Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My Red White and Blue Salad is Summer in a bowl. Christmas and Thanksgiving are great holidays, but I’m a summer gal through and through. There’s just something magical about the smell of sunscreen and fresh cut grass mingling with drool-worthy scents wafting from the grill. Are you with me? Now, all you need is an ice cold beverage, some sunshine, and this Red White and Blue Fruit Salad! You’re going to want to save this recipe, because it’s perfect for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.

The only thing I love more than celebrating ‘Merica and honoring our veterans is berries being in season! I pretty much refuse to buy berries when they aren’t in season because the quality is never as good and they are never quite as budget-friendly. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia and I feel like there was always a whipped cream fruit salad variation at all of my family gatherings growing up, probably because fruit salads require almost zero prep and they are always a crowd pleaser! This one is extra special because it brings the patriotic vibes, too.

What is Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad?

This patriotic fruit salad utilizes red, white, and blue fruits to create a colorful display fit for Independence Day or Memorial Day (or anytime I’m craving a refreshing and fun fruit salad). Strawberries represent the red, bananas and apples represent the white, and blueberries represent the blue. I added a little bit of crunch with some walnuts for texture. Topped off with some classic Cool Whip, this is one refreshing salad that’s a great BBQ side dish or dessert.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this red white and blue fruit salad:

  • Fruit: I used a combination of bananas, strawberries, apples, and blueberries to create this patriotic salad.
  • Sugar: A little bit of granulated sugar makes the berries glisten and helps prevents the apples from browning.
  • Walnuts: Crushed walnut pieces add a bit of savory nuttiness and crunch.
  • Marshmallows: Add pops of sweetness. Mini marshmallows are the perfect size, but you can also quarter full-sized marshmallows.
  • Cool Whip: The perfect garnish for this fresh and fruity salad. You can also make your own whipped cream if you prefer!

What Else Can I Add?

  • Fruits: If you’re not needing this to be particularly red, white, and blue, you can add any fruits your heart desires. Blackberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, concord grapes, pomegranate arils, or chopped pineapple would all keep the red white and blue theme going! Just be careful to avoid smushing the fruit when tossing the ingredients so you can see the distinct red, white, and blue colors throughout.
  • Crunch: Pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, or homemade granola are all great sources of crunch.

How To Store Leftovers

This fruit salad can be prepared up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it, although the tender berries may shed some juices as they sit and the bananas and apples may brown a bit. To achieve true fireworks, prepare just before your company arrives! It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses.
overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.
Print

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($11.74 recipe / $1.46 serving)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people (about 1 cups each)
Calories

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas $0.46
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries $2.50
  • 1 diced apple $1.00
  • 2 cups blueberries (1 pint) $2.99
  • 2 tsp. sugar $0.01
  • ½ cup walnut pieces $2.64
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows $1.00
  • 1 cup Cool Whip $1.14

Instructions

  • Dice bananas into ¼ inch pieces, quarter strawberries, core and dice the apple, gather walnut pieces, blueberries and mini marshmellows.
  • Toss bananas, strawberries, apple, and blueberries in a big mixing bowl with sugar.*
  • Fold in walnut pieces and mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.
  • Top each serving with a generous dollop of Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream and extra walnut pieces.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*The sugar will make your berries glisten and will slow down the apples from browning!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup
scooping a bite from a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass.

how to make Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for red white and blue fruit salad on a cutting board.

Dice 2 bananas into ¼ inch pieces; quarter 2 cups of strawberries; core and dice 1 apple; and gather ½ cup walnut pieces, 2 cups of blueberries and 1 cup of mini marshmallows.

cut fruits tossed with sugar in a white bowl.

Toss the 2 diced bananas, 2 cups of quartered strawberries, 1 diced apple, and 2 cups of blueberries in a big mixing bowl with 2 tsp sugar.

red white and blue fruit salad mixed up in a white bowl with a side of cool whip.

Fold in ½ cup walnut pieces and 1 cup mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses with cool whip.

Top each serving with about 1 Tbsp of Cool Whip and extra walnut pieces.

close-up side view of a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass with cool whip.

This easy-to-make red white and blue fruit salad will be the star of your July 4th BBQ!

I would like to express my endless gratitude for the veterans who have sacrificed their lives while defending our country and their families.

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It’s my new go-to for parties!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s nearly grilling season, and I need a reliable side dish to bring to parties, family reunions, and barbecues. This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It has a great balance of sweet and tangy flavors, and the texture is unbeatable. It’s a fact that if you add bacon to any vegetable dish, even the most discerning meat eaters will give it a try. Baby steps, right?! I love making sure my loved ones eat their vegetables!

overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

What Is Broccoli Salad?

Broccoli salad is a classic side dish made from broccoli florets tossed with cheddar cheese, raisins, bacon, walnuts, and red onion, coated in a creamy and tangy dressing. This salad has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures and is so versatile!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make broccoli salad:

  • Broccoli: Has an earthy and slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor, as well as a delightful crunch!
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds a creamy and salty component to the salad.
  • Raisins: Add a pop of sweet and fruity flavor.
  • Bacon: Adds a great savory and umami flavor. You’ll need 6 strips of cooked bacon. Vegetarian? No problem, just leave it out. Sometimes I put the bacon on the side for gatherings where there might be varied dietary restrictions.
  • Walnuts: Add a nutty flavor and delicious crunch.
  • Red Onion: Adds a bit of bite to the recipe and a wonderful crunchy texture, creating a great contrast to the sweet and chewy raisins.
  • Mayo: Adds richness and creaminess to the dressing.
  • Greek Yogurt: Makes the dressing extra creamy and tangy with fewer calories and fat than sour cream. I highly recommend Greek yogurt over plain yogurt or sour cream for its thicker, creamy texture.
  • White Vinegar: Adds a refreshing brightness and tanginess to the dressing to balance the richness.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to balance out the vinegar.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance the overall flavor of the salad.

Should I Blanch The Broccoli?

In testing, I preferred the final texture of raw broccoli over blanched, but you certainly can blanch the broccoli if you prefer. The blanching process takes out some of the natural bitter flavor from the broccoli; simply drop the florets in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then quickly shock in a bowl of ice water. Instead, I opted to simply rinse my broccoli florets in hot water to make them extra bright green and make sure they were nice and clean.

Top Tip

To keep your broccoli salad from turning out watery, make sure to thoroughly dry the florets. The salt in the dressing will naturally draw out some of the moisture from the veggies, so making sure they are dry after washing them is an important step! I like to spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and gently pat them dry with another towel laid on top while I prep the rest of my ingredients.

What To Serve with Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is such a fresh and crunchy dish with a ton of flavor, so I suggest pairing it with simple proteins, like air fryer chicken breast or glazed pork chops.

close up of broccoli salad on a white plate.
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.
Print

Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It's my new go-to for potlucks!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($5.79 recipe / $0.96 serving)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 (about 1 cup each)
Calories 305kcal

Ingredients

Broccoli Salad

  • 1 large broccoli crown, separated into florets (about 4 cups) $1.10
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $1.24
  • 1/4 cup raisins $0.39
  • 6 strips bacon $0.90
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, crushed $0.80
  • 1/4 red onion, diced into small pieces $0.21

Broccoli Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo $0.75
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt $0.21
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper $0.05

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Let cool on clean paper towel-lined plate. Chop into bite sized bits and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, Greek yogurt, white vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and set dressing aside.
  • Cut broccoli into florets, shred the cheddar cheese, gather raisins, crumble bacon, crush walnuts, and dice red onion.
  • Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 477mg | Fiber: 1g
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

how to make Broccoli Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for salad dressing in a white bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

creamy dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk together and set dressing aside.

overhead view of ingredients for broccoli salad on a wooden cutting board.

Cut 1 large crown of broccoli into florets, shred 1 cup of cheddar cheese, gather 1/4 cup of raisins, crumble 6 strips of crispy bacon, crush 1/4 cup walnuts, and dice 1/4 of a red onion.

ingredients for broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Your favorite chocolate chip cookies, but easier? We had to do it, friends! These vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie BARS have all the flavor, but there’s no chilling, no scooping, and no hand mixer involved! Just stir, spread, and bake.
Plus, ju…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Your favorite chocolate chip cookies, but easier? We had to do it, friends! These vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie BARS have all the flavor, but there’s no chilling, no scooping, and no hand mixer involved! Just stir, spread, and bake.

Plus, just 8 ingredients and 1 bowl required! They’re so easy it almost seems wrong…but they’re so right: perfectly sweet, chewy, buttery, and studded with melty chocolate chunks.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan) from Minimalist Baker →

Homemade Banana Bread

This homemade Banana Bread recipe is super rich, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s the perfect Saturday morning treat!

The post Homemade Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One day a friend was telling me about how she used to be so in love with the Starbucks banana bread and all I could think about was how the price for one slice is probably more than it costs to make a whole loaf, so I had to working on a dupe. It took about eight tries, but I finally made a homemade banana bread recipe that is super rich, moist, and totally melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And the best part? It ended up costing about $0.38 per slice. 😱 Take that, ‘bucks! Anyway, this banana bread was so good that I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. 🤤 So now the question is, is it wrong to make banana bread every single weekend??

Front view of a sliced loaf of banana bread on a wooden cutting board.

There are so many different recipes for banana bread out there and they create loaves that vary quite a bit in color, size, shape, texture, and of course flavor. My goal for this homemade banana bread recipe was to create a loaf that was super soft and moist, had a really good pronounced banana flavor, the loaf had to rise to a nice doamed shape (not be a flat brick), and did not get too over-browned. It took a combination of ingredients and techniques, but we finally got the perfect loaf of banana bread.

Ingredients for Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need to make this incredibly moist and delicious banana bread:

  • Bananas: You must use very ripe bananas for banana bread. Like, half brown ripe. This will ensure they provide enough sweetness, moisture, and banana flavor to the bread. Underripe bananas will give you a dry, bland loaf.
  • Butter & Oil: I used a combination of butter and oil for this banana bread. Butter gives the bread a ton of rich flavor, while oil keeps the loaf super moist after it cools in a way that butter can not. It’s a one-two flavor-texture punch!
  • Eggs: Eggs help give the loaf strength, so it doesn’t crumble, and they also help leaven the loaf so that it bakes up nice and fluffy.
  • Sugar: Using a combination of brown and white sugar again maximizes the flavor and texture. Brown sugar adds a deep flavor and helps moisten the loaf, while white sugar sweetens without making the batter too heavy.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour provides strength and body to the banana bread.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps leaven the loaf so it rises into a pretty doamed loaf shape.
  • Vanilla: A touch of vanilla extract adds richness to the flavor.
  • Spices: We add just a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the batter to add complexity to the flavor without overpowering the banana. They’re supporting roles, not the main character.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts are optional, but I love the contrast in flavor and texture they add to the bread. You can also substitute in chocolate chips if that’s your jam!

How to Store Banana Bread

I could eat this whole loaf of banana bread within a few days by myself no problem, but if you’re not a champion eater like myself, here’s how to store the leftovers. Make sure the bread is completely cooled after baking, then cut it into thick slices. The sliced bread can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 4-5 days, or it can be frozen for longer storage.

To freeze the banana bread, place sheets of parchment paper between the slices to prevent them from sticking, then place them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Individual slices can be taken out and thawed at room temperature or briefly microwaved to warm through.

Tips for the Best Banana Bread

I made a LOT of loaves during the development of this recipe, so here are some tips that I found will help you get the absolute best banana bread ever:

  • Make sure your bananas are VERY ripe. The sugar content of bananas increases as they ripen, so the more ripe your bananas are the sweeter the bread and the more pronounced the banana flavor will be.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Stirring the bread batter too much or too vigorously will create a rubbery texture in the banana bread. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together just until evenly combined.
  • Preheat the oven. This is a non-negotiable when baking. The sudden exposure to high heat (rather than a slow increase of a non-preheated oven) is what helps the loaf rise properly.

How to Make Banana Muffins

This banana bread recipe also bakes up really well as muffins. To make banana muffins simply prepare the batter as listed in the recipe below but divide the batter between 12 wells in a standard-size muffin tin. Bake the banana muffins in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until the muffins have risen all the way in the center, they’ve browned nicely, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean (crumbs but no wet batter).

Overhead view of a slice of banana bread with butter spread on it.
Overhead view of a slice of banana bread with butter spread on it.
Print

Homemade Banana Bread

This homemade Banana Bread recipe is super rich, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It's the perfect Saturday morning treat!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.57 recipe / $0.38 slice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp salted butter, room-temperature $0.54
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar $0.18
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar $0.26
  • 1.5 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas) $0.84
  • 2 large eggs $0.29
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.60
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.40
  • 1 tsp baking soda $0.04
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) $1.20

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the room-temperature butter, cooking oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the ingredients together until they become light and creamy.
  • Mash the bananas well, then add them to the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar, along with the eggs and vanilla extract. Use the mixter again to beat the ingredients together until smooth.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and fold them together just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the bowl and gently fold to combine again.
  • Grease an 8.5"x4.5" loaf pan with butter or oil, then add the batter and smooth it out evenly into the pan.
  • Bake the banana bread in the preheated 350ºF oven until it's deeply golden brown on top, has a crack down the center, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but wet batter is not).
  • Allow the loaf to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once cooled, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Banana Muffins Instructions

  • Prepare the batter as listed above, then divide it between 12 wells of a standard-size muffin tin.
  • Bake the banana muffins for 30 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven or until they have risen all the way in the center, have browned nicely, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but no wet batter).

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 233mg | Fiber: 2g
Overhead view of a sliced loaf of banana bread.

How to Make Banana Bread – Step by Step Photos

Butter, oil, and sugar added to a mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp of room-temperature salted butter, ¼ cup cooking oil, ½ cup white sugar, and ½ cup brown sugar to a mixing bowl.

Creamed butter and sugars in the mixing bowl.

Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter, sugars, and oil together until it looks light and creamy.

Mashed bananas in a measuring cup with a fork.

Mash 3-4 bananas, or until you have 1.5 cups of mashed banana.

Banana, eggs, and vanilla added to the butter and sugar mixture.

Add the mashed banana, two large eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar. Use the mixer to mix the ingredients together until smooth.

Dry ingredients being poured into the bowl of wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, stir together 2 cups of all-purpospe flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp cinnamon until well combined. Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and then fold them together just until they form a wet batter. Do not overmix.

Chopped walnuts being folded into the banana bread batter.

Add ½ cup of chopped walnuts to the batter and fold briefly to combine.

Banana bread batter being smoothed into a bread pan.

Grease a standard 8.5″x4.5″ bread pan. Pour the batter into the pan and then spread it out evenly.

Baked banana bread in the bread pan.

Bake the bread for 60 minutes, or until golden brown on top, cracked in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Stacked slices of banana bread on a plate.

Once cooled, slice the banana bread and enjoy!

Butter being smeared onto a slice of banana bread.

The post Homemade Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF)

The goal: portable, delicious, and a bit nutritious! And so banana buckwheat muffins were born! These nutty, wholesome muffins are vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and easy to make with just 1 bowl and 10 ingredients required. 
They’re gre…

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF)

The goal: portable, delicious, and a bit nutritious! And so banana buckwheat muffins were born! These nutty, wholesome muffins are vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and easy to make with just 1 bowl and 10 ingredients required. 

They’re great for after-school snacks, on-the-go breakfasts, and more! Grab your mixing bowl, let’s make muffins!

These 1-bowl buckwheat muffins begin with the wet ingredients: a flax egg, mashed banana, coconut sugar, a little oil, and vanilla.

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF) from Minimalist Baker →

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a Christmas cookie favorite, but there are SO many different names for these little buttery pecan cookies. What do you call them? I call them Mexican Wedding Cookies because that is what my family calls them. To be honest th…

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a Christmas cookie favorite, but there are SO many different names for these little buttery pecan cookies. What do you call them? I call them Mexican Wedding Cookies because that is what my family calls them. To be honest though, when I was little I didn’t really like them. I always…

Easy Chocolate Fudge

This super fast and easy chocolate fudge recipe is perfect for Christmas cookie platters or anytime you need a quick chocolate fix.

The post Easy Chocolate Fudge appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’re looking for an easy addition to your Christmas cookie platters, or maybe just a quick way to get your chocolate fix, you’ve got to try this easy homemade chocolate fudge recipe. It’s seriously easy, only takes a few minutes, and makes the most deliciously rich melt-in-your-mouth fudge. And you won’t need a candy thermometer or any other special equipment to make this amazing chocolate fudge. Just melt everything together, let it cool, slice, and serve!

Side view of a pile of chocolate fudge squares with walnuts on top.

Ingredients for Chocolate Fudge

This chocolate fudge is incredibly simple and at its core only requires three ingredients. I’ve added a couple more items just to take it to the next level, but it’s up to you! Here’s what you’ll need for this awesome chocolate fudge recipe:

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: This gives the fudge its rich and sweet flavor and texture and helps soften the chocolate just enough to achieve that thick, fudgy texture.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: Chocolate chips bring all of that chocolatey flavor to the fudge and help firm the mixture up into sliceable squares.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla gives the fudge a more dimension and a richer flavor.
  • Butter: A little bit of butter thrown into the mix gives this fudge an extra rich melt-in-your-mouth finish. Many people skip this ingredient, but I think it’s worth adding for a silkier texture and richer flavor.
  • Nuts: Nuts are completely optional, but I love how the flavor contrasts the rich fudge and they offer visual appeal. You can skip the walnuts or swap in your favorite nut in its place.

How to Store Homemade Fudge

Once cooled and sliced, you can keep this homemade fudge at room temperature in an air-tight container for about two weeks. It can also be held in the refrigerator, if desired, but the cold air can cause it to slowly dry out. The same goes fro freezing. This fudge is freezer safe, but make sure it’s wrapped very well and in an air-tight container to prevent drying and freezer burn.

More Flavor OPtions

This easy fudge recipe is quite flexible and can be modified to include different ingredients. Here are some ideas for other homemade fudge flavors:

  • Flavor Extracts: try swapping the vanilla extract with other flavors like peppermint, almond, or orange.
  • Toppings: Try topping the fudge with different nuts, crushed candy canes, marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, or sprinkles.
  • Chocolate Chips: Try different flavored morsels, like peanut butter, white chocolate, or butterscotch.

Microwave Instructions

You can make this style of homemade fudge using a microwave, but I find using a pot on the stovetop to be much easier. The stovetop method only takes a few minutes more and it’s easier to control the heat and how evenly the ingredients cook. To make this chocolate fudge in the microwave simply add everything to a bowl and microwave on high for one minute, then stir. Continue heating and stirring in 30-second intervals until everything is melted and evenly combined, then transfer to a dish to cool and slice.

Overhead view of chocolate fudge with walnuts cut into squares on a wooden surface, one with a bite taken out.
Overhead view of chocolate fudge with walnuts cut into squares on a wooden surface, one with a bite taken out.
Print

Easy Chocolate Fudge

This super fast and easy chocolate fudge recipe is perfect for Christmas cookie platters or anytime you need a quick chocolate fix.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.88 recipe / $0.43 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 312kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk $1.99
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips $3.14
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.25
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.25
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) $1.25

Instructions

  • Add the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla to a medium saucepot.
  • Heat the ingredients over medium-low, stirring constantly, until everything is melted and evenly combined. The mixture will be quite thick and glossy when it's ready (see photos below).
  • Spread the fudge into a 8×8-inch pan lined with foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over top and press them lightly into the surface.
  • Place the fudge in the refrigerator, uncovered, for about two hours or until fully chilled and firm. Remove the fudge from the refrigerator and slice into 16 pieces, then serve.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1square | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 46mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Chocolate Fudge

Fudge ingredients in a saucepot.

Add one 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2 Tbsp butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract to a saucepot.

Melted fudge being stirred in the sauce pot.

Heat the mixture over medium-low while constantly stirring, until everything has melted and evenly combined. The mixture will be quite thick and glossy when it’s ready.

Fudge being spread into a lined baking dish.

Spread the fudge into a 8×8-inch baking dish lined with foil or parchment paper.

Chopped walnuts pressed into the top of the fudge.

Sprinkle ½ cup chopped walnuts over top then press them lightly into the surface.

Sliced chocolate fudge on a wooden background.

Chill the fudge for two hours in the refrigerator to make sure its very firm before slicing it into 16 pieces. Enjoy chilled or room temperature!

Side view of chocolate fudge squares stacked into a pile.

The post Easy Chocolate Fudge appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Basil Pesto Recipe

This basil pesto recipe is a flavor-packed classic Italian sauce starring basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese! Got…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This basil pesto recipe is a flavor-packed classic Italian sauce starring basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese!

Basil Pesto Recipe

Got a load of fresh basil? Then run, don’t walk, to make a batch of this basil pesto recipe! It’s savory, garlicky, creamy, peppery, and you can slather a smear on anything. Is there anything better? Use it to take pasta from plain to magnificent, or throw it on a pesto pizza for maximum flavor. If you’re never made basil pesto at home: now is the time!

What’s in this basil pesto recipe?

Basil pesto is a sauce that originates in Italy (the city of Genoa, more specifically). The word pesto comes from an Italian word that means “pounded” or “crushed”. A pesto can refer to any type of sauce that is crushed, but pesto alla genovese, the version of pesto from Genoa, is the most popular version. The traditional ingredients in basil pesto are fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt.

Pesto ingredient notes

Pine nuts are traditional in basil pesto, but they can be pretty expensive here in the US. In this pesto recipe, you can use cashews or walnuts as a substitute. We’ve tested and both turn out fabulously! You can use any type of nut you prefer. Our favorite is pine nuts because they make for the best classic flavor. But the cashew version is delicious, and we always have cashews around.

Another feature we added to our basil pesto recipe is a squeeze of lemon juice! It helps to brighten the flavors and takes this sauce to a while new level.

Basil Pesto

How to make this pesto recipe

Basil pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together, but modern recipes typically use a blender or food processor. You’ll simply blend up all ingredients, then add the olive oil until the sauce becomes creamy.

Here’s how to make basil pesto:

  • Toast the nuts for a few minutes in a dry skillet, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
  • Place the nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  • Add fresh basil leaves, lemon juice and salt. Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add a bit more olive oil to bring to the desired consistency, if necessary.

Pesto variations

There are many ways to change up pesto! Here are a few variations on basil pesto for you:

  • Easy Vegan Pesto or Vegan Cashew Pesto: Want pesto without cheese? These pesto recipes use tricks to substitute a cheesy flavor.
  • Walnut Pesto or Cashew Pesto: Swap out the pine nuts for a delicious spin!
  • Kale Pesto: You can substitute kale for basil in the off season! This spicy variation is also tasty.
  • Arugula Pesto: Spicy arugula also works as a substitute for basil!
  • Basil Sauce: This sauce is similar to pesto, without the nuts and cheese! It’s remarkably good.
Basil pesto sauce

How to freeze pesto

Here’s an important note! The best way to store homemade pesto, if you’re not going to eat it all at once, is to freeze it. Here’s how to freeze basil pesto:

  • Pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and pop in the freezer.
  • Once frozen, remove the cubes and place them in a freezer safe sealed container.
  • When you’re ready to eat, you can pop out small servings of pesto. Place them in a container and allow to come to room temperature on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Growing and storing basil

Ever grown basil? Basil is easy to grow at home: it’s very hardy as long as you place it in full sun! Basil adds an aromatic flavor to such a wide variety of recipes. If you’re looking to grow your own basil plant, go to this step-by-step guide, How to Grow Basil.

When you harvest branches of your basil plant and bring them inside, they’ll wilt after about an hour unless you follow this trick! Place a little water in the bottom of a large ball jar, then place the stems inside, cut side down. Add the top and it will stay fresh for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator! (See How to Store Basil for more.)

Basil Pesto Recipe

Ways to use pesto

Once you’ve made your basil pesto: what to do with it? There are thousands of recipes for how to use basil pesto online and in cookbooks. To help you sort through the clutter, here are our best recipes with pesto:

This basil pesto recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use Vegan Pesto.

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Basil Pesto Recipe

Basil Pesto Recipe


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Heaping 1 cup (about 18 tablespoons)

Description

This basil pesto recipe is a flavor-packed classic Italian sauce starring basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese!


Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw unsalted pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts*
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus additional as needed

Instructions

  1. In a small dry skillet, toast the nuts over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the nuts to a bowl and allow them to cool slightly. (This step is optional, but brings out a more robust flavor in the nuts.)
  2. In food processor**, combine the nuts, cheese, and peeled garlic. Process until finely ground, 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Add the basil, lemon juice and kosher salt. Turn on the food processor and gradually pour in the olive oil. Once combined, turn off the food processor. Blend in a bit more olive oil if desired, to achieve a looser texture. Stores for about 1 week in the refrigerator and several months frozen.

Notes

*Pine nuts are traditional, but can be expensive. We’ve tested both cashews and walnuts and they have great flavor. Since we often have these stocked in our pantry, we use these variations more often than pine nuts. 

**You also can do the same method using a mortar and pestle, adding the basil leaves gradually and crushing them against the sides of the mortar. 

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Basil pesto, basil pesto recipe, Pesto recipe, Pesto

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