Sunday, October 1, 2017

beautiful weather and a few delicious autumn meals

Yesterday we spent the day in central Illinois with extended relatives and we couldn't have asked for a more lovely day...sun, 70 degrees, hanging out on the patio talking, and playing cornhole/bags (whichever you want to call it) in my cousin's beautiful back yard. Pretty much the entire month of September was perfect, weather-wise. I don't remember a September where the skies were this blue and cloudless every day, though we now desperately need rain. We barely have a color change here yet. Most trees are still green, but the leaves that are falling are brown and crispy.

The sunsets have been amazing every night, too. This one was taken on our evening walk tonight.

Today was back to reality with lots of work around the house and laundry, but that's OK, because we got a lot accomplished. I made a hearty dinner: a sheet pan with apple gouda chicken sausages, potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions - which were roasted in the oven; a pot of quinoa; and fried apples (fried in coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon, and sweetened with a drizzle of pure maple syrup).

Speaking of delicious food, I have a few other fall dinner ideas for you.

We're all familiar with spaghetti with meat sauce, but when I came across this simple way of making it, I had to give it a try. (I can't remember what magazine I cut this recipe out of, but I think it was Real Simple.) I was dubious about cooking the noodles right in the sauce, but it turned out perfect! I used brown rice spaghetti noodles and organic, grass-fed beef. If you make this, be aware that it makes a lot. I think we got about 7-8 servings from this dish. And the leftovers thicken after being stored in the fridge, so when I heated up the leftovers in a pot on the stove, I added more water and a little bottled organic marinara sauce.

This is one of our favorite soups. It's simple but yet has deep flavor and is easy to make. I always double this recipe. We had the leftovers for lunch today.

Stuffed zucchini is another easy-to-make, yummy and healthy dish. Preheat oven to 350F. Trim ends from zucchini and cut in half lengthwise, then scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Spray the insides of the zucchini with olive oil cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Bake zucchini shells for 15-20 minutes or until slightly tender. Remove from oven and stuff with filling of your choice. There are so many possibilities, depending on what flavors you're in the mood for. You can basically stuff with any kind of cooked meats (or not) and veggies, sprinkle with shredded cheese (or not), and bake another 20 minutes. This filling was diced cooked chicken with enchilada sauce, corn, and cheese. When it came out of the oven, I topped with chopped fresh tomato and cilantro.

Hope you all had a great weekend and were blessed to also have enough good food to eat and share with loved ones. Even if it was just yourself, you are a loved one, too. Treat yourself as such.


  1. I can't wait to make that spaghetti!
    Happy October!

  2. You have made me hungry and I think will go and make some goodies for the family. Thanks for sharing all the recipes. I love trying new ones.

  3. Hi Melanie,
    Could you give the exact recipe for the delicious-sounding sheet pan supper that you made? Sounds fantastic!
    Thank you!!

    1. Jenny - your profile came through to me as a no-reply blogger, so I have no way of contacting you! If you see this and can send me your email, I'd be glad to send you the recipe for the sheet pan dinner.

  4. Yum! It all looks good to me. I have red lentil soup on the menu plan for October already, I really love it. My mom makes pasta e fagioli similarly to the spaghetti recipe. Some recipes have it more like a soup with a lot more liquid, but she always makes it that way instead. Her mother did too, and her mother was from Italy, so I always think she must have known. :) Your sheet pan meal sounds delicious too. I love all the interesting sausages you can get now. On Saturday, I bought caprese chicken sausages - tomato, basil and mozzarella. I can't wait to eat them. Hope you have a good week, Melanie!

  5. I never would have thought you could cook spaghetti that way. Definitely something worth trying. Your visit with family sounds like perfect day trip. Fall is a great time for travel.

  6. That spaghetti recipe looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  7. Oh- that sounds good. I have not had stuffed zucchini in a long time. Hope you have a good week, Melanie. xo Diana

  8. I am DEFINITELY going to try that spaghetti recipe!


  9. Such a cozy post, Melanie...beautiful photos and comfort foods!

  10. I'm so glad you made that spaghetti! I saw it in Real Simple magazine too but wasn't sure if I'd want to make it. Looks delish!

  11. Oh...I am trying the spaghetti!!! Thanks!

  12. Now I am familiar with various stuffed zucchini ( we call them 'boats' here ) but this chicken apple gouda recipe sounds divine! :)

    Same weather here ( I am in Southwestern PA and I have the same as you almost all of the time ) I had to mow one side of my yard and the front yesterday...only a few portions of the back and other side / the rest is getting 'crispy' :)


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