Weekly Menu Plan Week 26 ushers in the comfort food season with seasonal soups, vegetables, a vegan stir fry, and plenty of gooey caramel for dessert.
Things are finally starting to cool down a bit here on the 45th parallel. This is the first soccer season in the past 11 years that I ever remember not sitting in cold, rainy weather while cheering for the Sons. I’m SO not complaining. In fact, if the weather would be so kind as to stay dry and above the 50s, that would be great.
Regardless of the temperatures outside, October is all about the comforting cravings of healthy, heartier meals, piping hot soups, and seasonal vegetables making an appearance in year ’round favorites. Weekly Menu Plan Week 26 ticks all the right boxes in the most delicious way.
Take a look at what’s on tap for this week:
Cooler temperatures make me crave the simple comfort of soups and stews with a heel of crusty homemade bread on the side.
Who’s with me?
I’m kicking off the week with my Lighter Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Think of the fixings of a loaded baked potato: butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, bacon. Yeah…that’s the stuff, right there. For as much as I love a good baked potato, a really great baked potato soup is even better. I lighten this one up with a little less butter and non-fat Greek style yogurt in place of the sour cream. The resulting soup is just as delicious its heavier cousin, but won’t require 80,000 burpees at the gym to work it off. That’s my kind of Monday!
This one pot Sausage with Apples, Onion, and Butternut Squash from Jenni/Pastry Chef Online takes comfort to new levels of awesomeness because she serves it over spaetzle. Spaetzle, people! Flavorful sausage caramelized with fresh apples, sweet onions, and bites of butternut squash, then served over tiny little dumplings. I could eat this everyday and twice on Sundays and still be happy. With the ease of one pot to clean up, I can do just that.
We have pizza about once a week around here, so I’m always looking for new topping combinations to dress my easy 40 minute pizza dough. I start by making a “boy pizza” for the Sons, which is usually includes a variety of meat toppings. Then the fun begins with a “grown up” pizza. Susan/Girl in the Little Red Kitchen’s Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pizza is loaded with tangy sausage, three types of cheese, and tempered with the slightly bitter edge of broccoli rabe (a.k.a. broccolini). Between the sausage, creamy white cheese base (gah! yum!), and touch of green, I think the Sons would devour this pizza as well as their own meaty version.
If some cheese is good, then more cheese is definitely better. Sarah/The Chef Next Door definitely subscribes to this adage, as proven by her Cheddar Beer Soup. She loads her soup with copious amounts of sharp cheddar cheese, for which I am very grateful. This is exactly the type of soup to be sopped up with fat slices of easy, cheesy beer (or soda) bread. Because More Cheese is the theme of the day. Praise!
With all of the cheese going on this week, a Vegan Crispy Tofu Asian Noodle Bowl from Cheryl/Pook’s Pantry is just the ticket to restore a little balance to the week. The sweet and spicy tofu, loads of veggies and fresh herbs served atop a bed of noodles in a flavorful sauce will make you feel downright virtuous after a week of semi- indulgence.
I like to save up a little virtue in my eating habits in order to justify desserts on the weekend. Come on now…you know that you do it too. It is Our Way. Cheryl knows this about us, so she offers up her Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Cider Buttercream. Apple. Cider. Buttercream.
You heard me.
Tender apple cupcakes topped with buttercream infused with the concentrated flavors of apple cider and a gooey caramel drizzle. It may be the season of pumpkin spice everything–including pumpkin chai cupcakes —but apples and cider win my heart when it comes to celebrating the flavors of autumn.
Which is precisely why I’m sure to keep plenty of Salted Caramel Fruit Dip on hand for a sweet snack during apple harvest time. Caramel and apples go together like peas in a pod. A little extra salt cuts the sweetness of the caramel, making it perfect for dipping crisp apple slices. Salted Caramel Fruit Dip is equally lovely drizzled over vanilla ice cream, a slice of perfect cheesecake, or simply stirred into hot coffee. I just love versatility in a recipe, don’t you?
What’s your favorite recipe on the Weekly Menu Plan Week 26?
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Do have a recipe request for future Menu Plans? Drop a comment on this post or send me an email and tell me about it!