Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

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

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

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

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

How to Serve Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

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

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

What Else Can I Add?

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

Green Eggs and Ham

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

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

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

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Feta

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

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

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

Chopped spinach on a cutting board

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

Whisked eggs

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

Spinach being added to a skillet with melted butter

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

Whisked eggs being poured into the skillet with spinach

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

Eggs folded with spinach in the skillet

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

Finished eggs with feta and pepper

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

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

Enjoy!!

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

Sesame Cucumber Salad

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer […]

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This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer cucumbers, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. So, if this Sesame Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!

Originally posted July 2019, updated 7-9-2020.

A bowl of Sesame Cucumber Salad from above, chopsticks on the side

Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?

I strongly urge you not to substitute the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. While people have substituted the rice vinegar with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, I find them both a bit too strong for this recipe. Also, be mindful not to use “seasoned” rice vinegar, which has other ingredients added and tastes quite different.

Where Do You Find Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

The other key ingredient in this cucumber salad is toasted sesame oil. Unlike regular sesame oil, toasted sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor and a little bit can really add a LOT of flavor to any dish. You can find toasted sesame oil in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or Asian grocery stores. It may not say “toasted” on the label, but you’ll know it is toasted by the deep walnut color. Untoasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil.

How Long Does This Salad Last?

This salad does get kind of limp in the refrigerator fairly quickly, but it’s still insanely good once the cucumbers soften. They’re almost like pickled cucumber slices at that point. They’ve been marinating in the spicy-sweet vinegar solution and are just totally delicious! I enjoy this salad for about 2-3 days after making it (if I don’t eat it all sooner). If you like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, try cutting them into chunks instead of thin slices.

Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

 
Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and vibrant in flavor. It's the perfect summer side dish or companion to any Southeast Asian inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.44 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 62.82kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 large cucumbers $1.38
  • 3 green onions $0.13
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the peanuts, green onions, and dressing to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 62.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.63g | Protein: 1.87g | Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 199.82mg | Fiber: 1.4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad

How to Make Sesame Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Spicy vinegar dressing in a bowl

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.

Bottle of toasted sesame oil and a bottle of rice vinegar

Here is the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar that I used. The sesame oil is from Aldi and the rice vinegar is from Kroger.

Two cucumbers, one half peeled

Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.

Two cucumbers, one mostly sliced

I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. 

Sliced green onion and chopped peanuts

Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers, green onion, and peanuts

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, add the sliced green onion and chopped peanuts, then pour the dressing over top.

Finished sesame cucumber salad in the bowl

Finally, stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.

Side view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks on the side

The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!

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Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese

This Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese is totally indulgent. It’s like your favorite restaurant appetizer turned into a meal (because you were going to eat that spinach artichoke dip as your meal anyway, right?). I’ve taken a basic spinach artichoke dip recipe, tweaked the ingredients to be a little more like a melty grilled cheese than […]

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This Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese is totally indulgent. It’s like your favorite restaurant appetizer turned into a meal (because you were going to eat that spinach artichoke dip as your meal anyway, right?). I’ve taken a basic spinach artichoke dip recipe, tweaked the ingredients to be a little more like a melty grilled cheese than a gooey dip, then stuffed it between two pieces of my favorite homemade focaccia. It’s a golden brown, crispy, melty, gooey delight.

Originally published 7-30-2016, updated 6-14-2020.

A hand picking up half of a spinach artichoke grilled cheese with cheese stretching between the pieces

Is This a Melt or a Grilled Cheese?

Okay, so technically this type of sandwich is called a “melt.” A melt is a grilled cheese that has other ingredients added, like vegetables or meat, whereas a grilled cheese is a cheese-only grilled sandwich. While the difference between a melt and a grilled cheese often sparks heated debates, I want people to be able to find this recipe on the internet, and the data shows that people are searching for “spinach artichoke grilled cheese,” not “spinach artichoke melt” (literally zero Google searches for that term per month). The English language is fluid, and the use of the term “melt” is declining. So here we are! 

Do I Have to Use Focaccia?

I made this sandwich with my homemade focaccia, but you can use any bread that you’d like. I love the focaccia because it’s really sturdy, which you want in order to hold up to the hefty filling, and it crisps up so well because of it’s olive oil soaked exterior. 

If you’d like to use a different kind of bread, you’ll probably want to smear a little butter on each slice to get that nice golden brown crispy exterior. You can also stuff this filling into a tortilla and cook it up like a quesadilla!

Can I Use Fresh Spinach?

Yes, if you prefer to work with fresh spinach, simply chop it up and sauté it briefly in a skillet to cook out some of the moisture, then continue with the recipe as stated.

How Much Does This Recipe Make?

This recipe makes about 2 cups worth of sandwich filling, which will get you either two large grilled cheese sandwiches, or four smaller sandwiches. 

Can I Make the Spinach Artichoke Filling Ahead?

Live alone? Don’t feel pressured to eat all the Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese filling in one sitting (No, that’s not a dare). You can keep the sandwich filling in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days and make sandwiches or quesadillas as you see fit. 

Two spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches on a serving tray with a cup of tomato soup.

Pictured with Tomato Herb Soup on a small enamelware tray (affiliate link).

 
A hand picking up a piece of spinach artichoke grilled cheese with cheese stretching from the slice

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese is like your favorite restaurant appetizer turned into a meal. Rich, creamy, cheesy, and totally veggilicious!
Total Cost $3.63 recipe. /$1.82 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 large sandwiches
Calories 571.63kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.50
  • ½ 12oz. jar quartered artichoke hearts in water $1.30
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.85
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.20
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 pieces focaccia* $1.19
  • 2 tsp butter (optional) $0.26

Instructions

  • Thaw the spinach, then squeeze out as much water as possible. You should have about 1 cup chopped spinach before squeezing the water out and about 1/2 cup after squeezing.
  • Drain the artichoke hearts well, then chop them into small bite-sized pieces. Add the chopped artichokes to a large bowl with the spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan, mayonnaise, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir the ingredients until evenly combined.
  • Spread about 1/2 tsp butter on each slice of bread. Pack about 1 cup of the cheese and vegetable mixture between two slices of bread, buttered sides facing out.
  • Place the sandwiches in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the outsides are golden brown and the filling has melted. Serve immediately.

Notes

*If you're using focaccia, you may not need to butter the slices. See the text above the recipe for other bread options.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 571.63kcal | Carbohydrates: 46.98g | Protein: 22.9g | Fat: 32.84g | Sodium: 1520.98mg | Fiber: 7.87g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Two spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches stacked on a serving tray next to a mug of tomato soup

How to Make Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Thawed and squeeze frozen spinach in a bowl

Begin with about 1/4 lb. frozen chopped spinach. Thaw the spinach, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. You’ll want about 1 cup unsqueezed, or 1/2 cup after squeezing dry.

Chopped artichoke hearts

Drain one 1/2 of a 12oz. jar of quartered artichoke hearts (packed in water), then chop them into small pieces.

Spinach artichoke grilled cheese filling ingredients in a bowl

Add the chopped artichokes to a large bowl with the spinach, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper, ⅛ tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Mixed spinach artichoke grilled cheese filling

Stir the ingredients until they’re evenly mixed. There should be just enough mayo to make the ingredients all stick together. You can refrigerate the filling at this point and use it later, or throughout the week.

Spinach artichoke filling added to pieces of focaccia

If you’re using focaccia, slice the pieces in half so you have a top and bottom piece. If you’re using regular bread, you’ll want to spread a little butter on the outsides of each piece of bread. Fill each sandwich with about 1 cup of the filling.

Spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches being cooked in the skillet

Cook the sandwiches in a large skillet over medium low heat until each side is golden brown and the filling is melted. 

Two spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches on a serving tray with a cup of tomato soup

Buttery, crispy, artichokey goodness!

The post Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chimichurri Chickpea Salad

We’re still experiencing a lot of grocery shortages in the middle of this pandemic, but when I ventured out to the grocery store this week I noticed something. The produce department was very well stocked, while many of the shelf stable items were sold out. I presume that’s because people are afraid to buy perishables. So, […]

The post Chimichurri Chickpea Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We’re still experiencing a lot of grocery shortages in the middle of this pandemic, but when I ventured out to the grocery store this week I noticed something. The produce department was very well stocked, while many of the shelf stable items were sold out. I presume that’s because people are afraid to buy perishables. So, that made me rethink my strategy. I’m going to focus on fresh ingredients for about a week after shopping, then transition into the more shelf stable recipes (like my 15 Pantry Staple Recipes) for the second week, or until my next grocery run. Besides, after eating so many pantry recipes over the past month, I’m craving fresh produce hard. So this week I grabbed some fresh parsley, cilantro, and a pint of tomatoes, and whipped up this SUPER easy Chimichurri Chickpea Salad.

…Because chimichurri is good on anything and everything. ;)

Chickpea Salad with Chimichurri and Feta

Overhead view of Chimichurri Chickpea Salad with triangles of pita bread stuck in the side.

How to Serve Chimichurri Chickpea Salad

This salad is the perfect side dish as the weather starts to warm up. I think this would go great with just about any type of grilled meat, or if you’re cooking inside I can see this matching well with dishes like Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Thighs, Herb Roasted Pork Loin, or Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

If you want to turn this into a vegetarian meal, consider chopping up some pita or a crusty bread and stirring it right into the salad to make it like a Panzanella, or adding a few greens and a chopped hard boiled egg.

How to Use Leftover Parsley and Cilantro

Don’t let the rest of the parsley and cilantro go to waste after you make this salad! Parsley and cilantro are great in and on so many other dishes. This chickpea salad recipe uses a half batch of my basic Chimichurri recipe, but you could always make the full size batch and use half on this salad, then use the other half for dipping some crusty bread. That will use up more of your parsley and cilantro.

Here are some other great recipes for using parsley and cilantro:

Make sure to scroll down to the step by step photos to see how I store my leftover feta so it doesn’t go to waste!

Close up side view of the bowl of Chimichurri Chickpea Salad with pita triangles in the side of the bowl

 
Overhead view of a bowl of Chimichurri Chickpea Salad with pita in the side of the bowl
Print

Chimichurri Chickpea Salad

This super simple chickpea salad is bright and flavorful thanks to homemade chimichurri and feta. Goes great with all your summer grilling!
Total Cost $4.36 recipe / $0.73 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 about 1 cup each
Calories 328.57kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chimichurri

  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley $0.18
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro $0.10
  • ¼ cup olive oil $0.42
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Salad

  • 2 15oz. cans chickpeas $0.49
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.69
  • 2 oz. feta $1.09

Instructions

  • Make the chimichurri first. Rinse the fresh parsley and cilantro, then drain well. Roughly chop the parsley and cilantro, then add it to a bowl along with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. Stir to combine, then set the dressing aside.
  • Rinse and drain both cans of chickpeas. Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes to a large bowl. Crumble the feta, add it to the bowl, then drizzle the chimichurri over top. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat (up to four days).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 328.57kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.67g | Protein: 13.58g | Fat: 15.98g | Sodium: 675.75mg | Fiber: 11.7g

How to Make Chimichurri Chickpea Salad – Step by Step Photos

Chimichurri ingredients in a bowl, not stirred

Make the chimichurri first. Rinse and drain the fresh parsley and cilantro. Roughly chop the parsley and cilantro, you’ll need ½ cup parsley (about ¼ bunch) and about ¼ cup cilantro (a big handful). Add them to the bowl along with 1 minced clove of garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

Mixed chimichurri in a bowl with a spoon

Stir the ingredients together and now you have chimichurri! Set the chimichurri aside.

Chickpeas, tomatoes, and feta in a bowl, chimichurri being poured over top

Rinse and drain 2 15oz. cans of chickpeas. Slice 1 pint of grape tomatoes in half. Crumble 2oz. feta. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and feta to a bowl, then pour the chimichurri over top.

Finished chimichurri chickpea salad in a bowl with a spoon

Stir to combine and it’s ready to eat! Or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

block of feta in a freezer bag, inside a plastic container, ready to freeze.

I like to buy my feta in a block, as opposed to pre-crumbled, because it’s easier to save for later. I cut the block into quarters first (right through the plastic) because I usually use about 2oz. per recipe. I then place the rest of the block, still in the original plastic, inside a freezer bag, then inside a re-usable freezer container. I can take out one 2oz. block at a time to use whenever needed!

Overhead view of a bowl of Chimichurri Chickpea Salad with pita in the side of the bowl

The post Chimichurri Chickpea Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara

The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest and an image of some cheesy, tomatoey gnocchi made me stop in my tracks and drool a little. But the funny part is that at first I thought the gnocchi were white beans. Long story short, I eventually realized that they were gnocchi, but was still stuck […]

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The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest and an image of some cheesy, tomatoey gnocchi made me stop in my tracks and drool a little. But the funny part is that at first I thought the gnocchi were white beans. Long story short, I eventually realized that they were gnocchi, but was still stuck on this idea of white beans baked with marinara and cheese. I loved the idea of swapping gnocchi with high fiber beans, so I had to give it a shot. These White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara lived up to everything I would hoping they would be, and this recipe has quite a bit of potential for customization, so I can’t wait to share it with you!

Cheesy White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara

Close up overhead view of a skillet full of white beans with mushrooms and marinara and a wooden spoon scooping some out.

What Kind of White Beans Should I Use?

I used large butter beans for this recipe because they’re huge and look similar to gnocchi. If you don’t like butter beans or can’t find them, cannellini beans are a good second choice because they are creamy in flavor, still slightly larger, and they hold their shape well. And while you can use navy beans, they’re my last choice for this dish because they’re small and they tend to break down easily, so you won’t get as good of a texture in the final dish.

Can I Add Meat?

Sure! I designed this one to be a filling vegetarian dish, but this recipe easily accommodates the addition of meat. My first choice would be Italian sausage (browned in the skillet before the mushrooms), but pepperoni would also be pretty amazing. You can either crisp up the pepperoni in the skillet before adding the mushrooms, or chop up the pepperoni and stir them in with the sauce.

What Other Vegetables can I Add?

If you’re not into mushrooms or are just looking for other vegetables to add in addition to the mushrooms, there are definitely some great options. Zucchini would match really well with these flavors, as would spinach. For zucchini, I suggest slicing and sautéing after the mushrooms. For spinach, stir it in after the sauce has heated through, just until it is wilted. Eggplant would also be amazing, just dice and sauté after the mushrooms.

How to Serve White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara

You’ll want to sop up every drop of that marinara, so I suggest serving this dish with a side of Garlic Bread. Also, because garlic bread is always a good idea. You can also spoon this mixture over something like zoodles, a halved roasted eggplant, or, if you’re not trying to avoid pasta, just serve it over a bed of good ol’ pasta.

 

Overhead view of the baked skillet full of white beans with mushrooms and marinara

 

White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara

White beans make a fiber-filled swap for gnocchi in this cheesy, indulgent skillet full of white beans, mushrooms, and marinara.

  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($2.29)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 cups marinara (or more to your liking) ($1.00)
  • 2 15oz. cans butter beans ($2.00)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • 4 oz. mozzarella ($0.65)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a deep skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they have wilted and all the moisture in the skillet has evaporated.

  2. While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince the garlic, drain and rinse the butter beans. Add the garlic to the skillet with the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes more.

  3. Add the rinsed butter beans, marinara, basil, and red pepper to the skillet. Stir everything to combine, then allow it to heat through, stirring occasionally.

  4. While the skillet is heating through, shred the mozzarella. Top the skillet with the mozzarella, then cover the skillet with foil. Transfer the skillet to the oven* and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

  5. Once the cheese has melted, remove the foil, switch the oven to broil, and broil the skillet for a few minutes more to brown the cheese (watch closely, as browning can happen quickly with the broiler). Serve hot, with garlic bread for dipping!

*If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, simply transfer the beans, mushrooms, and marinara to a casserole dish before baking with the cheese.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a piece of garlic bread dipped in white beans with mushrooms and marinara

How to make White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara – Step by Step Photos

Sliced Mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice 8oz. mushrooms.

Sautéed mushrooms and garlic

Add the sliced mushrooms to a deep skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium until the mushrooms are wilted and the moisture has evaporated out of the skillet. While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince 2 cloves of garlic, then add them to the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes more.

Add beans and marinara to the skillet

Rinse and drain two cans of butter beans, then add them to the skillet with 2 cups marinara (or more if you want it to be slightly saucier). Stir to combine.

Add herbs to marinara

I like to amp up my jarred marinara a bit, so also add 1/2 tsp dried basil and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Stir them into the sauce, then allow the skillet to heat through, stirring occasionally (5 minutes).

Add shredded mozzarella to the skillet

Shred 4 oz. of mozzarella, then sprinkle it on top of the skillet. (If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, transfer the beans and marinara to a casserole dish first.)

Melted mozzarella in skillet covered with foil.

Cover the skillet with foil, then transfer to the preheated oven, and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Broiled cheese on skillet

Remove the foil from the skillet, switch the oven from bake to broil, then broil a few minutes more to brown the cheese. Watch the skillet closely, as broiling can brown the cheese very quickly. (I also topped with a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor).

Finished White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara, a piece of garlic bread dipped in the side

Serve hot with garlic bread for dipping, over roasted vegetables, or over pasta.

The post White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over […]

The post Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over the years. This week I added some sautéed mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and a few dollops of fresh ricotta for extra creaminess. This Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is still an incredibly simple and delicious pasta dish, perfect for those nights when you want something special, but not complicated. Pair it with a glass of white wine and you’ve got a really amazing dinner!

Easy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork, next to a few whole mushrooms

If you’re as in love with the simple combo of pasta, butter, salt, and pepper as I am, check out my other variations on this simple dish: Spicy Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale, Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta, Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta, or Bowties and Broccoli.

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I’ve been really taking advantage of these Baby Bella mushrooms from ALDI that have been $1.69/8 oz. for a while, so that’s what I used. You can use regular white button mushrooms, if needed, or full sized portobello mushrooms. If you have access to something a bit fancier, like morels, by all means take advantage of that! 

Can You Freeze Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta?

I don’t suggest this pasta dish for freezing. The “sauce” is extremely light and will get absorbed into the pasta, leaving it dry. Even when reheating refrigerated leftovers, you may want to add a little extra butter to make up for what has absorbed into the pasta while it is in the refrigerator.

What Can I Substitute for Mushrooms?

This dish is all about the mushrooms. If you don’t like or are allergic to mushrooms, I suggest trying one of the other similar recipes linked above (just below the first photo).

What Can I substitute for Spinach?

You can either leave the spinach out, or try something like kale. If using kale, you’ll just need to sauté a bit longer to soften the kale (see Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta).

What Can I substitute for Ricotta?

If you’re not a fan of ricotta, you can either leave it out, or add a generous amount of Parmesan to the pasta in its place.

Close up of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet, from the side.

 

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

This simple Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is an easy and elegant dinner option for busy weeknights when you need to make dinner FAST.

  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta ($0.53)
  • 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms ($3.38)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($1.07)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta ($1.00)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.03)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the bowtie pasta and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Wash and slice the mushrooms, then add them to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their water, the water has evaporated, and the mushrooms begin to brown (about 7 minutes).

  3. While the mushrooms are cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic and butter to the browned mushrooms and continue to cook over medium for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

  4. By this time the pasta should be finished cooking. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. The starchy pasta water and butter will make a slurry that will act as a light "sauce" that helps the salt and pepper adhere to the surface of the pasta.

  5. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until wilted (1 minute). Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir until everything is evenly combined. Turn the heat off and season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is dry, you can add an additional splash of the reserved pasta water.

  6. Finally, spoon the ricotta on top of the pasta in one-tablespoon dollops. Add a pinch of red pepper on top, if desired, and serve warm.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A skillet full of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta with spinach leaves and whole mushrooms on the sides

 

How to Make Mushroom and Spinach Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Cooked bowtie pasta with starchy pasta water in a measuring cup on the side

Begin by cooking 8 oz. bowtie pasta. You’ll be able to prepare the rest of the dish while the pasta is cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, then continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Before draining, reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water.

Sliced mushrooms and olive oil in a large skillet

After you get the water started, wash and slice 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms. Add them to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat.

Water releasing from mushrooms in the skillet

As you cook the mushrooms they’ll begin to release water. Keep cooking until all of that water evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.

Butter and garlic added to the skillet with mushrooms

Once the mushrooms have browned a little, add 2 Tbsp butter and two cloves of minced garlic. Sauté only for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

Add spinach and starchy water to skillet

Add about ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. The butter and water will make a sort of slurry that acts as a light sauce. Add 2 cups fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until the spinach has wilted (about 1 minute). 

Stir cooked pasta into skillet

Finally, stir the cooked and drained pasta into the skillet until everything is well combined. Turn the heat off and then season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is too dry here, you can add a splash more of the reserved starchy pasta water.

Finished Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet next to spinach leaves and whole mushrooms

Finally, add ½ cup whole milk ricotta in one-tablespoon dollops on top of the pasta and sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper over top, if desired. Serve warm!

Close up side view of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork.

The post Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m a little bit of a tomato soup fanatic. I’ve made several tomato soup recipes for Budget Bytes over the past ten years, but this week I tried something a little different. This Secret Ingredient tomato soup has not one, but two secret ingredients that make it ultra […]

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I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m a little bit of a tomato soup fanatic. I’ve made several tomato soup recipes for Budget Bytes over the past ten years, but this week I tried something a little different. This Secret Ingredient tomato soup has not one, but two secret ingredients that make it ultra rich, without using any dairy, or animal products at all, in fact. This super luscious, warm and comforting, thick and delicious Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup is 100% vegan.

Five different white bowls of Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup with whole grain croutons and fresh thyme garnishes

Shown garnished with Easy Baked Homemade Croutons and fresh tyme.

What are the Secret Ingredients??

After the success of my Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup, which uses puréed cannellini beans to thicken and make the soup extra creamy, I wondered how puréed beans would work in other soups. The cannellini beans did a great job giving this tomato soup body and richness, without having to use butter or cream.

The second secret ingredient is nutritional yeast. If you’ve never had nutritional yeast before, it’s a flakey dehydrated powder that has a slightly nutty or cheesy flavor (it also happens to be high in B vitamins!). The slight cheesy flavor of the nutritional yeast was the final magic touch that took the flavor of this soup over the top. The flavor is super subtle, but rounds out the base notes to keep the flavor deep and rich.

Can I Use a Different Type of Bean?

While I haven’t tried other varieties, I will say that cannellini are particularly smooth and creamy. I wouldn’t expect other beans to give quite as good results.

Can I Freeze This Tomato Soup?

Yes, this tomato soup should freeze beautifully. Just as a reminder, make sure to cool the soup completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer. It’s always a good idea to divide the soup into smaller portions for faster cooling.

A hand holding a white mug full of secret ingredient tomato soup, garnished with croutons and thyme

 

Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup

This super thick, warm, and comforting tomato soup has two secret ingredients that make it rich and delicious without any dairy. 100% vegan!

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary ($0.03)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste ($0.27)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.04)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth ($0.26)
  • 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans ($0.49)
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast ($0.06)
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste ($0.01)
  1. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) to a soup pot. Cook and stir the herbs and oil over medium heat for about one minute, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant.

  2. Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Continue to stir and cook the tomato paste mixture over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Pour the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth into the pot and stir to combine. As the soup begins to heat through, add a can of cannellini beans (with the liquid from the can) to a blender and purée until completely smooth. Pour the pouréed beans into the soup and stir to combine again.

  4. Place a lid on the pot and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

  5. After simmering for 20 minutes, add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Taste the soup and add salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp). Serve hot.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a bowl of secret ingredient tomato soup with whole grain croutons and a black spoon lifting a bite

How to Make Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup – Step by Step Photos

Garlic, herbs and olive oil in a soup pot

Start by adding 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a pot. Cook and stir over medium heat for about one minute, or just until it begins to sizzle and the garlic becomes fragrant.

Add tomato paste and brown sugar to the soup pot with oil and herbs

Next, add 3 oz. tomato paste (just eyeball 1/2 of a 6 oz. can, or about 5 Tbsp) and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the soup pot with the oil and herbs. Continue to cook and stir for 2-3 more minutes.

Cooked tomato paste with oil and herbs

The tomato paste and oil mixture looks weird, and won’t really mix together, but don’t worry, you’re doing it right.

Crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth added to soup pot

After cooking the tomato paste for a few minutes, add 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes and two cups of vegetable broth. Stir to combine and let it begin to heat through, still over medium heat.

Pureed white beans in a blender, from above.

Pour one 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, with the liquid in the can, into a blender and purée until completely smooth.

Pureed cannellini beans being stirred into tomato soup

Pour the puréed cannellini beans into the pot with the tomato soup and stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmered soup, with nutritional yeast added

After simmering for 20 minutes, add 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Taste the soup and add salt to your liking (I added 1/4 tsp). You can also add more nutritional yeast for extra cheesy goodness, if you like!

Five different bowls full of tomato soup with the soup pot and ladle at the top

It’s sooooo rich and delicious!!

Overhead view of secret ingredient tomato soup in a white bowl with black rim, and a black spoon.

The post Secret Ingredient Tomato Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but […]

The post One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta was inspired by those little packets of powdered pasta sauce mix I always see in the grocery store. While those little packets are probably great for camping, stocking a bomb shelter, or keeping in your emergency hurricane supplies, I think regular weeknights call for something better. Better but not harder. This Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta comes together in about 25 minutes, is super luscious and creamy, and uses just a few simple ingredients. ;)

Overhead view of a skillet full of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta with a wooden spoon in the side.

Chicken, Spinach, and Tomatoes Optional

This recipe idea started as just pasta and sauce. Because sometimes that’s all you need to be satisfied. But I like to rummage through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to find leftover ingredients that can be added to whatever I’m cooking. So I ended up with this creamy pesto chicken pasta, with spinach and sun dried tomatoes. But I ate it as just pasta and sauce during testing and it still made me do the happy chair wiggle.

What Type of Pasta Should I Use?

I used penne pasta, but bowties or rotini would also work well. Because this pasta to broth ratio is very important in one pot pastas I can’t vouch for alternative pastas like gluten-free, rice, chickpea, or even whole wheat pasta. They absorb broth differently than semolina pasta and may not work the same in this recipe.

Tips for Success with “one pot” Pastas

One pot pastas can be tricky for some because the pasta is cooked in a much smaller amount of liquid than traditional pasta cooking methods. Here are a few tips to make sure your one pot pasta cooks evenly and to the right texture:

  • Make sure you’re using quality cookware. Use cookware that is thick, heavy, and transfers heat evenly. Thin cookware will leave some pasta overcooked and some pasta undercooked.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to your cookware. This will help the pot heat evenly and cook the pasta evenly.
  • Make sure the broth maintains a strong simmer throughout the cooking time. If it’s not simmering, the pasta will become mushy.
  • Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and make sure the pasta cooks evenly.
  • Keep the pot covered to trap steam, which will help cook the pasta.

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

 

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

This super lush and Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. Everything cooks in one pot and is done in under 30 minutes! 

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast ($5.56)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. penne pasta ($0.40)
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth ($0.20)
  • 1 cup milk ($0.32)
  • 3 oz. cream cheese* ($0.29)
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto ($0.73)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)

Optional Add-Ins

  • 3 cup fresh spinach ($0.90)
  • 1/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes ($1.10)
  1. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add the butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside.

  2. While the chicken is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the chicken and continue to sauté for one minute more.

  3. Add the uncooked pasta and chicken broth to the skillet with the chicken and garlic. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil.

  4. Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir the pasta briefly every two minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly each time.

  5. Once the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed, add the milk, cream cheese (cut into chunks), and pesto. Stir and cook over medium heat until the cream cheese has fully melted into the sauce. Finally, add the grated Parmesan and stir until combined.

  6. If using, add the fresh spinach and sliced sun dried tomatoes. Stir until the spinach has wilted, then remove the pasta from the heat. Top the pasta with freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper, then serve.

*Cream cheese usually has markings on the outer wrapping showing lines for each ounce. Use this as a guide to cut three ounces from the block.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta in a shallow bowl with a black fork.

Love one pot pasta? Check out my One Pot Meals category for more! 

How to Make Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Browned chicken pieces in a deep skillet

Cut one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1-inch pieces. Add 2 Tbsp butter to a deep skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until the chicken is slightly browned on the outside. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté for one minute more. (I’m using an OXO 4-quart covered skillet)

Uncooked pasta and chicken broth added to the skillet

Add 1/2 lb. uncooked penne pasta and 1.5 cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir briefly to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Lid being placed on the skillet with uncooked pasta and chicken

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil.

Cooked pasta in the skillet with a spatula pulling the pasta to the side to show no broth remains

Once the broth comes to a full boil, give the pasta a brief stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low and let it continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth absorbed. Stir the pasta every two minutes or so as it simmers, replacing the lid each time.

Milk being poured into the skillet with chunks of cream cheese and pesto.

Add 3 oz. cream cheese (cut into chunks), 1/3 cup pesto, and 1 cup milk to the skillet. Stir and cook the mixture over medium until the cream cheese has fully melted and the sauce is creamy.

Finished creamy pesto pasta sauce and pasta in the skillet

Once the cream cheese has fully melted in, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and stir to combine.

Spinach and sun dried tomatoes added to the skillet

If you’re adding spinach and sun dried tomatoes, like I did, add them once the sauce is finished and stir just until the spinach has wilted, then remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished creamy pesto chicken pasta in the skillet topped with black pepper and crushed red pepper

Whether you are using spinach and sun dried tomatoes or not, finish the creamy pesto chicken pasta off with some freshly cracked pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. The little pops of flavor that these two bring to the dish really take it to the next level!

Close up of One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Dive in! :)

The post One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

This past week I was talking to a reporter from MarketWatch and as I told the story of Budget Bytes I joked about being a broke college graduate and not wanting to eat canned beans times a day. Well, I’m kind of eating my words now because when canned beans are prepared like this, I […]

The post Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This past week I was talking to a reporter from MarketWatch and as I told the story of Budget Bytes I joked about being a broke college graduate and not wanting to eat canned beans times a day. Well, I’m kind of eating my words now because when canned beans are prepared like this, I seriously could eat them all day, every day! This easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup only takes eight simple ingredients, is crazy flavorful, and will give you all those warm cozy fall vibes!

Three bowls of Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup with different toppings like toasted bread, croutons, and pesto.

How to Serve Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

This soup is fairly simple at heart, but still has bold flavor that stands up on its own, with maybe just a piece of crusty bread for dipping. That being said, I got creative when I was photographing the soup and started added some fun toppings. I drizzled a little pesto over one bowl, topped another with some homemade croutons, and shaved a bit of fresh Parmesan over another. I can also imagine a little melty gruyere or smoked mozzarella would be fabulous, or even just a dash of hot sauce.

Optional Add-Ins

You know I like to keep things simple, but if you happen to have these ingredients on hand and need to use them up, feel free to toss them into your Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup: 

  • Diced carrots or celery sautéed with the onion 
  • Bacon cooked until brown, the fat used in place of the olive oil (remove bacon and add back to the soup after cooking)
  • Ham sautéed with the onions until crispy 
  • Zucchini added with the beans
  • Kale or spinach stirred into the soup at the end
  • Lemon juice added to the soup after cooking (1-2 Tbsp)

Can I Use Dry Beans?

You can definitely make a similar soup using dry beans, but it would require several extra steps, which I would need to test before offering instructions. 

A bowl of Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup with croutons and a black spoon in the middle

Can I Make This in an Instant Pot?

Since this soup doesn’t require any fancy techniques, you can probably just use the “soup” function on the Instant Pot (you may still want to use the sauté function for the first step with the garlic and oil). But it’s so fast on the stove top, it might be faster to do it this way than waiting for the IP to come up to pressure and depressurize!

Can I Freeze This Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup?

Absolutely! This soup will freeze very well. I made a fairly small batch, but you can easily double it and freeze half for later. To double the recipe, change the number of servings in the recipe card below to 8, and all the other ingredients will auto adjust.

 

Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup

This incredibly easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup takes only eight simple ingredients to deliver a bowl full of rich, bold flavor.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 3 15 oz. cans cannellini beans ($1.47)
  • 2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth ($0.26)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.02)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste ($0.03)
  1. Before you begin, pour one of the cans of cannellini beans (with its liquid) into a blender and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans of beans.

  2. Mince the garlic and add it to a soup pot with the olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium for about one minute, or just until the garlic is very fragrant.

  3. Add the puréed cannellini beans, the other two cans of drained beans, broth, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.

  4. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, remove the lid, and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Smash the beans slightly to thicken the soup even more. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (I did not add any, this will depend on the salt content of your broth). Serve hot, with crusty bread for dipping!

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a ladle full of rosemary garlic white bean soup hovering over the soup pot, steam coming off the soup.

Love beans as much as I do? Check out my entire recipe category dedicated to BEANS! :D

Step by Step Photos

Pureed white beans in a blender, from above.

Before you begin, add one can of cannellini beans, with the liquid in the can, to a blender and purée until smooth.

Minced garlic and olive oil in a soup pot

Mince four cloves of garlic and add them to a soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium for about one minute, or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant.

Add white beans (whole and pureed) to the soup pot

Add two DRAINED cans of cannellini beans, plus the can of puréed beans to the soup pot.

Broth and herbs added to the soup.

Also add 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.

Simmered rosemary garlic white bean soup

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, remove the lid, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering for 15 minutes, smash some of the beans to thicken the soup even more. Give it a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any). 

Three bowls of rosemary garlic white bean soup with different toppings (pesto, croutons, Parmesan).

Serve the soup hot with crusty bread for dipping, or whatever fun toppings you might have on hand!

Close up of a spoonful of rosemary garlic white bean soup.

 

The post Easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.