Simple Sesame Rice

Sometimes you just need something simple to flesh out your meal, to bulk it up without adding a lot of work, or without adding a lot of $$$. Rice is my favorite ingredient for that job. But as much as I love rice, even I can get sick of it sometimes, so it’s important to […]

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Sometimes you just need something simple to flesh out your meal, to bulk it up without adding a lot of work, or without adding a lot of $$$. Rice is my favorite ingredient for that job. But as much as I love rice, even I can get sick of it sometimes, so it’s important to know how to jazz it up just a bit to make things interesting while still keeping it simple. This toasty Sesame Rice recipe does just that.

Super Simple Savory Sesame Rice

A bowl of sesame rice with chopsticks balanced on the rim and a small bowl of sesame seeds on the side

It’s All About the Toasted Sesame Oil

The magic in this savory sesame rice is the toasted sesame oil. If you haven’t discovered this magical ingredient yet, you’re in for a treat! Even just a small amount of this toasty oil gives any food a deliciously nutty aroma and flavor. It’s a finishing oil, so you’ll want to drizzle it onto your food after cooking for maximum impact.

Where to Find Toasted Sesame Oil

The tricky part about buying toasted sesame oil is that the label on the bottle doesn’t always say “toasted”, so you’ll have to take a closer look. Regular, or un-toasted, sesame oil has a light straw-like color similar to canola oil, and only has a mildly nutty flavor. Toasted sesame oil has a deep amber color and a strong nutty flavor and aroma. Most oil is sold in a glass bottle, so simply check the color to know if you’ve got the right oil.

Un-toasted sesame oil is usually sold near other cooking oils, while toasted sesame oil is usually found in the international aisle at major grocery stores. Thankfully, this ingredient is becoming more popular in the U.S. so even stores like Trader Joe’s and Aldi are carrying their own brand (and for a great price!). A little bit goes a long way with this oil, so don’t be afraid of the price tag. It will last you quite a while.

Do I Have to Use Jasmine Rice?

No, you can use plain long grain white rice if you prefer, but jasmine rice will provide more flavor. To find jasmine rice for a good price, skip the small containers of “specialty” rice and look on the bottom shelf for a large 5 lb. bag. It’s so good, you’ll use that 5 lbs. in no time!

What to Serve with Sesame Rice

Sesame rice makes a simple side dish to any Southeast Asian inspired meal. You can serve it along side Soy Glazed Eggplant, Easy Sesame Chicken, or Slow Cooker Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken. Or swap it out for plain rice in any of your favorite bowl meals, like Teriyaki Meatball Bowls, Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry Bowls, or Chili Garlic Tofu Bowls.

Close up side view of a bowl full of sesame rice garnished with green onions

Green onions added for garnish.

 

Simple Sesame Rice

Adding just a few ingredients to your rice can really make your meal pop. Try this Simple Sesame Rice with any of your Southeast Asian inspired meals.

  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp butter ($0.13)
  • 1 cup long grain jasmine rice ($0.67)
  • 1.75 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.06)
  • 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds ($0.02)
  1. Mince the garlic and add it to a medium sauce pot with the butter. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes over medium heat, or just until the garlic begins to soften and becomes very fragrant.

  2. Add the rice to the pot and continue to stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more to toast the rice.

  3. Carefully add the water and soy sauce, then give the pot a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest, undisturbed and with the lid in place, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Drizzle the toasted sesame oil over top, add the sesame seeds, and gently fold the rice until the sesame oil and seeds are distributed throughout. Serve warm.

A pot full of sesame rice with a bowl of sesame rice on the side, both garnished with green onion

 

How to Make Sesame Rice – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and butter in sauce pot

Mince one clove of garlic and add it to a medium sauce pot with 1 Tbsp butter. Place the pot over medium heat and sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or just until it has softened a bit and is very fragrant.

Rice being poured into the pot

Add 1 cup jasmine rice to the pot and continue to stir and cook for 2-3 minutes more to toast the rice.

Water being poured into the pot

Carefully pour 1.75 cups water into the pot…

Soy sauce being added to the pot

Along with 1 Tbsp soy sauce. Give the pot a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Add sesame oil to the cooked rice

After resting without heat for 5 minutes, remove the lid and drizzle ½ Tbsp toasted sesame oil over the cooked rice. Add 1 tsp sesame seeds and gently fold the rice until the oil and seeds are evenly distributed throughout.

Finished sesame rice garnished with green onion

Serve the rice while warm, next to your favorite main dish! (I garnished with green onion, but this is not necessary for the overall flavor of the dish).

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Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry

I’m all about quick stir fry dinners because they’re easy, you can work a LOT of vegetables into them, and they’re just plain delicious. My newest creation, Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry, is kind of a new twist on an old favorite Beef and Cabbage Stir fry. This time we’re using chicken instead of beef, […]

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I’m all about quick stir fry dinners because they’re easy, you can work a LOT of vegetables into them, and they’re just plain delicious. My newest creation, Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry, is kind of a new twist on an old favorite Beef and Cabbage Stir fry. This time we’re using chicken instead of beef, using the same light and easy sauce, tons of shredded cabbage and carrots for inexpensive bulk, and some crushed up ramen noodles for crunch. Oh, and I added a drizzle of creamy sriracha mayo because I was feeling a bit #extra. ;)

Quick & Easy Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry

A bowl of crunchy chicken ramen stir fry next to a ramen package, yellow napkin, and a bowl of sliced green onions

Can I Skip the Ramen?

Sure! If you’re not the ramen type, this is still a really killer (although slightly less crunchy) stir fry recipe! No hard feelings. You do you. 

Same goes for the sriracha mayo topping. While *I* love the contrast of the creamy spicy with the fresh crunch, you don’t have to add it to your stir fry if you’re not into it.

How to Store Your Stir Fry

If you plan to eat some of your stir fry as leftovers, make sure to keep the crunchy crushed ramen noodles separate from the stir fry and just stir them in after the stir fry has been reheated. Same goes for the sriracha mayo topping. Add that after reheating. The cabbage and carrots do get slightly softer after refrigeration and reheating, but I still find it to be quite delicious.

Other Vegetables You Can Add:

The other awesome thing about stir fries is that you can add just about any vegetable that you might have leftover in your fridge. Some other good options would be spinach, broccoli, bell pepper, mushrooms, snow peas. Keep in mind that if you increase the amount of vegetables, you may also want to increase the sauce.

A skillet full of Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir fry with a spatula in the side and a package of ramen on the left

 

Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry

Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry is an easy weeknight dinner with tons of cabbage and carrots, crunchy crushed ramen, and a creamy sriracha drizzle.

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.30)
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.02)

Sriracha Mayo Drizzle (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise ($0.09)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha ($0.11)

Stir Fry

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2/3 lb.) ($4.08)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 1 14oz. bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) ($1.49)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)
  • 3 green onions ($0.30)
  • 1 3oz. block ramen noodles (seasoning packet discarded) ($0.25)
  1. Prepare the sauces first so they're ready to use when needed. In a small bowl stir together the ingredients for the stir fry sauce (soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar). In a separate small bowl stir together the sriracha and mayonnaise.

  2. Mince 2 cloves of garlic, grate about one teaspoon of fresh ginger, and slice three green onions.

  3. Without opening the package of ramen, use a rolling pin or mallet to crush the noodles into small pieces. Once crushed, open the package and discard the seasoning packet.

  4. Chop the chicken into small 1/2-inch pieces.

  5. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until they're cooked through (3-5 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet about half way through cooking the chicken.

  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots). Continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more, or just until the cabbage begins to soften slightly (do not overcook at this step).

  7. Add the stir fry sauce to the skillet and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or until the cabbage has softened to your liking (I prefer mine still slightly firm).

  8. Finally, turn off the heat, stir in the crushed ramen, and top with sliced green onions and a drizzle of sriracha mayo.

Close up of Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir fry in the skillet

 

How to Make Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos

Stir fry sauce in a small white bowl

This stir fry cooks SUPER fast, so it’s best to prepare all of the components before you begin cooking. Start with the stir fry sauce: stir together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, and ½ Tbsp brown sugar. The brown sugar might not dissolve all the way, but that’s okay.

Sriracha mayo being stirred together in a small white bowl

For the sriracha mayo, simply stir together 1 Tbsp sriracha and 1 Tbsp mayonnaise.

Garlic, ginger, and green onions being prepped on a cutting board

Mince two cloves of garlic, grate about 1 tsp fresh ginger (I keep mine in the freezer for easier grating and longer storage), and slice three green onions.

Crush ramen noodles in the package

Without opening the package of ramen, use a rolling pin or a mallet to crush the noodles into small pieces. After crushing the noodles you can open it and discard the seasoning packet (or use it for something else).

Chopped chicken breast on an orange cutting board

Chop one boneless, skinless chicken breast (about ⅔ lb.) into small 1/2-inch pieces.

Cooked chicken in the skillet with garlic and ginger

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the chicken and sauté until the chicken is cooked through, adding the garlic and ginger about half way through cooking. Because the chicken pieces are so small and the pan is so hot, it should only take a few minutes for the chicken to cook through.

Coleslaw mix being poured into the skillet

Add one 14oz. bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) to the skillet. Continue to sauté for only 2 minutes, or just until the cabbage begins to soften.

Stir fry sauce being poured into the skillet

Add the prepared stir fry sauce, making sure to scrape any sugar that has settled to the bottom into the skillet. Continue to sauté for a couple minutes more, or until the cabbage is to your desired softness. I like mine still a bit firm, so I only sauté for about 2 minutes more.

Crushed ramen noodles being added to skillet

Pour the crushed ramen into the skillet. Turn the heat off, and stir the crunchy noodles into the stir fry.

Close up of sriracha mayo drizzled on stir fry

Sprinkle the sliced green onions on top and then drizzle the sriracha mayo over everything.

Finished skillet full of Crunchy Chicken Ramen Stir Fry

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Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

I’m kind of obsessed with meatballs. They’re easy to make, filling, they pack well for lunches, are freezer-friendly, and can be paired with so many different flavors. Plus, I just kind of think meatballs cute (is that weird?). This time I seasoned my meatballs with some garlic and ginger, and drenched them in a homemade […]

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I’m kind of obsessed with meatballs. They’re easy to make, filling, they pack well for lunches, are freezer-friendly, and can be paired with so many different flavors. Plus, I just kind of think meatballs cute (is that weird?). This time I seasoned my meatballs with some garlic and ginger, and drenched them in a homemade teriyaki sauce for these super easy and delish Teriyaki Meatball Bowls. You’re going to love the simplicity of this meal, and those juicy little pork and ginger meatballs!

Originally posted 1-20-2012, updated 12-6-2019

Homemade Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Teriyaki meatball bowls with teriyaki sauce being drizzled on top with a spoon, a bowl of sesame seeds on the side.

Can I substitute the Pork?

I used ground pork for this recipe because it’s inexpensive and always juicy, but you could certainly use ground turkey or chicken instead. The bulk of the flavor comes in the potent teriyaki glaze that coats the meatballs, so any milder ground meat works great. Ground beef can be used, but I find the flavors work a little better with mild white meat.

How long do the Teriyaki Meatball Bowls last?

You can store these meatball bowls in the refrigerator for about 4 days. To reheat, simply microwave for about 2 minutes, or until heated through.

Can the Meatball Bowls be Frozen?

Most of the components of these bowls are freezer friendly—the meatballs, rice, and broccoli. The teriyaki sauce, however, is not. Sauces thickened with cornstarch don’t tend to hold up to freezing and thawing. So you have a few options here. You can freeze the cooked or uncooked meatballs to quickly reheat or cook on busy nights, and then make the rest of the dish fresh, or freeze the meatball bowls whole but without the teriyaki sauce. You can then make the teriyaki sauce fresh and drizzle over top after reheating the bowls.

Teriyaki Meatball bowls in rectangular glass meal prep containers

You can find these rectangular Pyrex meal prep containers in my Amazon Shop.

Other Ways to Serve Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

If you love pineapple with your teriyaki, simply stir a can of drained pineapple tidbits into the sauce, or use thawed frozen pineapple tidbits. These teriyaki meatballs also make a great appetizer! Just drench them in the sauce and serve with toothpicks.

Updated Recipe

As mentioned above, this is an updated version of an old recipe from 2012. The older version had more of a sesame sauce, whereas this newer version is a straight, classic teriyaki sauce. If you’re a fan of the older version, click here to download the old recipe.

 

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls include fragrant jasmine rice, tender pork meatballs, hoemamde teriyaki sauce, and broccoli florets for an easy meal prep friendly meal!

PORK AND GINGER MEATBALLS

  • 1 lb. ground pork ($3.49)
  • 1 large egg ($0.23)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs ($0.13)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce ($0.02)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.2)

TERIYAKI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce ($0.48)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.18)
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.20)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch ($0.06)

FOR SERVING

  • 1 cup jasmine rice ($0.66)
  • 2 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 green onions ($0.08)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds ($0.8)
  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($2.59)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Begin with the meatball mixture. Add the ground pork, egg, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sliced green onions to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until evenly combined.

  2. Divide and shape the meatball mixture into 16 ping pong sized balls. Place the shaped meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Baked the meatballs for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and have reached an internal temperature of at least 160ºF.

  3. While the meatballs are cooking, begin the rice. Add the jasmine rice and water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on top and turn the heat onto high. Bring the pot up to a full boil, then turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer, undisturbed for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit, with the lid still in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

  4. While the rice and meatballs are cooking, prepare the teriyaki sauce. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger, water, and cornstarch in a medium sauce pot. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Place the pot over medium heat. Stir and cook the sauce until it begins to simmer, at which point the sauce will thicken and turn from opaque to a shiny sauce. Remove the sauce from the heat.

  5. Finally, if serving the meatball bowls immediately, cook the frozen broccoli florets according to the package instructions. If you're packing the bowls as meal prep, the broccoli florets can be added in their frozen state.

  6. Once the meatballs have finished baking, add them to the sauce pot with the teriyaki sauce and stir to coat.

  7. To build the bowls, divide the cooked rice and broccoli florets between four bowls or containers. Add four meatballs to each bowl, then drizzle the extra sauce overtop. Finish the bowls by adding sliced green onion and sesame seeds to each bowl.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up of teriyaki meatball bowls with sauce being drizzled over top

 

How to Make Teriyaki Meatball Bowls – Step By Step Photos

Pork and Ginger Meatball Ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Combine 1 lb. ground pork, 1 large egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 2 sliced green onions, and 1/2 tsp soy sauce in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are evenly combined.

Shaped pork meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Divide and shape the meatball mixture into 16 ping pong sized balls, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Baked pork meatballs on the baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 160ºF.

Cooked Rice in a pot.

Once the meatballs are in the oven, begin the rice. Add 1 cup jasmine rice and 2 cups water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on top and put the pot over high heat. Bring the pot up to a full boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer with the lid in place for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed for 5 more minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Teriyaki sauce in the pot uncooked

Once the meatballs and rice have started, it’s time to make the quick teriyaki sauce. In a medium sauce pot, combine 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 cloves of minced garlic, about 2 tsp grated ginger, 1 cup water, and 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved.

Cooked teriyaki sauce in the sauce pot

Place the sauce pot over medium heat and cook the sauce, stirring often, until it comes up to a simmer. When it reaches a simmer the sauce will thicken into a shiny glaze. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Frozen broccoli florets

If you’re going to be serving the teriyaki meatball bowls right away, heat 1 pound of frozen broccoli florets according to the package directions (or just heat in the microwave). If you’re going to be packing these bowls up for meal prep, the broccoli florets can go into the containers frozen.

Meatballs coated in teriyaki sauce in the sauce pot

By this time the meatballs should be finished baking. Transfer them to the pot with the teriyaki sauce and stir to coat.

Finished teriyaki meatball bowls with a fork, yellow napkin, and bowl of sesame seeds.

To build your bowls, divide the cooked rice and broccoli florets between four bowls. Add four meatballs to each bowl and drizzle the extra sauce over top. Finish the bowls by topping with more sliced green onion and some sesame seeds.

Teriyaki meatball bowls in rectangular glass meal prep containers

As with any meal prep, if you’re packing these up for later, make sure to get them into the refrigerator right away so they can cool down as quickly as possible to maintain quality and avoid food safety issues.

The post Teriyaki Meatball Bowls appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main […]

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Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main and two sides. Ammiright? So, to make dinner a little easier, I give you Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli!

Quick & Easy Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Two black plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and broccoli next to the pan and a bowl of sliced green onions.

What is Oyster Sauce?

This recipe revolves around one ingredient—oyster sauce. It’s a thick, rich, salty sauce that packs a huge umami punch. But don’t worry, this sauce doesn’t taste fishy at all. It’s just salty, rich, and good. You can find oyster sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, near the other Southeast Asian ingredients. It’s usually fairy inexpensive, but you’ll be able to get an even better deal if you go to an Asian market. Scroll down to the step by step photos below the recipe to see the kind of oyster sauce I used.

Can I use Hoisin Sauce Instead?

I’ve had several people comment on my original Garlic Noodles recipe stating that they have used hoisin sauce in place of the oyster sauce and enjoyed the results, but I have not tried this swap myself. While the two sauces are similar in color and consistency, they differ quite a bit in flavor. Hoisin sauce is much sweeter and not nearly as rich, so your end results will definitely be different.

Can I Freeze Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli?

I wouldn’t suggest this dish for freezing, as the sauce would probably absorb into the noodles and become dry.

Is This Recipe Spicy?

No. The Garlic Noodles themselves are not spicy at all (I often suggest them as a non-spicy alternative to my Dragon Noodles), but if you top them with red pepper flakes, as I did, you will get some heat. If you prefer a totally non-spicy dish, simply skip the crushed red pepper flakes at the end.

Close up of a fork twirling some Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli on a black plate

 

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy all-in-one bowl dinner recipe with a rich, buttery, salty, and sweet sauce.

  • 4 Tbsp oyster sauce ($0.40)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil* ($0.30)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($1.30)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti ($0.55)
  • 4 green onions ($0.40)
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes ($0.05)
  1. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl (microwave for about 20 seconds) then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the spaghetti is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, begin the beef and broccoli. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to cook over medium heat until the beef is cooked through (5-7 minutes). If you're using a higher fat content beef, drain the fat before moving onto the next step (I used 10% fat and there wasn't enough to drain).

  4. While the beef is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the browned beef and continue to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, or until the garlic has softened slightly.

  5. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the beef and garlic. Continue to sauté over medium heat just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so it does not need to be completely heated through at this point.

  6. Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and the prepared sauce to the skillet with the beef and broccoli. Continue to cook and stir until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

  7. Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving, along with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

*Toasted sesame oil does not always have the word “toasted” on the label. Look for sesame oil that is deep brown in color, not a light straw color. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger, nutty flavor compared to regular sesame oil. Scroll down to the step by step photos to see the kind I used.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

 

How to Make Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Prepared oyster sauce mixture in the bowl

Begin by preparing the sauce. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl, then add ¼ cup oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set the sauce aside.

Bottle of oyster sauce

This is the bottle of oyster sauce I used. It’s very inexpensive and can be found at most major grocery stores in the International aisle, although you’ll probably get a better deal (and better product) if you go to an Asian grocery store.

Toasted sesame oil

And this is the toasted sesame oil I used (from ALDI). Toasted sesame oil can also often be found in the International foods aisle. Don’t confuse this with untoasted sesame oil, which has a much more mild flavor and a light straw color. Once you start using this super potent nutty oil, you’ll want to add it to everything!

Cooked Spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Browned beef and minced garlic in a skillet

While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once melted, add ½ lb. ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat. Mince 4 cloves garlic, then add them to the browned beef and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more.

Frozen broccoli added to the skillet with beef

Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets to the skillet and continue to cook over medium just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so no need to cook to the point where it is heated through here. Just cook until it is no longer frozen.

Spaghetti and sauce added to the skillet with beef and broccoli

By this point the spaghetti should be finished and drained. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet along with the prepared sauce. Continue to cook and stir everything over medium heat until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

Finished Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

Slice four green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving. If you like a little spiciness, add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes on top as well.

Two plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli next to a bottle of oyster sauce and a small bowl of sliced green onions

Enjoy that big ol’ plate of rich noodles!!

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Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

I hope I’ve convinced you to experiment with leftovers in your fridge by now. Most of my favorite recipe creations have come from me just piling whatever I have leftover in my fridge into a bowl or pot, and seeing how it turns out, including this Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. I’m not kidding when I […]

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I hope I’ve convinced you to experiment with leftovers in your fridge by now. Most of my favorite recipe creations have come from me just piling whatever I have leftover in my fridge into a bowl or pot, and seeing how it turns out, including this Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. I’m not kidding when I say this is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, and it only takes about 15 minutes and a handful of ingredients. #totalwin

Noodles being lifted by chopsticks out of a black bowl full of vegan creamy mushroom ramen

I had some coconut milk leftover from making my Easy Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala on Facebook live the other day, plus Aldi had baby bella mushrooms on sale for $1.69 per container 😱 so I had purchased some of those with the intent of roasting them, which didn’t happen. I came home ravenous for carbs after Orange Theory, saw that coconut milk and the mushrooms in my fridge, and immediately knew what I needed to make! 

The super simple broth for this ramen (vegetable broth + coconut milk) is so freaking good that I’m 100% going to be making a regular “cream” of mushroom soup with this method in the near future. So if you don’t like ramen but love creamy mushroom, just hang tight. ;)

What Kind of Mushrooms are Best for Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

Definitely try to get baby bellas or full sized portabella mushrooms for this recipe. The deep color and robust flavor of these mushrooms makes a big impact, and I think regular button mushrooms would fall flat. 

What Kind of Coconut Milk Should I Use?

I used full-fat coconut milk in a can for this recipe and it made the broth extremely rich and delicious (and surprisingly it didn’t taste like coconut). I think you might be able to get away with using light coconut milk, but just be aware that the broth won’t be nearly as creamy or thick. I do not suggest using the dairy milk substitute type of coconut milk that comes in a carton. It is FAR too thin. Only canned coconut milk for this recipe.

Overhead view of a bowl full of Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen garnished with chili garlic sauce and green onion

What Kind of Ramen Should I Use?

I used the super basic, super cheap, 25₵ per pack ramen. Nothing fancy needed here. I did toss the seasoning packet and use my own vegetable broth, though (Better Than Bouillon). 

What Else Can I Put in My Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen?

Whatever you want! Ramen is one of those great “catch all” dishes that is good for tossing all your leftover vegetables and proteins into. Check out my post about 6 Ways to Update Instant Ramen to see what other fun things I like to put in my ramen. Some quick ideas are tofu, sliced bell pepper, sesame seeds, or shredded cabbage or carrot.

 

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen

This incredibly simple Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen is a rich and flavorful 15 minute meal that only requires a handful of ingredients! 

  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.02)
  • 4 oz. baby bella mushrooms ($0.85)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth ($0.20)
  • 1 handful fresh spinach ($0.53)
  • 1 package ramen noodles (discard seasoning) ($0.25)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned) ($0.66)

Optional Garnishes

  • 1 green onion, sliced ($0.11)
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce ($0.13)
  1. Slice the mushrooms. Add them to a small sauce pot with the cooking oil and sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft, dark, and all the moisture in the bottom of the pot has evaporated.

  2. Add the vegetable broth, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles (without the seasoning packet) to the broth. Cook the noodles in the boiling broth for about 3 minutes, or until tender.

  3. Turn the heat off, add a heaping handful of fresh spinach, and stir until the spinach is wilted (about 30 seconds). Pour the coconut milk into the pot and stir to combine.

  4. Serve the Vegan Creamy Coconut Ramen as-is, or with garnishes like green onion or chili garlic sauce.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of vegan creamy mushroom ramen with chopsticks lifting some noodles

How to Make Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen – Step by Step Photos

Baby bella mushrooms being sliced on a white cutting board

Slice 4 oz. baby bella mushrooms (about 4-5 mushrooms or half of an 8 oz. package). If you want to do full sized portobella mushrooms, just slice the caps in half, then slice crosswise into thin strips.

Cooked sliced mushrooms in a sauce pot

Add the sliced mushrooms to a small sauce pot with about 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil (your favorite type of oil to cook with, any type is fine). Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they are soft and dark, and all the liquid they release has evaporated out of the pot.

Vegetable oil being poured into the sauce pot with the cooked mushrooms

Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth to the pot with the mushrooms. I use broth made with Better Than Bouillon broth concentrate. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the broth to come up to a boil (this goes faster with a lid).

Dry ramen added to the broth in the pot

Add one “brick” of ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packet) to the broth and continue to boil for about 3 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.

Spinach added to the sauce pot.

Turn off the heat and add a heaping handful of fresh spinach to the soup. Stir until the spinach is wilted (about 3o seconds).

Coconut milk being poured into the ramen noodles in the pot

Finally, pour in 1/2 cup coconut milk (the canned kind, not the dairy milk substitute kind in a carton). Stir to combine.

Finished vegan creamy mushroom ramen in the sauce pot

And that’s literally all it takes! Done in about 15 minutes. You can serve it as is, or add some fun toppings.

Front view of noodles being lifted out of a bowl of vegan creamy mushroom ramen with chopsticks

I added sliced green onion and some chili garlic sauce to mine. The sharp chili garlic sauce added a nice contrast to the super creamy broth!

The post Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour […]

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour sauce is just sugar and vinegar, flavored with a splash of soy sauce and ketchup. But there are also plenty of ways you can jazz it up and make it your own, so I’ll also include those below!

A dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate.

Small Batch For The Win

I like to make my homemade sauces in small batches so there are no leftovers because having a million half-used homemade sauces in your fridge is just as annoying as having a million half-used bottled sauces in your fridge. The recipe below makes about 1/2 cup of sauce, but can easily be doubled or tripled if needed. Simply adjust the number of servings in the servings box in the recipe card and all of the ingredient quantities will adjust for you. There will be no change to the cooking method.

How to Use Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is amazing as a dip, glaze for meat, or sauce for stir fry. I show it being used as a dipping sauce for gyoza above, but it’s also great for dipping egg rolls, fried wontons, shrimp, or chicken nuggets. The sweet and tangy flavor pairs perfectly with pork and can be used on pork chops (See Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables), as a glaze for ham, or a sauce for meatballs. It also makes a quick pour-on sauce for any stir fry.

A bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate with dumplings, chopsticks on the side.

Customize Your Sweet and Sour Sauce

The recipe listed below is a very basic, simple sweet and sour sauce. If you want to change up your sauce and do something a little more interesting, here are a few options:

  • Zingy – Add 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Spicy – Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, or a small squirt of sriracha
  • Pineapple – Replace the water with pineapple juice and reduce the brown sugar by 1 Tbsp

How Long Does Sweet and Sour Sauce Keep?

This sauce is best when used the same day, but since it doesn’t have any “fresh” ingredients in it, it will keep for quite a while in your fridge. You can keep the homemade sweet and sour sauce in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for about a week, but it may begin to seep water if kept much longer. 

 

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce can be whipped up in minutes with only a few pantry staples, so you don't have to keep another condiment in your fridge! 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar ($0.48)
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce ($0.04)
  • 2 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch ($0.01)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. The sauce will have a slightly milky brown appearance.

  2. Heat the sauce over medium, while whisking, until it begins to simmer. Once it begins to simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will turn from cloudy to shiny in appearance. Serve immediately.

  3. Serve the sweet and sour sauce immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.

What is your favorite food to eat with sweet and sour sauce? Let me know in the comments below!

Close up of a dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

Step by Step Photos

Whisk Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients in a pot

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 tsp cornstarch in a small pot. Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve.

Shiny cooked sweet and sour sauce in the pot, being scooped with a spoon.

Heat the sauce over medium, whisking continuously, until it begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from looking cloudy to more of a glossy glaze.

A dumpling sitting in a bowl of sweet and sour sauce, on a plate full of dumplings.

Serve the sauce immediately, or refrigerate up to one week. If kept longer than that, water may begin to seep out and separate from the sauce.

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want? Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops If you’ve avoided […]

The post Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want?

Close up view from the front of Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables in the skillet

Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops

If you’ve avoided making pork chops in the past because they turn out dry and tough, you’ve got to give this method a try. Giving them a quick sear in a hot skillet then finishing them off later in the sauce allows the the outside to brown and heats them through before the pork chops have a chance to dry out.

If you’re new to cooking meat or pork in particular, I always suggest investing in an instant read thermometer so you know as soon as your meat has reached a safe temperature. Cooking meat beyond that point is how you usually end up with a dry, tough hockey puck. For pork chops, the safe internal temperature is 145ºF. I use this Digital Instant Read Thermometer, which retails for under $15, but is absolutely priceless in the kitchen.

Can I Reduce The Sugar in the Sweet and Sour Pork Chops?

Sweet and sour sauce is a sugar based sauce, by nature. You might be able to get away with reducing it by a tablespoon or two, depending on your taste buds (the sauce will be a lot more tangy that way), but this just isn’t a recipe to make if you’re living a low-sugar lifestyle. Unfortunately I don’t cook with sugar substitutes, so I’m not sure how they would perform here.

Close up overhead view of pork chops in the skillet with vegetables, covered with sweet and sour sauce.

Sauce Options:

This is a SUPER simple sauce, but if you want to spruce it up a bit you can add a little grated fresh ginger, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or even a dab of sriracha or chili garlic sauce. Another option is to use my Homemade Teriyaki Sauce in place of the sweet and sour sauce.

What Kind of Pork Chops Should I Use?

This recipe is designed for use with boneless center cut pork chops, approximately 1-inch thick. If you use thinner pork chops they will cook faster. If you use thicker pork chops or bone-in pork chops, they will take much longer to cook through. Again, an instant read meat thermometer is invaluable! 

Close up of Sweet and Sour Sauce being spooned over a pork chop in the skillet, surrounded by vegetables and sauce.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

A few pantry staples are needed for these juicy Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables, making them a quick and easy alternative to take-out.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.32)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar ($0.96)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup ($0.20)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.08)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch ($0.02)
  • 4 boneless, center cut pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1.5 lbs. total) ($5.50)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 12 oz. frozen stir fry vegetables ($1.65)
  1. Add the brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, water, soy sauce, and cornstarch to a bowl and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.

  2. Season the pork chops with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side.

  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate (turned upside down) to keep them warm.

  4. Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook and stir over medium for about two minutes, or just long enough to take some of the ice off (they may still be icy in the center). Give the sauce a brief stir in case any of the cornstarch has settled, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and go from a cloudy brown to a shiny glaze.

  5. Add the cooked pork chops back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce. Let the pork chops simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Serve hot, over rice or noodles.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A plate with rice and sweet and sour pork chops with vegetables, a black fork on the side of the plate.

Step by Step Photos

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl, unmixed.

Make the sweet and sour sauce first, so it’s ready to add to the skillet when you need it. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. If you want to jazz this up a bit you can always add some grated fresh ginger or even some crushed red pepper.

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. The uncooked sauce will have a cloudy brown appearance.

Season center cut pork chops with salt and pepper

Season four boneless center cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick, 1.5 pounds total for all four) with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. 

Browned Pork Chops

Heat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil (your preferred type) and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the pork chops and cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until they are browned. The pork will return to the skillet later, so they don’t need to be all the way up to 145ºF at this point. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate to keep them warm.

Add frozen vegetables and sweet and sour sauce to the skillet.

Add a 12oz. bag of frozen stir fry vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook over medium for about 2 minutes, or just until they begin to thaw. Give the sweet and sour sauce a brief stir, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables.

Cooked stir fry vegetables and sweet and sour sauce in the skillet

Continue to cook the vegetables and sauce, stirring often, until the sauce begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from cloudy to a shiny glaze. 

Pork Chops added back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce.

Add the pork chops back to the skillet with the sauce and vegetables, and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes more, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145ºF. Serve hot over rice or noodles!

The post Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.