Fall officially begins tomorrow, and you know what that means: Hello pumpkins, apples, squash and comfort food! To help you transition from bright and sunny summer produce to heartier meals and ingredients, we’ve gathered a weeknight meal planner that lands somewhere in the middle. Plus, we’re helping you use your Italian pantry staples on Wednesday to complete the Love Your Kitchen Challenge of the day!
Monday, September 22
Tuesday, September 23
Pantry Staple Wednesday, September 24
Thursday, September 25
Friday, September 26
More Weeknight Meals
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: apple picking time! There are few things we love more than spending a brisk fall weekend roaming through row after row of fragrant apple trees and stealing bites of tart, crisp, juicy, fresh apples. But besides the fresh produce, we love a good apple orchard with other things to offer, such as hay rides, Halloween specials and, oh yeah, FOOD! So whether you’re living on the east coast or west, or somewhere in the middle, there’s an apple orchard for all your fall fixes. Here are some of our favorites:
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards, LaFayette, NY
Photo courtesy of Beak & Skiff
Looking to dine out, but can’t decide on a craving? Everyone’s been there. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In our September issue, we tackle some of the hottest “mash-up” dishes to sweep New York City (complete with recipes so you can D-I-Y at home!). For those outside the Big Apple, fret not: these hybrid creations are popping up all across the country. Here are just a few of the dishes that prove definitively that, when it comes to food, we really can have it all.
Photo courtesy of Food Spotting
If you haven’t noticed, we love a good tailgate. But between all the sliders, wings and dip, it’s hard to find a place for a signature cocktail to really shine. Enter: the shandy, a refreshing mixture of beer and citrus that looks way more impressive than a six-pack but will still leave beer enthusiasts pleased. Typically made with lemonade, a shandy is a definite crowd-pleaser that doesn’t require much effort. Our Grapefruit Shandy is a twist on the classic that your friends probably haven’t had before. The best part? All you need are three ingredients!
3 12 ounce bottles Hefeweizen beer, chilled
3 12 ounce bottles grapefruit soda, such as Izze, chilled
1 grapefruit, sliced
In a pitcher, mix beer and soda. Divide among cups and garnish with grapefruit slices. Makes 6.
It’s the second week of our Love Your Kitchen Challenge and the second Pantry Staple Wednesday. You know the drill: Take inventory of your pantry! Make sure you’re well stocked on staples like grains, pasta and canned goods, because you never know when you’ll have to whip up a meal in minutes. Whole grains and pasta are great for late or lazy nights, and canned beans, tuna and veggies provide easy protein and flavor to a dish.
Want to know what we’ll be whipping up tonight? You’re looking at it! Our Weeknight Meal Planner recipe of the day is a perfect way to utilize canned chipotle peppers in adobo, tomato paste and pinto beans. The end result? A bright and flavorful Chipotle-Orange Chicken Chili that’ll keep dinnertime exciting, healthy and filling. Happy inventory day!
Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!
Lesson 7: Shake Up Your Salt
Salt is essential to a dish. It highlights flavors and brings them into sharper focus. But not all salt is created equal. Step away from the iodized table salt and stock the three below. Your food (and everyone who eats it) will thank you.
We can always find a reason to get behind a good charity, especially when it’s promoted by one of our sister magazines. This weekend, put your sewing skills to the test with American Patchwork & Quilting‘s Million Pillowcase Challenge. Beginning on Friday at 3 pm, the 24 Hour Sew-a-Thon will be hosted nationwide by All People Quilt, and our Des Moines office will be participating, tweeting and sharing photos of the staff hard at work. Each pillowcase created will be donated to the charity of the maker’s choice, there are are over 50 other locations throughout the US and Canada doing the same.
Photo courtesy of allpeoplequilt.com
Whether you’ve got an hour or a full day, every pillowcase counts in the attempt to reach the 1 million goal. If you’re new to sewing but would like to participate, there will be opportunities to pick up easy-to-follow instructions, a how-to video and pillowcase kits.
Our Des Moines office will be donating their pillowcases to YESS (Youth Emergency Shelter and Service) and Rebuilding Together, but we encourage everyone to donate to a local charity that can use them. Find out which of your favorite charities will be accepting pillowcases here.
And don’t forget: share your pillowcase making story online! Use the hashtag #APQSewathon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We love seeing what our readers are up to, especially when it involves a good cause!
More News on Charities
Getting into the back-to-school mentality can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to lunch duty. Juggling multiple picky eaters plus your own desire to keep your family eating healthy can be a hefty task. But have no fear: We’ve put together some lunch ideas that will solve all your problems in one! These recipes are quick, easy and subtle enough for any picky palate while still being healthy enough for your own lunch! Your kids may never ask for lunch money again.
Have your kids made a habit out of PB&J? Try a healthy, fun alternative side dish in the form of these Crunch Apple & Almond Butter Rounds. Plus, if your school is peanut-free, you won’t have to worry!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the first week of the Love Your Kitchen Challenge! We were wowed by your wall decor, cookbooks, pantry items and dish soap pics — and can’t wait to see what the second week bring. Remember, you’ll be entered to win $2,500 (yes, you read that right!) every day you upload a picture completing the day’s task to Instagram and tagging your photo with #RRKitchenLoveSweepstakes. Good luck!
Monday, September 15: Buy some blooms
Add color to your kitchen with fresh flowers or potted herbs.
Tuesday, September 16: Get spicy!
Clean out then organize your spick rack or drawer. Bye-bye 10-year-old cumin and mystery spice blend!
Wednesday, September 17: Pantry Staple Wednesday
Take inventory of your pantry and make sure you’re well stocked on staples like grains, pasta and canned goods, then make a meal using one of your staples.
Thursday, September 18: Make some cool moves
Toss mystery and out-of-date items from your fridge and freezer. Then organize the remaining items.
Friday, September 19: Pots & pans in their place?
Tidy up your pots and pans and show us how they look.
Saturday, September 20: Weekend project
Give your kitchen a quick refresh: Upgrade your cabinet hardware, install a new light fixture or swap out your window treatment.
We’re going around the world in Weeknight Meal Planners, and this week’s stop may be the biggest yet: Asia! Show your family that this favorite cuisine can be made at home and will taste just as good as the restaurant (if not better!). All you’re missing is a fortune cookie!