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Fall meal ideas – meal planning tips for cosy fall dinners

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Fall meal ideas and a brilliant guide to autumn meal planning for a family.

Delicious seasonal eating, how to make cosy fall dinners and how to create tasty meals from leftovers.

We love meal planning here at Daisies & Pie.

It just makes life so much easier, and when you’re cooking for a busy family, easy is our favourite thing.

When it comes to fall, and the kids go back to school there’s a definite shift to wanting easy, cosy fall dinners and low fuss cooking.

Simmering up one pot dinners and proper comfort food is one of my favourite things about autumn cooking.

slow cooker full of homemade lamb stew, oven baked potato filled with lamb stews. Text overlay "meal planning tips - fall dinner ideas"

Here’s our top tips for fall dinner ideas and autumn meal planning to really make fall as delicious and easy as possible!

Fall Meal Ideas

Cooking with seasonal ingredients

pumpkins for sale at the farm shop

Cooking with seasonal ingredients is always good, the produce tends to be cheaper, in plentiful supply and taste the best.

I always think mother nature is pretty smart and if in autumn she provides juicy heirloom tomatoes, ruby red peppers, shiny apples, vibrant earthy beets,  big beautiful squashes and pumpkins then that is what she thinks our bodies need to be eating to be well nourished.

So it’s a good ideas to plan meals around seasonal ingredients and use what’s on offer.

It’s simple to add a few autumnal ingredients to your regular dishes, as easy as adding some squash to your stew or curry or mashing sweet potatoes in with your regular potatoes.

Make meals that everyone likes

plate filled with chilli cheese dogs - crusty rolls stuffed with real sausages and topped with homemade chilli and cheese

Don’t make mealtimes a battleground.

Try to plan meals that everyone likes to eat.

Even if it means compromising a little and adding a touch of spice or extra flavour to a meal once you’ve dished out the kids portions.

When cooking for a family, cooking this way means less waste and less faff as you’re not having to cook separate meals and it means everyones happy and enjoys their dinner.

Be imaginative with your recipes

Think of ways to squeeze in extra veggies, serve up dishes a little differently, get the kids trying new flavours.

If kids love burgers, then why not try making your own and flavouring them up with added vegetables or spices, making the most of seasonal produce where you can.

Work to your own schedule

crock pot filled with homemade beef and ale stew alongside an artisan cheese and onion loaf.

Only you know how busy you are and how much time and effort you want to spend on cooking and planning meals.

If you know you’ve got a busy week, plan ahead, try out some slow cooker recipes so dinner is pretty much ready when you get home.

Be kind to yourself

Work out which cooking cheats you need in your life and what makes your life easier.

I find cooking for a family much easier if I keep a stock of cooking cheats in at home – things like, oven fries, part baked bread and ready rolled pastry sheets amongst other things.

You can grab my Freezer Essentials checklist here – a list of key food to keep in stock at home.

Know your stand-by dinner recipes

tuna bolognese drizzled with olive oil and topped with torn basil leaves served in bowls

Even if you plan dinners, sometimes things don’t work out and you run out of time, that’s life.

Have a good selection of standby dinners you can serve up for those nights when there’s no time or you just can’t be bothered.

Standby dinners can be anything from beans on toast to pasta and pesto or something from the freezer.

Keeping a few standby dinners in stock will save you money in the long run as you won’t need to call for take-out quite so often.

Agree a few meals

Jot down meals you know your family like and work with that as a base for your weekly meal plans.

Once you’ve got your key set of meals it’s easy to swap and change them up to make them seasonal.

Like adding pumpkins to chicken curry, mashing squash up with potatoes.

Simple seasonal additions that’ll taste great.

Love your leftovers

panful of stew with crusty bread. Text overlay "ultimate guide to using up leftover food"

Get more autumn menu and meal plan ideas here.

Learn to be thrifty with leftovers.

It’ll save you time and money in the long run if you learn to love your leftovers and turn them into a whole new meal.

We’ve got a brilliant guide for using up leftovers that shows you  everything from how to make leftovers into new meals to using up the bits and bobs leftover in the fridge at the end of the week.

If you like to save money on grocery shopping then this is the guide for you!

Need a few meal ideas?

Text "how to meal plan and why it's a good thing" overlaid on an image of tuna cheese melt baguettes with bowl of salad

If you’re struggling to meal plan or would just like some tips and ideas for tasty family meals then head on over to our Meal Planning 101

We’ve a whole stack of meal planning help and inspiration…

  • hundreds of pre-filled meal plans
  • free downloadable seasonal meal plans
  • meal planning dinner theme days

And loads of tips, ideas and help to get you started with meal planning for your family.

It wouldn’t be autumn without gravy now would it? Have you tried our super easy onion gravy recipe yet? Perfect for pouring over sausages and mashed potatoes.

Browse all our meal plans here

Save our fall meal ideas and autumn meal planning tips to Pinerest for later!

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Get more delicious meal ideas and easy recipes here