Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Creamy, tangy, spicy, and oh so delicious! This super easy buffalo chicken dip is perfect for dipping, and so much more.

The post Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We’re about a week away from the biggest football game of the year, and you can’t have a football party without some buffalo chicken dip. It’s creamy, tangy, spicy, and perfect for dipping your favorite chips, crackers, or even veggies. Not into football? Don’t sleep on this buffalo chicken dip because it can be used for a lot more than just dippin’!

Overhead view of a cracker dipping into a bowl of buffalo chicken dip.

What’s in Buffalo Chicken DIp

Okay, are you ready to see just how easy this is? You only need a few super simple ingredients to make this homemade buffalo chicken dip and once you see how quickly it comes together, you’ll never buy it premade again. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own buffalo chicken dip:

  • Butter: This is one of the base ingredients for buffalo sauce. The rich butter helps balance the acidity and heat of the hot sauce.
  • Hot Sauce: for real buffalo sauce, you’ll want to use Franks Redhot sauce, but most other vinegar-based cayenne hot sauces will also taste great.
  • Garlic Powder: This gives a little depth to the buffalo sauce so it’s not just straight cayenne flavor.
  • Ranch Dressing: A little dollop of ranch dressing also gives more dimension to the dip so you get more flavors than just cayenne.
  • Cream Cheese: This is what creates the thick, dip-like consistency. It also adds extra creaminess and tanginess to the dip. You can use Neufchatel instead of cream cheese.
  • Cooked Chicken: I like rotisserie chicken the best for this recipe, since it’s always tender and moist, but you could always cook up two chicken breasts in a skillet, then chop it finely before adding to the dip. You can also use canned chicken in a pinch, but the texture of canned chicken isn’t the best.
  • Blue Cheese: It’s not that you need even more cheese in this dip, but blue cheese offers the most amazing savory and pungent contrast to the bright vinegary buffalo flavor. But if you’re not a blue cheese person you can skip it and your dip will still be awesome!

Can I Bake It?

I chose not to bake my buffalo chicken dip because I just wanted it to be as quick and easy as possible. But if you wanted to bake it, you could top it with some cheddar cheese and bake in a 375ºF oven for 10-15 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and bubbly. You just need to be careful to not overbake the dip or else it can begin to separate.

How to Serve Buffalo Chicken Dip

Okay, here’s where it gets good. Obviously, you can serve this buffalo chicken dip with crackers, chips, or vegetable crudités, but it can also be used for more than a dip. You can stuff it into a tortilla and cook it up in a skillet for a creamy quesadilla, pile it onto a sandwich with some greens or sprouts for a delicious chicken-salad-like sandwich, or spread it on a pizza dough and top with mozzarella for a super cheesy buffalo chicken pizza!

Side view of a cracker being dipped into a bowl of buffalo chicken dip.
Overhead view of a the buffalo chicken dip surrounded by crackers and vegetables.
Print

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Creamy, tangy, spicy, and oh so delicious! This super easy buffalo chicken dip is perfect for dipping, and so much more.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.35 recipe / $1.17 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 ¼ cup each
Calories 267kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Frank's RedHot Sauce* $1.26
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.60
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 8 oz. cream cheese $2.19
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk ranch dressing $0.25
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken $4.00
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional) $1.00

Instructions

  • Add the hot sauce, butter, and garlic powder to a small saucepot. Stir and cook over medium until the butter has melted and combined with the hot sauce.
  • Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add it to the sauce pot along with the ranch dressing. Stir and whisk over medium until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth and creamy sauce.
  • Add the chopped chicken to the saucepot and stir to combine. Stir and cook over medium just until heated through. Be careful not to let the dip boil.
  • Taste the dip and adjust the heat (hot sauce) or any of the other flavors to your liking. Transfer to a bowl and top with crumbled blue cheese, then enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*You can substitute with any vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 715mg | Fiber: 0.01g
Close up of buffalo chicken dip on a cracker.

How to Make BUffalo Chicken Dip – Step by Step Photos

Buffalo sauce ingredients in a saucepot.

Start by making a super simple buffalo sauce: add ½ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce (or any vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce), 4 Tbsp butter, and ¼ tsp garlic powder to a sauce pot. Heat and stir over medium until the butter has melted and combined with the hot sauce.

Cream cheese added to the pot in chunks.

Cut 8 oz. of cream cheese into chunks, then add it to the pot, along with 2 Tbsp buttermilk ranch dressing.

Smooth buffalo dip sauce in the pot with a whisk.

Stir and whisk over medium heat until the cream cheese and dressing have melted into the hot sauce and created a smooth, creamy sauce.

Chopped chicken being poured into the creamy sauce.

Add 3 cups of chopped cooked chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Continue to stir and cook just until heated through. Be careful not to let the dip boil.

Finished buffalo chicken dip in the pot.

Give the dip a taste and adjust the heat (add more hot sauce) or other flavors to your liking.

Blue cheese being sprinkled over the dip.

Transfer the buffalo chicken dip to a bowl and top with crumbled blue cheese (optional).

Overhead view of a the buffalo chicken dip surrounded by crackers and vegetables.

Serve with your favorite crackers, vegetables, or chips for dipping!

The post Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Say the sweetest “I love you!” with these soft, buttery, chocolate-dipped Valentine’s Cookies! This recipe is easy and budget-friendly.

The post Valentine’s Day Cookies appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Say the sweetest “I love you!” with these soft, buttery, chocolate-dipped Valentine’s Cookies! (Cookies > Cards 🥰 #Trust) This recipe is so easy and so budget-friendly. Have you seen what people are charging for a dozen cookies lately? Highway robbery!! PS when I tell you this is such an easy recipe, I mean it. You can even make the sugar cookie dough ahead of time, so all you have to do on the big day is cut, bake, and dip.

Overhead shot of Valentine's Day Cookies being held by two hands.

What You’ll need

You’re just seven ingredients away from the most magnificent, luscious, unforgettable Valentine’s Day gift!

  • Softened Butter helps create texture and mouth feel. You’ll know your butter is soft enough when you press your finger on it and it leaves an indentation.
  • Sugar helps sweeten the cookie and creates a crisper texture, so the cookies keep their shape. It also creates air pockets in the softened butter that lighten the dough.
  • Vanilla flavors and scents the cookie.
  • Egg binds the ingredients together and creates texture. It also adds moisture to the dough.
  • All-purpose flour creates a cookie that holds its shape. Bread flour yields a chewier texture with more spread. Pastry or cake flour yields crisper and more crumbly results.
  • Baking powder lightens the dough by creating air pockets that help it rise.
  • Melting chocolate dissolves easily and dries quickly with a satiny finish. Use white, dark, or milk chocolate. You can also use chocolate chips, but they dry with a dull, foggy finish.

make THE Dough Ahead of Time

It’s a genius move to make your cookie dough ahead of time and not just for convenience’s sake. Chilling the dough hardens the butter and helps prevent the spread of your cookies, so they hold their shape better. Resting your dough for multiple days also evaporates moisture, which concentrates flavors and creates a crisper cookie. You can refrigerate cookie dough up to 5 days in advance.

Make Cookies Without A Cutter

You don’t need to buy a special cookie cutter to create the loveliest heart-shaped cookies. Instead, draw or print a heart shape, cut it out, and use it as a guide. Then, all you have to do is trace your knife along the cookie dough to create perfect heart-shaped cookies.

Side shot of Valentine's Day Cookies.

How To Fix Cookie Shapes

If you open your oven to find that your cookies have lost their shape, it can be an easy fix. First, allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pan for a minute, then reshape them by pressing the cookie cutter into them or tracing a knife around the paper cutout. Work quickly; the more the cookie cools, the more likely it is to shatter.

How To Melt Chocolate

You can easily melt chocolate on a stovetop or in a microwave as long as you follow these three golden rules:

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces so it melts faster
  2. Create a gentle heat so it doesn’t burn
  3. Keep water out of it so it doesn’t seize


How To Melt Chocolate in A Microwave
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in short 20-second bursts, stirring thoroughly after each burst until the chocolate has a syrupy consistency.

How To Melt Chocolate on The Stove
Add your chocolate to a heat-proof bowl and place it in a pan filled a third of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then turn off the stove and let the chocolate melt until syrupy.

Storing Valentine’s Day Cookies

You can store these sugar cookies in an air-tight container for up to a week at room temperature. So feel free to make them a few days ahead. You can also freeze them in a freezer-safe container, separated with layers of parchment or wax paper, for up to 3 months. Don’t refrigerate sugar cookies, as it can dry them out and dull their flavor.

Overhead shot of Valentine's Day Cookies.
Overhead shot of Valentine's Day Cookies being held by two hands.
Print

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Say the sweetest I love you with these soft, buttery, chocolate-dipped Valentine's Cookies! Customize them with a white, dark, or milk chocolate dip.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($7.37 recipe / $0.61 serving)
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 233kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the softened butter & cup of sugar until fluffy.
  • Add the beaten egg and vanilla to the creamed butter and mix to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the all-purpose flour and the baking powder.
  • Add half the flour to the creamed butter and mix just until a wet dough forms. Add the second half of the flour and mix gently until a stiffer dough forms. Roll the dough into a ball.
  • Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough ¼ inch thick. Cool for thirty minutes in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Once the dough has hardened, cut out the cookies, remove the scraps from the cookie sheet, and leave the cookies behind. Roll any scraps out on a separate piece of parchment, and chill before cutting them into cookies.
  • Place the sheet of parchment paper with the cookies on a baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 3 minutes. Next, rotate the pan, so the front faces the back—then bake for 3 to 4 minutes until they slightly lighten in color.
  • Cool the cookies in the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Decorate when cookies have cooled.

To Melt the Chocolate in the Microwave: Melt the chocolate in a bowl wide enough to dip the cookies into but small enough to create a deep pool of chocolate. If using a microwave, melt in 20-second increments, stirring after each.

    To Melt the Chocolate on the Stove Top: If using the stove, place a small wide-mouthed bowl in a pan filled a third of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Leave the bowl in the water and stir until the chocolate melts.

    • Dip half of the cookie in the chocolate and garnish if you'd like to. Then place back on the cooling rack, allowing the chocolate to harden.

    See how we calculate recipe costs here.

    Notes

    *If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground salt (like fine sea salt) or 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground salt (like kosher salt) to the butter
    *Use dark, milk, or white melting chocolate to decorate cookies. You can also use chocolate chips, but they will dry with a foggy finish.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 63mg | Fiber: 2g
    Side shot of Valentine's Day Cookies.

    How to Make Valentine’s Day Cookies – Step by Step Photos

    Overhead shot of sugar being mixed into softened butter.

    In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the 12 tablespoons of softened butter & cup of sugar until fluffy.

    Overhead shot of egg and vanilla being mixed into butter.

    Add the beaten egg and the teaspoon of vanilla to the creamed butter and mix to incorporate.

    Overhead shot of dry ingredients.

    In a separate bowl, mix the 2 cups of all-purpose flour and the 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder.

    Overhead shot of hand beater mixing dough.

    Add half the flour to the creamed butter and mix just until a wet dough forms. Add the second half of the flour and mix gently until a stiffer dough forms.

    Overhead shot ofof two hands holding a ball of dough over a bowl.

    Roll the dough into a ball, but do so quickly. You don’t want to overwork the dough, as it will create a tough texture.

    Two hands rolling out cookie dough between two sheets of parchment.

    Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough ¼ inch thick, or about the thickness of an ear lobe. Cool for thirty minutes in the fridge. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 350°F.

    Overhead shot of dough being cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

    Once the dough has hardened, cut out the cookies, remove the scraps from the cookie sheet, and leave the cookies behind. Roll any scraps out on a separate piece of parchment, and chill before cutting them into cookies.

    Overhead shot of raw Valentine's Day cookies.

    Place the sheet of parchment paper with the cookies on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 3 minutes. Next, rotate the sheet pan so the front faces the back—then bake for 3 to 4 minutes until they slightly lighten in color.

    Overhead shot of baked Valentine's Day cookies.

    Cool the cookies in the sheet pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Decorate when cookies have cooled.

    Overhead shot of milk chocolate being melted and stirred in a white bowl.

    Melt the chocolate in a bowl wide enough for to dip the cookies into but small enough to create a deep pool of chocolate. If using a microwave, melt in 20-second increments, stirring after each. If using the stove, place the bowl in a pan filled a third of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Leave the bowl in the water and stir until the chocolate melts.

    Overhead shot of Valentine's Day cookies dipped in white and milk chocolate and decorated with sprinkles.

    Dip half of the cookie in the chocolate and garnish if you’d like to. Then place it back on the cooling rack, allowing the chocolate to harden. Give these amazingly cute Valentine’s Day cookies out to your loved ones, but make sure to save some for yourself!!

    Overhead shot of Valentine's Day Cookies.

    The post Valentine’s Day Cookies appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake

    This boozy twist on a classic chocolate layer cake is made with red wine for a rich and robust chocolate cake with unique fruity undertones and an incredible depth of flavor unlike any other chocolate cake you’ve had before. Three layers of moist, deeply chocolate cake, with blackberry preserves and a fluffy vanilla bean buttercream […]

    The post Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

    This boozy twist on a classic chocolate layer cake is made with red wine for a rich and robust chocolate cake with unique fruity undertones and an incredible depth of flavor unlike any other chocolate cake you’ve had before.

    Three layers of moist, deeply chocolate cake, with blackberry preserves and a fluffy vanilla bean buttercream in between, and a drizzle of dark chocolate glaze for a dramatic effect that’s as easy as it is impressive. Top it with some gold-brushed blackberries for some serious flair!

    Blackberry Red Wine Chocolate Cake with shiny chocolate glaze dripping down the sides, with gold-dusted blackberries as decoration.

    Taylor recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and it felt appropriate to re-make one of our all-time favorite cake recipes (and yours too!) This cake was first made back in 2012, 11 years ago to the day actually (scroll down to the bottom to see the original photos if you’re looking for a laugh). Since then it’s been made and loved by countless readers and fans, for birthdays and celebrations and non-celebrations alike.

    Why is it so beloved? Other than being gosh darn delicious, and easy to boot, I suspect the glamor of red wine adds to the mystique of this recipe. It just sounds fancy, doesn’t it? At its most basic it is a classic chocolate layer cake, yes, but the red wine brings out the fruity notes of the chocolate, adding a unique depth of flavor that makes for a truly unforgettable cake. Add to that a layer of blackberry preserves, a fluffy vanilla bean buttercream, and a drizzle of dark chocolate glaze… what you end up with is simply perfection (frankly there’s no other way to put it).

    (more…)

    French Toast

    It’s hard not to go “Mmmmm.” when you bite into this crispy, fluffy, custardy, cinnamon and vanilla-scented French toast.

    The post French Toast appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    It’s hard not to go “Mmmmm.” when you bite into this crispy, fluffy, custardy, cinnamon and vanilla-scented French toast. And that’s why I love this recipe so much! With a few tricks and just a handful of ingredients, you are just minutes away from the best French toast ever!

    Side view of four slices of french toast stacked on a white plate being drizzled with maple syrup.

    INGREDIENTS FOR FRENCH TOAST

    Here’s what you’ll need to make the most unforgettably easy and scrumptious French toast ever!

    • Bread– A thick slice of stale bread with a dense crumb is best for French toast. Try Texas Toast, Challah, Brioche, Milk Bread, a Baguette, or a Croissant.
    • Whole Eggs – Help to thicken and set the milk and create structure. You can substitute eggs with cornstarch. This technique is explained in the recipe card.
    • Whole Milk – Softens the bread, creates richness, and helps with browning. You can also use full-fat dairy-free milk, like coconut and almond. You need the fat to create the right mouth feel, so steer clear of low-fat options.
    • Cinnamon – Flavors the batter. Substitute cinnamon in French toast with pumpkin or apple pie spice, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom, or cloves.
    • Vanilla – Flavors the batter. Substitute vanilla in French toast with: orange zest, instant coffee, almond extract, bourbon, and rum (What? I’m Puerto Rican.)
    • Salt – Balances the sweetness of the sugars in the milk.
    • Butter – Delivers a flavorful, crispy, golden brown outer layer of French toast.
    • Cooking Oil – Raises the smoke point of butter and prevents it from burning.
    • Sugar – Helps brown and caramelize the outer layer of French toast.

    what’s the right texture for french toast?

    The right texture is a personal preference. French toast has two layers: a crispy outside and a custard-like center. Thin slices of bread give you crispier results, and thicker slices deliver more of that custardy center. You do you.

    Overhead shot of three slices of cooked french toast on a white plate with sliced strawberries.

    When IS FRENCH TOAST ready?

    The cooking time for French toast varies depending on the thickness of your bread and how much batter it’s soaked up. So instead of relying on a timer, press the center of the toast lightly with your finger. The bread will feel firm and will spring back. If your finger leaves an indentation, keep cooking.

    How To Make Perfect French Toast

    No one wants soggy French toast that’s burnt on the outside. Follow these tips for French toast perfection: 

    • The Bread:  Choose thicker slices of stale bread without holes in the crumb. If you’re using fresh bread, try toasting it in the oven for a few minutes to dry it.
    • The Batter: Mix the liquids and spices until they run in an uninterrupted line through the tines of a fork.
    • The Soak: Fresh or thinly sliced bread needs a brief dip in the batter. Thicker, sturdier slices can hang for a minute. Give thick slices of stale bread a few minutes to soak up the batter and rehydrate.
    • The Fry: Use a heavy-bottomed pan, butter, and oil (which helps keep your butter from burning). Keep your temperature at a steady medium-low, so the outside doesn’t char before the inside cooks.
    Side view of four slices of french toast stacked on a white plate.
    Side view of four slices of french toast stacked on a white plate being drizzled with maple syrup.
    Print

    French Toast

    Your mornings deserve crispy, fluffy, custardy French Toast! With a few tricks and a handful of ingredients, you're just minutes away from the best breakfast ever!
    Course Breakfast
    Cuisine American
    Total Cost $3.69 recipe / $0.92 serving
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 15 minutes
    Servings 4 2 slices each
    Calories 340kcal

    Ingredients

    • 8 slices stale bread, thick slices with a dense crumb $1.04
    • 3 large eggs* $1.25
    • 1 cup milk $0.69
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.05
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.01
    • 1 pinch salt $0.01
    • 5 Tbsp butter $0.62
    • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.01
    • 1 tsp sugar $0.01

    Instructions

    • Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until they run in an uninterrupted line through the tines of a fork.
    • Warm a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Heat until the butter foams.
    • Dip the slices of bread in the batter, covering both sides. The slice should feel heavy, like a wet sponge, but shouldn't drip like a soaking wet sponge.
    • Place the slices in the pan and sprinkle the tops with a pinch of sugar. Cook until they've browned on the bottom. Flip and sprinkle the browned tops with a second pinch of sugar.
    • When you press your finger in the slice's center and it springs back, turn it over again and cook briefly to caramelize the last sprinkle of sugar. Repeat for all slices, adding more oil and butter as needed. Slice and serve warm.

    See how we calculate recipe costs here.

    Notes

    *If you want to substitute the eggs, add the milk and spices to a small pot. Whisk in a tablespoon of cornstarch until it’s completely dissolved, then place the milk over medium heat. Continue whisking until the milk comes to a boil. Continue to cook and whisk for 1 minute at a full boil. Take the thickened milk off the heat and cool before dipping the slices of bread into it.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 2slices | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 399mg | Fiber: 3g
    Overhead shot of three slices of cooked french toast on a white plate with sliced strawberries.

    How to Make French toast – Step by Step Photos

    Custard ingredients all added to a white bowl with milk being poured in.

    Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until they run in an uninterrupted line through the tines of a fork.

    Overhead shot of butter melted and foamed in a pan.

    Warm a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter and a 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil. Heat until the butter foams.

    Hand dipping slice of bread into custard mixture in a white bowl.

    Dip the slices of bread in the batter, ensuring both sides are covered. The amount of time the bread should be left in the batter depends on the type of bread used and the staleness of the bread. The slice should feel like a wet sponge but not a soaking wet sponge.

    A hand sprinkling sugar over two slices of french toast cooking in a pan.

    Place 2 slices in the pan and sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top. Cook until the slice has browned on the bottom. Flip and sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the browned top.

    Two pieces of french toast in a pan after cooking.

    When you press your finger in the slice’s center, and it springs back, turn it over again and cook briefly to caramelize the sugar. Repeat for all slices, adding more oil and butter as needed.

    Side view of four slices of french toast stacked on a white plate being drizzled with maple syrup.

    If you’re making a big batch, keep the slices warm in a 200°F oven. Serve and get ready for all of the high-fives from the fam! This one’s going on repeat!

    More “French” Recipes

    I can’t say French without thinking of the movie Better Off Dead. Do you remember this scene? In the spirit of one of the best food moments in movie history, check out these other “Fraaanch” recipes:

    The post French Toast appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta

    Winner winner chicken dinner: this creamy chicken pasta is sure to become a weeknight dinner staple: quick and easy and packed with glorious garlicky flavor (garlic lovers, rejoice!) With a delightfully creamy sauce made with a surprisingly small amount of cream, this fast, filling, and flavorful pasta recipe is the kind of recipe you’ll want […]

    The post Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

    Winner winner chicken dinner: this creamy chicken pasta is sure to become a weeknight dinner staple: quick and easy and packed with glorious garlicky flavor (garlic lovers, rejoice!)

    With a delightfully creamy sauce made with a surprisingly small amount of cream, this fast, filling, and flavorful pasta recipe is the kind of recipe you’ll want to make again and again.

    Two shallow bowls with Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta, napkin and forks and a piece of parmesan cheese in the background.

    If you’re the kind of person who sees 2 garlic cloves called for in a recipe and instead throws in no fewer than 5, this recipe is for you. It’s got garlic galore, both fresh and powder, for a double dose of garlicky flavor.

    Let’s just say Dracula wouldn’t dare come anywhere near your house after serving this dish.

    (more…)

    Potato Leek Soup

    Potato Leek Soup is a CLASSIC and one of my personal favorite soup recipes. I love this recipe because it’s made with basic ingredients and only takes about 30 minutes to make. The soup doesn’t taste basic though, the flavors and textures a…

    Potato Leek Soup is a CLASSIC and one of my personal favorite soup recipes. I love this recipe because it’s made with basic ingredients and only takes about 30 minutes to make. The soup doesn’t taste basic though, the flavors and textures are luxurious! The mild flavors of the leeks pair perfectly with the creamy…

    Snickerdoodles

    Score all the bear hugs from the cinnamon lover in your life with this easy recipe for tangy, chewy, cinnamon-sugar-crusted snickerdoodles.

    The post Snickerdoodles appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Score all the bear hugs from the cinnamon lover in your life with this easy recipe for tangy, chewy, cinnamon-sugar-crusted snickerdoodles. The best part is that you probably already have everything you need to make a quick batch right in your pantry!

    Overhead shot of snickerdoodles next to a glass of milk.

    What Is A Snickerdoodle?

    A snickerdoodle is a sugar cookie made with cream of tartar. The dough is rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking, creating a crackly pattern all over the surface as it cooks. Some historians say the snickerdoodle scored its name from the German term schnecke knödel which translates to “snail dumpling.” Others say the cookie was named by New England cooks that loved to give baked goods goofy names. Either way, it’s a must-have recipe in your cookie arsenal.

    Why Cream Of Tartar?

    Cream of tartar stops the sugar in the dough from crystalizing, yielding a chewy cookie instead of a crunchy one. It’s also what gives snickerdoodles their signature tang. Since most snickerdoodle recipes use a combination of cream of tartar and baking soda, I used baking powder to reduce the list of ingredients. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar, with a touch of cornstarch thrown in to keep the two powders from clumping.

    Overhead shot of a hand holding two snickerdoodle cookie halves and showing off the inside crumb.

    How To Know When Snickerdoodles Are Done

    Snickerdoodles are made from pale white cookie dough, so it can be hard to tell when they’re done, as their color won’t deepen much. It’s best to set a timer, so you don’t have to play a guessing game about when to pull your cookies from the oven. There are also two visual cues that you can look out for:

    • the edges darken a touch
    • the top of the cookie will crack slightly

    Can I Freeze The Dough?

    You can absolutely freeze snickerdoodle dough. First, shape it into two-inch dough balls, but do not roll it in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Freeze the balls on a sheet pan in a single layer, and once they are frozen solid, place them in an airtight container. Separate layers with parchment paper. Defrost them in the fridge in a single layer. When you are ready to bake, roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

    How To Store Snickerdoodles

    You have two options for storing snickerdoodles: keep them at room temperature or freeze them. Avoid refrigerating the cookies, as it can dry them out and dull their flavor. Wait for the cookies to cool completely before storing them in an air-tight container lined with a paper towel to soak up moisture. They’ll stay fresh on your countertop for up to five days and in your freezer for up to six months.

    Overhead shot of snickerdodle cookies, with one cookie with a bite taken out of it.
    Overhead shot of snickerdoodles.
    Print

    Snickerdoodles

    Score all the bear hugs from the cinnamon lover in your life with this easy recipe for tangy cinnamon-sugar-crusted snickerdoodles.
    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Total Cost ($3.83 recipe / $0.24 serving)
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Resting Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes
    Servings 16 cookies
    Calories 205kcal

    Ingredients

    • 8 Tbsp salted butter, softened $1.20
    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided $0.40
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.18
    • 2 large eggs $0.78
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.57
    • 2 tsp baking powder* $0.13
    • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted $0.30
    • 1 Tbsp cinnamon $0.24

    Instructions

    • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325°F. Add the softened butter, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and the brown sugar to a bowl.
    • Mix with a hand beater or stand mixer until the butter has lightened in color and has the consistency of a mousse, about 3 to 4 minutes.
    • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one egg. Mix to incorporate. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Add the second egg and the vanilla. Mix to incorporate.
    • In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder, salt, and sifted flour. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two batches, incorporating it fully between additions, until a dough forms. Rest the dough, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
    • Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the tablespoon of cinnamon. Shape 2-tablespoon portions of the cookie dough into balls and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar twice.
    • Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan front to back. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until the sides of the cookies deepen in color. Wait a few minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.

    See how we calculate recipe costs here.

    Notes

    *Use aluminum-free baking powder; otherwise, you will have a metallic aftertaste. If you don’t have baking powder, you can make your own with 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 180mg | Fiber: 1g
    Overhead shot of snickerdoodles.

    How to Make Snickerdoodles – Step by Step Photos

    White sugar and brown sugar with softened butter in a white bowl.

    Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325°F. Add 1 cup of softened butter, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar to a bowl.

    Creamed butter in a white bowl.

    Mix with a hand beater until the butter has lightened in color and has the consistency of a mousse, about 3 to 4 minutes.

    Egg and vanilla being mixed into creamed butter in a white bowl.

    Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one egg. Mix to incorporate. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Add the second egg and the teaspoon of vanilla. Mix to incorporate.

    Dry ingredients being mixed into wet ingredients.

    In a separate bowl, mix the 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 2 1/2 cups of sifted flour. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in two batches, incorporating it fully between additions, until a dough forms. Rest the dough, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

    Balls of snickerdoodle dough being rolled in cinnamon sugar.

    Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the tablespoon of cinnamon. Shape 2-tablespoon portions of the cookie dough into balls and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roll all of the cookie dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture once. Then repeat.

    Eight baked snickerdoodles in a sheet pan.

    Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the sheet pan front to back. Bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the sides of the cookies deepen in color, and the tops have a distinctive crackle pattern. Cool the cookies on the sheet pan for a few minutes before using a spatula to place them on a cooling rack. Try not to eat them all in one sitting! (Beth and I failed.)

    Overhead shot of a hand holding a stack of snickerdoodle cookies.

    The post Snickerdoodles appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Cacio e Pepe

    Cacio e Pepe is a mouthwatering pasta dish that uses four ingredients, comes together in twenty minutes, and feeds your entire household.

    The post Cacio e Pepe appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Cacio e Pepe is my go-to recipe on those days that my to-do list has more items on it than there are hours in the day. This cheese and pepper pasta is the ultimate quick, delicious, and budget-friendly dinner. My foolproof Cacio e Pepe recipe has four ingredients: spaghetti, parmesan, black pepper, and butter. Bonus: It comes together in under 20 minutes and can feed your entire household.

    Overhead shot of finished Cacio e Pepe in a pan with tongs in it.

    What Does Cacio e Pepe Mean?

    Cacio e Pepe is Italian for Cheese and Pepper Pasta. This iconic Roman dish was created by shepherds who traveled light and couldn’t carry a bunch of ingredients to feed themselves. So they needed their meals to be filling but easy to execute; all reasons this dish is a smash hit, especially if you’ve got kids. I’m not saying kids are sheep. Sheep listen and don’t talk back. Shepherds had it easy. #truthtopower #momlife

    Ingredients for Cacio e Peppe

    Traditionally Cacio e Pepe is made with:

    • Pecorino Romano
    • Coarsely ground black pepper
    • TonnarelliI

    While I’m all about coarsely ground black pepper, to keep things easy and within budget, I use grated parmesan, a little butter, and spaghetti. So, no, this is not a traditional Cacio e Pepe recipe. Don’t come at me, purists.

    I’m just trying to make life easier for folks that don’t have time to grind black peppercorns in a mortar. And while I know butter is a near sin in some parts of Italy (the North), it helps stabilize the cheese sauce for those people that just want to get dinner on the table without a bunch of fuss. Feel free to smash peppercorns, omit the butter, and work that pasta and cheese to your heart’s content.

    What Pasta Can I Use For Cacio e Pepe?

    Cacio E Pepe’s creamy, peppery cheese sauce requires a long noodle with some texture and toothiness, so it can cling to it without overpowering it. While tonnarelli is the traditional pasta used in this recipe, spaghetti or bucatini works just as great. Steer clear of linguine and angel hair which will fall apart quickly and become a gummy mess.

    Overhead shot of finished Cacio e Pepe on a plate with a fork in it.

    How To Make Cacio e Pepe

    With just a handful of ingredients and one pan, Cacio E Pepe looks deceptively simple to make. However, if you want a creamy sauce, there are two things you need to make sure you do:

    1. When boiling your pasta, use a smaller pan and less water. This concentrates the amount of starch in the water, which will help your ingredients combine smoothly to create a velvety sauce.
    2. When you’re ready to make your sauce, cook on low heat; otherwise, your cheese will glop and get stringy. It’s ok if your sauce steams, but if you see it start to bubble, take the pan off the heat to cool things down quickly.

    How long can you store leftover Cacio e Pepe?

    Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Then, reheat leftovers in a pan set over medium heat. To loosen the sauce, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water to the pan (or plain water if you didn’t reserve pasta water). Stir constantly until the pasta is steaming.

    Why You Keep Pasta Water

    Pasta water is liquid gold when creating a sauce, especially a cheese sauce. As spaghetti boils, it releases starch into the water. That starch has incredible binding power and not only helps pull together a sauce, but it also helps the sauce bind to the pasta.

    • Try substituting pasta water for milk the next time you make boxed mac and cheese, and watch the magic happen.
    • Try freezing your pasta water in ice cube trays and tossing a cube in when making a pan sauce, beans, or soups.
    • Or melt the cube and use it instead of plain water when making bread, as the starch in the water will help the bread rise.
    Side shot of finished Cacio e Pepe in a pan with tongs in it.

    Can you Make Cacio e Pepe Ahead Of Time?

    Most people will say you can’t make Cacio e Pepe ahead of time. Those people have never worked in a restaurant kitchen. To make your Cacio e Pepe up to a day ahead you will need to par-cook the pasta and the sauce.

    For the pasta:

    • Cook the pasta for half the time recommended on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the pasta water.
    • Refrigerate the pasta water in an airtight container and spread the pasta on a sheet pan. Allow it to cool.
    • Once cool, toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil per pound of pasta. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours in an airtight container 

    For the sauce:

    • Dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup of water. Add it to a small pan and bring it to a simmer, constantly stirring, until it thickens into a syrup. Allow the syrup to cool.
    • Then add the cheese, pepper, and butter to a blender. Pulse to combine the ingredients.
    • Next pour in the cooled cornstarch syrup. Blend until a thick sauce forms. Store in an airtight container with a piece of plastic placed over the surface of the sauce so a skin doesn’t form.

    When it’s time to cook, boil the pasta in salted water for a minute or two, until just before al dente. Drain the pasta, removing it from the pan. Then bring a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to a simmer in the saucepan. Add the cheese sauce and stir until it loosens. Next, add the pasta. Finally, stir the pasta, adding pasta water little by little, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.

    Overhead shot of finished Cacio e Pepe in a pan with tongs in it.
    Side shot of finished Cacio e Pepe on a plate with a fork in it.
    Print

    Cacio e Pepe

    Cacio e Pepe is a mouthwatering pasta dish that uses four ingredients, comes together in twenty minutes, and feeds your entire household. Before you know it, you'll be yelling "Dinner's ready!"
    Course Dinner, Lunch
    Cuisine Italian
    Total Cost $3.20 recipe /$0.80 serving
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 20 minutes
    Servings 4
    Calories

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 tsp salt $0.02
    • 1/2 lb dry spaghetti $0.67
    • 4 Tbsp salted butter, divided* $0.60
    • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper*, plus more for garnish $0.16
    • 1 cup Parmesan, grated*, plus more for garnish $1.75

    Instructions

    • In a large skillet bring 6 cups of water and 3/4 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add the dry spaghetti and cook for two minutes less than the package directions call for.
    • Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining the spaghetti. Place the spaghetti in a bowl and set it close to the stove to keep it warm.
    • In the same pan you cooked the spaghetti, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with the black pepper over medium heat. Cook until fragrant.
    • Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir until a glossy sauce forms.
    • Turn the heat down to low and add the spaghetti to the pan. Top with the grated parmesan and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
    • Use tongs to quickly mix the parmesan, butter, spaghetti, and pepper sauce until a creamy sauce forms. Serve immediately and garnish with additional pepper and parmesan cheese.

    See how we calculate recipe costs here.

    Notes

    *If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the sauce.
    *If using finely ground black pepper (like the kind that comes pre-ground) use 1/2 teaspoon.
    *Try to use fresh parmesan, which will actually melt. If you use the powdery stuff in the green bottle it will leave you with a grainy sauce.
    Side shot of finished Cacio e Pepe in a pan with tongs in it.

    How to Make Cacio e Pepe – Step by Step Photos

    Raw spaghetti in a pan of boiling water.

    In a large skillet, bring 6 cups of water and 3/4 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add a 1/2 pound of dry spaghetti and boil for two minutes less than the package directions call for, until just before al dente.

    A ladle reserves pasta water from a pan of cooked spaghetti.

    Before draining the spaghetti, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Once drained, place the spaghetti in a bowl and set it close to the stove to keep it warm.

    Pasta water, butter, and pepper in a pan.

    In the same skillet you used to cook the spaghetti, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper over medium heat. Simmer the pepper in the melted butter until fragrant.

    Hand whisking sauce as it reduces.

    Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan and stir until the sauce becomes glossy and thickens.

    Grated parmesan and butter on top of cooked spaghetti.

    Turn down the heat from medium to low. Add the spaghetti, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and the cup of grated parmesan.

    Overhead shot of finished Cacio e Pepe in a pan with tongs in it.

    Over low heat, use tongs to combine the parmesan, butter, spaghetti, and black pepper sauce until a creamy cheese sauce forms. Add more pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary. If the sauce starts to simmer, take the pan off the heat.

    Side shot of finished Cacio e Pepe on a plate with a fork in it.

    Plate your Cacio e Pepe immediately and garnish with more grated parmesan and a few more grinds of black pepper. Try not to gobble it up so fast that you cover your cheeks with cheese sauce. (That’s mostly a note for me. I inhaled this stuff so fast, I left Beth clutching her pearls. )

    The post Cacio e Pepe appeared first on Budget Bytes.

    Gluten-Free Quiche with Leeks & Mushrooms (Dairy-Free)

    Brunch is saved! Gluten-free, dairy-free friends, how often do you wish you could join in on the Sunday quiche trend but find yourself eating the same old scramble? Your wish is our command! 
    A buttery, flaky gluten-free pie crust is packed with c…

    Gluten-Free Quiche with Leeks & Mushrooms (Dairy-Free)

    Brunch is saved! Gluten-free, dairy-free friends, how often do you wish you could join in on the Sunday quiche trend but find yourself eating the same old scramble? Your wish is our command! 

    A buttery, flaky gluten-free pie crust is packed with creamy leeks, savory mushrooms, and fluffy eggs. It’s satisfying, undetectably dairy-free, and made with just 9 ingredients. Let’s get brunching!

    How to make a gluten-free dairy-free quiche

    This simple, flavorful, veggie-packed quiche begins with par-baking your favorite crust.

    Gluten-Free Quiche with Leeks & Mushrooms (Dairy-Free) from Minimalist Baker →

    Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. I love this classic recipe, but I also love brown butter chocolate chip cookies, salted malted chocolate chip cookies, pudding chocolate chip cookies, and these Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can never …

    Chocolate chip cookies are a classic. I love this classic recipe, but I also love brown butter chocolate chip cookies, salted malted chocolate chip cookies, pudding chocolate chip cookies, and these Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can never have too many cookie recipes:) I love this recipe because the cookies are chewy, have the…