autumn — seasonal meal plan

Autumn Meal Plan | Marina Gunn

Purpose of the Seasonal Meal Plan

I put together this meal plan to help bring new flavors and seasonal produce back onto grocery lists for those who are short on time but value their nutrition, time, budget and flavor. There is more to food and cooking than meal prepping basic produce and consolidating it into a bowl, which I did countless times during my years in college. I’ve had a good amount of friends ask me specific questions about cooking, like what to buy, how to change up their routine and what to do to bring flavor without sacrificing clean eating and quick meals. Cooking doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult, so I wrote this seasonal meal plan to help!

Each recipe is written for one (with leftovers as well), but know that each recipe can be duplicated for two or multiplied for larger groups. There is no labeling for the recipes I've created for you all, except that they are vegetable-heavy, mostly dairy-free and grain-free and focus on anti-inflammatory ingredients and meals that are simple and easy to make for one. 

All the recipes have been tested and written to use affordable, easy to find ingredients and offer substitutes if there are certain items in a dish that you avoid or don’t like to eat.

I’ve put together a short list of equipment and pantry item suggestions below.


Simple Equipment Suggestions

A list of small investments for your kitchen with big flavor rewards.

  • Head to your local farmers market. I can’t express enough how wonderful it is, not only for your health, but local community as well when you shop locally for produce grown in your area. This ensures that the produce is fresh and is grown in soil local to your area which is essential for good bacteria to help your digestion and to fight off seasonal allergies. Local, organic vegetables contain more nutrients than store-bought. You can read more about this here.

  • A cast iron skillet. From stove to oven, this item is a necessity in my kitchen and I would truly be the first thing I would grab in an emergency. Second to Frank and our cat of course.

  • Good spices. Something a lot of people overlook. Fresh spices are an arsenal of flavor that can bring any pantry dish or simple vegetable to life. If your spices are older than 2 years old, reconsider refreshing them. An investment of $20-$30 for the key spices to keep in your cabinet:

    • Chili Powder

    • Ground Cinnamon

    • Dill

    • Garlic Powder

    • Ground Ginger

    • Ground Nutmeg

    • Oregano

    • Paprika

    • Black Peppercorns (Whole. Seriously, buy a pepper grinder and grind your own. You will never go back.)

    • Red Pepper Flakes

  • Flaked sea salt. My favorite is Maldon and it adds the perfect crunch and flavor to finish any dish.

  • Microplane grater. A personal favorite to zest citrus or grate garlic, it allows subtle flavor to enter any dish.

  • Fresh (or dried) herbs. My favorites are basil, dill, and mint. If you can, try and use your porch or window sill to grow those 3 herbs, they will continue to bring fresh flavor to your food all year long.


Autumn In-Season Produce List

The short list: apple, artichoke, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, chard, chilis, eggplant, garlic, grapes, green beans, herbs, kale, leeks, lettuce, limes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, shallots, turnips, winter squash, zucchini

Resource: You can find what’s in season in your area here.


LIST OF RECIPES

Breakfast

  • Green Apple Smoothie

  • Cinnamon Apple Yogurt With Sliced Almonds

Lunch

  • Blistered Pepper + Arugula Chicken Salad

Mains

  • Roasted Paprika Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon and Dill

  • Pesto Ricotta + Roma Tomato Pasta 

Sides

  • Creamy Buttered Radishes

  • Basil Garlic Roasted Eggplant + Broccolini


Shopping List

Meat

4 chicken thighs

1 chicken breast (at the beginning of the week, I usually buy a rotisserie chicken from the store without any seasoning on it and use it for my salads for lunch. Quick and easy to top salads or even have as a simple snack!)

Pantry

1/4 cup sliced almonds (I buy these in the bulk section to keep in my pantry to add to yogurt for some crunch, super easy and delicious)

1/4 cup walnuts (I buy these in bulk as well)

1 jar of pesto (I always keep pesto in my fridge or freezer for any emergency pesto situation)

1 box of pasta, your choice (I love grain-free Cappellos pasta, but you can choose fettuccine, spaghetti, whatever you’d like)

White vinegar

Dijon mustard

Olive Oil

Cinnamon

Honey or Stevia

8 oz coconut water

optional: add 1 scoop of green powder, your choice, preferably with algae or spirulina

Spices

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Produce

1 cup arugula

4-5 sweet peppers

1 large bunch of radishes with green tops on

2 eggplants (1/2 lb)

1 clamshell of cherry tomatoes

1 red onion

1 bunch of broccolini or broccoli if unavailable

1 head of garlic

3 lemons

2 sliced apples (green or gala or apple of choice)

2 bags of frozen spinach

Herbs

1 clamshell of dill (or used dried if needed)

2 clamshells of basil

Dairy

2 Tbsp butter (regular unsalted butter or vegan butter)

8 oz ricotta (I use a dairy-free ricotta from Kite Hill, but you can use regular ricotta as well!)

1 container of plain or vanilla yogurt of your choice (I prefer goat yogurt, but you can use greek yogurt, or your favorite brand of yogurt)


Breakfast Recipes

Green Apple Smoothie | Marina Gunn

GREEN APPLE SMOOTHIE

serving: 1

Ingredients

1 cup frozen spinach

1 sliced apple (green or gala or apple of choice) - if you don’t like the gritty taste of apples, slice apple and freeze until use. If you don’t like apple, any frozen fruit would be great! I suggest frozen berries or bananas.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

8 oz coconut water, filtered water or green tea

5 drops of stevia or 1 Tbsp Honey

optional: 1/4 cup of plain yogurt to make it a little more creamy

optional: add 1 scoop of green powder, your choice, preferably with algae or spirulina

 

Instructions

Place liquid, lemon juice, spinach, and apple in blender. Pulse and blend until combined and smooth.

Taste and add stevia or honey to sweeten to preference and blend.

Optional: add yogurt and or green powder to thicken and blend.

 
Cinnamon Apple Yogurt with Sliced Almonds | Marina Gunn

Cinnamon Apple Yogurt with Sliced Almonds

serving: 1

Ingredients

1/2 to 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt of your choice (I prefer goat yogurt, but you can use greek yogurt, or your favorite brand of yogurt)

1/2 sliced apple

1 Tbsp Honey (I love whipped honey. Try and use local honey if possible.)

1 tsp Cinnamon

handful of sliced almonds

Instructions

Place yogurt in a bowl and top with cinnamon. Add sliced apple, sliced almonds, and top with honey. Enjoy!


Lunch

Blistered Pepper + Arugula Salad | Marina Gunn

Blistered Pepper + Arugula Chicken Salad

serving: 1

Ingredients

1 cup arugula

4-5 sweet peppers

1/2 red onion (sliced thinly)

1 chicken breast (at the beginning of the week, I usually buy a rotisserie chicken from the store without any seasoning on it and use it for my salads for lunch. Quick and easy to top salads or even have as a simple snack!)

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp of dried dill or 1-2 sprigs of fresh dill

juice of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions

Place sweet peppers in a skillet with a tbsp of olive oil on medium high for 5-6 minutes until crisp. Flip and cook for additional 2-3 minutes, so that both sides are golden brown.

While the pepper are cooking, place 1 cup of arugula in a bowl and top with thin sliced red onion and a piece of chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken or if you have chicken leftover, it’s the perfect addition to the salad. Also sub: fish or even a cooked egg!

In a small bowl, whisk dijon mustard with dill, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Once combined, slowly add the olive oil while still whisking to allow the oil and mustard to emulsify and combine for a creamy dressing.

Once the peppers are cooked, top the salad with the dressing and peppers. Enjoy!


MAINS

Roasted Paprika Chicken Thighs with Dill + Lemon | Marina Gunn

Roasted paprika chicken THIGHS with DILL And lemon

servings: 2

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 chicken thighs

1 Tbsp paprika

1 tsp salt

2-3 springs fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)

juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a medium cast iron pan over medium high heat.

Season chicken with paprika and salt. Place in pan skin side down. Sear for 8-10 min. Flip. Sear for 6-8 minutes.

Remove the chicken from pan and set aside.

Add lemon juice, the juiced lemon rind, and 1/4 cup water to the pan over low heat. Return meat to pan and sear for 3-4 minutes. Salt to taste.

Serve and top with fresh or dried dill and enjoy!

 
Pesto Ricotta Pasta

Pesto Ricotta + Cherry Tomato Pasta 

servings: 2

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, grated

1 cup cherry tomatoes

Pesto Ricotta

  • 8 oz ricotta (I use a dairy-free ricotta from Kite Hill, but you can use regular ricotta as well!)

  • 4 oz frozen spinach

  • 1 Tbsp pesto

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 box of pasta, your choice (I love grain-free Cappellos pasta, but you can choose fettuccine, spaghetti, whatever you’d like

4 Basil leaves (optional)

Instructions

Place skillet over medium heat with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Once heated, add the grated garlic. Cook until browned (1 minute).

Add 3/4 c of the cherry tomatoes and cook until browned and they have burst (7-8 minutes). Be sure to cover with a lid as they can be messy.

While the tomatoes are cooking, combine 8 oz ricotta, 4oz frozen spinach (or 2 cups fresh), 1 Tbsp pesto, and the juice of 1/2 lemon to a blender. Pulse until combined. Add salt to taste and pulse once more.

Add the pesto ricotta mixture to the cooked tomatoes and turn to low heat. Cook for 8-9 minutes until heated throughout. Stir occasionally.

In a large boiling pot, boil water and cook according to the instructions for the pasta of your choice. I suggest the grain-free fettuccine from Cappello's, my favorite!

Once pasta is cooked and drained, slowly add the pasta with tongs to the pesto tomato sauce. Mix together by tossing the pasta, not stirring.

Serve with fresh basil leaves if you’d like and enjoy!


SIDES

Buttered Radishes | Marina Gunn

Creamy Buttered Radishes

Servings: 2-4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp butter (I use Mykonos butter made from coconut oil, but you can use the butter of your choice: regular unsalted butter or vegan butter)

1 Tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1 large bunch of radishes with green tops on (optional)

Instructions

Add olive oil to large skillet on medium high. Add halved radishes and cook 5-6 minutes until greens have wilted and radishes have softened.

Add white vinegar and 2 Tbsp butter. Turn stove to low heat and swirl the butter around the skillet until fully melted (1-2 minutes). Season with salt.

Serve and enjoy!

 
Roasted Eggplant + Broccolini | Marina Gunn

Basil Garlic Roasted Eggplant + Broccolini

servings: 2

Ingredients

2 eggplants (1/2 lb)

1 bunch of broccolini

3 Tbsp olive oil + 2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 c walnuts

1 clove garlic (grated)

1/4 c chopped basil (8 leaves)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 F. In a medium bowl, toss eggplant and broccolini in 3 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place eggplant and broccolini into a cast iron pan or on a baking sheet. Place in oven for 15-20 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, grab a small bowl and add the walnuts, grated garlic, chopped basil, 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside.

Once the eggplant and broccolini are cooked, cover with the olive oil walnut mixture.


Be sure to follow along on Instagram. If you make any recipes, I would love to see, so feel free to tag me in your recipes posts, @marinagunnfood! 

Have a great week!

xx, Marina

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