UNITED STATES—Well its official, summer is over, and its time to take all of that outdoor cooking and bring it back to the kitchen. I’ll be the first to admit that I greatly decrease the amount of cooking I do in the summer indoors because I can’t take the excessive heat, but with fall in the horizon and winter not too far away, its time to get back into the kitchen.  Those dishes that take time to master, to build up flavors, my mouth is already salivating just thinking about it. So what is on the menu for the fall cooking season?

It wouldn’t be fall without a warm, spicy bowl of chili. Yep, the perfect meal that takes a bit of time to craft, but when done right is pure perfection to the taste buds. Chili is not the easiest concoction to manifest. It all starts with the meat. While many head for hamburger, ground chuck or ground sirloin, other options exist.

You can use ground chicken, ground turkey or even ground steak to amplify the meatiness of the dish. The veggies are always important bell peppers, onions, celery arethe obvious choices, but a new trend sees vegetarian chili becoming a hot commodity with veggies like peppers, butternut squash, leeks, carrots, the list is endless when it comes to veggies.

The key to any good chili is utilizing the right amount of chili powder/seasoning, but not too much to kill the dish. Remember you can always add more, but you can never take away. Once all the ingredients are meshed together allow them to simmer over the stole for at least an hour, preferable 90 minutes to 2 hours for a tastier dish in my opinion.

Another staple of the fall months is a hearty bowl of stew, but not just any ole beef stew, spruce it up with a few ingredients that some would frown upon on first glance, but will soon appreciate. I love butternut squash; the bright orange color, the taste when it’s roasted; to die for.  Take beef stew pieces and meld with butternut squash to create a stew that your family will want time and time again.

I learned about this dish from Food Network star Giada DiLaurentis and I’ve loved it every time I’ve cooked it. The secret ingredient has to be rosemary. Yes, it can be an overpowering spice, so utilizing the right amounts, alongside onions and a red wine is heaven. Oh, I can’t forget to utilize potatoes in the mix, along with carrots, celery (you can pick and choose). When it comes to potatoes I’m a fan of the Yukon gold; the texture to this potato is unlike any other in my opinion.

Like a good bowl of chili, allow your stew to brew those flavors for about 60-90 minutes. The aromas will move with ease throughout the home and tempt the nose, in addition to the mouth.  Like most stews, some may decide to serve with crackers, I’d argue against that notion. Take a loaf of crusty bread, particularly crusty French bread or Ciabatta bread if you ask me to soak up the choices from the stew.

Rather its chili, stews or some other oven-baked dish on the menu, fall is here and the cooking season is about to be back in full force in the kitchen.