Between work, school, soccer practice and everything festive in between, fall is a busy time for most families. When dinner time rolls around, it’s tough to come up with simple and healthy meals that everyone will enjoy.
While it’s tempting to hit the drive-thru for the third time this week (we all do it), Daniel L. Rosenberg, MD, of Cotswold Family Medicine, recommends skipping the happy meal. If you enjoy Dr. Rosenberg’s tips, get more free expert advice delivered right to your inbox each week.
“As the father of three young children, I understand how busy life can become,” says Dr. Rosenberg. “However, the foods we eat can greatly affect how long we live and what diseases we acquire as we age.”
Eating whole, unprocessed foods can help you fight things like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Picking out fresh ingredients from your local farmer’s market is a great place to start. Dr. Rosenberg points to a few seasonal super foods to get the most from your meal.
“Sweet potatoes and pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A, which supports vision, immunity and cell growth,” says Dr. Rosenberg. He also recommends fall favorites such as cranberries, apples, artichokes and beets, which all have powerful, immune-supporting antioxidants.
Still struggling with dinner ideas? Fear not.
We teamed up with Chef Alyssa, from Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, to create two tasty, seasonal recipes that are both healthy and easy to make. These recipes will have your family thinking you are secretly a contestant on Top Chef.
Creamy Leek, Corn and Pumpkin Stew with Crispy Kale
1 bunch mustard greens
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. Aleppo chili pepper
¼ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- De-stem the kale and gently tear the leaves.
- Toss leaves with olive oil, cumin and salt. Lay in an even layer on a sheet tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until crispy.
2 leeks, white parts only
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup white wine
2 ears of corn
2 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 ½ cups full-fat coconut milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
- Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and remove the inner yellow layers and then thinly slice.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the leeks and coat with the butter and olive oil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook the leeks until they soften and become more translucent in color, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure they do not brown. Season with salt and white pepper.
- Pour in the white wine and bring mixture to a simmer (heat might need to be raised) and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the corn from the ears using a paring knife.
- Add the corn and the pumpkin to the pan and toss with the melted leeks to warm.
- Add 1 cup of coconut milk to the pan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and white pepper. Place a lid on the pan and then reduce the heat to medium-low to cook the stew for about 10-15 minutes. As it cooks, check the thickness and adjust with the remaining ½ cup of coconut milk.
- Adjust seasoning and serve in a bowl garnished with crispy kale.
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Lentil and Beet Salad with Apples and Tahini Sauce
Makes one cup
4 medium beets with greens
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
½ cup toasted walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Trim the ends of the beets; reserve the greens.
- Wrap each beet with a square of aluminum foil, leaving an opening at the top. Drizzle a little olive oil into the opening of each beet. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Wrap the foil to seal the beet and place on a sheet pan or baking dish; bake for 20-25 minutes, until the beets are tender all the way through, but not mushy. (Check their doneness by squeezing them through the foil; remember they will continue to cook as they cool in the foil.) Remove from the oven and leave in the foil until cool enough to handle.
- Unwrap the beets and use a paper towel to rub the skin away. Slice into thin wedges and place in a bowl.
1 shallot, minced
½ cup green lentils
2 sprigs thyme
2 cups warm water
Salt to taste
- In a sauté pan heat the olive oil and sweat the shallots until translucent.
- Add the lentils and thyme and toss in the pan to warm.
- Pour in ½ cup of the water and simmer. As the water absorbs, add more until the lentils are tender.
- Season with salt and cool.
¼ cup tahini
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ cup water
- In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until smooth.
1 apple, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. toasted walnuts
- In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil and toss the apples in to warm and cook until tender.
- In a large bowl, combine the lentils, beet greens and roasted beets, cooked apples and tahini sauce and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Garnish with toasted walnuts.
(This content was co-created with Atrium Health.)