Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

THIS is the sheet pan meal to end all sheet pan meals! It’s similar to some I’ve made before, but it is by far the easiest one yet, and without sacrificing any flavor. This Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans recipe is filling, tasty, and as easy as it gets, with only SIX simple ingredients, […]

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THIS is the sheet pan meal to end all sheet pan meals! It’s similar to some I’ve made before, but it is by far the easiest one yet, and without sacrificing any flavor. This Sheet Pan Kielbasa, Potatoes, and Green Beans recipe is filling, tasty, and as easy as it gets, with only SIX simple ingredients, and very little hands on time. I don’t know what more you could want from a dinner recipe! 🙌

Sheet pan kielbasa, potatoes, and green beans with a spatula

Can I Use a Different Sausage?

Yes, if you can not find kielbasa, any sort of smoked sausage will taste delicious with this combination of ingredients. It’s so flexible!

Can I Use Fresh Green Beans?

I used frozen green beans for this recipe because they are already cleaned, cut, and blanched before freezing. The blanching keeps the green beans a little more moist as they roast in the oven. You can use fresh green beans if you prefer, just keep in mind that they will dry out a little more while roasting than frozen green beans.

What is Steak Seasoning?

Steak seasoning is my short cut for this recipe. It’s a bottled spice blend, sometimes called Montreal Steak Seasoning, that you should be able to find at any major grocery store in the U.S. It’s a chunky mix of salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper, and sometimes a couple other spices. I love steak seasoning because that chunky grind of the spices gives the dish not only texture but these wonderful pops of flavor in every bite. Don’t skip it! :)

Can I Use Different Potatoes?

Yes! Again, this recipe is so flexible. I used small red potatoes, but you can substitute larger red potatoes or even russet potatoes if that is what you have. Just make sure to cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces so they roast at an even pace with everything else.

Sheet pan kielbasa, potatoes, and green beans in a bowl with a fork

 
Sheet pan roasted kielbasa potatoes and green beans with a spatula

Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans

Sheet pan meals don't get an easier or more delicious than this Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans dinner.
Total Cost $9.47 recipe / $2.37 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 504.88kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. petite red potatoes $2.99
  • 12 oz. kielbasa $4.69
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 12 oz. frozen green beans $1.00
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/2 Tbsp steak seasoning $0.15

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice the kielbasa into medallions. Dice the onion into 1-inch pieces.
  • Add the potatoes, kielbasa, onion, and frozen green beans (no need to thaw) to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the steak seasoning over top. Use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is coated in oil and spices.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then give the ingredients on the sheet pan a good stir. Roast for an additional 15 minutes, or until the ingredients achieve the level of browning you desire. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 504.88kcal | Carbohydrates: 40.3g | Protein: 15.65g | Fat: 32.45g | Sodium: 1028.88mg | Fiber: 5.88g

Love Sheet Pan Meals? Try these other flavors:

How to Make Sheet Pan Kielbasa Potatoes and Green Beans – Step by Step Photos

Meal ingredients whole on the sheet pan

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. This is all that goes into the dinner, plus some olive oil and steak seasoning. How simple is that?? 24oz. petite red potatoes, 12oz. kielbasa, 12oz. frozen green beans, and one yellow onion.

Chopped ingredients on the sheet pan

Chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice the kielbasa into medallions. Dice the onion into 1-inch pieces. Add the potatoes, kielbasa, onion, and green beans (no need to thaw) to the sheet pan.

Steak seasoning bottle close up

This is all I used to season the sheet pan meal. The chunky texture of this seasoning blend really adds a lot of texture and flavor differentiation to every bite! 

Seasoned sheet pan meal

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and ½ Tbsp of the steak seasoning to the ingredients on the sheet pan, then toss really well until everything is coated in oil and seasoning.

Roasted sheet pan meal

Then place the sheet pan in the oven, roast for 20 minutes, then give it a good stir. Return it to the oven and roast for about another 15 minutes, or until it’s browned to the level that you like. 

Close up of sheet pan kielbasa potatoes and green beans on a sheet pan

It’s hard to describe how awesome this is. It doesn’t even need any sort of dressing or sauce. The fat and seasoning from the kielbasa soak into the potatoes and coats the other vegetables in an incredible amount of flavor, then you have the steak seasoning on top. It’s just 100% awesome! Serve hot and enjoy. :)

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Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options […]

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Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options that I’ll outline for you below. Tuck this one in your back pocket (browser bookmarks?) because I’m sure you’re going to be making it again and again. ;)

Overhead view of creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet

What Are “Crispy Onions”?

I’m not sure how popular crispy fried onions are outside the U.S. so I wanted to take a second to explain and link out to this product for those who are unfamiliar. They’re basically deep fried onions that you can buy in a carton and are often used to top the classic Thanksgiving recipe, Green Bean Casserole. The onions are super crispy, a little salty, and they just add a wonderful texture and flavor in contrast the to the creamy mushroom sauce. The only brand I know that makes them is French’s, but you might be able to find a generic version at some grocery stores. 

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

Yes, boneless, skinless chicken thighs will work beautifully for this recipe and, because they are already thin and flat, will not require the pounding step that I show for the chicken breasts below. I do not suggest bone-in chicken thighs or breasts for this recipe because they require a much longer cooking time.

Can I Substitute the Mushrooms?

Not a mushroom lover? No problem. This recipe would also be great with spinach. Simply make the sauce without the mushrooms by adding the garlic to the skillet after removing the chicken, then proceeding to deglaze the skillet with broth as directed below. After adding the cream, simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce, then stir in fresh spinach until wilted. Finally, add the chicken and warm through.

Make it Dairy-Free

Full fat coconut milk will work well here in place of the heavy cream, just as it does in my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk in a can, not the kind in a carton, which is thinner and meant to be a substitute for dairy milk. Shake up the can well before measuring, to distribute as much fat throughout the liquid as possible. Also, use coconut oil or your cooking oil of choice in place of butter.

Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Pictured with Steamed Green Beans and mashed potatoes.

 
Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy Mushroom Chicken topped with delicious crispy onions is an easy weeknight dinner with plenty of options for customization!
Total Cost $8.70 recipe / $2.18 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 369.8kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms $1.69
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1.3 lbs. total) $5.63
  • 1 pinch salt $0.02
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided $0.26
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.39
  • 1/4 cup crispy fried onions $0.37
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Rinse and slice the mushrooms. Set the sliced mushrooms aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch thick. Cut each chicken breast into two pieces, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add one tablespoon of the butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover with foil or an upside down plate to keep it warm.
  • Add the second tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet begins to dry up again. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute more.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon mushroom cream sauce over each piece. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes more, or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Top the chicken with the crispy fried onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 369.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.25g | Protein: 36.13g | Fat: 22.4g | Sodium: 345.45mg | Fiber: 0.65g

How to Make Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms

Wash and slice 8oz. baby bella mushrooms. Set the mushrooms aside.

Pounded chicken breasts on a cutting board with a rolling pin

Place two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or a rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch. This helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly in the skillet.

Chicken portions seasoned with salt and pepper on the cutting board

Cut each chicken breast in half to create four portions, then season each with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cooked chicken in the skillet

Add one tablespoon butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep it warm (either foil or another plate turned upside down).

Sautéed mushrooms and garlic in the skillet

Add another tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet dries up again. Add four cloves minced garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute more.

Cream being poured into the skillet with mushrooms

Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. Add ½ cup heavy cream to the skillet and stir to combine.

Chicken in creamy mushroom sauce in the skillet

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and spoon the creamy mushroom sauce over the chicken. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and the sauce is slightly reduced.

Creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet, topped with crispy fried onions

Top the chicken with crispy fried onions (I used about ¼ cup total). 

Finished Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, garnished with parsley

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, then serve. This goes really well with mashed potatoes or pasta, so the creamy sauce can be spooned over top like a gravy.

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Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

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

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

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

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

What Kind of Sausage Do I Use?

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

Is Cajun Sausage and Rice Spicy?

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

Can I Use Store Bought Cajun Seasoning?

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

Can I Use Brown Rice?

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

Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

 
Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Nutrition

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

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

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

Andouille sausage package

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

Sautéed Andouille in the skillet

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

Bell pepper and spices added to the skillet

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

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

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

Skillet ready to simmer

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

Simmered sausage and rice skillet

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

Stirred Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

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

Finished Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet with green onions

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

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Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew

Y’all. I am SO ready for sweater weather and cozy slow cooker stews! To kick the season off, I made this super simple Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew this week. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just simple, good, comforting food! I love the simplicity of this dish and the flexibility. It’s the perfect thing to have simmering […]

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Y’all. I am SO ready for sweater weather and cozy slow cooker stews! To kick the season off, I made this super simple Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew this week. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just simple, good, comforting food! I love the simplicity of this dish and the flexibility. It’s the perfect thing to have simmering away on the weekend as you do your chores or relax and enjoy watching the changing of the seasons. :)

Overhead view of a bowl of slow cooker hamburger stew with bread on the side

What’s in Hamburger Stew?

Hamburger stew is very similar to traditional beef stew, but it’s made with ground beef instead of stew meat. Using ground beef is a little bit less expensive than using stew meat, and I like how you get a little bit of beef in every bite! 

In addition to the beef we have a medley of fresh vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes, peas), beef broth, herbs and spices, plus a little Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to zhuzh it up a bit. It’s incredibly simple, but creates that beautifully subtle slow stewed flavor.

Why Brown The Hamburger First?

For this Hamburger Stew I browned the ground beef in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker. I did this for two reasons. One, to render off some of the fat. I used 15% fat ground beef and there was quite a bit that needed to be drained away (I actually tested this recipe once without draining the fat and it just ended up far too oily). The second reason is that you get a nice browning (maillard reaction) on the beef in the dry environment of a skillet that you do not get in the wet environment of a slow cooker. So you’ll get just a little bit more flavor with this extra step!

Can I Use Different Vegetables?

Yes! Stews are very flexible. If you don’t like one of the vegetables listed, go ahead and skip it. Just keep in mind that the potatoes do help thicken the stew, so if you skip the potatoes you’ll have more of a soup texture. Other great vegetables to use in beef stew include:

  • mushrooms
  • pearl onions
  • parsnips
  • turnips
  • rutabagas
  • sweet potatoes
  • winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin)

What Are Stewed Tomatoes?

This recipe calls for stewed tomatoes, which are a variety of canned tomatoes that are popular in the U.S. (example: Hunts stewed tomatoes). These tomatoes are cooked with seasonings and a little bit of sugar to give them the slightest sweetness. Stewed tomatoes add a little extra special unique flavor to the broth of this stew. While you can use diced tomatoes if stewed tomatoes are not available, this substitution will slightly change the flavor of the stew.

How Long Is Hamburger Stew Good?

After cooking the hamburger stew, I suggest dividing it into single portions (so that it cools faster) and refrigerating it right away. It will stay good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or it can be transferred to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months). This stew is a great item to have stashed in your freezer for busy nights! It can be reheated quickly in the microwave, or slowly over medium-low heat in a pot on the stove.

Slow cooker hamburger stew in a ladle over the slow cooker

 
Overhead view of a bowl full of slow cooker hamburger stew with bread and a spoon on the side

Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew

This super easy Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew is simple, comforting food at its best. And the leftovers are even better the next day!
Total Cost $9.88 recipe / $1.65 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 348.27kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes $1.20
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 carrots) $0.45
  • 1 yellow onion 0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 lb. ground beef $5.69
  • 1 15oz. can stewed tomatoes $1.00
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.60

Instructions

  • Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Peel and slice the carrots. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and pepper to a slow cooker (4 quarts or larger).
  • Brown the ground beef in a skillet, then drain off the excess fat. Add the browned and drained beef to the slow cooker along with the can of stewed tomatoes (with juices). Finally, add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce to the slow cooker.
  • Give the contents of the slow cooker a brief stir to make sure everything is evenly combined (the broth may not fully cover the other ingredients). Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours, or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, remove the lid and stir the stew. Use the back of a spoon to slightly mash some of the potatoes, which will help thicken the stew.
  • Add the frozen peas (no need to thaw) and stir to combine into the stew. Taste the stew and add extra salt if needed (I did not add any, this will depend on the salt content of your beef broth). Serve hot with bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 348.27kcal | Carbohydrates: 41.42g | Protein: 20.15g | Fat: 11.83g | Sodium: 751.72mg | Fiber: 5.07g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Try These Other Stew Recipes:

Front view of Hamburger Stew in the slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew – Step by Step Photos

Vegetables herbs and spices in the slow cooker

Peel and dice 2 lbs. of potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Peel and slice ½ lb. carrots (about 4 carrots). Dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic to a slow cooker along with ½ tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp dried tyme, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Browned ground beef and stewed tomatoes added to slow cooker

Brown one pound of ground beef and drain off the excess fat. Add the browned ground beef to the slow cooker along with one 15oz. can of stewed tomatoes (with the juices).

Beef broth Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce added to slow cooker

Add 2 cups beef broth, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp soy sauce to the slow cooker.

Slow cooker ready to be turned on

Give the contents of the slow cooker a brief stir to combine. The broth will not fully cover the meat and vegetables, but that’s okay. The vegetables will release more moisture and increase the broth as they cook. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Cooked hamburger stew in the slow cooker

After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, it will look like this. Give it a good stir and smash some of the potatoes against the side of the slow cooker. The smashed potatoes will help thicken the broth into a nice hearty stew.

Frozen peas being added to the slow cooker

Stir one cup of frozen peas into the slow cooker (they’ll thaw and heat within a minute or so). 

Finished slow cooker hamburger stew in the slow cooker

Give the hamburger stew a final taste and adjust the salt to your liking. I didn’t need to add any because the broth I use (Better than Bouillon) has a decent amount, but if your broth has less sodium you may find that a pinch of salt at the end helps the flavors pop!

Slow Cooker Hamburger stew in a bowl with a spoon lifting a bite

Serve the hamburger stew immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat (but I don’t know how you’ll resist having a bowl after smelling that cooking all day!).

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Pesto Shrimp Pasta

I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will […]

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I’ve been experimenting with shrimp a lot lately. Yes, it can be a little on the expensive side, but if you pair it whith an inexpensive ingredient like pasta, you can really stretch that dollar and work it into an affordable meal. This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is an incredibly easy (and FAST) recipe that will make you feel like you’re eating a restaurant quality meal at home. So even if shrimp is just a once in a while special occasion splurge, you’ll still be saving a TON by making this splurge at home instead of having it at a restaurant!

Originally posted 12-28-2010, updated 8-27-2020.

Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the middle

This recipe was originally posted in 2010. When updating this recipe I made only minor changes to the recipe yield, ingredient quantities, and preparation method. If you prefer the old recipe, you can reach out to us at support@budgetbytes.com and we can send you a pdf of the old version.

What Kind of Shrimp is Best for Pesto Shrimp Pasta

A smaller sized shrimp works best for this recipe so you get more shrimp pieces throughout the pasta. If you check your package of shrimp you’ll see a number range specifying the number of shrimp per pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp (more shrimp per pound). The shrimp I used were 41-60 size, or 41-60 shrimp per pound.

You can purchase your shrimp with or without the shell and tail, but you’ll want to remove the shell and tail before cooking. You can leave the tail on, but I find that tail-on shrimp is more difficult to eat in a dish like pasta because you have to stop and remove the tail with every bite.

This recipe is written for raw (frozen or fresh) shrimp, but you can use pre-cooked shrimp if that’s what you have available. To use pre-cooked shrimp, simply add them into the pasta at the end.

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp

If you know you’ll be making this recipe a head of time, you can transfer your shrimp from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If you didn’t plan ahead, don’t worry! Shrimp thaws very quickly under running water. I just place my shrimp in a colander and run cool water over the shrimp for a few minutes until it has thawed. Once thawed and peeled, make sure to dab the shrimp dry with paper towel.

Can I Substitute the Shrimp?

If you’re not into shrimp, this recipe would also be good using diced chicken, sea scallops, or even chopped artichoke hearts! 

Tips for Cooking Shrimp

Shrimp can be intimidating for people who have never cooked it before, but I promise it’s very easy! The trick is that shrimp cooks very quickly and if you continue to cook it longer than necessary, the proteins will continue to contract leaving you with tough, rubbery shrimp. So watch your shrimp closely and remove them from the skillet just as soon as they turn pink and opaque. It only takes a few minutes (depending on the shrimp’s size and the heat level under the skillet)!

What Kind of Pesto to Use

Pesto is another ingredient that can be pricy if you don’t shop around. I used pesto from ALDI, which is very affordable, but if you don’t have an ALDI store near you check to see if your grocery store has their own store brand, or look for Classico or Barilla brand pesto, which usually tends to be a bit more affordable. I used basil pesto for this pasta, but I bet it would also be great with other flavors!

Overhead view of the skillet full of pesto shrimp pasta

 
Overhead view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a black fork in the center

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a restaurant quality meal that you can make in under 30 minutes! The perfect quick weeknight meal.
Total Cost $8.07 recipe / $2.02 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446.23kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined $4.99
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.24
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.49
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $0.55
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.11

Instructions

  • If using frozen shrimp, place them in a colander and run cool water over top to thaw (this should only take a few minutes). Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about seven minutes). Reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the prepared shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp turns pink and opaque (2-3 minutes). Remove the cooked shrimp to a clean bowl.
  • Add another tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and add the grape tomatoes and minced garlic. Continue to sauté over medium until the tomatoes begin to burst and release their juices. If the garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes have burst, add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to slow the browning.
  • Once the tomatoes have broken down in the skillet, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta and spread the pesto over everything.
  • Finally, return the cooked shrimp to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta. Top with grated Parmesan, then serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 446.23kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.3g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 15.58g | Sodium: 602.68mg | Fiber: 3.78g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Try These Other Budget-Friendly Shrimp Recipes:

Front view of a bowl full of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork twirling the pasta in the center

How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Shrimp Package

This is the shrimp I used. 41-60 size (that means 41-60 shrimp per pound) and this is a 12oz. bag. To thaw the shrimp I placed them in a colander and ran cool water over them for a few minutes, or until they were thawed enough to peel and remove the tails. Once thawed, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove the excess water.

A measuring cup scooping out starchy pasta water from the pot

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. angel hair pasta to the pot and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander. You can begin cooking the shrimp while the pasta boils.

Cooked shrimp in a skillet

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the skillet and oil are hot, add the shrimp and sauté just until they are pink and opaque (2-3 minutes), then remove them from the skillet to a clean bowl. Make sure not to over cook them!

Grape tomatoes and garlic in the skillet

Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the pint of grape tomatoes and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté the garlic and tomatoes over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to burst and break down.

Cooked grape tomatoes

If the tomatoes are not very ripe they may take a while to burst, so if your garlic begins to brown before the tomatoes start releasing their juices, you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent the garlic from browning. The juices from the tomatoes will create a sweet jam-like sauce on the bottom of the skillet.

Cooked pasta and pesto added to the skillet with tomatoes and garlic

Once the tomatoes are at least half way broken down, add the cooked and drained pasta, ¼ cup pesto, and about half of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Stir to coat everything in the pesto, adding more of the starchy pasta water if needed to loosen things up and help the pesto spread.

Cooked shrimp added to the pasta

Finally, return the cooked shrimp back to the skillet and stir to combine with the pasta and pesto.

finished pesto shrimp pasta in the skillet

I like to add just a little (about 1 Tbsp) grated Parmesan on top, and you can add some chopped parsley for color if you’d like (it’s not necessary for the flavor).

Overhead view of a finished bowl of pesto shrimp pasta with a fork on the side

Enjoy! (A little extra freshly cracked pepper on top doesn’t hurt, and if you’re into spicy try adding a pinch of crushed red pepper!)

The post Pesto Shrimp Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice

As this unusual summer draws to a close, it’s time to start moving into new routines for fall. Having a routine dinnertime can be so helpful when the world feels like it has turned upside down. Connecting with your loved ones over a great meal on a regular basis can help provide a sense of […]

The post One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As this unusual summer draws to a close, it’s time to start moving into new routines for fall. Having a routine dinnertime can be so helpful when the world feels like it has turned upside down. Connecting with your loved ones over a great meal on a regular basis can help provide a sense of stability, normalcy, and gratitude for the simple things in life. Easy recipes like this One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice will make getting back into a dinnertime routine a breeze. 30 minutes, one pot, and you’re done! And don’t forget to get your family or roommates involved—the cooking process can be just as fun and therapeutic as the meal itself!

This post is sponsored by ALDI. Ingredient prices and availability may vary. Find an ALDI store near you here, or visit ALDI on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice in the skillet with lemon and garlic on the side

Grocery shopping at ALDI has been crucial to helping me get back into a routine among all the chaos this year. The small size of the store makes it easy to just get in, get out, and on my way, all without sacrificing selection. They’ve got all my grocery basics, tons of fresh produce (organics, too), and plenty of fun specialty and seasonal ingredients that inspire me to make delicious and flavorful meals, like this Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice.

For this easy one pot meal I combined the briny flavor of artichokes with bright fresh lemon, a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick, and a light sprinkle of salty feta to give every bite a little pop. And yes, you can get all of these ingredients at ALDI, even the artichoke hearts and feta (their specialty cheese selection is top notch)! It’s the classic and comforting combination of chicken and rice dish with an elevated flavor twist. 

What Type of Pot Should I Use?

You will need a pot or skillet that has a tight fitting lid for this recipe. I used a 3 quart covered deep skillet, but a Dutch oven will also work well. You could even make this in a rice cooker, if your stove top rice cooking skills still need a little work! Just add everything to your rice cooker, give it a brief stir, and set it to the regular rice cooking cycle.

Tips for One Pot Rice Recipes

As with all “one pot” recipes, having good cookware is key. Using a good quality pot or pan that heats evenly will ensure that your rice cooks thoroughly and evenly without burning. Avoid thin or lightweight cookware as these can tend to cause hot and cold spots that don’t cook evenly.

Make sure to let the chicken and rice “rest” for about 5 minutes after turning off the heat. This allows the steam to redistribute throughout the rice, producing a more even texture and loosening any grains from the bottom of the pot.

Use a pot or pan that is close in size to your burner. Using a pot that is too wide for the burner may cause the outside edges to under cook.

What Can I Serve on the Side?

I consider this a “one pot meal” that is filling and diverse enough that it wouldn’t necessarily require a side dish, but if you want to up the vegetable content of your meal, a simple side salad of mixed greens, grape tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette would be a perfect light side. And yes, you can get all the ingredients for an awesome side salad like that at ALDI! ;)

A bowl of one pot lemon artichoke chicken and rice with a fork in the side

 
Finished one pot lemon artichoke chicken in the skillet

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice

Get back into routines with this easy One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice dinner. 30 minutes, one pot, and you're done!
Total Cost $7.39 recipe / $1.85 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 409.48kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemon $0.43
  • 1 lb. Kirkwood Fresh Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless) $2.49
  • 2 Tbsp Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil $0.23
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp Stonemill Dried Oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper $0.02
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 12oz. jar Tuscan Garden Quartered Artichoke Hearts $2.59
  • 1 cup Earthly Grains Long Grain White Rice $0.25
  • 1.5 cups Chef's Cupboard Chicken Broth $0.45
  • 1 oz. Emporium Selection Feta Cheese Crumbles $0.55

Optional Garnish

  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10

Instructions

  • Zest and juice the lemon. You'll need about 2 Tbsp lemon juice and ½ tsp lemon zest (plus some for garnish).
  • Drain and roughly chop the artichoke hearts. Mince the garlic. Cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.
  • Add the olive oil to a deep skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté over medium for about 2 minutes (it will not be fully cooked at this point).
  • Add the minced garlic, oregano, red pepper, and salt to the skillet with the chicken. Continue to sauté for about one minute more.
  • Finally, add the artichoke hearts, uncooked rice, chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ tsp lemon zest to the skillet. Stir briefly to combine, place a lid on top, then turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • Allow the broth to come up to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low or just above low to reduce the broth to a simmer. Let the chicken and rice simmer for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 15 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest, undisturbed, for five minutes more.
  • Finally, lift the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and gently redistribute the chicken and artichoke hearts throughout the rice. Top the skillet with crumbled feta, another pinch of lemon zest, and chopped parsley (if desired). Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

*Ingredient prices and availability may vary.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 409.48kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.65g | Protein: 31.73g | Fat: 11.65g | Sodium: 880mg | Fiber: 4.25g

Find more easy one pot recipes that you can make with ALDI ingredients in our One Pot Meals category.

How to Make One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice – Step by Step Photos

One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice Ingredients

Here is everything you need to make this super simple One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice (all purchased from ALDI!).

Zest and juice a lemon

Start by zesting and juicing a fresh lemon. You’ll need about 2 Tbsp lemon juice (that’s about half the lemon) and ½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnishing.

Chopped artichoke hearts

Drain one 12oz. jar of quartered artichoke hearts, then roughly chop them into smaller bite-sized pieces. Mince four cloves of garlic.

Chopped chicken breast

Cut one pound boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.

Cooked chicken in the skillet with spices.

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and sauté for about 2 minutes (the chicken will not be fully cooked at this point). Add the minced garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp crushed red pepper, and ¼ tsp salt to the skillet with the chicken. Continue to sauté for one minute more.

Artichokes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

Add 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, the chopped artichoke hearts, 1.5 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and ½ tsp lemon zest to the skillet. 

Ingredients in the skillet stirred before cooking.

Stir the ingredients briefly to combine.

Cooked lemon artichoke chicken and rice in the skillet before fluffing

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low or just above low to lower the broth to a simmer. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 15 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest with the lid in place for 5 more minutes.

Finished and garnished lemon artichoke chicken and rice in the skillet

After allowing the chicken and rice to rest for five minutes, lift the lid, fluff the rice, and gently stir to redistribute the chicken and artichokes throughout the rice. Garnish with another pinch of lemon zest and some chopped parsley, if desired.

Finished one pot lemon artichoke chicken in the skillet

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Classic Tuna Salad

With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in […]

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With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in a cafeteria. I’ve got a classic tuna salad recipe below, a few tips for making a good tuna salad with plenty of flavor and texture, plus a few modifications to make it your own. So let’s go get it!

Tuna salad on a piece of bread with baby greens, a second piece of bread on the side.

What Makes a Good Tuna Salad?

I think tuna salad gets a bad rap for being gloopy, bland, and smelly. But it doesn’t have to be (well, I’m not sure I can do much about the smell). To make a good tuna salad you want to use good tuna, make a dressing that has flavor dynamic, and add in some crunchies to give the salad some texture, something to chew on. No more bland mush.

What Type of Tuna to Use:

There are several canned tuna varieties to choose from, depending on your needs. “Chunk light tuna” is probably the most common and one of the less expensive options. Chunk light is smaller pieces and may appear a little shredded. “Solid albicore” is more expensive, but you’ll get nice big solid chunks of fish that will give your tuna salad more texture, and it can be a little less smelly. For more canned tuna language defined, check out Tuna Terms You Need to Know from Cooks Illustrated (they have great photos, too).

As for whether you should get your tuna packed in oil or water, that is a personal choice. Oil pack will give you a richer tuna salad, while water pack will give you a less caloric tuna salad. I find oil pack to be messy and difficult to drain, so I choose water pack for that reason alone.

Tuna Salad Dressing:

To give my tuna salad dressing flavor, I make sure to add in a little lemon juice to brighten it up and cut through the heaviness of the mayonnaise. I add a couple sliced green onions to add a little savory layer of flavor, and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper for a pop of flavor. They’re small additions that add up to a big difference in flavor.

Add Texture:

There are several things you can add to your tuna salad to add texture (and flavor). I like to add celery and walnuts. They each have their own “brand” of crunch that really adds to the interest of the tuna salad as you chew (mushy is boring). Here are some other ingredients you can add in to your tuna salad for texture:

  • sunflower seeds
  • shredded carrots
  • pickle relish
  • shredded radish 
  • olives
  • capers
  • dried cranberries
  • white beans
  • hard boiled eggs

How to Serve Tuna Salad

The recipe below is for the tuna salad only (not the sandwich fixings) because there are several ways you can serve tuna salad. We’re all familiar with the classic tuna salad sandwich, which is often built on toast with lettuce. You could also serve your tuna salad sans-bread, over a bed of greens, as an actual salad. Sometimes I eat it with just some crackers or celery for dipping, or you can stuff it into a pita or tortilla as a wrap. Lots of options, all delicious!

Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

 
Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

Classic Tuna Salad

Say goodbye to gloopy, bland tuna salad and hello to a delicious tuna salad packed with flavor and texture! Perfect for brown bag lunches.
Total Cost $5.20 recipe / $1.30 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 462.38kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 12oz. cans chunk light tuna in water $3.98
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs) $0.35
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.30
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.12
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise* $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Drain the canned tuna well. Finely dice the celery, chop the walnuts, and slice the green onions.
  • Combine the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Serve as a sandwich, salad over a bed of greens, or with crackers and vegetables for dipping. Refrigerate up to four days.

Notes

*I like my tuna salad a little on the "dry" side. Add more mayonnaise if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 462.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.85g | Protein: 41.98g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1215.78mg | Fiber: 4.55g

A classic tuna salad sandwich front view with sandwich fixings in the background

How to Make Classic Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Classic Tuna Salad ingredients in a bowl

Drain two 12oz. cans of chunk light tuna in water. Finely dice about one cup of celery, chop 1/4 cup walnuts, and slice two green onions. Add the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions to a bowl with ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Stirred tuna salad in the bowl

Stir the ingredients to combine, then serve, or refrigerate up to four days. I do like my tuna salad a little bit dry, so if you prefer you can always add an extra tablespoon or two of mayonnaise to make it a little “softer.”

Tuna salad sandwich next to a tray with sandwich fixings

Serve your tuna salad as a sandwich, a salad (over a bed of greens), with crackers and vegetables for dipping, or stuffed into a pita or tortilla/wrap!

The post Classic Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Beef Taco Skillet

Sometimes I just throw random leftovers into a pot or skillet and just see how it turns out. 😜 But you can’t really go wrong with the ingredients that I used this time around. This Beef Taco Skillet isn’t that novel of a concept, but it was quite tasty and has a lot of room […]

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Sometimes I just throw random leftovers into a pot or skillet and just see how it turns out. 😜 But you can’t really go wrong with the ingredients that I used this time around. This Beef Taco Skillet isn’t that novel of a concept, but it was quite tasty and has a lot of room for customization, so I thought it would be the perfect “easy fix” meal to share. So tuck this Beef Taco Skillet Recipe into your bookmarks, because I think you’ll get great use out of it!

Beef Taco Skillet viewed from above, bowl of green onions on the side

I had a half pound of ground beef in my freezer, a pint of grape tomatoes that I bought for something else and never got around to using, the ever present half bunch of green onions in my fridge, and a bag of tortilla chips. They all went into the skillet with my homemade taco seasoning, a little cheese on top (I always seem to have random partial blocks of cheese in my fridge, too), and I had an incredibly easy and tasty dinner. 

Don’t the Chips Get Soft?

The tortilla chips soak up all the flavor in the skillet and get kind of soft, kind of like they do in chilaquiles, migas, or tortilla soup. It’s not a bad thing, IMHO. But if you’re not a fan of soft tortilla chips, you can always crush them over top of your skillet just before serving to make this more like a taco salad (minus the salad part). 

Other Topping Ideas

As I mentioned in the intro, this recipe is ripe for customization and you can throw just about any leftover ingredients that you might have on hand into the skillet. Anything that you might like on a taco, taco salad, or in a burrito would be good in this skillet. So check your fridge, freezer, and pantry for any of these items and toss them into the mix:

Can I Use Store Bought Taco Seasoning?

Yes, if you don’t have all the herbs and spices needed for the homemade taco seasoning in the recipe below, simply substitute one packet of store bought taco seasoning.

Can I Substitute the Ground Beef?

Yep, that’s easy, too! You can use any other ground meat (turkey, chicken, pork), or even just do an extra can of beans of you want to keep it vegetarian (extra black beans or pinto beans).

Close up of Beef Taco Skillet with a spatula scooping some out of the side

 
Close up overhead shot of beef taco skillet

Beef Taco Skillet

This Beef Taco Skillet can repurpose your leftover ingredients into a fast, easy, and hearty weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $6.30 recipe / $1.58 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 487.05kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder* $0.30
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Skillet Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.85
  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.89
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (or one large tomato) $1.49
  • 4 oz. tortilla chips $0.50
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese $0.42
  • 1 green onion $0.11

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for the homemade taco seasoning in a small bowl (chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, salt, and pepper).
  • Slice the green onion and cut the grape tomatoes in half (if using one large tomato, cut it into a small dice).
  • Add the ground beef to a skillet and cook over medium until it is fully browned. If you're using a higher fat content beef (20% or higher), drain the excess fat before moving to the next step. If you're using a very lean ground beef (<10% fat) you may need to add a touch of oil to the skillet to keep the beef from sticking.
  • While the beef is cooking, rinse and drain the can of black beans. Add the black beans to the skillet with the prepared taco seasoning. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes more, or until heated through.
  • Add the tomatoes to the skillet and continue to cook over medium, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to break down a bit (about three more minutes).
  • Finally, add the tortilla chips and stir to combine with the other ingredients in the skillet.
  • Top the skillet with the shredded cheese, place a lid on top, and let it heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over top just before serving.

Notes

*chili powder is a blend of spices used to season chili and may be mild or hot depending on the brand. It is not pure ground red chile peppers.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 487.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.88g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 20.5g | Sodium: 863.3mg | Fiber: 15.1g

Close up overhead shot of beef taco skillet

How to Make Beef Taco Skillet – Step by Step Photos

taco seasoning spices in a small bowl

Combine the spices for the homemade taco seasoning: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper. You can use a packet of store bought taco seasoning in place of the homemade taco seasoning, if needed.

Sliced green onion and grape tomatoes

Slice a green onion and a pint of grape tomatoes in half. You can use one large tomato in place of the grape tomatoes (I just happened to have those on hand and they needed to be used). If using a large tomato, cut it into a small dice.

browned ground beef in a skillet

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is fully browned. If you’re using a high fat ground beef you’ll want to drain the excess fat off before moving to the next step. If you’re using a really low fat ground beef, you may need to add a little oil to the skillet to keep it from sticking. I used 15% fat beef, which didn’t need any extra oil and didn’t need to be drained.

black beans and taco seasoning added to the skillet

While the beef is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans. Add them to the skillet along with the taco seasoning. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat for a couple more minutes.

tomatoes added to the skillet

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and continue to stir and cook just until the tomatoes begin to break down (about 3 more minutes).

Tortilla chips added to the skillet

Finally, add about 4 oz. tortilla chips (you don’t have to be exact here. I just looked on the label and it said each serving was 1 oz., or about 12 chips, so I estimated). Stir the chips into the skillet.

Shredded cheese being added to the skillet

Top the skillet with 2 oz. shredded cheddar (about ½ cup). Place a lid on top and let it heat for a couple of minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

green onions added on top of the melted cheese in the skillet

Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the beef taco skillet just before serving.

Close up side view of the finished beef taco skillet

Enjoy this taco-nacho hybrid in a skillet for all its cheesy goodness!

The post Beef Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The Cheese Board Lunch Box

Continuing on with my no-cook lunch box series, today I bring you The Cheese Board Lunch Box! This one goes out to everyone who is perfectly happy nibbling on a charcuterie board for dinner, instead of as an appetizer to dinner. 😉 Just be careful, this lunch box is going to tempt you to drink […]

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Continuing on with my no-cook lunch box series, today I bring you The Cheese Board Lunch Box! This one goes out to everyone who is perfectly happy nibbling on a charcuterie board for dinner, instead of as an appetizer to dinner. ;) Just be careful, this lunch box is going to tempt you to drink a glass of wine with lunch!

Four glass meal prep containers filled with the cheese board lunch box

Where Are the Vegetables??

I know, I know. I’m usually a vegetable-with-every meal type of person, but I think it’s entirely possible to have a cheese board lunch box and still keep balance in your day. Try eating a veggie heavy breakfast bowl, like my Vegetable Breakfast Scrambles, and make sure you include a veggie heavy dinner, like a stir fry, soup, or meal-worthy salad. Or hey, you can always just pack a side salad to go with this box for lunch. :)

What Else Can I Add to My Cheese Board Lunch Box?

As with all of these no-cook lunch box ideas, this Cheese Board Lunch Box is very flexible! Here are some other items you can include with or in place of any of the ingredients I put into my box:

  • Pickles
  • Grapes
  • Apple slices
  • A small container of your favorite jam
  • A small container of jam
  • A small container of pesto
  • Olives
  • Almonds
  • Dried cherries or cranberries
  • Sliced bell peppers

Other Meat Options

I used salami in my cheese board lunch box, but there are so many options with this one. You can use other cured meats, like prosciutto, capicola, soppressata. If all of that is too fancy or too hard to find, regular deli meat is just as great in this box! Roll up the slices into little “cigars” to make the presentation extra pretty and you’ll still feel like you’re eating an extra special lunch.

Wrap the Crackers for Freshness

To keep your crackers nice and crunchy, you’ll probably want to wrap the crackers in an extra fold-top sandwich bag or waxed paper to keep the moisture from the other ingredients out. I didn’t do this (because I’m lazy) and my crackers got a little soft, but I still enjoyed the box quite a bit over the next four days.

What Containers Do You Use?

These containers are made by Pyrex and are my favorite meal prep containers. While they’re not divided, the single compartment makes them very versatile. Also, the lid is simple, snaps on, and has no moving parts to break. There is a link to these containers in the bottom of the recipe card below. 

Overhead view of one Cheese board Lunch Box with a cracker stacked with cheese and salami.

 
Four cheese board lunch boxes lined up in a row

The Cheese Board Lunch Box

This easy no-cook lunch idea is perfect for the cheese lovers of the world! The Cheese Board Lunch Box makes a meal out of savory nibbles.
Total Cost $7.45 recipe / $1.86 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 638.5kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. cheese $2.12
  • 4 oz. salami $1.99
  • 20 crackers $0.74
  • 16 dried apricots $1.40
  • 1 cup walnuts $1.20

Instructions

  • Slice the cheese. Wrap sets of 5 crackers in fold-top sandwich bags or waxed paper.
  • Divide the cheese salami, wrapped crackers, dried apricots, and walnuts between four containers. Refrigerate until ready to eat, or up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1box | Calories: 638.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.63g | Protein: 26.95g | Fat: 48.95g | Sodium: 901mg | Fiber: 4.03g

How to Make The Cheese Board Lunch Box

Packages of ingredients for the cheese board lunch box

These are all the ingredients I used for the cheese board lunch box (this is all from ALDI). You can use whatever type of cheese or crackers that you like. I chose sharp cheddar and got a box of assorted crackers. Check the list earlier in the post if you want ideas for other items to include.

Four cheese board lunch boxes lined up in a row

Slice the cheese and wrap groups of five crackers in a sandwich baggie or waxed paper (I skipped wrapping my crackers). Divide all the ingredients between four containers.

Four glass containers of the cheese board lunch box staggered

Refrigerate your cheese board lunch boxes until you’re ready to eat, or up to five days! Enjoy!

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Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

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

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

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

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

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

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

What Kind of Pesto Do You Use?

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

Can I Substitute the Cream Cheese?

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

Make it a Vegetarian Creamy Pesto Pasta

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

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

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

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoli

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

How to Use Your Leftover Pesto

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

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

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

Diced chicken breast on an orange cutting board

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

Broth being poured into a skillet with cooked chicken pieces.

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

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

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

Smooth and creamy pesto sauce in the skillet

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

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

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

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

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

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