The first ever Fall and Winter 5×5 meal plan features five seasonal cool weather, whole food ingredients that mix and match (along with other pantry and fridge staples) to create simple, healthy-ish meals.
These five ingredients– kale, spicy Italian sausage, garbanzo beans, and tortillas, and apples– make meal planning and cooking so easy!
We recommend prepping the five ingredients ahead of time, so the recipes come together in 30 minutes or less throughout the week.
If you have extra time and can prep entire recipes ahead, they’ll last in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, and most of them can be stored in the freezer as well.
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What are the 5 Main Ingredients?
The five main ingredients for this meal plan include:
- Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas)
- Spicy Italian Sausage
- Flour Tortillas
- Apples (Fuji is pictured, but any type will work)
The individual ingredients are ultra easy to prep ahead, so you can just throw the recipes together when you’re ready to cook:
Canned chickpeas don’t really need any extra prep, except for rinsing and drying. You can do this ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to be used.
Or not! It’s up to you. Opening a can and rinsing the beans takes less than a minute.
Dried chickpeas are a bit more labor intensive, but worth it if your goal is to save even more money and reduce kitchen waste.
Dried chickpeas need to be rinsed, soaked overnight, drained, and then cooked for about 3 hours in a crockpot or large soup pot.
Prepping kale takes no time at all. If you’re really in a time crunch, opt for the bagged kale that’s been de-stemmed and pre-chopped. Done.
If you have more time, buy a few bunches of raw kale. Raw kale lasts longer when wrapped in a dry cloth and stored in an airtight container.
When you’re ready to prep the kale (if doing it yourself), tear the leaves from the wide stems and chop them into smaller, bitesize pieces. Feel free to save the stems to use in homemade broths, soups, and frittatas.
Store chopped kale in an airtight container until ready to use.
Spicy Italian Sausage
Having the spicy Italian sausage cooked and crumbled ahead of time will save a few extra minutes for each recipe.
I like to remove the casing (the thin layer that holds the sausage together). It’s edible and some people leave it on, but I find it’s harder to crumble the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks.
But if I’m making sliced sausage or cooking an entire Italian sausage, I definitely leave the casing on.
Cook the sausage over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until browned through.
Pantry and Fridge Staples Needed
Amount may vary depending on number of servings needed. Please refer to each recipe to scale as needed.
- red onion
Dairy or dairy alternatives
- mozzarella cheese: ?
- pepper jack cheese
- plain Greek yogurt
- half and half
- pasta or pizza sauce
- trail mix (any nut and dried fruit combo works)
- chicken broth
- olive oil (or preferred cooking oil)
- maple syrup
- old fashioned rolled oats
- maple vinaigrette dressing (or your favorite salad dressing)
- chili powder
- garlic powder
- crushed red pepper
- vanilla extract
- baking powder
Fall and Winter 5×5 Meal Plan Recipes
Click through the linked recipes below to see how you can customize them to your flavor preferences, diet restrictions, and family size.
We’ve also included a section under each recipe on how to make them even more low waste, whether it’s less packaging and plastic waste or how to save more money on ingredients.
Bonus Meal and Snack ideas to help Reduce Food Waste
There are countless combinations! The fun part is getting creative and coming up with new ways to use up all the ingredients on hand.
- Frittata with sausage, egg, cheese, and kale
- Breakfast burritos with cheesy eggs, sausage, kale, and jalepeno
- Apple cinnamon chickpea pancakes with sweetened Greek yogurt topping
- Chickpea ‘noodle’ soup with kale and onion
- Overnight oatmeal with Greek yogurt and spiced apples
- Apples, trail mix, and Greek yogurt