Cozy Fall Recipes

See What's Cooking in Chicago's Kitchens

By Sara Yaniga, Macaroni Kid Chicago November 30, 2021

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to spend time in the kitchen making cozy dishes to share with family and friends. I have dug into the recipe vault to share with you my favorite Fall & Winter dishes PLUS some of Chicago's local business owners share their favorites too!

Hopefully, you will find something that is just right for an afternoon of watching football, cozying up for family movie night or celebrating the season with friends and family.  

Pulled Beer Beef Sandwiches

This recipe is shared with us from Chicago's own expert on all things toys and fun, Ann Kienzle.  Ann is the owner of *Play Toys and Books, which now has locations in Logan Square, Lincoln Park and Andersonville.  These sandwiches seem to be the perfect thing to make for a cozy day at home and they are made in the crock pot, which makes for an easy "fix it and forget it" type of meal!


  • 3 pound beef chuck roast
  •  salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves (or just minced garlic)
  • 1 small/medium red onion sliced
  • 1 cup of Italian dressing
  • 1 cup (or bottle/can) of beer (use your favorite and have a sip)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Hawaiin Buns
  • slices of colby jack cheese


Place chuck roast in the crock pot.  Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper.  Place garlic on top of roast.  Add sliced red onion.  Pour in Italian dressing and beer.  Place bay leaves on top.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.  Don’t open lid while cooking.

When done, discard the bay leaves, discard any fat and drain grease. Move the meat to a separate dish and shred, then pour the liquid over the meat before serving.  Recommended served on Hawaiian buns with cheese, or on top of mashed potatoes. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Another great fall meal that falls into the "fix it and forget it" category is shared with us from Kristen Flather, owner of Chicago's own Makoshey.  Anyone who sells clothes as soft and cozy as they do MUST know a thing or two about cozy fall meals and it turns out she does!  This chicken chili recipe is the perfect thing to come home to from a long day of work or running around!


  • 1 rotisserie chicken, diced or 1 lb of chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 jar of regular salsa (mild, medium, hot -- whichever your family prefers)
  • 1 jar of black bean and corn salsa
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained 
  • ½ block (4 oz) of Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
  • ½ block (4 oz) of Pepper Jack cheese, cubed


Combine everything into the slow cooker, set to low for 5 to 6 hours and stir occasionally.  Serve with tortilla chips. 

Apple Pear Crisp

If you are looking for a sweet treat to finish off a meal, then give this delicious recipe from The Kid's Table a try.  The Kid's Table has been Chicago's go-to source for teaching kids their way around a kitchen and recipe for more than a decade. This is a great recipe to have your helpers lend you a hand with at home! 


  • 2 medium apples
  • 2 pears
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
Core apples and pears, and chop them into 1/2 inch chunks (you should have about 6 cups chopped fruit). Combine fruit, cinnamon
and ginger in a bowl. Stir well to coat fruit evenly with spices. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
Combine oats, flour and brown sugar in a bowl (you can use the same bowl you used to mix the fruit, and you don’t even need to
wash it!). 

Stir well. Add melted butter and stir until absorbed. Use your fingers to distribute butter throughout the mixture
Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over fruit. Bake until fruit is nice and tender and crumble topping is lightly browned (about 40-45 minutes). Let cool slightly. 

Serve your Apple Pear Crisp warm or at room temperature, and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Winter Stew

I fell in love with this flavorful stew about ten years ago and have tweaked the recipe a bit over time, but it's hard to mess up!  The combination of the sweet potato and rosemary with the tender meat is hard to resist and so much more enjoyable than mom's traditional stew with white potatoes, onion and carrots. (Don't worry, mom would totally agree!) 


  • 1-2 TBSP Butter
  • 2 lb of stew meat (beef or lamb)
  • 1 onion, diced ( I prefer yellow onion)
  • 1 large (28oz) can of whole tomatoes, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup water
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 ½ cup of vegetable broth (I use water and 1 - 2 tsp of Better than Bouillon often)
  • 2-3 cubed sweet potatoes
  • Fresh saffron
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh sage, minced
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large pot melt butter and brown stew meat 5-6 min, remove with a spoon and set aside
  2. Next, saute the onion and garlic
  3. Add water and stir to deglaze the pot before adding meat, sea salt, and whole tomatoes back to the pot
  4. In a small saucepan heat up the bouillon and saffron and simmer for a few minutes before adding to the stew.
  5. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer, put the lid on, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  6. Add the potatoes, rosemary, and continue simmering for 45 minutes, or until meat and potatoes are tender
  7. Before serving stir in the sage, olive oil, and salt to taste
  8. Serve with warm crusty bread for dipping 

Grandma's Apple Pie

To be honest this is not my grandma's recipe, but rather that of a family I baby-sat for while in college.  The women in this family knew their way around a kitchen and this is when I finally realized I like apple pie. I have never strayed from this recipe because quite frankly, there is no reason to try something different. 


  • 6 cups of thin sliced apples (I mix up sweet and tart)
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 TBSP of butter
  • refrigerated pie crust


  1. Mix first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl
  2. Place in pie crust and dot top with butter, cover with crust and slice vents in the top (get fancy if you want!)
  3. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then lower heat to 350 for 40 minutes

I hope you get the chance to try some, or all, of these out!  If you do, please let me know, drop me an email or visit me on Facebook to share a picture or two!  Next time I will be sharing some favorite sweet treats for the holidays, so be sure to check back in December!  There will be a few that are fun to do with the kids helping along.

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