Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!

The post Cajun Sausage and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s another super easy meal prep for you! This super simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep follows the basic protein + veg formula and is super fast to make. I’ve got some additional suggestions for you below, if you’d like to bulk up the meal a bit or just make it a little fancier!

four glass containers full of Cajun sausage and vegetables

Vegetable Options

This recipe is super flexible, so if you don’t like the vegetables I chose, you can swap them out with other vegetables. Here are some options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Green Beans
  • Brussels sprouts

For heartier vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, you may want to pre-steam them for a few minutes just to make sure they get tender.

Protein Options

The Andouille sausage in this recipe is packed with herbs, spices, and a delicious smoky flavor, which ends up adding flavor to the entire dish. You can swap the sausage out with something like shrimp or chicken thighs, but if you do so, I suggest coating the chicken or shrimp well with plenty of Cajun seasoning since they don’t have seasonings built-in, like the sausage.

Bulk it Up!

If you need some carb action to keep you full and satisfied, you can serve these Cajun Sausage and Vegetables over a bed of rice. You can cook your rice in broth or add some herbs and spices for even more flavor.

Another option is to serve the sausage and vegetables over a bed of pasta. I think penne would be a great choice. If serving over penne, you can add a vinaigrette to help coat everything in flavor. I think the Smoky Vinaigrette that I used in my Smoky Roasted Sausage and Vegetables recipe would go nicely.

How Long Does it Last?

I generally keep meal preps like this for about four days, but the lifespan will vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, the freshness of the vegetables, and how long you cook the vegetables. Since I cooked this with the intention of reheating later, I purposely cooked the vegetables very lightly to prevent them from getting super soggy as they wait in the refrigerator. By nature, they will wilt a bit as the days go by, but undercooking them slightly can definitely help.

Close up of Cajun Sausage and Vegetables in the skillet
rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.94 recipe / $1.74 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 440kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini (½ lb.) $0.72
  • 1 yellow squash (½ lb.) $0.70
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 red onion $0.28
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $3.33
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.20

Instructions

  • Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the red bell pepper and red onion into strips. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl.
  • Slice the sausage into rounds. Add the sausage and 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper over top. Toss the vegetables to coat them in oil and spices.
  • Place the same skillet back over the heat and turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they are slightly tender. The vegetables will pick up the flavor left in the skillet from the sausage, so do not clean the skillet first. Be careful to not overcook the vegetables, as they will cook more when you reheat your meal preps.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cooked sausage and chopped parsley to the vegetables. Toss to combine with the vegetables. Give the sausage and vegetables a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
  • Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*If you can not find Andouille sausage in your area, you can substitute it with any smoked sausage, like kielbasa.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25recipe | Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 36g | Sodium: 1043mg | Fiber: 3g
Close up of a forkful of Cajun sausage and Vegetables

How to Make Cajun Sausage and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

Prep the vegetables first, so they’re ready to go. Slice one zucchini and one yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice one red bell pepper and one red onion into strips. Place the vegetables in a bowl.

sliced sausage on a cutting board

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage into rounds.

Cooked sausage in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.

seasoning being added to the vegetables

Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss the vegetables until they’re coated in oil and spices.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they begin to soften. The vegetables will pick up the flavor and browned bits left behind by the sausage. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished Cajun sausage and vegetables in the skillet

Return the cooked sausage back to the skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley. Toss to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

The post Cajun Sausage and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.

The post Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve made a few variations of pasta sauce over the years, but this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is definitely one of my favorites. The long slow simmer caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes and creates a depth of flavor that can’t be matched. Plus, what more could you ask for than to just throw some ingredients in a pot, forget about it for 8 hours, and then come back to a rich, delicious homemade sauce? Then you can divide the sauce into portions, freeze, and you’ll have delicious homemade pasta sauce on hand for quick busy weeknight dinners.

Originally posted on 11/4/2011, updated 1/12/2022.

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker with a spoon, garnished with parsley

Why make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce?

Pasta sauce can be bought premade really cheaply, so I think in a lot of cases it does make sense to just buy a jar and go with it. But if you want to have a little more control over the quality and ingredients of your pasta sauce while still keeping costs low, this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is a great option. 

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

This recipe makes about 2 quarts of sauce, so I would suggest using a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. You don’t need anything fancy, just a very basic slow cooker with basic functions like warm, low, and high. I do find that slow cookers made with a thick ceramic insert (or “crock”) cook much more evenly than metal inserts, like you’d have when using the slow cooker function on an Instant Pot.

Why Add Balsamic Vinegar?

The balsamic vinegar in this recipe adds a subtle depth and brightness to the sauce. It can seem strong at first, but it mellows out as the sauce is cooked. If you’re not a fan of balsamic vinegar or just don’t have any on hand, this recipe will still make a really amazing sauce even if you leave it out.

Can I Add Meat?

I’ve tried this sauce before with ground beef and I found the cook time to be far too long for the ground beef, so if you do want to add meat I suggest browning it separately and then just stirring it into the sauce after cooking. You can also check out my quick Weeknight Pasta Sauce for an easy and flavorful meat sauce option.

How to Freeze Pasta Sauce

This recipe makes about 7 cups. I suggest dividing the sauce into two or three cup portions before freezing so you can take out just enough for one recipe at a time to thaw. Let the spaghetti sauce cool completely in the fridge, then transfer to freezer-safe containers to freeze. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for about three months, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your freezer. If you use quart-sized freezer bags and freeze them laying flat they stack nicely in the freezer without taking up much space. 

You can thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight or just cut the bag away from the frozen sauce, place it in a saucepot, and heat over medium-low until it’s heated through (stir occasionally).

This sauce goes great with Homemade Meatballs (also freezer-friendly)!

A plate of pasta covered in sauce with bread on the side

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker garnished with parsley

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.
Course Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $4.40 recipe / $0.63 per cup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 7 cups
Calories 77kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes $2.00
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.69
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil $0.30
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.14
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.05

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Place both in a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and butter to the slow cooker. Stir everything together well.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking, give it a good stir, then add salt to taste. Start with just ½ tsp of salt and add more if needed (I added 1 tsp). Use the sauce immediately, refrigerate, or freeze for later.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 393mg | Fiber: 1g

Homemade pasta sauce being spooned over a plate of spaghetti

How to Make Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce – Step By Step Photos

Onion and garlic in slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Add both to a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.

Tomatoes added to slow cooker

Add 2 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes and one 6oz. can of tomato paste to the slow cooker.

Seasonings added to the slow cooker

Also add 1 Tbsp dried basil, 1.5 tsp dried oregano, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 4 Tbsp butter to the slow cooker. 

Sauce ingredients being stirred together before cooking

Give the ingredients a good stir until they’re evenly incorporated.

Simmered pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. After cooking, it will look a little like the photo above (the white is just the milk fats from the butter). Give it a good stir.

Finished pasta sauce in the slow cooker garnished with parsley

Add salt to the sauce to taste. Start with ½ teaspoon and add more until the flavors pop. I ended up using one teaspoon total. 

Side view of pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Use the slow cooker spaghetti sauce immediately or refrigerate then freeze for long-term storage.

The post Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cabbage Soup

Forget the cabbage soup diet, you’ll want to eat this super healthy vegetable-filled cabbage soup just because it tastes incredible!

The post Cabbage Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Do you remember the cabbage soup diet? It was one of those crazy fad diets where you were supposed to eat as much as you want of just one thing (in this case cabbage soup) and you’d supposedly lose weight without trying. While I’m not a fan of that type of diet, I am a big fan of the cabbage soup that the diet was centered around. Why? For one simple reason—it’s absolutely DELICIOUSYeah, I was surprised too. The first time I had the famed diet cabbage soup I expected it to be boring and bland, but I was pleasantly surprised by how extremely flavorful and comforting the soup was. I actually ended up eating it over and over again just because I wanted to. And it became a winter comfort food staple for me ever since. 😅

Originally published 1/15/2018, updated 1/8/2022.

Overhead view of a pot of cabbage soup with a ladle

Is Cabbage Soup Healthy?

I’m not going to tell you this cabbage soup will “detox” you or make you lose weight, but this soup is chock-full of a lot of the one thing that almost all of us are guilty of not getting enough of—vegetables.

I’m nicknamed this soup All You Can Eat Cabbage Soup as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the old fad diet, but seriously, eat as much as you want. The more the better, really. You’ll just be getting more of the good stuff. And guess what? This cabbage soup is insanely inexpensive, too! So even more reason to feel free to eat as much as you want!

What’s in Cabbage Soup?

The classic “cabbage soup diet” cabbage soup has taken many forms over the years, but they all have one thing in common—they’re stuffed full of non-starchy vegetables swimming in a flavorful herb-filled broth. I like my broth a bit more tomatoey, so I added some tomato sauce to thicken it up. Some people use V8 instead, but tomato sauce is much less expensive, especially when only a small amount is needed. I also added a bit of smoked paprika (because that’s my fav), and a splash of lemon juice at the end to brighten it up.

How to Store Leftovers

This recipe does make a really large batch, so it’s a good idea to freeze about half of it, just in case you can’t eat all of it within about five days. To freeze this soup, divide it into single-serving portions, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer for longer storage. Keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Add More Protien

Soup recipes in general are very flexible, so you could always add a little extra protein to this soup to make it more filling. Here are some other great ingredients you can add:

  • Beans (cannellini, chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Ground beef (or check out my Beef and Cabbage Soup)
  • Italian sausage
  • Cubed tofu (extra firm)
  • Shredded chicken

a bowl of cabbage soup with a spoon and garlic bread on the side

Shown with Homemade Garlic Bread.

close up of the pot of cabbage soup

Cabbage Soup

Forget the cabbage soup diet, you'll want to eat this super healthy vegetable-filled cabbage soup just because it tastes incredible! 
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.13 recipe / $1.19 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 133kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 4 carrots $0.57
  • 4 ribs celery $0.50
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.69
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.34
  • 1/2 lb. frozen green beans $0.67
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.23
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika $0.15
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage (½ head) $1.14
  • 6 cups vegetable broth $0.78
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots, chop the celery, and dice the bell pepper. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté as you measure the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, frozen green beans, chopped parsley, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook while you chop the cabbage.
  • Chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Add the cabbage to the pot along with the vegetable broth and stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.
  • Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with ½ tsp and adding more to your liking. Finish the soup by adding the lemon juice and stirring to combine. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1783mg | Fiber: 7g

A ladle full of cabbage soup held over the pot

How to Make Cabbage Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onion and garlic in a soup pot

Start by mincing four cloves of garlic and dicing one large onion. Add them both to a large soup pot with one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Celery, carrot, and bell pepper added to the pot

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice 4 carrots, slice 4 stalks of celery, and dice one green bell pepper. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté over medium.

Tomatoes, spices, parsley, and green beans added to the pot

Add one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced), one 8oz. can tomato sauce, ½ lb. frozen green beans, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp thyme, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir to combine.

cabbage in soup pot, broth being poured in

Chop 1/2 head of cabbage into one-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups once chopped). Add the chopped cabbage to the pot along with 6 cups of vegetable broth.

Cabbage soup before simmering

Stir everything together, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.

Salt being added to the soup

Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, then adding more to taste (I used 1 tsp total). Next, add one tablespoon of lemon juice, which really helps brighten the flavors. 

close up of the pot of cabbage soup

And then slurp down all that vegetable-y goodness! I garnished with a little more fresh parsley, but it’s not needed for extra flavor.

close up of a bowl of cabbage soup

This soup goes great with some crusty bread (garlic or not) to soak up that delicious broth!

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How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan

Learn how to cook tender, juicy, and flavorful boneless chicken breasts in a pan. Perfect for quick dinners and meal prep!

The post How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The last two times I bought chicken breast at the grocery store, the cashiers asked me how to cook them (I had to wonder if they secretly knew what I did for a living 😅). While it can seem like a simple process, it can definitely go wrong if not done properly. And I’m not about to let you big $$$ dry, tasteless chicken breasts. So here is my full tutorial on how to cook chicken breast in a pan so that it stays juicy, flavorful, and tender.

Two chicken breasts in a skillet garnished with parsley

Why I Love Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

This has become my go-to method for cooking chicken breasts. Not only is it super fast and easy, but you get a lot of delicious browning on the outside of the meat, which is something that doesn’t happen in the gentle heat of an oven. Plus, you can change the seasoning and make it taste like something new every time!

I’ve begun cooking a couple of chicken breasts at the beginning of each week, slicing them up, then storing them in the refrigerator to add to salads, pasta, sandwiches, and bowls over the next few days. It’s only a few minutes of prep and then I’ve got an easy protein ready to add to any meal. Here is a roundup of flexible recipes that are perfect for adding any protein, like pan-seared chicken breasts.

Cooking Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken Breasts

The cooking technique below is for boneless chicken breasts (with or without skin). Bone-in chicken breasts take much longer to cook through, so you’ll want to utilize the oven to make sure the breast heats through completely without burning on the outside. For bone-in chicken breasts, I suggest using the method outlined in my Herb Roasted Chicken Breast recipe.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breasts in a Skillet

The amount of time needed to cook a chicken breast in a pan will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, the amount of heat used, and the type of cookware used. To take the guesswork out of how long to cook the chicken breasts, I suggest using an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken breast has reached 165ºF.

Thick Chicken Breasts

Thick chicken breasts take longer to cook through than thin chicken breasts, so I like to use lower heat (medium-low) and a longer cook time, which allows time for the meat to heat through without the outside burning. For a boneless chicken breast that is about one inch thick, I cook for about 8 minutes per side over medium-low heat.

Thin Chicken Breasts

If you buy thin cut breasts, fillet the chicken breasts yourself, or use a mallet to pound the chicken breasts to ½-inch thick, they will cook much faster. You’ll want to increase the heat to medium so you can still achieve some browning on the outside with a shorter cook time. For thinner breasts, I cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

How to Season Chicken Breasts

I used a very classic smoky seasoning for the chicken breasts in the recipe below, but there are so many other delicious options. Here are some other ways you can season your pan-seared chicken breasts:

side view of chicken breasts in a skillet
close up of cooked chicken breasts in the skillet

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

Learn how to cook tender, juicy, and flavorful boneless chicken breasts in a pan. Perfect for quick dinners and meal prep! 
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.27 recipe / $0.91 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 229kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp steak seasoning $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika $0.05
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1.3 lbs. total) $6.79
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp butter (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Combine the steak seasoning, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika in a bowl. Coat the chicken breasts liberally with the seasoning on all sides.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low (or medium for thin-cut breasts). Once hot, swirl the oil to coat the skillet.
  • Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes without flipping (5 minutes for thin-cut breasts). Flip the chicken and then cook on the second side until well browned and cooked through (internal temperature of 165ºF).
  • For extra luscious chicken, add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet, allow it to melt, then flip the chicken a couple of times to coat in the melted butter.
  • Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 197mg | Fiber: 1g
close up side view of sliced chicken breasts

How to Make Cook Chicken Breasts in a Pan – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken breasts on a cutting board

Begin by seasoning the chicken breast liberally on each side. I used a mix of 2 tsp steak seasoning, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp sweet paprika. The steak seasoning contains salt, so no extra salt was needed in my mix.

oil being added to the skillet

Add a tablespoon or so of your favorite cooking oil to a large skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-low (or medium heat for thin cut breasts).

Cooked Chicken breasts in the skillet

Once hot, swirl the oil in the skillet to coat the surface, then add the chicken breasts. Let the chicken breasts cook for 8 minutes without flipping (or 5 minutes for thin cut breasts). Flip once and cook until well browned on the second side and cooked through.

Butter added to the skillet

To make the chicken breasts extra luscious, add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet, allow it to melt, then flip the chicken a couple of times to coat. The butter will help dissolve some of the flavor off the bottom of the skillet to further coat the chicken.

Sliced chicken breasts

Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

close up of cooked chicken breasts in the skillet

The post How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Glazed Ham Steaks

Glazed ham steaks are a quick and easy dinner idea that only takes a few ingredients and about 15 minutes to prepare.

The post Glazed Ham Steaks appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know about you, but it feels like Thanksgiving was just yesterday and I’m not ready to make another big dinner yet. So for Christmas, I’m making these super simple ham steaks instead of a full glazed ham. They’re so incredibly quick, I get my ham fix, and I can spend Christmas day relaxing. 😎 These glazed ham steaks are so good and so easy that they’ll probably be making their way into my normal dinner rotation, too.

Two glazed ham steaks on a plate with Brussels sprouts and sweet potato

Shown with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and a baked sweet potato.

What Kind of Ham to Use

I like a thick-cut (½-inch thick) sliced ham steak for this recipe because it gives it more of a main-dish type feel. There are many options for sliced ham or sliced ham quarters in the grocery store (near the refrigerated cured meats) and you can use just about any of them. If you end up with ham that is sliced more thinly, you’ll just cook for a shorter amount of time during the browning step below. And you may need to make more glaze if you’re trying to cover more pieces.

Other Glaze Options

The glaze I used here is a sweet and slightly tangy mix that reduces to a nice sticky glaze. You can’t really taste the Dijon mustard in the end, but if you don’t like Dijon or simply don’t have any on hand, you can also use a sweet-spicy-smoky rub like I used in my Glazed Pork Chops recipe.

How are the Leftovers?

I love, love, loved eating the leftovers of this ham. So much so that I think I might meal prep this on a regular basis! Glazes like this don’t stay clear and glossy after refrigeration, but they still taste great!

What to Serve with Glazed Ham Steaks

I served my glazed ham with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and a baked sweet potato, but it would also go great with classics like Homemade Mac and Cheese, Potato Salad, Three Bean Salad, Roasted Broccoli, or a Broccoli Cheese Casserole.

For something like a mini Christmas Dinner, I’d probably pair it with Potatoes Au Gratin, Balsamic Glazed Carrots, Roasted Brussels, and Apple Walnut Stuffing.

Side view of glazed ham steaks on the plate with sides
Side view of glazed ham steaks on the plate with sides

Glazed Ham Steaks

Glazed ham steaks are a quick and easy dinner idea that only takes a few ingredients and about 15 minutes to prepare.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $5.48 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 4oz. each
Calories 220kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.18
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves $0.02
  • 2 8oz. ham steaks $5.00
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.10

Instructions

  • Combine the brown sugar, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and cloves in a small bowl.
  • Cut the ham steaks in half to create four 4oz. portions.
  • Add the butter to a skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted, swirl the skillet to coat the surface. Add the ham steaks and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until browned.
  • Spoon half of the glaze mixture over the ham steaks, flip, then add the second half of the glaze. Cook for 1-2 minutes more on each side, or until the glaze becomes thick and sticky. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1525mg | Fiber: 1g
Glazed Ham Steaks in the skillet close up

How to Make Glazed Ham Steaks – Step by Step Photos

Ham glaze ingredients in a bowl

Make the glaze first. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp ground cloves.

ham steak packages

These are the ham steaks I used. You can use any type of ham steak available, but if they are thinner than ½-inch, you’ll need to reduce the cooking time from the estimates I have given.

Ham steaks cut in half

Each of the ham steaks were 8oz., so I cut them in half to create four 4oz. portions. Portion your ham as you see fit.

Browned ham steaks in the skillet

Add 1 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted, give the skillet a swirl to coat the surface. Add the ham and cook for a few minutes on each side, or until browned.

Glaze being spooned over the ham steaks in the skillet

Spoon half of the glaze mixture over the ham steaks, then flip them over and add the rest.

Finished glazed ham in the skillet

Cook the ham for a minute or two more on each side, or until the glaze has reduced.

Overhead view of glazed ham on a plate with sides

Serve hot with your favorite sides!

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Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche

I’m a big fan of savory breakfast dishes and this Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche might be my new favorite! It’s very filling, full of vegetables, and doesn’t leave me with a carb hangover (I’m looking at you, pancakes). You can serve it up at brunch or eat it for lunch or dinner, so give […]

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I’m a big fan of savory breakfast dishes and this Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche might be my new favorite! It’s very filling, full of vegetables, and doesn’t leave me with a carb hangover (I’m looking at you, pancakes). You can serve it up at brunch or eat it for lunch or dinner, so give this spinach and mushroom crustless quiche recipe a try the next time you want to prepare something special. I promise it’s worth the effort!

Originally posted 11/1/2011, updated 11/9/2021.

Close up overhead view of a spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in a pie dish

Isn’t a “crustless quiche” just a frittata?

While they are both baked egg dishes, there are distinct differences. The main difference is the texture. Quiches are a custard made with egg, cheese, and milk or cream. They have a soft, delicate texture. Frittatas, on the other hand, contain little to no milk or cream, so it is closer in texture to an omelet or baked egg. The other significant difference comes in the cooking process. Frittatas start on the stovetop and only finish only for the last few minutes in the oven. Quiches are baked in the oven only.

Can this crustless quiche be reheated?

Yes, this is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfast dishes! But you do need to be cautious while reheating because overheating can cause the egg proteins to seize up, expel water, and become rubbery. For that reason, I suggest reheating in the microwave only until the crustless quiche is warmed through, but not piping hot. This will store in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Can You Freeze Quiche?

Egg dishes like crustless quiche freeze just so-so. This is one of those grey areas where it will depend a lot on how sensitive you are to texture changes. The egg will seep a little water upon freezing, thawing, and reheating, which may or may not bother you. I suggest testing this with one piece of the quiche first to see if the changes are acceptable to you. To freeze, cool the quiche in the refrigerator first, then wrap tightly in plastic and transfer to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Love this Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche? Try my Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Crustless Quiche, too!

A slice of crustless quiche being held in front of the pie dish on a spatula

close up view of sliced spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in the pie dish

Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

This easy, tasty Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche is low on carbs and big on flavor. This veggie-filled breakfast will keep you full and happy.
Total Cost $5.89 recipe / $0.98 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 slices
Calories 187kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 10oz. box frozen chopped spinach $1.00
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp Salt $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.04
  • 2 oz. feta cheese $1.10
  • 4 large eggs $0.83
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.44
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup milk $0.42
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella $0.46

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw and squeeze as much moisture out the spinach as possible. Rinse any dirt or debris from the mushrooms, then slice thinly. Mince the garlic.
  • Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and a ½ Tbsp cooking oil to a skillet. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released all of their moisture and it has evaporated from the skillet. No water should remain in the skillet.
  • Brush the other ½ Tbsp cooking oil inside a 9-inch pie plate. Layer the mushrooms, spinach, and crumbled feta into the pie plate.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and milk.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pie plate over the spinach, mushrooms, and feta. Top with the shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake the crustless quiche in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 50 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top and the internal temperature reaches 160ºF. Slice and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 378mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche – Step by Step Photos

thawed and squeezed spinach in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw one 10oz. block of frozen chopped spinach (I use the microwave), then squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. The spinach should be fairly dry after squeezing, no water remaining in the bottom of the bowl.

sliced mushrooms on a cutting board

Slice 8oz. of mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic.

Sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

Add the mushrooms to a skillet with ½ Tbsp cooking oil, one clove of minced garlic, and ⅛ tsp salt. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and it has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet. 

Layered mushrooms, spinach, and feta in a pie dish

Brush another ½ Tbsp cooking oil over the inside surface of a 9″ pie dish. Layer in the sautéed mushrooms, squeeze-dried spinach, and 2oz. crumbled feta.

Milk being poured into a bowl with eggs, Parmesan, and pepper

Next, make the savory custard. Whisk together 4 large eggs, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, 1 cup milk, and ¼ tsp pepper.

custard mixture being poured into the pie dish

Pour the custard mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms and feat. Sometimes I like to use a larger baking tray to transport my pie plate in and out of the oven. I feel like it makes it a little easier to do without spilling, but that’s up to you.

unbaked quiche topped with grated mozzarella

Top the unbaked quiche with a little shredded mozzarella. You don’t need much, I only used about ½ cup or ¼ off an 8oz. block.

baked spinach and mushroom quiche

Bake the quiche in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 50 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top or until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF.

close up view of sliced spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in the pie dish

Slice and serve warm! 

Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche is a great low carb breakfast or brunch tread packed with vegetables and protein. BudgetBytes.com

(old photo from 2011 😊)

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Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

Juicy bratwurst simmering in tangy sauerkraut, sweet apples, onions, and broth is an easy and flavorful way to enjoy this German sausage.

The post Bratwurst and Sauerkraut appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know if I’ve told you yet, but I’m obsessed with bratwurst. Every time I eat it, it doesn’t matter how often I eat it, I swear it’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I also love sauerkraut. So I don’t know why it took me so long to make Bratwurst and Sauerkraut together. It’s a classic! But now that I have, I’m probably going to be making it constantly. It’s really easy, and the leftovers are so good, so it’s an instant winner in my book.

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut on two plates, one with buns and one with mashed potatoes

What is Bratwurst?

Bratwurst is a fresh, German-style sausage made with pork, and sometimes veal or beef. It’s incredibly juicy and flavorful, and tastes great whether cooked over an open grill, roasted in the oven, or cooked in a skillet.

In Germany, you’ll find several different types of bratwurst depending on the region, but in the U.S. you’ll usually either find regular bratwurst or beer bratwurst (or “beer brats” for short). Both types will work fine in this recipe.

You’ll find bratwurst in the fresh meat department of your grocery store, near Italian sausage. Johnsonville brats are pretty common in most major grocery stores, but I also enjoy ALDI’s store brand bratwurst.

What Kind of Sauerkraut Should I Use?

I used a German-style sauerkraut purchased in a jar (ALDI’s Deutsche Küche brand), but you could use fresh refrigerated sauerkraut as well. Flavored sauerkraut, like garlic or jalapeño, would also be really awesome in this dish. The only type of sauerkraut that I would suggest avoiding is red cabbage sauerkraut only because the color would likely bleed throughout and turn everything kind of blue-ish.

How to Serve Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

There are two main ways that I would serve bratwurst in sauerkraut. First, in toasted buns with a delicious grainy mustard, and maybe some German Potato Salad on the side. Second, on a plate with the sauerkraut as a bed and a side of either mashed potatoes or potato salad. And while you’re at it, grab a cold German Beer to go with the meal! :)

Bratwurst and sauerkraut in a skillet with beer, potatoes, and mustard on the sides
Bratwurst and sauerkraut in a skillet with beer, potatoes, and mustard on the sides

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut

Juicy bratwurst simmering in tangy sauerkraut, sweet apples, onions, and broth is an easy and flavorful way to enjoy this German sausage.
Total Cost $6.26 recipe / $1.25 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 440kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 1 apple* $0.41
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 19 oz. bratwurst (5 links) $3.49
  • 24 oz. sauerkraut $1.69
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds (optional) $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp paprika $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13

Instructions

  • Slice the onion and the apple, and mince the garlic.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large deep skillet or wide pot. Heat over medium. When the pan and oil are hot, add the bratwurst. Cook on each side until well browned (it does not need to be cooked through at this point). Remove the browned bratwurst to a clean plate.
  • Add the sliced onions, apples, and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft.
  • Drain the sauerkraut and add it to the skillet, along with the caraway seeds, paprika, pepper, and chicken broth. Stir to combine with the apples and onions. Nestle the browned bratwurst down into the sauerkraut.
  • Place a lid on the pan and allow the broth to come up to a simmer. Lower the heat slightly and continue to simmer the bratwurst in the sauerkraut and broth for 20 minutes, or until the bratwurst is cooked through. Serve hot.

Notes

*Use a sweet variety of apples to compliment the sour sauerkraut. I used a Gala apple.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 35g | Sodium: 1984mg | Fiber: 5g
Bratwurst and sauerkraut on a plate with mashed potatoes and mustard

How to Make Bratwurst and Sauerkraut – Step by Step Photos

Sliced onion and apple on a cutting board

Slice one yellow onion and one apple, and mince two cloves of garlic. Use a sweet variety apple, like Gala or Fuji.

Browned bratwurst in a skillet

Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a deep skillet or wide pot and heat over medium. Once hot, add five links of bratwurst (about 19oz.) and cook on both sides until well browned. The bratwurst does not need to be cooked through at this point. Remove the sausage to a clean plate.

onions and apples added to the skillet

Add the onions, apples, and garlic to the skillet.

sautéed onion, apple, and garlic in the skillet

Sauté the onions, apples, and garlic over medium for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

sauerkraut, spices, and broth added to the skillet

Drain the sauerkraut and add it to the skillet along with ¼ tsp caraway seeds, ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 cup chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

bratwurst added back to the skillet

Add the Bratwurst back to the skillet and nestle it down into the sauerkraut. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the broth to come to a simmer. Once simmering, lower the heat slightly and continue to simmer the bratwurst for about 20 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

bratwurst and sauerkraut on plates with beer on the sides

Serve hot with a bun or without, with some grainy mustard and a cold beer!

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One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!

The post One Pot Veggie Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a quick little one pot pasta I’ve been making lately with my leftover veggies. You can literally add in whatever you have on hand and it creates a tasty one pot meal with tons of color, flavor, and texture. It may not be revolutionary, but I think sometimes it helps to see what quick meals other people are making and this One Pot Veggie Pasta is my latest go-to quick fix. :)

Overhead view of one pot veggie pasta in a bowl

Use Your Leftovers

As far as one pot pasta goes, this recipe isn’t that revolutionary, but I love it for one main reason—it’s perfect for using up leftovers. Got two carrots left? Or maybe a half of a bell pepper. A handful of mushrooms? How about that partial bag of broccoli florets hiding the back of your freezer? They can all go in this super quick one pot pasta! The more colors and textures the merrier.

Use Your Favorite Sauce

Convenience is the name of the game with this quick weeknight pasta dish, so I used a jar of pasta sauce instead of making my own this time around. You can literally use any red pasta sauce, as long as it’s one you know you like. …Actually, I bet you could also turn this into a really tasty alfredo! *jots down notes for testing next week*

How Are the Leftovers?

As with any leftover pasta dish, the rotini does get a little softer as it is stored in the refrigerator. Personally, that has never bothered me or stopped me from eating leftover pasta, but if you’re sensitive to textures, you might not enjoy the leftovers of this pasta.

Success with One Pot Pasta Recipes

Learning how to cook a one pot pasta can take a little practice. It’s all about observing and adjusting. The goal is to have the pasta simmer in a small amount of liquid so that by the time the pasta is tender, there is only a small amount of saucy liquid left in the bottom of the pot. You need to simmer with the lid on (to hold in the steam) and stir occasionally. Every time you stir, check the pasta texture and the amount of liquid left in the pot. If the pasta is almost tender and there is still a lot of liquid, let it simmer without a lid. If the liquid is almost gone but the pasta is not tender, add a splash more water. Here are some more tips for cooking one pot pastas:

  • Use a pot with a thick bottom. Thin-bottomed pots will create hot and cold spots that tend to cook the pasta unevenly.
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of the pot. If the burner is too small the outer edges will not simmer and the pasta will cook unevenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, the pasta will stop cooking and will become mushy.
One Pot Veggie Pasta in the pot half scooped
One pot veggie pasta in a bowl with a fork

One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!
Total Cost $7.99 recipe / $2.00 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 zucchini $0.90
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1/2 lb. rotini (not cooked) $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 24 oz. pasta sauce $1.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded (optional) $0.83

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, slice the mushrooms. Once sliced, add them to the pot with the other vegetables and continue sautéing.
  • While the rest of the vegetables are sautéing, dice the zucchini and bell pepper.
  • Once the bell pepper and zucchini are diced, add them to the pot along with the rotini, basil, oregano, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. It's okay if the broth doesn't fully submerge the pasta.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  • Once the broth reaches a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  • Once the pasta is tender, add the pasta sauce to the pot and stir to combine. Top with the shredded cheese then place the lid back on the pot. Let the pasta heat for a few minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 1573mg | Fiber: 8g
Close up of one pot veggie pasta being lifted on a spoon

How to Make One Pot Veggie Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Onion carrot and garlic in the pot

Mince two cloves of garlic, dice one yellow onion, and slice 2 carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Sliced mushrooms added to the pot

While the garlic, onion, and carrots are sautéing, slice 8oz. mushrooms (or you can buy pre-sliced). Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and continue to sauté while you chop the rest of the vegetables. Chop one zucchini and one red bell pepper.

pasta, vegetables, and broth added to the pot

Add the chopped zucchini and bell pepper to the pot along with 8oz. rotini (not cooked), ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp oregano, and 2 cups vegetable broth.

Stirred but uncooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Stir everything together. Don’t worry about the pasta not being fully submerged in the broth. I promise it still works. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring the broth to a boil. When it reaches a full boil, give everything a quick stir, put the lid back on top, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Let the pasta and vegetables simmer, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, until the pasta is tender and there is very little liquid left on the bottom of the pot.

Pasta sauce being poured into the pot

Add a 24 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce and stir to combine.

Shredded cheese being added on top

Top the pasta with 4 oz. shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit for about 2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted.

Finished one pot veggie pasta garnished with parsley

And then it’s done! I garnished with a little chopped parsley to make it pretty, but it’s totally unnecessary for flavor.

Close up side view of a bowl of veggie pasta with cheese

Enjoy!

Love One Pot Pastas? Try These Other Flavors:

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Easy Caprese Pizza

Creamy mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil, and a light drizzle of tangy balsamic glaze make this easy Caprese pizza phenomenal!

The post Easy Caprese Pizza appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a little tasty treat that I’ve been making for myself lately, super easy Caprese Pizza! They’re quick, light, and fresh, which is a nice change of pace sometimes in the middle of all of fall and winter. Plus, they just kind of feel extra special on a weeknight or night spent at home. So the next time you have a pizza and movie night, try making these cute little Caprese Pizzas. The night will feel extra special without a ton of extra work!

Balsamic reduction being drizzled over the caprese pizza

What is Caprese Pizza?

Caprese pizza is a pizza based on the flavors of Caprese Salad, fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil. While balsamic glaze is not usually part of caprese salads, the flavor goes beautifully with these ingredients and just adds a something a little extra special to the pizza’s flavor (not to mention that stunning color contrast!).

Do I Need Fresh Basil?

Yes and no. The fresh basil really changes the entire flavor personality of these pizza, so if you leave it out you’ll be missing a LOT. That being said, I would never turn down melted cheese on bread of any kind, so if I couldn’t get the fresh basil for some reason I would still totally make this pizza. You can sprinkle it with dried basil if you want, but just be aware that the flavor of fresh basil compared to dried basil is completely different.

Can I Make a Whole Caprese Pizza instead of Minis?

Yes, this is super easy to make as a whole pizza instead of mini individual pizzas. Just use your favorite pizza dough or store-bought pre-baked crust. Baking time will be slightly longer, since they’re larger, but just keep an eye on them and bake until the cheese is melted. Since you don’t really want the mozzarella to brown at all on this pizza, I would definitely par-bake any raw pizza crust first and then add the cheese and tomatoes later rather than adding all the toppings to the raw dough like you normally would.

What to Serve with Caprese Pizza

The beauty of this pizza is that it is incredibly simple, so I would stick with a very simple side dish as well, like a Simple Side Salad. Keep it light and fresh with delicate greens, a light vinaigrette dressing, and maybe just one or two extra vegetables, like artichoke hearts or olives. And then maybe some Garlic Bread on the side, too, because garlic bread goes with everything. ;)

four mini caprese pizzas on a baking sheet
Balsamic reduction being drizzled onto a mini caprese pizza

Easy Caprese Pizzas

Creamy mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil, and a light drizzle of tangy balsamic glaze make this easy Caprese pizza phenomenal!
Total Cost $5.47 recipe / $1.37 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 235kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar $1.08
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08

Caprese Pizzas

  • 4 mini naan $2.00
  • 2 Roma tomatoes $0.52
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded $0.83
  • 4 fresh basil leaves $0.90
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper $0.05

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. To make the balsamic glaze, add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a small saucepot. Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow the vinegar to come up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Place the mini naan on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pre-bake the naan for 5 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • Slice each Roma tomato into eight slices. Place 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella and four slices of tomato on each piece of naan.
  • Bake the topped pizzas in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubby.
  • While the pizzas are in the oven, thinly slice the basil. Top each pizza with a pinch of salt and pepper, a little fresh basil, and a drizzle of the balsamic glaze just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pizza | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 410mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up side view of a caprese pizza

How to Make How to Make Caprese Pizza – Step by Step Photos

mini naan in the package

I used this mini inidividual-sized naan from Aldi as my pizza base, but you could use a regular size naan, or your favorite pizza crust or dough instead. You could even par-bake a tortilla until stiff and use that!

balsamic glaze being stirred

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. While the oven is preheating, make the balsamic glaze. Add ½ cup balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp brown sugar to a small saucepot and stir to dissolve the brown sugar. Heat the mixture over medium, allowing it to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down slightly and allow it to continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced in volume by half (about ten minutes). It will appear slightly thicker, but it will fully thicken upon cooling.

four naan on a parchment lined baking sheet

Once the oven is hot, place four pieces of naan on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then pre-bake for about 5 minutes just to get them heated through. If you want to be *extra special* you can lightly brush your naan with olive oil and sprinkle a little garlic powder over top.

Prepped pizza toppings on a cutting board

While the naan are preheating, you can prepare the toppings. Slice two Roma tomatoes into eight slices each so that you’ll have four slices of tomato per mini-pizza. Shred 4oz. mozzarella, and thinly slice about four basil leaves (you can wait to do the basil while the topped pizzas are in the oven, if you run out of time).

Topped pizzas on the baking sheet

Once the naan is heated, top each pizza with four slices of fresh tomato and ¼ of the shredded mozzarella (I put mozzarella under the tomatoes and then just a pinch on top as well).

baked caprese pizzas

Bake the caprese pizzas again for about 7 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and beginning to bubble a bit. You don’t really want the cheese to brown for this one as we’re trying to keep things light and fresh.

Balsamic glaze being drizzled over the pizzas

Add a pinch of salt and pepper to each pizza, then drizzle the balsamic reduction over top.

finished caprese pizzas topped with fresh basil

And finally, top the pizzas with the sliced basil and enjoy!

four finished caprese pizzas on a baking sheet

These little homemade pizzas will make you feel ✨so fancy✨!

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Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It’s the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.

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I love all things pumpkin, and I’m not sorry about it. I also love just about every iteration of chili that is out there (see my Homemade Chili recipe and the long list of variations you can make). So it’s only fitting that I combined my two fall loves. Adding pumpkin is a super easy way to add a dose of nutrients to your pot of chili without changing that classic chili feel. The flavor and texture blend seamlessly into a pot of classic chili and even kind of makes it feel a tad lighter, so I’m totally into it!

A bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

What Does Pumpkin Chili Taste Like?

Okay, if you’re looking at me with a side-eye over the idea of putting pumpkin into your chili, just hear me out. The flavor difference is subtle. It makes the chili a little more saucy and rich, without being overly heavy. The pumpkin adds a little earthiness and a super subtle sweetness, which is nice because I usually add a little bit of brown sugar to my chili, but I was able to skip that with the pumpkin. And since I like to load up my chili with a lot of spices (see my homemade chili seasoning), the flavor of the pumpkin is not super noticeable.

And I think this is a good time to mention that you don’t want to taste your chili until it has simmered on the stove a while. You might be tempted to give it a taste right after you add everything to the pot, but at that point, it does not taste good. The chili needs time to do its thing. The spices need to bloom, the flavors need to cook down and combine. Give it time, and then taste. Be patient!

Make it Vegetarian or Vegan

It’s super easy to make your pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan. Just swap out the ground beef for an extra can of beans, cooked lentils, some crumbled tempeh, or your favorite ground beef substitute. Most of the flavor in this chili comes from the chili seasoning, tomatoes, and other vegetables, so you can safely substitute the beef without too much of an effect.

Use a Different Meat

You can also swap the ground beef out for a different kind of ground meat. Ground turkey is very popular for pumpkin turkey because it has a lighter flavor to match the lighter flavor of the pumpkin, but I also think that some Mexican chorizo would be awesome. Those smoky spices would pair perfectly with the flavor of the pumpkin.

Is Pumpkin Chili Spicy?

The recipe, as written below, is only as spicy as the chili powder you use. Many grocery store chili powders tend to be quite mild, but some brands can be spicy. So, if you’re sensitive to heat, make sure you use a chili powder that is mild. I find that McCormick brand chili powder is pretty mild.

If you want to add more heat to your pumpkin chili, feel free to dice up a jalapeño and sautéing that with the onion and garlic in the beginning. You can also add some chipotle powder to the chili seasoning, or dice up a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and stir that into the chili. There are a lot of options!

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili
Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It's the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.
Total Cost $9.73 recipe / $1.62 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 1.25 cups each
Calories 431kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 lb. ground beef $5.35
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained $0.59
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained $0.55
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $0.69
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée $1.05
  • 1/2 6oz. can tomato paste (5 Tbsp) $0.25
  • 2 cups water $0.00

Chili Seasoning*

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Add the garlic, onion, and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the kidney beans (drained), black beans (drained), diced tomatoes (with juices), puréed pumpkin, tomato paste, water, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top of the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer, stirring occastionally. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed. Serve hot with your favorite toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onion, corn chips, etc.)

Notes

*You can use your own store-bought chili seasoning or your favorite mix of chili herbs and spices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 1131mg | Fiber: 14g
A spoon lifting a bite of pumpkin chili with melted cheese stretching from the bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Chili – Step by Step Photos

diced onion and minced garlic in a pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

browned ground beef in the pot with onion and garlic

Add one pound ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through.

remaining chili ingredients added to the pot, unstirred.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: 1 15oz. can black beans (drained), 1 15oz. can kidney beans (drained), 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée, ½ of a 6oz. can tomato paste, 2 cups water, ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until everything is well combined.

simmered chili in a pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any extra).

Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Serve hot with your favorite toppings! I especially like something creamy on my bowl, whether that is cheese, avocado, or sour cream. :)

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili with toppings on the sides

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