Comeback Sauce

Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing […]

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Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing onto just about any food. It’s not called “comeback sauce” for nothing. It will keep you coming back for more. And more. And MORE. (I “accidentally” ate an entire bunch of broccoli in one sitting, thanks to this delicious sauce.)

Comeback Sauce – Creamy, Tangy, Sweet, and Savory

A piece of roasted broccoli being dipped into a bowl of comeback sauce

What is Comeback Sauce?

This unique sauce is said to have originated in a Greek restaurant in Mississippi, but it quickly spread throughout the entire south. The original sauce had a base of mayonnaise and Heinz Chili Sauce (a tomato based sauce not to be confused with Sweet Chili Sauce), plus some other seasonings. There are many interpretations of this addictive sauce, with each person putting their own spin on the original as it spread across the region. Because Heinz Chili Sauce is not something I keep in my pantry, I made a few substitutions to create a similar flavor profile using items that I keep on hand, and in the process put the Budget Bytes stamp on the classic comeback sauce. ;)

What Do You Serve it With?

What can you not serve it with is probably a more appropriate question! It’s a fantastic all-purpose dip for things like roasted vegetables (shown with roasted broccoli), fried foods like french fries, chicken fingers or nuggets, or chips. It’s also great smeared onto burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, or wrap sandwiches. I wouldn’t be opposed to using this as a salad dressing, or using it to make an extra flavorful batch of coleslaw!

Close up of broccoli being dipped into comeback sauce

 
Close up of broccoli being dipped into comeback sauce

Comeback Sauce

This creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory Comeback Sauce is great for dipping, drizzling, smearing, and smothering all of your favorite foods. 
Total Cost $1.03 recipe. /$0.21 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 5 2 Tbsp each
Calories 158.8kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.80
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup $0.10
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp hot sauce* $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*Any vinegar based hot sauce like Tabasco.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 158.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.44g | Protein: 0.34g | Fat: 16.52g | Sodium: 319.92mg | Fiber: 0.06g

Check out these other homemade sauces:

A bowl of comeback sauce surrounded by roasted broccoli

How to Make Comeback Sauce – Step by Step Photos

sauce ingredients in a bowl, not mixed

Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ⅛ tsp salt.

Finished comeback sauce being stirred with a red spatula

Stir the ingredients together until smooth. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Overhead view of a bowl of comeback sauce surrounded by roasted broccoli

Shown with roasted broccoli – toss broccoli in oil, then roast at 400ºF for about 30 minutes, or until you reach your desired level of brown.

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Honey Vanilla Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve fallen in love with a new budget ingredient: cottage cheese. A lot of people are turned off by the texture of cottage cheese, but when you whip it up in a blender it becomes as smooth and creamy as yogurt, and is just as versatile! I made […]

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I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve fallen in love with a new budget ingredient: cottage cheese. A lot of people are turned off by the texture of cottage cheese, but when you whip it up in a blender it becomes as smooth and creamy as yogurt, and is just as versatile! I made a savory Garlic Herb Cottage Cheese Dip a couple months ago, so I thought I’d also make a sweet version for dipping fruit. This rich, tangy, and sweet Honey Vanilla Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip is a deliciously sensible option for dessert.

Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip with Honey and Vanilla

A hand dipping a slice of apple into the fruit dip on a tray of fruit

Why Cottage Cheese?

Cottage cheese provides a similar creamy-tangy flavor and high protein content as Greek yogurt, but at a fraction of the price. The 24oz. tub of cottage cheese that I bought was only $1.59, compared to about $3.99 for Greek yogurt. Once the cottage cheese is puréed in a blender, the texture is thick and smooth, and like Greek yogurt, the flavor is versatile enough to pair with both sweet and savory ingredients.

What Type of Cottage Cheese is Best?

The brand and type of cottage cheese matters here. For the creamiest dip, avoid low-fat cottage cheese. I used Aldi’s “full fat” cottage cheese, which is only 4% milk fat, or slightly more than whole milk, and the dip was deliciously rich and creamy. I also tested this recipe with Breakstone’s low-fat cottage cheese (2% milk fat) and the result was a little on the chalky side. So make sure you’re using a cottage cheese that you enjoy the flavor of plain, and then it will surely taste good in the dip.

How to Use the Fruit Dip

Besides the obvious use to dip your fresh cut fruit, you can also use this fruit dip for other things! You can add it to your fruit smoothie, just like you’d add yogurt, for a creamy shot of protein. You can use it to make a parfait with fresh fruit and granola, or you can make some “fruit nachos” with cinnamon pita chips, finely diced fresh fruit, and a drizzle of this fruit dip. 

A fork dipping a piece of pineapple into the cottage cheese fruit dip, surrounded by fruit.

 
A hand dipping a fresh strawberry into the fruit dip on a fruit platter
Print

Honey Vanilla Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

Cottage cheese is whipped up into a silky smooth texture, sweetened with honey, and flavored with vanilla in this deliciously sensible dessert fruit dip. 
Total Cost $0.94 recipe / $0.24 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 about ¼ cup each
Calories 76.2kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cottage cheese (4% fat) $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.25
  • ½ tsp vanilla $0.15
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)* $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp water $0.00

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth.
  • Serve immediately with fresh cut fruit for dipping, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

*Lemon juice is optional. With lemon juice the dip has a slightly tangier flavor, like cheesecake. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 76.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.33g | Protein: 5.5g | Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 162.25mg | Fiber: 0.03g

A bowl of cottage cheese fruit dip in the middle of a fruit platter

How to Make Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip – Step by Step Photos

Cottage cheese, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, and water in the blender

Add 1 cup cottage cheese (4% fat), 2 Tbsp honey, ½ tsp vanilla, 1 tsp lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp water to a blender.

A spoon lifting the blended fruit dip from the blender

Purée the mixture until smooth and creamy. You may need to stop and stir a couple times to really get it going, but once it starts smoothing out, it should blend easily.

A piece of melon being dipped into the cottage cheese fruit dip with a fork

Serve with your favorite fresh fruit and enjoy!

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Jalapeño Popper Dip

If you love jalapeño poppers, you’ll love this dippable version! Jalapeño Popper Dip is easy to make, deliciously cheesy, and perfect for everything from parties to movie night to game day. INTRO JALAPEÑO POPPER DIP WITH PANKO TOPPING Jalapeño poppers are always a hit at parties. Spicy and cheesy, they’re one of the first appetizers […]

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If you love jalapeño poppers, you’ll love this dippable version! Jalapeño Popper Dip is easy to make, deliciously cheesy, and perfect for everything from parties to movie night to game day.

White baking dish of jalapeno popper dip with a spoon in it, next to chips and a plate of dip and chips

INTRO
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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herb Dip

A copycat of Carrabba’s Italian Butter made with a blend of herbs, garlic, and olive oil.

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herb Dip is a garlicky, flavorful accompaniment to any bread. This copycat of Carrabba’s Italian Butter is so easy to make, you might just want to enjoy it with every meal!

Shallow bowl of olive oil herb dip on a white platter with bread, olives and cured meats

We’re not eating out much these days – pretty much like the rest of the world, I’d assume.

You may or may not know this, but in addition to teaching, I spent a long time in the restaurant service industry, managing a restaurant while in college and waiting tables all throughout my teaching career.

While I could say a lot about waiting tables being necessary while also teaching full time, I’m here to focus on the food.

In our local area, we have tons of locally owned restaurants that we frequent all the time and are getting take-out from right now to help support the industry. But there’s one thing those restaurants don’t have, and that’s Carrabba’s Italian Butter.

If you have never dined at Carrabba’s, you may not have experienced this herb and olive oil bliss that they serve with every meal. The olive oil bread dip is incredibly addictive and it’s pretty much the #1 reason why we eat there.

They bring the herbs and fresh minced garlic out in a small dish and add olive oil to it table-side, creating the perfect “dip” for their piping-hot bread.
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Garlic Herb Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip

I’m continuing my new love affair with cottage cheese and experimenting with all the fun things you can do with this inexpensive source of protein. I know a lot of people just can’t stand the texture of cottage cheese, so I wanted to play around with whipping it up into a smooth sauce or dip […]

The post Garlic Herb Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m continuing my new love affair with cottage cheese and experimenting with all the fun things you can do with this inexpensive source of protein. I know a lot of people just can’t stand the texture of cottage cheese, so I wanted to play around with whipping it up into a smooth sauce or dip to get rid of the “curds” that turn so many people off. My first experiment was this Garlic Herb Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip (using my all-purpose garlic herb seasoning), which turned out amazing and tastes a lot like ranch dip, but with way better nutrition stats. Pair this creamy dip with some vegetables and crackers for dipping and you’ve got a pretty meal-worthy “snack.”

Smooth & Creamy Garlic Herb Cottage Cheese Dip

A platter full of crackers and vegetables with a bowl of garlic herb cottage cheese dip in the center

How to Use Garlic Herb Cottage Cheese Dip (or spread!)

As I was crunching down on my cottage cheese dipped vegetables and crackers, I was thinking of all the delicious ways you could use this dip! In addition to dipping vegetables and crackers, this dip would make an awesome spread for a veggie sandwich or wrap sandwich. And I’d totally spread this all over a toasted bagel if I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand. And while I haven’t tried it, I suspect this would be good stirred into mashed potatoes! 😱

How Long Does it Keep?

You probably don’t want to keep this in your fridge any longer than about 5 days. Dried herbs and spices contain natural yeasts and molds that become activated when hydrated, and they can grow at colder refrigerator temperatures. But hey, this is a small 1 cup batch, so I think you’ll be able to eat it up within that time!

What Kind of Blender do I Need?

I just used my super inexpensive Hamilton Beach single serving blender (the type usually marketed for smoothies), so you definitely don’t need anything super powerful to make this dip. If you have a small food processor, that would also work well. 

What Brand Cottage Cheese Do you Recommend?

Okay, so here’s the thing with cottage cheese: they can vary a LOT from brand to brand. I find that a lot of brands add a lot of extra ingredients in attempt to make the texture and color better, but IMHO those ingredients just end up making it taste a little off. So, I look for brands with the least amount of Ingredients. Daisy is the best I’ve found, but it’s also more expensive. The worst, IMHO, is Kroger brand. This week I used Aldi’s Friendly Farms brand and it fell somewhere in the middle. It’s okay and the price is great, so I rolled with it. Feel free to leave your favorite brand in the comments below! I’d love to hear your fav’s.

4%, Low-fat, or No-fat Cottage Cheese?

I definitely recommend 4% fat cottage cheese for this recipe. The little bit of fat really helps the flavor and mouthfeel of the dip and even though it’s the “highest fat” version available, it’s still far less than sour cream or mayonnaise based dips.

A cracker being dipped into the whipped cottage cheese dip, the platter of vegetables and crackers in the background

Shown in a small Splatterware Collection enamelware bowl.

 

Garlic Herb Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip

Say goodbye to curds because this Garlic Herb Cottage Cheese Dip is whipped until smooth and creamy for a high protein vegetable and chip dip!

  • 1 tsp dried parsley ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese ($0.53)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice ($0.01)
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth. You may need to add about 1 Tbsp water if the mixture is too thick to blend, but avoid adding excess water as this will make your dip too thin.

  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

How to Make Garlic Herb Whipped Cottage Cheese – Step by Step Photos

all-purpose garlic herb seasoning in a small wooden bowl

Make the All-Purpose Garlic Herb Seasoning by combining 1 Tbsp dried parsley, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill).

Add cottage cheese and seasoning to a blender

Add 1 cup cottage cheese, 1 tsp lemon juice, and your garlic herb seasoning to a blender. Purée until smooth, adding a tablespoon of water, if needed, if the mixture is too thick to blend.

A spoon lifting some whipped cottage cheese dip out of the blender

Avoid adding too much water so the dip doesn’t get too watery. It will firm up a bit after being chilled in the refrigerator, too.

A platter full of crackers and vegetables with a bowl of Whipped Cottage Cheese Dip in the center

Serve your whipped cottage cheese dip immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 days! This would be another great dip to include in your meal prep Veggie Snack Packs!

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Loaded Chicken Wing Dip with Beer Caramelized Onions.

This wing dip is sponsored by ALDI! I’m so excited to be working with them to bring you some amazing dishes this year! It’s dip season! And I am here for you with this loaded wing dip! Oh my gosh you guys. This app right here is chock-full of EVERYTHING you want to eat (and […]

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This wing dip is sponsored by ALDI! I’m so excited to be working with them to bring you some amazing dishes this year!

It’s dip season! And I am here for you with this loaded wing dip!

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

Oh my gosh you guys. This app right here is chock-full of EVERYTHING you want to eat (and share!) for the Big Game. Gooey, melty cheese, juicy shredded chicken, three sauces, beer caramelized onions (!!) – seriously everything. I’m pumped! 

beer caramelized onions

Today I’m partnering with ALDI again to bring you a deeeelish spread just in time for the Big Game! They have seriously everything you need for an incredible game spread. Not only am I sharing this fabulous dip, but also a few of their new dreamy hummus and salsa varieties. Oh and their ready-to-go wings! So good, and they come with extra sauce. 

My obsession with ALDI is going wild and I’m happy to report that I brought home a huge haul from there on Sunday. I found every.single.thing. I needed for the week plus for this recipe. Woohoo! 

p.s. If you need any ideas for a spread, check out the incredible tailgate football food spread I made all with ingredients from ALDI! 

wing dip ingredients

So the dip. THE DIP!

First, I cooked a few Never Any! Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts from ALDI and chopped them up. I love this recipe because you can make the chicken and use it in the dip, use leftover chicken from dinner or use a rotisserie chicken. You really can’t go wrong! 

wing dip ingredients

Oh my word. I am such a lunatic for this dip! The flavor is unreal. It’s more flavorful than just about any other chicken dip I’ve tried.

See, it’s no secret that I’m a buffalo chicken freak. And if you noticed over the holidays, I made the classic dip (after a 10 (or so) year hiatus!) and fell in love again. It was a weird craving that materialized and everyone else in my family was here for it. We burned out on buffalo chicken dip after making it nonstop in the early 2000s, so bringing it back for a night (or, um, and entire holiday) was a delicious surprise.

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

Then I realized that I love BBQ as much, if not more than, buffalo wing flavors. And I’ve made BBQ chicken dip before, but it wasn’t until someone at our party asked me about it that I considered… combining the two. Yes. Combining them. 

And then adding the other things that we have with wings, so maybe a little smokiness? A little honey mustard? Plus blue cheese and ranch, like usual. Then, trashing it up more with beer caramelized onions! I used the Wernesgrüner Pilsner from ALDI to caramelize and the flavor is over the top.

Oh boy, this is just getting good.

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

If I didn’t loathe celery so much, maybe I’d even chop that up and throw it in the dip for you too. Alas, I saved it as a dipper. But seriously? We have ALL THE FLAVORS here. Can I just call it ALL THE FLAVORS dip? 

Because that sounds appropriate. 

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

Let’s go through the wing dip spread!

Front and center, we have the warm, melty, cheesy dip that is divine. I like to serve this with both the Clancy’s Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips and the Savoritz Sea Salt Pita Crackers. There’s a little something for everyone!

ALDI buffalo wing hummus

Along with that, a few dips. The Park Street Deli Avocado Salsa is refreshing and wonderful. It’s great as a dip on its own but also delish on tacos, salads and bowls! The Park Street Deli Buffalo Hummus complements the dip here so well. It’s smooth and creamy – perfect for when you want that buffalo flavor but don’t have enough time (or, friends to eat it with you!) to make a big dip like this. 

My favorite is the Park Street Deli Jalapeno Lime Hummus. Oh it’s just amazing! It bright but creamy, light but with a touch of heat. Everyone loves this one. It’s amazing on wraps or sandwiches too! 

All of these delish snacks – the Park Street Hummuses, Park Street Salsas and Park Street Wings, along with the Clancy’s Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips can be found at Aldi for a limited time! Run and go get them!

ALDI hummus

Because Eddie loves all things wings, I grabbed a few of the Park Street Deli Wings. These are SO GOOD. They come ready to eat – all you have to do is heat them up. I loved the maple BBQ ones so much. 

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

These extra bites are the perfect things to add to a spread with a hot and bubbly dip! 

Now run run run and get all the flavors.

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

Loaded Wing Dip

Loaded Wing Dip with Beer Caramelized Onions

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of chedder. All the flavors!

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, (thinly sliced)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ⅓ cup Wernesgrüner Pilsner
  • 2 Never Any! Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, (cooked and shredded)
  • 2 8-ounce blocks Happy Farms Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 block Reserved Aged Cheddar, (freshly grated)
  • 1 bag Happy Farms Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese, (plus more for topping)
  • ¼ cup Burman’s Hot Sauce, (plus more for drizzling)
  • 1/4 cup Burman’s BBQ Sauce, (plus more for drizzling)
  • ½ cup honey mustard, (plus more for drizzling)
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing

for serving:

  • Park Street Deli Buffalo Hummus
  • Park Street Deli Jalapeno Lime Hummus
  • Park Street Deli Avocado Salsa
  • Clancy’s Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips
  • Savortiz Pita Chips
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  1. Heat a large skillet over low heat and add the butter. Add the sliced onions with the salt and pepper and stir. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the pilsner and cook, stirring often, until the onions caramelize, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, almost all the cheese (I save a handful for topping the dip!), the hot sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch and blue cheese. You can use an electric hand mixer to combine things more if needed! Once combined, stir in the caramelized onions and the shredded chicken. Spread the mixture in a baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Add on another drizzle of BBQ sauce, buffalo and honey mustard.
  4. Bake the dip for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and bubbly and hot. Serve immediately with carrot sticks, celery sticks, crackers and chips.

This loaded wing dip is full of buffalo wing sauce, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese and tons of cheddar. All the flavors!

Give me all the flavors!

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Indian Style Creamed Spinach

This Indian Style Creamed Spinach is a bit like Palak Paneer, but without the paneer. …because my homemade paneer didn’t turn out. 😅 But that’s okay! The creamy spiced spinach is absolutely delightful on its own, so it’s still totally worth sharing. It’s amazing for dipping bread (preferably naan), spooning over rice, or using as […]

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This Indian Style Creamed Spinach is a bit like Palak Paneer, but without the paneer. …because my homemade paneer didn’t turn out. 😅 But that’s okay! The creamy spiced spinach is absolutely delightful on its own, so it’s still totally worth sharing. It’s amazing for dipping bread (preferably naan), spooning over rice, or using as a base for a more complete meal.

Originally posted 3-12-12, updated 1-22-2020.

Indian Creamed Spinach

A black bowl full of Indian Creamed Spinach on a wooden plate with a piece of naan dunked into the bowl

Make it Dairy-free or with Dairy

When I originally posted this recipe seven years ago I made it with evaporated milk. Since that time I’ve discovered how incredibly amazing coconut is with garam masala, so this time around I swapped out the evaporated milk for coconut milk. That also happens to make this recipe vegan and friendly to those who can’t consume dairy. If you prefer the dairy version, simply use one cup evaporated milk in place of the coconut milk.

Can I Use Light Coconut Milk?

Yes, you can use light coconut milk in place of the full-fat coconut milk, but the end result will be slightly less thick. I do not suggest using coconut milk sold in a carton, the type meant to be used as a dairy milk substitute. It will be far too watery for this recipe.

What to Serve with Indian Creamed Spinach

As mentioned in the intro, this Indian style creamed spinach makes a great side dish. You can serve it with dishes like Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala, or Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils. Or, you can add a couple more ingredients into your creamed spinach and make that your main dish. Consider adding cubed tofu, a can of chickpeas, or a diced potato or two.

A skillet full of Indian Creamed Spinach with a wooden spoon in the center

Is this Creamed Spinach Spicy?

This recipe does have a little heat, thanks to a ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. If you prefer a mild creamed spinach, simply skip the cayenne pepper.

Is there a Substitute for the Garam Masala?

If you can’t find Garam Masala in a store near you, you can substitute it with curry powder. Or, try your hand at making a homemade garam masala

 

Indian Style Creamed Spinach

Rich and fragrant, this Indian Creamed Spinach makes a delicious side dish or, with a few additions, a simple vegetarian meal.

  • 1 13.5 oz. can full-fat coconut milk ($1.79)
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach ($1.29)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger ($0.30)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 tsp cumin ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp garam masala ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric ($0.05)
  • 1/4¼ tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 large tomato ($0.97)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.03)
  1. Add the coconut milk and spinach to a large pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the coconut milk is warmed through and has wilted the spinach. Remove from the heat as soon as the spinach has wilted to avoid over cooking the spinach.

  2. Transfer the warm coconut milk and spinach to a blender and pulse until the spinach is in small pieces (you can choose to blend until smooth, if you prefer). Set this mixture aside.

  3. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

  4. Add the cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne to the skillet. Stir and cook the spices with the onion, garlic, and ginger for about two minutes more.

  5. Dice the tomato and add it to the skillet along with about 1/4 cup water. Stir and cook the tomato with the other ingredients, dissolving any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the tomato has broken down (5-8 minutes).

  6. Finally, add the coconut and spinach mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to heat through, stirring occasionally.

  7. Taste the creamed spinach and add salt to taste. Start with 1/4 tsp, adding more as needed until the flavors pop (I added 3/4 tsp).

Front view of a bowl full of Indian style creamed spinach with a spoon lifting a bite and a piece of naan stuck in the side of the bowl

 

How to Make Indian Creamed Spinach – Step By Step Photos

Add coconut milk to pot

Start by pouring one 13.5 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk into a soup pot.

Wilted spinach in the coconut milk

Add 8 oz. of fresh spinach to the coconut milk. Stir and cook over medium heat just until the spinach has wilted (this should only take about five minutes). Do not over cook the spinach here. It should still be bright green in color.

Blended spinach and coconut in the blender

Transfer the warm coconut milk and spinach to a blender and pulse until the spinach is in small pieces. You can blend until smooth if you prefer, but I like a little texture in mine. Set this mixture aside.

Onion, garlic, and ginger in skillet

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and grate about 1 Tbsp fresh ginger. Add all three to a skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

Spices added to skillet with onion garlic and ginger

Once the onions are soft, add 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garam masala, ½ tsp turmeric, and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper to the skillet. Stir and cook the spices with the onion, garlic, and ginger for about 2 minutes more.

Diced tomato added to skillet

Dice one tomato and add it to the skillet along with about ¼ cup water. Stir and cook the tomato with the other ingredients, dissolving any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet, until the tomatoes have broken down (5-8 minutes).

Pour coconut spinach into skillet

Finally, pour the coconut and spinach mixture into the skillet and stir to combine.

Finished Indian Style Creamed Spinach in the skillet

Allow the mixture to heat through, stirring occasionally. Once hot, give it a taste and add salt as needed. I added about ¾ tsp. I suggest starting with ¼ tsp and adding more to your liking. Adding the correct amount of salt will help the flavors pop.

A finished skillet full of Indian Style Creamed Spinach with naan on the side and a wooden spoon in the center of the skillet

Serve hot with some bread for dipping!

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Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

We are rapidly descending into party season. There are Halloween parties, then Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving, Christmas parties, and then finally New Year’s Eve parties. It’s like boom-boom-boom-boom! So I thought I’d get started with some party food ammo for you. This Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is probably the easiest no-brainer holiday appetizer. Bring it to any […]

The post Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We are rapidly descending into party season. There are Halloween parties, then Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving, Christmas parties, and then finally New Year’s Eve parties. It’s like boom-boom-boom-boom! So I thought I’d get started with some party food ammo for you. This Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is probably the easiest no-brainer holiday appetizer. Bring it to any party you’re going to, and it will get eaten.

I’ve even got a few variations on this simple theme for you below, so you can take your pick and make it your own!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip Holiday Appetizer

Front view of a cranberry cream cheese dip platter with crackers and apple slices

What’s in Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip?

It’s so simple. So, so simple. Just cream cheese, homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, sugar, water, salt), and green onion. And I implore you not to skip the green onion. That savory onion flavor really rounds out the dip!

What to Serve with Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

It’s that combo of savory, sweet, tart, and salty that makes this super simple dish so irresistible! Because this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip is both savory and sweet, it pairs equally well with salty crackers and sweet apple slices. It might even be good to add a few slices of sharp cheddar to that platter, to make a little cracker, apple, cheddar, and cranberry stack!

Can I Make This Ahead?

Absolutely! The cranberry sauce keeps very well in the refrigerator, so you can make that up to two days ahead. Then just assemble the dip before the party and you’re good to go.

Two hands smearing cranberry cream cheese dip on a cracker over the platter

Can I Use Canned Cranberry Sauce?

Technically you can, but I find canned sauces to have much more muted flavor, and they can even sometimes taste a bit metallic. Homemade cranberry sauce literally takes less than ten minutes to make, so for best results I suggest making it fresh.

Variations on the Theme

As I mentioned in the intro, this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip has several options. Here are my favorites:

  • Add jalapeño to make it like a cross between pepper jelly and cranberry sauce (this is the option pictured below)
  • Make a classic cranberry sauce (with or without orange) and add crushed pecans or walnuts on top of the dip
  • Use a different cheese. Cream cheese is the budget option, but you can also make this dip with chevre (goat cheese) or even baked brie.

Close up of cranberry cream cheese dip smeared on a cracker

 

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Rich cream cheese, tangy homemade cranberry sauce, and savory green onions make a simple but delicious appetizer for any holiday gathering!

  • 6 oz. fresh cranberries ($1.25)
  • 1/4 cup sugar ($0.08)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.15)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese ($0.79)
  • 3 green onions, sliced ($0.33)
  • 1 box crackers (for serving) (2.95)
  • 1 apple (for serving) ($0.33)
  1. Rinse the cranberries then add them to a small sauce pot with the sugar, water, and salt.

  2. If using a jalapeño, remove the stem, slice it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds (or leave some in if you like it extra spicy), then finely dice the pepper. Add the diced pepper to the sauce pot.

  3. Stir the pot to combine, place a lid on top, and place it over medium-high heat. Allow the pot to come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a good stir, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer without a lid for 5 minutes.

  4. After simmering for 5 minutes, the cranberries should have all burst open and created a thick sauce. Turn the heat off and transfer the sauce to the refrigerator to cool.

  5. Place the cream cheese on a small plate or in a shallow bowl. Use the back of a spoon to create an indentation along the center of the block of cream cheese.

  6. Pour the cooled cranberry sauce over the cream cheese, then top with sliced green onion. Serve with crackers and apple slices.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip platter with crackers and apple slices

How to Make Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip – Step by Step Photos

Deseeded jalapeño

If you’re using a jalapeño, slice off the stem, then slice the pepper lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds, or leave some in if you like your cranberry sauce extra spicy. Finely dice the pepper.

Cranberry sauce ingredients in the sauce pot

Add 6 oz. cranberries (that’s half of the standard 12 oz. bag), 1/4 cup sugar, the diced jalapeño (optional), 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup water to a small sauce pot. Stir to combine, place a lid on top, then place the pot over medium-high heat.

Finished homemade cranberry sauce

Allow the pot to come up to a boil. Once boiling, give it a quick stir again, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let it simmer without a lid for about 5 minutes. After five minutes all of the cranberries should have burst and the sauce thickened (if not, just let it simmer for a couple minutes more, it doesn’t take long). Turn the heat off, then transfer the sauce to the refrigerator to cool.

Make depression in cream cheese

When you’re ready to plate up your Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip for the party, place an 8 oz. block of cream cheese on a plate or shallow bowl (something that will catch the cranberry sauce runoff). Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation along the top of the cream cheese, so that some of the sauce stays on top.

Cranberry Sauce being spooned onto cream cheese

Then spoon the cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese.

Finished Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip platter with crackers, apples, green onion, and drinks on the side

Top the Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with sliced green onions, and surround the dish with an assortment of crackers and apple slices.

Front view of the Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip platter

And enjoy your party!!

The post Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We Are Making Pumpkin Queso Fundido! Oh Yes We Are.

Time to celebrate the first day of fall with pumpkin queso! I mean, let’s be real, I should say the OFFICIAL first day of fall. Because I’ve technically been celebrating the first day of fall in my secret brain since mid-August. I just can’t help it when it’s my favorite season. It can’t come soon […]

The post We Are Making Pumpkin Queso Fundido! Oh Yes We Are. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Time to celebrate the first day of fall with pumpkin queso!

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

I mean, let’s be real, I should say the OFFICIAL first day of fall. Because I’ve technically been celebrating the first day of fall in my secret brain since mid-August. I just can’t help it when it’s my favorite season. It can’t come soon enough and I never want it to end.

smooth creamy pumpkin queso

This means that now, I find it totally acceptable to share pumpkin recipes. I’m not super into sweet pumpkin things right now (though I do have one coming your way…), but savory pumpkin? I am ALL OVER IT.

homemade tortilla chips

If you own a copy of The Pretty Dish, then you may recognize this recipe. It’s a riff off of my butternut squash queso which may be one of the most popular recipes in the entire book. It is seriously incredible. You adore it, I adore it, we all adore it. 

I took that recipe and swapped a few things, adding pumpkin and turning it more into a queso fundido with chorizo. Since I’m not a huge sausage fan, it takes a lot for me to share a recipe with chorizo. Sometimes I make a dish with sausage for Eddie because he loves it, but other than that, I’m out.

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

UNLESS.

Unless of course it’s queso fundido, because who can say no to that? And who can say no to a fall version, when fall makes you feel all cozy and warm and spiced and happy?! 

Yesterday I decided that I want to be like fall. I want to make people feel cozy and warm and spiced and happy. You know? Be the human version of fall to others. 

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

Now let me tell you a secret.

This pumpkin queso? It’s even smoother and creamier than my butternut queso. I attribute that to the fact that I used canned pumpkin puree, which is silkier and smoother than my own roasted and blended pumpkin. When I make the butternut queso, I almost ALWAYS roast and puree my squash; it’s a bit thicker and even has a little texture to it sometimes. I don’t mind at all, ever. In fact, I love that it’s a little thicker because you can almost used it as a sauce of sorts on other recipes.

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

However, after having this super creamy and smooth pumpkin version? OH MAN. Be still my beating autumn heart. This is addictive. 

P.S. I did scrape out the seeds inside of this little pie pumpkin to use as the serving bowl for the queso. That is totally up to you! It’s a fun presentation, but it’s not necessary for the recipe. Unless you use the insides to make your own puree.

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

And do not fear: it’s very savory. It doesn’t taste like pumpkin bread or cake (I mean, I’m not a monster) and it tastes very much like a fall hug on a chip. 

Or on a potato.

Even on top of your scrambled eggs.

Or drizzled on your broccoli. 

Just sayin’.

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

Pumpkin Queso Fundido

Pumpkin Queso Fundido

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It’s delish!

  • ½ pound chorizo sausage, (removed from casing if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, (seeded and diced)
  • ½ sweet onion, (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups half and half, (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 16 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, (freshly grated)
  • 8 ounces monterey jack cheese, (freshly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons roasted, salted pepitas, ( for topping)
  • cilantro, (for topping)
  • jalapeno pepper sliced, (for topping)
  • cotija cheese, (for topping)
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add the chorizo. Using a wooden spoon to break it apart, cook until it is browned and in small crumbles, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a paper-towel lined plate to drain some of the excess grease.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Stir in the peppers, onions and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 to 6 minutes. Slowly stream in 1 cup of the half and half, whisking the entire time.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup half and half and cornstarch until no lumps remain to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the saucepan and cook for a minute until the milk thickens. Reduce the heat to low.
  4. Stir in the grated cheese, one small handful at a time, until melted. Stir in the pumpkin until combined. Transfer the mixture to a crock, larger bowl or a small crockpot with the heat on low.
  5. Spoon the chorizo on top of the queso, along with the pepitas, cilantro, peppers and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. Serve immediately with chips!

This pumpkin queso fundido is the perfect indulgence for fall. Warm pumpkin queso topped with chroizo, pepitas and jalapeños. It's delish!

Cheese quota for the month? Met.

The post We Are Making Pumpkin Queso Fundido! Oh Yes We Are. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

Homemade Kale Pesto

I’ve made kale pesto before (Kale Pesto Pasta), but I felt like the pesto needed a post itself. I often find myself with leftover fresh kale (why does it come in such HUGE qantities?), scrambling for ways to use it up before it gets slimy. Making a small batch of this Kale Pesto is one […]

The post Homemade Kale Pesto appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve made kale pesto before (Kale Pesto Pasta), but I felt like the pesto needed a post itself. I often find myself with leftover fresh kale (why does it come in such HUGE qantities?), scrambling for ways to use it up before it gets slimy. Making a small batch of this Kale Pesto is one great option. Once the kale is turned into pesto, it can be smeared or drizzled on just about anything.

(Another great option for leftover kale is to freeze it. Frozen kale is great sautéing and adding to pasta or pizza, or for tossing into soups, like Zuppa Toscana or Smoky Potato Chickpea Stew!)

A bowl of Kale Pesto on a wooden cutting board surrounded by lemons, walnuts, kale, and Parmesan

How to Use Kale Pesto

Kale pesto is good on EVERYTHING. Use it as a sandwich spread (I have a pesto grilled cheese coming your way later this week), drizzle it on eggs, in soups (I drizzled it on my Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup the other day), You can mix it into dips like hummus, toss with freshly cooked pasta, or use it as a sauce for pizza. Just put it on everything. You won’t be disappointed.

Why Kale Pesto?

So there are a couple of reasons that I like to make pesto with kale. First, it’s usually a lot less expensive and more accessible than large quantities of fresh basil, especially as we move into the fall and winter months (kale is a cold weather crop). Second, I always find myself with extra kale, so it’s a great way to make sure those leftover bits don’t go to waste. It does have a decidedly more bitter flavor than basil pesto, but if you’re a bitter flavor lover like me, that will be a bonus.

Close up of Kale Pesto on a spoon with the bowl in the background.

How Long Does Kale Pesto Last?

Because kale pesto contains fresh kale, it will only be good in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. The fresh kale in the pesto will begin to rot (and get stinky), just as the fresh leaves do. That’s one reason I made this a fairly small batch, yielding only about one cup.

That being said, you CAN freeze pesto! Most people like to freeze it in 1-2 Tbsp portions for easy thawing later. The easiest way to do that is in an ice cube tray, then transferring to a freezer bag once solid.

Can I Add Other Fresh Herbs?

Yes, yes, yes! If you have access to other fresh herbs, like basil, parsley, or even spinach, feel free to toss them in there with your kale! 

What Kind of Parmesan Should I Use?

There’s no arguing that fresh Parmesan in block or wedge form is far superior to the grated Parmesan bought in a can. That being said, I made this pesto with the kind in a can just to make sure it was still tasty even with a more affordable ingredient. If you have access to the better stuff, go ahead and use it! :) 

 

Kale Pesto

Making a small batch of kale pesto is a great way to use leftover kale. This flavorful pesto is great on sandwiches, in soups, dips, and more!

  • 4 cups torn kale leaves ($1.06)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil ($0.85)
  • 1 fresh lemon ($0.37)
  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts ($0.30)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan ($0.59)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  1. Make sure your kale leaves are washed well, any excess water is drained away, and any hard stems removed. Zest and juice the lemon.

  2. Add the kale, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a food processor. Process until the mixture is a fine textured paste. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, or lemon if desired. If you want a runnier pesto for drizzling, add extra oil, or up to 2 Tbsp water.

P.S. if you have frozen whole lemons, they would work great for this recipe! 

Overhead view of a bowl full of kale pesto with a black spoon in the middle

Step by Step Photos

Kale pesto ingredients in the food processor, whole.

Make sure your kale is washed well, excess water is drained away, and any large woody stems removed (I buy mine bagged and pre-chopped, but still need to remove some stems). Zest and juice the lemon. Add about 4 cups of kale to a food processor along with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Processed Kale Pesto in the food processor

Process the mixture until it is a fine textured paste. Taste, and adjust the lemon, salt, or pepper if desired. If you want the pesto to be a bit runnier (so you can drizzle it on things), you can add more oil or up to 2 Tbsp water.

overhead view of a bowl of kale pesto surrounded by the ingredients

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