By Rachel Miller

As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, I’ve found myself thinking (dreaming, if I’m being honest) about the return of all of my favorite comfort items: my favorite turtleneck sweater. My plushest blanket. And all my favorite recipes!

Now that I’m spending less time sweating on the subway, I have way more motivation to cook. Like a lot of people, I associate this time of year with some of my favorite comfort foods (from childhood and adulthood too) — and will never not want tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on the first brisk fall weekend. What I’ve learned is that comfort foods are objectively delicious, but nostalgia is the real secret ingredient that makes everything taste better. Okay, and a few grownup ingredients (like fancy pesto instead of red sauce every time) help seal the deal too.

This week, we rounded up some of the very best grown-up versions of your favorite nostalgic comfort food recipes — the ones that will make you feel accomplished, and that you’ll feel a tiny bit more excited to make and eat. And because we know that you might not always have the time or energy to make these fancy, from-scratch recipes, we also found some of the best tips for upgrading the classic store-bought versions of your fall faves — because not every night is going to be a grilled cheese with Gruyere and caramelized onions sort of night, you know what I mean?

Here are our recs:

If you’re in the mood for grilled cheese, try…
Cheesy Cauliflower Toasts, NYT Cooking
6 Rules for a Perfect Grilled Cheese, Every Time, Bon Appétit

If you’re in the mood for tomato soup, try…
Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup, America’s Test Kitchen
10 Simple Ways to Upgrade Prepared Tomato Soup, Epicurious

If you’re in the mood for mac and cheese, try…
• [Adult Mac and Cheese], Basically
10 Easy Ways to Upgrade Boxed Mac & Cheese for Last-Minute Dinners, Food52

If you’re in the mood for chicken nuggets, try…
Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Nuggets, Half Baked Harvest
Korean-Style Chicken Nuggets, My Korean Kitchen

If you’re in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs, try…
Our favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs, Epicurious
Mini Turkey Meatballs, Food Network (We trust Giada on this one.)

If you’re in the mood for chili, try…
The Best Taco Soup You’ll Ever Have, A Cup of Jo
10 Ways to Make Your Favorite Chili Recipe Even Better, Food52 (start! with! bacon!)

And if you’re in the mood for apple cider, try…
Apple Cider Prosecco Spritz, How Sweet Eats (Apple cider spritz!!)

What’s your favorite way to make fall comfort foods feel a little more grown-up?

Image by @nikkirap.