Tomato Herb Soup

I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the […]

The post Tomato Herb Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m constantly looking for new ways to use my favorite (not) Sun Dried Tomato Sauce in recipes because it’s just SO good. So, the other day I was thinking, “Hmmm, I wonder if I can just make it into a really tasty soup.” The answer is yes. Yes, that deliciously tangy, herb-infused sauce is the great beginning to a super fast, easy, and delicious homemade Tomato Herb Soup.

Originally published 9-16-2013, updated 10-12-2020.

A mug of tomato herb soup on a plate with a grilled cheese

What Does Tomato Herb Soup Taste Like?

This tomato herb soup is not your everyday canned condensed tomato soup. It’s not sugary sweet, it’s fairly thick, very rich, and has tons of herby flavor. The magic comes from the melange of dried herbs and the quick act of caramelizing the tomato paste to create a rich sweetness. So yum and it gets better as it refrigerates. Oh, did I mention that it just happens to be VEGAN?

What to Serve with Tomato Herb Soup

A classic grilled cheese sandwich is never a bad idea, but you could also do something like Homemade Garlic Bread, or drop a few Homemade Croutons on top, and make a super simple salad to go on the side.

Is it Freezer Friendly?

Yes, this soup holds up really well to freezing, so feel free to stash a couple servings in there for later! I try to use up my frozen foods within three months for best quality, but you may get a longer life out of it. In the refrigerator, the soup should stay good for about 4-5 days.

Overhead view of a mug full of tomato soup with a black spoon in the center
 
Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

Tomato Herb Soup

Use basic pantry staples to create this quick and easy Tomato Herb Soup. It's thick, rich, flavorful, and perfect for grilled cheese dipping!
Total Cost $2.62 recipe / $0.52 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups each
Calories 168.16kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.64
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary $0.03
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.39
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.39

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a sauce pot along with the olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked pepper. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic has softened.
  • Add the tomato paste and brown sugar. Stir until everything is mixed (the oil may stay partially separated). Cook the mixture while stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker, almost burgundy hue.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Whisk the mixture together until smooth. Turn the heat up to medium and heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5Cups | Calories: 168.16kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.6g | Protein: 2.86g | Fat: 11.44g | Sodium: 731.8mg | Fiber: 4.68g

How to Make Tomato Herb Soup – Step by Step Photos

Oil garlic and herbs in a soup pot

Start by adding ¼ cup olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried rosemary, 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on to medium-low and sauté the herbs in the oil for about two minutes, or until the garlic has softened.

Tomato paste and brown sugar added to the pot

Add 6 oz. tomato paste and 1 Tbsp brown sugar to the pot. Stir until everything is pretty well combined (the oil may never fully mix in). Continue to stir and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the tomato paste takes on a darker burgundy hue (see photo below).

crushed tomatoes being poured into the pot

Add one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are smaller bits than diced tomatoes, but not quite as smooth as tomato sauce. It’s somewhere in between, and doesn’t have any seasoning added.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot

Also add 3 cups of vegetable broth, which will thin the soup out, add depth of flavor, and just the right amount of salt. I use this Better Than Bouillon to quickly mix up the exact amount of broth that I need.

finished tomato herb soup being lifted with a ladle

Then just whisk everything together and heat through! The end! The flavors are even better the next day.

Tomato herb soup in a mug on a plate with grilled cheese

OMG – grilled cheese + tomato soup FTW!

Now give yourself a high-five for making such a delicious soup in under 30 minutes.

The post Tomato Herb Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce-the best enchilada sauce and it’s incredibly easy to make, plus, it freezes beautifully! You will never buy store bought enchilada sauce again! Enchiladas are one of my all-time favorite meals…and I am glad my boys love t…

Homemade Enchilada Sauce-the best enchilada sauce and it’s incredibly easy to make, plus, it freezes beautifully! You will never buy store bought enchilada sauce again! Enchiladas are one of my all-time favorite meals…and I am glad my boys love them too! They are a regular at our dinner table. Enchilada night is always a good…

The post Enchilada Sauce appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock […]

The post Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This was actually supposed to be a baked ziti, but it turns out ziti is just about impossible to find in grocery stores right now, so I went with a Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne instead. Sometimes you just have to roll with it! This recipe is a very vegetable-forward version of my Classic Baked Ziti, chock full of colorful vegetables, a quick homemade red sauce, and layers of ooey-gooey cheese. This recipes makes a LOT of pasta but the leftovers are awesome and freezable! 

Overhead view of a casserole dish full of roasted vegetable baked penne

Take a Short Cut

This roasted vegetable baked penne is kind of a labor of love because there are so many moving parts, BUT you can take a short cut by using some jarred pasta sauce instead of making your own. Use about one and a half 24oz. jars of store-bought pasta sauce in place of the homemade sauce listed below.

How to Store Leftovers

As I mentioned in the intro, this makes a LOT of pasta. But the leftovers are super yummy, and it makes a really great item to stash in your freezer for grab-n-go lunches or quick dinners on busy nights. After baking, divide the pasta into single serving containers and transfer to the refrigerator. Once fully cooled, you can transfer some (or all) of the containers to the freezer for longer storage. I usually leave as many as I can eat in one week in the fridge and freeze the left. The leftovers can be reheated quickly in the microwave.

What Vegetables Can You Use?

I used a classic mix of zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and bell pepper so I could have a really colorful mix. If you want to substitute any of these vegetables, here are some other good options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots

In general you want to opt for softer vegetables for this dish, as opposed to harder root vegetables, but if you do want to include vegetables that are more firm, make sure to cut them into much smaller pieces to help them soften more quickly while they roast.

Close up front view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

 
Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Layers of pasta, flavorful roasted vegetables, a simple homemade red sauce, and melty cheese make this roasted vegetable baked penne to die for!
Total Cost $11.34 recipe / $1.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 494.86kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 red onion $0.44
  • 1 zucchini $0.79
  • 1 yellow squash $1.11
  • 1 bell pepper $1.69
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.26
  • tsp salt $0.02
  • tsp pepper $0.02

Simple Red Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.26
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.79
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning* $0.30
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ cup water $0.02

Pasta & Cheese

  • 1 lb. penne $1.00
  • 15 oz. ricotta $2.19
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend**, divided $1.86
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.11

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Spread the diced vegetables out over a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until all the vegetables are coated in oil.
  • Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven, stirring once half way through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the edges are brown and caramelized.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, begin the red sauce. Finely dice the yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with the butter. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, and water.
  • Stir the sauce to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are finished roasting (about 30 minutes).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the shredded Italian cheese blend, and ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the penne. Once boiling, add the penne and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain the penne in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off.
  • Stir one cup of the red sauce into the drained pasta to coat the pasta in flavor. Add the roasted vegetables to the remaining red sauce and stir to combine.
  • To layer the casserole, place half of the sauce coated penne in the bottom of a 9x13" or 3 quart casserole dish. Add half of the cheese mixture on top in dollops, followed by half of the roasted vegetable and red sauce mixture. The ingredients do not need to create a solid layer or completely cover the previous layer. Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, top the casserole with the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend.
  • Cover the casserole with foil, making sure it doesn't touch the cheese on top. Place the casserole in the oven (still turned on to 400ºF) and bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, remove the foil and switch the oven from bake to broil. Broil the top of the casserole to brown the cheese for 3-5 minutes (watch closely as broilers can vary quite a bit from oven to oven). Top with chopped parsley if desired and serve!

Notes

*If you do not have Italian seasoning, you can replace this with equal parts dried basil, dried oregano, dried morjoram, and thyme.
*If you do not have shredded Italian cheese blend, use equal amounts shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 494.86kcal | Carbohydrates: 60.24g | Protein: 20.76g | Fat: 19.79g | Sodium: 681.56mg | Fiber: 5.35g

How to Make Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne

Whole vegetables on a cutting board

For the roasted vegetables I used one red onion, one zucchini, one yellow squash, and one red bell pepper. You can choose just about any vegetable you’d like (see notes above the recipe for suggestions).

Diced vegetables on a baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Dice the vegetables into 1-inch pieces. Place the diced vegetables on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables until they are coated in oil.

Roasted vegetables on the baking sheet

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast, stirring once halfway through, for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and caramelized on the edges.

Diced onion and butter in a sauce pot

While the vegetables are roasting, begin the rest of the casserole. Start with the homemade red sauce. Dice one yellow onion and add it to a sauce pot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Red sauce ingredients in the pot

Once the onions are soft, add one 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp salt, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to the simmer, then turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are done roasting (about 30 minutes). 

Cheese mixture ingredients in a bowl

While the vegetables are roasting and the red sauce is simmering away, prepare the cheese. Stir together 15oz. ricotta, 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

Stirring red sauce into cooked pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add 1 lb. penne and continue to boil until the penne is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander, then return it to the pot with the heat turned off. Add 1 cup of the red sauce and stir to coat.

Roasted vegetables added to the pot of red sauce.

Stir the roasted vegetables into the rest of the red sauce.

Layer one of baked penne in the casserole dish

Now that the sauce, cheese, and pasta are done, it’s time to start layering! Add half of the sauce coated pasta to the bottom of a 9×13″ (3 quart) casserole dish. Next, add half of the cheese mixture in dollops, followed by half of the vegetable red sauce. Each layer will not fully cover the previous layer. You don’t need to spend time trying to spread it out. It will all melt together as it bakes.

Second layers of baked penne in the casserole dish

Repeat with a second layer of pasta, cheese, and vegetable red sauce. Finally, add the second cup of shredded Italian cheese blend on top.

Baked Penne casserole with foil covering half the dish

Cover the casserole dish with foil, taking care not to let it touch the cheese. Bake the casserole for 35 minutes.

Finished roasted vegetable baked penne in the casserole dish

After 35 minutes, remove the foil and change the oven from bake to broil. Let it broil for a few minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown on top. Top with a couple tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for garnish, if desired.

Overhead view of roasted vegetable baked penne being scooped out of the casserole dish

Enjoy!

The post Roasted Vegetable Baked Penne appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Vegan Tomato Soup

This article is from Delicious Everyday.
This vegan tomato soup is fresh and flavorful. It’s packed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, and Italian spices. It makes a delicious and simple plant based meal, and you won’t believe how easy it…

This article is from Delicious Everyday.

This vegan tomato soup is fresh and flavorful. It’s packed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion, and Italian spices. It makes a delicious and simple plant based meal, and you won’t believe how easy it is to put together. Tomato soup is perhaps my all time favorite soup! Okay, I admit it’s a toss up between...

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Homemade BBQ Sauce

This Kansas City-style homemade BBQ sauce recipe is super quick and easy to make, and full of the best tangy, smoky and slightly-sweet flavors that everyone is sure to love! Friends, have you ever tried making homemade BBQ sauce? If not, it’s time. ♡ And as a KC girl, I’m going to vote that you […]

This Kansas City-style homemade BBQ sauce recipe is super quick and easy to make, and full of the best tangy, smoky and slightly-sweet flavors that everyone is sure to love!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Friends, have you ever tried making homemade BBQ sauce?

If not, it’s time. ♡

And as a KC girl, I’m going to vote that you make this Kansas City-style bbq sauce recipe!  It’s super-easy to make — just stir everything together and simmer for about 15 minutes — and it’s full of that famous tangy, smoky and slightly-sweet blend of flavors that we all love in Kansas City.

We use this sauce regularly in our house to make traditional bbq chicken, pulled pork, ribs and baked beans.  But it also works great as a pizza sauce (hello, bbq chicken pizza ♡) and as a glaze (on meatballs, meatloaf, etc).  And of course, you’re welcome to get creative and add it into everything from soups to salads, tacos, burgers, casseroles and more.

So many ways to use homemade bbq sauce.  So let’s make a batch! (more…)

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and […]

The post Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sweet potatoes and chili are totally made for each other. The subtle sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly contrasts the smoky, spicy flavor of the chili. Add a little creamy cheese on top and you’ve got the perfect trifecta! These Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy, pre-portioned meal that is filling, delicious, and works great for weekly meal prep!

Originally posted 12-21-2015, updated 2-25-2020.

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Four turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish.

Can I Use Beef Instead?

Absolutely! The chili included in this recipe is basically a half batch of my basic Homemade Chili recipe, which is extremely customizable. You can swap out the protein, make it spicy or mild (reduce or eliminate the cayenne), or add other fun ingredients, like cocoa powder!

Can I Make them Vegetarian?

Yes, simply swap the 1/2 lb. of ground turkey for an extra can of black beans, or kidney beans, and you have a super delish vegetarian chili to top your sweet potatoes. :)

How do I Meal Prep These Sweet Potatoes?

After stuffing your sweet potatoes with chili and cheese, simply pack each one into an individual, microwave safe container. To reheat, simply microwave on high for about 2 minutes, or until heated through.

A fork digging into a turkey chili smothered sweet potato, on a white plate

 

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Tender baked sweet potatoes smothered with turkey and bean chili, then topped with melty cheddar. Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes are an easy dinner!

CHILI

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey ($2.00)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.59)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 of a 6oz. can) ($0.25)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans ($0.79)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin ($0.05)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt ($0.02)

POTATOES AND TOPPINGS

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (3/4 lb. each) ($3.94)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($0.43)
  • Cilantro or green onions for garnish ($0.25)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash the sweet potatoes well, then prick the skins several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and oozing from the fork holes.

  2. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add the ground turkey and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

  3. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and water. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

  4. Once the sweet potatoes are finished baking, carefully slice each one open lengthwise and slightly mash the insides. Spoon about 3/4 cup chili over each potato, then top with 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar. Return the potatoes to the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Top with cilantro or sliced green onions just before serving.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of four turkey chili stuffed sweet potatoes in a small white baking dish

 

How to Make Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Step by Step Photos

Sweet potatoes in a baking dish rubbed in oil and pricked with a fork

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Wash four small sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb. each). Prick the skins of each potato several times with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, then bake the sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes, or until they’re soft all the way through and are oozing sugary juice from the fork holes.

Cooked ground turkey, onion, and garlic in a pot

While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the small batch of chili. Add 1/2 lb. ground turkey and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the turkey over medium heat. While the turkey is cooking, dice the yellow onion and mince 2 cloves garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.

Tomatoes, beans, spices, and water added to the pot.

Drain one 15oz. can black beans and add them to the pot along with one 15oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 3oz. tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine. 

Finished turkey chili in the pot

Allow the chili to come up to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the sweet potatoes have finished baking, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp).

Baked sweet potatoes in the baking dish with some juices bubbling out of the fork holes

Test the sweet potatoes to make sure they are baked all the way through by piercing with a fork or a small knife. The potatoes should be soft all the way through, and juices should be bubbling out of the fork holes that were made before baking.

Opened and mashed sweet potatoes in the baking dish

Once the sweet potatoes are baked and soft all the way through , slice them open lengthwise and slightly mash the inside of the sweet potatoes.

Turkey chili being spooned into the open sweet potatoes

Scoop about 3/4 cup turkey chili onto each sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes topped with cheddar

Add a couple tablespoons of shredded cheddar to each potato, then return the baking sheet to the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes with melted cheese and topped with cilantro

Finally, top with a little chopped cilantro or sliced green onions (or hey, sour cream?) just before serving.

Side view of turkey chili smothered sweet potatoes in a baking dish, topped with green onion and cilantro

And then you have four incredibly delicious, single portion sized Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes! Bonus, I had some chili left over that will serve as an extra meal for me. :)

Turkey Chili Smothered Sweet Potatoes - BudgetBytes.com

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1-Pot Tuscan-Style Beef & Lentil Soup

If you’re looking for a hearty, 1-pot meal to warm up with this winter, this is it.
I recently got an intense craving for a meaty, tomatoey soup with lentils and greens and had to have it. This was the (incredibly delicious) result.
We hope you …

1-Pot Tuscan-Style Beef & Lentil Soup

If you’re looking for a hearty, 1-pot meal to warm up with this winter, this is it.

I recently got an intense craving for a meaty, tomatoey soup with lentils and greens and had to have it. This was the (incredibly delicious) result.

We hope you love it as much as we do. It’s been on repeat in our kitchen for the last several months!

1-Pot Tuscan-Style Beef & Lentil Soup from Minimalist Baker →

Slow Cooker Hanukkah Beef Brisket

This tender and flavorful slow cooker beef brisket is cooked low and slow until it practically falls apart, served with a sweet and tangy sauce that you’ll simply adore! Your new favorite beef brisket recipe is here! It’s really at its best the second day, making it the perfect make-ahead dish for your Hanukkah dinner […]

This tender and flavorful slow cooker beef brisket is cooked low and slow until it practically falls apart, served with a sweet and tangy sauce that you’ll simply adore!

Your new favorite beef brisket recipe is here! It’s really at its best the second day, making it the perfect make-ahead dish for your Hanukkah dinner party.

Modern white baking dish with sliced beef brisket and sauce poured over top

This brisket recipe is a culmination of a few years’ worth of trial and error.

(I don’t know why but I always want to spell brisket like biscuit… briscuit. My brain is weird…)

Anyway. Brisket. Why did it take so long to perfect this recipe? Well, we really only make brisket once a year: for our annual Hanukkah dinner party. So it’s taken us a few tries… and a few years… to get it right.

But let me just say that all that time has been well worth it… because this one’s a keeper!

Maybe you’re more like a twice-a-year brisket maker, for Hanukkah AND Passover (and, assuming you track down all Kosher-for-passover ingredients like soy sauce, this recipe works for both!) And really, who needs a holiday as an excuse? You could certainly make this for any occasion (or non-occasion even, this recipe would make a lovely Sunday night supper for your family).

Slow cooker beef brisket sliced and arranged in a white baking dish, sauce pouring over top.

Most Hanukkah brisket recipes call for braising the brisket in the oven at 350 for 3 to 4 hours. The first time we made brisket we followed one of these recipes, and the result was less than ideal.

To really get that ultra tender, fall-apart, melt-in-your-mouth brisket, you need to go way lower and way slower.

And the easiest way to do that? A slow cooker of course.

In the case of this brisket, 10 hours on low is just about perfect, resulting in a ridiculously tender piece of meat. Just how tender? Practically-fall-apart-when-you-try-to-serve it tender (tip: ditch the tongs for a thin, wide spatula).

(more…)

Chili Cornbread Skillet

Some nights you just need something warm, comforting, and easy to help melt off the stresses of the day, like a big bowl of chili. And maybe some cornbread, too, for good measure. This easy Chili Cornbread Skillet has all the comfort of a pot of chili, with homemade cornbread baked right on top to […]

The post Chili Cornbread Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Some nights you just need something warm, comforting, and easy to help melt off the stresses of the day, like a big bowl of chili. And maybe some cornbread, too, for good measure. This easy Chili Cornbread Skillet has all the comfort of a pot of chili, with homemade cornbread baked right on top to avoid excess dishes. Oh, and I hid a layer of gooey cheddar cheese between the chili and cornbread, too. Because cheese makes everything better!🧀

Originally posted 10-5-2013, updated 12-12-2019.

Cozy Chili Cornbread Skillet

Chili cornbread skillet in the skillet with wooden spoon, a serving scooped out onto a plate on the side.

What Kind of Skillet Should I Use?

You’ll want a deep, 4-quart skillet for this recipe. I used my 10″ 4-quart Oxo stainless steel skillet for this recipe. If needed, you could also use a smaller wide soup pot or Dutch oven. Using an oven safe skillet or pot is the best option, but read on if you do not own an oven safe skillet or pot.

What if I Don’t Have an Oven Safe Skillet?

If you only own teflon skillets, skillets with plastic handles, or skillets that have other non-safe parts, you can still make this recipe. Simply let the chili simmer in your skillet or pot while you make the cornbread, and then transfer to a 4-quart casserole dish before topping with the cornbread batter and baking.

Can I Add Meat to the Chili Cornbread Skillet?

Absolutely! I made a vegetarian version this time around because it’s quite cost effective and it makes the meal more pantry-staple friendly, but you can always add meat if you have it on hand or prefer your chili con carne. Simply replace one can of beans with one pound ground beef or turkey. Brown the meat in the skillet before adding the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the beginning. 

Meal Prep and Freezer Friendly

This Chili Cornbread Skillet holds up extremely well in the refrigerator, and is also freezer friendly. As with any meal prep recipe, make sure to divide the dish into single serving portions right after cooking and get it into the refrigerator as soon as possible, so it cools quickly. Once cooled, the chili cornbread will keep in the refrigerator for about four days, or can be transferred to the refrigerator and kept frozen for about 3 months. You can see some of my favorite meal prep containers here.

Chili Cornbread Skillet in the skillet with some scooped out, on a yellow surface with black and white striped napkin

 

Chili Cornbread Skillet

This hearty and comforting Chili Cornbread Skillet is an easy, one-pot meal that is sure to make the whole family happy. Freezer friendly!

Chili

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) ($0.15)
  • 1 15 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste ($0.39)
  • 3 15 oz. cans beans (kidney, pinto, black) ($2.67)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder* ($0.30)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar ($0.85)

Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal ($0.24)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour ($0.15)
  • 1/4 cup sugar ($0.20)
  • 4 tsp baking powder ($0.24)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1 cup milk ($0.31)
  • 1 large egg ($0.23)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil ($0.16)
  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the jalapeño lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and then dice the pepper. Add the cooking oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large 4-quart oven safe skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

  2. Drain the canned beans then add them to the skillet with the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and water. Stir to combine.

  3. Allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Let the chili continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, as you prepare the cornbread topping.

  4. Begin to preheat the oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until very well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and oil. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the cornmeal mixture and stir just until everything is moistened.

  5. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over top of the simmering chili. Carefully pour the cornbread batter over the chili and cheese, and spread it around until the surface is evenly covered.

  6. Transfer the skillet to the fully preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown on the surface. To serve, simply scoop the cornbread and chili beneath onto a plate or bowl, and enjoy!

*The chili powder is a mild blend of chile peppers and other spices. It is not cayenne pepper, which is very spicy. I use this product, which has no heat at all. If your chili powder is spicy, start with a small amount and add more as needed.

Love chili? Check out my Simple Homemade Chili recipe with tons of ways to customize the flavors to make it your own! 

A plate with one serving of Chili Cornbread Skillet on a yellow surface with striped napkin

 

How to Make Chili Cornbread Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion jalapeño and garlic

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Slice the jalapeño lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a spoon, then dice the remaining pepper. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a skillet with 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Remaining chili ingredients added to the skillet

Drain three 15 oz. cans of beans (any combo of kidney, black bean, or pinto—I used two black beans, one kidney). Add the beans to the skillet along with one 15 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, one 6 oz. can of tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp salt, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine. Allow the chili to come up to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer the chili, stirring occasionally, as you prepare the cornbread batter.

Cornbread dry ingredients in a white bowl

Begin preheating the oven to 425ºF. Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until they are very well combined.

Cornbread wet ingredients in a separate white bowl

In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup milk, 1 large egg, and 1/4 cup cooking oil. Pour the bowl of whisked wet ingredients into the bowl with the cornmeal mixture and stir just until the batter is combined (don’t over stir).

Add Cheese to Simmering Chili

Before adding the cornbread batter to the chili, sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar over the surface of the chili.

Spread cornbread batter over chili in skillet

Carefully spread the cornbread batter over the surface of the hot chili, making sure to spread from edge to edge.

Baked chili cornbread skillet finished

Bake the Chili Cornbread Skillet in the fully preheated 425ºF oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the cornbread is golden brown.

Close up of chili cornbread skillet being scooped out of the skillet

To serve, simply scoop the cornbread and chili beneath out of the skillet and onto a plate or bowl.

Chili cornbread skillet with some scooped out onto a white plate beside the skillet

COMFORT FOOD.

The post Chili Cornbread Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Classic Baked Ziti

As soon as the weather turns cool, I grab the cozy sweaters and start cooking the comfort food, like this Classic Baked Ziti. It’s rich and gooey with its layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese. Total comfort in a bowl. And the best part is that […]

The post Classic Baked Ziti appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As soon as the weather turns cool, I grab the cozy sweaters and start cooking the comfort food, like this Classic Baked Ziti. It’s rich and gooey with its layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese. Total comfort in a bowl. And the best part is that Baked Ziti is not fussy. You don’t have to worry about delicate sheet pasta or getting your layers perfect. It’s freeform, messy goodness at its best!

Classic Baked Ziti with Sausage

Overhead view of a wooden spoon scooping baked ziti out of the corner of a white casserole dish

Can I Use a Different Pasta Shape?

If you can’t find ziti (a smooth, tubular shaped pasta), you can substitute penne or rigatoni in this recipe. Rigatoni is the most similar to ziti, the only difference being that it has a ridges and is slightly shorter and wider. 

Can I Add Vegetables to Baked Ziti?

Yes! I almost always add extra vegetables to whatever I’m cooking, but today I decided to go with the classic form of Baked Ziti. If I were to add vegetables, I would probably add some fresh spinach into the sauce and stir until it is wilted. Or, roast some broccoli, zucchini, or eggplant, and then toss that into the sauce. 

Can I Substitute the Sausage?

The Italian sausage adds a lot of flavor to this dish, but there are still a few options for substituting the sausage. You can use ground beef, turkey, or chicken, but you’ll probably want to double the Italian seasoning blend to make up for the herbs that are found in Italian sausage. You can also use a vegetarian Italian sausage alternative, or substitute with a pound of chopped mushrooms.

Front view of a wooden spoon lifting a scoopful of Baked Ziti from the casserole dish

What Should I Serve with Baked Ziti?

Homemade Garlic Bread is awesome with baked ziti, but if you want some vegetables on the side I would go with something like Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli, or do a simple side salad of mixed greens with Italian dressing, and whatever vegetables you have in your fridge (tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, etc.). 

How Long Does This Last?

This Baked Ziti will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. I highly suggest dividing the leftovers into single servings so they cool quickly in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 8 large servings, so once the servings are cooled completely in the refrigerator, you can transfer a few to the freezer for longer storage. Then each serving is just a quick microwave away from being a filling last-minute dinner!

 

Classic Baked Ziti

Like a freeform lasagna, this Baked Ziti has layers of pasta, homemade red sauce with Italian sausage, and three types of melty cheese!

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot) ($3.49)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.27)
  • 3 oz. tomato paste ($0.27)
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend ($0.30)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1 lb. ziti ($1.67)
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (for pasta water) ($0.05)
  • 15 oz. ricotta ($1.69)
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend* ($1.15)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella ($2.29)
  • 1 handful chopped parsley (optional, for garnish) ($0.20)
  1. Brown the sausage in a large skillet or pot over medium heat, until it's brown and crispy on the edges (pork sausage contains a lot of fat, so I didn't add any extra to the skillet).

  2. While the sausage is browning, finely dice the onion. Add the onion to the skillet once the sausage has browned, and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

  3. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 cup water to the skillet with the sausage and stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down and allow it to continue to simmer while you cook the ziti. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers.

  4. After getting the sauce started, begin the ziti. Bring a large pot of water with 1/2 Tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the ziti, and let it continue to boil until the ziti is tender (about 7-8 minutes). Drain the ziti in a colander. Shake the colander a bit to shake excess water out of the pasta.

  5. While the pasta and sauce are cooking, prepare the cheese filling. Add the ricotta, Italian cheese blend, and some freshly cracked black pepper (about 10 cranks of a pepper mill) to a bowl and stir to combine. Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF.

  6. After draining the ziti, return it to the pot and add 1 cup of the red sauce. Stir to coat the cooked pasta in sauce.

  7. Pour half of the ziti to a 9×13" baking dish. Add half of the ricotta mixture on top of the ziti in small dollops. Finally, spoon half of the red sauce and sausage over the pasta and ricotta. It's okay if the ingredients don't cover in a solid layer. Repeat these layers with the second half of the pasta, ricotta mixture, and sauce. Finally, top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella.

  8. Cover the baking dish with foil, making sure it's slightly tented so that it doesn't touch or stick to the melted cheese. Transfer the covered casserole to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

  9. After baking for 20 minutes, remove the foil, and turn the oven on to broil (keep the casserole on the middle rack, about 10-12 inches from the broiler). Broil for 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is slightly browned. Keep a close eye on the baked ziti as it broils, because broilers can vary in intensity. Top with chopped parsley, if desired, then serve.

*In place of Italian cheese blend you can use a mix of mozzarella and Parmesan.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A white plate with baked ziti, garlic bread, and a black fork.

 

How to Make Baked Ziti – Step by Step Photos

Browned Italian sausage in a skillet

Begin by browning 1 pound Italian sausage in a skillet until it is brown and crispy on the edges. Pork sausage has quite a bit of fat in it on its own, so I didn’t add any extra to the skillet.

Diced onion added to the skillet with the sausage

While the sausage is browning, finely dice a yellow onion. Add it to the skillet with the browned sausage and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Crushed tomatoes being poured into the skillet, with sausage, onions, tomato paste, and Italian seasoning

Add 3 oz. tomato paste (half of a 6 oz. can – don’t forget to freeze the rest of the can!), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend, one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, place a lid on the skillet, and let it come up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, while you begin cooking the ziti.

Boiled ziti in a pot of water with a wooden spoon

Once the sauce is simmering away, begin cooking the ziti. Bring a large pot of water with 1/2 Tbsp salt to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 lb. ziti. Continue to boil the ziti until tender, then drain in a colander. Shake the colander a bit to shake out the excess water.

Ricotta, Italian cheese, and black pepper in a bowl

While the ziti is boiling and the sauce is simmering, make the ricotta cheese blend. Add 15 oz. ricotta, 1 cup Italian cheese blend, and some freshly cracked black pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine. Also begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF at the time.

Sauce being added to cooked ziti in the pot.

After draining the ziti, return it to the pot and add 1 cup of the red sauce. Stir to coat the ziti in the sauce.

First layers of pasta, cheese, and sauce in the casserole dish

Pour half of the sauce coated ziti into a 9×13″ casserole dish. Add half of the ricotta mixture on top of the ziti in small dollops, then add half of the red sauce on top. Don’t worry if the layers don’t cover each other in a solid layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

Second layers of pasta, ricotta, and sauce, and final layer of mozzarella

Repeat with a second layer of pasta, ricotta mixture, and sauce, then top with 2 cups shredded mozzarella.

Baked ziti with melted cheese and foil peeled back

Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Make sure the foil is slightly tented so it doesn’t touch the cheese and stick when it melts.

Broiled baked ziti with browned cheese on top

After baking for 20 minutes, remove the foil, turn the oven to broil, and return the casserole to the oven (keep it on the middle rack, about 10-12 inches from the broiler). Broil for about 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is browned on top. Keep a close eye as it broils because broilers can vary in intensity.

Finished baked ziti casserole topped with chopped parsley and a wooden spoon on the side

Garnish with a little chopped parsley, if desired, then serve!

Overhead view of a spoon just beginning to dig into the baked ziti casserole

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