Vegetable Tofu Scramble

This super vegetable packed tofu scramble is an easy, freezer-friendly, fiber and protein packed meal that is perfect for meal prep!

The post Vegetable Tofu Scramble appeared first on Budget Bytes.

A few weeks ago someone asked me to make a homemade version of Amy’s Tofu Scramble. I had never had it before, so I went out and purchased one right away so I could give it a try. Well, it totally exceeded my expectations and I knew I needed to make something similar at home. This vegetable tofu scramble was flavorful, filling, and had an incredibly simple ingredient list. Those are all things I love, so I immediately set to work recreating it!

Vegetable Tofu Scramble in a skillet with a spatula

It wasn’t hard to create a similar vegetable tofu scramble at home, but I did have to make a few substitutions. I used different vegetables than in the store-bought version because there were too many for me to fit into one recipe. I also leaned heavily on frozen vegetables to make this easy, but you can totally use fresh if you prefer (check suggestions below).

And lastly, I only made the tofu scramble part of the recipe here, whereas the store-bought version comes with hash brown potatoes as a side. I did end up making some of my Smoky Roasted Breakfast Potatoes to serve on the side, but during the recipe testing phase I ate the scramble on its own and it was delicious alone as well. For that reason, I’m keeping the roasted potatoes as a separate recipe, even though they come with the store-bought frozen meal.

Choose Your Own Vegetables, Fresh or Frozen

This recipe is super flexible, so it’s great for using up odds and ends of vegetables that you might have in your refrigerator or freezer. For the recipe below I used some mushrooms, frozen peppers and onions, and frozen spinach. You could also try adding some shredded carrot, finely chopped broccoli, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, green onions, corn, or peas.

I used frozen spinach, despite it not being very “pretty” because I had some in my freezer that was on the edge of being dried out. To use fresh spinach instead, just give it a rough chop so it’s in slightly smaller pieces, then just sauté it in the skillet with the tofu and other vegetables until wilted.

Don’t Skip These Ingredients:

While this recipe is very flexible, there are two ingredients that I wouldn’t skip: the nutritional yeast and the salsa. The nutritional yeast really adds a big dose of umami that just makes this recipe so much more satisfying. It’s a shelf stable ingredient, so if this is the first time you purchase it, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of chances to use it again. Here are a couple more recipes that use nutritional yeast.

The second ingredient you don’t want to skip is salsa. I find that the fresh, acidic flavor of the salsa really balances the whole dish and makes the flavors so much more complete. Sure, if you can’t stand salsa, go ahead and skip it, but to me, it really makes the entire dish.

Freeze Your Tofu for Better Texture

I highly suggest freezing your tofu beforehand because it changes the texture of the tofu. It’s hard to describe the change in the texture, but I dare say it’s a bit more sturdy after freezing and thawing, instead of being soft and crumbly. I usually just pop it in the freezer (in the original packaging) when I get home from the store, then transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw the day before I plan to cook.

How to Store Tofu Scramble

This vegetable tofu scramble will stay good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and can be reheated quickly using the microwave. Or, once it has fully cooled in the refrigerator you can transfer it to the freezer and freeze for a couple of months. I reheated my frozen tofu scramble using the microwave.

Salsa being spooned onto a bowl of Vegetable Tofu Scramble
Salsa being spooned onto a bowl of Vegetable Tofu Scramble

Vegetable Tofu Scramble

This super vegetable packed tofu scramble is an easy, freezer-friendly, fiber and protein packed meal that is perfect for meal prep!
Total Cost $5.65 recipe / $1.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 259.68kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. firm or extra firm tofu $1.99
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.29
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup frozen onions and peppers* $0.35
  • 8 oz. frozen spinach* $0.93
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast $0.42
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 cup salsa $0.50

Instructions

  • If you have the opportunity, fully freeze and then thaw the tofu in the days before making the recipe. While this isn't required, it does produce a better texture. When you're ready to make the recipe, remove the tofu from the package and press or squeeze the excess moisture out of the tofu. You can use a tofu press, or place the tofu on a plate, top it with a cutting board, then place something heavy, like a pot, and wait about 15 minutes while the moisture is pressed out. When tofu has been frozen, it's a bit more spongey, and I can squeeze or press most of it out just using my hands.
  • While the tofu is pressing, clean and slice the mushrooms. Thaw the frozen spinach, then squeeze out the excess water (I just squeeze it in my fist).
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and place it over medium heat. When the skillet and oil are hot, tilt the skillet to coat the surface with oil. Crumble the tofu into the skillet, then sprinkle the garlic powder and pepper over top. Sauté the tofu for 2-3 minutes in the hot skillet. Don't worry if it starts to stick, the moisture from the vegetables will loosen it from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms have softened. Add the frozen bell peppers and onions and continue to sauté until they have heated through. Finally, add the thawed and squeezed spinach, and continue to sauté until heated through again.
  • Finally, season the skillet with nutritional yeast and salt. Toss until everything is well coated in nutritional yeast. Give it a taste, and adjust the salt if needed.
  • Serve the vegetable tofu scramble topped with a couple of spoonfuls of salsa, and enjoy!

Notes

*You can use fresh in place of frozen. Simply add to the skillet and sauté until tender.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 259.68kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.68g | Protein: 23.38g | Fat: 16.3g | Sodium: 625.35mg | Fiber: 5.85g

How to Make Vegetable Tofu Scramble – Step by Step Photos

Tofu package

You’ll need a 14oz. package of firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. You’ll get the best texture if you fully freeze and then thaw the tofu beforehand. I usually pop it in the freezer, in the original packaging, when I get home from the store, then transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw the day before I plan to use it.

Pressed tofu on a plate with paper towel

When you’re ready to cook, press the excess moisture out of the tofu. I find that when I freeze and thaw the tofu it’s a bit spongey, so I can just gently squeeze it with my hands. Otherwise, you’ll want to use a tofu press or place it on a plate, top it with a cutting board, then place something heavy on top and wait about 15 minutes. Wash and slice 8oz. mushrooms while the tofu presses. Thaw and squeeze 8oz. frozen spinach.

Crumbled tofu in a skillet being seasoned with garlic powder

Heat 2 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet and oil are hot, tilt the skillet to coat the surface. Crumble the pressed tofu into the skillet, then season with ½ tsp garlic powder and about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Sauté the tofu for 2-3 minutes. Don’t worry if it sticks to the skillet a little, as it will loosen once you begin to add some of the vegetables.

Sliced mushrooms added to the skillet with the tofu

Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and continue to sauté until the mushrooms have softened.

Frozen peppers and onions being added to the skillet

Add about 1 cup frozen onions and bell peppers (or fresh) and continue to sauté until the peppers and onions are heated through.

Spinach added to the skillet

Add the thawed and squeezed frozen spinach to the skillet and continue to sauté until the spinach is heated through.

Nutritional Yeast being sprinkled over the tofu scramble in the skillet

Now it’s time to give the tofu scramble its final seasoning. Sprinkle in about 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast and ½ tsp salt. Stir until everything is coated in nutritional yeast, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed.

Vegetable tofu scramble in a glass meal prep box with roasted potatoes

Serve topped with a couple spoonfuls of salsa, or pack it up into meal prep containers (I added some Smoky Roasted Breakfast Potatoes to my containers), and refrigerate or freeze for later!

The post Vegetable Tofu Scramble appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don’t have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mardi Gras is definitely looking a little (okay, a lot) different this year, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t celebrating! I no longer live in New Orleans, but I still like to celebrate every year with a big pot of red beans and rice. I usually make a traditional pot of my Louisiana Style Red beans using dry beans, but I get so many questions about how to do it with canned beans that I decided to make this Quickie Red Beans and Rice recipe for those who just don’t have time to soak and cook dry beans. It’s not a traditional pot of red beans, but it’s faster, satisfying, and will make you wish you were watching parades and catching beads!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with sausage, corn muffins on the side

You’ll Still Need a Little Time…

Okay, I’m calling these “quickie” red beans and rice, but they do still need a little time to cook and for all those delicious flavors to blend and develop. But we’re talking more like one hour instead of several hours, like a traditional pot of beans.

What Kind of Red Beans Should I Use?

I used dark red kidney beans for this recipe because that’s the only canned variety that was available when I was shopping. When I make a pot of red beans from dry beans, I prefer small red beans instead of kidney beans because they make a smoother, creamier pot of beans. I usually can’t find small red beans canned, so kidney beans are the next best option. You can use either light or dark kidney beans.

Are Red Beans and Rice Spicy?

You can make these red beans and rice either spicy or mild, according to your preference. If you prefer mild, make sure the sausage you get is not spicy and skip the cayenne pepper in the spices listed below. If you want your red beans to be spicy, use a spicy sausage and increase the cayenne pepper to your liking.

Make Your Red Beans Vegetarian

It’s super easy to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan. Just skip the sausage and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. To make up for the richness of the pork fat that comes from the sausage, use coconut oil in place of the cooking oil listed below, and consider adding a couple extra tablespoons. This will make your red beans super rich and delicious! Here’s a link to my Vegan Red Beans made from dry beans.

Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side
Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don't have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 1.5 cups beans, 1 cup rice
Calories 603.18kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $2.99
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 bell pepper $0.69
  • 3 ribs celery $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 3 15oz. cans kidney beans $1.50
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13
  • 3 green onions, sliced $0.30
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.93

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into rounds or half-rounds. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper to the pot and continue to cook and stir for a minute more.
  • Drain two of the cans of beans. Add the third can to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. The puréed beans will help thicken the pot and make everything extra creamy. Add the drained beans, puréed beans, and chicken broth to the pot, then stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the beans to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the pot continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the red beans are simmering, begin cooking your rice. Add the uncooked rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Once the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit, undisturbed, lid in place, for an extra 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
  • After the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed (between the sausage and canned beans I didn't find I needed to add any, but salt content can vary so be sure to give it a taste). Serve the beans in a bowl, topped with a scoop of rice, and a few sliced green onions.

Notes

*If you can’t find Andouille sausage you can use any other type of smoked sausage. The sausage I bought came in a 14oz. package, but you can use anywhere from 12-16oz.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 603.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.85g | Protein: 23.73g | Fat: 23.1g | Sodium: 1396.82mg | Fiber: 11.6g
Close up of a spoonful of quickie red beans and rice with the bowl in the background

How to Make Quickie Red Beans and Rice – Step by Step Photos

browned sausage rounds in a pot

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage (or any smoked sausage, if you can’t find Andouille) into rounds or half-rounds. Add it to a large pot with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has browned.

Onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic added to the pot

While the sausage is cooking, dice one yellow onion, one bell pepper, and three ribs of celery. Mince four cloves of garlic. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to stir and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Spices being poured into the pot with sausage and vegetables

Next, add 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute more.

Pureed red beans in a blender

No, this is not a photo of a strawberry smoothie, but this is where the recipe gets a little interesting. Drain two 15oz. cans of kidney beans. Pour the third can, including the liquid from the can, into a blender and purée until smooth.

red beans added to the pot

Add the two cans of drained beans and the one can of puréed beans to the pot. The puréed beans are going to help thicken the pot and make everything nice and creamy.

Chicken broth added to the pot, beans ready to simmer

Finally, add 1 cup chicken broth to the pot and stir everything to combine. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. (Photo above is before simmering)

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the beans are simmering, begin the rice. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to high. When it reaches a full 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, with the lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.

Simmered pot of red beans

Once the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed. Between the sausage and canned beans, I didn’t find that I needed to add any salt, but if your beans are tasting bland try adding a little. Salt doesn’t just make things salty, it actually helps our tongue distinguish different flavors, so it can really make a dish pop when used correctly!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with corn muffins on the side

Serve your red beans in a bowl topped with a scoop of rice and a few sliced green onions. Cornbread or corn muffins are also a nice side with red beans. ;)

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek. Tons of ideas for add-ins and substitutions included!

The post Mediterranean Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I had a request for more tuna recipes lately but instead of heavy casseroles, I was in the mood for something lighter and more fresh (I’m soooo ready for Spring). So I made this Mediterranean Tuna Salad, which is sort of a hybrid of two of my other favorite recipes. And guess what? It holds up great in the fridge, so it’s another meal prep ready salad! 🙌

Overhead view of a bowl full of Mediterranean Tuna Salad with a fork in the side

What’s in Mediterranean Tuna Salad?

As I mentioned in the intro, this salad is a hybrid of two of my other favorite recipes: Super Fresh Cucumber Salad and Tuna and White Bean Salad. The salad starts with a base of fresh vegetables, like cucumber, tomato, red onion, and parsley, then gets a dose of protein from tuna and white beans, and is finished off with a tangy homemade vinaigrette and just the right amount of crumbled feta. The combo is absolutely perfect!

What Else Can I Add?

What I love about “refrigerator salads” (besides the fact that they hold up for days in the fridge) is that they are always quite flexible. You can add, substitute, or skip ingredients based on your needs. Here are some other ingredients that you can add into this Mediterranean Tuna Salad:

  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Bell peppers
  • Chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Cooked orzo, penne, or bowtie pasta
  • Spinach or Romaine (keep separate if meal prepping)
  • Roasted red peppers

How to Serve Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This well rounded salad could be served on its own in a larger portion as a stand alone meal, but you could also round it out by adding some pita and hummus on the side, stuffing the salad itself into a pita or wrap, or adding some cooked pasta to make it into a pasta salad. However you eat it, it’s going to be filling, fresh, and flavorful!

What Kind of Tuna Should I Use?

I definitely suggest chunk light tuna for this recipe because I think it’s the happy medium between good texture (large pieces instead of tiny flakes) and price. You can use tuna packed in either water or oil, whichever you prefer. The nutritional stats below are calculated using tuna packed in water.

How Long Does it Last?

My salad stayed fresh for about 3-4 days. The ingredients hold up extremely well in the refrigerator. You do want to give it a good stir before serving, though, to redistribute the dressing and make sure everything is as flavorful as possible.

Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl
Close up side view of Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a bowl

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

This simple, fresh, and filling Mediterranean Tuna Salad makes an easy protein-packed make-ahead lunch for your workweek.
Total Cost $7.89 recipe / $1.32 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 about 1 cup each
Calories 283.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 1 English cucumber* $1.29
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes* $1.49
  • 1/2 red onion $0.16
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped (about ½ cup) $0.35
  • 1 15oz. can cannellini beans $0.69
  • 1 12oz. can chunk light tuna $1.89
  • 2 oz. feta $1.10

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first, so the flavors have a little time to blend. In a bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients together, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • If you want to soften the flavor of the red onion a bit, slice it then soak the slices in ice water for about five minutes before dicing. Otherwise, finely dice the red onion, cut the cucumber into quarter rounds, slice the tomatoes in half, and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Combine the cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley in a bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over top, then stir until the vegetables are coated.
  • Rinse and drain the beans, and drain the tuna. Add the beans, tuna, and feta to the salad, then gently stir to combine. These three are added last and only gently stirred to make sure the tuna remains in larger flakes instead of falling apart into tiny pieces.
  • Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to four days. Give it a quick stir after refrigerating and before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Notes

*You can use a conventional cucumber and diced Roma tomatoes in place of English cucumber and grape tomatoes if needed. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 283.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.75g | Protein: 22.48g | Fat: 11.98g | Sodium: 691.93mg | Fiber: 5.18g

How to Make Mediterranean Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Homemade vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork

Start with the vinaigrette, so the flavors have a little time to blend. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.

red onion slices soaking in a bowl of water

If you want to soften the flavor of the red onions, soaking them for five minutes or so in ice water really helps! I slice them first to give more surface area to water contact, then finely dice them after soaking. For this recipe I used about ½ of a red onion.

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

You also want to cut one cucumber into quarter rounds, slice a pint of grape tomatoes in half, and roughly chop about ¼ bunch of parsley (about ½ cup chopped). Add them all to a bowl with the finely diced red onion.

Vinaigrette being poured over vegetables in the bowl

Pour the vinaigrette over top, then stir until everything is coated. We’ll add the tuna and feta last so they don’t break apart too much when stirring.

beans, tuna, and feta added to the salad

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of cannellini beans, and drain one 12oz. can of chunk light tuna. Add the beans, tuna, and 2oz. feta to the salad, then fold to combine.

Finished Mediterranean Tuna Salad in the bowl with a spatula

And that’s a wrap! Your Mediterranean Tuna Salad is ready to go. You can either serve it immediately or refrigerate for up to four days. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Tuna Salad in a white serving dish from above

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Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about making sure the last little odds and ends of ingredients in my fridge or freezer get used up. So this week, instead of making just another batch of plain pasta and red sauce, I jazzed it up with a little leftover heavy cream, the last of a bag of spinach, and some Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Simple swaps and add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight pasta!

Overhead view of a pan full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with a spoon in the side

What’s in the Creamy Tomato Sauce?

This red sauce is basically the same as the sauce for my Baked Ziti, which is super rich and tomatoey. To calm the acidity a bit and make it extra lush, I added a little heavy cream. The addition of the cream is absolutely magic.

Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?

I sometimes melt a little cream cheese into my pasta sauces, which creates a creamy and tangy finish, so that’s one option (use 2-4 ounces). The other option is to just leave it out and keep it as a basic red sauce. You do not want to use milk or another lower-fat dairy product because the combination of the heat and the acid from the tomatoes will likely cause it to curdle. Another reason why the heavy cream is magic.

Can I Use a Different Pasta?

Absolutely! Since the pasta is cooked separately, unlike one pot pastas, you can use any type or shape of pasta that you like. And you don’t have to worry too much about measuring, just use approximately half of a one pound package.

What Other Vegetables Can I Use?

I think kale would be especially good with this combo, but since it’s quite a bit more sturdy than spinach you’ll want to sauté it in the skillet for a couple of minutes (after the sausage is browned) to soften it up. You could also try tossing in some thawed frozen broccoli florets.

A bowl full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with garlic bread and a fork
Pictured with Homemade Garlic Bread.
front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.
Total Cost $5.75 recipe / $1.44 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 542.08kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (hot, mild or sweet) $2.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.85
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend $0.10
  • 1/2 cup water $0.00
  • 1/2 lb. pasta* $1.25
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.19
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.85

Instructions

  • Add the Italian sausage to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. Mince two cloves of garlic, add it to the browned sausage, and sauté for 1 minute more.
  • Next, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Once simmering, place a tilted lid on top (to allow steam to escape while blocking splatter) and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes, depending on the variety). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • After the pasta has cooked and the sauce has simmered a while, stir the heavy cream into the pasta sauce. Add the fresh spinach and stir it into the sauce just until wilted.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*I used corkscrew pasta, or cavatappi, but you can use any shape you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 542.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.88g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23.78g | Sodium: 843.95mg | Fiber: 6.55g
Close up side view of a skillet full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage

How to Make Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage – Step by Step Photos

Browned sausage and garlic in the skillet

Add ½ lb. Italian sausage (mild, hot, or sweet) to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat until browned, breaking it up into pieces as you go. Mince two cloves of garlic, add them to the browned sausage and sauté for one minute more.

Tomatoes and herbs added to browned sausage

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste, one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Plate a tilted lid on top (so that steam can escape but it shields splattering sauce) and let the sauce come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Cooked cavatappi pasta in a colander

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. pasta (I used cavatappi) and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

Cream being stirred into the sauce

After the sauce has simmered a while (the length of time it takes to cook the pasta), stir in ⅓ cup heavy cream. MAGIC!

fresh spinach added to the sauce

Next, add about 4oz. fresh spinach (half of an 8oz. bag) and stir it in until wilted.

drained pasta added to the sauce

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

Finished creamy tomato pasta with sausage in the skillet

Done and done!

front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

I served it with some of my Homemade Garlic Bread because that crispy garlicky goodness is perfect with red sauce!

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are […]

The post Unstuffed Bell Peppers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Stuffed bell peppers are awesome, but I always find them slightly awkward or difficult to eat. Can’t I just throw the ingredients in a bowl and eat it with a fork?! (I feel that way about a lot of food, TBH). So that’s what I ended up doing! These super simple unstuffed bell peppers are cooked in one skillet to make your (my) life super easy and delicious. #yesplease

Originally posted 8-13-2014, updated 2-4-2021.

Overhead view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet with a spoon.

Can I Use Cauliflower Rice Instead of White Rice?

Unfortunately, you can not swap out cauliflower rice for the white rice in this recipe. Cauliflower rice releases liquid as it cooks, whereas white rice absorbs it, so you’ll end up with a stuffed bell pepper soup. :) But hey, that actually doesn’t sound so bad! You can also try using cauli rice and skipping the broth, but you’ll be missing a lot of flavor with that option.

Can I Freeze Unstuffed Bell Peppers?

Yes, this recipe freezes great! Make sure to divide the skillet into single serving portions just after cooking, and chill them completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer. Once frozen, they’ll keep in the freezer for about three months and can be reheated in the microwave straight from the freezer (use the defrost setting first, then high until heated through).

Tips for Making One-Pot Rice Dishes

Even cooking plain rice on the stovetop can be a bit challenging for some folks, and when you add in other ingredients it can end up a little more tricky. To make sure your rice cooks thoroughly and evenly, keep these things in mind:

  • Cookware: A really good quality (thick and heavy) skillet is really important for making this recipe work correctly. Heavy cookware conducts heat really evenly so the sides of your skillet will cook at the same rate as the part that is right above the flame. If it’s a thin skillet, it might scorch right in the center and leave the outer edges uncooked. If you don’t have a good skillet, a dutch oven or heavy soup pot would also work well.
  • Heat level: Another key to cooking rice is making sure the water in the pot (or skillet) is simmering the whole time, but the heat is not so high that it burns on the bottom. So once you’ve got everything in the pot and have already brought everything up to a boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting that still maintains a light simmer. Since this can vary from stove to stove and the type of cookware you’re using, you’ll need to adjust this based on what you’re hearing and seeing in the pot. Once you get the hang of it, though, it will be easy!
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of your pot or skillet. If you’re using a wide bottomed pot or skillet over a very small burner, the outside edges of your pot or skillet may not receive enough heat to simmer and cook the rice through. 

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Love skillet meals? Check out my Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet, Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet, or One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice.

Close up side view of unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

All the ingredients and flavor of stuffed bell peppers cooked in one skillet for an easy, free-form bowl meal. It's UNstuffed Bell Peppers!
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1 ⅓ cups each
Calories 320.53kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 bell peppers $1.53
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.85
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked) $0.62
  • 1 tsp dried basil $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1.5 cups beef broth $0.07
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.26
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $0.85
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion and bell pepper.
  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a deep skillet. Cook the beef over medium heat until it is fully browned.
  • Add the diced onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, basil, oregano, and pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.
  • Next, add the diced tomatoes (with juices), uncooked rice, and beef broth. Give everything a brief stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for another five minutes.
  • While the pot is simmering, combine the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Once the rice has rested for 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the ingredients back together (peppers and tomatoes may float to the top while it simmers).
  • Pour the prepared tomato sauce over top, then sprinkled the shredded mozzarella over the sauce. Place the lid back on top and let the heat from the skillet melt the mozzarella. Once melted, sprinkle a little chopped parsley on top and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.33cups | Calories: 320.53kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.55g | Protein: 15.75g | Fat: 12.78g | Sodium: 646.32mg | Fiber: 3.88g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A fork lifting some rice and cheese from a bowl of unstuffed bell peppers

How to Make Unstuffed Bell Peppers – Step by Step Photos

browned ground beef with diced onion, bell pepper, and herbs

Mince one clove of garlic and dice a yellow onion and bell pepper. Add ½ lb. ground beef to a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it has fully browned. Add the diced bell pepper, onion, garlic, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, and about ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the onions are soft.

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet.

Next, add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, and 1.5 cups beef broth to the skillet. 

Combined ingredients in the skillet

Give everything a brief stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, lid still in place, for an additional 5 minutes.

Worcestershire sauce being added to tomato sauce

While the rice is simmering, prepare the tomato sauce. Combine one 8oz. can of tomato sauce with 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Set the sauce aside.

Rice being fluffed with a fork in the skillet

After the rice has rested for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork, gently folding the tomatoes and peppers back into the rice.

Cheese being added to the skillet

Pour the prepared tomato sauce over the rice in the skillet, then top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the skillet and let the residual heat melt the cheese.

finished unstuffed bell peppers in the skillet topped with parsley

Top with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve!

Unstuffed Bell Peppers skillet with lid on the side

The post Unstuffed Bell Peppers appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

Who doesn’t love Broccoli Cheddar Casserole?? This cozy homemade version doesn’t contain any canned “cream of” soup and comes together quickly. This comforting classic is great as a Thanksgiving side, or just a tasty addition to dinner any night of the week. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover rice from the night […]

The post Broccoli Cheddar Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Who doesn’t love Broccoli Cheddar Casserole?? This cozy homemade version doesn’t contain any canned “cream of” soup and comes together quickly. This comforting classic is great as a Thanksgiving side, or just a tasty addition to dinner any night of the week. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover rice from the night before!

Originally posted 3-7-2015, updated 1-30-2021

Overhead view of a large spoon scooping some broccoli cheddar casserole from the dish

Don’t Have Pre-Cooked Rice?

This recipe is written using rice that is already cooked. Much like fried rice, this recipe benefits from rice that has already been cooked and cooled so the grains are no longer sticky and are slightly more absorbent. If you don’t have rice on hand that is already cooked, allow time to cook some rice and allow it to cool before making this recipe. To cool your cooked rice faster, spread it out onto a baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator. The large surface area will help it cool quickly.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Yes! I’ve made this recipe using both brown and white rice and it’s delightful either way. Since you’re measuring the rice after it has been cooked, no adjustments need to be made to the recipe below if you plan to use brown rice. Brown rice gives this broccoli casserole a slightly nutty flavor and a little bit more texture.

Can the Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Be Assembled Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can assemble this broccoli cheddar casserole up to one day ahead of time, keeping it refrigerated until you’re ready to cook. Because the casserole will be chilled when going into the oven, you may need to add an extra 20-30 minutes to the cooking time to make sure the casserole is heated through. 

Side view of broccoli cheddar casserole being lifted out of the dish with a spoon

Broccoli cheddar casserole being scooped out of the dish

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

A creamy broccoli cheddar casserole from scratch, using no "cream of" soups. Rich, cheesy comfort food at its best!
Total Cost $6.09 recipe / $1.02 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 437.58kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets $1.99
  • 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown) $0.67
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese $1.69
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 3 Tbsp butter $0.42
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 2 cups milk (2% milk fat or higher) $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Thaw the frozen broccoli, then chop it into smaller pieces. Add the chopped broccoli to a large bowl along with the cooked rice and about 1.5 cups of the shredded cheese (save the last ½ cup for topping the casserole).
  • Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Add the butter, onion, and garlic to a small saucepot and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add the flour and stir until a paste forms. Continue to stir and cook the paste for about two minutes, or just until it turns a light golden brown.
  • Whisk the milk into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk the mixture as it heats, allowing it to reach a simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Season the sauce with the salt, smoked paprika, cayenne, and pepper. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if desired. The sauce should be heavily seasoned because it will be spread out over the broccoli and rice, which contain no seasoning of their own.
  • Pour the sauce over the rice, broccoli, and cheese, and stir until everything is evenly coated in sauce. Spread the casserole mixture evenly into a 9x9 inch casserole dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
  • Bake the casserole for about 35 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and is slightly browned around the edges. Divide into six portions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 437.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.1g | Protein: 17.25g | Fat: 21.82g | Sodium: 569.2mg | Fiber: 3.28g

Looking for a low-carb alternative? Check out my Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole.

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Chopped frozen broccoli florets on a cutting board

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw one pound of frozen broccoli florets, then chop them into smaller pieces.

Chopped broccoli, rice, and shredded cheddar in a bowl

Add the chopped broccoli to a large bowl along with four cups cooked and cooled rice, and 6 oz. (1.5 cups) shredded cheddar cheese. Save the remaining ½ cup cheddar to top the casserole.

Stirred together broccoli, rice, and cheddar in the bowl

Stir the broccoli, rice, and cheese together until evenly combined, then set them aside.

Onion, garlic, and butter in a sauce pot

Next, begin the white sauce. Finely dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a saucepot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Flour added to the sauce pot

Add 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the cooked onions and garlic. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute more. The flour will form a paste with the butter.

Milk being poured into the onion and flour mixture.

Pour two cups whole milk into the saucepot and whisk until all the flour is dissolved into the milk. Continue to stir and cook until the milk begins to gently simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.

Seasoning added to the white sauce

Season the white sauce with ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, and ⅛ tsp black pepper. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning if you prefer (it should be heavily seasoned).

White sauce mixed in with broccoli, rice, and cheddar

Pour the white sauce into the bowl with the broccoli, rice, and cheddar, then stir to combine.

Broccoli rice mixture in a casserole dish being covered with shredded cheddar

Transfer the broccoli rice mixture to a casserole dish (about 9×9 inches) and then add the remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Baked broccoli cheddar casserole

Bake the casserole for 35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on top and it’s browned around the edges.

Broccoli cheddar casserole being scooped out of the dish

Serve hot and enjoy that cozy comfort!

The post Broccoli Cheddar Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Tortilla Baked Eggs

You guys know how I love using leftover odds and ends in my fridge to make delicious meals on the fly, right? Well these tasty little eggs baked in a tortilla shell are my newest obsession. You can toss just about any meat, vegetable, or cheese into these Tortilla Baked Eggs to come up with your own tasty creation.

The post Tortilla Baked Eggs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You guys know how I love using leftover odds and ends in my fridge to make delicious meals on the fly, right? Well these tasty little eggs baked in a tortilla shell are my newest obsession. You can toss just about any meat, vegetable, or cheese into these Tortilla Baked Eggs to come up with your own tasty creation. Sounds like a fun Saturday morning project to me!

Overhead view of tortilla baked eggs on a white plate with a napkin on the side

What Kind of Baking Dish To Use

You can use any type of round, oven-safe dish that is about 1 to 2-inches deep. It should also have straight, vertical sides. Round cake pans or pie plates are a great option. As far as what size to use, you’ll want to use a dish that is one to two inches smaller in diameter than your tortilla, so the tortilla can be folded up on the sides to hold in the eggs and fillings.

What Size Tortilla Should I Use?

My tortillas were 8-inches in diameter, which was perfect for my 7-inch diameter dish. If you are using an eight or nine-inch diameter cake pan, you’ll probably want a 10-inch diameter tortilla. If you have a larger tortilla, you may want to add 1-2 more eggs than I used below.

Topping Ideas

These tortilla baked eggs are SO flexible and you can toss just about anything that you have leftover in your fridge into them, kind of like an omelette or frittata! Here are some combination ideas:

  • Roasted red peppers, feta, red onion
  • Chopped broccoli, cheddar
  • Ham, cheddar, bell pepper
  • Sun dried tomato, feta, spinach
  • Mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese
Two slices of tortilla baked eggs on a plate with a fork
Whole tortilla baked eggs on a plate with fork on the side

Tortilla Baked Eggs

Tortilla Baked Eggs are a fun and flexible way to use leftover ingredients from the week in a delicious homemade breakfast.
Total Cost $1.22 recipe / $0.61 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 320.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil $0.18
  • 1 8" flour tortilla $0.14
  • 1 cup fresh spinach $0.16
  • 4 large eggs $0.23
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes $0.37
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar $0.21
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) $0.01

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush the inside of a round, 7-inch diameter oven safe dish* with olive oil. Press the tortilla down into the dish so that the edges of the tortilla are folded up the sides of the dish (see step by step photos below).
  • Roughly chop the spinach then add it to the bottom of the tortilla. Crack the four eggs into the tortilla on top of the spinach. Add a pinch of salt and pepper on top of the eggs.
  • Slice the grap tomatoes in half, then sprinkle them over the eggs. Finally, top with shredded cheese.
  • Bake the egg filled tortilla in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still jammy. You can shake the dish to see if the whites still jiggle or if they are set. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your tortilla and number of eggs used.
  • Remove the tortilla baked eggs from the oven and slide them out of the dish. Slice into four pieces, then serve!

Notes

*You can use any size oven-safe round dish, but make sure you use a tortilla of a slightly larger size than the dish. For instance, you can use an 8-inch pie tin, but you’ll want to use a tortilla that is approximately 9-inches in diameter. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your dish and tortilla. See step 4 above for a tip on how to tell it’s finished baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5recipe | Calories: 320.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.55g | Protein: 18.6g | Fat: 20.35g | Sodium: 618.95mg | Fiber: 2.45g

Love baked eggs? Try my Creamed Spinach Baked Eggs, Eggs Florentine Breakfast Pizza, or Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Frittata.

Side view of a slice of tortilla baked eggs with a bite taken out

How to Make Tortilla Baked Eggs – Step by Step Photos

Oil being brushed inside a round dish

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Brush about 1/2 Tbsp olive oil on the inside of a round, 7-inch diameter oven safe dish.

Tortilla pressed into the round dish

Press an 8-inch flour tortilla down into the dish so that the edges of the tortilla are folded up the sides of the dish.

chopped spinach placed inside the tortilla

Roughly chop one cup fresh spinach and place it inside the tortilla.

Eggs added on top of the spinach in the tortilla

Crack four large eggs onto the spinach and season with a small pinch of salt and pepper.

Eggs topped with tomatoes and cheese

Top with a handful of grape tomatoes (sliced in half) and a little shredded cheddar (about ¼ cup).

Finished Tortilla Baked Eggs in the dish

Bake the egg-filled tortilla in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still jammy. You can shake the dish to see if the whites still jiggle or if they are set. Baking time may vary depending on the size of your tortilla and the number of eggs used. I also finished off my eggs with a pinch of crushed red pepper, but that’s optional!

Whole tortilla baked eggs on a plate with fork on the side

Slide the tortilla out of the dish and onto a plate or cutting board. Slice into four pieces, then serve!

The post Tortilla Baked Eggs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens

It’s said that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings you good luck. Now, I’m not usually superstitious, but after a year like 2020, I’m willing to try anything (just kidding, but I’m not). So let’s ring in good luck for the new year with this quick pot of black eyed peas and greens. Vegetarian and meat options included!

The post Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s said that eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings you good luck. Now, I’m not usually superstitious, but after a year like 2020, I’m willing to try anything (just kidding, but I’m not). I have an awesome recipe for slow simmered black eyed peas and greens that I made years ago, but it’s a long process that starts with dry peas. So I wanted to make a “quickie” version, using canned black eyed peas, that’s a little faster and easier for times when you haven’t planned ahead.

Overhead view of a pot of black eyed peas and greens on a wooden surface

How to Serve Black Eyed Peas and Greens

There are two basic ways that I like to serve a bit pot of beans or peas like this. Either in a bowl with rice, or in a bowl with a big chunk of crusty bread for dipping. Having some sort of starch to kind of balance the meal out makes it super satisfying and filling.

A little dash of hot sauce on top of your bowl or even a dollop of sour cream on top is also pretty awesome. ;)

Can I Use Dry Peas?

This recipe is specifically made for canned peas, which are already cooked. If you’d like to make something similar using dry peas, follow my recipe for Slow Simmered Black Eyed Peas and Greens.

Can I Add Meat?

The recipe below is vegetarian (vegan, actually), but it’s super easy to add meat to this meal. You have three easy options to keep this a “quick” meal: bacon, ham, or smoked sausage. Whichever one you decide to use, just sauté the meat in the pot before beginning with the onion and garlic in step one below.

Can I Freeze Black Eyed Peas?

Yes! This recipe is great for stocking your freezer. Just divide it into single portions, cool it in the fridge first, then once cool transfer it to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months or so). Any freezer-safe container will do. To reheat, either use a microwave or heat in a sauce pot over medium-low, stirring often, until heated through.

Side view of a bowl of black eyed peas with greens and rice
Side view of a ladle lifting some black eyed peas and greens from the pot

Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens

Ring in good luck for the new year with this quick pot of black eyed peas and greens. Vegetarian and meat options included!
Total Cost $4.43 recipe / $1.11 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 330.33kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 3 15oz. cans black eyed peas $2.37
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.85

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add both to a large soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Drain the canned black eyed peas, then add them to the pot along with the oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium high, and bring the pot up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the peas to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After the peas have simmered for about 15 minutes, use the back of a spoon to smash some of the peas against the side of the pot to thicken the broth (or use an immersion blender to blend a small portion of the peas).
  • Add the fresh spinach to the pot and stir until it has wilted into the peas. Give the peas a taste and adjust the salt or seasoning to your liking. Serve hot with bread or rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 330.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.3g | Protein: 19.88g | Fat: 7.18g | Sodium: 1414.65mg | Fiber: 14.68g
Close up of a ladle full of black eyed peas and greens with the pot in the background

How to Make Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens – Step by Step Photos

Onions and garlic in soup pot

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

Beans, seasoning, and broth added to the soup pot

Drain three 15oz. cans of black eyed peas and add them to the pot along with ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and 2 cups of vegetable broth.

Black eyed peas before simmering

Stir the peas, broth, and seasoning together. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Simmered black eyed peas in the pot with a spoon

After simmering, the peas will have swelled even a little bit more and they will be even more soft. Use a large spoon to smash some of the peas against the side of the pot, or use an immersion blender to purée a small amount of the peas.

Thickened peas in the pot

Smashing some of the peas makes the broth thick and creamy.

Spinach wilted into the peas in the pot

Add 4 oz. fresh spinach (½ of an 8oz. bag) and stir until it has wilted into the peas. Give the peas a taste and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking.

Overhead view of a bowl of black eyed peas and greens with rice in the center

Serve with crusty bread or rice and enjoy your good luck in the new year! :)

The post Quickie Black Eyed Peas and Greens appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Balsamic roasted mushrooms are an easy side dish or appetizer, soaked in garlic, herbs, and tangy balsamic vinegar for maximum flavor.

The post Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I first made these Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms as part of a bowl meal with Mashed potatoes and kale, but they really are so amazing that they deserve a post of their own. Whether you’re eating these as a side dish with your dinner or just digging in with a toothpick as an appetizer, they’re so good that you’ll want to make them for every occasion.

Overhead view of balsamic roasted mushrooms in a white bowl, garnished with parsley

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I suggest using either white button mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms for this recipe (I’ve made this with both and they’re equally incredible). While it may work with other mushroom varieties, the cooking time may change depending on the size and moisture content of the mushrooms, and unfortunately, I haven’t tested other varieties to know for sure.

What to Serve with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

As I mentioned in the introduction, these tasty little mushrooms make a great side dish, part of a bowl meal, or even an appetizer. They’re so good you will just want to eat them straight out of the bowl with a fork (or toothpick)! Originally I paired them with some kale mashed potatoes as a vegetarian bowl meal, but they’d also go great with Garlic Marinated Chicken, Honey Mustard Pork Chops, or Herb Roasted Pork Loin.

What Kind of Roasting Dish Should I Use?

I find that a ceramic or glass works best for this recipe because they transmit heat a little more slowly and evenly. Something like a thin metal baking dish may result in too much evaporation and cause the mushrooms to dry out while roasting.

Side view of balsamic roasted vegetables in a bowl
Overhead view of balsamic roasted mushrooms in a white bowl

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Balsamic roasted mushrooms are an easy side dish or appetizer, soaked in garlic, herbs, and tangy balsamic vinegar for maximum flavor.
Total Cost $4.24 recipe / $1.06 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 77.5kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. mushrooms* $3.38
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.41
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Clean any dirt or debris from the mushrooms, then slice any large mushrooms in half (you can leave them whole if they are small).
  • Mince the garlic. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, thyme, and pepper.
  • Place the mushrooms in a ceramic or glass baking dish (choose a size that keeps the mushrooms close together, mostly in a single layer). Pour the marinade over top and stir to coat the mushrooms.
  • Roast the mushrooms for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The mushrooms should release liquid as they roast, leaving liquid in the bottom of the dish until the last 15 minutes or so. If the dish dries up before the final 15 minutes, cover the dish with foil to prevent furhter evaporation or burning.
  • After 45 minutes of roasting, give them a final stir and then serve. (I garnished with chopped parsley for color, but this is not necessary for flavor.)

Notes

*White button or baby bella mushrooms

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 77.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.85g | Protein: 2.85g | Fat: 3.93g | Sodium: 293.93mg | Fiber: 1.55g
Close up view of a balsamic roasted mushroom on a fork with the bowl in the background

Love Balsamic Vinegar? Try these other recipes featuring balsamic vinegar:

How to Make Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos

Sliced Mushrooms in a baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Clean 1 lb. of mushrooms and slice any larger mushrooms in half (the mushrooms I had today were all very large, so some I even cut into quarters). Place the mushrooms in a baking dish. Choose a size that will allow the mushrooms to be close together, but mostly in a single layer.

Balsamic mushroom marinade in a bowl

Mince two cloves of garlic and combine them in a bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, ½ Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, ¼ tsp dried thyme, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Marinade being poured over the mushrooms in the dish.

Pour the marinade over the mushrooms in the dish and give them a good stir.

Seasoned mushrooms in the dish before roasting

The mushrooms will absorb most of the marinade, leaving just a little in the bottom of the dish, but as the mushrooms roast they will release a lot of moisture. (The photo above is before roasting)

Mushrooms after 30 minutes of roasting

Roast the mushrooms in the preheated 400ºF oven, stirring every 15 minutes. The photo above is after 30 minutes of roasting. There should be a decent amount of liquid in the bottom of the dish at this point. If it is already dry, cover the dish with foil to prevent further evaporation and burning.

Mushrooms after 45 minutes of roasting

After 45 minutes of roasting, most of the liquid on the bottom of the dish will have evaporated.

Stirred roasted mushrooms in the dish

Give the mushrooms a stir to kind of distribute the reduced marinade over the surface of the mushrooms. And that’s it! They’re ready to serve!

Overhead view of balsamic roasted mushrooms in a bowl garnished with chopped parsley

I garnished it with chopped parsley just for some color, but this isn’t needed to flavor the mushrooms. Enjoy!

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Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin

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

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

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

Pork Loin vs. Pork Tenderloin

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

About that Brown Sugar Rub…

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

The Key to Good Pork Loin

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

How Long to Cook Pork Loin

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

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

What to Serve with Roasted Pork Loin

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

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

Brown Sugar Roasted Pork Loin

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Nutrition

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

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

Brown sugar rub ingredients in a bowl

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

Mixed brown sugar rub in a bowl

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

Pork loin in the package

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

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

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

Roasted pork loin with a meat thermometer in it

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

Sliced brown sugar roasted pork loin on a cutting board

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

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

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