces.
8. In pot, combine steak, vinegars, stock, herbs and spices.
9. Bring to simmer then let cook for one hour, until stew is thickened considerably.

(Recipe from Mayo Clinic staff, as listed at mayoclinic.org.)

Whether you roast flavorful sweet potatoes in the oven, or simmer a pot of soup on the stove, your entire family will love both the aroma and taste of these healthy fall meals.