If you are craving comfort food, you’ve come to the right place. This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food. Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is a rustic casserole made with a mixture of ground meat and vegetables topped…
If you are craving comfort food, you’ve come to the right place. This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food. Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is a rustic casserole made with a mixture of ground meat and vegetables topped with pillowy mashed potatoes and baked in the oven. Well, this vegetarian version has all of the…
Friends, today we have an easy, delicious, plant-based soup to share with you! Adapted from our fan-favorite Curried Potato & Lentil Soup, it keeps all the bold curry flavor but has a creamy twist and is made in the Instant Pot, making it even quic…
Friends, today we have an easy, delicious, plant-based soup to share with you! Adapted from our fan-favorite Curried Potato & Lentil Soup, it keeps all the bold curry flavor but has a creamy twist and is made in the Instant Pot, making it even quicker and easier!
Rich in fiber, protein, iron (and more!), it’s a nourishing, plant-based meal to fuel you all winter and beyond!
Do you remember the cabbage soup diet? It was one of those crazy fad diets where you were supposed to eat as much as you want of just one thing (in this case cabbage soup) and you’d supposedly lose weight without trying. While I’m not a fan of that type of diet, I am a big fan of the cabbage soup that the diet was centered around. Why? For one simple reason—it’s absolutely DELICIOUS. Yeah, I was surprised too. The first time I had the famed diet cabbage soup I expected it to be boring and bland, but I was pleasantly surprised by how extremely flavorful and comforting the soup was. I actually ended up eating it over and over again just because I wanted to. And it became a winter comfort food staple for me ever since. 😅
Originally published 1/15/2018, updated 1/8/2022.
Is Cabbage Soup Healthy?
I’m not going to tell you this cabbage soup will “detox” you or make you lose weight, but this soup is chock-full of a lot of the one thing that almost all of us are guilty of not getting enough of—vegetables.
I’m nicknamed this soup All You Can Eat Cabbage Soup as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the old fad diet, but seriously, eat as much as you want. The more the better, really. You’ll just be getting more of the good stuff. And guess what? This cabbage soup is insanely inexpensive, too! So even more reason to feel free to eat as much as you want!
What’s in Cabbage Soup?
The classic “cabbage soup diet” cabbage soup has taken many forms over the years, but they all have one thing in common—they’re stuffed full of non-starchy vegetables swimming in a flavorful herb-filled broth. I like my broth a bit more tomatoey, so I added some tomato sauce to thicken it up. Some people use V8 instead, but tomato sauce is much less expensive, especially when only a small amount is needed. I also added a bit of smoked paprika (because that’s my fav), and a splash of lemon juice at the end to brighten it up.
How to Store Leftovers
This recipe does make a really large batch, so it’s a good idea to freeze about half of it, just in case you can’t eat all of it within about five days. To freeze this soup, divide it into single-serving portions, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer for longer storage. Keep in the freezer for up to three months.
Add More Protien
Soup recipes in general are very flexible, so you could always add a little extra protein to this soup to make it more filling. Here are some other great ingredients you can add:
Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots, chop the celery, and dice the bell pepper. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté as you measure the rest of the ingredients.
Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, frozen green beans, chopped parsley, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook while you chop the cabbage.
Chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Add the cabbage to the pot along with the vegetable broth and stir to combine.
Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.
Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with ½ tsp and adding more to your liking. Finish the soup by adding the lemon juice and stirring to combine. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.
Start by mincing four cloves of garlic and dicing one large onion. Add them both to a large soup pot with one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice 4 carrots, slice 4 stalks of celery, and dice one green bell pepper. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté over medium.
Add one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced), one 8oz. can tomato sauce, ½ lb. frozen green beans, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp thyme, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir to combine.
Chop 1/2 head of cabbage into one-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups once chopped). Add the chopped cabbage to the pot along with 6 cups of vegetable broth.
Stir everything together, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.
Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, then adding more to taste (I used 1 tsp total). Next, add one tablespoon of lemon juice, which really helps brighten the flavors.
And then slurp down all that vegetable-y goodness! I garnished with a little more fresh parsley, but it’s not needed for extra flavor.
This soup goes great with some crusty bread (garlic or not) to soak up that delicious broth!
It’s soup season and I am HERE for it! I love cozying up to a big bowl of piping hot soup! Today, I am sharing my Cabbage Soup recipe and I think you are going to LOVE it! I know, I know, cabbage soup doesn’t sound that exciting, BUT this i…
It’s soup season and I am HERE for it! I love cozying up to a big bowl of piping hot soup! Today, I am sharing my Cabbage Soup recipe and I think you are going to LOVE it! I know, I know, cabbage soup doesn’t sound that exciting, BUT this is one of my favorite…
I grew up eating this Baked Barley with Mushrooms and I always looked forward to it on chilly winter nights. It’s a simple dish made with pearled barley cooked in a flavorful mix of vegetable broth, butter, and mushrooms for an extra umami kick. Plus, it cooks mostly in the oven, leaving your hands and attention available to tend to other things. It’s a nice alternative to plain rice for meals like pot roast, brisket, baked pork chops, or any roasted or braised meat. Those hearty little grains are perfect for soaking up every last drop of your pan drippings!
Originally posted 9/3/2013, updated 12/15/2021.
What Kind of Baking Dish to Use
You’ll need some sort of baking dish with a tight-fitting lid, like a Dutch oven, because if the steam from the broth is not held inside as it bakes, the barley will not cook through. I used an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that was probably a little too big for the scale of this recipe, but it still turned out great. The recipe makes about four cups, so something in the 2-3 quart size range is probably ideal. Glass, ceramic, or cast iron will all work as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.
If your baking dish is not safe for use on the stovetop, simply use a skillet for the first couple of steps (sautéing the mushrooms), then transfer to the baking dish when adding the barley and broth.
What is Pearled Barley?
It’s very important that you use pearled barley for this recipe. Pearled barley is whole barley grains that have had the outer husk removed and are then are polished to remove some or all of the outer bran. The resulting grain is tender and chewy once cooked, and doesn’t take quite as long to cook as hulled barley. You can usually find pearled barley near the dry rice and beans in the grocery store, or near other specialty grains.
I used the Bob’s Redmill brand, which is slightly less polished than other brands that I’ve used and it resulted in a slightly more firm grain.
Add More Vegetables
This recipe is pretty flexible and you can experiment with adding more hearty vegetables, like carrot, celery, onion, turnip, or rutabega. I suggest dicing the vegetables and sautéing them briefly with the mushrooms before adding the remaining ingredients.
How to Make Baked Barley with Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 8oz. sliced mushrooms to a pot. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.
This is what the pearled barley looks like. As mentioned above, this is Bob’s Redmill brand, which appears to be less polished than other generic brands I’ve used in the past. Pearled barley often looks very white, so this barley still has a considerable amount of bran left intact. Because of that, the grains were a little more firm this time around. Either way, it still tasted great!
Add one cup pearled barley, ½ tsp dried thyme, a little freshly cracked black pepper (⅛ tsp), and 2 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Stir briefly to combine.
Place a lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Bake the barley in the 350ºF oven for one hour.
After baking it will look like this–the mushrooms will have risen to the top, fully covering the barley.
Give the barley a good stir. Taste the barley and add salt or pepper if desired.
If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, then you know how much I love lentils. They’re cheap, easy to cook, and are a blank slate for flavor. This week I decided to take one of my favorite spice combos and add it to some lentils. Warm cumin, garlic, and ginger pair with the subtle sweetness of ginger, cinnamon, and carrots to create a complex flavor that is simply out of this world. Spoon these saucy spiced lentils over something starchy like polenta, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes and you’ll be in lentil heaven.
Spiced but not Spicy
These lentils are seasoned with a slew of warm, sweet, and savory spices, but they are not hot or spicy. I did add a ¼ tsp crushed red pepper to the mix which gives the back end just a slight kick, but I still wouldn’t consider it spicy by any means. If you do happen to be sensitive to spicy flavors, you can reduce or eliminate the crushed red pepper.
What Kind of Lentils to Use
This recipe is designed for brown or green lentils (not French green lentils, which take much longer to cook). This type of lentil cooks in about 20-30 minutes of simmering, does not require soaking, and they hold their shape when softened. I do not recommend red, orange, or yellow lentils for this recipe because they break down quickly when cooked and will leave you with something more like a mush or porridge.
How to Serve Spiced Lentils
You can serve these lentils in a bowl on their own with some crusty bread for dipping, or spoon them over just about any type of starch. I served mine over a cornmeal mush (like polenta or grits), but you could also serve them over rice, mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes, farro, or any other grain that you might like.
Meal Prep It!
I think these spiced lentils would make a fabulous vegetarian or vegan meal prep. They’ll keep well in the fridge for four to five days and should reheat quickly in the microwave. They’ll also freeze well, so you can stock a few extra portions in your freezer!
Spiced Lentils with Carrots
These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.
How to Make Spiced Lentils with Carrots – Step by Step Photos
Dice one yellow onion, mince four cloves of garlic, grate about one teaspoon fresh ginger, and peel and dice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the chopped carrots to the skillet along with 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
Add one cup uncooked brown lentils, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, and 3 cups vegetable broth to the skillet.
Also, add ¼ cup chopped dried apricots or raisins to the skillet. If using dried apricots, chop them to about the same size as raisins.
Stir everything together until the tomato paste is mixed into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils continue to simmer, with the lid in place, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be tender. Give them a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any, but depending on the salt content of your broth, you may need a bit to make the flavors pop.
Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
I’m all about keeping side dishes really easy, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to plain white rice. Adding a ton of flavor to rice is really simple and can take your meal to the next level. This simple mushroom rice combines earthy mushrooms, savory garlic, rich butter, and flavorful vegetable broth for a simple yet flavorful side dish. So if you find yourself buying boxed flavored rice mixes, you’ve got to try it from scratch at least once. I promise it’s just as easy! :)
What Kind of Mushrooms to Use
You can use just about any type of mushrooms for this rice, which means you can be flexible based on your budget. I used baby Bella mushrooms today because I was able to get them for a good price and they produce a nice deep brown color when sautéed.
What Type of Rice to Use
You can use any type of long-grain white rice. Plain white rice is great, but if you happen to have something a little more aromatic like basmati or jasmine rice, that would be even more next level. You could even turn this into a risotto by using short-grain rice, like arborio rice, but you might need more broth and you’ll need to add it incrementally while stirring.
What Type of Broth to Use
This mushroom rice will only be as flavorful as the broth you use, so make sure to use a quality broth with vibrant flavors. I used vegetable broth, but you could double down on the mushroom flavor and use a mushroom broth, if you prefer. You can use chicken broth or beef broth, if that’s what you have, just keeping in mind that it will change the flavor and potentially the color of the finished dish.
What Else Can I Add?
I like to keep recipes super simple and basic, then offer more add-in ideas for those who want a little more. Here are some other ingredients that you could add to this mushroom rice to make it a little extra special:
Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, pepper, salt, and 1 Tbsp butter to a deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and the water has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet.
Add the rice and 2 Tbsp butter to the skillet and continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
Add the vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, so the broth remains simmering.
Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes without stirring or removing the lid. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and let the rice rest for another 5 minutes, without removing the lid.
Finally, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and add salt or pepper, if desired. Top with chopped fresh parsley as a garnish.
Slice 8oz. of mushrooms and mince two cloves of garlic.
Add the mushrooms and garlic to a deep skillet along with ¼ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, ⅛ tsp salt, and one tablespoon of butter.
Sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their water and the water has evaporated off the bottom of the pan.
Add one cup long-grain white rice and 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Sauté the rice in the butter for about two minutes more.
Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth to the pan. Stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
Place a lid on the pan, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth come up to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, or just above low, so the rice remains simmering. Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes, with the lid in place and without stirring. After 15 minutes, remove it from the heat and let it rest (again without stirring and without removing the lid) for an additional 5 minutes.
Once the rice is cooked and has rested off the heat for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired.
Top with chopped fresh parsley to garnish, if desired!
Huge Thanksgiving dinners with tons of family and loved ones are awesome, but not everyone has the option to travel or the family to get together with. If for one reason or another you find yourself alone or celebrating Thanksgiving with just one other person, you can still enjoy a classic Thanksgiving dinner on a smaller scale. I’ve crafted this smaller-sized meal that can be prepared in about two hours, so you can enjoy all those delicious thanksgiving recipes without a huge production. :)
What’s Included in This Thanksgiving Dinner for Two
This smaller Thanksgiving dinner menu includes the following scaled-down classic Thanksgiving recipes:
Roasted Turkey Breast and Stuffing
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Green Bean “Casserole” (stove top version)
Mushroom Herb Gravy
Each recipe makes about 2-4 servings, so you’ll still have a few leftovers, but not as much as if you had cooked regular-sized Thanksgiving dinner (we’re all about reducing food waste here at Budget Bytes).
Three recipes will be prepared in the oven (at the same time and same temperature) and three will be prepared on the stove top while the other recipes are doing their thing in the oven.
I was able to make this meal in about two hours. The turkey and stuffing takes approximately 1.5 hours to roast, and I was able to prepare the rest of the sides while they were in the oven. I’m probably a bit faster than the average home cook and very well accustomed to multi-tasking in the kitchen, but I also paused to take all of my photographs in that time, so I think 2-3 hours is reasonable for most people. Beginners may wan to allow for extra time.
NOTE: The most important part of being able to prepare this meal in a decent amount of time is to read through the plan thoroughly before beginning. You need to understand how to execute each recipe and in which order before you begin so you don’t get lost. Making a Thanksgiving dinner, any Thanksgiving dinner, takes coordination and multi-tasking skills.
What You Need
For this entire meal you’ll need the following equipment:
8×8″ casserole dish
Large baking sheet (about 16″x13″)
Medium saucepot (2.5 qt.)
3 qt. covered sauté pan or pot
Measuring cups and spoons
In addition to the equipment listed above, you’ll need the following ingredients:
2.5 lbs. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
½ lb. Brussels sprouts
¾ lb. sweet potato
1 lb. russet potato
8 oz. mushrooms
12 oz. frozen cut green beans
2 cloves garlic
1 6oz. box stuffing mix
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 ½ Tbsps all-purpose flour
½ cup French fried onions (packaged)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 ¼ cup milk
11 Tbsp butter
1 ¼ tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 ⅛ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
Salt, pepper, and olive oil
How to Make Thanksgiving for Two – Step by Step Instructions
Okay, let’s get into it! I have the process divided into steps below. Each recipe is its own step so you can skip recipes you don’t like or even scale up recipes that you may want more of. You’ll be cooking most of these simultaneously, but they are listed in order of execution. Keep in mind that the cooking times will overlap. Make sure to read through the instructions thoroughly before beginning. Understanding the process for each recipe and the sequence is critical to executing a Thanksgiving dinner!
NOTE: Before beginning, adjust the racks in your oven so the top rack is slightly above the middle position and the lower rack is just below the middle position (not on the lowest position). The bottom rack only needs enough vertical room for a sheet pan, while the top rack needs enough height for the casserole dish and turkey breast.
1. Turkey and Stuffing
This turkey turns out so incredibly juicy and so so much easier than roasting a whole bird. The stuffing absorbs the juices and fat from the turkey as it roasts, making it even more flavorful!
The turkey and stuffing take the longest to cook (about 1.5 hours), so you’ll want to begin this first. The rest of the sides can be prepared while the turkey and stuffing are in the oven.
Roasted Turkey Breast with Stuffing
Herb roasted turkey breast and stuffing cook together for one easy and flavorful main dish in this Thanksgiving for two.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the box of stuffing mix to a bowl, then pour in 1.5 cups warm water. Stir and let the stuffing sit to absorb the water as you prepare the turkey.
Combine the room temperature butter, sage, rosemary, thyme, and salt in a small bowl.
Pat the turkey breast dry, then spread the herb butter mixture all over the surface.
Transfer the stuffing to the bottom of an 8×8-inch casserole dish and place the turkey breast on top. The turkey should cover nearly all of the stuffing. If there is a lot of stuffing exposed, use foil to cover the stuffing mix to prevent it from browning too much during the hour and a half in the oven.
Transfer the turkey and stuffing to the oven (upper rack) and roast for about 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey breast reaches 165ºF.
After roasting, let the turkey and stuffing rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. The stuffing under the turkey will have absorbed quite a bit of moisture from the turkey, while the stuffing on the edges will be quite crunchy. Simply stir the stuffing together and let it sit for about five minutes to rehydrate the drier pieces before serving.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the contents of one 6oz. box of stuffing mix in a bowl and add 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to combine, then set it aside to soak as you prepare the turkey.
Combine 4 Tbsp room temperature butter with 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1 tsp dried thyme, and ¾ tsp salt. Pat a 2.5 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast dry, then smear the herb butter over the surface (if the turkey breast is wet, the butter won’t stick, so dry it well).
Place the hydrated stuffing mix in the bottom of an 8×8-inch casserole dish and place the turkey breast on top. The turkey should cover most of the stuffing. If there are any large portions of stuffing exposed, you may want to cover the exposed portions with foil to prevent them from browning too much as the dish is in the oven. Do not cover the turkey with foil.
Roast the turkey and stuffing in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165ºF. Let the turkey rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
The stuffing under the turkey will have absorbed a lot of moisture from the turkey as it roasts while the stuffing on the outer edges will be quite crunchy. Simply stir the stuffing together and let it sit for about five minutes for the moisture levels to equalize.
Once the turkey and stuffing are in the oven, move on to recipe #2, Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
2. Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
While the turkey and stuffing are roasting, begin the candied sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. These will cook together on one sheet pan in the oven at the same time as the turkey and stuffing. The sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts take about 40 minutes to cook, so you can prepare them on the sheet pan and then wait to put them into the oven until the turkey has about 40 minutes to go.
These candied sweet potatoes were so delicious it was all I could do to keep from eating them ALL myself. :o
Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Candied sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts cook together on one sheet pan for a 2-in-1 easy Thanksgiving side dish.
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick rounds. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl.
Melt the butter and then stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour the sweet butter over the sliced sweet potatoes and stir to combine.
Cut off any dry ends from the Brussels sprouts, then slice them in half. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then toss to coat.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then lay the butter-coated sweet potatoes out over half of the baking sheet. Try to get as much of the butter mixture out of the bowl onto the sweet potatoes as possible. Spread the Brussels sprouts over the other half of the baking sheet.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven, placing it on the rack below the turkey. Roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender, flipping once halfway through.
Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Step by Step Photos
Peel and slice one ¾ lb. sweet potato into ½-inch thick rounds. Melt 1.5 Tbsp butter, then stir in 1 Tbsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp ground cloves, and ⅛ tsp salt. Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes and stir until they’re coated.
Cut off the dry stem end of ½ lb. Brussels sprouts, then slice them in half. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and ⅛ tsp each of salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Place the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined sweet pan. Make sure to get as much of that butter mixture from the bowl onto the sweet potatoes.
The vegetables only take about 40 minutes to roast, so you may want to leave them prepped on the sheet pan until the last 40 minutes or so of the turkey’s baking time so they’re not done too early. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven (lower rack) and roast the vegetables for about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender, flipping them once halfway through.
Once the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are on the sheet pan and prepared to go into the oven, you can move on to preparing the next recipe, mashed potatoes. When the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are in the oven you can prepare the last two recipes, green bean “casserole” and mushroom herb gravy.
3. Mashed Potatoes
You can prepare the mashed potatoes while you’re waiting to put the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts in the oven. They’re pretty quick to prepare, then they can sit on the stovetop with a lid on to stay warm while you finish the rest of the side dishes.
This recipe is also pretty flexible, so if there are other ingredients that you like to add to your mashed potatoes, like sour cream, cheese, or herbs, feel free to stir them in at the end!
Small-Batch Mashed Potatoes
This smaller batch of mashed potatoes is perfect for a Thanksgiving for Two or any quick weeknight dinner when you don't want leftovers.
Total Cost $1.25 recipe / $0.42 serving
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 15minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 3¾ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
Peel the potato then dice into ½-inch cubes. Rinse the diced potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove excess starch.
Place the cubed potatoes in a medium pot and cover with one inch of water. Add ½ tsp salt. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until very tender.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and then give them another brief rinse.
Add the butter, milk, garlic powder, and pepper to the pot used to boil the potatoes. Heat over low until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Return the drained potatoes to the pot and mash. Taste the mashed potatoes and add salt, if needed (I added ¼ tsp).
Place a lid on the pot then move it to a back burner (not turned on) to stay warm while you prepare the rest of the sides.
Peel and dice a one pound russet potato into ½-inch pieces. Rinse the pieces briefly in a colander to remove excess starch. Place the cubed potato in a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the water. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until very tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and give them another brief rinse.
Add 2 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup milk, and ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp pepper to the pot used to boil the potatoes. Heat the milk and butter mixture over low until the milk is hot and butter is mostly melted. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot.
Mash the potatoes until mostly smooth. Taste and add salt if needed (I added ¼ tsp). Place a lid on the pot and move the pot full of potatoes to an unused burner (heat turned off) to stay warm until the rest of the meal is finished.
4. Green Bean “Casserole”
Once your potatoes are mashed and are resting on the back of the stove, begin the green bean “casserole”. This is essentially a quick stovetop version of the classic baked casserole. Tender green beans coated in a creamy mushroom sauce and topped with French fried onions. You can bake this in the oven after assembly if you prefer, but I was aiming for speed and simplicity with this recipe, so I skipped the baking step.
Stove Top Green Bean “Casserole”
A quick stove top version of the classic baked green bean casserole. Tender green beans with a creamy mushroom sauce and French fried onions.
Total Cost $2.99 recipe / $1.00 serving
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 25minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 3¾ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
3 qt. Covered Sauté Pan
12oz.frozen cut green beans$1.00
Add the frozen green beans to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, then bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the green beans for about 5 minutes, or until tender, then drain in a colander.
While the green beans are boiling, slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, and butter to the pot used to boil the green beans. Sauté over medium heat. Once the mushrooms have released all their water and all of it has evaporated off the bottom of the pot, add the flour and continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
Whisk in the milk, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Make sure to whisk until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the pot. Allow the milk mixture to return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, it will thicken into a sauce.
Return the drained green beans to the pot with the sauce and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and allow the green beans to remain heating over low, stirring occasionally, as you make the final recipe (mushroom herb gravy). The sauce will continue to thicken as it heats over low.
When you're ready to serve the green beans, transfer them to a bowl and top with the fried onions.
Stove Top Green Bean Casserole Step by Step Photos
Add 12oz. frozen green beans to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a boil. Boil the green beans until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the green beans in a colander.
While the beans are boiling, slice 4oz. mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and 2 Tbsp butter to the pot that was used to boil the beans (after draining them). Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and it has completely evaporated off the bottom of the pot.
Once there is no more water pooling on the bottom of the pot, add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about a minute more.
Whisk in one cup milk, one cup vegetable broth, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Make sure to keep whisking until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the pot.
Allow the liquid to return to a boil, stirring occasionally, at which point it will thicken to a sauce.
Stir the drained green beans back into the sauce. Turn the heat down to low and let the green beans heat over low, stirring occasionally, as you make the final recipe (mushroom herb gravy). When ready to serve, top with ½ cup fried onions.
5. Mushroom Herb Gravy
This mushroom herb gravy only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s best to make it last just before you serve your Thanksgiving dinner. Gravies tend to gel up even more as they cool, so if you find your gravy becoming too thick after it begins to cool, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of warm water to loosen it back up.
Mushroom Herb Gravy
This small batch of mushroom herb gravy takes minutes to prepare and is full of delicious savory flavor!
Total Cost $1.23 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Total Time 15minutes
Servings 3½ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
1/8tspdried thyme (or one sprig fresh)$0.03
Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and butter to a small skillet and sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and the water has completely evaporated off the bottom of the skillet.
When there is no more water pooling on the bottom of the skillet, add the flour and continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
Add the vegetable broth and whisk well until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Also add the sage, thyme, and pepper. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally, at which point it will thicken to a gravy.
Taste the gravy and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.
If the gravy becomes too thick as it cools down, simply whisk a tablespoon of water into the gravy until smooth to loosen it up.
The gravy starts out the same as the green bean casserole. Slice 4oz. mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic. Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in 1.5 Tbsp butter over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and it has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet. Once no more water is left on the bottom of the skillet, add 1.5 Tbsp flour and continue to stir and cook for about a minute more.
Whisk in 1 cup vegetable broth. Make sure to keep whisking until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Also add ¼ tsp rubbed sage, ⅛ tsp dried thyme, and ⅛ tsp pepper.
Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to simmer it will thicken into a gravy. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.
And there you have it! By the time you’re finished making the gravy, the rest of the dishes should be done and waiting to be served. This meal should provide two people with generous helpings, plus a little leftover for the next day. ;) If you make this meal make sure to take a photo and tag us on social media! I want to see your masterpiece!
I love a salad that is full of goodies and this Sweet Potato Lentil Salad has all of my favorites in one big bowl! This hearty and healthy salad is made with roasted sweet potatoes, lentils, kale, red onion, feta cheese, and dried cranberries. The sala…
I love a salad that is full of goodies and this Sweet Potato Lentil Salad has all of my favorites in one big bowl! This hearty and healthy salad is made with roasted sweet potatoes, lentils, kale, red onion, feta cheese, and dried cranberries. The salad gets tossed in a simple balsamic maple mustard dressing…
Last Thanksgiving I made the most amazing Wild Rice Pilaf that I then stuffed inside roasted acorn squash as a sort of vegetarian main dish recipe idea. It was beautiful and delicious, but I can’t lie, I kind of just wanted to devour that wild rice pilaf by itself! It was so tasty on its own, had so much color, so much texture, that I knew I had to post it as a stand-alone recipe. This pilaf is really delicious and I know I’m going to be making it on repeat every fall and winter from here on out!
What’s in Wild Rice Pilaf
This delicious pilaf starts with rice cooked in vegetable broth for extra flavor. While the rice cooks, aromatics like onion, celery, and apples are sautéed in butter until tender. Next comes the cozy mix of seasonings including sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Once the cooked rice is combined with the aromatics and herbs, it’s finished off with a little extra flavor and texture from walnuts, dried cranberries, and parsley. So much fall flavor in every bite!
What is “Wild Rice Blend”?
I used a bagged “wild rice blend” as the base for this recipe. It’s a colorful blend of different varieties of rice, including wild rice. I used Lundberg brand, which you can find in many major grocery stores, but I was also pleasantly surprised to see ALDI had its own version this year (check the step by step photos below the recipe to see a photo). You can use any brand rice blend for this recipe, just follow the cooking instructions on the package and replace the water with vegetable broth.
This wild rice pilaf is full of color, texture, and fall flavors. It's the perfect side dish for dinner during the cooler months.
Total Cost $2.73 recipe / $0.68 serving
Prep Time 15minutes
Cook Time 45minutes
Total Time 1hour
Servings 41 cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
1/2cupwild rice blend*$0.07
1/4tspfreshly cracked black pepper$0.02
Add the wild rice blend and vegetable broth to a saucepot. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to medium-high. Allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or for the amount of time directed on the package.*
While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the pilaf. Dice the onion, celery, and apple.
Add the onion to a large skillet with the butter and sauté over medium heat until softened.
Add the apples, celery, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper to the skillet with the onions and continue to sauté for about five minutes more, or just until the apples and celery begin to soften (they should still have some bite).
When the rice has finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the apples, celery, and onion. Also add the chopped walnuts, cranberries, and chopped parsley. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
Taste the pilaf and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking. Serve hot.
* You can use any brand wild rice blend. Cook according to the package directions, substituting vegetable broth for the water recommended in the instructions. Cooking time may vary depending on the brand.
I used the Lundberg wild rice blend on the left since I actually still had some leftover from last year, but I bought some of the ALDI wild rice blend on the right just to show you another option. Whatever brand you use, make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the back but substitute vegetable broth for the water it recommends. Cooking time can vary depending on the brand.
Add ½ cup of the wild rice blend to a small sauce pot with 1 cup vegetable broth. Place a lid on the pot and heat over medium-high. Allow it to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 45 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the pilaf. Dice one yellow onion, 3 ribs of celery, and one apple.
Add the diced onion to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Add the chopped apples and celery to the skillet along with ½ tsp dried sage, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Continue to sauté over medium until the apples and celery just begin to soften.
When the rice has finished cooking, add it to the skillet along with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup dried cranberries, and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.
Fold the ingredients together until everything is combined. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve hot!