Autumn is here! Even if it isn’t official; we’ve been having some wonderful fall weather and that calls for autumn food! Bring on the stews, soups, chilis, apples and pumpkin! Here’s what we’ve been eating for the past week or so to celebrate the season change.

What's for Dinner?

Rachel Ray’s Chicken Apple Chili is our very favorite autumn recipe. It’s in our top five favorite things to eat over all. It is super easy to make and captures the flavor of autumn perfectly. Pairing apples with chicken might seem weird, but every skeptic we’ve talked into trying it (even the picky eaters) have loved it! Make sure to use a soft cooking apple. I like to use two different kinds of apples (usually one Macintosh and one Fuji) so that the texture is more varied.

What's for Dinner?

Speaking of using apples in savory dishes, this Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw recipe is to die for. It’s an explosion of the perfect balance of flavors. After eating food like this, good ‘ole greasy American seems bland and depressing. Jake and Eliza aren’t vinegar lovers, so the warm slaw is not their cup of tea. I horde it all and make mashed sweet potatoes for them.

In our quest to eat more healthy dishes, I’ve been using tons of recipes from the “Eating for Life” section of New Cook Book, Special Edition For Breast Cancer Awareness. I love that many of the dishes are healthy and hearty, a combination that is often hard to find.

One of our favorites so far has been Spicy Shrimp Linguini (I can’t find the recipe on-line and don’t want to post if without permission). Even though I can’t share this specific recipe; I can give you a tip I picked up while making this. The pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, and jalapenos. Jake doesn’t eat shrimp, so I threw the sauce into the blender with the shrimp for his portion and pulverized the meat into a thick sauce. The sauce was a little too thick, so I added a bit of canned spaghetti sauce. Jake loved it! Key to tricking picky eaters into eating healthy: blender. Also, whole wheat pastas are awesome!

What's for Dinner?

I also used my blender for our leftovers night spaghetti (which is what these photos are from). I added all of our leftover veggies and the leftover shrimp/sauce from the spicy linguine into the blender and added that to some spaghetti sauce along with a palmful of spices and some leftover ground sausage from a homemade pizza we made earlier in the week. The peanut gallery was none the wiser, and there’s nothing better than nutritious + tasty + using up leftovers.

What's for Dinner?

We also loved this Mini Spinach Calzones recipe from the cookbook. Eliza had so much fun making them with me! I served them with some scrambled eggs on the side and E took the leftovers in her lunchbox the next day. They’re technically and appetizer, but that doesn’t keep them from making the way to our dinner table.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: a secret family recipe! It’s taken me forever to get it just right, but I have finally perfected my mom’s chili.

Mimi’s Chili Recipe

Prep: 20 mins Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 4 (plus enough leftovers to have chili dogs later in the week)

-medium onion, finely diced
-one large or two medium green bell peppers, finely diced
-three stalks of celery, finely diced
-three carrots (or about 3/4 cup baby carrots), finely diced
-1 1/2 lb lean hamburger (or ground bison, if you can find it. It tastes almost exactly like hamburger but is lower in fat and cholesterol and higher in protein and iron)
-1 can rotel
-1 can petite diced tomatoes
-1 can navy beans, rinsed
-1 can chili beans
-1 package Williams chili seasoning
-1 tbsp molasses
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste
-cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
-crackers (optional)

-Brown the meat on medium high heat while you are chopping your veggies.
-Drain meat and add in chili seasoning. Mix.
-Add veggies to meat and cook for two minutes on medium heat, stirring often.
-Add the tomatoes, rotel, molasses vinegar, and beans. Do not drain tomatoes, rotel, or chili beans.
-Season with slat and pepper as needed.
-Bring to just boiling, then reduce heat and cover.
-Cook on low heat for an hour.
-If desired, garnish with shredded cheese and crackers (We like Fritos on top) before serving.

What's for Dinner?

What do you love to eat in autumn?

P.S. I’ll be working on a new mini book project next week that focuses on every meal we eat for the week. There will be photos, recipes, grocery receipts, and journaling. Looking back, I never scrap about food and what we’re eating is constantly changing! This will be interesting to look back on in a few years. I’ll post more details later, but I’d love for some of you to join in!