Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

THIS is the sheet pan meal to end all sheet pan meals! It’s similar to some I’ve made before, but it is by far the easiest one yet, and without sacrificing any flavor. This Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans recipe is filling, tasty, and as easy as it gets, with only SIX simple ingredients, […]

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THIS is the sheet pan meal to end all sheet pan meals! It’s similar to some I’ve made before, but it is by far the easiest one yet, and without sacrificing any flavor. This Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans recipe is filling, tasty, and as easy as it gets, with only SIX simple ingredients, and very little hands on time. I don’t know what more you could want from a dinner recipe! 🙌

Sheet pan kielbasa, potatoes, and green beans with a spatula

Can I Use a Different Sausage?

Yes, if you can not find kielbasa, any sort of smoked sausage will taste delicious with this combination of ingredients. It’s so flexible!

Can I Use Fresh Green Beans?

I used frozen green beans for this recipe because they are already cleaned, cut, and blanched before freezing. The blanching keeps the green beans a little more moist as they roast in the oven. You can use fresh green beans if you prefer, just keep in mind that they will dry out a little more while roasting than frozen green beans.

What is Steak Seasoning?

Steak seasoning is my short cut for this recipe. It’s a bottled spice blend, sometimes called Montreal Steak Seasoning, that you should be able to find at any major grocery store in the U.S. It’s a chunky mix of salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper, and sometimes a couple other spices. I love steak seasoning because that chunky grind of the spices gives the dish not only texture but these wonderful pops of flavor in every bite. Don’t skip it! :)

Can I Use Different Potatoes?

Yes! Again, this recipe is so flexible. I used small red potatoes, but you can substitute larger red potatoes or even russet potatoes if that is what you have. Just make sure to cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces so they roast at an even pace with everything else.

Sheet pan kielbasa, potatoes, and green beans in a bowl with a fork

 
Sheet pan roasted kielbasa potatoes and green beans with a spatula

Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

Sheet pan meals don't get an easier or more delicious than this Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans dinner.
Total Cost $9.47 recipe / $2.37 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 504.88kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. petite red potatoes $2.99
  • 12 oz. kielbasa $4.69
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 12 oz. frozen green beans $1.00
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/2 Tbsp steak seasoning $0.15

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice the kielbasa into medallions. Dice the onion into 1-inch pieces.
  • Add the potatoes, kielbasa, onion, and frozen green beans (no need to thaw) to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the steak seasoning over top. Use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is coated in oil and spices.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then give the ingredients on the sheet pan a good stir. Roast for an additional 15 minutes, or until the ingredients achieve the level of browning you desire. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 504.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.3g | Protein: 15.65g | Fat: 32.45g | Sodium: 1028.88mg | Fiber: 5.88g

Love Sheet Pan Meals? Try these other flavors:

How to Make Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans – Step by Step Photos

Meal ingredients whole on the sheet pan

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. This is all that goes into the dinner, plus some olive oil and steak seasoning. How simple is that?? 24oz. petite red potatoes, 12oz. kielbasa, 12oz. frozen green beans, and one yellow onion.

Chopped ingredients on the sheet pan

Chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice the kielbasa into medallions. Dice the onion into 1-inch pieces. Add the potatoes, kielbasa, onion, and green beans (no need to thaw) to the sheet pan.

Steak seasoning bottle close up

This is all I used to season the sheet pan meal. The chunky texture of this seasoning blend really adds a lot of texture and flavor differentiation to every bite! 

Seasoned sheet pan meal

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and ½ Tbsp of the steak seasoning to the ingredients on the sheet pan, then toss really well until everything is coated in oil and seasoning.

Roasted sheet pan meal

Then place the sheet pan in the oven, roast for 20 minutes, then give it a good stir. Return it to the oven and roast for about another 15 minutes, or until it’s browned to the level that you like. 

Close up of sheet pan kielbasa potatoes and green beans on a sheet pan

It’s hard to describe how awesome this is. It doesn’t even need any sort of dressing or sauce. The fat and seasoning from the kielbasa soak into the potatoes and coats the other vegetables in an incredible amount of flavor, then you have the steak seasoning on top. It’s just 100% awesome! Serve hot and enjoy. :)

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5 Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without

The five most versatile, most used kitchen tools that I can’t live without, plus tips for using and buying.

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It’s always been my philosophy to keep my kitchen equipment basic, with as few single-purpose tools and appliances as possible. But there are a few kitchen tools that go above and beyond. They’re multi-purpose items that are absolutely invaluable in my kitchen, and they get used almost every day. I want to share this short list of essential items with you because they’re a great place to start when you’re a beginner cook, and if you’re an experienced cook with tons of kitchen tools and gadgets, maybe this will help you simplify. ;)

If you want to read the full post about all of my kitchen equipment, check out Kitchen Basics – Tools and Equipment for a Well Equipped Kitchen

This post contains affiliate links to products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thumbnails of kitchen tools with article title overlay

P.S. I saved the best for last, so don’t skip the end! And make sure to share your most used, can’t-live-without kitchen tools in the comments below. Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!

1. Dutch Oven

Why I Love It

I was a little late to get on the Dutch Oven bus, but once on board I don’t know how I ever cooked without one! A Dutch Oven is a heavy duty pot with a tight fitting lid that can be used both on the stove top and in the oven. The thick walls, usually made with cast iron, make the vessel durable and provides super even heating for your food. Buy one Dutch Oven and you’ll have it for life!

How I Use It

Because this piece of cookware can be used both on the stove top and in the oven, it is probably one of my most widely used pieces of cookware. On the stove top it’s great as an all-purpose soup pot, but the super even heating it provides also makes it ideal for one-pot style meals. No more cooked rice in the center and crunchy rice around the outside! The superbly even heating also makes this pot a great choice for deep frying, where keeping a consistent oil temperature is key.

Dutch ovens are also great to use in the oven because of their size and, again, the amazingly even heat. They’re great to use for roasting and braising meat, like pot roasts or roasted chickens. The thick walls of the Dutch oven also mimic the thick crock of a slow cooker, so many slow cooker recipes can be converted to the oven by using a Dutch oven (here is a conversion chart). Dutch ovens also make the perfect steam-filled environment for baking fresh no-knead bread. You’ve got to try it!

Buying Tips

Dutch ovens are usually constructed of cast iron, but many are also coated in enamel for easy cleanup and care. While some fancier Dutch ovens can cost hundreds of dollars, there are definitely budget-friendly models available. I have this Amazon Basics Enameled Dutch Oven, which cost less than $50, and I love it so much that I bought a second one! Lodge also makes a really affordable non-enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that is very affordable, but the bare cast iron surface will require a little more care.

All three (!!) of my Dutch ovens are 6-quart size, which has worked out perfectly for the types of recipes I make—big batches of soup, beans, large roasts, and whole loafs of bread. Smaller Dutch ovens are available, but you can usually use the larger ovens for smaller recipes just as well.

2. Sheet Pans

Why I Love Them

Because roasting vegetables is my life! Haha, just kidding, sort of. Without sheet pans I wouldn’t be able to make at least half of the recipes that I cook. Baking things in the oven on a sheet pan is one of the easiest ways to cook, and even after you become a very experienced cook, you’ll return to your trusty sheet pan time and time again for its simplicity.

How I Use Them

Sheet pans, or baking sheets, are great for baking cookies, roasting vegetables, making entire “sheet pan dinners“, baking pizzas, freezing ingredients without clumping, baking fries or chicken nuggets, cooking bacon, making granola, baking bread, and the list only goes on from there. I’d seriously be lost with a set of sheet pans!

Buying Tips

Sheet pans can be made with several types of material, and it’s important to know the difference between them when buying.

  • Aluminum: aluminum baking sheets are lightweight and durable, but aluminum can react with some acidic ingredients, like tomatoes, so you’ll want to always be sure to use parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Stainless steel: stainless steel baking sheets are prized for their durability, non-toxic, and non-reactive material, but they are slow to heat and cool, and can weigh a bit more. This surface is also not non-stick, so again, make sure to use parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Non-stick: non-stick baking sheets are quite common for non-commercial use. The non-stick coating can scratch, so make sure to avoid using metal utensils with these baking sheets. The darker color of the non-stick coating also tends to brown the bottoms of cookies and other baked goods faster, so keep that in mind.
  • Enamel coated: enamel coated baking sheets have a glossy enamel coating, which is naturally non-stick. They’re lightweight, easy to clean, and can be visually appealing, but the enamel coating can scratch and crack if you tend to be rough with your bakeware.

Sheet pans also come in a variety of sizes. Commercial baking sheets are often listed as full (26″x18″), half (18″x13″), or quarter (13″x9″). A commercial half sheet pan would be considered a large sheet pan for home cooking. Sheet pans sold for home cooks often just have the dimensions listed alone. I highly suggest buying a set of three sizes when just starting out, so you can have a sheet pan for every need.

3. Cheese Grater

Why I Love It

Oh the humble cheese grater. So unassuming, but oh so very useful! I love this simple tool because it’s so versatile, yet so simple, so there are no complex mechanical parts to break. It saves me time with chopping and helps me sneak more vegetables into my meals.

How I Use It

I suppose I should stop calling it a “cheese” grater because I use it for so many more things than just cheese! Instead of finely chopping vegetables, just run the vegetables across the surface of your “cheese” grater to get an almost minced texture. I most often grate carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets. Fine-holed graters are great for garlic and ginger. I also use my graters to zest citrus fruits, and grate frozen butter when making biscuits and other flakey baked goods.

Buying Tips

Graters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but I suggest getting at least two sizes: large and small holes. You can either buy these as separate hand-held graters, or as one box grater than has multiple surfaces. I tend to like the single graters because I find them easier to clean, and if one is in the dishwasher, the other may still be clean and ready to use.

4. Small Blender

Why I Love It

My small, single-serving blender is a surprise winner in my kitchen. I originally bought my little single-serving blender for making smoothies, but over the years have pulled it out of my cabinet for so much more. It’s small, so it doesn’t take up a lot of cabinet or countertop space, it’s easy to clean (mine can go in the dishwasher), and it’s inexpensive.

While my small blender was a cheap-o $15 dollar model that definitely didn’t last forever, I love it so much and find it so useful that each time it wore out, I repurchased it (two times over about 8 years).

Funny story: one day I convinced myself that I needed a “real” blender so I went and bought a fancy and expensive Ninja. I used that thing maybe two times and then kept going back for my little $15 wonder. :)

How I Use It

My little mighty blender does just fine for smoothies, but don’t expect Blendtec or Vitamix level results. In addition to smoothies, I use my little blender for whipping up homemade salad dressings, dips (although it’s not great for super thick dips like hummus), sauces, and puréeing other ingredients, like beans. It’s just perfect for small jobs where you don’t want to deal with or clean a giant 9 cup blender with scary sharp blades.

Buying Tips

I can only vouch for the Hamilton Beach model that I have owned, which also doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon for its normal $15-$20 price. You can get this model at Target, Walmart, or probably any other major home goods store.

As an alternative to a small single-serving blender, an immersion blender will probably accomplish many of the same small tasks and can boast a few more uses (like blending soups right in the pot), but they do tend to be about double the price.

5. Chef’s Knife

Why I Love It

I saved the best for last! My chef’s knife is like an extension of my arm. It’s a general purpose kitchen utility knife that I use almost exclusively when cooking. In fact, I probably will never buy a full set of kitchen knives because this is practically the only knife I use (aside from a bread knife and the occasional paring knife). Chef’s knife are big and sturdy enough for large jobs, but small enough to be nimble and allow for a working at a quick pace. I absolutely, without a doubt, would not be able to function in my kitchen without it.

How I Use It

The long, broad, slightly tapered blade of a chef’s knife is great for slicing, chopping, mincing, julienning, carving, and more. If you’re not sure what type of knife to use for your task, a chef’s knife is a safe bet. Avoid chef’s knives for small jobs, like peeling or scoring, boning, or fileting.

Always make sure your chef’s knife is clean and sharp to avoid slips and injuries. Always wash by hand and avoid the dishwasher, where it can get dinged up and dulled. Keep your chef’s knife in some sort of knife holder or magnetic strip, again to avoid rubbing on other items and unintentionally damaging the blade.

Buying Tips

Much like Dutch ovens, chef’s knives can range in price from very cheap to very expensive. I’ve used the cheapest of the cheap chef’s knives up to some very pricey “fancy” knives, and I will say that they all get the job done. My favorite chef’s knife that is the perfect balance between budget and quality is the Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch Chef’s Knife, and this is what I am currently using daily in my kitchen. I also own a Shun 8-inch Chef’s Knife that I won in a raffle, and while it is very pretty and has superb craftsmanship, I don’t find that it performs any better than my Victorinox. In fact, I prefer the weight balance of my Victorinox.

Chef’s knives come in several different lengths, materials, and weights. It’s important to choose a length that is appropriate for your hand size. With my petite hands, an 8-inch knife is perfect and allows for great control and agility. If you have larger hands, you may prefer a 10 or even 12-inch chef’s knife. If you’re serious about your knives, I suggest visiting a cutlery store where you can pick up and feel the knives in your hand and choose one that feels comfortable and natural to you.


So that’s it! Those are the five most used items in my kitchen! What are yours? Share your favorite kitchen tools and gadgets, plus how you use them, in the comments below!

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Tomato Herb Soup

I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the […]

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I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the great beginning to a super fast, easy, and delicious homemade Tomato Herb Soup.

Originally published 9-16-2013, updated 10-12-2020.

A mug of tomato herb soup on a plate with a grilled cheese

What Does Tomato Herb Soup Taste Like?

This tomato herb soup is not your everyday canned condensed tomato soup. It’s not sugary sweet, it’s fairly thick, very rich, and has tons of herby flavor. The magic comes from the melange of dried herbs and the quick act of caramelizing the tomato paste to create a rich sweetness. So yum and it gets better as it refrigerates. Oh, did I mention that it just happens to be VEGAN?

What to Serve with Tomato Herb Soup

A classic grilled cheese sandwich is never a bad idea, but you could also do something like Homemade Garlic Bread, or drop a few Homemade Croutons on top, and make a super simple salad to go on the side.

Is it Freezer Friendly?

Yes, this soup holds up really well to freezing, so feel free to stash a couple servings in there for later! I try to use up my frozen foods within three months for best quality, but you may get a longer life out of it. In the refrigerator, the soup should stay good for about 4-5 days.

Overhead view of a mug full of tomato soup with a black spoon in the center
 
Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

Tomato Herb Soup

Use basic pantry staples to create this quick and easy Tomato Herb Soup. It's thick, rich, flavorful, and perfect for grilled cheese dipping!
Total Cost $2.62 recipe / $0.52 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups each
Calories 168.16kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.64
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.39
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.39

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a sauce pot along with the olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic has softened.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir until everything is mixed (the oil may stay partially separated). Cook the mixture while stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker, almost burgundy hue.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium and heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 168.16kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.6g | Protein: 2.86g | Fat: 11.44g | Sodium: 731.8mg | Fiber: 4.68g

How to Make Tomato Herb Soup – Step by Step Photos

Oil garlic and herbs in a soup pot

Start by adding ¼ cup olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté the herbs in the oil for about two minutes, or until the garlic has softened.

Tomato paste and brown sugar added to the pot

Add 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the pot. Stir until everything is pretty well combined (the oil may never fully mix in). Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker burgundy hue (see photo below).

crushed tomatoes being poured into the pot

Add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are smaller bits than diced tomatoes, but not quite as smooth as tomato sauce. It’s somewhere in between, and doesn’t have any seasoning added.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot

Also add 3 cups of vegetable broth, which will thin the soup out, add depth of flavor, and just the right amount of salt. I use this Better Than Bouillon to quickly mix up the exact amount of broth that I need.

finished tomato herb soup being lifted with a ladle

Then just whisk everything together and heat through! The end! The flavors are even better the next day.

Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

OMG – grilled cheese + tomato soup FTW!

Now give yourself a high-five for making such a delicious soup in under 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Have you ever had a recipe call for just a partial can of pumpkin purée? And then you’re like, “well, what am I going to do with the rest of this??” Instead of searching for a recipe that calls for the exact amount of pumpkin purée that you have leftover, I like to add a […]

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Have you ever had a recipe call for just a partial can of pumpkin purée? And then you’re like, “well, what am I going to do with the rest of this??” Instead of searching for a recipe that calls for the exact amount of pumpkin purée that you have leftover, I like to add a little to my morning oats. You can add a spoonful or two to a bowl of hot oats (with cinnamon and brown sugar) or you can make up some of these Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats. These overnight oats are also a great way to get that fall flavor if you live in a region where it’s still quite warm this time of year. 🤪

Overhead view of a bowl of overnight pumpkin pie oats with pumpkins, oats, and pecans on the side

Make One or More!

The recipe listed below is for a single serving of overnight oats, but you can make up to four at a time. The overnight oats will stay good in your fridge for 4-5 days, so make as many or as few as you want or need. To adjust the ingredients below to make more servings at once, simply change the number in the “servings” box and the rest of the ingredients will auto adjust.

Do You Eat Overnight Oats Hot or Cold?

You can eat these pumpkin pie overnight oats either hot or cold. As the oats soak they absorb liquid and soften just like they do when cooked. So the overnight oats are ready to eat after soaking for about eight hours, or you can pop them in the microwave for about a minute or so to warm through. They’re great both ways!

Adjust the Sweetness

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I don’t like things that are too sweet, so the amount of brown sugar listed in the recipe below sweetens the oats just slightly. If you want a more dessert-like sweetness, I suggest adding more brown sugar to your liking. The sugar does not need to be added in the beginning, so you can start with the ½ Tbsp listed below and add more just before eating to make it the sweetness that you desire.

Other Add-ins

You can have some fun with these overnight oats and add in some more fun ingredients if you have them on hand. I think a few raisins would be pretty awesome, as would some pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). A splash of vanilla extract can also make these overnight oats taste a little more creamy.

Make Them Vegan or Dairy Free

The best thing about overnight oats is that they work just as well with non-dairy milk as they do with dairy milk, so use your favorite almond, soy, coconut, cashew, or other non-dairy milk in place of the milk listed in the recipe below.

Can I Use Quick Oats or Steel Cut Oats?

You can make this with quick oats, but I find old-fashioned rolled oats to give the best results because they have a thicker, chewier texture. Quick oats will have a softer, mushier texture after soaking. Steel cut oats require a lot more liquid and a much longer soaking time to soften, so I don’t recommend them for this recipe.

Side view of a spoon lifting some pumpkin pie overnight oats out of the bowl

 
Side view of a spoon lifting some pumpkin pie overnight oats out of the bowl

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats are a great way to use up leftover pumpkin purée and are a delicious make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings.
Total Cost $0.95 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Soak Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings 1 bowl
Calories 293.86kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats $0.44
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice $0.05
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans $0.13
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée $0.12
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 cup milk* $0.18

Instructions

  • Add the rolled oats (uncooked), pumpkin pie spice, salt, and chopped pecans to a jar or other resealable container. Top with the pumpkin purée, brown sugar, and milk. Close the container and refrigerate overnight or up to five days.
  • Before eating, stir the contents of the jar until evenly combined. Enjoy cold or microwave until warmed through.

Notes

*Use your milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy). The nutrition stats for this recipe are calculated using whole milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 293.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.24g | Protein: 9.85g | Fat: 11.88g | Sodium: 350.34mg | Fiber: 6.38g

See how to make your own Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice here!

How to Make Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats – Step by Step Photos

Pumpkin pie overnight oats dry ingredients in jar

Add 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats to a jar or another resealable container, along with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp chopped pecans.

pumpkin puree and brown sugar added to the jar

Add 1/4 cup pumpkin purée and 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar to the jar.

milk being poured into the jar

Add 1/2 cup of milk of your choice to the jar (I used whole milk).

Soaked and stirred overnight oats in the jar

Close the container and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or up to five days. When you’re ready to eat, stir up the contents of the container until everything is well mixed.

Overhead view of pumpkin pie overnight oats in the bowl

Enjoy the pumpkin pie overnight oats cold straight out of the jar, or microwave until warmed through!

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Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

It’s not even Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to throw you this little tip to save for later. There are so many moving parts that go into making sure a Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready all at the same time, and it’s even more […]

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It’s not even Halloween yet, but it’s never too early to start planning for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to throw you this little tip to save for later. There are so many moving parts that go into making sure a Thanksgiving meal is hot and ready all at the same time, and it’s even more challenging when you’re working with just one stove. Recipes like these Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes that can be prepared on the side will free up space on your stove top and, because it requires no babysitting, will leave your hands and eyes free to focus on other recipes. Thanksgiving Day boil-over averted. 😅

Originally posted 12-29-2015, updated 10-8-2020.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

Why Make Mashed Potatoes in a Slow Cooker?

Using the slow cooker cuts out the “babysitting the boiling pot” step in the process of making mashed potatoes, which can really free you up to concentrate on the rest of your meal. It also eliminates boil overs, draining the potatoes, constantly checking them with a fork to see if they’re tender, using multiple pots and dishes, and gives you another free burner on your stove top. With slow cooker mashed potatoes, you just add everything to the pot and press a button and go. And if you can’t get to them right when the timer goes off, they’ll be okay!

How Do You Flavor Mashed Potatoes?

I flavored my mashed potatoes with garlic, pepper, butter, milk, and cream cheese, but you can use your tried and true favorite mashed potato add-ins with this recipe. The cooking process will stay the same: 3 lbs. potatoes and about 1.5 cups of broth. Then after they’re cooked, add in whatever you’d like! My All-Purpose Garlic Herb Seasoning is a favorite, but other fun seasoning blends include Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, or even ranch seasoning.

What Kind of Potatoes are Best for Mashed Potatoes?

Russet potatoes are my top choice for mashed potatoes because they have a light, fluffy flesh. You can use red potatoes, but they tend to create a more dense mashed potato.

Can I Make Them Vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can swap the chicken broth listed in the recipe below for vegetable broth. Just be aware that vegetable broth is usually a much darker color, so your finished mashed potatoes may look a little more brown.

What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?

I’m using a 5 quart slow cooker, but it was only about half full, so you could probably get away with using a 3 quart slow cooker for this recipe.

Slow cooker mashed potatoes in a bowl with a spoon lifting a bite

 
Close up of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Slow cooker mashed potatoes are the perfect hands-off method for making rich and creamy mashed potatoes for the Holidays!
Total Cost $2.99 recipe / $0.50 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 259.77kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. russet potatoes $1.80
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.20
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.05
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40
  • 1/2 cup milk $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13

Instructions

  • Wash and peel the potatoes, then dice them into one-inch cubes. Rinse the diced potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove the excess starch.
  • Add the cubed potatoes, minced garlic, chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper to the slow cooker. Stir briefly to distribute the garlic and pepper.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are fork tender. You can test the tenderness by lifting the lid just long enough to pierce the potatoes with a fork.
  • Take the lid off the slow cooker and add the cream cheese, milk, and butter. Stir to combine the ingredients and mash the potatoes. For an extra smooth mashed potato, use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth.
  • Taste the potatoes and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve immediately, or switch the slow cooker to the "warm" setting until ready to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 259.77kcal | Carbohydrates: 42.75g | Protein: 6.93g | Fat: 5.58g | Sodium: 441.73mg | Fiber: 3.18g

Try These Other Mashed Potato Recipes:

How to Make Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Diced potatoes on a cutting board

Start by washing and peeling 3 lbs. of russet potatoes. Dice the peeled potatoes into one-inch cubes.

Diced potatoes in a colander

Rinse the cubed potatoes well in a colander. This removes the excess starch which can make your mashed potatoes gluey instead of fluffy.

Chicken broth being poured into the slow cooker with potatotes

Add the cubed potatoes to a slow cooker along with 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1.5 cups of chicken broth, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir briefly just to distribute the garlic and pepper. 

testing the potatoes tenderness with a fork

Cover the slow cooker, then cook on high for three hours, or until the potatoes are tender. You can test their tenderness by removing the lid just brief enough to see if a fork can be easily inserted into the potatoes.

Cream cheese and milk added to the potatoes in the slow cooker

Add 4oz. cream cheese, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 cup milk to the hot potatoes. Stir with a spoon to combine the add-ins with the hot potatoes. The potatoes should be so tender that they begin to mash as you stir. You can continue to stir with a spoon for a chunkier mashed potato, or…

Creamy mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with a spoon, close up

Use a hand mixer to briefly whip the potatoes until smooth. 

Side view of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter

Finally, taste the mashed potatoes and season with salt or pepper if needed. Depending on what kind of broth you use, you may want to add salt.

Close up of mashed potatoes in the slow cooker with melted butter and a wooden spoon

And that’s it! Soft, silky, flavorful slow cooker mashed potatoes without any “heavy lifting”. You can serve the potatoes right away or switch the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve dinner.

The post Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

Years ago I made Nature’s Candy, which was a deliciously sweet and savory oven roasted side dish that was so good I’d almost call it a dessert. Well, I decided to take that amazing flavor combination and turn it into a sheet pan dinner. I added some sweet Italian sausage, a red onion for a […]

The post Oven Roasted Autumn Medley appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Years ago I made Nature’s Candy, which was a deliciously sweet and savory oven roasted side dish that was so good I’d almost call it a dessert. Well, I decided to take that amazing flavor combination and turn it into a sheet pan dinner. I added some sweet Italian sausage, a red onion for a slightly more savory twist, and a few more fall-inspired herbs. This Oven Roasted Autumn Medley has all the best flavors of the season in one sheet pan!

Originally posted 9-26-2013, updated 10-5-2020.

Oven Roasted Autumn Medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork on the side

How to Serve Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

I served this sheet pan mix with a side of mashed potatoes, but you could also serve the roasted sausage and vegetables over a bed of greens for a fall-inspired salad. Or just serve it on its own with a nice piece of crusty bread and some butter on the side. :)

Can I Use a Different Sausage?

Yes, if you don’t like or can’t get sweet Italian sausage, you can use a maple or apple flavored turkey sausage in its place. Any type of sausage with those fall vibes will work great!

Other Vegetable Options

This dish is also pretty flexible when it comes to the vegetables. You can swap out the sweet potato or just add some butternut squash, acorn squash, or pumpkin. All of those hard, slightly sweet winter squashes work great. Carrots, with their subtle sweetness, are another great option!

Tips for Roasting Vegetables

One of the goals when roasting vegetables in the oven is to get that nice caramelization on the edges. The caramelized edges are sweeter and have a deep, intense flavor. To get this nice browning action, make sure your vegetables are not too crowded on the baking sheet. They should be in a single layer. If the vegetables are piled too high on top of each other the steam will get trapped and the vegetables will essentially steam in their juices instead of getting that nice caramelization. 

So, if you decide to double this recipe, make sure to use two sheet pans!

side view of a fork picking up some oven roasted autumn medley from the plate

 
Oven roasted autumn medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork

Oven Roasted Autumn Medley

This Oven Roasted Autumn Medley is an herb-infused, sweet and savory sheet pan dinner with sausage, apples, sweet potatoes and more.
Total Cost $4.38 recipe / $2.19 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 671.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion $0.44
  • 1 lb. sweet potato $1.07
  • 2 apples $0.76
  • 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage $1.40
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried sage $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.11

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice the apples into 1-inch pieces. Peel and dice the sweet potato and red onion into 1-inch pieces.
  • Place the chopped apples, onions, sweet potatoes, and Italian sausage links on a large 9x13-inch baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over top, then add the basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Toss until everything is well coated in oil and herbs.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the baking sheet and use tongs to transfer the sausage to a cutting board. Slice the sausage into medallions, then add them back to the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven.
  • Roast the autumn medley for another 20 minutes, or until it reaches your desired level of browning. Top with chopped parsley for garnish after roasting, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 671.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 77.65g | Protein: 23.05g | Fat: 32.4g | Sodium: 1746.95mg | Fiber: 13g

A forkful of Oven Roasted Autumn Medley held close to the camera

 

How to Make Oven Roasted Autumn Medley – Step by Step Photos

Oven roasted autumn medley ingredients on the sheet pan, whole

For this recipe I used two sweet Italian sausage links, one sweet potato (about 1 lb.), two apples, one red onion, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Diced apples, sweet potatoes, and sausage being seasoned with herbs

Core and dice the apples, peel and dice the sweet potato, and peel and dice the red onion (all 1-inch pieces). Place the apple, sweet potato, onion, and sausage links on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, then sprinkle the herbs and spices over top (basil, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper). 

autumn medley ready to roast on the sheet pan

Toss to coat everything really well in oil and herbs. Make sure everything is spread out on the sheet pan as evenly as possible.

Half-roasted autumn medley with sliced sausage.

Roast the autumn medley for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven. The sausage will be about half-cooked at this point, but firm enough to slice into medallions. Carefully remove the sausage with tongs to a cutting board, slice, then return the slices to the sheet pan. Return the sheet pan to the oven.

Finished oven roasted autumn medley on the sheet pan

Roast the autumn medley for another 20 minutes, or until it achieves the level of browning that you like. Top with a tablespoon of chopped parsley, if desired (just for garnish). 

Oven roasted autumn medley on a plate with mashed potatoes and a black fork

Serve immediately and enjoy! This mix also works great for meal prep!

The post Oven Roasted Autumn Medley appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options […]

The post Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options that I’ll outline for you below. Tuck this one in your back pocket (browser bookmarks?) because I’m sure you’re going to be making it again and again. ;)

Overhead view of creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet

What Are “Crispy Onions”?

I’m not sure how popular crispy fried onions are outside the U.S. so I wanted to take a second to explain and link out to this product for those who are unfamiliar. They’re basically deep fried onions that you can buy in a carton and are often used to top the classic Thanksgiving recipe, Green Bean Casserole. The onions are super crispy, a little salty, and they just add a wonderful texture and flavor in contrast the to the creamy mushroom sauce. The only brand I know that makes them is French’s, but you might be able to find a generic version at some grocery stores. 

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

Yes, boneless, skinless chicken thighs will work beautifully for this recipe and, because they are already thin and flat, will not require the pounding step that I show for the chicken breasts below. I do not suggest bone-in chicken thighs or breasts for this recipe because they require a much longer cooking time.

Can I Substitute the Mushrooms?

Not a mushroom lover? No problem. This recipe would also be great with spinach. Simply make the sauce without the mushrooms by adding the garlic to the skillet after removing the chicken, then proceeding to deglaze the skillet with broth as directed below. After adding the cream, simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce, then stir in fresh spinach until wilted. Finally, add the chicken and warm through.

Make it Dairy-Free

Full fat coconut milk will work well here in place of the heavy cream, just as it does in my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk in a can, not the kind in a carton, which is thinner and meant to be a substitute for dairy milk. Shake up the can well before measuring, to distribute as much fat throughout the liquid as possible. Also, use coconut oil or your cooking oil of choice in place of butter.

Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Pictured with Steamed Green Beans and mashed potatoes.

 
Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy Mushroom Chicken topped with delicious crispy onions is an easy weeknight dinner with plenty of options for customization!
Total Cost $8.70 recipe / $2.18 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 369.8kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms $1.69
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1.3 lbs. total) $5.63
  • 1 pinch salt $0.02
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided $0.26
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.39
  • 1/4 cup crispy fried onions $0.37
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Rinse and slice the mushrooms. Set the sliced mushrooms aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch thick. Cut each chicken breast into two pieces, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add one tablespoon of the butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover with foil or an upside down plate to keep it warm.
  • Add the second tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet begins to dry up again. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute more.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon mushroom cream sauce over each piece. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes more, or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Top the chicken with the crispy fried onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 369.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.25g | Protein: 36.13g | Fat: 22.4g | Sodium: 345.45mg | Fiber: 0.65g

How to Make Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms

Wash and slice 8oz. baby bella mushrooms. Set the mushrooms aside.

Pounded chicken breasts on a cutting board with a rolling pin

Place two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or a rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch. This helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly in the skillet.

Chicken portions seasoned with salt and pepper on the cutting board

Cut each chicken breast in half to create four portions, then season each with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cooked chicken in the skillet

Add one tablespoon butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep it warm (either foil or another plate turned upside down).

Sautéed mushrooms and garlic in the skillet

Add another tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet dries up again. Add four cloves minced garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute more.

Cream being poured into the skillet with mushrooms

Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. Add ½ cup heavy cream to the skillet and stir to combine.

Chicken in creamy mushroom sauce in the skillet

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and spoon the creamy mushroom sauce over the chicken. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and the sauce is slightly reduced.

Creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet, topped with crispy fried onions

Top the chicken with crispy fried onions (I used about ¼ cup total). 

Finished Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, garnished with parsley

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, then serve. This goes really well with mashed potatoes or pasta, so the creamy sauce can be spooned over top like a gravy.

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How to Steam Fresh Green Beans

One of my go-to side dishes is steamed green beans. Why? Because they’re so fast, they’re uncomplicated, delicious, and you can make them several different flavors to match your main dish. They’re just the perfect no-brainer side dish. If you’ve only ever had canned green beans, please promise me that you’ll try steaming fresh green beans […]

The post How to Steam Fresh Green Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One of my go-to side dishes is steamed green beans. Why? Because they’re so fast, they’re uncomplicated, delicious, and you can make them several different flavors to match your main dish. They’re just the perfect no-brainer side dish. If you’ve only ever had canned green beans, please promise me that you’ll try steaming fresh green beans at least once. They’re a whole different beast. A deliciously fresh beast. So, without further ado, let me show you how to steam fresh green beans, so you can have another simple, delicious side dish under your belt!

Overhead view of a bowl full of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper

The One Secret to Good Green Beans

There is only one thing you need to know about making good green beans: DON’T OVER COOK THEM. Most people I come across who say they don’t like green beans have only ever had overcooked, drab, olive green, too-soft green beans (like the kind you get in a can). The trick is to cook them until they are bright green, tender, but still with a good bite. They’ll still taste fresh, vibrant, and green. Deeeelish. 

What Equipment Do I Need?

Steaming green beans is so incredibly easy. All you need is a colander, pot or a deep skillet with a lid, and a steam basket. The steam basket holds the green beans just above the boiling water so they cook evenly and makes it really easy to lift the green beans out of the pot once cooked.

Do I Really Need the Steam Basket?

While the steam basket does help produce the best results, I’m not going to tell you that you can’t steam green beans without one. For years, before I had the few dollars to spend on a steam basket, I simply steamed my green beans directly in the one-inch of water. The bottom layer of green beans cooked slightly more than the rest, but guess what? It was barely noticeable. If you’re short on cash, follow the directions below minus the steam basket and you’ll do just fine.

Why Steam Instead of Boil Green Beans?

Because it’s faster. One inch of water takes a fraction of the time to come up to a boil compared to a full pot of water. Also, less nutrients are leached out of the green beans when they steam compared to when they’re fully submerged in boiling water. That’s two good reasons, if you ask me!

How to Flavor Green Beans

I’m a happy camper with the simple combo of melted butter, salt, and freshly cracked pepper on my steamed green beans, but there are so many different things you can add. Try these flavors:

  • Sautéed garlic
  • Lemon zest and juice
  • Sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Crumbled feta
  • Bacon
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Or any combination of the above!

Can I Use Frozen Green Beans?

Frozen green beans are blanched, or partially cooked, before freezing. So, while you can steam them using this method, they may need a different amount of time to cook. Check the package for recommended cooking times.

 
Overhead of a bowl of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper.

How to Steam Green Beans

Learn how to steam fresh green beans for an easy, delicious, fresh, and versatile side dish that will go with just about any dinner.
Total Cost $1.86 recipe / $0.47 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 13 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 60.38kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans $1.69
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Rinse the green beans in a colander. Snap the end off of any beans that still have an attached stem (see photos below). Snap each bean in half, or leave the beans whole for a more dramatic presentation.
  • Place one inch of water in a pot or deep skillet. Place the steam basket inside the pot. The water should not be so deep that it comes up through the holes in the steam basket. Fill the steam basket with the washed green beans. Place a lid on the pot or skillet, turn the heat onto high, and allow the water to come to a boil (about 3 minutes).
  • Allow the green beans to steam for about 5 minutes from the time the water begins to boil, or until they have reached your desired level of tenderness. Aim for green beans that are vibrant in color and tender but not mushy. You can test the tenderness of the green beans with a fork.
  • Once cooked to your liking, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the steam basket with the green beans and discard the water from the bottom of the pot. Place the beans back in the pot without the steam basket and add some butter. Stir the butter into the green beans, allowing the residual heat to melt the butter. Season the beans with salt and pepper, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25lb. | Calories: 60.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.85g | Protein: 2.08g | Fat: 3.13g | Sodium: 237.08mg | Fiber: 3.05g

How to Steam Green Beans – Step by Step Photos

Close up of a green bean with stem, more green beans in a colander in the background

Rinse your green beans in a colander. Snap off any ends that still have a stem attached. You can see what the stem looks like in the photo above. The other end of the green bean will be pointy, but those are fine to eat. In fact, that’s my favorite part. You can snap your green beans in half or leave them long and whole for a more dramatic presentation.

metal steam basket

This is the metal steam basket that I use. It has a loop in the center for lifting the basket out of the pot and the outer edges can close in or expand to fit the diameter of your pot. You can also buy bamboo or silicone steam baskets, but I find these old-school metal baskets to be inexpensive and pretty indestructible.

Steam basket in a pot with water

Place about an inch of water in a pot or deep skillet and place the steam basket on top. The water should not be so deep that it comes up through the holes. 

Fresh green beans in the steam basket in the pot, uncooked

Fill the steam basket with the washed green beans and place a lid on the pot. Turn the heat on to high and allow the water to come up to a boil (about 3 minutes).

Steamed green beans in the pot

Once the water begins to boil, allow the beans to steam for about 5 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of tenderness. Aim for green beans that are a vibrant green color and are tender, but still have a bit of bite. They shouldn’t be a drab green or mushy.

Steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper in the pot

Remove the pot from the heat, lift the steam basket and beans out of the pot, then discard the water. Place the beans back into the pot without the steam basket, add some butter, and stir to melt the butter (heat is off). Season with a little salt and pepper, then serve!

Overhead of a bowl of steamed green beans with butter, salt, and pepper.

The fresh green bean flavor on its own is so delicious that I usually only add a little butter, salt, and pepper, but you can have fun and get wild with the seasonings! Let me know what your favorite flavors are in the comments below. :)

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Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock […]

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This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock full of colorful vegetables, a quick homemade red sauce, and layers of ooey-gooey cheese. This recipes makes a LOT of pasta but the leftovers are awesome and freezable! 

Overhead view of a casserole dish full of roasted vegetable baked penne

Take a Short Cut

This roasted vegetable baked penne is kind of a labor of love because there are so many moving parts, BUT you can take a short cut by using some jarred pasta sauce instead of making your own. Use about one and a half 24oz. jars of store-bought pasta sauce in place of the homemade sauce listed below.

How to Store Leftovers

As I mentioned in the intro, this makes a LOT of pasta. But the leftovers are super yummy, and it makes a really great item to stash in your freezer for grab-n-go lunches or quick dinners on busy nights. After baking, divide the pasta into single serving containers and transfer to the refrigerator. Once fully cooled, you can transfer some (or all) of the containers to the freezer for longer storage. I usually leave as many as I can eat in one week in the fridge and freeze the left. The leftovers can be reheated quickly in the microwave.

What Vegetables Can You Use?

I used a classic mix of zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and bell pepper so I could have a really colorful mix. If you want to substitute any of these vegetables, here are some other good options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots

In general you want to opt for softer vegetables for this dish, as opposed to harder root vegetables, but if you do want to include vegetables that are more firm, make sure to cut them into much smaller pieces to help them soften more quickly while they roast.

Close up front view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

 
Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Layers of pasta, flavorful roasted vegetables, a simple homemade red sauce, and melty cheese make this roasted vegetable baked penne to die for!
Total Cost $11.34 recipe / $1.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 494.86kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 red onion $0.44
  • 1 zucchini $0.79
  • 1 yellow squash $1.11
  • 1 bell pepper $1.69
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.26
  • tsp salt $0.02
  • tsp pepper $0.02

Simple Red Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning* $0.30
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ cup water $0.02

Pasta & Cheese

  • 1 lb. penne $1.00
  • 15 oz. ricotta $2.19
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend**, divided $1.86
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.11

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Spread the diced vegetables out over a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until all the vegetables are coated in oil.
  • Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven, stirring once half way through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the edges are brown and caramelized.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, begin the red sauce. Finely dice the yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with the butter. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, and water.
  • Stir the sauce to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are finished roasting (about 30 minutes).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the shredded Italian cheese blend, and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the penne. Once boiling, add the penne and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain the penne in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off.
  • Stir one cup of the red sauce into the drained pasta to coat the pasta in flavor. Add the roasted vegetables to the remaining red sauce and stir to combine.
  • To layer the casserole, place half of the sauce coated penne in the bottom of a 9x13" or 3 quart casserole dish. Add half of the cheese mixture on top in dollops, followed by half of the roasted vegetable and red sauce mixture. The ingredients do not need to create a solid layer or completely cover the previous layer. Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, top the casserole with the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.
  • Cover the casserole with foil, making sure it doesn't touch the cheese on top. Place the casserole in the oven (still turned on to 400ºF) and bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the foil and switch the oven from bake to broil. Broil the top of the casserole to brown the cheese for 3-5 minutes (watch closely as broilers can vary quite a bit from oven to oven). Top with chopped parsley if desired and serve!

Notes

*If you do not have Italian seasoning, you can replace this with equal parts dried basil, dried oregano, dried morjoram, and thyme.
*If you do not have shredded Italian cheese blend, use equal amounts shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 494.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 60.24g | Protein: 20.76g | Fat: 19.79g | Sodium: 681.56mg | Fiber: 5.35g

How to Make Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Whole vegetables on a cutting board

For the roasted vegetables I used one red onion, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and one red bell pepper. You can choose just about any vegetable you’d like (see notes above the recipe for suggestions).

Diced vegetables on a baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Place the diced vegetables on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are coated in oil.

Roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast, stirring once halfway through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and caramelized on the edges.

Diced onion and butter in a sauce pot

While the vegetables are roasting, begin the rest of the casserole. Start with the homemade red sauce. Dice one yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Red sauce ingredients in the pot

Once the onions are soft, add one 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp salt, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to the simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are done roasting (about 30 minutes). 

Cheese mixture ingredients in a bowl

While the vegetables are roasting and the red sauce is simmering away, prepare the cheese. Stir together 15oz. ricotta, 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

Stirring red sauce into cooked pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 1 lb. penne and continue to boil until the penne is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off. Add 1 cup of the red sauce and stir to coat.

Roasted vegetables added to the pot of red sauce.

Stir the roasted vegetables into the rest of the red sauce.

Layer one of baked penne in the casserole dish

Now that the sauce, cheese, and pasta are done, it’s time to start layering! Add half of the sauce coated pasta to the bottom of a 9×13″ (3 quart) casserole dish. Next, add half of the cheese mixture in dollops, followed by half of the vegetable red sauce. Each layer will not fully cover the previous layer. You don’t need to spend time trying to spread it out. It will all melt together as it bakes.

Second layers of baked penne in the casserole dish

Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, add the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend on top.

Baked Penne casserole with foil covering half the dish

Cover the casserole dish with foil, taking care not to let it touch the cheese. Bake the casserole for 35 minutes.

Finished roasted vegetable baked penne in the casserole dish

After 35 minutes, remove the foil and change the oven from bake to broil. Let it broil for a few minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown on top. Top with a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired.

Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Enjoy!

The post Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

Here’s a little quickie for you this weekend! I’m always looking for ways to use up the odds and ends of my fresh spinach, and  Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta is one of my go-to methods for making sure no spinach goes to waste. It’s fast (like, fast enough to make on a weekday), […]

The post Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a little quickie for you this weekend! I’m always looking for ways to use up the odds and ends of my fresh spinach, and  Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta is one of my go-to methods for making sure no spinach goes to waste. It’s fast (like, fast enough to make on a weekday), super delish, and makes me feel pampered. Plus, I’ll share several different ways you can serve or customize these eggs so you’ll have plenty of options!

Two plates with scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

How to Serve Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

You might be thinking, “who doesn’t know how to serve scrambled eggs??” Well, in addition to serving scrambled eggs on a plate with toast, like in the photos in this post, there are actually some other fun things that you can do with these eggs once they’re made. My favorite? Make them into a quesadilla! Pile the scrambled eggs with spinach and feta onto half of a tortilla, top with a little more shredded mozzarella, fold it closed, then toast it in a skillet. BOOM. So delish.

You can also stuff the scrambled eggs into a breakfast wrap with some bacon, or into a pita for a really easy, handheld, on-the-go breakfast. Or how about a bagelwich? Yes please! And lastly, you can use these scrambled eggs as a topper for a breakfast bowl meal. 

What Else Can I Add?

Spinach and feta is really just a starting point. I like to add whatever vegetables I have laying around in the fridge to my scrambled eggs. Diced bell pepper is awesome, as are tomatoes. Got leftover green onions? Slice ’em up and toss them in there! Have half of a leftover avocado? Use it to top your eggs. The sky really is the limit here.

Green Eggs and Ham

Here’s your chance to fulfill your childhood Dr. Seuss dreams, friends. The juices from the fresh spinach do turn the eggs a little green, especially if they sit on your plate for a little while before you get a chance to eat. But I absolutely love the idea of adding ham to these scrambled eggs to make it a true “green eggs and ham” breakfast. How fun! I would dice the ham and sauté it in the skillet first, then add the spinach and continue on as directed below.

Side view of a plate with scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and oranges

 
A plate full of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

These tasty scrambled eggs with spinach and feta are fast and easy enough to prepare on a weekday, and are perfect for using up spinach!
Total Cost $2.31 recipe / $1.16 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 250.75kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.65
  • 4 large eggs $0.92
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.13
  • 1 oz. feta $0.55
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 pinch salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Roughly chop the spinach into smaller pieces (about 1-inch pieces). This step is optional and can be skipped to make breakfast faster, but I prefer the smaller pieces that don't get stringy like whole spinach leaves can tend to be.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whisk (I prefer ribbons of white and yellow, but you can whisk until even if preferred).
  • Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and sauté until the spinach has softened (2-3 minutes)
  • Push the sautéed spinach to the outside edges of the skillet and pour the eggs into the center. Gently fold the eggs as the bottom layer solidifies, until the eggs are about 75% solid. Fold the eggs into the sautéed spinach, then turn off the heat. The residual heat in the pan will finish cooking the eggs without overcooking or drying them out.
  • Top the eggs with the crumbled feta, a little freshly cracked pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 250.75kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.6g | Protein: 16.2g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 589.3mg | Fiber: 1.3g

Scrambled eggs with spinach and feta on a plate with toast, half piled onto a slice of toast

How to Make Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta – Step by Step Photos

Chopped spinach on a cutting board

Chop about 4 oz. of spinach into smaller pieces (about 1-inch pieces). The amount of spinach in this recipe is VERY flexible. So use less if you have less, just use up what you’ve got! You can also skip chopping if you’re in a hurry, but I like to chop because whole leaves can be a little stringy sometimes.

Whisked eggs

Crack four large eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and whisk to your liking. I like to have some ribbons of white and yellow in my scrambled eggs, but you can whisk more if you like a more even color.

Spinach being added to a skillet with melted butter

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the chopped spinach. Sauté the spinach until it has wilted (2-3 minutes).

Whisked eggs being poured into the skillet with spinach

Push the sautéed spinach out to the outer edges of the skillet, then pour the whisked eggs in the center. Gently fold the eggs as the bottom layer solidifies, until the eggs are about 75% solid.

Eggs folded with spinach in the skillet

Fold the spinach into the eggs, then turn the heat off. The residual heat in the skillet will finish cooking the eggs without overcooking them or drying them out.

Finished eggs with feta and pepper

Finish off the eggs with 1 oz. crumbled feta, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

A plate full of scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, toast, and orange slices

Enjoy!!

The post Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta appeared first on Budget Bytes.