As much as I’d love to, I cannot live on pumpkin bread and Christmas cookies from Halloween until New Year’s Day. First, the two highly active young men in my house would stage a revolt. Second, even I get a little carnivorous now and again. In the rearview mirror, summer dinners seem so simple. Turn on the grill, salt slabs of meat, hand plate to husband, go back into the air conditioning to toss a salad. But fall and winter dinners don’t have to be any more difficult, really. They just require a little forethought and patience. And the results, such as in melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, saucy apple pork chops, spicy (and surprisingly quick) deviled chicken pieces make me feel all cozy inside. Five things I learned: 1. Slow-cooker Pot Roast is about the easiest dish in the world to make, and nothing — not even your dog — is more welcoming when you come home out of the cold and breathe in the smell of it. Some recipes make you brown the meat before you put it in, and I have to say that’s why I don’t make it that often. It’s not even the time, though that’s certainly part of it, I simply do not have the stomach to be standing at the stove at 7 a.m. browning a 3-pound hunk of raw meat. That’s just not what morning smells like. That’s what nighttime smells like. This Pot Roast recipe just requires chopped carrots, onions, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. You can do it in the time it takes the Keurig to warm up. Toss everything in the slow-cooker. Apply lid. Go to work — or shopping or cleaning or otherwise adulting. Cook it six hours on high or 10 hours on low. To go alongside, you can cut up some red or white potatoes, drizzle them with olive oil and dump some dry parsley over them, toss, cover and microwave 15 minutes or so. Dust with some flaky sea salt or kosher salt when they’re tender. Then, by goodness, you have a dinner that you can say you actually cooked all day (and spent about 20 minutes on.) 2. The Pork Chops with Apples and Cider is nice enough to make for company, but simple enough to make any old night. I got a huge “family pack” of boneless pork chops and sliced them in half horizontally so they would cook more quickly. The spice mix was the hardest part for me. I have a hand-crank burr mill, and it did a fine job, but it took a lot longer than I thought it would. You might want to outsource that task if you have someone sitting around watching TV. A crisp apple will work best for this, I think, as it will be more likely to retain its shape and will add moisture to the dish. But it doesn’t really matter enough to go out and buy anything different if you have some other kind of apple at home already. 3. You can get hard cider in single 12-ounce bottles at most of the grocery store bottle shops now, but buy a six-pack if you’re in the mood. Hard cider would pair nicely with dinner for those who like to pair beverages with dinner. You can also just use regular apple cider, in which case I’d go with the unpasteurized variety. Maybe it’s psychological, but I think it has more body and flavor. 4. Deviled Chicken won hands down in the flavor-to-time ratio. My son has been trying to teach me to appreciate the beauty of statistics in sports, so I think he’d approve of my creation of what I’ll now call the FTR. While flavor doesn’t have an official unit, per se, I can subjectively assign one, as might, say, a figure skating judge. (I might have just lost him.) But what I’m trying to say is that this stuff is good. It gives the chicken a nice bite of flavor and cooks quickly. A little too quickly, actually. The broiler kind of blackened the skin before the meat cooked. I might bake it next time, which will take longer, but make it look more palatable to the aforementioned son, who didn’t like the black parts on his portion. 5. Speaking of the Deviled Chicken (see what I did there?) I left the cayenne and Tabasco out altogether. I like to be able to taste my food, and the Dijon mustard was enough spice for me. We keep a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot on the table for others in the family who feel differently. Slow-Cooker Pot Roast Total time: 6 hours, 25 minutes; prep time, 15 minutes; serves 8 1 tablespoon cornstarch 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges Coarse salt and ground pepper 1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce In slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss. Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire. Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours). Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices. — www.marthastewart.com Pork Chops With Apples and Cider Total time: about 1 hour; serves 4-6 ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns 3 cloves 4 allspice berries 2 tablespoons roughly chopped sage 1½ tablespoons kosher salt For the pork and sauce: 6 boneless pork chops, 4 ounces each, about ½-inch thick 2 large apples 2 tablespoons butter All-purpose flour, for dusting ½ cup hard cider, plus 2 tablespoons 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1½ cups chicken broth 2 teaspoons potato starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water 3 tablespoons creme fraiche (or sour cream) 1 tablespoon Calvados, apple brandy or Cognac, optional 2 tablespoons finely cut chives 2 tablespoons chopped parsley Make the spice salt: Put peppercorns, cloves, allspice and sage in a spice mill or mortar and grind to a powder. Remove to a bowl and stir in salt. Season pork chops on both sides with salt mixture. (There will be some salt mixture remaining; use it to season the sauce, Step 4.) Cover and leave chops at room temperature to absorb seasonings for at least 30 minutes. Peel, quarter and core apples, then cut each apple into 12 wedges. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide skillet and raise heat to medium-high. Add apple wedges in one layer and brown gently on one side, about 2 minutes. Brown on the other side and cook for 2 minutes more, or until apples are cooked through but still firm. Remove apples from pan and keep warm. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and swirl to melt. Dust pork chops with flour, and place in pan and brown gently for about 4 minutes per side. Adjust heat if necessary to keep pork from cooking too quickly. Remove chops and keep warm on a platter in a low oven. Add ½ cup cider to pan, raise heat to high and cook down to a syrup. Add mustard and chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add potato starch and stir with a wire whisk as the sauce thickens. Stir in creme fraiche (or sour cream). Season to taste with remaining spiced salt. Add 2 tablespoons cider and the Calvados, if using. Cook for 1 minute more. Spoon sauce over the chops, then spoon the apples around the platter. Sprinkle with chives and parsley. — https://cooking.nytimes.com Deviled Chicken Total time: 20 minutes; serves 4 8 chicken thighs, or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup Dijon mustard 1/3 cup minced shallots, onion or scallion ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce, or to taste Minced parsley for garnish, optional Heat the broiler to its maximum, and set the rack about 4 inches from the heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and place it in a pan, skin side up. Broil, watching carefully, until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the mustard, shallots and cayenne. (If you have a small food processor, you can chop the shallots by throwing them in with the mustard and pulsing the machine on and off a few times.) When the chicken has browned, remove it from oven, and turn it. Spread just a teaspoon or so of the mustard mixture on the underside of the chicken, and broil about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, and spread the remaining mixture on the upper, or skin side. Broil until mustard begins to brown. At this point, the chicken may be done. (There will be only the barest trace of pink near the bone; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat will read 160 degrees.) If it is not done, turn off the broiler and leave the chicken in the oven 5 more minutes or so. Garnish and serve. — https://cooking.nytimes.com — Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.