Pizza Pasta Salad

This is kind of just like a basic Italian pasta salad, but I’m calling it “Pizza Pasta Salad” because this is how I use my leftover pizza toppings. Haha! When you buy a jar of peppers, olives, or any other pizza toppings, it’s always way too much for one pizza, so I repurpose all the […]

The post Pizza Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This is kind of just like a basic Italian pasta salad, but I’m calling it “Pizza Pasta Salad” because this is how I use my leftover pizza toppings. Haha! When you buy a jar of peppers, olives, or any other pizza toppings, it’s always way too much for one pizza, so I repurpose all the pizza toppings in a pasta salad the next day. And the best part is that this Pizza Pasta Salad is another one of those great “refrigerator salads” that hold up well for days, so you can keep munching away happily throughout the week!

Repurposed Pizza Topping Pasta Salad

Overhead view of a serving bowl full of pizza pasta salad, wooden spoons on the side

What’s In Pizza Pasta Salad?

Whatever you want! Ha! That’s the beauty of this one. In my pizza pasta salad I included mozzarella, pepperoni, green bell pepper, black olives, red onion, and banana peppers. Here are some other things that would be awesome in this pasta salad:

  • Bacon
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Spinach
  • Green Olives
  • Ham
  • Salami
  • Pesto
  • Feta
  • Fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley)
  • Mushrooms (marinated mushrooms would be even better)
  • Artichoke hearts

Honestly, the only thing I probably wouldn’t put in my pizza pasta salad is pineapple. While I am a pineapple-pizza fan (sorry-not-sorry), I don’t think it would be very good in this pasta salad.

What Dressing Do you Use?

In the recipe below I’ve included a homemade Italian dressing with grated Parmesan cheese. If you want to take a short cut and use a store bought dressing, I suggest some sort of Italian dressing or Caesar dressing (non-creamy style), and if it doesn’t have Parmesan already in it, I would add some. The Parmesan cheese really adds some oomph to this pizza pasta salad.

Can I Use a Different Pasta?

Absolutely! This recipe is endlessly versatile. You can use any short shaped pasta, like bowtie, penne, or even shells. While you can use a long shape pasta like spaghetti, that type tends to be difficult to stir chunky objects into (they like to fall to the sides or bottom of the bowl). This recipe should also work fine with whole wheat or gluten free pasta.

How Long Does Pizza Pasta Stay Good?

This pasta salad is very refrigerator friendly and will last about 4-5 days in your refrigerator. That means it’s great for your weekly meal prep!

Love refrigerator salads as much as I do? Check out my round up of 19 Refrigerator Salads for Eating Healthy on the Go!

Close up of a large spoonful of pizza pasta salad on a wooden spoon, bowl in the background

 
Close up of a serving bowl of pizza pasta salad, a wooden spoon in the side
Print

Italian Pizza Pasta Salad

Repurpose your leftover pizza toppings into this deliciously simple Italian style pizza pasta salad. Including a simple homemade Italian dressing!
Total Cost $7.98 recipe / $1.00 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 394.33kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Homemade Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil $0.84
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar $0.40
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. rotini pasta $1.00
  • 3 oz. pepperoni $1.25
  • 4 oz. mozzarella $1.15
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.89
  • 1/4 cup red onion $0.11
  • 1/2 12oz. jar banana pepper rings $1.00
  • 1/2 4oz. can sliced black olives $0.70

Instructions

  • Make the Italian dressing first so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan to a bowl or jar. Whisk the ingredients together, or place a lid on the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Cook the rotini according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the pasta drain well, shaking the colander every few minutes to remove excess water from the pasta.
  • While the pasta is cooking and draining, prepare the other pasta salad ingredients. Cut the pepperoni in half or into quarters, and chop the mozzarella into small cubes. Dice the bell pepper and red onion. Drain the banana pepper rings and black olives.
  • When the pasta is cooked, cooled, and drained well, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the rest of the prepared ingredients (pepperoni, mozzarella, bell pepper, red onion, banana peppers, and black olives). Toss the ingredients to combine.
  • Give the dressing another shake or stir before drizzling it over the pasta salad. Toss the pasta salad once again to coat everything in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 394.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.11g | Protein: 10.01g | Fat: 19.61g | Sodium: 385.08mg | Fiber: 2.18g

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of a serving bowl of pizza pasta salad, a wooden spoon in the side

How to Make Pizza Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

A jar of homemade Italian dressing with a spoon lifting a bit out of the jar

Make the Italian dressing first, so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Add ½ cup olive oil, ¼ red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese to a bowl or jar. Either whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

Cooked rotini pasta in a colander

Cook one pound of rotini pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water. Let the pasta drain well, shaking the colander every few minutes to shake off excess water.

Mozzarella and pepperoni on a cutting board

While the pasta is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the pasta salad ingredients. Chop 4oz. mozzarella into small cubes and cut 3oz. (half of a 6oz. package) pepperoni into half rounds or quarter rounds.

Bell pepper, red onion, black olives, and banana peppers on a cutting board

Dice one green bell pepper and about ¼ cup red onion. Drain ½ of a 12oz. jar banana pepper rings, and ½ of a 4oz. can sliced black olives. 

Pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

Once the pasta is cooked, cooled, and drained well, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the pepperoni, mozzarella, green bell pepper, red onion, banana peppers, and black olives to the bowl. Toss these ingredients together.

Shaken jar of dressing held over the bowl of pasta salad.

Give the dressing one last stir or shake…

Italian dressing being poured over pasta salad

Then pour the dressing over the pasta salad.

Tossed pizza pasta salad in a large bowl

Toss the salad again until everything is well coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Overhead view of pizza pasta salad in a serving bowl with wooden salad utensils on the side

The post Pizza Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Yogurt Banana Bread

I’ve been even more diligent about keeping my food waste low since the pandemic started, since our visits to the grocery store are few and far between. So when I was taking stock of what was on hand the other day, the puzzle pieces started to move into place in my head, and I saw […]

The post Yogurt Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been even more diligent about keeping my food waste low since the pandemic started, since our visits to the grocery store are few and far between. So when I was taking stock of what was on hand the other day, the puzzle pieces started to move into place in my head, and I saw everything I needed to make a glorious loaf of banana bread. Yogurt banana bread, to be exact. Why yogurt? Read on to find out.

Homemade Banana Bread with Yogurt and Walnuts

A loaf of banana bread on a narrow wooden cutting board, a few slices cut from the loaf and butter spread on one slice.

Why Add Yogurt to Banana Bread?

Yogurt is a great ingredient for adding to banana bread and other baked goods. It keeps the bread moist, tender, and super delicious without using a ton of butter or oil. You’ll want to use plain yogurt for this recipe, not pre-sweetened. I have not tested Greek-style yogurt in this recipe, but would guess that it would make a slightly more dense loaf, since it has less moisture than regular yogurt.

How Ripe Should the Bananas Be?

The more ripe the banana, the better for banana bread. As bananas ripen the starches turn to sugar, so an un-ripe banana will not be as sweet or as soft (good for mashing). Try to wait until your bananas have NO green left and are about half spotted. If your bananas get to the perfect banana bread ripeness, but you’re not quite ready to make banana bread, simply peel them, toss them into a freezer bag, and freeze them until you’re ready.

Can I Bake These As Muffins?

Yes, this batter works great for banana muffins, too! Just divide the batter between 12 wells of a muffin tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 350ºF. 

What Else Can I Add to Banana Bread?

Banana bread is fun because you can add all sorts of stuff to it. I used walnuts here, but they’re completely optional. You can do other nuts, like pecans or even shredded coconut. Chocolate also pairs really well with bananas, so you can add ½ cup chocolate chips, or melt the chocolate and swirl it into the batter once it’s in the bread pan. A little bit of well-drained canned crushed pineapple would also be fun!

How to Store Banana Bread

After baking the banana bread, let it cool completely to room temperature, then transfer it to a gallon-sized zip top bag and store in the refrigerator. It will last in the refrigerator for about five days. I like to slice mine before refrigerating, so I can just take one slice out at a time to have with my coffee. About 15 seconds in the microwave and it’s warm and delicious, just like fresh baked!

One slice of yogurt banana bread smeared with butter held close to the camera

P.S. Banana bread is really good with a little peanut butter or almond butter drizzled over top!

 
A loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board, a few slices scattered, one smeared with butter
Print

Yogurt Banana Bread

This super moist banana bread recipe uses plain yogurt to keep the bread soft and tender with less butter or oil. Add walnuts or even chocolate!
Total Cost $3.68 recipe / $0.46 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 thick slices
Calories 294.93kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas) $0.42
  • 1 cup plain yogurt $0.67
  • 2 large eggs $0.46
  • 1/2 cup sugar $0.40
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted $0.52
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.30
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour $0.23
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts $0.60

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Rub a little butter on the inside of a loaf pan to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Mash the banana well, then add it to a large bowl along with the yogurt, eggs, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk these ingredients until they're well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg until well combined.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir together just until there is no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl (a few lumps are okay, just be careful not to over stir). Gently fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 60 minutes, or until the bread is brown, cracked open on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay, just no raw batter).
  • After baking, let the banana bread cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Once it's slightly cooled it will have pulled away from the bread pan slightly. Run a knife along the sides between the bread and pan, then gently turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cool, slice and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 294.93kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.83g | Protein: 6.56g | Fat: 13.28g | Sodium: 348.49mg | Fiber: 1.89g

You might also like my Banana Flax Muffins!

A half sliced loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board with one pat of butter in the center of one slice

How to Make Yogurt Banana Bread – Step by Step Photos

Mashed banana in a measuring cup next to a banana peel

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Rub a little butter inside a loaf pan to coat the bottom and sides. Make 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas). I do this in a glass measuring cup with a fork. It should only take about 30 seconds.

Wet ingredients for banana bread in a bowl

Add the mashed banana to a large bowl along with 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 large eggs, ½ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk these ingredients together until they’re well combined.

Dry ingredients for banana bread in a separate bowl

In a separate bowl, combine 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Stir until well combined.

Wet and dry ingredients being stirred together

Pour the bowl of dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir just until they are combined and no dry flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. A few lumps are okay, but make sure there are no pockets of dry flour left. Avoid over stirring. (photo is half-way through stirring)

Chopped walnuts added to batter

Fold ½ cup chopped walnuts into the batter.

Banana Bread batter in loaf pan

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Baked yogurt banana bread being held by two hands with white towels

Bake the bread in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 60 minutes, or until the bread is browned, the top is cracked open, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (“clean” means no raw batter, a few moist crumbs stuck to the toothpick are okay).

Side view of a loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board, half of it sliced, one slice with butter

Allow the bread to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan. It will pull away from the pan slightly as it cools. Run a knife along the sides between the bread and loaf pan, then gently turn the bread out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, slice and serve.

The post Yogurt Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

My boyfriend saw what I was cooking and said, “What is this, the “Hungry Man” edition of Budget Bytes? 😆 What can I say, this pandemic has me craving comfort food! And for some reason, Salisbury Steak has been on my mind for weeks. So I set to work putting together a super simple version […]

The post Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My boyfriend saw what I was cooking and said, “What is this, the “Hungry Man” edition of Budget Bytes? 😆 What can I say, this pandemic has me craving comfort food! And for some reason, Salisbury Steak has been on my mind for weeks. So I set to work putting together a super simple version of Salisbury Steak, smothered with a mushroom and onion gravy, perfect for serving over a hot bed of fluffy mashed potatoes. Add a little something green (peas, in this case), and you have a classic “meat and potatoes” comfort meal. 

It’s funny because the very first time I ever had Salisbury Steak was in a frozen TV dinner in the 1980’s. So, this kind of is a Hungry Man edition of Budget Bytes. :P

Easy Salisbury Steak with Mushroom and Onion Gravy

Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy on a plate with mashed potatoes and peas, a fork on the side.

What is Salisbury Steak?

If you weren’t as lucky as I was to experience Salisbury Steak for the first time as a frozen TV dinner in the 80’s (read: sarcasm), then let me tell you a little about this classic comfort food. It’s a bit like a mini-meatloaf or big, flat meatball. It’s a mixture of ground beef and seasonings, plus a little breadcrumbs and egg to keep it all moist and tender. It’s usually cooked in a skillet and smothered with gravy. The dish gets its name from Dr. Salisbury, who recommended a version of this dish in the late 19th century as a part of his meat-centric diet (read more on Wikipedia). 

What to Serve with Salisbury Steak

The mushroom and onion gravy made with this Salisbury Steak is so delicious that you definitely want some sort of starch to soak it up. I served mine with fluffy mashed potatoes, but you could also spoon it over hot rice. Or, just serve with some crusty bread so sop up the gravy from your plate.

I really suggest having a vegetable or two on the side as well. Definitely something green, like the peas shown in my photos, or roasted broccoli. As a second vegetable, I’d probably go with something orange, like roasted carrots. Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes would also make a great, colorful side to Salisbury Steak. With my leftovers, I added a scoop of sauerkraut on top and that was an AMAZING combination.

How are the Leftovers?

AWESOME. We reheated leftovers of this dish in the microwave and happily gobbled them up. Your leftovers should keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator. And while I haven’t tested freezing this one, this is definitely a dish that I would normally have frozen, if we hadn’t eaten it so fast. The gravy may separate a little upon thawing and reheating, as many flour thickened sauces do, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad and won’t be noticed if it’s mixed right into your mashed potatoes.

Gravy being spooned over a Salisbury Steak in the skillet

What Percent Fat Beef Should I Use?

You can use any type of ground beef for this recipe. If you use a higher fat ground beef, like 15% fat, the extra fat will be absorbed by the breadcrumbs and make the Salisbury Steak extra tender. If you use a more lean ground beef, like 93% fat, your Salisbury Steak will be a little more firm, but will be kept moist by the egg and breadcrumbs.

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I used Baby Bella mushrooms because they give the gravy a wonderful color and they’re quite affordable at Aldi. If you have a limited selection or Baby Bella mushrooms are too expensive in your area, regular button mushrooms can be used instead. Your gravy may be slightly lighter in color when using white button mushrooms.

Salisbury Steak in rectangular meal prep containers with mashed potatoes and peas

 
A plate full of Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, and green peas.
Print

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Homemade Salisbury Steak with a rich mushroom gravy is a quick, simple, and hearty weeknight dinner that will fill even the biggest of appetites!
Total Cost $8.34 recipe / $2.09 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446.88kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, divided $0.32
  • 1 lb. ground beef $5.15
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs $0.13
  • 1 large egg $0.23
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, divided $0.05
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.69
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1.5 cups beef broth* $0.20
  • salt and pepper to taste $0.05

Instructions

  • Finely mince about ½ cup of the onion and slice the remainder of the onion. The minced onion will go in the ground beef mixture, the rest will be used for the gravy.
  • Add the ground beef, minced onion, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 Tbsp of the Worcestershire sauce (the remainder will go in the gravy), Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until they are evenly combined. Divide the mixture into four equal parts, and shape each into a flattened oval.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet is hot, add the shaped beef patties and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are well browned on each side. Transfer the cooked patties to a clean plate.
  • While the beef patties are cooking, slice the mushrooms. After removing the beef from the skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and the remaining sliced onion along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook the mushrooms and onions over medium until they are soft. Allow the moisture released from the onions and mushrooms to help you dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet as you stir.
  • Once the mushrooms and onions have softened and most of the moisture has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet, add the butter and flour. Continue to stir and cook for about two minutes. The flour and butter will form a paste and begin to coat the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the beef broth and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the skillet. Stir to dissolve the flour into the broth, making sure to dissolve any flour that is stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to simmer (still over medium heat), stirring often. Once it reaches a simmer, it will thicken into a gravy.
  • Once the gravy is simmering, add the beef patties back to the skillet with the broth, mushrooms, and onions. Spoon the gravy over top, and continue to simmer the beef in the gravy for an additional five minutes. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.

Notes

*I use Better Than Bouillon to make my broth, which as a full, robust flavor. The flavor of your broth will greatly impact the overall flavor of your gravy, so make sure to use one that has great flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1steak with gravy | Calories: 446.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 20.6g | Protein: 27.35g | Fat: 27.78g | Sodium: 1009.73mg | Fiber: 1.83g

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up side view of a Salisbury Steak on a plate with peas and mashed potatoes, and a piece of the steak cut off the side.

How to Make Salisbury Steak – Step by Step Photos

Sliced and minced onion on a cutting board

Mince about ½ cup of one yellow onion, and slice the rest of the onion. The minced portion will go IN the Salisbury Steaks, the sliced portion will go into the gravy. If you have a small onion, you’ll probably mince about half and slice half. If you have a larger onion, you’ll mince about ¼ of the onion and slice the remaining ¾ onion.

Salisbury Steak ingredients in a bowl

Add 1 lb. ground beef, the minced onion, one large egg, ½ cup breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, ½  tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to a bowl.

Shaped Salisbury Steak patties in a bowl

Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are evenly mixed. Divide the mixture into four equal pieces, then shape them into flattened ovals.

Cooked beef patties in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shaped patties in the hot skillet for about five minutes on each side, or until they are well browned on each side. Remove the cooked patties to a clean plate.

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board with the sliced onion.

While the beef patties are cooking, slice 8 oz. mushrooms.

Onions and Mushrooms added to the skillet

After removing the cooked beef from the skillet, add the sliced onion and mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then continue to cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until they have softened. Allow the moisture released from the onions and mushrooms to help dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Butter and flour added to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions.

Once the mushrooms and onions have softened and most of the moisture has evaporated from the skillet, add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes more. The flour and butter will form a paste and begin to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Beef broth being poured into the skillet

Add 1.5 cups beef broth and another 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat, dissolving the flour into the broth. When the broth reaches a simmer, it will thicken into a gravy.

Beef patties returned to gravy in the skillet

Return the beef patties to the skillet with the gravy and spoon the gravy over top. 

Simmered Salisbury Steaks in the skillet with mushroom gravy.

Continue to let the patties simmer in the gravy for another five minutes. 

Close up side view of the Salisbury Steak in the skillet with mushroom gravy.

Taste the gravy and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

A plate full of Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy, mashed potatoes, and green peas.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for a classic comfort meal!

The post Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy 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.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Y’all know I’m obsessed with meatballs, right? They’re just so easy, delicious, and something that I’m always in the mood for. So, when I got an unexpected pound of ground chicken in my Instacart order a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what to do with it—Chicken Parmesan Meatballs! While ground chicken isn’t my […]

The post Chicken Parmesan Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Y’all know I’m obsessed with meatballs, right? They’re just so easy, delicious, and something that I’m always in the mood for. So, when I got an unexpected pound of ground chicken in my Instacart order a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what to do with it—Chicken Parmesan Meatballs! While ground chicken isn’t my favorite, you can never go wrong with a meatball. Plenty of Parmesan and a few simple herbs and spices turned that lack luster ground chicken into something totally crave-worthy. Meatballs for the win!

And don’t worry, even though I did not actually order the ground chicken, I still paid for it. ;)

Simple Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Pasta

A bowl of spaghetti with sauce and chicken parmesan meatballs, a black fork twirled in the pasta on the side.

The recipe for these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is one that you’ll want to memorize. It’s just a really good, simple, basic meatball that you can use with any ground meat that you have on hand. 

Can I Bake the Meatballs?

Yes, if you prefer to make the meatballs in the oven instead of a skillet, simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165ºF. Do keep in mind that baked meatballs will not achieve the nice browning on the outside that you get with cooking in a skillet. The browned surface does provide additional flavor.

Can I Freeze the Chicken Meatballs?

Yes, you can freeze the meatballs either cooked or uncooked. Either way, freeze the meatballs on a lined baking sheet first to prevent them from sticking together. Then, once frozen solid, transfer to a zip top freezer bag for long term storage (about 3 months).

To cook meatballs that were frozen raw, let the meatballs thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then cook in a skillet just as directed below.

To cook meatballs that are frozen after cooking, simply drop them into a pot of hot pasta sauce directly from the freezer, and allow them to heat through in the sauce.

Can I Use a Different Kind of Ground Meat?

Yes. This mixture of Parmesan and herbs is so versatile that it goes great with just about any type of ground meat. Try it with pork, turkey, or even beef.

Two chicken Parmesan meatballs on a wooden spoon held above the pot of sauce.

 
Close up side view of chicken Parmesan meatballs on a pile of spaghetti with sauce
Print

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

This simple recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is an easy weeknight dinner win! Swap out any ground meat you have for a quick and delicious dinner.
Total Cost $7.57 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 5 meatballs each
Calories 728.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs $0.13
  • cup ground Parmesan $0.59
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 lb. ground chicken $3.29
  • 1 large egg $0.23
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08

For Serving

  • 12 oz. pasta $1.00
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce $2.09

Instructions

  • Combine the breadcrumbs and seasoning first. In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the ground chicken to a large bowl, then add the seasoned breadcrumb mixture and the egg. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until evenly mixed.
  • Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, about 1-1.5 Tbsp each. You should get around 20 meatballs.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering, add half of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs about one minute on each side, until all six sides are browned and the meatballs are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a clean plate. Add the second tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and cook the second batch of meatballs in the same manner.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, begin the pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander. Add the sauce to a medium sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • Once all the meatballs are finished cooking, add them to the pot of heated pasta sauce and stir to coat. If needed, allow them to heat for a few minutes in the sauce.
  • Serve the cooked and drained pasta topped with sauce and meatballs.

Notes

If you prefer to make your own pasta sauce, try my 5-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 728.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 88.25g | Protein: 38.75g | Fat: 23.63g | Sodium: 1259.88mg | Fiber: 6.48g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

More Meatball Recipes

Do you love meatballs as much as me? Try these other meatball recipes:

Close up side view of chicken Parmesan meatballs on a pile of spaghetti with sauce

How to Make Chicken Parmesan Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

Breadcrumbs Parmesan and herbs in a bowl

First mix the dry ingredients for the meatballs. In a bowl, stir together ½ cup breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Ground chicken, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs in a bowl

Next, add 1 lb. ground chicken, 1 large egg, and the seasoned breadcrumb mixture to a bowl.

Mixed chicken meatball mixture

Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are evenly mixed.

Shaped chicken meatballs on an orange plastic cutting board

Shape the chicken mixture into meatballs, about 1 to 1.5 Tbsp each, or about 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering, add half of the meatballs. Cook the meatballs for about one minute on each side, until all six sides are well browned and the meatballs are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a clean plate, add another tablespoon of oil, and cook the second batch of meatballs in the same manner.

Cooked meatballs in a bowl

While the meatballs are cooking, begin the pasta and sauce. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander. Add the sauce to a medium sauce pot and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Cooked meatballs added to pot of pasta sauce

Add the cooked meatballs to the heated sauce and stir to combine. If needed, let the meatballs heat for a few minutes in the sauce.

A bowl full of spaghetti with sauce and Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, with a fork in the side.

Serve the cooked and drained pasta with sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

The post Chicken Parmesan Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

I was lucky enough to get a bunch of fresh broccoli last week, so I wanted to share this super simple salad that I made with it, along with some ideas for variations to use some other things that you might have on hand. There are several ways you can eat this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken […]

The post Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I was lucky enough to get a bunch of fresh broccoli last week, so I wanted to share this super simple salad that I made with it, along with some ideas for variations to use some other things that you might have on hand. There are several ways you can eat this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad, so make sure to scroll down to the “How to Serve” section to see how I ate mine! I seriously gobbled this stuff up in record time, and was immediately wanting more, so I know this is going to be a new regular for me!

Chopped Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

Overhead view of a large white bowl full of broccoli cheddar chicken salad with a fork

What Kind of “Cooked Chicken” Should I use?

This recipe is pretty flexible and can use just about any type of precooked chicken like rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or canned chicken breast. If you have raw chicken breast on hand, simply season your chicken with a pinch of salt and cook in a skillet with a touch of oil until the chicken is browned on the outside and cooked through (internal temperature of 165ºF). Let the chicken cool before chopping and adding to the salad.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

This recipe works best with fresh broccoli. Frozen broccoli florets will probably be too wet and soft to achieve the proper texture in this salad.

What Else Can I Add to This Salad?

I kept this salad pretty simple because I’m working with what I have during this lock down, but if you have some of these other ingredients on hand they would be awesome in this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad:

  • Cooked bacon or bacon bits
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Finely diced red onion in place of the green onion
  • Shredded Parmesan in place of the cheddar for more of a Caesar salad vibe
  • Diced hard boiled egg
  • Small shaped cooked pasta like mini shells or orecchiette

When adding additional ingredients, you may need to increase the amount of dressing used to make sure everything is covered.

How to Serve Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

Okay, here’s where it gets fun. I could barely stop forking it into my mouth right out of the bowl, but I also ate it a couple other ways. It’s really good rolled into a tortilla (or pita) as a wrap sandwich, especially with the tomato flavored wraps that I happened to get from Aldi. That tangy flavor was the perfect juxtaposition for the salad. The next day I also made it into a quesadilla by stuffing it inside a regular tortilla and toasting it in a skillet until the inside got warm and the cheese melted. That was so insanely good that I immediately made a second one after I finished the first! And of course you could mix this with some cooked and cooled pasta for a really good pasta salad, as mentioned above.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad in a wrap sandwich, open and facing the camera close up

Love hearty salads? Check out my round up of 19 Refrigerator Salads for Eating Healthy on the Go!

 
Close up side view of a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad
Print

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

This chunky chopped Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad is a great fresh salad that can be eaten on its own or turned into several different easy lunch ideas!
Total Cost $4.84 recipe / $1.61 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 about 1 cup each
Calories 360.63kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh broccoli (about 2 cups chopped) $1.89
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken* $1.16
  • 2 oz. cheddar, shredded (about ½ cup) $1.00
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.25
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing $0.49
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste $0.05

Instructions

  • Finely chop the broccoli. It's important that the broccoli pieces be very small. Chop the chicken into small pieces as well.
  • Add the broccoli, chopped chicken, shredded cheddar, sliced green onions, and ranch dressing to a large bowl. Stir well until everything is evenly coated in dressing. Add freshly cracked pepper to your liking.
  • Serve as is, stuff into a tortilla or pita for a sandwich, or stuff into a tortilla and toast in a skillet until the inside is melted for a quesadilla. Keep any remaining salad refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Notes

*Use any type of pre-cooked chicken, like rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or canned chicken breast.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 360.63kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.1g | Protein: 30.4g | Fat: 22.23g | Sodium: 610.43mg | Fiber: 4.17g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up side view of a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

Finely chop one pound of fresh broccoli. It’s really important that the broccoli be in tiny pieces, so once you think you’ve chopped it enough, just go ahead and chop it a little more. ;)

Chopped chicken on a cutting board

You’ll also need about 1 cup chopped cooked chicken. This can be any type of cooked chicken, like rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, canned chicken breast, or a piece of chicken that you just cook up in a skillet real quick (that’s what I did). Just make sure you let your chicken cool a bit before adding it to the salad. Again, you want the pieces to be pretty small.

Shredded cheddar and sliced green onion on a cutting board

You also need two ounces shredded cheddar (about ½ cup) and two sliced green onions.

Ranch dressing being drizzled over the salad ingredients in the bowl

Add the chopped broccoli, chopped chicken, shredded cheddar, and sliced green onions to a large bowl, then add ⅓ cup ranch dressing.

Ranch dressing bottle from Aldi

I used this ranch dressing that I got from Aldi. Another brand that I really like is Ken’s Steakhouse buttermilk ranch. Or you can make your own ranch dressing using my Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe!

Finished broccoli cheddar chicken salad in the bowl with a spatula

Stir until everything is coated really well with the ranch dressing. I also added some freshly cracked black pepper just for an extra kick!

Close up side view of a bowl of broccoli cheddar chicken salad with freshly cracked pepper on top

So good as is, or made into a wrap sandwich, quesadilla, or even a pasta salad!

The post Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Herb Sauce

We’re kind of coming full circle here, with Budget Bytes. I started this blog as a log of what I was cooking up in my kitchen with my limited budget and over the years it has grown into a massive recipe development project. But now, with limited grocery access, I’m returning to just showcasing the […]

The post Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Herb Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We’re kind of coming full circle here, with Budget Bytes. I started this blog as a log of what I was cooking up in my kitchen with my limited budget and over the years it has grown into a massive recipe development project. But now, with limited grocery access, I’m returning to just showcasing the things I’m cooking up in my kitchen with what I have. These Vegetable Fritters are one of the things I’ve made while isolating at home. It’s just a mish-mash of the vegetables I had on hand in my fridge and freezer, fried up with a simple batter, and served with a sour cream based Garlic Herb sauce. It’s simple, delish, and a great way to use up your leftover vegetables so they don’t go to waste!

Easy Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Herb Dip

Overhead of vegetable fritters on a paper towel lined white tray, with a bowl of garlic herb dipping sauce on the side

What Vegetables Can I Add to the Fritters?

Some other vegetables that would be excellent in these fritters include: cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, spinach, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper. For really soft, high water content vegetables, like eggplant, zucchini, and frozen spinach, you probably want to sauté them first to eliminate some of the excess moisture before adding to your fritters. 

No matter what vegetables you plan to add to your fritters, make sure to shred them (using a large-holed cheese grater or food processor), or chop them finely so the fritters hold together better. 

Other Add-ins

If you want to make these cheesy fritters, you can add some grated Parmesan (about ¼ cup) or some shredded cheddar (½ cup) to the batter. Another option is to change up the seasoning. I made my vegetable fritters super simple because I actually enjoy being able to taste the individual vegetables, but you can also experiment with adding different seasonings like ranch powder, Cajun seasoning, or a basic seasoning salt like Lawry’s. Just make sure that if you’re adding a seasoning that already contains salt that you also reduce the salt added to the batter.

How to Serve Vegetable Fritters

Vegetable fritters make a great appetizer or side dish to just about any main. I’d serve them next to something like meatloaf, Glazed Chicken Thighs, Sloppy Joes, Portobello Burgers, or just serve them right on top of a pile of creamy Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes (in place of the dipping sauce)

Can I Bake the Fritters?

No, these will not turn out well if baked. They definitely need to be fried in oil to create the correct texture.

How Are the Leftovers?

As with any fried food the fritters do not stay crispy on the edges, but I still find the leftovers to be quite flavorful and delicious! As long as you’re not expecting a crispy fritter, I think they’re quite enjoyable as leftovers. I reheated mine using a microwave, but you could also heat them in a skillet over medium-low heat until heated through.

Front view of vegetable fritters on a tray with a small bowl of garlic herb sauce

 
Overhead view of a white tray lined with paper towel, with vegetable fritters and a small bowl of garlic herb dipping sauce
Print

Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Herb Dipping Sauce

Use up your leftover frozen and fresh vegetables in this easy and flavorful vegetable fritters recipe, with a side of homemade garlic herb dipping sauce!
Total Cost $3.19 recipe / $1.06 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 3 fritters each
Calories 406.27kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Garlic Herb Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.22
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.02

Vegetable Fritters

  • 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets $1.30
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.35
  • 1 carrot $0.07
  • 3 green onions $0.30
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour $0.08
  • 2 large eggs $0.47
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil $0.12

Instructions

  • Make the garlic herb dipping sauce first, so the flavors have some time to blend. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate the dip until ready to eat.
  • Allow the broccoli and corn to thaw, or use the defrost function on a microwave thaw to them. Finely chop the broccoli. Peel and grate the carrot using a large-holed cheese grater. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the broccoli, corn, carrots, and green onion to a large bowl. Also add the flour, eggs, garlic powder, and salt. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large non-stick skillet (cast iron, ceramic, or teflon) over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot and the oil is shimmering, add the vegetable fritter batter to the skillet in ¼ cup dollops, pressing the mixture down to a flat pancake once it's in the skillet. Cook the fritters for about 3 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown on both sides. Cook 3 or 4 fritters in the skillet at a time, adding another tablespoon of oil between batches. Transfer the cooked fritters to a paper towel lined plate.
  • Once all the fritters are cooked, serve while still warm, with the garlic herb sauce for dipping.

Notes

If using other vegetables, use a total of about 3.5 cups finely chopped or shredded vegetables.

Nutrition

Serving: 3fritters | Calories: 406.27kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.77g | Protein: 11.5g | Fat: 25.53g | Sodium: 992.73mg | Fiber: 5.93g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of a vegetable fritter that has been dipped in the garlic herb sauce.

How to Make Vegetable Fritters – Step by Step Photos

A small bowl with garlic herb dipping sauce and a small spatula

Make the garlic herb dipping sauce first so the flavors have a little time to blend. This is basically just sour cream plus my All-Purpose Garlic Herb Seasoning (a half batch). It also makes a great chip dip! Stir together ½ cup sour cream, ½ tsp dried parsley, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp dried basil, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Refrigerate the dip until ready to serve.

Chopped thawed frozen broccoli florets

Thaw ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets and 1 cup frozen corn. Finely chop the broccoli florets.

Shredded carrot with cheese grater

Peel and shred one carrot (about 1 cup once shredded). Slice 3 green onions.

Prepared vegetables in a large bowl

Add the broccoli, carrot, corn, and green onion to a large bowl.

Vegetables in the bowl with flour, eggs, and seasoning.

Also add 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp garlic powder. 

Vegetable fritter batter in the bowl

Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in batter.

Cooked fritters in a skillet

Cook the fritters in batches of 3 to 4 at a time, in a non-stick skillet (any type of non-stick, like cast iron, ceramic, or teflon). Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet before each batch and heat over medium until the skillet is hot and the oil shimmering. Once hot, add the batter, ¼ cup at a time, pressing it down into a pancake once it’s in the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until deeply golden brown.

Cooked vegetable fritters on a paper towel lined plate

Transfer the cooked vegetable fritters to a paper towel lined plate before cooking the next batch.

Overhead view of a white tray lined with paper towel, with vegetable fritters and a small bowl of garlic herb dipping sauce

Once they’re all cooked, serve warm with the garlic herb sauce for dipping!

The post Vegetable Fritters with Garlic Herb Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that […]

The post Chunky Ham and Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Soup season is already on its way out, but I couldn’t resist one more warm and cozy pot of goodness. For this super easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup I took cue from my easy Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup and used a puréed can of beans to thicken the pot, combined that with some chunky and colorful vegetables and a handful of diced ham to round out this meal in a bowl. This is also a great use for your leftover holiday ham, so bookmark this recipe for Easter next month!

Thick & Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with torn chunks of bread on the side

What Kind of Beans Should I Use?

I used cannellini beans for this soup because I love their large shape and creamy texture. You can also use a different type of white beans, like navy beans or great northern beans. 

Can I Use Dry Beans?

This recipe is written specifically for canned beans. Using dry beans would require different methods and different amounts of liquids and seasoning, so I would need to develop and test a recipe specifically for dry beans before providing instructions.

What Kind of Ham Can I Use?

You can use virtually any cooked ham. The ham I used is an uncured, fully cooked, thick sliced ham. If using pre-sliced ham, a thicker slice works a little better than thin sandwich slices, which won’t give much texture to the soup. If you have leftover cooked ham from Easter or any other holiday, that can also be used in this recipe.

Can I Freeze Ham and Bean Soup?

Yes, this soup is a great candidate for freezing! Simply chill the soup completely in the refrigerator overnight before transferring to the freezer for long term storage (about 3 months). I prefer to divide my soup into single servings before freezing, so they can be reheated as needed and in the amount needed. Quart-sized freezer bags are great for freezing soup, as are the small blue-top Ziploc food storage containers.

Close up front view of a bowl full of chunky ham and bean soup with a spoon lifting some and a chunk of bread in the side of the bowl.

 
Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side
Print

Chunky Ham and Bean Soup

This incredibly easy and deliciously chunky Ham and Bean Soup features a medley of colorful vegetables, browned ham, and plenty of hearty white beans.
Total Cost $6.70 recipe / $1.68 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 553.83kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.30
  • 3 ribs celery $0.35
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 lb. cooked ham $3.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 3 15oz. cans cannellini beans $1.47
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme $0.02
  • freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or more as needed) $0.26

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, peel and slice the carrots, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  • Dice the ham into bite-sized chunks. Add the ham and cooking oil to a large soup pot. Sauté the ham for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, or until it achieves a decent amount of browning. Remove the browned ham to a clean bowl.
  • Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the onions have softened. Allow the moisture released from the vegetables to help dissolve the browned bits of ham from the bottom of the soup pot as you stir.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, add one of the three cans of beans to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. Drain the remaining two cans of beans.
  • Add all three cans of beans (one puréed and two drained) to the soup pot with the vegetables. Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill), and 2 cups chicken broth. Stir to combine, then turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the soup to come to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium and allow the soup to continue to boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the soup boils it will reduce and thicken. If the soup becomes too thick, add more vegetable broth or water to achieve your desired soup consistency.
  • After the soup has boiled for 15 minutes and has thickened, stir the cooked ham back into the soup. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. I did not add any additional salt, but I did top each bowl with a little fresh pepper. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 553.83kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.33g | Protein: 41.75g | Fat: 9.98g | Sodium: 2143.8mg | Fiber: 18.23g

Close up of a ladle full of chunky ham and bean soup being held over the soup pot

How to Make Ham and Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Before you begin, dice one yellow onion, peel and slice three carrots, slice three ribs of celery, and mince two cloves of garlic.

Uncured ham pacakge

This is the type of ham I used. You can use any cooked ham, but a thicker slice works better than thin sandwich slices. You can also use cooked holiday ham. You’ll need one pound of cooked ham.

Browned ham in the soup pot

Dice one pound of ham and add it to a soup pot with one tablespoon cooking oil. Cook the ham over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the ham is browned on the edges. Remove the ham to a clean bowl.

Diced vegetables cooked in soup pot.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot in place of the ham and continue to cook over medium for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Use the moisture released from the vegetables to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Whole and pureed beans added to soup pot

While the vegetables are cooking, add one of the three cans of cannellini beans to a blender (with the liquid from the can) and purée until smooth. Drain the other two cans. Add the puréed beans and drained beans to the soup pot.

thyme pepper and chicken broth added to the soup pot

Also add 1/4 tsp dried thyme, some freshly cracked pepper, and 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine. The soup will be fairly watery at this point.

Boiled ham and bean soup

Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down slightly to medium and let the soup boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. The soup will reduce and thicken as it boils. If it becomes too thick for your liking, simply add a little more water or chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.

Cooked ham being poured back into the soup pot

After boiling the soup for 15 minutes, stir the cooked ham back into the pot. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or pepper, if needed.

Finished chunky ham and bean soup in the soup pot with bread on the side

Serve the chunky Ham and Bean Soup hot, preferably with crusty bread for dipping!

Two bowls of chunky ham and bean soup with chunks of bread on the side

The post Chunky Ham and Bean Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Turkey Taco Skillet

I’ve probably made a hundred iterations of the bean-salsa-corn combo over the years, and yet I still keep making more. Why? Because it never stops being delicious, it’s super versatile, and I love making new versions to fit new different lifestyles. This Turkey Taco Skillet version is super fast (unlike the original Slow Cooker Taco […]

The post Turkey Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve probably made a hundred iterations of the bean-salsa-corn combo over the years, and yet I still keep making more. Why? Because it never stops being delicious, it’s super versatile, and I love making new versions to fit new different lifestyles. This Turkey Taco Skillet version is super fast (unlike the original Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls), it doesn’t include rice  (unlike the Southwest Chicken Skillet), and is every bit as delicious. This version literally takes about 15-20 minutes, you can serve it several different ways, and is a great make-ahead, stock-your-freezer type recipe!

Ground Turkey Taco Skillet

Turkey Taco Skillet next to tortilla chips, toasted corn tortillas, and a bowl of sour cream

How to Serve Turkey Taco Skillet

My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can do so many different things with it. The most obvious use for this delicious skillet mix is to use it as a taco filling. Simply toast some tortillas, add a scoop of this turkey taco filling, and top with whatever you fancy (cheese, sour cream, pickled red onions, cilantro, jalapeños, etc.)

Another option is to use it for taco salads. Just fill a bowl with your favorite greens, top with the ground turkey taco mixture, and add any extra toppings you might like.

But my favorite? I love to just scoop it up with some tortilla chips and call that a meal. 😅

You can also make a bowl meal with a bed of rice, stuff this into a burrito, or put it inside a folded over tortilla with cheese and toast it up in a skillet for some quesadillas. And I’m sure there are other great ways to use this mix, as well.

Can I Substitute the Turkey?

Yep! This recipe works just as well with ground beef or ground chicken. 

Can I Substitute the Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles?

Yes, you can substitute that, too! (See? This recipe is so versatile.) If you don’t have access to Rotel or canned diced tomatoes with green chiles, you can either use 1.5 cups red salsa, or a can of plain diced tomatoes plus a 4oz. can of diced green chiles.

How to Freeze Turkey Taco Skillet

Chill your turkey taco skillet mixture in the refrigerator overnight, then transfer to quart-sized freezer bags (I would do this in 1-2 serving sized portions), label and date the bag, then freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, either thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or cut away the bag, place the frozen mixture in a skillet, add a couple tablespoons of water, and heat over low with a lid, stirring occasionally as soon as it loosens up enough to stir. Or just pop it in the microwave and use the defrost then heat functions. :)

Close up of some turkey taco skillet being scooped up by a tortilla chip

 

Turkey Taco Skillet

This easy and versatile Turkey Taco Skillet takes about 20 minutes to make, is freezer friendly, and can be served several different ways.

Taco Seasoning*

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.03)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)

Taco Skillet

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey ($3.99)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles ($0.45)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.48)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.35)
  • 1/2 bunch green onions ($0.45)
  1. Combine the spices for the homemade taco seasoning, then set the seasoning aside.

  2. Add the cooking oil and ground turkey to a large skillet. Begin to cook the turkey over medium heat, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks.

  3. While the turkey is cooking, dice the onion. Add the onion to the skillet with the turkey and continue to stir and cook until the onions are soft. Add the prepared taco seasoning, then continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

  4. Drain the black beans then add them to the skillet with the diced tomatoes (with juices) and frozen corn (no need to thaw). Stir the ingredients in the skillet to combine, then heat through over medium.

  5. While the mixture is heating, slice the green onions. Stir the green onions into the skillet just before serving.

*You can use store bought taco seasoning if you do not have a well stocked spice cabinet.

Serving Suggestions:

Turkey Taco Skillet served with toasted tortillas and sour cream

Use to fill tacos, then top with your favorite toppings (sour cream, cheese, pickled red onions, jalapeños, etc.)

Turkey taco skillet used to make a taco salad

Serve it up taco salad style, over a bed of greens and with your favorite toppings.

Turkey taco skillet in a small bowl with tortilla chips for dipping

Or just scoop it up with some tortilla chips! 

How to Make Turkey Taco Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Homemade taco seasoning ingredients in a bowl

First, make your homemade taco seasoning (you can use store bought, if that works better for you). In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne (optional), ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp salt, and about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. I skipped the cayenne this day because I wanted a less spicy turkey taco skillet.

Cooked ground turkey and onions in the skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and 1 lb. ground turkey to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the ground turkey as you stir. While the turkey is cooking, dice one yellow onion, then add it to the skillet and continue to cook with the turkey until the onion is soft.

Taco seasoning being added to the skillet with turkey and onion

Add the taco seasoning to the skillet with the ground turkey and onion. Continue to cook and stir for 1-2 minutes more.

Black beans, tomatoes with green chiles, and corn added to the skillet

Drain one 15oz. can of black beans, then add them to the skillet with one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw). Stir to combine, then heat through over medium, stirring occasionally.

Sliced green onions added to the skillet

While the skillet is heating through, slice half a bunch of green onions (about 4 green onions). Add the green onions just before serving and stir to combine.

Finished turkey taco skillet

Look how colorful and delicious that is!! 

Overhead view of turkey taco skillet next to tortilla chips, a bowl of sour cream, and toasted tortillas

Dinner is served!

Close up side view of the turkey taco skillet

The post Turkey Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and […]

The post Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and works great for weekly meal prep!

Originally posted 12-21-2015, updated 2-25-2020.

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Four turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish.

Can I Use Beef Instead?

Absolutely! The chili included in this recipe is basically a half batch of my basic Homemade Chili recipe, which is extremely customizable. You can swap out the protein, make it spicy or mild (reduce or eliminate the cayenne), or add other fun ingredients, like cocoa powder!

Can I Make them Vegetarian?

Yes, simply swap the 1/2 lb. of ground turkey for an extra can of black beans, or kidney beans, and you have a super delish vegetarian chili to top your sweet potatoes. :)

How do I Meal Prep These Sweet Potatoes?

After stuffing your sweet potatoes with chili and cheese, simply pack each one into an individual, microwave safe container. To reheat, simply microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until heated through.

A fork digging into a turkey chili smothered sweet potato, on a white plate

 

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Tender baked sweet potatoes smothered with turkey and bean chili, then topped with melty cheddar. Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy dinner!

CHILI

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey ($2.00)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.59)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 of a 6oz. can) ($0.25)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.79)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt ($0.02)

POTATOES AND TOPPINGS

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (3/4 lb. each) ($3.94)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($0.43)
  • Cilantro or green onions for garnish ($0.25)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash the sweet potatoes well, then prick the skins several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and oozing from the fork holes.

  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add the ground turkey and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

  3. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and water. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

  4. Once the sweet potatoes are finished baking, carefully slice each one open lengthwise and slightly mash the insides. Spoon about 3/4 cup chili over each potato, then top with 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar. Return the potatoes to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Top with cilantro or sliced green onions just before serving.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of four turkey chili stuffed sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish

 

How to Make Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes in a baking dish rubbed in oil and pricked with a fork

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Wash four small sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb. each). Prick the skins of each potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, then bake the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes, or until they’re soft all the way through and are oozing sugary juice from the fork holes.

Cooked ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a pot

While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add 1/2 lb. ground turkey and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince 2 cloves garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

Tomatoes, beans, spices, and water added to the pot.

Drain one 15oz. can black beans and add them to the pot along with one 15oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 3oz. tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine. 

Finished turkey chili in the pot

Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

Baked sweet potatoes in the baking dish with some juices bubbling out of the fork holes

Test the sweet potatoes to make sure they are baked all the way through by piercing with a fork or a small knife. The potatoes should be soft all the way through, and juices should be bubbling out of the fork holes that were made before baking.

Opened and mashed sweet potatoes in the baking dish

Once the sweet potatoes are baked and soft all the way through , slice them open lengthwise and slightly mash the inside of the sweet potatoes.

Turkey chili being spooned into the open sweet potatoes

Scoop about 3/4 cup turkey chili onto each sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes topped with cheddar

Add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheddar to each potato, then return the baking sheet to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes with melted cheese and topped with cilantro

Finally, top with a little chopped cilantro or sliced green onions (or hey, sour cream?) just before serving.

Side view of turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a baking dish, topped with green onion and cilantro

And then you have four incredibly delicious, single portion sized Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes! Bonus, I had some chili left over that will serve as an extra meal for me. :)

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes - BudgetBytes.com

The post Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.