Split Pea Soup

Let’s talk soup! It is one of my favorite things to make during the cold months. I love a good one pot meal that is hearty, comforting, and nourishing. This homemade Split Pea Soup is filled with tender vegetables, robust herbs and spices, and it…

Let’s talk soup! It is one of my favorite things to make during the cold months. I love a good one pot meal that is hearty, comforting, and nourishing. This homemade Split Pea Soup is filled with tender vegetables, robust herbs and spices, and it’s flavored with savory ham. This is one of Josh’s all-time…

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Chicken Fajita Soup

Warm up with a bowl of Chicken Fajita Soup loaded with your favorite toppings. All of your favorite fajita flavors are combined in an easy and comforting soup that’s perfect for weeknights or easy entertaining. Some chilly days just demand a bowl…

Warm up with a bowl of Chicken Fajita Soup loaded with your favorite toppings. All of your favorite fajita flavors are combined in an easy and comforting soup that’s perfect for weeknights or easy entertaining. Some chilly days just demand a bowl of soup! Luckily, one of my family’s favorite soup recipes is also one…

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Potatoes Au Gratin

When you need pure comfort in a casserole dish, Potatoes Au Gratin deliver. These thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce hit all the comfort food buttons. And the leftovers are awesome, so you can feed on that casserole heaven all week!

The post Potatoes Au Gratin appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When you need pure comfort in a casserole dish, Potatoes Au Gratin deliver. These thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce hit all the comfort food buttons. And the leftovers are awesome, so you can feed on that casserole heaven all week! 🙌

Potatoes au Gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

What are Potatoes Au Gratin?

Potatoes au gratin are basically scalloped potatoes with cheese (haha, that made me think of “royale with cheese”). So if you like scalloped potatoes and you like cheese, you’ll LOVE potatoes au gratin!

If you’ve never had scalloped potatoes, you can think of potatoes au gratin like this: thinly sliced potatoes layered with cheese and a creamy white sauce, then baked until bubbly and delicious. It’s pretty incredible.

What Kind of Cheese Can I Use?

In general, you want to stick to smooth melting cheeses for potatoes au gratin and avoid hard aged cheeses that don’t melt as easily (like Parmesan, although that would make a nice topper mixed with breadcrumbs!). I had some cheddar cheese on hand today, that I used, but Gruyere is another popular choice for potatoes au gratin.

What to Serve with Potatoes Au Gratin

This is such a rich comforting dish that it pairs well with any roasted or baked comfort food. I would pair it with something like Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Cheddar Cheeseburger Meatloaf, or Herb Butter Chicken Thighs. And of course you’ll probably need some sort of vegetable to balance out all that richness, so add a simple side of steamed green beans for good measure. ;)

What Kind of Potatoes are Best?

Most people like a waxier variety for potatoes au gratin, like Yukon gold or red potatoes, but I’m the opposite. I like russet potatoes because they are starchier, which helps keep the sauce nice and thick, and I enjoy how soft they get when baked in the creamy sauce. If you prefer a more firm slice, go with Yukon gold or red potatoes.

Overhead view of casserole dish full of potatoes au gratin
close up of potatoes au gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

Potatoes Au Gratin

Thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce makes these Potatoes Au Gratin pure heaven in a casserole dish.
Total Cost $5.33 recipe / $0.67 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 302.69kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. potatoes $1.79
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.56
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.12
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg $0.02
  • 8 oz. cheddar, shredded $1.69

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and slice the potatoes into ⅛-inch thick slices. If you're not yet confident in your knife skills, use a mandoline or food processor to slice the potatoes into thin, even pieces.
  • Finely dice the yellow onion. Sauté the onion in a sauce pot with the butter until soft (about five minutes). Once soft, add the flour to the pot and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. Finally, whisk in the milk until the flour is fully dissolved.
  • Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer over medium heat, whisking often. Once simmering, the milk with thicken. Whisk in the chicken broth and allow it to come back to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Top the potatoes with half of the white sauce and half of the shredded cheddar. Repeat with one more layer of potatoes, sauce, and shredded cheddar.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling on top. Let the casserole stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 302.69kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.15g | Protein: 9.68g | Fat: 12.66g | Sodium: 462.3mg | Fiber: 2.68g
close up of potatoes au gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

How to Make X – Step by Step Photos

peeled and sliced potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and slice three pounds of potatoes into ⅛-inch thick rounds. If you’re not confident in your knife skills, you can use a mandoline or food processor with a slicer attachment to create the thin, even slices.

Onion and butter in sauce pot

Finely dice one yellow onion. Sauté the onion with 4 Tbsp butter in a sauce pot until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).

Flour added to pot with sautéed onions

Add 4 Tbsp flour to the pot with the sautéed onions and continue to cook and stir over medium heat for about two more minutes.

milk being poured into sauce pot

Whisk 2 cups milk into the pot with the onions and flour. Whisk well until all the flour is dissolved. Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken.

chicken broth being poured into the sauce pot

Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth and allow it to come back up to a simmer.

Seasoning added to white sauce

Season the white sauce with ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg.

Layer potatoes and sauce in casserole dish

Layer half of the sliced potatoes in a 4 quart casserole dish. top with half of the white sauce and 4oz. shredded cheddar.

shredded cheese on potatoes in casserole dish

Repeat all three layers one more time: sliced potatoes, white sauce, and shredded cheese. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked potatoes au gratin in the casserole dish

Remove the foil after 45 minutes and bake without foil for an additional 30 minutes. Let the potatoes stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Overhead view of potatoes au gratin the casserole dish

I garnished with a little parsley for color, but parsley is not needed to flavor this dish.

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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.

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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 […]

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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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Easy White Chicken Chili

This comforting and delicious white chicken chili is easy to make thanks to rotisserie chicken. You can have a bowl of yummy white chicken chili on the dinner table in no time! During the fall and winter months, we are always looking for easy and comfo…

This comforting and delicious white chicken chili is easy to make thanks to rotisserie chicken. You can have a bowl of yummy white chicken chili on the dinner table in no time! During the fall and winter months, we are always looking for easy and comforting dinner recipes, how about you? Chili is always a…

The post Easy White Chicken Chili appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the […]

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If ever there was a meal-worthy soup, it would be Broccoli Cheddar! This bowl full of colorful, chunky vegetables and a super thick cheesy “broth” are sure to leave you warm, happy, and satisfied. Unlike some broccoli cheddar soups, my Broccoli Cheddar Soup doesn’t use heavy cream and is ever so slightly lighter on the cheese, so you still get all that creamy, cheesy goodness without feeling totally weighed down. But, you can always add more cheese if you’d like. #norules This soup is so dang easy I’m sure it’s going to go into my regular rotation!

Three bowls of Broccoli Cheddar Soup with saltine crackers on the side

Smaller Batch for No Leftovers

Most of my soup recipes are big batch so you can freeze the leftovers and stock your freezer with all that goodness, but this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the exception. Cheese sauces (and in this case broths) thickened with butter and flour roux don’t tend to hold up to freezing and thawing, so I made this a small batch soup so you don’t have to worry about having too many leftovers. This recipe makes four generous servings.

How Long Does Broccoli Cheddar Soup Keep?

As mentioned above, you don’t want to freeze this soup, but it will stay good in your fridge for 4-5 days. And boy are the leftovers ever DELICIOUS. They reheat beautifully in the microwave, or can be reheated on the stove top over medium-low heat, stirring often.

What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super thick, cheesy “broth” is just begging for some crackers or thick crusty bread for scooping up every last drop. I love saltine crackers with mine, but oyster crackers would be awesome, as would my focaccia rolls

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Yes, frozen broccoli works quite well for this recipe. I do suggest letting them thaw completely before adding them to the soup, and you probably will still want to chop them into much smaller pieces (think bite-sized, fits-on-a-spoon small).

Make it Vegetarian

I used chicken broth as the base for my soup because it tends to be a little more on the mild side and the light color doesn’t overshadow the orange color of the cheese, but you can use vegetable broth instead to make this soup vegetarian. Just be aware that it tends to have a stronger flavor and the darker color may darken your soup. 

CLose up of a ladle full of broccoli cheddar soup

 
Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This super easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup is chock full of colorful, chunky vegetables in a rich and cheesy broth for a totally meal-worthy soup.
Total Cost $4.97 recipe / $1.24 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 2 cups each
Calories 426.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.52
  • 1 lb. broccoli $1.49
  • 2 carrots $0.23
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.52
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.24
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded $1.27

Instructions

  • Dice the onion. Chop the broccoli into very small pieces. Peel and slice the carrots.
  • Add the butter and onion to a large soup pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and is a light golden brown color.
  • Add the chicken broth and whisk to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and, while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer. When it reaches a simmer it will thicken to a gravy consistency.
  • Turn the heat back down to medium and whisk in the milk, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.
  • Add the chopped broccoli and carrots, allow the broth to come back up to a simmer, and continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Finally, turn the heat down to medium-low and stir the shredded cheese into the soup, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth—I did not add any).

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 426.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.43g | Protein: 16.65g | Fat: 30g | Sodium: 949.73mg | Fiber: 2.55g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with saltine crackers

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli

Dice one yellow onion, finely chop one pound of broccoli, and peel and slice two carrots. I’m showing a photo of the broccoli so you can see how fine you want the pieces. I might even go a smidge smaller on the broccoli next time. You want the pieces small enough to easily fit on a spoon!

Sautéed onion and butter, flour being added to the pot

Add the onion and 4 Tbsp butter to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour is coating the bottom of the pot and has turned a light golden brown color.

Chicken broth being whisked into the pot

Whisk 2 cups chicken broth into the pot, making sure to dissolve all the flour off the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and while stirring often, allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy consistency.

Whisk in milk and spices

Turn the heat back down to medium. Whisk 2 cups milk, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper into the thickened broth. Allow the broth to come back up to a simmer.

Chopped vegetables added to the pot

Add the chopped broccoli and sliced carrots to the pot. Allow it to come back up to a simmer, then continue to simmer the vegetables, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Simmered vegetables in the soup

You can test a piece of carrot or broccoli to make sure it’s to your desired tenderness. If not, simmer a bit longer. The soup doesn’t even have any cheese in it yet, but it already looks so good!

Shredded Cheese added to the soup

Finally, add 6 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar, one handful at a time, until it is fully melted into the soup. I stopped at 6oz. (¾ of an 8oz. block), but you could always add the remaining 2oz. if you prefer.

Finished broccoli cheddar soup being stirred

And that’s a wrap! Taste your soup and see if you want to add any additional salt. This will mostly depend on the salt content of your chicken broth. I did not add any, but if your soup is tasting a little bland, a little salt can go a long way toward making the flavors pop!

Side view of broccoli cheddar soup in the pot with the ladle

Soooo thick and cheesy!! 😍

Three bowls of broccoli cheddar soup with saltines on the side

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Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

Hello, new favorite! I think of this Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet kind of like “jambalaya light”. It has similar flavors and ingredients as jambalaya, but it’s a slightly scaled back, simplified version, perfect for quick weeknight dinner. And the best part? The leftovers are SO GOOD. So feel free to add this tasty skillet […]

The post Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Hello, new favorite! I think of this Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet kind of like “jambalaya light”. It has similar flavors and ingredients as jambalaya, but it’s a slightly scaled back, simplified version, perfect for quick weeknight dinner. And the best part? The leftovers are SO GOOD. So feel free to add this tasty skillet to your meal prep rotation!

Cajun Sausage and Rice in the skillet with a wooden spoon and lid half on

What Kind of Sausage Do I Use?

To make this skillet meal taste the best, try to find Andouille sausage, which is a smoked pork sausage commonly used in Louisiana cooking. If you can’t find any in your area (I’m not sure how readily available this is outside the southern U.S.), you can use any smoked sausage in its place. If you want to go so far as to special order some to get the full experience, check out the selection from Cajungrocer.com

Is Cajun Sausage and Rice Spicy?

It can be, depending on the ingredients you use. I used a “medium” heat Andouille sausage, which had a good amount of spicy heat, as well as a little cayenne pepper in my Cajun seasoning blend. If you want to make this dish mild, make sure to get a non-spicy smoked sausage, and you can skip the cayenne pepper in the spices listed in the recipe. 

Can I Use Store Bought Cajun Seasoning?

The recipe below includes a half batch of my homemade Cajun seasoning, minus the salt because the other ingredients in the skillet contained enough salt that I didn’t need to add more. The total amount of spices used is about 1 tablespoon. If you’d like to use a store bought Cajun seasoning blend, first check to see how much salt it contains. Many store bought Cajun seasoning blends contain a lot of salt and are used more like a seasoning salt, or table seasoning, and probably will not work well for this recipe. If the blend you have is mostly just herbs and spices, I would use about 1 Tbsp for this recipe.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Brown rice requires more liquid and a much longer cook time than white rice, so you will need to take these into account if you attempt to substitute brown rice for the white rice in this recipe. While I haven’t tested a brown rice version, I would probably add at least another cup of chicken broth and increase the simmer time to closer to 40 minutes.

Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

 
Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

This easy Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet is the perfect easy and filling weeknight dinner, packed with plenty of smoky-spicy flavor!
Total Cost $7.21 recipe / $1.80 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 547.75kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $3.99
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 bell pepper $0.89
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 cup long grain white rice $0.62
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.20
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into ¼-½ inch thick slices. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a deep skillet or Dutch oven and sauté over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. Don't worry if the sausage begins to brown on the bottom of the skillet. That's extra flavor that will cook into the rice later.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the bell pepper. Once the sausage is browned, add the bell pepper to the skillet and continue to sauté for about one more minute.
  • Add the spices (smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper) to the skillet with the sausage and bell pepper and continue to sauté for one minute more to toast the spices.
  • Add the fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juices), rice, and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the skillet simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest, with the lid on, for an additional 5 minutes.
  • After the skillet has rested, remove the lid, and fold the sausage and rice to redistribute the rice and sausage throughout. Top with sliced green onions and serve!

Notes

*If you can not find Andouille in your area, use any smoked pork sausage.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 547.75kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.8g | Protein: 22.23g | Fat: 28.8g | Sodium: 1328.93mg | Fiber: 4.15g

Overhead view of a bowl full of Cajun Sausage and Rice with a black fork in the side

How to Make Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Andouille sausage package

This is the Andouille sausage that I used. Andouille may not be readily available in all areas, so if you can’t find any, just try to get a smoked pork sausage of some sort instead. You really want that smoky flavor!

Sautéed Andouille in the skillet

Slice the Andouille into medallions and add to a skillet with a tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. Don’t worry if the bottom of the skillet turns brown. That’s just extra flavor that will soak into the rice later!

Bell pepper and spices added to the skillet

While the sausage is browning, dice one bell pepper. Add it to the skillet and continue to sauté for about a minute. Then add the Cajun seasoning: 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Continue to sauté the spices for another minute.

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

Next, add one 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup long grain white rice, and 1.5 cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine and dissolve those browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Skillet ready to simmer

Once everything is combined, place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the skillet simmer for 20 minutes. (Pictured: before simmering)

Simmered sausage and rice skillet

After simmering for 20 minutes, remove it from the heat and let it rest for an additional five minutes (with the lid on). After resting, it will look like the photo above.

Stirred Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

Fold everything together to redistribute the sausage, rice, and bell peppers. OMG it looks so good at this point I just want to dive in!

Finished Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet with green onions

Top the skillet with sliced green onions and serve! It’s rich, spicy, smoky, and all around DELICIOUS.

The post Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously […]

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about the quick skillet meals because, let’s face it, sometimes after a long day of work you don’t really want to cook anything… but you still gotta eat. This super quick Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli combines the vibrant flavors of basil pesto with tangy cream cheese to make a deliciously rich sauce to smother the pasta, chicken, and broccoli. The pesto provides all the garlic and herbal flavor needed, so there’s no need to even dice an onion, mince garlic, or measure any herbs and spices—it’s already in the sauce! The whole dish cooks very quickly so you can have this one on the dinner table in about 30 minutes.

Originally posted 11-24-2013, updated 8-9-2020.

Creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet, viewed from above

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

Yep! Any short shaped pasta, like penne, rotini, or even macaroni will work fine for this recipe. You can use a longer type pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, but it’s a little harder to stir chunky ingredients, like the chicken and broccoli, into long pasta. Sometimes breaking it in half before cooking can help.

What Kind of Pesto Do You Use?

I used basil pesto from ALDI for this recipe because it’s super affordable. If you don’t have an ALDI store near you, Classico brand pesto and Barilla brand pesto also tend to be very affordable. 

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

If you’re not into cream cheese, you can make a similar creamy sauce by substituting the cream cheese with about a ½ cup heavy cream, or replace both the chicken broth and cream cheese with 1 cup half and half. The sauce will be nice and creamy, but it won’t have that tangy cream cheese flavor that some people are not a fan of. You may need to add a pinch or two of salt at the end if you’re skipping the chicken broth.

Make it a Vegetarian Creamy Pesto Pasta

This Creamy Pesto Pasta can easily be made vegetarian. Just use a little extra broccoli, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, and you’re good to go!

Front view of a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a fork lifting one bite

 
A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

A super fast creamy pesto sauce drenches tender pasta, chicken breast, and broccoli for an easy weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $5.48 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 606.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli florets $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.12
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $2.49
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto $0.73
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $0.40

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once it reaches a full boil, add the pasta and continue to boil just until the pasta is tender, but still slightly firm in the center (7-8 minutes). Once the pasta is tender, add the frozen broccoli florets to the water with the pasta and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and continue to cook until the outside of the chicken pieces are white, but they're still tender in the center (they will continue to cook as more ingredients are added).
  • Add the chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and allow it to heat through. Once hot, add the cream cheese (cut into small pieces) and pesto. Continue to stir and cook until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth, creamy sauce with the pesto and chicken broth.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir to coat it in the cream sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 606.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.58g | Protein: 37.18g | Fat: 28.33g | Sodium: 725.78mg | Fiber: 7.15g

How to Use Your Leftover Pesto

Not sure what to do with the rest of the jar of pesto? Try these recipes:

How to Make Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 8oz. bowtie pasta and continue to boil for 7-8 minutes, or just until it’s tender with a little firmness in the center. Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more or just until the broccoli is tender. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander.

Diced chicken breast on an orange cutting board

While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch chunks.

Broth being poured into a skillet with cooked chicken pieces.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the diced chicken and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken is white on the outside, but still slightly tender inside (it will continue to cook as more ingredients are added). Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and allow it to heat through.

pesto and cream cheese added to the skillet with the chicken and broth

Add 4oz. cream cheese (cut into small chunks) and ⅓ cup basil pesto to the skillet. 

Smooth and creamy pesto sauce in the skillet

Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has melted and created a smooth sauce with the pesto and broth. The cream cheese might look a little chunky as it’s melting, but keep stirring and cooking, it will smooth out once fully melted.

Finished creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli in the skillet with a spatula

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and broccoli to the skillet and stir until it is all coated in the creamy pesto sauce. If the sauce becomes too dry or too thick, add another splash of chicken broth to loosen it up.

A bowl full of creamy pesto pasta with chicken and broccoli, a black fork on the side

And that’s that! So easy! If you like ranch flavored foods, I think this tangy, garlicky sauce almost tastes ranch-like. So yum!

The post Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens

When lockdown started a few months ago I focused on buying vegetables that would last a long time in my fridge or pantry so I could continue to eat a well rounded plate without having to go to the grocery store often. Collard greens are one of the first things I bought. They hold up […]

The post Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When lockdown started a few months ago I focused on buying vegetables that would last a long time in my fridge or pantry so I could continue to eat a well rounded plate without having to go to the grocery store often. Collard greens are one of the first things I bought. They hold up well in the fridge, they’re inexpensive, and I just loooooove them! When I made that first pot of collard greens I looked in my pantry for something to season them with and pulled out a bottle of jerk seasoning on a whim. I couldn’t believe how incredible the flavors were together, and I knew that these Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens were something I was going to need to share on the blog.

Interesting in knowing what other fruits and vegetables last a long time? Check out my round up of Long Lasting Produce to Stock Up on During Isolation (including recipes ideas for each)!

Collard Greens on a plate with Mac and Cheese and BBQ Chicken

What is Jerk Seasoning?

If you’ve never heard of Jerk seasoning, it’s an amazing spicy, sweet, and savory blend of herbs and spices used for jerk style cooking in Jamaica. Jerk marinades usually consist of a mix fresh ingredients like Scotch Bonnet peppers, onions, ginger, scallions, allspice, garlic, thyme, among other ingredients. The flavorful marinade is slathered all over chicken, beef, pork, fish, or vegetables, then they’re cooked over an open flame to perfection. For this recipe, I simmered my collard greens in a broth seasoned with a dry jerk seasoning and a touch of orange juice for sweetness. This seasoning is pretty much good on everything.

Where to Find Jerk Seasoning

You should be able to find either the wet marinade (in a jar) or a bottle of dry spices in most major grocery stores, although a dry spice mix is what I used for this recipe. Walkerswood is an authentic brand from Jamaica that makes both the wet marinade and dry spice mix and it’s available for purchase on their website, on Amazon, and in many large grocery chains like Kroger. Or, if you want to try to make your own spice mix, check out this jerk seasoning recipe from Immaculate Bites.

What to Serve with Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens?

The unique sweet-savory-spicy flavor of these collard greens makes them a match for a variety of dishes. For some reason, I really love them with mac and cheese and ate them throughout the first few weeks of lock down just piled on top of a bowl of mac. In the photo above, I have them paired with Quick BBQ Chicken and Mac and Cheese. They’d also go great with other southern comfort foods, like potato salad, cornbread, or even something like red beans and rice.

How to Store Leftover Collard Greens

These simmered collard greens are one of those things that tastes even better the next day. Make sure to store your collard greens with the leftover broth from the pot, so they can continue to marinate in all that flavor in the refrigerator. You can reheat the leftovers (with the broth) either in a sauce pot on the stove over medium, stirring often, or microwaved until hot. Just strain the greens out of the broth for serving (use a slotted spoon to lift them out of the broth).

Jerk seasoned collard greens in a red pot, onion and garlic on the side

 
jerk seasoned collard greens on a plate with mac and cheese and bbq chicken

Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens

Sweet, spicy, and savory, these Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens are a hearty and flavorful side dish that also makes great leftovers!
Total Cost $4.10 recipe / $0.51 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 ¾ cup each
Calories 51.94kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 clove garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 2 tsp jerk seasoning $0.20
  • 1/2 cup orange juice $0.52
  • 3 cups chicken broth $0.36
  • 1 lb. chopped collard greens $2.50

Instructions

  • Slice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and cooking oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the jerk seasoning, orange juice, chicken broth, and collard greens to the pot. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  • Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the collard greens simmer, stirring occasionally, until they are tender (about 30 minutes, or to your liking). Keep the lid in place when not stirring. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 51.94kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.43g | Protein: 2.46g | Fat: 2.15g | Sodium: 385.44mg | Fiber: 2.65g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A ladle full of Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens hovering over the pot

How to Make Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens – Step by Step Photos

Onions and garlic in a pot with oil

Slice one yellow onion and mince one clove of garlic (if you prefer not to have large pieces of onion, you can finely mince the onion instead). Add the onion and garlic to a large pot with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Jerk seasoning in the pot with onions, orange juice being poured in

Add 2 tsp jerk seasoning, ½ cup orange juice, and 3 cups chicken broth to the pot with the onions and garlic.

Collard greens added to the pot

Add one pound chopped collard greens to the pot. I used collard greens that come in a bag, pre-washed and chopped. If you’re chopping your own, make sure to wash them well, cut the stems out, then chop into strips.

Simmered collard greens in the pot

Stir everything to combine, place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the collard greens simmer until tender, stirring occasionally. I let my collard greens simmer for 30 minutes, but you can simmer for more or less time depending on how tender you like your greens.

A spoon lifting some jerk seasoned collard greens out of the pot

Serve the jerk seasoned collard greens hot, with a slotted spoon to let the broth drain away. 

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