Quick & Easy Chicken Breast Recipes

For a quick lunch or easy dinner, try these budget-friendly, quick and easy chicken breast recipes to mix it up and never get bored!

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Oh, chicken breast, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways! They’reIt’s good served hot or cold. You can poach, saute, bake, or fry them. Best of all, their mild flavor and versatility make them the perfect vehicle for all sorts of flavor combinations and ingredients. Whether you’re craving a hearty salad for lunch, a saucy stovetop dinner, an oven-baked family dinner, or a delicious, indulgent one-pot dish — you can count on the humble chicken breast to be the absolute star in your weekly meal plan! And with this roundup of Quick & Easy Chicken Breast Recipes, you will never tire of them. 

A collage of chicken breast recipes, from top left to right: one-pot chicken teriyaki and rice, one-pot cajun chicken pasta, pesto chicken and vegetables, creamy pesto chicken, bbq cheddar baked chicken, and easy lemon pepper chicken.

Easy CHICKEN SALADS

Boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the best, budget-friendly sources of protein available at the supermarket. And since chicken breasts are great served hot or cold, they’re a meal prep mainstay! Picking up a store-bought rotisserie chicken is a simple, time-saving way to eat a meal without spending all night at the stove. Here are three classic chicken salad recipes that transform chicken into a satisfying meal in just 15 minutes: 

Chicken Salad with Apples

Side view of a bowl of chicken salad with apples, croissants in the background
This chicken salad is packed with sweet and crunchy apples, tart dried cranberries, and a light and creamy homemade dressing.
4.85 from 20 votes
$10.35 recipe / $2.59 serving Get the Recipe

This Chicken Salad with Apples and cranberries is such a classic way to serve chicken. It makes a perfect lunch, or light and easy dinner. It’s easy to prepare, super filling, and the perfect cold meal. It’s full of different textures and flavors, and is easy to switch up depending on your taste!

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad

Close up side view of a bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad
This chunky chopped Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad is a great fresh salad that can be eaten on its own or turned into several different easy lunch ideas!
4.88 from 24 votes
$4.84 recipe / $1.61 serving Get the Recipe

Broccoli is a lot like chicken breast. It’s filling, versatile, and can be prepared and served in so many ways! Next time you have some fresh broccoli on hand, you’ve got to try out this Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Salad! It’s so good, you’ll be singing broccoli’s praises as you devour every last bite. 

Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad
This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of flavor, texture, and a tangy-sweet homemade dressing. It's perfect for your weekly meal prep!
4.94 from 15 votes
$6.19 recipe / $1.55 serving Get the Recipe

Kale is super yummy on its own, but pairing it with a ton of other flavors and ingredients as we do in this Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is a great way to turn it into a satisfying meal! That being said, if you’re not a fan of kale, you can swap it with whatever crunchy green you like best. This recipe also includes a wonderfully easy honey mustard vinaigrette that will amp up the flavor of almost any salad in your arsenal. 

Easy SKILLET and BAKED CHICKEN recipes

Cooking chicken breast on the stovetop or in the oven is an excellent way to get dinner on the table in around 30 minutes. They thaw and cook quickly. And since almost everything is good with chicken, it’s the easiest choice to pair with whatever other ingredients you have on hand. Check out these easy chicken dinners to shake up your weekly meal plan: 

Creamy Pesto Chicken

Overhead view of a skillet full of creamy pesto chicken.
Creamy pesto chicken is a fast, easy, and impressive main dish for dinner, whether you just want to treat yourself or impress guests!
4.92 from 59 votes
$10.70 recipe / $2.68 serving Get the Recipe

You can put pesto on just about anything, but it is particularly delicious with chicken breast! This Creamy Pesto Chicken has a super lush, decadent sauce, and you won’t want to waste a single drop! Make sure to serve it with garlic bread, or spoon it over pasta or rice to soak it all up.

Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables

Easy pesto chicken and vegetables in a skillet with a spatula
This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!
4.84 from 24 votes
$11.07 recipe / $2.77 serving Get the Recipe

Pesto is a super versatile ingredient and makes a great sauce for more than just pasta! So add a dollop to your next stir fry! This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables is a lighter dish, but is absolutely bursting with flavor. Since the variety of vegetables you can add to this recipe is nearly endless, it’s the perfect way to clean out the fridge!

Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken in the skillet with lemon slices
These Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts are so tender and juicy, and you'll want to spoon that delicious pan sauce over EVERYTHING. 
5 from 36 votes
$7.58 recipe / $1.90 serving Get the Recipe

The best way to keep chicken breast feeling fresh in your dinner rotation is to pair it with punchy ingredients, like lemon, to really make it shine. The best part about this Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken? There’s no need for fresh lemons! Instead, we use budget-friendly alternatives that are easier to always have on hand.

BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken

BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken on a plate with potato salad and bean salad, a fork grabbing a slice of chicken
Forget boring or bland baked chicken breasts, this BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken is going to be the star of your dinner plate.
5 from 9 votes
$8.89 recipe / $2.22 serving Get the Recipe

Want to talk about an iconic chicken dinner recipe? It’s this BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken. There’s absolutely no better, easier way to serve up chicken breast baked in the oven than smothering it in your favorite barbeque sauce and cheddar cheese. Sending it on a trip to the oven ensures it gets sticky, caramelized, and decadent.

ONE-POT chicken recipes

Cooking one-pot meals is “like riding a bike.” Once you learn how to make them, they really are that easy. Here are a few of our most popular one-pot recipes with chicken breast: 

One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

One Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta in the pan.
Cook a complete dinner in one pot with this Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta, using mostly pantry-stable items. Perfect for busy weeknights! 
4.68 from 293 votes
$9.41 recipe / $2.35 serving Get the Recipe

If there was a Budget Bytes Recipe Hall of Fame, this One-Pot Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta would absolutely be one of them! This fantastic recipe unites our foolproof one-pot methods with classic Cajun spices. The heat level of this dish is very moderate, so it’s approachable for everyone, but feel free to kick it up a notch if that’s what you like! 

One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta

Close up of one pot creamy pesto chicken pasta in a shallow bowl with a black fork.
This super lush and Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta is perfect for busy weeknights. Everything cooks in one pot and is done in under 30 minutes! 
4.83 from 153 votes
$10.41 recipe / $2.60 serving Get the Recipe

One of our go-to ways to cook chicken breast is simmering it in a creamy, decadent pesto sauce. Add whatever veggies we have on hand to round it out into a full meal. Since serving it with pasta is an obvious choice, we might as well cook it in one pot! While this One-Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta won’t do the dishes for you, but it really helps!

One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

Close up of One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice in the skillet.
This One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice is an easy and satisfying meal that the whole family will love. It also meal preps well for lunches all week! 
4.49 from 39 votes
$6.26 recipe / $1.57 serving Get the Recipe

This Asian-inspired One-Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice is packed with veggies but requires very little chopping. The leftovers are also amazing, which makes it an easy choice for meal prep. Don’t be deterred if you’re a rice-cooking novice, you can always prepare the rice in a separate pot! 


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Beer Cheese Dip

Looking for a melted cheese appetizer that’s sure to be the hit of the party? You’ll love the unique taste cheddar gives this Beer Cheese Dip!

The post Beer Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This quick and easy Beer Cheese Dip recipe combines two casual party staples (Beer! Cheese!) into one creamy, decadent cheese dip. This ooey-gooey melted cheese appetizer is similar to queso. But the Cheddar cheese we use gives it a sharp, slightly-tangy flavor that makes it really unique (in a good way!). This funky twist on fondue is the perfect thing to serve up the next time you want to impress without the stress. 

A large white bowl filled with beer cheese dip on a blue background surrounded by different types of pretzels, a wooden cutting board with apple slices and a glass cup of beer.

WHAT IS BEER CHEESE?

This Beer Cheese Dip is precisely what it sounds like: a saucy cheese dip made with beer. The beer is simmered to reduce its alcohol content but still maintains its tangy flavor. Then it’s melded with a combo of cream cheese and extra-sharp cheddar cheese to create an ultra-rich and decadent dip. We also added Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and seasonings to round out the flavors.

This dish, which originated in Kentucky, shouldn’t be confused with the German cow’s milk cheese Bierkäse, which literally translates to “beer cheese.” It’s also very different from Obatzda, an authentic German cheese spread made with super-funky soft cheese that’s served cold alongside Bavarian-style soft pretzels. 

CHEESE OPTIONS

You can use almost any kind of cheese to make this recipe, but some will be more successful than others. We used a block of extra-sharp, store-brand cheddar cheese since it’s the most traditional and budget-friendly option. It’s also super flavorful (but not too funky!). Here are some more tips to consider when using different types of cheese:

  • Make sure the cheese and beer taste good together — and are ones you enjoy! (Since both heavily impact the sauce’s final flavor, color, and texture.)
  • For the grated cheese, reach for a semi-firm cheese (like Cheddar, Edam, or Gouda) or a semi-soft cheese (like Mozzarella, Jack, Fontina, and Munster). Both types of cheese will shred easier when cold. Hard cheeses and ones that are “aged” or “extra-sharp” can also be used, but don’t melt as easily as their softer, milder counterparts.

BEER OPTIONS

It doesn’t matter what kind of beer you use for this recipe – just pick one you like to drink! We used Pabst Blue Ribbon, a budget-friendly light beer with a mild, malty taste that wouldn’t compete with the flavor of our sharp cheddar cheese. 

  • Light Beers: Considered best for beer cheese. Light beers are usually milder in taste. So they’re less likely to overpower easy-to-melt cheeses like basic Cheddar. Fruity wheat beers pair especially well with cheese!
  • Dark Beers: Stouts and porters also make a great beer cheese sauce, but are best paired with a sharp, funky cheese that can stand up to their strong, rich flavors. 
  • Super-hoppy IPAs: If you love this style of beer, go for it. (They’re truly an “acquired taste!”) But if you don’t like drinking them, you probably won’t enjoy the lingering, bitter aftertaste they give your beer cheese sauce either!

Why is my beer cheese lumpy or grainy?

It’s important not to overheat your cheese dip. High heat makes the proteins and fat in the cheese separate, causing the sauce to “break” and turn into a lumpy mess. If this happens, it can be difficult (or impossible) to repair. You might be able to fix the cheese sauce by adding more cream cheese or Dijon, which are both emulsifying ingredients. Add these ingredients a little at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate them before adding any more. 

DOES BEER CHEESE CONTAIN ALCOHOL?

Boiling beer reduces the alcohol content a lot but doesn’t eliminate it entirely. I promise, no one will get “drunk” from eating too much beer cheese! If consuming alcohol isn’t part of your lifestyle, you can substitute it with a non-alcoholic beer! Or try one of our other easy cheese sauce recipes, like:

eat it fresh & keep it warm

This recipe is best eaten right after it’s prepared. The leftovers probably won’t stay as smooth and creamy, so I’d suggest reducing the serving size of the recipe to avoid wasted ingredients.

serving suggestions

Serve this decadent dip with an assortment of pretzels and crackers, apple slices, or a vegetable party tray. Our Beer Bread and Easy Soda Bread are also great vehicles for this cheese sauce!

A side view of giant Bavarian pretzel that's just been half-dipped in beer cheese is hovering over a large white bowl filled of the dip and is surrounded by an assortment of other pretzels and a glass cup of beer.
An overhead view of a hand swirling a pretzel crisp into a white bowl of beer cheese dip that's surrounded by an assortment of pretzels, a glass cup of beer, a wooden cutting board topped with apple slices, and a small bowl of pretzel salt.
Print

Beer Cheese Dip

Looking for a melted cheese appetizer that's sure to be the hit of the party? You'll love the unique taste cheddar gives this Beer Cheese Dip!
Course Appetizer, Dip, Side Dish
Cuisine American, German
Total Cost $3.95 RECIPE / $0.66 SERVING
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1/3 cup each
Calories 210kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beer $0.92
  • 1 Tbsp warm water $0.00
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.03
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.44
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded $2.49
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Heat the beer in a saucepan on medium-high heat. While the beer heating up, whisk together the cornstarch and warm water in a small bowl to make a slurry.
  • Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Allow the beer to come back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.
  • Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into chunks, then whisk it into the beer until fully melted.
  • Add the shredded cheese a handful at a time, continuing to whisk until the cheese is fully melted before adding more.
  • Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
  • Cover the cheese dip and keep the pot sitting over low heat so it stays warm and melted (or transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot). Stir the cheese dip occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 494mg | Fiber: 0.1g
A overhead view of a white bowl of cheese dip sprinkled with black pepper that is surrounded by an assortment of pretzels, a bowl of pretzel salt, a wooden cutting board of apples and a glass cup of beer.

How to Make beer cheese dip – Step by Step Photos

A small saucepot being filled with beer from a glass measuring cup held above the bottom right corner of the pot.

Heat 1 cup (8 oz.) of beer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes. While the beer heating up, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.

A cornstarch slurry is being poured into the left side of a small saucepot of beer, and a whisk is resting in the bottom right corner of the pot.

Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Bring the beer back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.

A small saucepot of boiled beer with chunks of unmelted cream cheese in the right side of the pot ready to be mixed into the beer.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut 2 ounces of cream cheese into chunks, and then whisk them into the beer until fully melted.

A hand is sprinkling shredded sharp cheddar cheese into a small saucepot containing a mixture of beer, cornstarch, and cream cheese.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheese to the saucepot a handful at a time. Continue whisking after each addition until all the cheese has melted before adding the next handful.

A hand is pouring Worcestershire sauce into a small saucepot of melted cheese, and there are small piles of unmixed salt and black pepper sitting on the surface.

Add 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking. 

A small saucepot of finished beer cheese dip.

Cover the cheese dip and keep it over low heat so it stays warm and melted. You could also transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot. Stir it occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface of the cheese sauce. 

An extreme close up of a giant Bavarian soft pretzel that's just been dipped into a white bowl filled with melted cheese sauce, and an assortment of pretzels and a glass cup of beer are blurred in the background.

There’s nothing quite like a vat of melted cheese and a soft pretzel as big as your face, amirite?! ~ Marion :)

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Beer Bread

Transform a can of beer into a tasty loaf of Beer Bread! This easy, no-knead bread recipe is packed with flavor and only takes an hour.

The post Beer Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Looking for a way to use that random can of beer hanging out in the back of the fridge? Transform it into a loaf of deliciously-cheesy Beer Bread! Thanks to the beer, this super-easy quick bread recipe still delivers on the classic, yeasty flavor of a long-fermented loaf, but comes together in a fraction of the time. Best of all, there’s no kneading required.

A loaf of beer bread with three slices overlapping on a long wooden cutting board surrounded by glass jars filled with beer, a PBR can, a wooden bowl of shredded cheese and a small metal dish of soft butter and a small butter knife.

WHAT IS BEER BREAD?

Beer Bread is a type of “quick bread” that uses the flavor and carbonation in beer to create a fluffy, buttery, tangy loaf in just an hour. Unlike most homemade bread recipes, this one doesn’t require any kneading, resting time, or additional yeast. We also included some shredded cheddar cheese to make our loaf extra rich and flavorful! 

BEST BEERS FOR BEER BREAD

We chose a budget-friendly, light beer for our loaf, but almost any kind of beer can be used to make this recipe. Keep in mind: the beer you choose will influence the flavor of the bread, so make sure to pick something you like! How to choose the best beer for beer bread:

  • Light beers – Generally, light beers will create a light-colored loaf with an airy texture and a more subtle, malty flavor.
  • Dark beers – Darker beers like stouts and porters will give the bread a slightly darker color and more robust flavor than light beer.
  • Hoppy beers & IPAs – Since pale ales tend to be very bitter, they aren’t an ideal choice. That intense flavor will carry over and may give the bread a lingering sour aftertaste.

HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS

Once fully cooled, wrap the loaf in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store the bread in the pantry or on the counter (for 1-2 days) or in the fridge (for 4-5 days). This bread also freezes beautifully. Tightly wrap the loaf in a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

serving suggestions

This beer bread lands somewhere between a regular, sliceable loaf of bread and a savory, ultra-rich loaf cake. So the possibilities are kind of endless!

A close up shot of long wooden cutting board with a half a loaf of beer bread in the left corner of the frame, two slices on the upper right corner of the frame and in between a slice is being covered with salted homemade butter with a small metal butter knife.
A side shot of a loaf of beer bread on a wooden cutting board with three slices slightly overlapping in the foreground of the image, and behind the cutting board is a small wooden bowl filled with shredded cheese and a glass cup of beer is visible in the upper right corner of the frame.
Print

Beer Bread

Transform a can of beer into a tasty loaf of Beer Bread! This easy, no-knead bread recipe is packed with flavor and only takes an hour.
Course Bread, Easy, Side Dish
Cuisine American, German
Total Cost $2.35 RECIPE / $0.29 SERVING
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 1 slice each
Calories 269kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder $0.12
  • 2 tsp salt $0.04
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese* $0.62
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided** $1.20
  • 12 oz. beer (one regular-sized can) $0.92

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and shredded cheese. Mix well.
  • Melt the butter in a small sauce pot. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. Set the remaining butter aside.
  • Add the beer to the flour mixture and stir until a thick batter forms. Transfer the batter to the prepared bread pan, making sure to spread it out evenly inside the bread pan.
  • Pour the rest of the melted butter on top of the bread dough.
  • Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes, or until deeply golden brown on top.
  • Once slightly cool (about 10 minutes), run a butter knife around the inside edge of the pan gently to loosen the edges, and then turn the bread onto a cutting board to slice and serve.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

* or Parmesan cheese
** If using unsalted butter, you may want to add an additional ¼ teaspoon of salt with the rest of the dry ingredients or sprinkle the same amount on top of the loaf just before baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 834mg | Fiber: 1g
An overhead shot of a half-sliced loaf of beer bread on a long, wooden cutting board surrounded by glass cups of beer, a can of beer, a butter dish and knife, and bowl of cheese, and a grey and white striped dish cloth.

How to Make BEER BREAD – Step by Step Photos

A white ceramic mixing bowl filled with piles of unmixed flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, sugar and shredded cheddar cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375℉. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.

An overhead shot of two hands preparing a metal loaf pan with a pastry brush next to a small skillet of melted butter.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pot or skillet. Use a pastry brush to coat the inside of a 9×5″ loaf pan with about 1/2 tablespoon of the melted butter. Set the rest of the butter aside.

A white, ceramic mixing bowl filled with the mixed dry ingredients to make beer bread, a spatula is resting in the right side of the bowl and beer is being poured into the left side of the bowl from a glass liquid measuring cup.

Pour 12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) of beer into the flour mixture. Mix until a thick batter forms and no clumps of dry ingredients remain. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, making sure to spread it out evenly. Tap it on the counter a few times to help eliminate any air pockets.

A metal loaf pan filled with unbaked bread dough is being covered with melted butter poured from a small, white bowl on the left side of the frame.

Pour the rest of the melted butter (about 3 1/2 tablespoons) on top of the bread dough. 

A horizonal image of a baked loaf of bread with a golden-brown, crunchy top in metal loaf pan.

Bake the beer bread for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is evenly golden brown and crispy. Let the bread cool slightly (about 10 minutes) in the loaf pan. Run a butter knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the edges, then flip the bread out onto a cutting board to slice and serve.

A vertical close up of a loaf of bread on a wooden cutting board with three slices slightly overlapping in the foreground of the image, and behind the cutting board is a small wooden bowl filled with shredded cheese and a can of beer is visible in the upper right corner of the frame.

As one of my favorite TikTok creators (@tanaradoublechocolate) would say: “It ain’t gonna slide down easy if it ain’t cheesy!” Hope y’all love this Easy Beer Bread as much as we do! ~Marion :)

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Chicken Alfredo Bake

Transform stovetop Chicken Alfredo into a delicious, decadent casserole with this easy Chicken Alfredo Bake recipe!

The post Chicken Alfredo Bake appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Chicken Alfredo Bake is the ultimate, crowd-pleasing casserole! This creamy and indulgent pasta bake will become one of your favorite dishes to prepare, too, because it’s super easy to make ahead and then assemble just before baking. Not to mention, it’s so cheesy and delicious that everyone will ask for seconds! (That’s right, no leftovers in sight!)

A golden brown chicken alfredo bake in a round, white enamel casserole dish on a wooden background surrounded by a yellow and gray striped dish towel in the bottom left, a wooden cutting board with shaved Parmesan cheese in the top left corner, a clove of garlic, sprigs of parsley, and small wooden bowl of breadcrumbs in the top right corner, and a small wooden bowl of uncooked pasta in the bottom right corner. The right side of the casserole has been stirred with a large wooden spoon that's resting in the dish.

What is a chicken alfredo bake?

This Baked Chicken Alfredo is a fun spin on one of our most popular dinner recipes: Chicken Alfredo. We take the stovetop version of this dish to the next level by sending it on a trip to the oven…blanketed with seasoned breadcrumbs and tons of shredded cheese! (Because what could be better?!) 

Ingredients & substitutions

  • Chicken: We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but you could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 2 cups of rotisserie chicken. 
  • Alfredo Sauce: We made a double batch of our Homemade Alfredo Sauce (what we call an “Ameri-fredo sauce”) in the same skillet we used to cook the chicken. It can also be substituted with around 3 cups (or 24 oz.) of store-bought alfredo sauce. (But I promise, ours is better!)
  • Pasta: We used rotini in our pasta bake because it grabs onto that creamy sauce oh-so-well! Any medium-sized pasta like fusilli, penne, macaroni, or rigatoni works, too.
  • Frozen Vegetables: We added some frozen broccoli because the dish needed something fresh to balance out all the other rich ingredients. If you don’t like broccoli, try frozen peas, or a frozen vegetable mix (like ones with diced carrots, peas, and corn).
  • Buttered Breadcrumbs: Making buttery, seasoned breadcrumbs from scratch with panko will ensure the topping is as crispy and delicious as possible. Seasoning them yourself also gives you full control over the flavor. But they could be replaced with store-bought, seasoned Italian breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs if desired.

MAKE AHEAD & AVOID LEFTOVERS

This is one of the dreamiest recipes of all time…but it isn’t quite as creamy and dreamy once reheated. For that reason, we suggest making a half batch instead of planning on a lot of leftovers. On the other hand, since every individual element of this recipe can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to 4 days, you could still make up the whole recipe and just bake it up at different times! Here’s how to prepare this pasta bake ahead of time:

  • Mix up the prepared chicken, cooked pasta, and thawed broccoli. Split the mixture into smaller portions. Store each serving in a glass container separately from the alfredo sauce. (If you want to mix the sauce in ahead of time, I guess you could — but it may soak into the cooked pasta over time.)
  • When you’re ready to bake up a serving, let it sit a room temperature for a few minutes (to slightly warm the glass dish), mix in the alfredo sauce, and top with cheese and breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center of the pasta bake reaches an internal temperature of 165℉, and the toppings achieve the same visual cues in the recipe).
A large serving of chicken alfredo bake in a flat, white bowl, and a black fork is resting on the right side of the bowl. The bowl is sitting on a wood background surround with a yellow and gray striped dish cloth, a dark wooden cutting board with Parmesan Cheese shavings on it, and a sprig of parsley and a bowl of untoasted breadcrumbs.

I swear, y’all….this recipe is SUPER EASY to throw together. (Despite the long ingredient list and the number of steps!) It’s also a great blueprint for making just about any pasta bake you can dream up!

A golden brown chicken alfredo bake in a round, white enamel casserole dish on a wooden background surrounded by a yellow and gray striped dish towel in the bottom left, a wooden cutting board with shaved Parmesan cheese in the top left corner, a clove of garlic, sprigs of parsley, and small wooden bowl of breadcrumbs in the top right corner, and a small wooden bowl of uncooked pasta in the bottom right corner.
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Chicken Alfredo Bake

Transform stovetop chicken alfredo into a super-cheesy, decadent casserole with this Chicken Alfredo Bake recipe! It’s super easy to make (or make ahead!), and so delicious there won’t be any leftovers!
Course Dinner, Pasta
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $12.80 recipe / $2.13 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Bake Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 829kcal

Ingredients

Parmesan Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 lbs. total) $3.89
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided $0.26
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper $0.01
  • 3 Tbsp water $0.00

Buttered Breadcrumbs:

  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.30
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs $0.35
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.01

Alfredo Sauce/Pasta Bake:

  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.60
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.30
  • 2 cups heavy cream $2.00
  • 2 cups Italian shredded cheese blend, divided $2.49
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.01
  • 8 oz. rotini, uncooked $0.66
  • 10 oz. frozen broccoli florets $1.49

Instructions

Parmesan Chicken:

  • Cut the chicken breasts into 1” chunks. Coat the chicken with 1 tablespoons of oil and season it with the grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the chicken until the bottom of each piece is brown and the sides start to turn white (about 5 minutes).
  • Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan, releasing the chicken pieces from the bottom of the skillet, and flip each one. Continue cooking until the chicken is evenly browned on all sides and fully cooked in the center (about 5 minutes). Remove the chicken from the skillet, leaving behind any stuck-on bits of chicken to flavor the alfredo sauce.

Buttered Breadcrumbs:

  • Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has completely melted, stir in the panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  • Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring occasionally, until all the butter is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are toasted and golden but not brown (about 5 minutes).
  • Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl to stop the cooking process and set them aside to cool.

Alfredo Sauce:

  • Melt the butter over medium heat in the same large skillet used to cook the chicken (without wiping it out). Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Let it come up to a boil, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
  • Turn the heat down to low, and add 1.5 cups of shredded cheese a handful at a time, whisking until the cheese is fully melted before adding more (about 5 minutes). The alfredo sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Assembly:

  • Preheat the oven to 375℉. Thaw the frozen broccoli in a colander, breaking down any large florets into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
  • At the same time, boil a large pot of water on high heat. Once the water is rapidly boiling, add the rotini and cook until it is just tender (about 7 minutes). Do not overcook the pasta, as it will soften further in the oven. Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
  • Mix together the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, thawed broccoli, and alfredo sauce in a casserole dish. Top the casserole with ½ cup of shredded cheese and the toasted breadcrumbs.
  • Bake the casserole until all the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown (about 25-30 minutes).

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 829kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 58g | Sodium: 760mg | Fiber: 3g
A side shot of a chicken alfredo bake with broccoli in a round, white enamel cast iron baking dish with a black rim. A wooden serving spoon is lifting out a heaping spoonful of the pasta slightly above the casserole dish. There is a yellow and gray striped dish cloth slightly visible in the bottom left side of the image, and blurred in the background are a black bowl of uncooked pasta and a bunch of Italian parsley.

How to Make Chicken Alfredo Bake – Step by Step Photos

A white bowl of uncooked chicken breast chunks seasoned with grated Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. The bowl is sitting on a marble background.

Cut 2 chicken breasts into 1” chunks. Combine 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Coat the chunks of chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and then toss them in the seasoning mixture.

A large stainless steel skillet is sitting on a white marble background. In the skillet are chunks of cooked chicken breast and some olive oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the chicken until the bottom of each piece is brown and the sides start to turn white (About 10 minutes). Add 3 tablespoons of water to release the chicken from the skillet, and flip each piece. Continue cooking the chicken until cooked through and no pink remains (About 5 minutes). Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside to cool. Also, reserve the pan (without wiping it out!) to use when cooking the alfredo sauce.

A stainless steel skillet filled with toasted, seasoned Panko breadcrumbs sitting on a white marble background.

While the chicken is cooking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has completely melted, stir in 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring occasionally, until all the butter is absorbed and the breadcrumbs are toasted and golden but not brown. (About 7 minutes.) Set aside to cool.

A large stainless steel skillet on a background of white marble. The skillet is covered with fond after cooking chicken and there is a chunk of unmelted butter in the center and a pile of minced garlic.

In the same large skillet used to cook the chicken (without wiping it out), melt 4 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. (About 2 minutes.) Use a metal whisk to scrape up the stuck bits of chicken and seasonings left behind in the pan as you cook the garlic, which will infuse the alfredo sauce with tons of flavor!

A large stainless steel skillet with butter and sautéed garlic, and heavy cream being poured from a glass measuring cup into the skillet from the left side of the pan.

Whisk in 2 cups of heavy cream. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Let the cream come up to a boil, stirring occasionally. (About 5 minutes.)

A large stainless steel skillet filled with heavy cream mixed with sautéed garlic, butter and seasonings. Grated parmesan cheese is sprinkled across the top of the heavy cream mixture from a small white bowl by a hand hovering over the bottom right side of the skillet.

Turn the heat down to low, and add 1½ cups of shredded cheese a handful at a time, whisking until the cheese is fully melted. (About 5 minutes.)

A large stainless steel skillet on a white marble background. The skillet is filled with a finished homemade alfredo sauce, and a hand in visible in the bottom right of the image and is stirring the mixture with a metal balloon whisk.

The alfredo sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. 

A medium-size stainless steel pot filled with cloudy pasta water and cooked rotini. A wooden spoon with a gray, silicon spoon is being held above the pot to show that the pasta is fully cooked. The pot is sitting on a white marble backdrop.

Preheat the oven to 375℉. Thaw the frozen broccoli in a colander, breaking down any large florets into bite-size pieces. At the same time, boil a large pot of water on high heat. Once the water is rapidly boiling, add the rotini and cook until it is just tender. (About 7 minutes). Do not overcook the pasta, as it will soften further in the oven. Set the cooked pasta and broccoli aside.

A circular, white enamel cast iron with a black rim sitting on a marble background. The casserole dish is filled with a mixture of cooked pasta, cooked chunks of seasoned chicken breast, and broccoli florets. Homemade alfredo sauce is being poured over the mixture from a stainless steel skillet raised above the casserole from the left side of the frame.

Mix together the cooked chicken, cooked pasta, and thawed broccoli in a casserole dish. Pour over the alfredo sauce and stir well.

A round, white enamel cast iron baking dish with a black rim is sitting on a white marble background. The baking dish is filled with a mixture of cooked pasta, broccoli florets, cooked chunks of chicken breast and alfredo sauce. A hand in the lower right corner of the casserole dish is sprinkling toasted breadcrumbs over the pasta bake.

Top the casserole with ½ cup of shredded Italian cheese and then sprinkle over 1/2 cup of buttered breadcrumbs. 

A chicken alfredo bake with broccoli topped with melted cheese and golden brown toasted breadcrumbs in a round, white enamel baking dish with a black rim that's sitting on a white, marble background.

Bake the casserole until all the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown (About 25-30 minutes).

A large serving of chicken alfredo bake in a flat, white bowl, and a black fork is resting on the right side of the bowl. The bowl is sitting on a wood background surround with a yellow and gray striped dish cloth, a dark wooden cutting board with Parmesan Cheese shavings on it, and a sprig of parsley and a bowl of untoasted breadcrumbs.

I’m craving this meal again — just LOOKING at it! ~Marion :)

The post Chicken Alfredo Bake appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce

This thick, creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe is a quick and easy way to make a delicious, budget-friendly dinner in less than 30 minutes!

The post Homemade Alfredo Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ditch the jar sauce and whip up your own batch of Homemade Alfredo Sauce from scratch! (And have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!) This easy recipe will help you make deliciously creamy pasta dishes that are way better, and cheaper, than anything you can order at Olive Garden. The best part is this recipe for Homemade Alfredo Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days!

A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta dressed with homemade alfredo sauce, a hand is holding the right side of the bowl and a black metal fork, various props surround the bowl including a grey striped dish cloth, a block of parmesan cheese, a wooden bowl of salt and a mason jar of alfredo sauce.

WHAT IS ALFREDO SAUCE?

This thick, creamy Alfredo Sauce—what we like to call an “Amerifredo” or an American-style alfredo sauce—is a decadent pasta sauce made with butter, garlic, heavy cream, and tons of Parmesan cheese. Authentic Roman alfredo sauce does not include any heavy cream or garlic, and it derives all of its creaminess and flavor from the butter and really good Parmesan. But if you’re used to the “alfredo” served in American restaurants or bought in a jar in U.S. grocery stores, that’s what this recipe delivers.

CAN I USE MILK INSTEAD OF CREAM?

To make Homemade Alfredo Sauce that is thick, creamy, and delicious, you need to use heavy cream. Using whole milk or half & half will not work as well because the high water content in these ingredients will not allow the Parmesan to emulsify and melt smoothly into the sauce. The sauce will end up runnier, it may not cling to the pasta as well, and it will likely be a little clumpy or gritty in texture.

#1 Tip for success? heat control.

Make sure the heat is on low before stirring in the Parmesan cheese—even taking the pot off of the burner for a minute so the cream is no longer boiling—otherwise, the sauce could break. High heat separates the proteins and fats in cheese, which will give you a lumpy, unappetizing sauce. Waiting until the cream is no longer boiling will also help prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and not melting into the sauce properly.

What kind of parmesan is best for alfredo sauce?

We tested this recipe using grated Parmesan cheese (the kind in a can). It’s the most budget-friendly option, and will still give you insanely-delicious results! If you have the money to splurge, freshly shredded Parmesan will make the most creamy, dreamy Alfredo Sauce you’ve ever tasted.

tip: save your parmesan rind!

Dropping big bucks on a block of Parmesan cheese is absolutely not necessary (see above), but I do enjoy working it into my budget now and then. To make the most of every single morsel, SAVE THE RIND! Stash it in the freezer for your next soup or stew. Simply toss it in the pot while everything’s simmering and infuse the broth with rich, Parmesan flavor! (Remove it before serving…or sneak a bite when no one’s looking.) Add a leftover Parmesan rind to these soup and stew recipes:

EAT LEFTOVERS ALL WEEK!

One of the best parts about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. No more terrible re-heated leftover creamy pasta! Instead, let the alfredo sauce cool and store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then gently reheat and add to freshly cooked pasta. 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE ALFREDO SAUCE

Drench this ultra-rich sauce over plain pasta or add some chicken, shrimp, and hearty vegetables even use it in a decadently cheesy pasta bake. And make sure to serve some garlic bread and a simple side salad on the side!

A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta, a hand is pouring alfredo sauce in the center of the bowl from a glass mason jar in the lower left side of the image, and there are various ingredients around the bowl mostly out of frame.
A mason jar filled with alfredo sauce and a metal spoon raised above the jar after it's been dipped into the sauce so it's dripping off, and blurred in the background is a block of parmesean cheese, a bowl of uncooked pasta and some fresh italian parsley.
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Homemade Alfredo Sauce

This thick, creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe is a quick and easy way to make a delicious, budget-friendly dinner in less than 30 minutes!
Course Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $2.67 RECIPE / $ 0.67 SERVING
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 335kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp salted butter $0.30
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.15
  • 1 cup heavy cream $1.00
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper $0.01
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese $1.15

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for two minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Allow the cream to come up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir the mixture until all the cheese has melted and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta, chicken, vegetables, and more!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 680mg | Fiber: 0.2g
A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta dressed with homemade alfredo sauce, a hand is holding the right side of the bowl and a black metal fork, various props surround the bowl including a grey striped dish cloth, a block of parmesan cheese, a wooden bowl of salt and a mason jar of alfredo sauce.

How to Make Homemade alfredo sauce – Step by Step Photos

Garlic being sautéed in melted butter and stirred with a balloon whisk in a stainless steel skillet on a white marble backdrop.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and saute for two minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Heavy cream being poured into the left side of a stainless steel skillet with sauteed garlic, salt, pepper and italian season in seperate piles on the right side of the skillet.

Whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly-cracked black pepper into the sauteed garlic. Allow the cream to come up to a boil. (About 5 minutes.)

A hand dumping parmesan cheese from a small white bowl into the bottom right hand side of a stainless steel skillet that contains mixed heavy cream, melted butter, sauteed garlic and spices.

Once the cream is boiling, reduce the heat to low. and stir in the Parmesan cheese. If needed, take the pot off of the hot burner for a minute so the cream is no longer boiling. (High heat could cause the cheese to separate.)

A whisk sitting in a stainless steel skillet after it was used to combine parmesan cheese with heavy cream, garlic, melted butter and spices to create alfredo sauce.

Continue to stir the mixture until all the cheese has melted and the sauce thickens. (About 5 minutes.)

A hand is holding a metal serving spoon over a skillet of homemade alfredo sauce to show the thickness and consistency of the sauce once it has reduced and cooled slightly.

Serve over your favorite pasta, chicken, vegetables, or more! This homemade alfredo sauce can also be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

A mason jar filled with alfredo sauce and a metal spoon raised above the jar after it's been dipped into the sauce so it's dripping off, and blurred in the background is a block of parmesean cheese, a bowl of uncooked pasta and some fresh italian parsley.

Oh, heck yeah! Who’s eating pasta all week?! (We definitely did!) ~ Marion :)

The post Homemade Alfredo Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Bread Pudding

This recipe for Bread Pudding is an easy, versatile, and budget-friendly way to transform leftover ingredients into a decadent dessert.

The post Bread Pudding appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s crazy how day-old bread can turn into something as delicious as Bread Pudding! This simple dessert is the perfect way to use up leftover ingredients in a way that feels special—and hopefully, without dropping a dime! Best of all, when it comes to throwing together this recipe, time does most of the work. Bread Pudding is one of my go-to dessert recipes because it is versatile, budget-friendly, and comes together effortlessly.

A vertical image of a baked bread pudding in round, white enamel cast iron baking dish topped with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries. There is a cutting board in the top left corner of the frame with a wooden bowl of raspberries and next to it is a cup of coffee partially out of frame.

WHAT IS BREAD PUDDING?

Bread Pudding is a sweet or savory casserole made from torn pieces of day-old bread that are dried out, soaked in custard, and baked. Since the need for repurposing old bread is truly universal, ancient recipes for Bread Pudding can be found in pretty much every cultural cuisine on Earth. Our recipe is loosely inspired by one of Princess Diana’s favorite desserts, “Bread and Butter Pudding.” This Old English version of the dish is flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins.

The basics of BREAD PUDDING

Aside from eggs and butter (two non-negotiables!), the other ingredients in this simple dessert are quite versatile. They can be adjusted to accommodate whatever you have on hand. Here are some ingredient substitutions for bread pudding:

  • Bread—Brioche, challah, burger buns, unflavored dinner rolls, sandwich bread, etc.
  • Dairy—Heavy cream, half & half, whole milk, buttermilk, or an extra-creamy, unsweetened alternative milk. Yogurt, sour cream, and softened cream cheese can also be thinned with milk.
  • Sugar—Granulated sugar, light or dark brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. 
  • Warming spices—Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, etc.
  • Flavorings—Vanilla extract, almond extract, melted chocolate or peanut butter, etc.
  • Mix-ins—Chocolate chips, fresh or dried fruit, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, pepitas, sunflower seeds, etc.
A close up, horizontal image displaying a side view of a baked bread pudding in a round, white enamel baking dish that is topped with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.

Let’s get that bread

You can use virtually any kind of bread for Bread Pudding or combine the leftovers of different types to make up a full loaf. (No need to buy more!) Softer styles of bread will give the pudding a custardy texture while harder types will make the pudding more spongy. You want the bread to be dried out, but not so tough or hard it can’t soak up the custard.

HOW TO DRY OUT BREAD

DAY-OLD’ OR FROZEN BREAD:

  • From the Pantry: Tear up the bread and spread it out on a lined sheet tray, and let it sit out for a few hours, uncovered (or inside a cold oven overnight).
  • From the Freezer: Completely thaw the bread. When tearing, as described above, examine for any rock-hard areas of the bread and discard.

FRESH BREAD:

If the bread is fresh from the package or still not dry enough when you are ready to assemble the Bread Pudding, try this method for drying out bread:

  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest possible setting (150-200℉). Tear up the bread and lay it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Once the oven has preheated, put the tray of torn bread in the oven and immediately turn off the heat. Leave the oven door slightly ajar (if needed, prop it open with a wooden spoon), which will quickly lower the temperature and create air circulation.
  3. The bread should be thoroughly dried out in 8-12 minutes, depending on the type and moisture level of the bread. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t turn into toast! The outer edges of the torn bread will be rough to the touch and the pieces should feel slightly dried out, but should not crumble or take on any color.

Mix it up with mix-ins!

This extremely versatile recipe can be made with both sweet and savory flavors. Use your favorites or odds and ends cluttering your pantry! Here are some Bread Pudding flavor combinations we love to help get your wheels turning:

SERVING & STORING

You can serve Bread Pudding warm or cold. Traditionally, it is served with a vanilla-flavored sauce called crème anglaise (a.k.a. melted ice cream). But I love it fresh from the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead. You could also serve it with whipped cream, fresh or cooked fruit, caramel sauce, or chocolate syrup. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4 days. Reheat gently in the oven at 325℉ for 10-15 minutes. We also reheated some in the air fryer – it was excellent! I do not recommend freezing this recipe.

A horizontal image of a single serving of bread pudding on a flat white plate topped with two raspberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. In the background, there are blurred bowls of toppings ingredients in the recipe, like a small bottle of heavy cream, a bowl of fresh raspberries and a bowl of cinnamon sugar topping.
An overhead view of a baked bread pudding in round, white enamel cast iron baking dish topped with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries. There is a cutting board in the top left corner of the frame with a wooden bowl of raspberries and next to it is a bowl of chocolate chips and cup of coffee partially out of frame.
Print

Bread Pudding

This recipe for Bread Pudding is an easy, versatile, and budget-friendly way to transform leftover ingredients into a decadent dessert.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Easy
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.73 recipe / $0.67 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
SOAKING TIME 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 921kcal
Cost $6.73 RECIPE / $0.84 SERVING

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided $0.45
  • 8 cups day-old bread, torn into 1" pieces $2.00
  • 3 large eggs $1.17
  • 2 cups half and half* $1.99
  • 2/3 cup sugar $0.22
  • 2 tsp cinnamon $0.20
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.28
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips $0.34

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05

Instructions

  • Tear the day-old bread into 1” pieces, and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet until dried out but not hard.
  • Liberally grease a baking dish with about 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan or microwave. Allow the melted butter to cool slightly but not enough to solidify.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, vanilla extract, ⅔ cup of sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and salt. Once combined, slowly stream in the melted butter, whisking constantly to incorporate.
  • Add the pieces of bread to the egg mixture a few handfuls at a time, tossing gently to coat in the custard. Once all the bread has been added to the bowl, let it sit for 1-2 minutes to soak up as much of the mixture as possible.
  • Transfer half of the soaked bread to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you’d like, and then cover with the rest of the soaked bread. Scrape any liquid left in the bowl on top of the casserole. Tuck in any mix-ins (especially chocolate) visible from the top of the bread pudding to keep them from burning in the oven.
  • Cover the filled casserole dish with aluminum foil and let it soak at room temperature for least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours), or refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375℉. If the bread pudding was refridgerated, let it warm slightly before placing in a hot oven (especially if using a glass baking dish).**
  • Bake the bread pudding, covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Remove the foil, and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar topping evenly over the pudding. Continue baking, uncovered, for another 20-25 minutes or until the top of the casserole is crunchy and deeply golden brown.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

* You can also substitute the half & half with 1 cup milk + 1 cup heavy cream
** Ice-cold glass dishes can crack or explode in a hot oven if the temperature change is too extreme.

Nutrition

Calories: 921kcal | Carbohydrates: 138g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Sodium: 1066mg | Fiber: 6g

How to Make bread pudding – Step by Step Photos

A rimmed metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper and covered with torn pieces of bread sitting  drying out to make a bread pudding, and the sheet pan is sitting on a white marble background.

Tear 8 cups of bread (about 1 loaf) into 1” pieces, and spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet until dried out but not hard. For more guidance on how to properly dry out your bread, check out the tips in the blog post above!

A large metal mixing bowl filled with separated ingredients for bread pudding, which are eggs, half & half, vanilla extract, ⅔ cup of sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and salt, sitting on a white marble background.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, 2 cups of half and half, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, ⅔ cup of sugar, 2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to make a custard.

A large metal mixing bowl filled with the ingredients for bread pudding custard being whisked while a hand out of frame pours in melted butter from a small saucepan.

Liberally grease a baking dish with about 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Melt the remaining butter (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Let it cool slightly (to prevent it from scrambling the eggs), and then slowly pour the melted butter into the custard, whisking constantly to incorporate it.

Hands adding pieces of torn bread into the left side of a large mixing bowl with the liquid ingredients for bread pudding while the right hand stirs with a red spatula. There is a tray of bread sitting in the upper left corner of the image, mostly out of frame.

Add the pieces of bread to the egg mixture a few handfuls at a time, tossing gently to coat in the custard.

A large metal mixing bowl filled with torn pieces of bread that have been tossed in a custard mixture and left to soak with a red spatula sitting in the bottom right corner of the bowl.

Once all the bread has been added to the bowl, let it sit for 1-2 minutes to soak up as much of the mixture as possible.

A round, white enamel baking dish with a black trim sitting on a white marble background. There is a single layer of soaked bread and a hand is sprinkling chocolate chips in an even layer from a small white bowl.

Transfer half of the soaked bread to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips and any other mix-ins you’d like, and then cover with the rest of the soaked bread. Scrape any liquid left in the bowl on top of the casserole. Tuck in any mix-ins (especially chocolate) visible from the top of the bread pudding to keep them from burning in the oven.

A round, white enamel baking dish with a black rim on a white marble background that is filled with an unbaked bread pudding.

Cover the filled casserole dish with aluminum foil and let it soak at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours), or refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 375℉. If the bread pudding was refridgerated, let it warm slightly before placing it in a hot oven (especially if using a glass baking dish). Bake the bread pudding, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes.

A round white enamel baking dish on a white marble background that is half baked. A hand in the lower right corner of the frame is sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top of the casserole.

Meanwhile, mix the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl and set aside. After the bread pudding has baked the first time, take it out of the oven, remove the aluminum foil, and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar topping evenly over the pudding. 

A fully baked bread pudding in a round, white enamel baking dish being topped with powdered sugar in a small fine mesh strainer in the lower right hand side of the dish.

Continue baking, uncovered, for another 20-25 minutes or until the top of the casserole is crunchy and deeply golden brown. If desired, dust the top of the baked casserole with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.

A vertical side view showing the cross section of slice of a baked bread pudding topped with powdered sugar and two raspberries as it is removed with a spatula in the left side of the frame, and blurred in the background are a small glass jar of heavy cream and wooden bowls filled with raspberries and cinnamon sugar..

Ooh, girl! Look at that SWIRL!

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Sheet Pan Pizza

Sheet-Pan Pizza is a low-effort recipe guaranteed to make any occasion special and satisfy cravings for take-out pizza at half the cost.

The post Sheet Pan Pizza appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sheet Pan Pizza is the solution for anyone hoping to make crave-worthy, restaurant-quality pizza at home—at half the cost of carry-out! Our recipe for Sheet Pan Pizza will level up any casual date night in, make for an unforgettable family dinner, or serve as an interactive party dish where everyone helps pick the toppings. Sheet Pan Pizza is not just for special occasions. It’s also the perfect “take-out fake out” meal for two that will yield enough leftovers to check off some weekly meal prep!

A vertical image of a baked sheet pan pizza topped with pizza sauce, cheese, pepperonis, pickled jalepenos and honey that is not sliced.

WHAT IS SHEET PAN PIZZA?

This recipe for Sheet Pan Pizza combines my two favorite kinds of take-out pizza. The crust is a sturdy Foccacia bread, typically used for Sicilian-style “Grandma Pie,” that is baked and then covered edge-to-edge with tons of cheese and toppings—sort of like a Detroit-Style pizza—and then baked again! Sheet Pan Pizza is a fun way to feed a crowd and can easily be divided into sections so everyone in the family gets to have a few slices with their favorite sauce and toppings.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE A SHEET PAN PIZZA:

  • A SHEET PAN: We suggest using a standard 18” x 13” rimmed metal baking sheet or the 16″ x 12.5″ x 1″ enamelware pan in our Shop.
  • PIZZA DOUGH: Our No-Knead Focaccia is oh-so-tasty on its own, but next level as the base of a giant pizza. Totally worth the extra time to make it from scratch! (You can also use store-bought pizza dough—see note below.)
  • OLIVE OIL: We used as little olive oil as possible to make this recipe budget-friendly. (Feel free to use a bit more!) You can substitute or mix it with plain cooking oil to reduce costs even more, but the pizza crust will lack the distinctive taste olive oil provides.
  • STORE-BOUGHT SAUCE: We chose a store-bought, traditional pizza sauce in order to keep things simple. You can totally make your own homemade pizza sauce! Or swap it out for a jar of alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, prepared pesto, or BBQ sauce!
  • TONS OF SHREDDED CHEESE: You need a good amount of cheese for this recipe, but it’s totally worth the extra ingredients to balance out all the bread, sauce, and toppings. 
  • YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPINGS: Keep it classic or mix it up—anything goes when it comes to Sheet Pan Pizza!
An extreme close up of a single slice of sheet pan pizza raised above the rest of the pizza with a spatula.

DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY OWN CRUST?

I would highly suggest making the pizza crust in this recipe – our shockingly-easy No-Knead Homemade Focaccia. It pretty much does the work on its own! You can substitute the homemade crust with 1 lb. of store-bought pizza dough for this Sheet Pan Pizza recipe (and start with the second set of instructions on the recipe card), but the results will be slightly different from the pizza we made.

TIP: Making Two Pizzas

  • If doubling the recipe: Prepare a doubled amount of pizza dough at once in a very large mixing bowl. Slice the large ball of dough in half (after the first ferment), and transfer each to its own 1/2 sheen pan for the second rise. Follow the recipe as written, also rotating and flipping the baking sheets halfway through both bakes so both pizzas cook evenly.
  • Alternatively, when making two smaller pizzas: Slice the risen ball of dough in half and transfer each to its own 1/4 sheet pan for the second rise. Split the remaining ingredients between the pizzas, and reduce both baking times by about 5 minutes each (also relying on the visual cues as a guide to prevent over-baking or under-baking the crust).

MAKE AHEAD & MAKE IT EASIER

  • You can make the dough for this Sheet Pan Pizza ahead and store it tightly covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking it. Let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before transferring it to the sheet pan.
  • You can also pre-bake the pizza crust up to 8 hours ahead. Let the bread cool completely before covering it to keep it from getting soggy. When you’re ready to eat, just top the crust with sauce and toppings and bake it again for 10-15 minutes.
A horizontal image of a fully baked sheet pan pizza topped with pizza sauce, shredded cheese, pepperonis, jalepenos and honey that's held up with two white dish towels.
A vertical image of a baked sheet pan pizza topped with pizza sauce, cheese, pepperonis, pickled jalepenos and honey sliced and a spatula is removing the bottom right slice.
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Sheet Pan Pizza

Sheet Pan Pizza is a low-effort recipe guaranteed to make any occasion special and satisfy cravings for take-out pizza at half the cost.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 7 people
Calories 539kcal
Cost $9.98 RECIPE / $1.41 SERVING

Equipment

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour $0.61
  • 2 cups water $0.00
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
  • 2 tsp instant yeast 0.48
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil* $0.15

Pizza:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided* $0.45
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes $0.05
  • 1 14oz. jar pizza sauce $1.59
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella $2.49
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated $0.75
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni slices (about 3 oz.) $1.50
  • 1/3 cup sliced pickled jalapeños $0.66
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.38

Instructions

Crust:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, water, salt, and instant yeast. Stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil around the sides of the bowl, and lift the dough with your hands to make sure the bottom and sides of the bowl are well-coated with the oil.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm, dry place for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. The dough should double in size and appear bubbly, wet, and very fluffy.**
  • Coat your fingers with a few drops of olive oil and then scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, turning it over a few times to form a ball. Rest the dough for 5 minutes.

Pizza:

  • Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom and sides of 1 rimmed baking sheet and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornmeal evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  • Coat the ball of pizza dough with 1 tablespoon of oil and flip it out of the bowl (oil side down) on the rimmed baking sheet, using a spatula to scrape any oil left in the bowl on top of the dough.
  • Gently press down the center of the dough and push it outward toward each corner of the pan. Let the dough rest again, uncovered, until it rises slightly and spreads to fill the sheet pan completely (About 30-45 minutes). While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 425℉.
  • Coat your fingers with oil and make dimples all over the dough, also pushing the dough into the corners again if needed. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle over the salt, fresh-cracked black pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, or until the surface of the bread is evenly golden brown.
  • Remove the crust from the oven and carefully spread the pizza sauce on top from edge to edge. Then top with the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, pepperoni, pickled jalapenos, and if desired, a pinch of salt, pepper, and other seasonings
  • Bake the pizza for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle the entire surface lightly with honey. Let it cool for 5 minutes and then slice the pizza into 15 squares. Serve each slice topped with more parmesan cheese and fresh-cracked black pepper.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

* Olive oil will add a distinct flavor to the pizza crust but can be substituted (or mixed) with cooking oil to make this recipe more budget-friendly. 
** The dough may need more time to rise in the sheet pan if coming out of a cold refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2slices | Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 1225mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Sheet Pan pIzza – Step by Step Photos

Ingredients for a foccacia-style pizza crust mixed together in a white bowl with a wooden spatula sticking out of the bottom left side of the bowl.

Combine 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 cups of water, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast in a large bowl. (If using a single-serving packet of yeast, which contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons, you can use the whole thing!) Stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil around the sides of the bowl, and lift the dough with your hands to make sure the bottom is also coated. Cover the bowl and let it ferment in a warm, dry place for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. (If coming from the fridge, the dough may need an additional 30 minutes of resting time at room temperature.)

Ingredients for a no-knead focaccia style pizza crust after they have fermented for two hours in a white bowl. A left hand is stablizing the bowl with the right hand pulls the dough away from the side of the bowl.

After the first ferment, the dough should roughly double in size and appear bubbly, wet, and very fluffy. Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl with your hands, turning it over a few times to form a ball. Let it rest in the bowl for about 5 minutes to prevent the dough from tearing. Brush the bottom and sides of the sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornmeal evenly on the bottom.

Raw pizza dough that has been fermented once and turned out onto a rimmed baking sheet and pressed out into a rectangle for a second ferment.

Coat the ball of pizza dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and flip it out of the bowl onto the prepared sheet tray (oil side down), using a spatula to scrape any oil left in the bowl on top of the dough. Gently press down the center of the dough and push it outward toward each corner of the pan. Let the dough rest again, uncovered, until it spreads to fill the sheet pan completely (about 30-45 minutes). Preheat the oven to 425℉.

A raw pizza dough that has fermented for a second time on a rimmed baking tray, two hands are pressing dimples into the center of the dough.

Coat your fingers with oil and make dimples all over the dough, also pushing the dough into the corners again if needed. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle over a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of freshly-cracked black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

A lightly golden pizza crust that was topped with olive oil, salt, pepper, italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and then baked.

Bake the crust for 25 minutes, or until the surface of the bread is lightly golden brown and has developed a still-tender, but firm crust. When pressed lightly (And carefully, don’t burn yourself!), the center of the crust should spring back and should look and feel fully cooked – not squish and soft.

A par-baked pizza crust on a rimmed baking tray that's topped with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, pepperonis and pickled jalapeño slices that needs to be baked again.

Top the fully-baked pizza crust evenly from edge-to-edge with 1 1/2 cups of prepared pizza sauce (from a 14 oz. jar), 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of shredded or grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of pepperoni slices (about 3 oz. or half a standard package), 1/3 cup of pickled jalapenos (about 1/3 of a standard jar), and if desired, another pinch of salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

A fully baked sheet pan pizza that is golden brown and topped with crispy pepperonis, melted cheese and pickled jalapeño slices and a hand is drizzling honey on the right center of the pizza.

Bake the pizza for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown. Remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle the entire surface lightly with honey. Let it cool for about 5 minutes (so the toppings don’t slide off), and slice the pizza into 15 squares. Serve each slice topped with more parmesan cheese and fresh-cracked black pepper.

An extreme close up of baked sheet pan pizza topped with pepperonis and jalepenos that's being drizzled with honey.

Y’all, I love the combo of sweet & spicy toppings we used in this recipe, but I’m always looking for new ideas for my next Sheet Pan Pizza Party! What sauces and toppings will you put on your Sheet Pan Pizza? Tell us in the comments! ~ Marion :)

The post Sheet Pan Pizza appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Turkey Pinwheels

Turkey Pinwheels are a fun and easy spin on simple sandwiches, and the perfect recipe to make ahead for lunch meal prep or bring to a potluck.

The post Turkey Pinwheels appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I started making Turkey Pinwheels for my daughter (a picky eater) to make her meals a little more fun. It’s also a great way to sneak some extra wholesome ingredients into her lunch undetected. (Mom hack!) Since you can make the cream cheese spread in advance, this Turkey Pinwheel recipe is also perfect for meal prep! Pinwheels are also super versatile and make an affordable appetizer that’s easy to throw together for brunches, party buffets, and potlucks. It’s as simple as making a sandwich…but with a twist!

A close up shot of Turkey Pinwheels arranged in three rows on a wooden cutting board with a white background and a bowl of spinach blurred in the background

What are pinwheel sandwiches?

Turkey Pinwheels are made by evenly spreading cream cheese on one side of a flour tortilla (which acts as the glue), layering on classic sandwich ingredients, and then tightly rolling it all up into a log that’s sliced into 1” pieces. When each pinwheel is turned on its side, it will reveal a lovely spiral of the ingredients inside.

Pinwheel 101

Our simple recipe for Turkey Pinwheels uses deli meat, spinach, and a savory cream cheese spread inspired by pimento cheese. However, this is a super versatile recipe that can be made with many different combinations of ingredients. Here is what you need to make pinwheels: 

  • Extra-Large Flour Tortillas: Burrito-size flour tortillas are best for pinwheels. They’re easier to roll, make a distinct spiral, and yield more per tortilla. You can use any flavor (plain, wheat, spinach, sun-dried tomato, etc.). Since corn tortillas are less pliable and tear easily, they are not an ideal choice.
  • A sticky spread: Typically, pinwheels are held together with cream cheese, but anything similar (like hummus or nut butter) can be used.
  • Deli Meat: Pinwheels usually include some kind of deli meat (turkey, chicken, ham, salami, etc.), but that can also be replaced with thinly-sliced veggies. 
  • Cheese: Sliced cheeses are great for creating an added layer of filling. Shredded cheeses can be mixed in with cream cheese (like in our recipe) so they don’t fall out.
  • Salad greens and other sandwich toppings: These will help to create color contrast in the pinwheel’s spiral, and round out the other rich ingredients with freshness and flavor!
An extreme close up of one turkey pinwheel. In the background, there are many turkey pinwheels arranged in three rows on a wooden cutting board.

MORE PINWHEEL flavor COMBINATIONS TO TRY: 

  • Ham + swiss cheese + dill pickles + yellow mustard
  • Salami + provolone cheese + iceberg lettuce + pepperoncinis
  • Chicken + hummus + cucumber slices + tabbouleh
  • Smoked salmon + red onion + capers + everything bagel seasoning
  • Nut butter + honey + banana slices
  • Nutella + toasted coconut + strawberry slices

CAN TURKEY PINWHEELS be made in advance?

Turkey Pinwheels are a great recipe to make ahead for a party or help fill the gaps in your weekly meal prep. The cream cheese spread can be kept in an air-tight container and refrigerated for about a week. Pre-made pinwheels will also keep in the fridge for 2-3 days before they start to get soggy.

A close up of three rows of turkey pinwheels on a wooden cutting board.
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Turkey Pinwheels

Turkey Pinwheels are a fun and easy spin on simple sandwiches, and the perfect recipe to make ahead for lunch meal prep or take to a party or potluck.
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Meal Prep
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 8 pinwheels
Calories 225kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened $1.10
  • 1/8 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded $0.87
  • 1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, finely chopped $0.99
  • 1 Tbsp olive brine
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.01
  • 4 extra-large or burrito-style flour tortillas $1.15
  • 1 9oz. package sliced turkey $4.99
  • 1 cup spinach $0.80

Instructions

  • Stir together the softened cream cheese, finely-shredded cheddar cheese, finely-chopped pimento-stuffed olives, olive brine, garlic powder, and black pepper until very well combined.
  • Lay the tortillas out flat. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on one side of each tortilla, coating the entire face evenly from edge to edge.
  • Arrange 3-4 slices of turkey along the center of the tortilla, overlapping them as little as possible to make an even layer, and leaving about ¼” of the cream cheese spread exposed on the top and bottom edges of the tortilla to help it stick together. Then add a single layer of spinach leaves on top of the turkey.
  • Starting with the edge closest to you, fold over the tortilla so it sticks, and then roll it up as tightly as possible, tucking in the fillings as you go.
  • With the seam side facing down, slice the roll into 1" wide pieces.
  • Flip each pinwheel on its face, exposing the spiral, and transfer it to a serving platter or air-tight meal prep container. The pinwheels should hold together on their own, but if desired, you can insert a decorative toothpick into each.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 8pinwheelss | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 626mg | Fiber: 2g
An overhead shot of 18 turkey pinwheels lined up into three rows on top of a wooden cutting board next to a wooden bowl of fresh spinach on a white marble background.

How to Make TuRKEY PINWHEELS – Step by Step Photos

A small white bowl filled with unmixed ingredients of a cream cheese spread, including a block of cream cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped pimento-stuffed olives and olive brine on a white marble background.

In a small bowl or air-tight container, make the cream cheese spread by stirring together 4 oz. of room-temperature cream cheese (cold cream cheese will be extremely difficult to mix and will likely create unpleasant lumps in the mixture), 1/8 cup of finely-shredded cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup of finely-chopped pimento-stuffed olives, 1 tablespoon of olive brine (which helps thin the cream cheese and eliminates the need for added salt), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until very well mixed.

A small white bowl filled with a savory cream cheese spread inspired by pimento cheese dip on a white marble background.

This savory cream cheese spread, which is inspired by pimento cheese dip, can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for at least a week. If coming from the fridge, you will want to re-soften this mixture at room temperature (for about 30 minutes) before trying to spread it on the tortillas in the following step.

An extra large burrito shell smeared from edge to edge with a savory cream cheese spread, sitting on a wooden cutting board with a white marble background.

Lay each tortilla out flat on a clean work surface, and spread each tortilla with 2-3 tablespoons (about 1/4 of the mixture) of the savory cream cheese spread, covering it evenly from edge to edge. You can always add a bit more “glue” as you roll (or after slicing) if needed, but it’s much easier to do at this step.

A large tortilla covered with savory cream cheese spread, and in the middle of the tortilla there are four turkey slices line up and overlapping slightly. The tortilla is sitting on a wooden cutting board against a background of white marble.

Arrange 3-4 slices of turkey across the center of the tortilla, overlapping them slightly to make an even layer depending on the size and thickness of each slice. (Since ours were super thin, we overlapped the slices more so each bite was still as satisfying!)

A large tortilla on a wooden cutting board covered with savory cream cheese, a row of turkey slices and covered in a single layer of baby spinach leaves.

Add a single layer of spinach leaves on top of the turkey, leaving about ¼” of the cream cheese spread exposed along the top and bottom edges of the tortilla so it will stick properly. I usually like to take the extra step of removing the longer stems.

Hands rolling up a large tortilla on a wooden cutting board. The tortilla is covered with a savory cream cheese spread, a row of turkey slices and covered in a single layer of baby spinach leaves.

Starting with the end closest to you, fold in the edge of the tortilla so it sticks, and then roll it all the way up, as tightly as possible, tucking and rearranging the fillings as you go — just to make sure you get a little bit of everything in every bite!

Two hands clicing a log of turkey pinwheels into one-inch pieces on a wooden cutting board.

Adjust the log so that the exposed seam is secured against the cutting board before slicing it. Then, using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 8 even portions (about 1” wide). Be as gentle as possible, so the pinwheels maintain their shape as much as possible and the filling doesn’t squish out. To help, you can rotate the log as you slice, or just use a good knife and adjust them all here and there after slicing (as I have done!)

Eleven turkey pinwheels arranged on a wooden cutting board.

Flip each pinwheel on its face, exposing the spiral, and transfer to a serving platter or air-tight container. The pinwheels should hold together on their own, but if desired, you can insert a decorative toothpick into each pinwheel, starting with the outermost edge, to ensure they won’t unravel.

Three rows of pinwheels, each leaning on the one next two it halfway, in three rows placed on a wooden cutting board.
Making and eating these Turkey Pinwheels will totally have you feelin’ like a kid again!

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Easy Dumpling Soup

Easy Dumpling Soup is the perfect quick lunch or dinner because it’s endlessly versatile, insanely budget-friendly, and can be made in 15 minutes.

The post Easy Dumpling Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Dumpling Soup is one of my absolute favorite things to throw together if I want a quick-and-simple homemade lunch or an effortless dinner that’s still wholesome, comforting, and budget-friendly. I’ve designed this recipe to be as versatile as possible, dressing up mostly store-bought ingredients, in order to scratch that “itch” for whatever takeout favorite I’m craving when ordering out isn’t on the menu.

A large white bowl filled with dumpling soup and surrounded by a small bowl of white sesame seeds, an open jar of chili crisp and an orange decorative towel.

What is dumpling soup?

Our version of dumpling soup is a quick, semi-homemade soup inspired by dumpling soups found in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisines. The soup features a savory clear broth, delicate meat-filled dumplings, fresh greens, and an array of condiments to sprinkle on top. Here’s what you need for this Easy Dumpling Soup:

  • Frozen dumplings — You can find Asian-style dumplings in the freezer section, usually filled with pork, vegetables, shrimp, or a combination of those ingredients.
  • Broth — We fortified our vegetable broth with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil!
  • A handful of fresh greens — like sliced green onions, fresh spinach, or baby bok choy
  • Condiments — Use anything your heart desires! Try chili crisp, sesame seeds, black vinegar, cilantro, and more!

Is this an authentic recipe?

No, this is not an authentic dumpling soup, but we highly encourage you to read more about the wide variety and rich culture surrounding dumplings. Also, check out these recipes for authentic Chinese potstickers and Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings), Korean mandu, and Japanese gyoza.

What kind of dumplings to buy

Most grocery stores offer a variety of frozen dumplings options of different sizes, shapes, and fillings (usually pork, vegetable, shrimp, or a combination of those flavors)—and any type of frozen dumpling will work for this recipe. If you’re operating on an extra-tight budget, visiting an Asian grocery store is a great place to find a wider selection, larger quantities, and even lower prices.

How to know the dumplings are fully cooked:

Frozen dumplings are usually on the smaller side, so they cook quickly when added to boiling broth. However, since our suggested cook time is only based on the handful of brands we’ve tried (and there are so many others!), I highly recommend consulting the package directions on your dumplings to ensure you are cooking them long enough—as well as checking the suggested serving size to make sure you are preparing enough for two people.

Are the leftovers ANY good?

I would not recommend saving these leftovers. As it sits, the dumplings will keep soaking up the broth until they bloat and then fall apart. Instead, just make the amount you think you will eat, which is why I’ve developed the recipe for two servings rather than four. Since it comes together so quickly, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you decided to make it twice in one night! 

A close up view of dumpling soup in a white bowl topped with white sesame seeds and chili crisp.

Take your Dumpling Soup to the next level

Some great flavor and topping additions for this soup are: 

  • Cubed tofu, cooked chicken, or another prepared protein
  • Mushrooms, or other fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Half of a hard-boiled egg
  • Fish sauce
  • Kimchi
  • Cilantro
  • Mirin 
  • Rice Vinegar or Lime Juice
  • Miso paste
  • A prepared sauce like Scheuzan chili oil, chili garlic sauce, sriracha, teriyaki sauce, or a prepared “dumpling sauce”
  • Sesame seeds, crushed nori, or a store-bought Furikake blend

My go-to Topping combinations

Plan to add any extra condiments and toppings directly to each serving bowl, so each person can mix and match them to suit their tastes. My go-to topping combinations are (per bowl): 

  • 1 Tbsp kimchi + handful of torn cilantro 
  • ¼ tsp Szechuan chili oil + hardboiled egg 
  • Sliced mushrooms + nori + sesame seeds
A close up view of dumpling soup in a white bowl topped with white sesame seeds and chili crisp.
Print

Easy Dumpling Soup

Easy Dumpling Soup is the perfect quick dinner because it’s endlessly versatile, insanely budget-friendly, and can be made in 15 minutes.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean
Total Cost $2.98 RECIPE / $1.49 SERVING
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 bowls
Calories 290kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 frozen dumplings* $2.00
  • 2 cups vegetable broth** $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.06
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated $0.11
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach*** $0.15

Garnishes, optional

Instructions

  • Combine the vegetable broth, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and the white parts of a sliced green onion in a medium-sized pot. (If using, also add the fish sauce, pre-cooked proteins or tofu, and any fresh or frozen vegetables that need time to soften.)
  • Bring the broth up to a boil on medium-high heat. Once boiling, add the dumplings.
  • Cover the pot and allow the soup to come back up to a boil. Boil the dumplings for about 2 minutes or until they are cooked through. (Consult package directions.)
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the green parts of the sliced green onion and a handful of spinach.
  • Split the soup into 2 serving bowls and top with any desired condiments.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*You can use any flavor (pork, vegetable, chicken, etc.), but I prefer ones with pork and vegetables.
**We use Better Than Bouillon mixed to make all of our broths. If substituted with a low-sodium broth, the final dish may need more salt. 
***or baby bok choy

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl of soup | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1809mg | Fiber: 3g
A single dumpling parcel on a black spoon raised above a large white bowl filled with dumpling soup topped with white sesame seeds and red chili crisp and an orange decorative towel.

How to Make easy dumpling soup – Step by Step Photos

A measuring cup of soup is poured into a small saucepan containing soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and the white parts of a green onion.

In a medium-sized pot, combine 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, and the white parts of a thinly sliced green onion (set the green parts aside for garnish), and cook over medium-high heat. You should also add the fish sauce now, if using — as well as any other extra ingredients that require some cooking time, like leftover cooked proteins from the fridge, tofu, mushrooms, or any other fresh or frozen vegetables that need time to soften.

Frozen dumplings in a white bowl being poured into a pot of boiling broth.

Bring the broth up to a boil on medium-high heat. Once boiling, add 10 frozen dumplings. Cover and allow the soup to come back up to a boil. Boil the dumplings for about 2 minutes or until they are cooked through. (Check out the suggested cooking time on your dumpling packaging to insure this will be enough time to cook them all the way through — at the same time, also check the nutrition label to make sure you add the correct amount for two servings.)

A pile of fresh spinach sitting on top of a pot full of warm dumpling soup.

Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of fresh spinach and the reserved green onion slices.

A medium-sized pot of finished dumpling soup.

Split the soup into two serving bowls and top each bowl with your desired garnishes. We chose to sprinkle ours with a few sesame seeds and a heaping spoonful of Sichuan Chili Crisp!

A close up view of dumpling soup in a white bowl topped with white sesame seeds and chili crisp.

GET IN MY BELLY!

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