Cincinnati Chili is an easy midwestern classic and total comfort food. Slow simmered for hours and served one of five ways, it's perfect cold weather food!
READ: Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili is an easy midwestern classic and total comfort food. Slow simmered for hours and served one of five ways, it’s perfect cold weather food!
READ: Cincinnati Chili
Nuts and Bolts Recipe
This nuts and bolts recipe is the ultimate homemade snack mix! Salted peanuts, five different kinds of cereal, crunchy pretzels, bagel chips, cheese crackers, and Worcestershire pair with a mix of seasonings and bacon drippings to…
This nuts and bolts recipe is the ultimate homemade snack mix! Salted peanuts, five different kinds of cereal, crunchy pretzels, bagel chips, cheese crackers, and Worcestershire pair with a mix of seasonings and bacon drippings to make this everyone’s favorite. You’re going to want to keep a batch of this on hand at all times! […]
READ: Nuts and Bolts Recipe
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Love cozy soups? Check out all of our Budget-Friendly Soup Recipes!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Finally, add six cups of beef broth to the pot. Stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This easy beef stroganoff recipe is made with the most delicious garlicky creamy mushroom sauce and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes! Feel free to serve over any kind of noodles, rice, or polenta. For those days when you’re craving a cozy and comforting bowl of beef and noodles… …this classic beef […]
This easy beef stroganoff recipe is made with the most delicious garlicky creamy mushroom sauce and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes! Feel free to serve over any kind of noodles, rice, or polenta.
For those days when you’re craving a cozy and comforting bowl of beef and noodles…
…this classic beef stroganoff recipe is here for you, friends. ♡
It’s made with a quick sauté of tender steak (or you can opt for ground beef) and a perfectly-browned mushrooms, and tossed with the richest, savory, garlicky cream sauce (that I’ve lightened up a bit and made without heavy cream). And when served warm over a big bowl of noodles, rice or polenta, get ready for a delicious burst of nostalgia. Because this retro recipe is total comfort food and always so satisfying and delicious.
The other bonus with this particular beef stroganoff recipe is that it’s actually incredibly quick and easy to make in just about 30 minutes. So the next time you need a quick weeknight meal that’s sure to please a crowd, bring out the beef and mushrooms and let’s sauté up some stroganoff together!
Y’all. I am SO ready for sweater weather and cozy slow cooker stews! To kick the season off, I made this super simple Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew this week. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just simple, good, comforting food! I love the simplicity of this dish and the flexibility. It’s the perfect thing to have simmering […]
Y’all. I am SO ready for sweater weather and cozy slow cooker stews! To kick the season off, I made this super simple Slow Cooker Hamburger Stew this week. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just simple, good, comforting food! I love the simplicity of this dish and the flexibility. It’s the perfect thing to have simmering away on the weekend as you do your chores or relax and enjoy watching the changing of the seasons. :)
Hamburger stew is very similar to traditional beef stew, but it’s made with ground beef instead of stew meat. Using ground beef is a little bit less expensive than using stew meat, and I like how you get a little bit of beef in every bite!
In addition to the beef we have a medley of fresh vegetables (carrots, onions, potatoes, peas), beef broth, herbs and spices, plus a little Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to zhuzh it up a bit. It’s incredibly simple, but creates that beautifully subtle slow stewed flavor.
For this Hamburger Stew I browned the ground beef in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker. I did this for two reasons. One, to render off some of the fat. I used 15% fat ground beef and there was quite a bit that needed to be drained away (I actually tested this recipe once without draining the fat and it just ended up far too oily). The second reason is that you get a nice browning (maillard reaction) on the beef in the dry environment of a skillet that you do not get in the wet environment of a slow cooker. So you’ll get just a little bit more flavor with this extra step!
Yes! Stews are very flexible. If you don’t like one of the vegetables listed, go ahead and skip it. Just keep in mind that the potatoes do help thicken the stew, so if you skip the potatoes you’ll have more of a soup texture. Other great vegetables to use in beef stew include:
This recipe calls for stewed tomatoes, which are a variety of canned tomatoes that are popular in the U.S. (example: Hunts stewed tomatoes). These tomatoes are cooked with seasonings and a little bit of sugar to give them the slightest sweetness. Stewed tomatoes add a little extra special unique flavor to the broth of this stew. While you can use diced tomatoes if stewed tomatoes are not available, this substitution will slightly change the flavor of the stew.
After cooking the hamburger stew, I suggest dividing it into single portions (so that it cools faster) and refrigerating it right away. It will stay good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or it can be transferred to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months). This stew is a great item to have stashed in your freezer for busy nights! It can be reheated quickly in the microwave, or slowly over medium-low heat in a pot on the stove.
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
Peel and dice 2 lbs. of potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Peel and slice ½ lb. carrots (about 4 carrots). Dice one onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic to a slow cooker along with ½ tsp dried rosemary, ½ tsp dried tyme, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.
Brown one pound of ground beef and drain off the excess fat. Add the browned ground beef to the slow cooker along with one 15oz. can of stewed tomatoes (with the juices).
Add 2 cups beef broth, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp soy sauce to the slow cooker.
Give the contents of the slow cooker a brief stir to combine. The broth will not fully cover the meat and vegetables, but that’s okay. The vegetables will release more moisture and increase the broth as they cook. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, it will look like this. Give it a good stir and smash some of the potatoes against the side of the slow cooker. The smashed potatoes will help thicken the broth into a nice hearty stew.
Stir one cup of frozen peas into the slow cooker (they’ll thaw and heat within a minute or so).
Give the hamburger stew a final taste and adjust the salt to your liking. I didn’t need to add any because the broth I use (Better than Bouillon) has a decent amount, but if your broth has less sodium you may find that a pinch of salt at the end helps the flavors pop!
Serve the hamburger stew immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat (but I don’t know how you’ll resist having a bowl after smelling that cooking all day!).
Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing […]
Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing onto just about any food. It’s not called “comeback sauce” for nothing. It will keep you coming back for more. And more. And MORE. (I “accidentally” ate an entire bunch of broccoli in one sitting, thanks to this delicious sauce.)
This unique sauce is said to have originated in a Greek restaurant in Mississippi, but it quickly spread throughout the entire south. The original sauce had a base of mayonnaise and Heinz Chili Sauce (a tomato based sauce not to be confused with Sweet Chili Sauce), plus some other seasonings. There are many interpretations of this addictive sauce, with each person putting their own spin on the original as it spread across the region. Because Heinz Chili Sauce is not something I keep in my pantry, I made a few substitutions to create a similar flavor profile using items that I keep on hand, and in the process put the Budget Bytes stamp on the classic comeback sauce. ;)
What can you not serve it with is probably a more appropriate question! It’s a fantastic all-purpose dip for things like roasted vegetables (shown with roasted broccoli), fried foods like french fries, chicken fingers or nuggets, or chips. It’s also great smeared onto burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, or wrap sandwiches. I wouldn’t be opposed to using this as a salad dressing, or using it to make an extra flavorful batch of coleslaw!
Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ⅛ tsp salt.
Stir the ingredients together until smooth. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat!
Shown with roasted broccoli – toss broccoli in oil, then roast at 400ºF for about 30 minutes, or until you reach your desired level of brown.
My boyfriend saw what I was cooking and said, “What is this, the “Hungry Man” edition of Budget Bytes? 😆 What can I say, this pandemic has me craving comfort food! And for some reason, Salisbury Steak has been on my mind for weeks. So I set to work putting together a super simple version […]
My boyfriend saw what I was cooking and said, “What is this, the “Hungry Man” edition of Budget Bytes? 😆 What can I say, this pandemic has me craving comfort food! And for some reason, Salisbury Steak has been on my mind for weeks. So I set to work putting together a super simple version of Salisbury Steak, smothered with a mushroom and onion gravy, perfect for serving over a hot bed of fluffy mashed potatoes. Add a little something green (peas, in this case), and you have a classic “meat and potatoes” comfort meal.
It’s funny because the very first time I ever had Salisbury Steak was in a frozen TV dinner in the 1980’s. So, this kind of is a Hungry Man edition of Budget Bytes. :P
If you weren’t as lucky as I was to experience Salisbury Steak for the first time as a frozen TV dinner in the 80’s (read: sarcasm), then let me tell you a little about this classic comfort food. It’s a bit like a mini-meatloaf or big, flat meatball. It’s a mixture of ground beef and seasonings, plus a little breadcrumbs and egg to keep it all moist and tender. It’s usually cooked in a skillet and smothered with gravy. The dish gets its name from Dr. Salisbury, who recommended a version of this dish in the late 19th century as a part of his meat-centric diet (read more on Wikipedia).
The mushroom and onion gravy made with this Salisbury Steak is so delicious that you definitely want some sort of starch to soak it up. I served mine with fluffy mashed potatoes, but you could also spoon it over hot rice. Or, just serve with some crusty bread so sop up the gravy from your plate.
I really suggest having a vegetable or two on the side as well. Definitely something green, like the peas shown in my photos, or roasted broccoli. As a second vegetable, I’d probably go with something orange, like roasted carrots. Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes would also make a great, colorful side to Salisbury Steak. With my leftovers, I added a scoop of sauerkraut on top and that was an AMAZING combination.
AWESOME. We reheated leftovers of this dish in the microwave and happily gobbled them up. Your leftovers should keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator. And while I haven’t tested freezing this one, this is definitely a dish that I would normally have frozen, if we hadn’t eaten it so fast. The gravy may separate a little upon thawing and reheating, as many flour thickened sauces do, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad and won’t be noticed if it’s mixed right into your mashed potatoes.
You can use any type of ground beef for this recipe. If you use a higher fat ground beef, like 15% fat, the extra fat will be absorbed by the breadcrumbs and make the Salisbury Steak extra tender. If you use a more lean ground beef, like 93% fat, your Salisbury Steak will be a little more firm, but will be kept moist by the egg and breadcrumbs.
I used Baby Bella mushrooms because they give the gravy a wonderful color and they’re quite affordable at Aldi. If you have a limited selection or Baby Bella mushrooms are too expensive in your area, regular button mushrooms can be used instead. Your gravy may be slightly lighter in color when using white button mushrooms.
Scroll down to see the step by step photos!
Mince about ½ cup of one yellow onion, and slice the rest of the onion. The minced portion will go IN the Salisbury Steaks, the sliced portion will go into the gravy. If you have a small onion, you’ll probably mince about half and slice half. If you have a larger onion, you’ll mince about ¼ of the onion and slice the remaining ¾ onion.
Add 1 lb. ground beef, the minced onion, one large egg, ½ cup breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper to a bowl.
Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are evenly mixed. Divide the mixture into four equal pieces, then shape them into flattened ovals.
Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shaped patties in the hot skillet for about five minutes on each side, or until they are well browned on each side. Remove the cooked patties to a clean plate.
While the beef patties are cooking, slice 8 oz. mushrooms.
After removing the cooked beef from the skillet, add the sliced onion and mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then continue to cook the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until they have softened. Allow the moisture released from the onions and mushrooms to help dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
Once the mushrooms and onions have softened and most of the moisture has evaporated from the skillet, add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes more. The flour and butter will form a paste and begin to coat the bottom of the skillet.
Add 1.5 cups beef broth and another 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat, dissolving the flour into the broth. When the broth reaches a simmer, it will thicken into a gravy.
Return the beef patties to the skillet with the gravy and spoon the gravy over top.
Continue to let the patties simmer in the gravy for another five minutes.
Taste the gravy and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with mashed potatoes and peas for a classic comfort meal!
My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors. Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡ We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents. And amidst the most delicious week of meals […]
My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors.
Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡
We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents. And amidst the most delicious week of meals together around the table in our little cottage — with fresh croissants and baguettes picked up from the local bakery, farmers market wild mushrooms and artichokes the size of your head, approximately one million French cheeses, herby olives, fresh raspberry tart, plus the loveliest crisp local rosés — I also channeled my inner Julia Child and simmered up a batch of my favorite French onion soup for dinner one evening. And it was delightful.
I actually first shared this recipe here during my very first year of blogging — now ten years ago! — and have made it countless times since. And it’s always, always a winner. Nowadays, I tend to make it vegetarian (using veggie broth instead of traditional beef broth) so that both my husband and I can enjoy it. And after living in Barcelona for a few years, we’ve also come to love the Spanish twist on this recipe as well, which includes cracking an egg into each soup bowl and then broiling it (with or without cheesy toast) until the egg is perfectly poached on top of the soup.
However its made, French onion soup is a classic and will forever remain one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. So if you’re looking for a well-tested recipe to add to your repertoire, I can vouch that this one’s a keeper!
This French Onion Dip recipe is easy to make, lightened up a bit, and irresistibly delicious! Fellow dip lovers! Do you have a stellar French onion dip recipe in your back pocket?! If not, bookmark this one! ♡ It has been my go-to French onion dip recipe for years and years. And, I would note, has […]
This French Onion Dip recipe is easy to make, lightened up a bit, and irresistibly delicious!
Fellow dip lovers! Do you have a stellar French onion dip recipe in your back pocket?!
If not, bookmark this one! ♡
It has been my go-to French onion dip recipe for years and years. And, I would note, has a 100% success rate of disappearing instantly anytime I bring it to a party. People absolutely love this stuff. And I’m a big fan because it’s easy to make (you just need to budget in time to caramelize those onions), made completely from scratch (so long, retro onion soup packets with a million processed ingredients), and also lightened up a bit (yet still full of bold savory flavors).
Feel free to serve it up with chips, veggies, bread, fries, crackers, or any other dippers that sound good. And hey — if you feel like making a double batch while you’re at it — I can vouch that French onion dip also tastes great as a spread on burgers and flatbreads, dolloped onto grilled chicken or a bowl of chili, or even stirred into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs. So many reasons to make this dip!
Let’s do it.