Easy Pizza Sauce

Make this lively red pizza sauce recipe for your homemade pizzas! It comes together with basic pantry ingredients in about five minutes, no cooking required. It’s like…

The post Easy Pizza Sauce appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

easy pizza sauce recipe

Make this lively red pizza sauce recipe for your homemade pizzas! It comes together with basic pantry ingredients in about five minutes, no cooking required. It’s like magic.

This recipe yields a classic Italian red sauce base for your home-baked pizza pies. Despite its quick preparation, this sauce tastes rich and full of flavor, which further develops during the pizza’s blast in a high-heat oven.

pizza sauce ingredients

I like my sauce to have a bit of texture to it, and this sauce strikes the perfect balance. Many pizza sauces are either thick and dull or watery and flavorless. Not this one.

I originally developed this sauce recipe for a pizza recipe in my cookbook, Love Real Food. Since I just re-shared my favorite pizza dough recipe, I’m providing my go-to pizza sauce to go along with it.

Both the dough and the sauce come together very quickly, so you can enjoy homemade pizza with minimal fuss. How about pizza tonight?

Continue to the recipe...

The post Easy Pizza Sauce appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Easy Tomato Salad

We have a surplus of tomatoes this summer, and it’s glorious. I dreamed up this simple tomato salad recipe to make use of the excess. I simply…

The post Easy Tomato Salad appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

best tomato salad recipe

We have a surplus of tomatoes this summer, and it’s glorious. I dreamed up this simple tomato salad recipe to make use of the excess. I simply sliced ripe tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, then I added some crisp red onion, lots of fresh basil, and drizzled it all with olive oil and good balsamic vinegar.

The end result is so delicious! This salad really lets raw, peak-season tomatoes shine. The recipe is also quite versatile, so you’ll never tire of it. Try adding some cucumber, mozzarella, avocado, arugula or even peaches.

Serve this tomato salad as a fresh, healthy side salad to any summer meal. It’s best when it’s freshly made, so I recommend cutting the recipe in half if you’re not serving a crowd.

tomato salad ingredients

I grew heirloom tomatoes from seed for the first time this spring. It was a fun process that proved easier than expected. In fact, I underestimated how many of the seeds would sprout. I grew so many tomato plants that we filled our family’s three garden plots and passed along the extra to friends.

Strangely enough, our growing tomato plants have provided a sense of continuity and hope during a tumultuous year. I’ll do it all again next spring, but maybe leave some room for more peppers and cucumbers. Or maybe I need a bigger garden plot. I think I’m hooked!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Easy Tomato Salad appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad-this classic Italian bread salad is made with homemade croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil, and tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a definitely a summer favorite! Are you guys ready for THE salad of th…

Panzanella Salad-this classic Italian bread salad is made with homemade croutons, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil, and tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a definitely a summer favorite! Are you guys ready for THE salad of the summer? Oh yes, this Panzanella Salad is the perfect way to celebrate summer. It is a MUST…

The post Panzanella Salad appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon Salad –  an unexpected concoction of watermelon, mint, feta cheese, and red onion. This watermelon salad is surprisingly perfect in every way, blending sweet and savory in one delicious bite!  Watermelon is probably my favori…

Watermelon Salad –  an unexpected concoction of watermelon, mint, feta cheese, and red onion. This watermelon salad is surprisingly perfect in every way, blending sweet and savory in one delicious bite!  Watermelon is probably my favorite thing about summer. I eat it every day without fail. I think I have an obsession. I love eating…

The post Watermelon Feta Salad appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

You can never have enough all-purpose side dish recipes, like Balsamic Roasted Vegetables. These sweet and savory caramelized vegetables are versatile (use any vegetables), they hold up well to reheating (perfect for meal prep), and their flavor matches with a wide variety of main dishes. They even make a simple yet stunning Thanksgiving side dish! […]

The post Balsamic Roasted Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You can never have enough all-purpose side dish recipes, like Balsamic Roasted Vegetables. These sweet and savory caramelized vegetables are versatile (use any vegetables), they hold up well to reheating (perfect for meal prep), and their flavor matches with a wide variety of main dishes. They even make a simple yet stunning Thanksgiving side dish!

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables – An All-Purpose Side Dish

A white oval platter full of Balsamic Roasted Vegetables with metal serving ware on the side.

What Vegetables Can I Use?

You can roast just about any vegetable in this sweet, savory, and tangy balsamic marinade. The key is to match your vegetables to the season. Summer vegetables tend to be softer, so they’ll take less time to roast. Fall and winter vegetables are harder and will take more time to roast. Choose vegetables of a similar type so they cook at a similar rate. Here are some vegetable options:

Soft Spring and Summer Vegetables: Asparagus, grape tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onions.

Hard Fall and Winter Vegetables: Carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, Brussels sprouts, onion, turnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes.

What Should I Serve with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables?

My favorite pairing for balsamic roasted vegetables is any type of roasted meat (roast chicken, beef, or pork), but they also go beautifully with the smoky flavor of grilled meats. The savory-sweet flavor of the balsamic marinade also pairs quite well with BBQ sauce, so any type of BBQ meat would be a great match. I’ve also paired balsamic roasted vegetables with seasoned rice in the past for a simple vegetarian dish. Lastly, when using fall and winter vegetables, as I have today, this dish makes a simple and beautiful side for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tips for Roasting Vegetables

Here are a few tips for getting great results when roasting any type of vegetable:

  • Chop harder vegetables into smaller pieces and softer vegetables into larger pieces to help them roast at a more similar rate.
  • Use plenty of oil. Without enough oil the vegetables will shrivel and dry instead of caramelize.
  • Don’t overcrowd the baking sheet. If the vegetables are too crowded, steam will become trapped and the vegetables will stew in their own juices instead of caramelize.
  • Don’t forget to stir! Stirring the vegetables at least once, half-way through the roasting time will ensure even cooking.

Close up of Balsamic Roasted Vegetables on a white platter

 

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

These sweet and savory caramelized Balsamic Roasted Vegetables are an easy and elegant all-purpose side dish that you'll want to make over and over!

Balsamic Marinade

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil ($0.48)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.41)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.24)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.09)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.03)

Vegetables

  • 8 oz. mushrooms (baby bellas or button mushrooms) ($1.69)
  • 1 red onion ($0.44)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots ($0.45)
  • 1/2 lb. parsnips ($1.06)
  • 1 bunch radishes ($0.99)
  • 1/4 bunch parsley (for garnish) ($0.20)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, dried basil, and pepper. Set the marinade aside.

  2. Scrub or peel the carrots and parsnips, then slice them into 1-inch pieces. Wash the mushrooms and cut them in half. Peel the onion and slice it into 1-inch wide wedges. Wash the radishes, cut off their stems and roots, then slice each one in half.

  3. Spread the prepared vegetables out over a large baking sheet, making sure they're in a single layer and no piled on top one another. Pour the balsamic marinade over top, then toss the vegetables until they're all well coated.

  4. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven, give the vegetables a good stir, then return them to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and have browned on the edges. Don't be alarmed if the marinade blackens on the baking sheet, that part will not be scooped up with the vegetables.

  5. While the vegetables are roasting, finely chop a handful of fresh parsley. Transfer the roasted vegetables to a bowl or serving platter and sprinkle the chopped parsley over top just before serving.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A serving spoon stuck in the side of a platter full of balsamic roasted vegetables, garnished with chopped parsley.

How to Make Balsamic Roasted Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Balsamic Marinade in a small bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp dried basil, and some freshly cracked pepper (maybe 10 cranks of a pepper mill). Set the marinade aside.

Whole vegetables for roasting on a cutting board

As mentioned above, you can use just about any vegetable for this recipe, but it’s best to match your vegetables to the season (see section above recipe for alternative vegetable ideas). Today I am using one red onion, 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, 2 parsnips (1/2 lb.), 1/2 lb. carrots, and one bunch of radishes. 

Balsamic marinade being poured onto prepared vegetables on the baking sheet

Clean and chop the vegetables so they are roughly similar sizes, making the harder vegetables slightly smaller and softer vegetables slightly bigger. Place the chopped vegetables on a large baking sheet, so they’re spread out in a single layer. Pour the balsamic marinade over top, then toss until the vegetables are all well coated.

balsamic roasted vegetables after 20 minutes

Transfer the vegetables to the preheated 400ºF oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 2o minutes, remove the baking sheet and ive the vegetables a good stir (pictured above). 

Balsamic roasted vegetables after 40 minutes

Return the vegetables to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and browned on the outside. Don’t be alarmed if some of the marinade burns on the baking sheet. The vegetables themselves are not burned and the part stuck to the baking sheet will be left behind (a quick soak and it will all dissolve off, too). 

Balsamic roasted vegetables plated on a platter with chopped parsley on top

After roasting, transfer the balsamic roasted vegetables to a bowl or serving platter and top with chopped parsley. 

Balsamic roasted vegetables on a plate with roasted pork

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what I served with my Balsamic Roasted Vegetables!

The post Balsamic Roasted Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

Pan sauces for the win! Making a quick sauce in the skillet after browning meat is one of the easiest ways to make a really spectacular meal. Those little browned bits on the skillet (called fond) are ultra flavorful and shouldn’t be wasted. This time, I used a mixture of balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, soy […]

The post Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Pan sauces for the win! Making a quick sauce in the skillet after browning meat is one of the easiest ways to make a really spectacular meal. Those little browned bits on the skillet (called fond) are ultra flavorful and shouldn’t be wasted. This time, I used a mixture of balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, soy sauce, brown sugar and butter to turn some plain chicken thighs into this decadent Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms. You’re going to love the rich and tangy taste, and how easy it is to throw together!

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms Skillet

Overhead view of a skillet full of Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms with a wooden spoon in the side

Garnished with fresh thyme.

What to Serve with Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

I served my Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms with Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes and some steamed green beans. The buttery balsamic sauce would also pair beautifully with Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes, Roasted Vegetable Couscous, or Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad.

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I used baby bellas for this Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms, but I think white button mushrooms would work just as well. The sauce is so flavorful on its own that a less flavorful mushroom, like white button mushrooms, wouldn’t make or break the dish.

Close overhead view of Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Don’t Fear the Fond!

If looking at a skillet full of brown gunk stuck to the bottom makes you cringe because you think you’re in for a lot of hard scrubbing to get it clean, it’s time to learn how to make a pan sauce! Those little brown bits are caramelized proteins and they have a LOT of flavor! The process of making a pan sauce dissolves them off the bottom (no need to scrub later!) and brings all that flavor back onto your plate.

How to Make a Pan Sauce

Pan sauces are simple:

  1. Brown a meat or other protein in a skillet or pot with butter or oil, then remove it from the skillet.
  2. Add a liquid (broth, stock, wine, balsamic vinegar, etc.) and stir to dissolve the browned bits.
  3. Let the liquid simmer and reduce by half.
  4. Add butter and stir until melted. The butter thickens the sauce and adds body.
  5. Drizzle the pan sauce over your cooked meat and enjoy!

Other options for pan sauces: add other flavorful ingredients like garlic, shallots, herbs, spices, or even jams and jellies.

Close up of the balsamic pan sauce being drizzled over the chicken and mushrooms in the skillet

 

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

A quick buttery balsamic pan sauce brings a ton of flavor to these Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms without a lot of work. Perfect for weeknight dinners!

  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.55)
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.18)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.02)
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.25 lbs. total) ($3.02)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($1.69)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  1. Prepare the balsamic sauce first. In a small bowl, stir together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, and dried thyme. Set the sauce aside.

  2. Season the chicken thighs with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook on each side until browned and cooked through (about 8 minutes first side, 5 minute second side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep warm.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, clean the mushrooms and then slice them in half. After removing the chicken from the skillet, add the mushrooms in their place, and sauté in the remaining oil and fat until the mushrooms are slightly tender and browned on the outside (5-7 minutes).

  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the prepared balsamic sauce to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Simmer the balsamic sauce with the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by half.

  6. Add the butter to the skillet and stir until it is melted into the sauce. Add the chicken back to the skillet, turning it to coat in the sauce, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes more to rewarm the chicken. Serve hot and drizzle the pan sauce over the chicken and mushrooms.

How to Make Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos

Balsamic sauce mixed

Prepare the balsamic sauce first. In a small bow, stir together 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. Set the sauce aside.

Season chicken thighs

Season four boneless, skinless chicken thighs with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides.

Browned chicken thighs in skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken thighs and cook until they are browned on both sides and cooked through (about 8 minutes first side, 5 minutes second side). Don’t worry if some of it sticks to the skillet, you actually want that to happen! :)

Sliced Mushrooms

While the chicken is browning, clean and slice 8 oz. mushrooms in half.

Mushrooms in skillet

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet to a clean plate and cover to keep warm (foil or a second, upside down plate). Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook them in the leftover oil and chicken fat.

Browned mushrooms in the skillet

Sauté the mushrooms until they are slightly tender and browned on the outside (5-7 minutes). 

Balsamic sauce being poured into the skillet

Turn the heat down to medium-low. Pour the prepared balsamic sauce into the skillet. Stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until reduced by half (about 5 minutes).

Butter melting into balsamic sauce in the skillet

Add 2 Tbsp butter and stir until it is melted into the balsamic sauce.

Chicken added back into the skillet with the mushrooms and balsamic sauce

Finally, add the chicken back to the skillet, turning it to coat in the sauce. Let it simmer for a few minutes more to warm the chicken through.

Close up side view of finished balsamic chicken and mushrooms in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Serve the balsamic chicken and mushrooms hot, making sure to drizzle the extra pan sauce over the chicken!

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Shown with Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes and steamed green beans.

The post Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

If you haven’t noticed, I make this Easy Homemade Vinaigrette with a lot of my salad recipes. It’s pretty much my go-to when I’m not making a lemon tahini dressing. But anyway, it’s so simple, so versatile, and has so many options for tweaking, that I thought I’d give the recipe its own post. Commit […]

The post Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you haven’t noticed, I make this Easy Homemade Vinaigrette with a lot of my salad recipes. It’s pretty much my go-to when I’m not making a lemon tahini dressing. But anyway, it’s so simple, so versatile, and has so many options for tweaking, that I thought I’d give the recipe its own post. Commit this recipe to memory, because it will serve you well.

A small white bowl of homemade balsamic vinaigrette with a spoon in it and spinach, garlic, and dried basil on the side

Is Balsamic Vinegar the Same as Balsamic Vinaigrette?

First things first, balsamic vinegar is not the same as balsamic vinaigrette, a point which confuses a lot of new cooks. Balsamic vinegar is one ingredient in balsamic vinaigrette. A vinaigrette is simply an oil and vinegar based salad dressing. So now that we have that cleared up, let’s move on…

How Long is Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Good?

Since this homemade dressing does not contain stabilizers and preservatives, you should only keep it refrigerated for about four to five days. The fresh garlic and dried herbs contain natural yeasts and molds that can cause spoilage. Because of this, I’ve made this recipe for a fairly small, 3/4 cup sized batch so you hopefully won’t have much leftover or going to waste.

Finished homemade balsamic vinaigrette on a spoon over the mouth of the mason jar

What is This Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Good With?

As I mentioned above, I use this salad dressing all the time and I sometimes make variations on this basic recipe. Here are some recipes where I’ve used this delicious balsamic vinaigrette in the past: Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad, Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad, and Spinach and Orzo Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Variations:

Here are a few options for customizing your balsamic vinaigrette:

  • Skip the mayo, this will create a thinner, lighter balsamic vinaigrette
  • Add grated Parmesan 
  • Use minced shallots instead of minced garlic for a milder flavor
  • Add a touch of honey for a sweeter vinaigrette
  • Use fresh herbs if you have them. Oregano also goes well with this dressing.

Don’t Skip the Dijon!

People always ask if they have to use Dijon mustard in my dressing recipes because they don’t like the flavor of Dijon. Dijon mustard plays a very important role in vinaigrettes. Dijon has the unique molecular quality of being an emulsifier, which means it can bond to both water and oil. This is what keeps your dressing mixed instead of it immediately separating after stirring. And don’t worry, the amount is so small that you can’t taste that Dijon flavor!

 

Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

This super simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for all your green salads and pasta salads and has several options for customizing!

  • 1/3 cup olive oil ($0.55)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.41)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.17)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.09)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  1. Add all the ingredients to a jar, bowl, or blender. Close the jar and shake, whisk in the bowl, or pulse in a blender until the ingredients are combined and smooth.

  2. Let the dressing stand 5-10 minutes for the flavors to blend, then serve or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A spoon lifting some homemade balsamic vinaigrette out of a small bowl

How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette – Step by Step Photos

Colavita balsamic vinegar bottle

Since balsamic vinegar is the main flavor in this salad dressing, you do want to make sure you use one that is decent. Lately I’ve been loving this Colavita balsamic vinegar (not sponsored). It is a mid-range priced balsamic vinegar, but the flavor is really great. 

Balsamic vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar

Add 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a jar, bowl, or blender.

finished homemade balsamic vinaigrette in a small bowl with a spoon

Then just close up the jar and shake, whisk if it’s in a bowl, or pulse with the blender until the ingredients are incorporated. Let the dressing sit for five to ten minutes to allow the flavors some time to blend, then serve or refrigerate for up to five days!

Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette being poured onto a bowl of Tomato Mozzarella Salad from a jar.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette shown here with my Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad (this version has grated Parmesan added).

The post Easy Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Autumn Kale and Apple Salad

I’m moving forward full speed ahead with indulging my autumn obsession, despite the fact that it’s still 95 degrees outside. A good compromise between the crushing heat and my desire for all things fall is a fall-inspired salad. So this week I made this insanely delish Autumn Kale and Apple Salad. It’s so good, guys. […]

The post Autumn Kale and Apple Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m moving forward full speed ahead with indulging my autumn obsession, despite the fact that it’s still 95 degrees outside. A good compromise between the crushing heat and my desire for all things fall is a fall-inspired salad. So this week I made this insanely delish Autumn Kale and Apple Salad. It’s so good, guys. Like so, so, so good. Like, “oops, I just ate a half pound of kale,” good.

Overhead view of a plate full of Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and a black fork on the side of the plate.

Kale Substitutions

I know, not everyone loves kale as much as I do, and I can respect that. This salad would also be great on a more tender green, like spinach or spring mix. If using a tender salad green, just skip the step where I massaged the dressing into the kale.

Blue Cheese Substitutions

If you can’t do blue cheese, don’t worry. Feta or chevre (goat cheese) would also be amazing. You could even shred something like white cheddar onto this salad!

What Type of Apple Should I Use?

I used Jazz apples, which is a nice crisp and fairly tart apple. I suggest getting an apple variety that is at least semi-tart, since you have a good deal of sweetness from the candied walnuts. Check out this cool apple comparison chart from Sprouts Farmer’s Market for reference. 

Close up side view of Autumn Kale and Apple Salad on the plate with dressing.

How to Store Autumn Kale and Apple Salad

If you’re not going to serve all four servings (or two larger sized servings) of this salad at once, it’s best to keep the ingredients separate until just before serving. The kale will continue to wilt from the dressing when refrigerated, and I personally think the salad is best when the dressing is massaged into the salad just before serving. That keeps the kale fluffy, but not dry or tough.

 

Autumn Kale and Apple Salad

All the flavors of fall come together in this Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, with candied walnuts and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil ($0.55)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.41)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.17)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard ($0.09)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)

Candied Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped ($0.60)
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter ($0.07)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 pinch salt ($0.01)

Salad

  • 8 oz. torn kale leaves (about 12 cups) ($2.13)
  • 1 apple ($0.52)
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese ($0.30)
  1. Make the balsamic vinaigrette first, so the flavors have time to blend. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon, minced garlic, dried basil, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a jar, bowl, or blender. Close the jar and shake, whisk in the bowl, or blend until the dressing is smooth. Set the dressing aside.

  2. Next make the candied walnuts. Add the butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to a small non-stick skillet. Heat over medium while stirring, just until the brown sugar begins to melt and sizzle around the edges (one minute).

  3. Add the chopped walnuts to the skillet and stir to combine with the partially melted brown sugar. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until the brown sugar fully melts (looks glossy instead of grainy) and completely coats the walnuts.

  4. Remove the skillet from the heat immediately and pour the hot candied walnuts out onto a piece of parchment. Spread the walnut pieces out in a single layer and let cool (about 10 minutes).

  5. Add the torn kale leaves to a large bowl. Add about 2 Tbsp of the balsamic vinaigrette and massage the dressing into the torn kale leaves for about 2 minutes. The kale will wilt to about half the volume.

  6. Cut the apple into four quarters, then cut the core off of each piece. Slice each quarter of the apple into thin pieces.

  7. Divide the massaged kale between four plates. Add apple slices, a tablespoon or two of candied walnuts, and about 1/2 Tbsp blue cheese to each salad. Drizzle a little more balsamic vinaigrette over each, then serve!

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up front view of an Autumn Kale and Apple Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

How to Make Autumn Kale and Apple Salad – Step by Step Photos

Balsamic vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar

Start with the homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Add 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a jar, bowl, or blender.

Finished homemade balsamic vinaigrette on a spoon over the mouth of the mason jar

Close and shake the jar, use a whisk in a bowl, or blend the dressing in a blender until smooth. Set the dressing aside.

Brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small skillet

Next, make the candied almonds. Add 1/2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to a small non-stick skillet. Heat over medium while stirring just until the brown sugar begins to melt a bit and sizzle around the edges (about one minute). It should still be a little grainy (see photo below).

Walnuts added to skillet with molten brown sugar

Once the brown sugar has begun to melt (but still looks grainy), add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until the brown sugar is fully melted (looks glossy, not grainy) and fully coats the walnuts (about 3 minutes).

Candied walnuts cooling on parchment

Pour the candied walnuts out onto a sheet of parchment, spreading them into a single layer, and allow them to cool. The candy coating will harden as they cool.

Bag of torn kale leaves

Now it’s time to prepare the kale. I used a LOT of kale (8 oz. or about 12 cups) because when you massage the dressing into the kale leaves they deflate by about half. So, I used about 2/3 of this large 12 oz. bag of torn kale leaves.

Balsamic Vinaigrette being drizzled over kale in a bowl

Place the torn kale leaves in a very large bowl, then drizzle about 2 Tbsp of the balsamic vinaigrette over top. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale (this should only take about 2 minutes). The kale will become dark and glossy when the dressing is massaged in.

Sliced jazz apple on a cutting board with a chef's knife.

Cut an apple into quarters, then cut the core off each quarter. Slice each quarter into thins strips.

Portion kale onto plates

Divide the massaged kale between four plates (or two if you want two larger meal-sized salads).

Apple slices added to salads

Add the apple slices to the salads.

 

Blue cheese sprinkled over each salad.

Add candied walnuts and sprinkle about 1/2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese over each salad.

Balsamic vinaigrette being drizzled over an Autumn Kale and Apple Salad with a spoon

Finally, drizzle a little more of the balsamic vinaigrette over top, then serve!

Close up overhead view of Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, with balsamic vinaigrette and a fork on the side.

Seriously, tho.  🤤

The post Autumn Kale and Apple Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Drizzle

It’s peak tomato season, which means it’s also bruschetta season! By bruschetta, I mean the Americanized version of authentic Italian bruschetta, featuring ripe red tomatoes, basil and…

The post Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Drizzle appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

tomato bruschetta with balsamic drizzle

It’s peak tomato season, which means it’s also bruschetta season! By bruschetta, I mean the Americanized version of authentic Italian bruschetta, featuring ripe red tomatoes, basil and garlic on golden, toasted French bread.

That’s the only way I’ve known bruschetta to be. I like to finish my bruschetta with a light drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar, for flavor and beauty bonus points. It punctuates the end result with irresistible tanginess.

bruschetta ingredients

Bruschetta is the perfect appetizer for summer parties. In fact, I only make bruschetta during the summertime, since ripe tomatoes are the number one key to making great bruschetta.

At its best, bruschetta is light and crisp, covered in deep red tomatoes and full of fresh flavor. At its worst, bruschetta is soggy, pink and flavorless.

Let’s boycott sad bruschetta! I’m sharing all my tips in this post. Ready to make the best bruschetta you’ve ever had?

Continue to the recipe...

The post Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Balsamic Drizzle appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream

Once upon a time I considered buying an ice cream machine. I’m really glad I didn’t because this simple no-churn ice cream method is almost effortless and creates ice cream that is every bit as velvety smooth and fluffy as churned ice cream, with no special equipment required. #WIN While I haven’t made no churn […]

The post No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Once upon a time I considered buying an ice cream machine. I’m really glad I didn’t because this simple no-churn ice cream method is almost effortless and creates ice cream that is every bit as velvety smooth and fluffy as churned ice cream, with no special equipment required. #WIN While I haven’t made no churn ice cream in a while (because it’s is possible to have too much of a good thing), with all the fresh peaches in stores this time of year, I couldn’t help making this tangy, sweet, and creamy No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream.

One bowl of No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream with a fresh peach on the side and pieces of waffle cone in the bowl and on the counter.

Can I Substitute…

NO. Ha, sorry to be so stern, but you can not substitute the heavy whipping cream OR the sweetened condensed milk in this recipe. The science behind keeping this no-churn ice cream fluffy and smooth without having to churn it depends on the high fat content of the heavy whipping cream and the high sugar content of the sweetened condensed milk. Without these two elements, it will not work.

You CAN however substitute a different fruit for the peaches. Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries all go very well with balsamic vinegar as well. Just keep in mind that if your berries are particularly tart, you may want to increase the brown sugar a smidge.

Can I Use Frozen Fruit Instead of Fresh?

Yes, I’ve actually made this recipe both ways during the testing phase. If using frozen peaches, just make sure to fully thaw them before chopping them up.

Baking pan full of No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream scooped out and served in one bowl, with one empty bowl, and some waffle cones.

Can I Add Waffle Cone to The Balsamic Peach Ice Cream?

I served my No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream with pieces of waffle cone on the side, but I thought it might be kind of tasty to crush up some waffle cone and swirl it into the ice cream as well. Just keep in mind that the waffle cone will soften from the moisture in the ice cream.

Folding is Key

The one thing about no churn ice cream that is really important to know how to fold ingredients together. Folding is a really gentle way of combining ingredients that prevents whipped ingredients from deflating. If you were to simply stir the light, airy whipped cream and the super heavy and dense sweetened condensed milk together, the cream would deflate and you’d end up with a super dense ice cream. No good. If you need a refresher course on how to fold ingredients together, this video from Martha Stewart is pretty good (and short). 

Front view of a bowl full of No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream with a piece of waffle cone in the bowl.

 

No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream

This No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream is incredibly easy and pairs the flavor of fresh sweet summer peaches with a tangy and buttery balsamic glaze.

  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.27)
  • 2 cups chopped peaches (about 2 peaches) ($0.87)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar ($0.55)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)
  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk ($1.09)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.28)
  • 1 pinch salt ($0.01)
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream ($1.55)
  1. Peel and chop your peaches into small pieces (smaller pieces "float" in the whipped ice cream instead of sinking to the bottom). Add the butter and chopped peaches to a skillet and sauté over medium-low for about 5 minutes, or until the peaches have softened. Make sure the butter does not brown during this step.

  2. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes more, or until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a glaze. Set the balsamic peaches aside to allow them to cool.

  3. Add the sweetened condensed milk to a medium bowl and stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

  4. Using either a whisk, a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks in a separate bowl.

  5. Add a large dollop of the whipped cream to the bowl with the sweetened condensed milk. Fold the ingredients together to lighten up the sweetened condensed milk.

  6. Add 1/3 of the lightened sweetened condensed milk back to the bowl with the whipped cream and gently fold them together. Repeat that two more times until all of the sweetened condensed milk has been folded into the whipped cream.

  7. Pour the whipped ice cream mixture into a 2-quart, freezer safe container. If your container is deep (like a bread pan), add half of the whipped mixture first, top with half of the balsamic peaches, then repeat. If using a wider shallow dish (like the baking dish in my photos), you can do one layer of whipped ice cream and then just top with the balsamic peaches.

  8. Use a spatula to lightly swirl the balsamic peaches into the whipped ice cream mixture. Do not over stir here. You want distinguishable ribbons of balsamic glaze. Just run the spatula through the mixture once.

  9. Cover the dish and freeze the ice cream for 8 hours, or until solid, then serve.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos! 

No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream being scooped out of the freezer dish.

Two bowls of No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream with the pan of ice cream and a stack of waffle cones on the side.

Also check out my No Churn Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!

Step by Step Photos

Peeled and diced fresh peaches

Start by peeling and dicing two peaches, or about 2 cups once diced. Make sure to dice them into small pieces so they aren’t too big and heavy. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the ice cream.

Peaches sautéed in butter in a skillet

Add the diced peaches and 2 Tbsp butter to a skillet. Sauté over medium-low heat for about five minutes, or until the peaches have softened. These peaches were super ripe, so they broke down quite a bit. Yours might not be so mushy. Make sure not to let the butter brown in this step.

Adding brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to peaches in skillet

Add 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar to the sautéed peaches.

Colavita Balsamic Vinegar Bottle

I recently found this balsamic vinegar, which I find to be a good balance between being affordable and still having a really rich, not-too-acidic flavor. This is not sponsored, just letting you know which kind I prefer, especially for a recipe like this where the balsamic flavor is forefront.

Reduced Balsamic Peaches in the Skillet with a spoon dragged through to show thickness

Turn the heat up to medium and continue to sauté for about five minutes more, or until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a glaze. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside to allow the balsamic peaches to cool.

Sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt being stirred together.

In a medium bowl, stir together one 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.

Heavy Whipping Cream whipped to stiff peaks

In a separate large bowl use a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer to whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks.

A little whipped cream added to the bowl of sweetened condensed milk

The sweetened condensed milk is super heavy and dense, so you need to lighten it up a bit before beginning to fold it into the whipped cream. Take a dollop of whipped cream and add it to the bowl of sweetened condensed milk. Fold them together.

Add lightened sweetened condensed milk to whipped cream.

Then add about 1/3 of the sweetened condensed milk back to the whipped cream and gently fold them together.

Final whipped ice cream mixture in the bowl

Continue gently folding the sweetened condensed milk into the whipped cream in batches until it has all been incorporated. You should have a smooth and fluffy mixture.

Whipped ice cream mixture and balsamic peaches in a baking dish being swirled with a spatula.

Pour the whipped ice cream mixture into a 2-quart freezer safe dish. If you’re using something deep, like a bread loaf pan, do this in two layers. If you’re using something wide and shallow like this baking dish, you can just do one layer. Drizzle the balsamic peaches over top, then use a spatula to just barely swirl them together. You still want there to be distinguishable ribbons of balsamic glaze.

Close up of No Churn Balsamic Ice Cream Ready for Freezing

Cover your dish and freeze for 8 hours.

No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream scooped out of the freezer dish into one out of two bowls, waffle cones on the side.

After 8 hours the No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream will be solid, but still plenty soft enough to easily scoop. 

A hand lifting a spoonful of No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream out of the bowl

I’m in love!

The post No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream appeared first on Budget Bytes.