Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for […]

The post Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

These super tasty Black Bean Quesadillas have been a runaway Budget Bytes hit since they were first posted in 2012. The spicy mix of cheese, beans, corn, cilantro, and onion makes and incredibly flavorful quesadilla that’s perfect for dipping in some cool sour cream or salsa. Make up an entire batch and freeze some for later!

Originally posted 2-19-2012, updated 1-12-2021.

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a tray with a dish of sour cream behind them

Why I’m In Love with These Quesadillas ❤️

I love these quesadillas for three reasons:

  • they’re bursting with flavor
  • incredibly EASY to make 
  • perfect for the freezer!

Students and other busy people take note: this recipe is perfect for you!

I called them “hearty” black bean quesadillas because they are surprisingly filling. I hastily ate two and then promptly felt like my belly was not just full, but full-full. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that meat-eaters won’t feel deprived when eating. Promise.

How to Freeze Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas:

Just fill and fold your quesadillas, but before you cook them, stack them with parchment paper in between each quesadilla. Place the stacked quesadillas in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or two) and pop them into the freezer. When you want to eat one, take a quesadilla out of the freezer and reheat it slowly over medium-low heat until the outside is crispy and the inside has melted. Using a lower heat gives the black bean quesadilla time to thaw and heat on the inside before the outside overcooks or burns.

Or, for a faster method, microwave from frozen for 30-60 seconds, or until the inside is thawed, then finish in a skillet to crisp up the outside and melt the cheese on the inside. 

What Kind of Taco Seasoning to Use

To make these black bean quesadillas super fast and easy, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning. Or, if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you can use my homemade taco seasoning recipe

black bean quesadillas layered on a serving tray, sprinkled with cilantro

A stack of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray

Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas

These Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas are an easy vegetarian snack or light meal that are filling, flavorful, and freezer-friendly!
Total Cost $4.70 recipe / $0.47 per quesadilla
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 quesadillas
Calories 289.24kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz.can black beans $0.49
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.20
  • 1/2 cup red onion $0.22
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro (about ½ cup chopped) $0.20
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese $1.69
  • 1 batch taco seasoning* $0.67
  • 10 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter) $2.00

Instructions

  • Drain the black beans and add them to a bowl along with the frozen corn (no need to thaw)
  • Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, and roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, shredded cheddar, and taco seasoning to the bowl with the beans and corn. Stir until everything is evenly combined and coated in seasoning.
  • Place a half cup of the filling on one side of each tortilla and fold over. Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat on each side until brown and crispy and the cheesy filling has melted. Slice into triangles then serve.
  • To freeze the quesadillas, stack the filled and uncooked quesadillas with a piece of parchment paper between each quesadilla. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. To reheat either microwave (for a soft quesadilla) or cook in a skillet on low heat (make sure to use low heat so that the filling has time to thaw and melt before the outside burns).

Video

Notes

* I used my homemade taco seasoning here, but you can use a store-bought packet of taco seasoning if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 289.24kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.29g | Protein: 12.19g | Fat: 11.58g | Sodium: 833.43mg | Fiber: 5.29g

Scroll down for the step by step photos

Overhead view of black bean quesadillas on a serving tray with a dish of sour cream

 

How to Make Black Bean Quesadillas – Step By Step Photos

Corn and black beans in a bowl
Add 1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw) and one 15oz. can of black beans (drained) to a large bowl.

Onion, garlic, and cilantro added to the bowl
Next, finely dice about ½ cup red onion, mince one clove of garlic, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch fresh cilantro. These ingredients are super flexible, so you don’t need to be exact on the measurements. 

Taco seasoning spices in a small wooden bowl

You can use either one packet of store-bought taco seasoning, or make your own using my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. 

Cheddar and taco seasoning added to the bowl
Add the taco seasoning and 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl. The cheese is the “glue” that holds the quesadillas together.

stirred quesadilla filling in the bowl with a fork
Stir the ingredients until everything is mixed. 

A tortilla being filled with the bean and cheese mixture
Now it’s time to stuff the quesadillas. You’ll need about 10 7-inch diameter flour tortillas for these quesadillas (the tortillas I had today were slightly larger so my quesadillas ended up being a bit thinner). Place a half cup of filling in each tortilla and fold it over. You can either cook them or freeze them at this point (see instructions for freezing in the post above the recipe).

quesadillas cooking in a skillet
To cook the black bean quesadillas, place the quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown, crispy, and the filling has melted. I don’t use any sort of oil or butter, but you certainly can if you want more of a fried finish to the quesadillas.

cut quesadillas on a cutting board
Slice then serve! You can slice each quesadilla into two or three pieces. I find that if I cut starting on the outside edge going in toward the center fold, I get less of the filling oozing out. A pizza cutter also works great!

Overhead view of cut black bean quesadillas on a baking sheet

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Honey Mustard Wings

I used to hate chicken wings. But, OMG, I think I’m officially a convert. These crispy, oven-baked honey mustard wings are so seriously delicious that I’ve craved them every day since I first made them. The simple oven baking technique delivers a surprisingly crispy skin without having to brave hot deep fryer grease, and my basic Honey Mustard Sauce makes an incredible glaze.

The post Honey Mustard Wings appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I used to hate chicken wings. But, OMG, I think I’m officially a convert. These crispy, oven-baked honey mustard wings are so seriously delicious that I’ve craved them every day since I first made them. The simple oven baking technique delivers a surprisingly crispy skin without having to brave hot deep fryer grease, and my basic Honey Mustard Sauce makes an incredible glaze. You just have to try them.

Two trays with honey mustard wings, broccoli, and cups of sauce

Yes, Baked Wings CAN be Crispy

If you fear deep frying, like me, then you’re going to love these baked wings. The trick to getting a nice crispy skin on chicken wings in the oven is the light coating of cornstarch. The cornstarch absorbs some of the fat from the skin as it melts and bakes to an incredibly crispy crunch. It’s just SO EASY and there’s no chance of accidentally burning your face off with splashing grease. ;)

Serve Immediately for Best Results

Kind of like their fried counterpart, these baked honey mustard chicken wings are best when they’re served right after they come out of the oven. If you do need to wait a bit before serving, don’t toss them in the honey mustard sauce until just before serving. The longer the sauce sits on the chicken, the softer the skin will become. For that reason, this recipe is not a great candidate for leftovers.

What to Serve with Honey Mustard Wings

My Honey Mustard Sauce is great for dipping vegetables as well as chicken wings, so I made a little extra so I could serve some broccoli florets along with the wings. You could also do some celery and carrot sticks for more variety. A little bit of classic Creamy Coleslaw would also be a nice side.

Close up of a honey mustard wing being dipped into a cup of honey mustard sauce
Overhead view of honey mustard wings on a tray with broccoli and a cup of sauce

Honey Mustard Wings

These simple oven-baked honey mustard chicken wings are deliciously crispy and are coated in sweet and tangy homemade sauce.
Total Cost $8.04 recipe / $4.02 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 5-6 pieces each
Calories 1154.65kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Baked Chicken Wings

  • 2 lbs. chicken wings or drumettes $6.97
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch $0.09

Honey Mustard Sauce*

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.40
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard $0.04
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Honey $0.18
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar $0.01
  • 1/16 tsp garlic powder $0.01
  • 1/16 tsp paprika $0.01
  • 1/16 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, then place two wire cooling racks over top to elevate the chicken wings.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pat the chicken wings dry, then add them to a bowl with the cornstarch mixture, and stir until the chicken wings are coated.
  • Place the cornstarch coated wings on the prepared baking sheet (on the wire racks). Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, give or take 5 minutes depending on the size of the wings, or until they are light golden brown and the skin is crispy.
  • While the wings are baking, make the honey mustard sauce. Stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon, yellow mustard, honey, vinegar, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • When the chicken wings are finished baking, place them in a clean bowl and pour the honey mustard sauce over top. Stir until the wings are coated. Serve immediately.

Notes

*This recipe makes enough honey mustard to coat the chicken wings. If you’d like enough honey mustard sauce to have extra for dipping, like in the photos, I suggest doubling the sauce ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 6wings | Calories: 1154.65kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 79.8g | Fat: 78.8g | Sodium: 1225.75mg | Fiber: 0.45g
Overhead view of honey mustard wings on a tray with broccoli and a cup of sauce

How to Make Honey Mustard Wings – Step by Step Photos

Cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, then place two wire cooling racks on top (this holds the chicken above the surface of the baking sheet). In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbsp cornstarch, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp garlic powder.

Raw chicken wings on a cutting board

Pat dry 2 lbs. chicken wings or drumettes, or both, with paper towel.

Cornstarch mixture being poured over the wings in a bowl

Place the chicken wings in a large bowl, then pour the cornstarch mixture over top. Stir the wings until they are lightly and evenly coated in cornstarch.

Chicken wings on the baking sheet ready to bake

Place the chicken wings on the prepared baking sheet, spaced out so they are not touching.

Baked chicken wings on the baking sheet

Bake the chicken wings in the preheated 400ºF oven for 50 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy (they will not get deeply browned). Total baking time will vary depending on the size of your wings.

Honey mustard sauce ingredients in a bowl

While the wings are baking, prepare the honey mustard sauce. In a bowl combine ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ½ Tbsp yellow mustard, 1.5 Tbsp honey, ½ tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/16 tsp garlic powder, 1/16 tsp paprika, 1/16 salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. This is enough honey mustard to coat the wings. If you want extra for dipping, double the sauce.

honey mustard being poured over baked wings in a bowl

Place the baked wings in a clean bowl and pour the honey mustard sauce over top.

Finished honey mustard wings in a bowl

Toss the wings until they are coated in the honey mustard sauce and then serve immediately!

Two trays of honey mustard wings with broccoli and sauce

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Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin

Roasted pork loin is probably one of the easiest (and inexpensive) main dishes you can make. Just add a little seasoning, pop it in the oven, and let it do its thing. The only thing you have to be mindful of is overcooking.

The post Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Roasted pork loin is probably one of the easiest (and inexpensive) main dishes you can make. Just add a little seasoning, pop it in the oven, and let it do its thing. The only thing you have to be mindful of is overcooking, but we’ll talk more about that below. As long as you avoid that one pitfall, you’ll have a tender, juicy pork loin that makes a deeelish main dish that can be paired with tons of different sides.

Slices of brown sugar roasted pork loin on a white oval serving dish

Pork Loin vs. Pork Tenderloin

This recipe is written for pork loin, sometimes called a pork loin roast, which is different than pork tenderloin. Pork loin is a large roast, usually sold in 3-4 pound cuts. Pork tenderloin is a different, smaller muscle that tends to be slightly darker and more tender. Here is a more in-depth look (with photos) at the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin. If you’re looking for a recipe for roasted pork tenderloin, try my Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin.

About that Brown Sugar Rub…

If you’ve made my Glazed Pork Chops, you’ll be familiar with this sweet and spicy brown sugar rub. It’s the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and spicy, and it’s just so incredibly simple. When it’s used with the direct contact heat of a skillet it turns into a glaze, but when it’s baked in the dry air of an oven it forms a delicious crust on the surface of the pork. Either way, it’s a winner!

The Key to Good Pork Loin

Don’t overcook it. That’s it! Overcooked pork is dry, tough, and resembles something like a hockey puck. So how do you not overcook it? You really need to get a meat thermometer (my favorite is linked in the recipe card below) since every pork loin is a different size and shape, and every oven cooks a little different.

How Long to Cook Pork Loin

The safe internal temperature for pork (excluding ground pork) is 145ºF. The estimated amount of time you’ll need to cook your pork loin using the method below (starting at 400ºF then reducing to 350ºF), is about 15 minutes per pound after the initial ten minutes at 400ºF. Use your trusty thermometer about ten minutes before the estimated time to see if you’re getting close, then about every 10-15 minutes after that until you reach 145ºF.

And lastly, make sure to let your pork rest for about 10 minutes after it’s removed from the oven before slicing. This gives the steam pressure time to reduce, which means more of the moisture will stay in the meat instead of evaporating out once it’s sliced.

What to Serve with Roasted Pork Loin

I love classic comfort foods with this Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin. I have it pictured with mashed potatoes and some roasted broccoli, but I think something like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, coleslaw, or potato salad would also be awesome!

Two slices of roasted pork loin on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes
Sliced brown sugar pork loin on a serving dish, viewed from the front

Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin

This super simple Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin is tender and juicy with a sweet and spicy brown sugar coating!
Total Cost $9.12 recipe / $1.14 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 ½ lb. each
Calories 475.06kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. pork loin $7.92
  • ½ cup brown sugar $0.32
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper $0.10*
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 tsp paprika $0.10
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.05
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil $0.48

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Place the pork loin on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a large casserole dish with the fat cap facing up. Begin packing the brown sugar and spice mixture all over the surface of the pork loin (no need to get the bottom). The moisture from the pork loin should help the sugar mixture stick to the surface.
  • Transfer the pork loin to the oven. Roast at 400ºF for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and continue to roast for about 15 minutes per pound of roast, or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Always use a meat thermometer just to be sure.
  • After roasting, let the pork loin rest for 10 minutes before slicing into ½-inch thick slices and serving.

Notes

*To reduce the spiciness of this dish, reduce the cayenne to ½ or even ¼ tsp.

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 475.06kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.31g | Protein: 48.15g | Fat: 24.06g | Sodium: 465.2mg | Fiber: 0.2g
Two slices of pork loin on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes, viewed from the side

How to Make Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin – Step by Step Photos

Brown sugar rub ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Combine ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, and 3 Tbsp olive oil in a bowl.

Mixed brown sugar rub in a bowl

Mix the rub ingredients together until they look like damp sand.

Pork loin in the package

This is the pork loin I used, which was 4 pounds. Your cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pork loin, so make sure to use a meat thermometer so you can prevent over or under-cooking the pork. Pork loin usually has a “fat cap” which is a layer of fat on one side (it’s on the bottom in the photo above so you can’t see it).

Brown sugar rub on the pork loin, on a parchment lined baking sheet

Place the pork loin on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a casserole dish with the fat cap side facing up. Pack the brown sugar rub all over the surface of the pork loin.

Roasted pork loin with a meat thermometer in it

Roast the pork for 10 minutes at 400ºF, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and roast for an additional 20 minutes per pound of pork, or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. The temperature of the roast will continue to rise slightly after it is taken out of the oven, due to carryover cooking. (Don’t worry if the brown sugar burns on the baking sheet, the rub ON the pork will not be burned. The burned sugar can be cleaned off with a quick soak in hot soapy water.)

Sliced brown sugar roasted pork loin on a cutting board

Let the pork loin rest for ten minutes before slicing into ½-inch slices and serving.

Brown sugar roasted pork loin sliced and served on an oval dish

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Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Marinated cauliflower salad is a crunchy and colorful “refrigerator salad” that’s is the perfect winter side dish or meal prep salad.

The post Marinated Cauliflower Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Can’t stop, won’t stop with refrigerator salads! If you’re new here, refrigerator salads are salads that hold up really well in the refrigerator, so you can have delicious and colorful meals all week. This Marinated Cauliflower Salad is the perfect example. In fact, this salad gets better as it refrigerates. The flavors mix and mingle, and all those good flavors get soaked right up by the crunchy cauliflower. 👌

Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a serving bowl

Take a Short Cut

I included a homemade Italian dressing in this cauliflower salad recipe, but if you want to make this salad even a little faster you can easily sub your favorite store-bought bottled Italian Dressing. You’ll need about one cup, but you can just add as much or as little as you’d like.

Make it Vegan

The recipe as written below contains Parmesan cheese, which does give the salad a little bit of body, but if you’d like to make this dish vegan you can easily leave the Parmesan out or add a little nutritional yeast in its place.

What to Serve with Marinated Cauliflower Salad

I served this cauliflower salad with my Garlic Marinated Chicken this week, but it would also go great with Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Baked Ziti, Pizza Baked Chicken, or Easy Oven Baked Fish with Tomatoes. This would also be a great dish to bring to potlucks!

How Long Does It Stay Good?

As I mentioned in the introduction, this salad actually gets better with time in the fridge. …Up to a point. Haha. This salad will be good for about 4-5 days of refrigeration, with the peak flavor being on about day 2-3. As always your mileage may vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients and conditions inside your refrigerator.

Side view of marinated cauliflower salad in a serving bowl
Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a white serving bowl

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Marinated cauliflower salad is full of crunchy and colorful vegetables marinated in a homemade Italian dressing. Perfect for meal prep!
Total Cost $8.40 recipe / $1.05 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 175.66kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Italian Dressing*

  • ½ cup olive oil $0.84
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar $0.40
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Salad

  • 1 head cauliflower $2.39
  • 1 2.25oz. can sliced black olives $1.49
  • ½ 12oz. jar banana pepper rings $0.90
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • cup diced red onion $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.08

Instructions

  • Make the dressing first, so the flavors have time to blend. In a jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower, then chop it into very small florets (about the size of a grape). Place the chopped cauliflower in a large bowl.
  • Drain the black olives and remove the banana peppers from the jar. Add both to the bowl with the cauliflower.
  • Dice the red bell pepper and finely dice the red onion and parsley. Add them to the bowl.
  • Pour the prepared dressing over the salad, then toss to combine. Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb. Stir again just before serving. This salad gets better as it refrigerates and the cauliflower has more time to marinate. Always stir just before serving to redistribute the flavors.

Notes

*Store-bought Italian dressing can be used in place of homemade.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 175.66kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.06g | Protein: 2.69g | Fat: 15.6g | Sodium: 431.44mg | Fiber: 2.7g

How to Make Marinated Cauliflower Salad – Step by Step Photos

Dressing ingredients in a jar

Make the dressing first so it can have a few moments to blend. In a jar or bowl combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan.

shaken Italian dressing in a jar

Shake the jar or whisk the ingredients in a bowl until the dressing is combined. You can use a store-bought Italian dressing in place of homemade, if you prefer. You’ll need about 1 cup dressing.

Chopped cauliflower on a cutting board

Remove the leaves and stem from a head of cauliflower, then chop in to very small florets (about the size of a grape). Place the chopped cauliflower in a bowl.

Cauliflower and other vegetables in a bowl

Drain one 2.25oz. can of black olives, and remove ½ of the peppers from a 12oz. jar of banana pepper rings. Dice one red bell pepper, finely dice about ⅓ cup red onion, and chop about 2 Tbsp parsley. Add everything to the bowl with the chopped cauliflower.

Italian dressing being poured over salad ingredients.

Pour the Italian dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl, then stir to combine.

Finished marinated cauliflower salad in the bowl with a spoon

Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to give the salad time to absorb the flavors from the dressing. Always give it a stir before serving to redistribute the flavors throughout.

Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a white serving bowl

The post Marinated Cauliflower Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas

Breakfast quesadillas are one of my absolute favorite foods. Not just a favorite breakfast food, but a favorite any time food. Normally I stick to a quick fried egg and a slice of cheese, but this weekend I made these Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas, which are a step above my busy weekday version.

The post Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Breakfast quesadillas are one of my absolute favorite foods. Not just a favorite breakfast food, but a favorite any time food. Normally I stick to a quick fried egg and a slice of cheese, but this weekend I made these Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas, which are a step above my busy weekday version. And the best part? I froze the other five quesadillas so I can reheat them anytime (like I did for lunch today!)

Stacked sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas held close to the camera

What’s in a Breakfast Quesadilla?

Okay, so I kept these breakfast quesadillas super simple, but I’ve got some ideas for “spicing” them up below, if you’re interested. The only thing you need is sausage, eggs, cheese, tortillas, salt, and pepper. It’s just that easy! Since these quesadillas are super simple, they do have a more mild flavor (this one is for all my friends with sensitive tongues). If you want some extra flavor, read on.

What Else Can I Add?

Quesadillas are great for using up leftovers in your fridge. So whether you want to add more flavor or you just want to use up some things that are floating around in your fridge, here are some good picks for these sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas:

  • Sliced green onions
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
  • Diced bell pepper (sauté with the browned sausage until tender)
  • Crumbled feta
  • Fresh spinach

How to Serve Breakfast Quesadillas

If you’re in a hurry, or just lazy like me, you can eat these breakfast quesadillas just as they are. They make a great hand-held meal for when you’re on the go. If you are sitting down to your meal, you can serve them with a side of salsa and sour cream for dipping!

How to Freeze and Reheat

As I mentioned in the intro, I froze most of my quesadillas so I could reheat them later. To freeze the quesadillas, fill and fold the tortillas like you are about to toast them in the skillet, but instead stack them on a plate or baking sheet with parchment between each one. Transfer that to the freezer and freeze for about an hour or until they’re frozen solid. Once solid, transfer to an air-tight freezer bag for long term storage. They’ll probably be good for about three months.

To reheat, place one of the frozen quesadillas in a skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Cook on each side until golden brown and crispy. It’s VERY important not to have the heat too high, or else the tortilla will burn before the filling has time to thaw and heat through. So go slow.

What is Country Sausage?

I used country sausage for these breakfast quesadillas, which is a loose (not in links) raw sausage that is fairly mild in flavor (there are hot varieties). It is sometimes also called breakfast sausage, although it is not sweet like a maple breakfast sausage. I used this brand, but there are many recipes for country sausage online if you want to make your own using ground pork.

Sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas on a plate with a dipping cup full of salsa
Stacked sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas held close to the camera

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas

Sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas are an easy and filling breakfast option that is also freezer-friendly, so you can stock up for later!
Total Cost $5.02 recipe / $0.34 per quesadilla
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 quesadillas
Calories 325.15kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. country sausage $1.45
  • 6 large eggs $1.40
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. cheddar $1.27
  • 6 medium flour tortillas $0.86

Instructions

  • Add the sausage to a skillet and cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and crispy on the edges. When the sausage is cooked, remove it from the skillet using a slotted spoon so they grease stays behind in the skillet.
  • While the sausage is cooking, crack six eggs into a bowl and season with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp each). Whisk the eggs. Shred the cheddar cheese.
  • Add the whisked eggs to the skillet with the sausage grease, and continue to cook them over medium heat, gently folding them as the eggs set. Cook until the eggs are set, but still moist. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • With the skillet off the heat, add the cooked sausage and shredded cheddar to the skillet with the scrambled eggs. Fold the ingredients together until they are evenly combined.
  • Place about ½ cup of the sausage, egg, and cheese mixture into each tortilla, spreading it out to cover half of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla closed. You can either toast or freeze the quesadillas at this point (see freezing instructions above the recipe).
  • To cook the quesadillas, add them back to the skillet (I like to do this in a dry skillet) and cook over medium heat on each side until the tortilla is brown and crispy and the cheese on the inside is melted. Slice the quesadilla into three pieces, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 325.15kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.37g | Protein: 16.5g | Fat: 17.55g | Sodium: 1273.23mg | Fiber: 2.33g
A stack of sausage and egg breakfast quesadillas on a plate with a dish of salsa

How to Make Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas – Step by Step Photos

Browned sausage in a skillet

Brown 8oz. country sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Cook it until the edges are brown and crispy, not just until it’s no longer pink. When the sausage is cooked, remove it from the skillet with a slotted spoon, so the grease stays in the skillet.

Eggs in a bowl with salt, pepper, and a whisk

While the sausage is cooking, crack six eggs into a bowl and season with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp each). Whisk the eggs.

Shredded cheddar on a cutting board

Shred six ounces of cheddar cheese.

Scrambled eggs in the skillet

Add the whisked eggs to the skillet with the remaining sausage grease. Continue to cook over medium, gently folding the eggs as they set. Cook the eggs until they are set, but still moist. Don’t overcook the eggs. ;)

Sausage and cheese added to the skillet with the eggs

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cooked sausage and shredded cheese.

finished breakfast quesadilla filling in the skillet

Fold the ingredients together until they’re evenly combined.

Tortillas being filled

Add about ½ cup of the sausage, egg, cheese mixture to each tortilla, spreading it out over half of the tortilla, then fold it closed. Once filled and folded, they can either be cooked or frozen.

Quesadillas toasted in the skillet

To cook the quesadillas, add them back to the skillet (I don’t add any oil or butter, but you can if you prefer). Cook over medium on each side, or until the tortilla is brown and crispy and the cheese is melted on the inside.

quesadilla cut into three pieces

Slice each quesadilla into three pieces, then serve!

stacked quesadillas for freezing

To freeze the quesadillas, stack them on a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper between each layer. Freeze for about an hour or until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat from frozen, simply add to a skillet and heat over medium-low until they are brown and crispy on the outside and heated through.

A stack of breakfast quesadillas on a plate with salsa in the background

The post Sausage and Egg Breakfast Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort.

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort. I encourage you to make a pot of this incredible French Onion Soup on your next day off while you’re relaxing with a movie or folding some laundry. I think you’ll be glad you did!

One bowl of french onion soup garnished with fresh thyme, spoon on the side

What is French Onion Soup?

If you’ve never had the pleasure, French Onion Soup is made with sweet caramelized onions, beef broth, and herbs. The soup is usually topped with a piece of toasted bread and a generous heap of cheese, which are then broiled to perfection. So with every spoonful you get a piece of bread soaked with flavorful broth, melty cheese, and sweet-savory onions. It’s pretty epic.

Don’t Take Shortcuts with Caramelization

It’s so so so so important to properly caramelize the onions when making French Onion Soup (see the step by step photos below for a visual reference). The deep flavor of the caramelized onion is what gives this soup its characteristic flavor. If you take shortcuts with this step it will show in the color and flavor of your soup.

Caramelizing onions, especially this quantity of onions, is a slow process and it takes a lot of time. Like an hour or more. If you stop too soon your soup will be lacking. If you try to go too fast you risk burning the onions not getting that sweet jammy flavor. Just go slow. It’s worth it.

Broth Matters

The other key to making a really good pot of French Onion Soup is using a really flavorful broth. If you know me then you know I love Better Than Bouillon so I used that to make my broth for this soup. But if you have access to a really good beef stock or bone broth that would also be incredible. Just make sure you use a broth that you know has good flavor.

What Else Can I Add?

I made this French Onion Soup as simple as possible while still retaining its rich flavor. But if you want to go above and beyond you can try adding a couple other ingredients.

Wine – Try deglazing the pot (after adding the flour) with about 1/2 cup wine before adding the beef broth. You can use either a dry white wine or a red wine, depending on whether you want your soup to have a lighter touch (white wine) or a richer flavor (red wine).

Sweet Onions – I made my soup with your average everyday yellow onions, but if you want a tad more sweetness you can choose a sweet onion instead.

Brandy or Sherry – A couple tablespoons of brandy or sherry added to your French Onion Soup at the end can brighten the flavors.

Garlic – I didn’t want to muddy the sweet delicate flavor of the onions, but a lot of people do prefer to also add garlic. If adding garlic, mince it up good and sauté it with the caramelized onions for a minute or two just before adding the flour.

Side view of a bowl of French Onion Soup garnished with fresh thyme
Garnished with fresh thyme for visual appeal. Dried thyme is used in the recipe.
Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup requires time and patience, but the incredible soul-warming flavor and low cost make it a meal that is worth the wait!
Total Cost $5.34 recipe / $1.07 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups ech
Calories 621.84kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions $1.19
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.28
  • 3 Tbsp flour $0.03
  • 6 cups beef broth* $0.78
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1 bay leaf $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 5 slices French bread $1.00
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere $1.00

Instructions

  • Slice the onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions begin to get a little bit of golden brown color (after about 30-45 minutes), add the butter.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized (the color of an old penny). This should take about an hour total. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom to prevent them from burning while the onions continue to cook.
  • Once the onions are deep brown and jammy in texture, add the flour. Stir and cook the flour with the caramelized onions for about two minutes more. The flour helps thicken the broth slightly, giving it body.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Also add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer, then allow it to simmer for about a half hour. If using a low sodium broth, make sure to taste the soup after simmering and add salt to taste.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, preheat the oven's broiler. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on the middle rack. Broil for a few minutes on each side, or just until they are barely golden brown (they will broil more later).
  • If you do not have oven safe bowls, top each slice of bread with shredded cheese, then return them to the oven and continue to broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Broiling time will vary with each oven, so make sure to watch them closely. This should only take a few minutes. Place one piece of toasted bread with melted cheese on top of each bowl of soup just before serving.
  • If you do have oven safe bowls, portion your soup into the bowls, top each one with a piece of lightly toasted bread, then some of the shredded cheese. Place the bowls back on the baking sheet and place everything back in the oven under the broiler. Broil for just a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot!

Notes

*I used Better Than Bouillon to make my beef broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 621.84kcal | Carbohydrates: 91.04g | Protein: 22.28g | Fat: 19.62g | Sodium: 2670.74mg | Fiber: 7.44g

Love cozy soups? Check out all of our Budget-Friendly Soup Recipes!

A pot of French Onion Soup with a ladle full held close to the camera

How to Make French Onion Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sliced onions in a soup pot

Begin by slicing 3 lbs. yellow onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add butter to golden onions in the soup pot

When the onions begin to get a little golden color (after about 30-45 minutes) add 2 Tbsp butter. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pot being deglazed with water

The goal is to keep cooking until the onions become deep brown in color and have a jammy texture. If the bottom of the pot begins to brown faster than the onions, just add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom and continue to cook. Do not stop when the onions are the color in the photo above. There is still a ways to go!

Caramelized onions in the pot, flour being added

When the onions are the color of an old penny (see photo above), add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. The flour helps thicken the soup very slightly, just giving it a little extra body.

Beef broth being added to the pot

Finally, add six cups of beef broth to the pot. Stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom.

Herbs added to the soup

Also add ½ tsp dried thyme, one bay leaf, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer and let it continue to simmer for about 30 minutes. If you’re using a lower sodium broth, you’ll want to taste the soup and add salt to taste after it simmers.

Toasted bread on a baking sheet

Toward the end of the simmer time, begin to prepare the cheese toast. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Place slices of French bread on a baking sheet (I only had four soup bowls, so I’m only toasting four pieces right now, but the soup makes about 5 servings). Broil the bread for a few minutes on each side or just until it’s lightly golden brown. It will broil more later with the cheese.

Soup being portioned into oven safe bowls

If you have oven safe bowls, portion the soup into the bowls. If you do not have oven safe bowls, pile the shredded cheese right onto the toasted bread on the baking sheet, then broil for a few minutes more to melt the cheese. Top each bowl of soup with a cheesy bread slice.

Toasted bread and cheese added to the soup bowls

If you do have oven safe bowls, place the bowls on the baking sheet and add a piece of toasted bread to each bowl, then top with shredded cheese.

Boiled bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese

Return the baking sheet with the bowls of soup to the oven and broil for a few minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty. Every broiler is a little different, and they cook quickly, so keep an eye on them!

Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

Dig in!

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

This post is sponsored by ALDI. Ingredient prices and availability may vary. Visit ALDI on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Instagram.

cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background with a striped napkin

Adding that extra flare is also more affordable thanks to the awesome selection at my local ALDI store. They have everything I need for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, plus those fun specialty ingredients that can take your meal to the next level, all for unbeatable prices. And their cheese selection? Ah-maz-ing. So, I had a little fun with the cheese in this dish and used two different varieties of cheddar. #noregrets

What Kind of Cheese is Best?

Cheddar is definitely the best choice for this Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole because it melts smoothly and has a rich and creamy flavor. But you can play around with different flavors of cheddar to give the dish more flare. I used Emporium Selection Vintage Selection White Cheddar from ALDI for the cheese sauce, and their classic Happy Farms Mild Cheddar for the topping. If you want to try something more fun, they have tons of seasonal flavored cheddars like smoked cheddar, hatch pepper cheddar, or Cajun spice cheddar, all of which would all be incredible in this casserole.

Use the ALDI store finder here to find a store near you, then tell me in the comments below what kind of cheese you tried, so I can go try it too. ;)

What Else Can I Add?

If you want to add even more to your already “loaded” cauliflower casserole, I have some ideas. I tend to like things spicy, so a few thinly sliced jalapeños would be awesome, especially if coupled with a few small dollops of cooling sour cream. Slices of avocado might also be nice. Or, if you want to take this a different direction, a light drizzle of sweet and tangy BBQ sauce would be an amazing compliment to the creamy, cheesy sauce.

Want to turn it into a meal casserole? Add some shredded chicken or browned Italian sausage before drenching the cauliflower with sauce.

What is the Serving Size?

While I could probably easily eat half of this myself, I don’t think that would be a reasonable serving size, considering how rich this casserole is. This recipe makes about six smaller Thanksgiving sized servings (serving sizes tend to shrink when you’re trying to fit more items on one plate), or maybe four regular weeknight-dinner-sized side dish servings. It all depends on how many other items you’re serving with your meal.

Can the Recipe be Doubled?

Yes, absolutely! I purposely made this a smaller batch size recipe, but if you do have more mouths to feed this recipe is easily doubled. As long as you use a 9×13″ casserole dish so that everything is still evenly spread out, the cook times should all remain the same.

close up of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole being scooped out of the dish
Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

This rich and cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole is an indulgent Thanksgiving side dish with plenty of flare.
Total Cost $8.65 recipe / $1.44 serving (prices may vary by location)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 about ¾ cup each
Calories 418.13kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Appleton Farms Hickory Bacon $1.63
  • 1 head cauliflower $2.29
  • 3 Tbsp Countryside Creamery Salted Butter 0.42
  • 3 Tbsp Baker's Corner All-Purpose Flour $0.03
  • 2 cups Simply Nature Organic Whole Milk $0.75
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Simply Nature Organic Garlic Powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Stonemill Black Pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. Emporium Selection Vintage Cheddar, shredded $3.16
  • 2 oz. Happy Farms Mild Cheddar, shredded $0.42
  • 1/4 cup Chef's Cupboard French Fried Onions $0.16
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.11

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower, then cut it into small florets. Add the cauliflower florets to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil for about 5 minutes, or until it is fork tender. Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
  • While the cauliflower is draining, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a sauce pot. Melt the butter over medium heat, then continue to cook and stir the flour and butter for about two minutes more.
  • Whisk the milk into the flour and butter until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir over medium until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.
  • Season the white sauce with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, then begin adding the shredded vintage cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it has fully melted in before adding the next handful. If the sauce becomes too cold to melt the cheese, place it over low heat only until all the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  • Place the boiled and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, making sure it is fully covered. Top with the remaining 2 oz. shredded mild cheddar and the French Fried onions.
  • Bake the cauliflower for only ten minutes, then switch the oven from bake to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until the top is slightly browned (broiling is optional). Do not over bake the casserole, or the cheese sauce will split.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 418.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.67g | Protein: 21.08g | Fat: 30.43g | Sodium: 962.32mg | Fiber: 2.68g
close up side view of cheesy cauliflower casserole

How to Make Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a skillet

Cook about 4oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

cauliflower florets in a pot with water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from one head cauliflower, then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large pot, cover with water, place a lid on top, then bring it up to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil until fork tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the cauliflower in colander.

flour and butter roux in a pot

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a pot over medium heat (I used the same pot from the cauliflower to avoid dirtying another pot). Add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes.

milk being poured into the pot

Whisk two cups of milk into the butter and flour mixture until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to cook and stir the milk over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to about the same consistency as heavy cream.

Seasoning in white sauce

Season the sauce with ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

shredded cheddar added to the pot

Remove the sauce from the heat and begin adding the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it is fully melted in before adding more. If the sauce becomes too cold to continue melting the cheese, place it over low heat only as you melt in the rest of the cheese.

thick cheese sauce in a pot

When all of the cheese has been melted into the sauce it will be thick and cheesy.

cheese sauce being poured over cauliflower in casserole dish

Place the cooked and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish, then pour the cheese sauce over top, making sure to fully cover the cauliflower.

shredded cheddar added to top of cauliflower

Add the final 2oz. shredded mild cheddar and ¼ cup French fried onions on top. Bake the casserole for ten minutes, then switch the setting on the oven from bake to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until you get some slightly browning on top.

Final toppings added to casserole

After baking, add the final toppings: cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness!

Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

You guys, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And if you’ve been looking for a vegetarian (or vegan) main dish for Thanksgiving, this one is for you.

The post Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You guys, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And if you’ve been looking for a vegetarian (or vegan) main dish for Thanksgiving, this one is for you. And if you just want a show-stopping Autumn-inspired dish for any other day of the week, this one is for you, too. ;) This Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash is is colorful, flavorful, full of texture, and just as delicious as it is beautiful. It’s definitely a new favorite that I’m going to be making every year going forward!

Wild rice stuffed acorn squash in a white casserole dish from above

Make it Vegan

The recipe as written below is vegetarian because it does include butter. To make this recipe vegan, simply swap the butter with a vegan butter substitute or your favorite cooking oil. I do feel like the butter adds some extra richness because of the butter cream, so a vegan butter substitute will probably be the closest flavor match.

Swap out the Wild Rice Blend

I used Lundberg Wild Rice Blend, but if that is not available in your area or you want to swap it out for other reasons, it can easily be swapped out for any grain or grain mix that you like. Just cook your grain according to the package directions, using broth in place of water for extra flavor, as I did below. Then simply add the cooked grain into the recipe at the same point I added the cooked wild rice blend.

How Do You Eat Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash?

Sure, these stuffed acorn squash are pretty, but how do you eat them?? Just dig in with a fork, grabbing some of the baked acorn squash flesh on each forkful with the filling. Think of it kind of like eating a stuffed baked potato. And while acorn squash skin is edible, it can be quite tough, so I usually just scoop everything out of the skin and leave the shell of skin behind. :)

Can This Be Prepared Ahead?

You can prepare the wild rice filling ahead of time, and then bake the acorn squash, stuff it, and finish baking the day it will be served. I think it’s best to roast the squash the day of instead of fully baking and assembling the day before because it will take just as long to reheat the stuffed squash in the oven as it would to just bake it fresh. But you can save time by preparing the filling the day before. The color of the filling may dull a bit when prepared ahead, but the flavor should still be just as delicious!

Wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from the front
wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from above

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash makes a great vegetarian (or vegan) Thanksgiving main dish, or a delicious dinner for any chilly fall evening!
Total Cost $6.19 recipe / $1.55 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 401.68kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash (3 lbs. total) $3.01
  • tsp salt $0.01
  • tsp pepper $0.01

Wild Rice Stuffing

  • ½ cup wild rice blend (uncooked) $0.72
  • 1 cup vegetable broth $0.13
  • 2 Tbsp butter* $0.28
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 ribs celery $0.32
  • 1 apple $0.70
  • ½ tsp dried sage $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp pepper $0.02
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts $0.30
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries $0.22
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.05

Instructions

  • Combine the wild rice blend and vegetable broth in a pot. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the rice simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut each acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Season the cut side of each squash with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking and squash is baking, begin the rest of the filling. Dice an onion and add it to a deep skillet with the butter. Sauté the onion over medium heat until soft. While the onion is sautéing, finely chop the celery. Add the celery to the skillet and continue to sauté for a few minutes more.
  • Core and dice the apple, then add it to the skillet, along with the sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the apple is slightly softened.
  • When the wild rice is finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the onion, celery, and apples. Also add the walnuts, cranberries, and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Turn the acorn squash over so the cut side is facing up (you can either leave them on the baking sheet or place them in a casserole dish). Fill the cavities in the squash with the wild rice mixture. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes

*Use a vegan butter substitute or your favorite cooking oil to make this recipe vegan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1stuffed squash | Calories: 401.68kcal | Carbohydrates: 75.95g | Protein: 6.9g | Fat: 11.75g | Sodium: 561.33mg | Fiber: 9.85g

Looking for more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out our Holiday Recipe category!

wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from above

How to Make Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash – Step by Step Photos

Wild rice package and some in a pot

Begin cooking the wild rice blend first because it takes the longest. You can use a different grain if you prefer. To cook this Wild rice blend, combine ½ cup of the rice blend with 1 cup vegetable broth. Place a lid on top, bring it up to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Seeds scooped from acorn squash

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut two acorn squash in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Seasoned cut acorn squash

Place the acorn squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season the cut sides of the acorn squash with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the squash over so it is cut side down, then transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.

roasted acorn squash on the baking sheet

After roasting for 20 minutes the squash will be mostly tender, but it will be baked again once stuffed to finish it off. While the acorn squash is roasting, begin making the rest of the filling…

diced onion and butter in a deep skillet

Dice an onion and add it to a deep skillet with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft.

Diced celery added to skillet

While the onion is sautéing, finely dice 3 ribs celery. Add them to the skillet and continue to sauté.

Apple and herbs added to the skillet

While the onion and celery are sautéing, core and dice an apple. Add the apple to the skillet along with ½ tsp dried sage, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Continue to sauté just a few minute more or just until the apple begins to soften.

Wild rice, walnuts, cranberries, and parsley added to the pot

When the wild rice blend is finished cooking, add it to the skillet, along with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup dried cranberries, and about 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine.

finished stuffing in the skillet

And then you have the finished stuffing. It’s so colorful, has so much texture, and it is SO DELICIOUS. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your taste buds.

Stuffed and baked acorn squash in a casserole dish

Finally, turn the squash over so they are cut side up (you can transfer to a casserole dish if you’d like, or leave them on the baking sheet) and stuff the cavities with the wild rice mixture. Bake the stuffed acorn squash for an additional 20 minutes, then serve.

Stuffed acorn squash in a casserole dish, from above

The post Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

I don’t know about you, but I need a good salad right about now. I’ve been kind of over doing the comfort foods lately and my body is like, “pleeeease, can I have some fresh vegetables??” But I’m still trying to enjoy these fall vibes, so I whipped up this Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad. It meal preps well, which means that every time I open my fridge there is a delicious salad staring at me, ready to be eaten. That helps. That helps a lot. 😛

The post Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know about you, but I need a good salad right about now. I’ve been kind of over doing the comfort foods lately and my body is like, “pleeeease, can I have some fresh vegetables??” But I’m still trying to enjoy these fall vibes, so I whipped up this Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad. It meal preps well, which means that every time I open my fridge there is a delicious salad staring at me, ready to be eaten. That helps. That helps a lot. :P

Autumn kale and sweet potato salads in glass meal prep containers

How Long Do the Salads Last?

Thanks to the heartiness of kale and the low moisture ingredients, you can prep this salad and keep it in your fridge for about five days. You can either keep the dressing separate, or toss the salad in the dressing ahead of time to help soften the kale. If you do toss the salad in the dressing before storage, you may want to make extra dressing, as some of it will be absorbed as the salad refrigerates.

Can I Use a Different Green?

Yes, if you are not a fan of the texture of kale, you can swap it out for spinach. You might also consider trying lacinato kale, which is a little bit softer than the curly kale I used. You can also make this salad over finely shredded cabbage and carrots, which would be similar to my Sweet Crunch Winter Salad.

What Other Dressings Can I Use

This slightly sweet and savory Maple Tahini Dressing is by far the best match for these flavors, but if you must swap it out for something else I would go with some sort of sweet vinaigrette, like either a honey poppyseed, apple cider or pomegranate vinaigrette, honey mustard dressing, or even a raspberry vinaigrette.

Swap Out the Sweet Potatoes

If you happen to have leftover roasted winter squash of any kind (butternut, acorn, delicata, pumpkin, kabocha, etc.) you can use that in place of the sweet potatoes and still have all those fall flavors! I just find sweet potatoes to be easier to source and prepare, so I chose those today.

front view of maple tahini dressing being poured over autumn kale and sweet potato salad
dressing being poured over the autumn kale and sweet potato salad in a bowl

Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

This fresh and crisp Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad is chock full of fresh produce, but still has all those cozy fall flavors!
Total Cost $6.67 recipe / $1.67 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 629.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes $2.40
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01

Maple Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini $0.85
  • 1/4 cup water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.09
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup $0.60
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 bunch) $0.50
  • 1 large apple* $0.70
  • 1/4 cup pepitas $0.60
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans $0.52
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries $0.22

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet and add the cooking oil, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt. Toss the sweet potatoes until they are coated in oil and spices.
  • Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they are tender and browned on the edges, stirring once half way through.
  • While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. Start with the dressing. Add the tahini, water, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to a blender or bowl. Blend or whisk together until the ingredients are emulsified and smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • Pull the kale leaves from the tough woody stems and rinse them well in a colander with cool water. Drain the kale well, then slice it into thin strips (they don't have to be perfect, so don't stress about this, just aim for smaller pieces). Divide the sliced kale between four bowls or containers.
  • Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into thin slices. Add the apple slices to each container.
  • Add 1 Tbsp each of the pepitas, chopped pecans, and dried cranberries to each container. When the sweet potatoes are finished roasting, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then divide them between the containers. Divide the dressing between four small containers. Enjoy the salad immediately or refrigerate up to five days.

Notes

*Use a sweet or sweet-tart variety of apple. I used Honeycrisp, but Gala would be another nice option.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 629.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 85.83g | Protein: 9.48g | Fat: 31.13g | Sodium: 941.68mg | Fiber: 13.35g
dressing being poured over the autumn kale and sweet potato salad in a bowl

How to Make Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes prepped for roasting on a sheet pan

Start with the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice 2 lbs. sweet potatoes into ½-inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp salt. Toss until the sweet potatoes are coated in oil and spices.

Roasted sweet potatoes on the baking sheet

Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until they’re tender and browned on the edges, stirring half way through roasting.

maple tahini dressing in a blender

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. Begin with the dressing. Add ¼ cup tahini, ¼ cup water, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne, and ¼ tsp salt to a blender or bowl. Blend or whisk until the ingredients are smooth.

Chopped kale in a bowl

Pull the kale leaves from the woody stems and give them a good rinse with cool water in a colander. Drain well, then slice the kale into thin strips (this doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress, just aim for smaller pieces).

Cored and sliced apple

Cut a large apple into quarters, then remove the core. Slice each quarter into thin slices.

kale, apple, and sweet potato in a bowl

When the sweet potatoes are finished roasting, let them cool for about five minutes. Divide the kale between four bowls or meal prep containers, followed by the apple slices, and the roasted sweet potato.

cranberries, seeds, and nuts added to the salad

Then add 1 Tbsp dried cranberries, pepitas, and chopped pecans to each bowl or container. Divide the dressing into four small containers as well.

autumn kale and sweet potato salad being eaten

Drizzle the maple tahini dressing over top, then enjoy!

meal prep containers full of autumn kale and sweet potato salad

Or refrigerate the salad up to five days and enjoy later. :)

The post Autumn Kale and Sweet Potato Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Potatoes Au Gratin

When you need pure comfort in a casserole dish, Potatoes Au Gratin deliver. These thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce hit all the comfort food buttons. And the leftovers are awesome, so you can feed on that casserole heaven all week!

The post Potatoes Au Gratin appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When you need pure comfort in a casserole dish, Potatoes Au Gratin deliver. These thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce hit all the comfort food buttons. And the leftovers are awesome, so you can feed on that casserole heaven all week! 🙌

Potatoes au Gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

What are Potatoes Au Gratin?

Potatoes au gratin are basically scalloped potatoes with cheese (haha, that made me think of “royale with cheese”). So if you like scalloped potatoes and you like cheese, you’ll LOVE potatoes au gratin!

If you’ve never had scalloped potatoes, you can think of potatoes au gratin like this: thinly sliced potatoes layered with cheese and a creamy white sauce, then baked until bubbly and delicious. It’s pretty incredible.

What Kind of Cheese Can I Use?

In general, you want to stick to smooth melting cheeses for potatoes au gratin and avoid hard aged cheeses that don’t melt as easily (like Parmesan, although that would make a nice topper mixed with breadcrumbs!). I had some cheddar cheese on hand today, that I used, but Gruyere is another popular choice for potatoes au gratin.

What to Serve with Potatoes Au Gratin

This is such a rich comforting dish that it pairs well with any roasted or baked comfort food. I would pair it with something like Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Cheddar Cheeseburger Meatloaf, or Herb Butter Chicken Thighs. And of course you’ll probably need some sort of vegetable to balance out all that richness, so add a simple side of steamed green beans for good measure. ;)

What Kind of Potatoes are Best?

Most people like a waxier variety for potatoes au gratin, like Yukon gold or red potatoes, but I’m the opposite. I like russet potatoes because they are starchier, which helps keep the sauce nice and thick, and I enjoy how soft they get when baked in the creamy sauce. If you prefer a more firm slice, go with Yukon gold or red potatoes.

Overhead view of casserole dish full of potatoes au gratin
close up of potatoes au gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

Potatoes Au Gratin

Thinly sliced potatoes baked in a creamy, cheesy sauce makes these Potatoes Au Gratin pure heaven in a casserole dish.
Total Cost $5.33 recipe / $0.67 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 302.69kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. potatoes $1.79
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.56
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.04
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.12
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg $0.02
  • 8 oz. cheddar, shredded $1.69

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and slice the potatoes into ⅛-inch thick slices. If you're not yet confident in your knife skills, use a mandoline or food processor to slice the potatoes into thin, even pieces.
  • Finely dice the yellow onion. Sauté the onion in a sauce pot with the butter until soft (about five minutes). Once soft, add the flour to the pot and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. Finally, whisk in the milk until the flour is fully dissolved.
  • Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer over medium heat, whisking often. Once simmering, the milk with thicken. Whisk in the chicken broth and allow it to come back to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Top the potatoes with half of the white sauce and half of the shredded cheddar. Repeat with one more layer of potatoes, sauce, and shredded cheddar.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbling on top. Let the casserole stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 302.69kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.15g | Protein: 9.68g | Fat: 12.66g | Sodium: 462.3mg | Fiber: 2.68g
close up of potatoes au gratin being scooped out of the casserole dish

How to Make X – Step by Step Photos

peeled and sliced potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and slice three pounds of potatoes into ⅛-inch thick rounds. If you’re not confident in your knife skills, you can use a mandoline or food processor with a slicer attachment to create the thin, even slices.

Onion and butter in sauce pot

Finely dice one yellow onion. Sauté the onion with 4 Tbsp butter in a sauce pot until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).

Flour added to pot with sautéed onions

Add 4 Tbsp flour to the pot with the sautéed onions and continue to cook and stir over medium heat for about two more minutes.

milk being poured into sauce pot

Whisk 2 cups milk into the pot with the onions and flour. Whisk well until all the flour is dissolved. Allow the milk to come up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken.

chicken broth being poured into the sauce pot

Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth and allow it to come back up to a simmer.

Seasoning added to white sauce

Season the white sauce with ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg.

Layer potatoes and sauce in casserole dish

Layer half of the sliced potatoes in a 4 quart casserole dish. top with half of the white sauce and 4oz. shredded cheddar.

shredded cheese on potatoes in casserole dish

Repeat all three layers one more time: sliced potatoes, white sauce, and shredded cheese. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked potatoes au gratin in the casserole dish

Remove the foil after 45 minutes and bake without foil for an additional 30 minutes. Let the potatoes stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Overhead view of potatoes au gratin the casserole dish

I garnished with a little parsley for color, but parsley is not needed to flavor this dish.

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