Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. 😉  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well […]

The post Lemon Pepper Zucchini appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. ;)  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well with zucchini that you might find yourself forgetting about the rest of dinner and eating this Lemon Pepper Zucchini straight out of the bowl. 

Originally posted 6-6-2015, updated 1-23-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon pepper zucchini

What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?

Lemon pepper seasoning is a tangy and peppery combination of black pepper, citric acid, salt, and sometimes small amounts of other herbs or spices. Several major spice brands in the U.S. make lemon pepper seasoning (McCormick, Lawry’s, Badia, etc.) and it’s also usually available in generic store brands, so you should be able to find it at just about any grocery store. I’ve also seen several recipes for homemade lemon pepper seasoning across the internet, but I’m not sure how those compare to store-bought versions.

How to Get Browned Edges on Zucchini

Zucchini contains a LOT of water, so there are a couple of really important steps to making sure your zucchini gets those tasty browned edges that you see in the photographs. 

  1. Make sure your skillet is super hot. If it’s not hot enough the water coming out of the zucchini will not evaporate quickly and the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices instead of browning. This will also cause the zucchini to get super limp and floppy. The goal here is to get browning on the outside of the zucchini without them becoming soft and mushy. The longer zucchini cooks, the mushier it gets, so this is a super fast cooking technique.
  2. Cook the zucchini in batches. If the skillet is overcrowded, this also prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly and again, the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices.
  3. Serve the zucchini right away. The longer it sits after it cooks, the softer it will get because the residual heat will continue to steam the zucchini.

What to Serve with Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I originally made this zucchini as a side dish for my Spanish Chickpeas and Rice. The pair together make a really well-rounded vegan meal. This lemon pepper zucchini would also be great with Garlic Marinated Chicken, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Pesto Shrimp Pasta, One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice, or Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad.

Close up of a forkful of lemon pepper zucchini with the bowl in the background

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Lemon Pepper Zucchini

Bright and peppery, this Lemon Pepper Zucchini is a simple and flavorful side dish for any dinner! Great for that summer zucchini bumper crop!
Total Cost $1.63 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 56.08kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. zucchini $1.32
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16

Instructions

  • Cut the zucchini into halfrounds, about ¼-inch thick.
  • Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper seasonin over top. Stir to coat the zucchini with the seasoning.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add half of the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the seasoned zucchini and sauté (stir often) for about five mintues, or until the outside of the zucchini is well browned.
  • Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving plate, add the remaining olive oil and zucchini, and cook in the same manner. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 56.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 1.78g | Fat: 3.98g | Sodium: 356.88mg | Fiber: 1.48g

How to Make Lemon Pepper Zucchini – Step by Step Photos

sliced zucchini on a cutting board

Slice about 1.3 lbs. zucchini into half rounds, about ¼-inch thick.

bottle of lemon pepper seasoning with zucchini in the background

This is the lemon pepper seasoning I used, which is the generic ALDI brand.

lemon pepper being sprinkled over the zucchini

Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle ½ Tbsp of the lemon pepper seasoning over the zucchini. Stir until the zucchini is coated in lemon pepper.

Cooked zucchini in the skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once it’s really hot, add about ½ Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add half of the zucchini and sauté (stirring often) until it is browned on the outside. Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving dish and repeat with the second half of the oil and zucchini.

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture!

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Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER RECIPEWe’re big fans of cauliflower around here and our baked Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe is a dish we’re so excited to share! It’s a delicious recipe that results in little flavor packed bites! Not only is this rec…

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER RECIPE
We’re big fans of cauliflower around here and our baked Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe is a dish we’re so excited to share! It’s a delicious recipe that results in little flavor packed bites! Not only is this recipe vegetarian friendly, but it’s also baked and not fried, so…
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Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli

If you’re not a fan of broccoli, it might just be because you haven’t tried it roasted yet. Roasted broccoli is my go-to side dish for any dinner because it’s A) easy and B) insanely delicious.

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If you’re not a fan of broccoli, it might just be because you haven’t tried it roasted yet. Roasted broccoli is my go-to side dish for any dinner because it’s A) easy and B) insanely delicious. Like, so delicious that I could eat an entire pound by myself. And while I’ve had a tutorial about how to roast frozen broccoli for years, I realized, after getting a million questions about how I made the broccoli in my Comeback Sauce recipe photos, that I did not have a tutorial about how to roast fresh broccoli. The techniques are similar, but the results are very different. So let’s go!

roasted broccoli with comeback sauce in a red plastic basket with paper liner

Pictured with Comeback Sauce.

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?

Yes, you can roast frozen broccoli, although it does turn out differently. For full instructions, please see my recipe for Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli.

How to Get Crispy Roasted Broccoli

One of my favorite parts about oven roasted broccoli are the crispy edges. Here are some tips for getting the best crispy browned edges on your broccoli:

  • Make sure the broccoli is well coated in oil.
  • Space the broccoli out on the baking sheet. It should not be crowded, which can trap steam and prevent browning and crisping.
  • Avoid very large florets. The larger the florets the longer they will take to roast, and the less surface area is available for browning.
  • Roast directly on your sheet pan (no parchment lining) for even more browning.

How to Season Roasted Broccoli

The second thing I love about roasted broccoli are all the different ways you can season it. The sky is the limit here, which means I can eat it every day without ever feeling like I’m eating the same thing! Here are some of my favorite seasonings to add to roasted broccoli:

  • Steak seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Seasoning salt (like Lawry’s)
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon juice and zest (sprinkle on after roasting)
  • Simple salt & pepper! (especially when planning to dip the broccoli in a flavorful sauce)
a piece of oven roasted broccoli being dipped into a cup of comeback sauce
Overhead view of a basket full of oven roasted broccoli with dipping sauce

Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli

Make perfectly crispy and delicious oven roasted broccoli in just a few easy steps. This is the perfect easy side dish for any dinner.
Total Cost $3.34 recipe / $0.84 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 138.5kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. broccoli $2.98
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp salt* $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper* $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets.
  • Spread the florets out over a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (you can skip the parchment if you want extra browning). Drizzle the olive oil over top, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli until it is fully and evenly coated in oil.
  • Roast the broccoli for 20-25 minutes, or until it has achieved the level of browning you desire, stirring once after about 15 mintues of roasting. Total roasting time may vary depending on the size of your florets and the type of baking sheet used (darker surfaces brown faster).

Notes

*This is a basic roasted broccoli recipe seasoned simply with salt and pepper. For other seasoning ideas, check the list above the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 138.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.95g | Protein: 6.35g | Fat: 7.83g | Sodium: 281.9mg | Fiber: 5.85g
Oven roasted broccoli close up on the baking sheet

How to Make Oven Roasted Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and chop 2 lbs. broccoli into bite-sized florets.

Seasoned broccoli florets on a parchment lined baking sheet

Spread the florets out onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment (or no parchment for extra browning). Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over the broccoli, then add ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper. Toss the broccoli until it is evenly coated in oil.

roasted broccoli on the sheet pan

Roast the broccoli in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it has achieved your desired level of browning, stirring once after about 15 minutes. Roasting time will vary based on the size of the broccoli florets and the type of sheet pan used.

Overhead view of a basket full of oven roasted broccoli with dipping sauce

Enjoy your perfect oven roasted broccoli as a side with dinner or just as a snack with some good sauce for dipping! I suggest Comeback Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, or Ranch Dressing.

The post Perfect Oven Roasted Broccoli 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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Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Marinated cauliflower salad is a crunchy and colorful “refrigerator salad” that’s is the perfect winter side dish or meal prep salad.

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Can’t stop, won’t stop with refrigerator salads! If you’re new here, refrigerator salads are salads that hold up really well in the refrigerator, so you can have delicious and colorful meals all week. This Marinated Cauliflower Salad is the perfect example. In fact, this salad gets better as it refrigerates. The flavors mix and mingle, and all those good flavors get soaked right up by the crunchy cauliflower. 👌

Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a serving bowl

Take a Short Cut

I included a homemade Italian dressing in this cauliflower salad recipe, but if you want to make this salad even a little faster you can easily sub your favorite store-bought bottled Italian Dressing. You’ll need about one cup, but you can just add as much or as little as you’d like.

Make it Vegan

The recipe as written below contains Parmesan cheese, which does give the salad a little bit of body, but if you’d like to make this dish vegan you can easily leave the Parmesan out or add a little nutritional yeast in its place.

What to Serve with Marinated Cauliflower Salad

I served this cauliflower salad with my Garlic Marinated Chicken this week, but it would also go great with Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Baked Ziti, Pizza Baked Chicken, or Easy Oven Baked Fish with Tomatoes. This would also be a great dish to bring to potlucks!

How Long Does It Stay Good?

As I mentioned in the introduction, this salad actually gets better with time in the fridge. …Up to a point. Haha. This salad will be good for about 4-5 days of refrigeration, with the peak flavor being on about day 2-3. As always your mileage may vary depending on the freshness of your ingredients and conditions inside your refrigerator.

Side view of marinated cauliflower salad in a serving bowl
Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a white serving bowl

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Marinated cauliflower salad is full of crunchy and colorful vegetables marinated in a homemade Italian dressing. Perfect for meal prep!
Total Cost $8.40 recipe / $1.05 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 175.66kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Italian Dressing*

  • ½ cup olive oil $0.84
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar $0.40
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Salad

  • 1 head cauliflower $2.39
  • 1 2.25oz. can sliced black olives $1.49
  • ½ 12oz. jar banana pepper rings $0.90
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • cup diced red onion $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.08

Instructions

  • Make the dressing first, so the flavors have time to blend. In a jar or bowl, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Whisk the ingredients together or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower, then chop it into very small florets (about the size of a grape). Place the chopped cauliflower in a large bowl.
  • Drain the black olives and remove the banana peppers from the jar. Add both to the bowl with the cauliflower.
  • Dice the red bell pepper and finely dice the red onion and parsley. Add them to the bowl.
  • Pour the prepared dressing over the salad, then toss to combine. Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb. Stir again just before serving. This salad gets better as it refrigerates and the cauliflower has more time to marinate. Always stir just before serving to redistribute the flavors.

Notes

*Store-bought Italian dressing can be used in place of homemade.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 175.66kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.06g | Protein: 2.69g | Fat: 15.6g | Sodium: 431.44mg | Fiber: 2.7g

How to Make Marinated Cauliflower Salad – Step by Step Photos

Dressing ingredients in a jar

Make the dressing first so it can have a few moments to blend. In a jar or bowl combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan.

shaken Italian dressing in a jar

Shake the jar or whisk the ingredients in a bowl until the dressing is combined. You can use a store-bought Italian dressing in place of homemade, if you prefer. You’ll need about 1 cup dressing.

Chopped cauliflower on a cutting board

Remove the leaves and stem from a head of cauliflower, then chop in to very small florets (about the size of a grape). Place the chopped cauliflower in a bowl.

Cauliflower and other vegetables in a bowl

Drain one 2.25oz. can of black olives, and remove ½ of the peppers from a 12oz. jar of banana pepper rings. Dice one red bell pepper, finely dice about ⅓ cup red onion, and chop about 2 Tbsp parsley. Add everything to the bowl with the chopped cauliflower.

Italian dressing being poured over salad ingredients.

Pour the Italian dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl, then stir to combine.

Finished marinated cauliflower salad in the bowl with a spoon

Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to give the salad time to absorb the flavors from the dressing. Always give it a stir before serving to redistribute the flavors throughout.

Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a white serving bowl

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Creamed Corn Recipe

CREAMED CORN RECIPEThis Creamed Corn Recipe might be one of our all time favorites! It’s so creamy, bright and delicious. We also love that it’s super quick, easy and low maintenance, coming together in only 20 minutes from start to finish!…

CREAMED CORN RECIPE
This Creamed Corn Recipe might be one of our all time favorites! It’s so creamy, bright and delicious. We also love that it’s super quick, easy and low maintenance, coming together in only 20 minutes from start to finish! This creamed corn recipe is one of the…
READ MORE
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Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower

You can never have too many easy side dish recipes in your back pocket, which is why I’ve been playing around a little with mashed cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower is easy, flexible, you can flavor it with just about anything, and it makes a great side to just about any meal.     

The post Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You can never have too many easy side dish recipes in your back pocket, which is why I’ve been playing around a little with mashed cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower kind of exploded onto the scene as a mashed potato alternative with the rise of keto diets, I think there’s so much more to like about it than its carb count. It’s easy, flexible, you can flavor it with just about anything, and it makes a great side to just about any meal. I like this Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower for what it is, not for what it’s pretending to be.

Mashed cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and a pat of melted butter in the middle

What Does Mashed Cauliflower Taste Like?

Well, it doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes, if you ask me. Ha! Cauliflower does have a fairly neutral flavor that allows a lot of different herbs and seasonings to be added without clashing, but it still tastes like cauliflower. The flavor is light, but it still has that cruciferous aroma. …If you know what I mean.

The texture is also different than mashed potatoes. I find mashed cauliflower to be lighter and thinner, if you will. For that reason, I think it’s really important to add a decent amount of fat to your mashed cauliflower to give it body and weight, something to kind of coat your taste buds and make it feel substantial.

What Can You Add to Mashed Cauliflower?

I used a very flavorful garlic herb seasoning blend to flavor my mashed cauliflower, but you could also play around with things like Cajun seasoning, Everything Bagel Seasoning, ranch seasoning, BBQ seasoning, Montreal steak seasoning… or just about anything else.

As I mentioned above, its really important to add a good amount of fat to your mashed cauliflower so they don’t taste too thin or watery. I used cream cheese because it’s extra thick and helps thicken up the consistency even more. You can also try sour cream, Parmesan cheese, or cheddar cheese.

Can I Use Frozen Cauliflower?

Yes, this works really great with frozen cauliflower. Using frozen cauliflower has an extra advantage because it’s already chopped and partially cooked for you, so making mashed cauliflower will be even faster. And even better yet, you can keep that frozen cauliflower on hand and make mashed cauliflower whenever you want, without the risk of it going bad in the back of your fridge. ;)

To use frozen cauliflower, just boil the florets according to the package directions, or until they are very tender, then proceed with the recipe as written below after the boiling step.

Do I Have to Use a Food Processor?

Nope! I do find that the food processor gives the creamiest, fluffiest results, but an immersion blender also works well. You can use a manual potato masher if that’s all that you have available, but the results might not be quite as smooth because cauliflower is a little more fibrous.

A spoonful of mashed cauliflower held close to the camera, the bowl in the back.
Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and melted butter

Garlic Herb mashed Cauliflower

Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower is an easy, creamy, flavorful side dish to pair with any of your favorite main dish recipes.
Total Cost $3.01 recipe / $0.75 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 155.65kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower $2.39
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.14
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.20

Garlic Herb Seasoning

  • 1 tsp dried parsley $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.05
  • ¼ tsp onion powder $0.02
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Remove the stem and leaves from the cauliflower and cut it into florets (the smaller the florets, the faster they'll cook).
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat on to high. Bring the pot up to a boil, then continue to boil the cauliflower florets until they are VERY tender (about 10 minutes, test by piercing with a fork). Drain the cooked cauliflower in a colander.
  • While the cauliflower is boiling, prepare the garlic herb seasoning. Combine the dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Add the cooked and drained cauliflower to a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower until the florets are broken up into tiny pieces. Then add the butter, cream cheese, and garlic herb seasoning. Purée until the mixture smooth. Taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 155.65kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.78g | Protein: 5.1g | Fat: 11.23g | Sodium: 479.13mg | Fiber: 4.45g
A bowl full of garlic herb mashed cauliflower with a pat of butter in the center

How to Make Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower – Step by Step Photos

Cauliflower florets in a pot of water

Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower and then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large pot and cover with water. Place a lid on top, then bring it to a boil. Boil the cauliflower florets until they are VERY tender (about 10 minutes, test by piercing with a fork). Drain the cauliflower in a colander.

Garlic herb seasoning in a bowl

While the cauliflower is boiling, prepare the garlic herb seasoning. Combine 1 tsp dried parsley, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper.

Cooked cauliflower in a food processor

After the cauliflower has cooked and drained, add it to a food processor. Give it a few pulses to break the florets up into tiny pieces.

Seasoning added to food processor with the cauliflower

Next add 2 Tbsp butter, 2 oz. cream cheese, and the garlic herb seasoning.

Finished garlic herb mashed cauliflower in the food processor

Process until the cauliflower is smooth. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower in a bowl with a spoon and melted butter

Easy peasy!

The post Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort.

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French Onion Soup is one of my favorite things to order at a restaurant. I usually reserve this bowl of warm comfort for restaurants because it’s a soup that takes time and patience to make. But I’ve come to realize that although it is a slow process, it’s still ridiculously simple and inexpensive, so it’s totally worth the effort. I encourage you to make a pot of this incredible French Onion Soup on your next day off while you’re relaxing with a movie or folding some laundry. I think you’ll be glad you did!

One bowl of french onion soup garnished with fresh thyme, spoon on the side

What is French Onion Soup?

If you’ve never had the pleasure, French Onion Soup is made with sweet caramelized onions, beef broth, and herbs. The soup is usually topped with a piece of toasted bread and a generous heap of cheese, which are then broiled to perfection. So with every spoonful you get a piece of bread soaked with flavorful broth, melty cheese, and sweet-savory onions. It’s pretty epic.

Don’t Take Shortcuts with Caramelization

It’s so so so so important to properly caramelize the onions when making French Onion Soup (see the step by step photos below for a visual reference). The deep flavor of the caramelized onion is what gives this soup its characteristic flavor. If you take shortcuts with this step it will show in the color and flavor of your soup.

Caramelizing onions, especially this quantity of onions, is a slow process and it takes a lot of time. Like an hour or more. If you stop too soon your soup will be lacking. If you try to go too fast you risk burning the onions not getting that sweet jammy flavor. Just go slow. It’s worth it.

Broth Matters

The other key to making a really good pot of French Onion Soup is using a really flavorful broth. If you know me then you know I love Better Than Bouillon so I used that to make my broth for this soup. But if you have access to a really good beef stock or bone broth that would also be incredible. Just make sure you use a broth that you know has good flavor.

What Else Can I Add?

I made this French Onion Soup as simple as possible while still retaining its rich flavor. But if you want to go above and beyond you can try adding a couple other ingredients.

Wine – Try deglazing the pot (after adding the flour) with about 1/2 cup wine before adding the beef broth. You can use either a dry white wine or a red wine, depending on whether you want your soup to have a lighter touch (white wine) or a richer flavor (red wine).

Sweet Onions – I made my soup with your average everyday yellow onions, but if you want a tad more sweetness you can choose a sweet onion instead.

Brandy or Sherry – A couple tablespoons of brandy or sherry added to your French Onion Soup at the end can brighten the flavors.

Garlic – I didn’t want to muddy the sweet delicate flavor of the onions, but a lot of people do prefer to also add garlic. If adding garlic, mince it up good and sauté it with the caramelized onions for a minute or two just before adding the flour.

Side view of a bowl of French Onion Soup garnished with fresh thyme
Garnished with fresh thyme for visual appeal. Dried thyme is used in the recipe.
Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup requires time and patience, but the incredible soul-warming flavor and low cost make it a meal that is worth the wait!
Total Cost $5.34 recipe / $1.07 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 5 1.5 cups ech
Calories 621.84kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions $1.19
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.28
  • 3 Tbsp flour $0.03
  • 6 cups beef broth* $0.78
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1 bay leaf $0.15
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 5 slices French bread $1.00
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere $1.00

Instructions

  • Slice the onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the onions begin to get a little bit of golden brown color (after about 30-45 minutes), add the butter.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are deeply caramelized (the color of an old penny). This should take about an hour total. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom to prevent them from burning while the onions continue to cook.
  • Once the onions are deep brown and jammy in texture, add the flour. Stir and cook the flour with the caramelized onions for about two minutes more. The flour helps thicken the broth slightly, giving it body.
  • Add the beef broth to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Also add the thyme, bay leaf, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer, then allow it to simmer for about a half hour. If using a low sodium broth, make sure to taste the soup after simmering and add salt to taste.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, preheat the oven's broiler. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on the middle rack. Broil for a few minutes on each side, or just until they are barely golden brown (they will broil more later).
  • If you do not have oven safe bowls, top each slice of bread with shredded cheese, then return them to the oven and continue to broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Broiling time will vary with each oven, so make sure to watch them closely. This should only take a few minutes. Place one piece of toasted bread with melted cheese on top of each bowl of soup just before serving.
  • If you do have oven safe bowls, portion your soup into the bowls, top each one with a piece of lightly toasted bread, then some of the shredded cheese. Place the bowls back on the baking sheet and place everything back in the oven under the broiler. Broil for just a few minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot!

Notes

*I used Better Than Bouillon to make my beef broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 621.84kcal | Carbohydrates: 91.04g | Protein: 22.28g | Fat: 19.62g | Sodium: 2670.74mg | Fiber: 7.44g

Love cozy soups? Check out all of our Budget-Friendly Soup Recipes!

A pot of French Onion Soup with a ladle full held close to the camera

How to Make French Onion Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sliced onions in a soup pot

Begin by slicing 3 lbs. yellow onions into ¼-inch thick slices. Add the sliced onions to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Add butter to golden onions in the soup pot

When the onions begin to get a little golden color (after about 30-45 minutes) add 2 Tbsp butter. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Pot being deglazed with water

The goal is to keep cooking until the onions become deep brown in color and have a jammy texture. If the bottom of the pot begins to brown faster than the onions, just add a couple tablespoons of water to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom and continue to cook. Do not stop when the onions are the color in the photo above. There is still a ways to go!

Caramelized onions in the pot, flour being added

When the onions are the color of an old penny (see photo above), add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes. The flour helps thicken the soup very slightly, just giving it a little extra body.

Beef broth being added to the pot

Finally, add six cups of beef broth to the pot. Stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom.

Herbs added to the soup

Also add ½ tsp dried thyme, one bay leaf, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Bring the soup up to a simmer and let it continue to simmer for about 30 minutes. If you’re using a lower sodium broth, you’ll want to taste the soup and add salt to taste after it simmers.

Toasted bread on a baking sheet

Toward the end of the simmer time, begin to prepare the cheese toast. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Place slices of French bread on a baking sheet (I only had four soup bowls, so I’m only toasting four pieces right now, but the soup makes about 5 servings). Broil the bread for a few minutes on each side or just until it’s lightly golden brown. It will broil more later with the cheese.

Soup being portioned into oven safe bowls

If you have oven safe bowls, portion the soup into the bowls. If you do not have oven safe bowls, pile the shredded cheese right onto the toasted bread on the baking sheet, then broil for a few minutes more to melt the cheese. Top each bowl of soup with a cheesy bread slice.

Toasted bread and cheese added to the soup bowls

If you do have oven safe bowls, place the bowls on the baking sheet and add a piece of toasted bread to each bowl, then top with shredded cheese.

Boiled bowls of french onion soup with bread and cheese

Return the baking sheet with the bowls of soup to the oven and broil for a few minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasty. Every broiler is a little different, and they cook quickly, so keep an eye on them!

Overhead view of one bowl of french onion soup with a spoon and fresh thyme on the side

Dig in!

The post French Onion Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

This post is sponsored by ALDI. Ingredient prices and availability may vary. Visit ALDI on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Instagram.

cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background with a striped napkin

Adding that extra flare is also more affordable thanks to the awesome selection at my local ALDI store. They have everything I need for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, plus those fun specialty ingredients that can take your meal to the next level, all for unbeatable prices. And their cheese selection? Ah-maz-ing. So, I had a little fun with the cheese in this dish and used two different varieties of cheddar. #noregrets

What Kind of Cheese is Best?

Cheddar is definitely the best choice for this Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole because it melts smoothly and has a rich and creamy flavor. But you can play around with different flavors of cheddar to give the dish more flare. I used Emporium Selection Vintage Selection White Cheddar from ALDI for the cheese sauce, and their classic Happy Farms Mild Cheddar for the topping. If you want to try something more fun, they have tons of seasonal flavored cheddars like smoked cheddar, hatch pepper cheddar, or Cajun spice cheddar, all of which would all be incredible in this casserole.

Use the ALDI store finder here to find a store near you, then tell me in the comments below what kind of cheese you tried, so I can go try it too. ;)

What Else Can I Add?

If you want to add even more to your already “loaded” cauliflower casserole, I have some ideas. I tend to like things spicy, so a few thinly sliced jalapeños would be awesome, especially if coupled with a few small dollops of cooling sour cream. Slices of avocado might also be nice. Or, if you want to take this a different direction, a light drizzle of sweet and tangy BBQ sauce would be an amazing compliment to the creamy, cheesy sauce.

Want to turn it into a meal casserole? Add some shredded chicken or browned Italian sausage before drenching the cauliflower with sauce.

What is the Serving Size?

While I could probably easily eat half of this myself, I don’t think that would be a reasonable serving size, considering how rich this casserole is. This recipe makes about six smaller Thanksgiving sized servings (serving sizes tend to shrink when you’re trying to fit more items on one plate), or maybe four regular weeknight-dinner-sized side dish servings. It all depends on how many other items you’re serving with your meal.

Can the Recipe be Doubled?

Yes, absolutely! I purposely made this a smaller batch size recipe, but if you do have more mouths to feed this recipe is easily doubled. As long as you use a 9×13″ casserole dish so that everything is still evenly spread out, the cook times should all remain the same.

close up of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole being scooped out of the dish
Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

This rich and cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole is an indulgent Thanksgiving side dish with plenty of flare.
Total Cost $8.65 recipe / $1.44 serving (prices may vary by location)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 about ¾ cup each
Calories 418.13kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Appleton Farms Hickory Bacon $1.63
  • 1 head cauliflower $2.29
  • 3 Tbsp Countryside Creamery Salted Butter 0.42
  • 3 Tbsp Baker's Corner All-Purpose Flour $0.03
  • 2 cups Simply Nature Organic Whole Milk $0.75
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Simply Nature Organic Garlic Powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Stonemill Black Pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. Emporium Selection Vintage Cheddar, shredded $3.16
  • 2 oz. Happy Farms Mild Cheddar, shredded $0.42
  • 1/4 cup Chef's Cupboard French Fried Onions $0.16
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.11

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower, then cut it into small florets. Add the cauliflower florets to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil for about 5 minutes, or until it is fork tender. Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
  • While the cauliflower is draining, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a sauce pot. Melt the butter over medium heat, then continue to cook and stir the flour and butter for about two minutes more.
  • Whisk the milk into the flour and butter until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir over medium until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.
  • Season the white sauce with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, then begin adding the shredded vintage cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it has fully melted in before adding the next handful. If the sauce becomes too cold to melt the cheese, place it over low heat only until all the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  • Place the boiled and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, making sure it is fully covered. Top with the remaining 2 oz. shredded mild cheddar and the French Fried onions.
  • Bake the cauliflower for only ten minutes, then switch the oven from bake to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until the top is slightly browned (broiling is optional). Do not over bake the casserole, or the cheese sauce will split.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 418.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.67g | Protein: 21.08g | Fat: 30.43g | Sodium: 962.32mg | Fiber: 2.68g
close up side view of cheesy cauliflower casserole

How to Make Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a skillet

Cook about 4oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

cauliflower florets in a pot with water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from one head cauliflower, then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large pot, cover with water, place a lid on top, then bring it up to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil until fork tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the cauliflower in colander.

flour and butter roux in a pot

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a pot over medium heat (I used the same pot from the cauliflower to avoid dirtying another pot). Add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes.

milk being poured into the pot

Whisk two cups of milk into the butter and flour mixture until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to cook and stir the milk over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to about the same consistency as heavy cream.

Seasoning in white sauce

Season the sauce with ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

shredded cheddar added to the pot

Remove the sauce from the heat and begin adding the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it is fully melted in before adding more. If the sauce becomes too cold to continue melting the cheese, place it over low heat only as you melt in the rest of the cheese.

thick cheese sauce in a pot

When all of the cheese has been melted into the sauce it will be thick and cheesy.

cheese sauce being poured over cauliflower in casserole dish

Place the cooked and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish, then pour the cheese sauce over top, making sure to fully cover the cauliflower.

shredded cheddar added to top of cauliflower

Add the final 2oz. shredded mild cheddar and ¼ cup French fried onions on top. Bake the casserole for ten minutes, then switch the setting on the oven from bake to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until you get some slightly browning on top.

Final toppings added to casserole

After baking, add the final toppings: cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness!

Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cheesy Potatoes Gratin

CHEESY POTATOES GRATINCheesy Potatoes Gratin is a dish that you can have anytime of the year, although our favorite time to enjoy them is during the fall and winter. They make a perfect side dish with just about anything and are especially great to ser…

CHEESY POTATOES GRATIN
Cheesy Potatoes Gratin is a dish that you can have anytime of the year, although our favorite time to enjoy them is during the fall and winter. They make a perfect side dish with just about anything and are especially great to serve to a larger group…
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