We made it through Halloween — the parties, the costume changes, the school parades, the sugar highs — and there's nothing left to do but cozy up in full fall mode.
Everyone deserves to relax, whether it's by curling up with a good book or plating a warm meal packed with all the flavor and none of the fuss. To help with the latter, food and lifestyle expert Alejandra Ramos is joining TODAY to share cozy, comforting dishes for the season.
We're talking a vegetarian twist on chicken pot pie made with woodsy and wintry herbs and a wholesome dessert that capitalizes on the bounty left over from October's apple-picking adventures. Plus, round out the week with Alejandra's recipes for stovetop mac and cheese and more.
What to cook this week
If you love a comforting and crowd-pleasing dish that doesn’t use a lot of pans, give this skillet pot pie a try. The cozy mushroom pie is cooked, baked and served all in the same pan. The creamy mushroom filling is scented with woodsy fall herbs like sage and rosemary and gets a touch of warmth from a hint of nutmeg. This dish is fully vegetarian, making it a perfect crowd-pleasing entree. You’ll want a heavy-bottomed skillet to make this — I recommend using a cast-iron pan, but any oven-safe skillet will work!
Turn apple pie into a handheld treat with these easy baked dessert empanadas. Tender apples and warm fall spices are the perfect contrast to the buttery flaky pastry. Store-bought refrigerated dough keeps things simple, but feel free to swap in your favorite homemade pie crust dough, if preferred. These are lovely served on their own, but also fun to serve with caramel or butterscotch sauce for dipping.
Creamy and cozy stovetop macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food on chilly winter days. Growing up, my mom always whipped up a box of a popular store-bought version for my brother and I, but now I prefer my own homemade version that captures that same level of creaminess, but with an even better taste. Keep it classic using only a good sharp cheddar or switch it up with a mix of your favorite melting cheeses like gruyere or fontina. This comes together quickly, so make sure you have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go when you start making the sauce.
Canned chipotles in adobo sauce add smoke and spice to these quick steak tacos. Using flavorful skirt steak cuts the cooking time to just minutes. Note that while this marinade adds a lot of flavor quickly, it's even better if you let it sit overnight. Amp up the taste and save time on your busiest days by prepping a day in advance. The quick pickled onions add a bright and tangy finishing touch.
The name of these nutty shortbread cookies comes from the word "polvo," which means dust in Spanish. It references the powdery sugar that covers the cookie, as well as the trademark crumbly texture of the cookie itself. You may know these as Mexican Wedding Cookies or even Russian Tea Cakes. It seems like just about every country has their own version of this sweet treat ... and with good reason since they are as easy to make as they are delicious to enjoy.