By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph. D.

It is officially fall, but I felt it before the actual day in September. I stepped out on my porch with my coffee and felt chilly. It was wonderful!  Even more, it made me quickly whip out my crockpot and Dutch oven and plan my autumn meals. What else is fall for?

I regularly cook and stock my freezer up with meals. It’s harder to do this in the summer because my family mainly wants burgers, hot dogs, taco salads, and other meals. No one is really craving pot roast or chili on a 99-degree day. So when fall arrives, I know that I can really get into batch cooking because I’ve got two and a half seasons to get through. Well in this post, I am going to cover two of my family’s favorite meals:  cheeseburger soup and chili.

These are great one-pot meals (slightly), so they don’t require that you use a lot of pans. These meals can also be completed in a crockpot, so use that if you choose. Finally, the cost of meat has risen, but both of these meals do not require as much meat as a regular dish. *Feel free to make your own version of these. Let’s start with cheeseburger soup.

I came across this meal on Pinterest and adjusted some ingredients to what my family would like. Here we go:

Cheeseburger Soup

*This gives my family of four two dinners (everyone goes back for seconds) and two lunches.


  • 1 lb of beef, cooked
  • One bag of peas and carrots, frozen
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 tsps water
  • Mashed potatoes (or tater tots)
  • One block of Velveeta cheese, cut in cubes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1tblsp minced garlic


  • In a dutch oven (or large pot), brown your beef and drain a bit of the fat (not all of it).
  • Within the same pot, add chicken broth, peas and carrots, salt and pepper, garlic, and cream. Bring it to a rolling boil.
  • In a small cup, mix the cornstarch and water (or flour and water) to create a semi-paste. Add it to the pot of cheeseburger soup and stir.
  • Bring the stovetop to a simmer and allow everything to slightly thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, add the velveeta and stir until it is completely melted. Turn off and let sit.

*Serve over mashed potatoes or tater tots and enjoy.  You can also place cut potatoes into the soup.

My family loves this because it reminds them of burgers and fries.

Next, we’re making chili.  Now, everyone has his or her own version of chili, so adjust to your own liking.  To cut down on meat, I use 1 lb of beef and one bag of soy meat. With my meat and potatoes family, they actually cannot tell the difference.  Also, I use dry beans that I’ve precooked (the savings are so much better and you get way more beans).

Crockpot Chili

*this will cover approximately 4 dinners for a family of four and two lunches


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bag of soy meat crumbles (or one more pound of beef)
  • 2 cups of black beans, cooked
  • 5 cups of pinto beans, cooked
  • 5 cups red kidney beans, cooked
  • 1- 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3cups of chicken or beef broth (more depending on how thick you’d like it)
  • 2 tblp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes
  • 5 tblps chili powder
  • 1 tblsp paprika
  • 1 tblsp Cajun seasoning (or taco seasoning)
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or regular sugar)
  • *Additional water, if needed

*My kids are picky about pepper and my husband is allergic to onions, so add those in if your family likes them.


  • In a pan, brown the ground beef. When done, place the beef in a large crockpot.
  • Next, add all of the other ingredients and stir.
  • Place on low for 6 hours.

That’s it!  It’s perfectly fine if this cooks on low for 8 hours, in case you cook it overnight or when you’re working. It just gives it more time for the ingredients to meld. We normally eat this with sweet jalapeno cornbread muffins.

These are two meals that my family eats on rotation throughout the fall and winter. They are easy to make and can always be adjusted.

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