My Favorite Fall and Thanksgiving Recipes


If you know me, you know I love to cook a good meal, but I am not someone who can just throw things from scratch, I depend on a tried and true recipe! I love sharing things that work for me with you, and so as the temps are cooling off here in Colorado and the leaves are falling, I decided to put together a list of some of my family’s very favorite fall and Thanksgiving recipes! I hope you enjoy cooking with me!

These first few favorite recipes come from the New York Times Cooking blog (and a few others down the list), and they do require a small subscription, but there are so many good recipes, and their newsletters about ‘what to cook’ are well written and super inspiring for the taste buds! I highly recommend if you are someone who often struggles with coming up with new ideas for what to cook each week, and likes having a digital ‘recipe’ box where you can save your favorites! (And I get no kickbacks)

Firehouse Chili Gumbo by Jeremy Chauvin at NYT Cooking

First up. It isn’t fall without some chili! This chili-gumbo has so much flavor! Cook it up with some cornbread and be sure to have all your favorite toppings nearby!

Kale and Apple Salad by Martha Rose Shulman NYT Cooking

You’ll probably need a good salad to balance out that chili (and the cornbread you’ll inevitably make) so try this delightfully crunchy and crisp kale, apple and cheddar salad.

Hearty Chicken and Noodles by Ree Drummond

We have made this so many times in our house and it’s SO SO good, especially on a chilly fall or winter night when you crave something hearty and warm! It’s important to note though, that I modify this recipe to make it go a lot faster!

Instead of waiting for a fryer chicken to boil and using the stock it cooks in, I just buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the store, and some cartons of chicken broth- just as good! I also make ours a little thicker in the end (less broth) than hers as it is pictured, as we like it more like a stew, versus ‘chicken and noodle soup’. It’s so delish!

Good Eats Meatloaf by Alton Brown

Now before you grown and say eeew meatloaf, I promise you, this is THE best meatloaf! Forget the days of a gross dry hunk of beef! When making this, sometimes I add everything Alton suggests, but other times I don’t have all the veggies he says to put in on hand so honestly just do what you can and it will still turn out great- because honestly, the magic is in the sauce! I always make the sauce because THAT is what make this recipe so so good!

No Stir Brie Risotto with Lemon Butter Asparagus by Half Baked Harvest

Often times risottos can feel heavy and take too much work in the kitchen. I love this recipe because although it’s comforting on a chilly night, it’s still ‘lighter’ due to the citrus and herbs, and you don’t have to stir constantly for 20 minutes. Win-Win!

Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Sausage and Greens by NYT Cooking

This is a great earthy soup to set early in the day and let cook all day. Hearty and warm- it’s supper yummy with the sausage, but for any vegetarians out there, I think it would be just as good omitting the sausage and addin in a few extra veggies! Filling and cozy.

Apple Skillet Cake With Salted Caramel Frosting by Erin Jeanne McDowell at NYT Cooking

The perfect fall dessert to bring to that fall block party, school fundraiser, Halloween party or just dig into at home!

On to Thanksgiving!

I am not a Turkey cooker. I only have one oven, and I just feel like not only do I not have enough room or time management skills to manage a turkey…for me, it seems like the least exciting part of the meal! (Now don’t start throwing food at me, or writing me hate mail, ok?) Usually we outsource to Whole Foods, or let someone else take care of the bird if we are sharing the holiday with friends. I am all about the sides & desserts, so here are some of my favs!

(Homemade) Classic Green Bean Casserole by Food Network Magazine

I LOVE the green been casserole, like, favorite dish of the whole meal kind of love! (Call me weird) I grew up on the Campbells cream of mushroom soup and French’s onion version, but in recent years I have stepped it up a notch or two. I started making this version, and while it’s definitely a bit more labor intensive- it’s so worth it! If you a a GBC fan- give it a try and let me know what you think!

Scalloped Potatoes by Vicki G at

I am fine with mashed potatoes, but my husband prefers scalloped potatoes, and he loves the cheesy goodness of this version which has just a hint of heat from the pinch of cayenne!

Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole by Creme de la Crumb

Another throwback to childhood holidays was simple mashed sweet potatoes mixed with some pineapple tidbits, and then finished off with some mini marshmallows toasted under the broiler. I am still a big fan of that option, OR, this candied pecan sweet potato casserole (also with mini marshmallows- I mean that’s the best part, right?!)

Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce by Ina Garten

We always had cranberry jelly right out of the Ocean Spray can, the kind that made a big SHLURRP sound as it slid out. (Something about being a product of the 80’s and 90’s meant a lot of boxed, bagged and canned food- amiright?) But when I have the time, particularly on a holiday, I prefer to make things from scratch. Minus the turkey as aforementioned. So you can’t go wrong with Ina Garten’s classic cranberry sauce recipe!

Vanilla Bourbon Pumpkin Pie by Nancy Fuller at Food Network Magazine

Dessert anyone? I usually make two, and Pumpkin Pie always has to be on the list. This is generally my go to recipe, although I will try new recipes from time to time. I find this one to be a solid recipe though with the addition of the vanilla and a touch of bourbon, extra flavorful!

French Apple Tart with Pastry Cream by The Spruce Eats

Another great fall dessert while all the apples are in season is an apple tart. You all know I love all things French so I opt for a pretty classic French version. This one starts with the perfect pastry, layered with scrumptious vanilla pastry cream, the apples, and topped off with an apricot glaze. And personally, each time I make it I love to get fancy with how I arrange the apples!

Well there you have it, my list of all the delicious things you can find cooking my kitchen as October starts to roll around! I would love to hear your thoughts on these recipes, and I would certainly love to hear what some of your favorite fall and Thanksgiving recipes are, as I am always adding to my collection!

If you’d like to keep the fall inspiration rolling, take a peek at some great fall activities in Colorado, Washington DC & Florida, or check out some of my favorite fall photo sessions here and here! Need some ideas for your next family session, I’ve got you covered there too with 40 great ideas for your next family photo session!