No Fail Dump Cake Recipes!

The best thing about dump cake recipes is they typically have 3-4 ingredients, are crowd-pleasing, and take all the stress out of
The post No Fail Dump Cake Recipes! appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

The best thing about dump cake recipes is they typically have 3-4 ingredients, are crowd-pleasing, and take all the stress out of

The post No Fail Dump Cake Recipes! appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

Crockpot Lipton Chicken

 Looking for a dump-and-go meal that produces flavorful, deliciously juicy chicken, all combined with potatoes and green beans? This crockpot dinner recipe, onion
The post Crockpot Lipton Chicken appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

 Looking for a dump-and-go meal that produces flavorful, deliciously juicy chicken, all combined with potatoes and green beans? This crockpot dinner recipe, onion

The post Crockpot Lipton Chicken appeared first on Salty Side Dish Recipes.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is an easy way to cook the most tender and juicy pork ever. It’s great on tacos, sandwiches, burritos and more.

The post Slow Cooker Pulled Pork appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Something truly magical happens when you cook pork low and slow. It turns into the most mouth-watering tender and juicy meat you’ve ever had. And meat this tender is good with everything, so if you make this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork on Sunday, you’ll have meat to last you all week. Pile that slow cooker pork onto sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, nachos, salads, and more for quick dinners the rest of the week!

Slow cooker pulled pork on a plate with tongs and sandwich fixings on the sides.

What Kind of Pork to Use for Pulled Pork

To get the juiciest and most tender pulled pork make sure to buy a pork butt or pork shoulder. These cuts are marbled with fat and connective tissue that slowly melt and gelatinize when cooked with slow, gentle heat, creating ultra moist and tender meat.

You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butt or pork shoulder. I prefer to use boneless and then cut the pork into large pieces so they cook a little faster, but you can leave the bone in and remove it when shredding the pork if preferred. Just keep in mind that cooking time may be longer if you leave the bone in during cooking.

How to Season Pulled Pork

I used a versatile yet flavorful spice rub on the pork before slow cooking, along with a little extra fresh garlic. This mix of paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and brown sugar enhances the pork’s flavor, but keeps it neutral enough to be paired with BBQ sauce or any other flavor profile you plan to pair with your pulled pork.

Three slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

How to Serve Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork sandwiches are always a hit (brioche buns, BBQ sauce, pickles, and/or coleslaw), but this pulled pork is also great for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or nachos. I also love piling pulled pork onto bowl meals, salads, or even adding it to soup or ramen. You can seriously add it to anything!

Storage Instructions

Keep the pork in the juices when refrigerating to keep the meat as moist as possible upon reheating. After cooking, transfer the shredded pork and juices to an air-tight food storage container and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. After completely chilling in the refrigerator, you can transfer the pork to the freezer for longer storage (about three months). To reheat the pork, simply heat in a sauce pot over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Close up side view of a plate full of slow cooker pulled pork.
Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is an easy way to cook the most tender and juicy pork ever. It's great on tacos, sandwiches, burritos and more.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.48 recipe / $1.19 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 247kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork butt $8.07
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into chunks $0.37
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped $0.32

Spice Rub

  • 2 tsp paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 tsp onion powder $0.10
  • 2 tsp salt $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.04

Instructions

  • Combine the spices for the spice rub in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork butt into large chunks. If the pork butt has a bone you can either remove it before cooking or wait until you are shredding the cooked meat to remove it. Keep in mind the pork will require extra cooking time if cooking with the bone in.
  • Add the pork pieces to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice rub over top. Toss until the pork is evenly coated in spices.
  • Dice the yellow onion and add it to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned pork on top of the onion, then add the roughly chopped garlic on top.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. Test the pork with a fork to make sure the meat is tender. It should shred easily with a fork. If not, cook for one hour longer. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your pork butt.
  • Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.
  • If you prefer crispy edges on your pork, place some of the pork on a sheet pan and broil for a few minutes, or just until the edges are browned and crispy. Keep a close eye on the pork as it broils!
  • Serve the pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, and more!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 694mg | Fiber: 0.5g
BBQ sauce being poured onto pulled pork sandwiches.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Step by Step Photos

Spices for pulled pork in a small wooden bowl.

To make the spice rub for the pulled pork, combine 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Chunks of pork butt on a cutting board.

Cut a 3 lb. pork butt into large chunks. If your pork butt is bone-in, you can either remove the bone or cook with the bone in and remove it when shredding your meat. Keep in mind that if you leave the bone in, the pork will take slightly longer to cook.

Meat coated with spices in a bowl.

Place the pork in a bowl, sprinkle the spice rub over top, then toss until the pork is evenly coated in the rub.

Diced onion in the slow cooker.

Dice one yellow onion and place it on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Pork in slow cooker with chopped garlic,

Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker and top with four roughly chopped cloves of garlic.

Cooked pork in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. If your pork butt is larger than 3 lbs. you may need to cook slightly longer. Check the tenderness of the meat after 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. It should pull apart easily. If it’s still tough, let it cook another hour then check again.

Shredded pork in the slow cooker, some being lifted with tongs.

Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.

Broiled pulled pork on a baking sheet.

If you want crispy edges on your pulled pork (who doesn’t?!). Place some of the pulled pork on a baking sheet and place it under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes. The melted fat on the pork will fry the edges and make it beautifully crispy! Keep a close eye on the meat as it broils since broilers cook very quickly!

Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Enjoy your pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, quesadillas and more!

The post Slow Cooker Pulled Pork appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Meatball Subs

These Slow Cooker Meatball Subs are extra tender and flavorful thanks to a low and slow simmer in marinara sauce.

The post Slow Cooker Meatball Subs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I think I just fell in love with my slow cooker again. These slow cooker meatball subs are so incredibly tender, flavorful, and just all-around decadent thanks to that low and slow simmer in marinara sauce. It’s magical! And the best part is that this recipe makes a pretty big batch, so you can freeze half for later (use them in subs or on pasta)! Cook once, eat twice. 🙌

Overhead view of slow cooker meatball subs lined up in a row.

Do I Have to Use a Slow Cooker?

You don’t have to use a slow cooker to make these amazing homemade meatball subs, but I’m telling you right now that you want to. That low and slow simmer in the sauce makes the most incredibly tender and flavorful meatballs you’ll ever eat. If you don’t have a slow cooker, follow the cooking instructions for my basic homemade meatballs, then pile them into your buns, top with cheese, and bake till the cheese is melted.

What Kind of Sauce to Use

I tested this recipe with the most basic, inexpensive, generic marinara sauce I could find at the grocery store to make sure they were still totally delicious even if you can’t spring for an expensive sauce. But feel free to use your favorite store-bought or homemade marinara sauce for these meatballs. You’ll need 3 cups of sauce, in total.

Freeze Half for Later!

This recipe makes about 24 hefty meatballs so if you use three meatballs per sub you’ll get 8 sandwiches. If that’s a little too much for your household to eat within a few days, go ahead and freeze half of the meatballs and sauce to use on pasta or more subs later! You can reheat the frozen sauce and meatballs in the microwave or in a saucepot over low heat.

P.S. We reheated the assembled meatball subs from the photos in the air fryer the next day and they were BOMB! We air fried at 350°F for about five minutes for the most delicious leftovers ever.

Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the background.
Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the background.

Slow Cooker Meatball Subs

These Slow Cooker Meatball Subs are extra tender and flavorful thanks to a low and slow simmer in marinara sauce.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $19.43 recipe / $2.43 each
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 subs
Calories 506kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs $0.32
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.88
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 large eggs $0.39
  • 1/4 cup milk $0.05
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage $4.99
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean or higher) $6.99

Subs

  • 8 buns or rolls $3.50
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella $0.62

Instructions

  • Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the Italian sausage and ground beef to a large bowl with the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, and milk Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Avoid overmixing the meat.
  • Divide and shape the meat into 24 meatballs, about 3 Tbps each. The easiest way to do this is to first divide the meat mixture into four equal portions, then divide each of those in half to make eight equal portions. Finally, divide each of the 8 portions of meat into thirds and shape them into balls to make 24 meatballs.
  • Place half of the meatballs in the bottom of a slow cooker in a single layer and cover with half of the marinara sauce. Add the rest of the meatballs then top with the remaining sauce.
  • Cook the meatballs on high for three hours or low for six hours.
  • After cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165°F. Give the meatballs and sauce a good stir to remix the sauce (there will be some fat pooling on the surface).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the buns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, then pile three meatballs into each bun. Spoon some of the extra sauce over each one. Top each sub with a little shredded cheese.
  • Bake the meatball subs in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the buns are toasty. Enjoy hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sub | Calories: 506kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 943mg | Fiber: 2g
Close up side view of slow cooker meatball subs lined up and garnished with parsley.

How to Make Slow Cooker Meatball Subs – Step by Step Photos

egg and breadcrumb mixture

Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Pre-mixing these ingredients helps them incorporate more evenly into the meat without having to overmix the meat.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl

Add the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, ¼ cup milk, 1 lb. Italian sausage, and 1 lb. ground beef to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together.

Shaped meatballs one held in a hand.

Divide and shape the meat mixture into 24 meatballs. The easiest way to divide the mixture evenly is to first divide it into four equal portions. Divide each of those in half to make eight equal-sized pieces. Finally, dive each of the eight sections into three meatballs.

Sauce being poured over the meatballs in the slow cooker.

Add half of the meatballs to the slow cooker in a single layer, then cover with half of the marinara sauce. Add the rest of the meatballs in a second layer and pour the remaining sauce over top, making sure all the meatballs are covered in sauce.

Lid being placed on the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for three hours or low for six hours.

Slow cooked meatballs in the slow cooker.

After cooking, use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165°F. You’ll see some fat pooling on the surface, but don’t worry, that deliciousness will be stirred right back into the sauce.

Finished slow cooker meatballs in the slow cooker.

Stir the meatballs in the sauce to make sure everything is evenly combined. These meatballs can now be used in subs or even on a plate of pasta!

Meatballs in subs in a baking dish.

To make the meatball subs, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your buns on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Fill each bun with three meatballs and spoon some of the sauce over top.

Shredded mozzarella on the meatball subs.

Top each sub with a little shredded mozzarella.

Baked meatball subs in the baking dish.

Bake the meatball subs in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the buns are toasty.

Overhead view of baked meatball subs garnished with parsley.

Enjoy the meatballs hot! I garnished with chopped parsley for some color, but the parsley isn’t needed for flavor. :)

Side view of a meatball sub on a plate with the baking dish in the back.

TRY THESE OTHER MEATBALL RECIPES:

The post Slow Cooker Meatball Subs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Seasoned chicken breast and tangy BBQ sauce are slow cooked until tender and delicious. Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and more.

The post Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This is the time of year when I start to avoid turning on the oven at all costs. So what’s for dinner when it’s too hot to cook? Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken! You can have this tasty chicken in the slow cooker doing its own thing while you’re enjoying a lazy summer day. Plus, unlike a hot oven, the slow cooker won’t make your AC work overtime. ;)

Overhead view of shredded BBQ chicken in a slow cooker with tongs.

This slow cooker BBQ chicken is almost too easy to be true. Just add some seasonings to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cover them with your favorite BBQ sauce, and press go. A few hours later, the chicken is tender, tangy, so saucy, and delicious!

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

My slow cooker is about 5 quarts and it was only about ¼ full, so you could definitely use a smaller cooker if you want, but I wouldn’t go any larger. Some slow cookers need to be filled a minimum amount to avoid cracking, so make sure to check your owner’s manual first.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce to Use

You can literally use any type of BBQ sauce for this chicken. I tested the recipe using a very basic and inexpensive BBQ sauce just to make sure it was still delicious on a budget, but you could certainly ramp it up by using a fancier BBQ Sauce. You can also play around with different flavors of BBQ sauce, like smoky, honey, pineapple, spicy, etc.

Close up of tongs holding pulled BBQ Chicken.

How Do You Serve Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken?

The classic way to serve this chicken is on a bun, like a classic BBQ chicken sandwich. Make sure to add some coleslaw and pickles to make it extra delish! But you can also use this BBQ chicken for tacos, pizza, bowl meals, on a baked potato or sweet potato, on nachos, or even on a salad.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Whenever I make BBQ anything I always opt for the classic comfort food sides like potato salad, mac and cheese, three bean salad, or Cowboy Caviar.

Side view of a BBQ Chicken Sandwich.
Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Seasoned chicken breast and tangy BBQ sauce are slow cooked until tender and delicious. Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and more.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.34 recipe / $2.09 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 393kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) $6.49
  • 18 oz. BBQ sauce $1.50

Instructions

  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, then pour the BBQ sauce over top making sure the chicken is fully covered.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
  • After cooking, use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken does not easily pull apart with the forks, let it cook a little longer.
  • Serve the pulled BBQ chicken on a bun, on nachos, over a baked potato, on pizza, or with your favorite meal.

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1777mg | Fiber: 2g
Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.

How to Make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken breasts on an orange cutting board.

Combine 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over both sides of two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total).

BBQ sauce being poured over chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour one 18oz. bottle of BBQ sauce over the chicken, making sure it’s fully covered.

Cooked chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker on cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.

Chicken being shredded with forks in the slow cooker.

Use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t pull apart easily, you can let it cook a little longer.

Finished Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker.

Give the chicken a good stir to make sure it’s all well coated in BBQ sauce, then it’s ready to serve!

Side view of shredded bbq chicken in a slow cooker.

Now I need a plate full of BBQ Chicken Nachos. 🤤

The post Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Cabbage and Sausage

Slow cooker cabbage and sausage is an easy, hands-free way to make a delicious, filling, and cozy meal. Perfect for meal prep!

The post Slow Cooker Cabbage and Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cabbage and sausage is one of the most delicious and satisfying combinations, IMHO. I’ve cooked cabbage and sausage together several ways in the past, but I wanted to test them out in the slow cooker to see if this easy, hands-off cooking method would work too. The verdict? It works! Cabbage and sausage cooked in a slow cooker turns out tender, brothy (almost like a cabbage and sausage soup), and totally delicious.

Cabbage, sausage, and potatoes in the slow cooker

What Kind of Sausage to Use

You’ll want to use a smoked sausage for this recipe. I suggest using something like kielbasa or andouille. This smoky flavor and spices in the sausage help flavor the entire pot during the long, slow simmer, which makes everything extra flavorful!

Potato Options

I used baby creamer potatoes because they’re easy and didn’t require me to do any chopping, but you could also use red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Russet potatoes would probably fall apart a little too much to be practical in this recipe.

How to Season Cabbage and Sausage

My goal for this recipe was to keep it as simple as possible, so I only added a couple of teaspoons of steak seasoning (a chunky mix of salt, pepper, garlic, and red pepper). You could also use something like Cajun seasoning, or you could do something simple like a little salt, pepper, paprika, and caraway seeds.

How to Serve Cabbage and Sausage

I spooned the cabbage, sausage, potatoes, and broth into a bowl and at it as sort of a brothy bowl (not quite a soup, but not quite dry), but you could use a slotted spoon to leave the broth behind if you prefer. Either way, some crusty bread and butter on the side really solidifies this as the ultimate comfort food. :)

slow cooker cabbage and sausage in a shallow bowl with a fork
Close up overhead view of cabbage and sausage in the slow cooker

Slow Cooker Cabbage and Sausage

Slow cooker cabbage and sausage is an easy, hands-free way to make a delicious, filling, and cozy meal. Perfect for meal prep!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.80 recipe / $1.30 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 314kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb. baby potatoes $2.99
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1/2 head chopped cabbage (5-6 cups) $1.14
  • 2 tsp steak seasoning $0.20
  • 14 oz. smoked sausage $2.79
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.26
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) $0.10

Instructions

  • Chop the onion into 1-inch pieces. Place the baby potatoes and onions in the bottom of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Add the cabbage and steak seasoning to the slow cooker.
  • Slice the sausage into ½-inch thick rounds. Add the sausage to the slow cooker along with the chicken broth. Stir slightly to nestle the sausage down into the cabbage. It's okay if the broth does not cover all the ingredients.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  • After 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, stir to combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Top with chopped parsley, if desired, then serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 866mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up side view of a plate full of cabbage, sausage, and potatoes

How to Make Slow Cooker Cabbage and Sausage – Step by Step Photos

Onion and potatoes in the slow cooker

Chop one yellow onion into one-inch pieces. Place 1.5 lbs. baby potatoes and the chopped onion in the bottom of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.

cabbage and steak seasoning added to the slow cooker

Chop ½ head of cabbage into one-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups once chopped). Add the chopped cabbage to the slow cooker along with 2 tsp steak seasoning.

sausage and broth added to the slow cooker

Slice 14oz. smoked sausage into ½-inch thick rounds. Add the sliced sausage to the slow cooker along with 2 cups chicken broth.

Stirred ingredients in the slow cooker

Slightly stir the ingredients in the slow cooker just so the sausage gets nestled down into the cabbage a bit.

Cooked cabbage, sausage, and potatoes

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 this.

Stirred cabbage, sausage, and potatoes in the slow cooker

Stir everything together, top with chopped parsley (optional), and serve hot!

A shallow bowl full of slow cooker cabbage and sausage

The post Slow Cooker Cabbage and Sausage 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.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.

The post Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken recipe was one of the top things I was looking forward to making once I figured out the formula for my Homemade Ranch Seasoning. The slow-cooked chicken is tender, spicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time and there are a hundred different ways you can use it! Sandwiches, dips, salads, pizza, and more. I’ve got a full list of how to use this insanely easy and delish shredded buffalo chicken below, so don’t miss it! I’m sure this is something you’ll want to make over and over again throughout football season and the holidays.

Shredded buffalo chicken in a slow cooker with tongs

What is Buffalo Sauce?

If you’re unfamiliar with this American classic, Buffalo Sauce is basically a combination of hot sauce (traditionally Frank’s Red Hot Sauce) and butter, which creates a super tangy, spicy, and slightly rich sauce that is used to coat fried chicken, among other things. For this slow cooker buffalo chicken, we’ve gone one step further and added ranch seasoning mix, which is a super tasty combination of buttermilk powder, herbs, and spices. The ranch seasoning adds a huge burst of flavor to the sauce and makes it even a little bit more creamy. It’s just to die for!

What Kind of Hot Sauce to Use

As mentioned above, buffalo sauce is usually made with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but you can use any similar vinegar-based cayenne flavored hot sauce for this recipe. I used the ALDI version of Frank’s and it was great!

Can I Substitute the Ranch Mix?

The ranch seasoning mix really brings a lot of flavor to this sauce, so I would avoid skipping it if possible. If you don’t have the ingredients to make your own ranch seasoning mix you can definitely use one packet of store-bought ranch seasoning in place of the ingredients listed below. Or, if you want to use your own herbs and spices but just don’t have the buttermilk powder, that will still taste really good, just slightly less rich.

How to Use Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Okay, here’s the fun part. How do you use this delicious shredded buffalo chicken? SO MANY WAYS. Here are some ideas:

  • As a buffalo chicken sandwich or wrap: bun or tortilla, coleslaw, pickles, ranch dressing
  • On nachos: on tortilla chips with lettuce, shredded carrot, and a drizzle of ranch dressing
  • Make a buffalo chicken dip: stir cream cheese into the shredded chicken until melted for a super creamy dip
  • In a quesadilla: fill a tortilla with the chicken and shredded Monterey jack cheese, then toast in a skillet
  • On a salad: pile the chicken onto crisp iceberg, top with chopped celery, shredded carrots, and blue cheese dressing
  • Pizza: add it to a pizza with a white sauce and top with a little mozzarella and maybe a drizzle of ranch after baking

My mouth is totally watering just typing all of that out! This stuff is seriously so good.

Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs
Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.
Total Cost $12.65 recipe / $1.58 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 191kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Ranch Seasoning*

  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk powder $0.15
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Buffalo Chicken

  • 12 oz. hot sauce $2.19
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $9.53
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40

Instructions

  • Combine the ranch seasoning (buttermilk powder, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper) and hot sauce in a bowl.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. Cut the butter into chunks and place the butter on top of the chicken. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for four hours. After four hours, use two forks to shred the chicken (if it's not tender enough to shred yet, let it cook a little longer).
  • Serve the shredded chicken and sauce on sandwiches, in quesadillas, on top of nachos or salads, or as a dip for crackers and chips.

Notes

*You can use a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning instead of the homemade mix, if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1350mg | Fiber: 1g
tongs holding a scoop of buffalo chicken over the slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken – Step by Step Photos

ranch seasoning being poured into a bowl of hot sauce

Combine the ingredients for the ranch seasoning (2 Tbsp buttermilk powder, ½ tsp dried parsley, ¼ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp lemon pepper, ⅛ tsp sugar, ⅛ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper) with one 12 oz. bottle of vinegar-based hot sauce.

Chicken and butter in the slow cooker

Place about 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast in the bottom of a slow cooker. Cut 4 Tbsp butter into chunks and place them on top of the chicken.

Hot sauce mixture being poured over the chicken in the slow cooker

Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter in the slow cooker.

Cooked buffalo chicken in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low heat for four hours.

two forks shredding the chicken in the slow cooker

After four hours the chicken should be tender and easily shreddable using two forks (if it’s not, let it cook another 30 minutes).

shredded chicken in buffalo sauce in the slow cooker

Fully shred the chicken, then enjoy!

A buffalo chicken sandwich with coleslaw
Shown on a bun with Creamy Coleslaw.

The post Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Naturally Corned Beef

How to make your own naturally-cured Corned Beef without nitrates.  It is easier and healthier than you may think! Allow one-week curing time.  Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~ Norman Co…

How to make your own naturally-cured Corned Beef without nitrates.  It is easier and healthier than you may think! Allow one-week curing time. #cornbeef #stpatricksday #irishfood

How to make your own naturally-cured Corned Beef without nitrates.  It is easier and healthier than you may think! Allow one-week curing time.  Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~ Norman Cousins I think we need to take advantage of any ritual and...

The post Naturally Corned Beef appeared first on Feasting At Home