Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

I don’t do desserts too often, and when I do they’re usually made with simple pantry staples that I know I’m already going to have on hand. These super easy Raspberry Oatmeal Bars are the perfect example. They’re just flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, butter, and whatever jam you happen to have (in this case […]

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I don’t do desserts too often, and when I do they’re usually made with simple pantry staples that I know I’m already going to have on hand. These super easy Raspberry Oatmeal Bars are the perfect example. They’re just flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, butter, and whatever jam you happen to have (in this case raspberry). This is the perfect fun weekend baking project for when you don’t want to go out to get more ingredients and you don’t want to make anything that is too difficult, but you definitely want something sweet. 😉 

Originally posted 5-23-2010, updated 8-25-2021.

A stack of raspberry oatmeal bars viewed from the side

What Do They Taste Like?

These raspberry oatmeal bars are basically made out of the same mix that you’d use as a crumb topping for a pie. It’s rich, buttery, and has a good amount of texture, thanks to the rolled oats. When you compress this mix into a baking dish it becomes more solid and provides a base layer for the bars, but when you sprinkle it over top, it acts more like a loose crumb topping. And then you can put whatever flavor jam you like in the center!

Do Raspberry Oatmeal Bars Need to Be Refrigerated?

While you don’t need to store the baked oatmeal bars in a refrigerator, they hold their shape better when chilled, so I do prefer to keep mine refrigerated. Make sure they’re in an air-tight container to prevent them from absorbing odor and moisture.

Can I Use Quick Oats?

I used old-fashioned rolled oats for this recipe because they provide a lot more texture to the crumble mixture. You can use quick oats, which as smaller, softer pieces, in place of the rolled oats if needed.

A hand holding a stack of raspberry oatmeal bars close to the camera

A hand holding a stack of raspberry oatmeal bars close to the camera

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

These easy Raspberry Oatmeal bars are a fast fix for your sweet tooth and they only require a few pantry staples plus your favorite jam!
Total Cost $2.86 recipe / $0.32 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 325kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp Butter $0.88
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour $0.10
  • 1 cup rolled oats $0.18
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1 cup raspberry jam $1.35

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Use a ½ tsp of the butter to grease the inside of an 8x8-inch baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Cut the remaining butter into chunks, add it to the bowl with the flour and oat mixture, and use your hands to work the butter into the mixture until everything looks sort of crumbly or like damp sand, and no large lumps of butter remain.
  • Pour half of the oat mixture into the baking dish and press it down until it forms a solid layer.
  • Stir the jam to break up any clumps, then drop the jam in small spoonfuls onto the pressed oat mixture in the baking dish. Try to stay away from adding the jam too close to the edges. It's okay if the jam doesn't form a solid layer. Do not try to spread it with a spoon or knife.
  • Once all of the jam has been added on top of the bottom oat layer, sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top, leaving it loose and crumbly.
  • Bake the oat bars for about 30 minutes or until the top is nicely golden. Remove the bars from the oven, allow them to cool, then cut into nine squares and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1square | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g

Overhead view of raspberry oatmeal bars cut into squares with ingredients on the sides

How to Make Raspberry Oatmeal Bars – Step by Step Photos

buttered square baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Use about ½ tsp of butter to grease the inside of an 8×8-inch baking dish.

oats, sugar, and flour in a bowl

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ⅛ tsp salt. Stir until everything is very well combined.

Butter added to the bowl with the dry ingredients

Add 8 Tbsp butter (minus the ½ tsp used to butter the dish) to the bowl with the flour, oats, and sugar.

Butter mixed into the dry ingredients in the bowl

Work the butter into the flour and oats until the mixture looks a bit crumbly or damp. No large lumps of butter should remain.

Oat mixture pressed into the bottom of the baking dish

Pour half of the oat mixture into the baking dish, spread it out evenly, and then press it down until it is in a solid layer.

Jam spread out onto the oat mixture in the baking dish

Drop 1 cup raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor) onto the oat mixture, avoiding placing the jam right up against the baking dish (this makes it harder to remove the bars after baking). It helps if you stir the jam well first to break up any clumps, then you can drop small dollops onto the oat mixture to create a fairly even layer. Don’t try to spread the jam with a spoon or knife, as it will pull up the oat mixture.

Crumbled topping added on top of jam

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over top of the jam. Leave this layer loose, do not try to press it into a solid layer.

baked raspberry oat bars in the baking dish

Bake the raspberry oat bars in the preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until the topping is nicely golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting it into nine squares and serving. Running a knife around the edge to loosen any jam that may have baked onto the dish helps when removing the squares from the dish.

A pyramid of raspberry oatmeal bar squares with baking ingredients in the background

Enjoy the buttery, crumbly, oat goodness!

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Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

This Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is rich, moist, and a little spicy. It’s perfect for pairing with your favorite soup or chili.

The post Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As if cornbread wasn’t delicious enough on its own, I went ahead and stirred in a pile of shredded cheddar cheese and chopped jalapeño. Because why not? And since this Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is on the spicy side, I decided to go with a richer cornbread batter that includes sour cream and an extra egg to kind of balance the heat. The result is rich, cheesy, moist, and ✨spicy✨.

Two baskets of jalapeño cornbread pieces with whole jalapeños on the sides

How Spicy Is This Cornbread?

It’s pretty spicy. Despite scraping the seeds out of the jalapeño that is mixed into the batter, the heat still seems to permeate the cornbread pretty well. If you’re not into heat, you can certainly just make this a plain cheddar cornbread or stir in some mild diced green chiles in place of the jalapeño.

What Kind of Baking Dish Should I Usse?

I used a ceramic baking dish, but I’ve also tested the recipe using a glass baking dish, and they both worked great. An 8×8-inch square dish is probably the best size. You could also bake this in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, although you may want to preheat it just a bit before adding the batter.

Can I Make Them Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Muffins?

Yes, just divide the batter equally between about ten wells of a muffin tin and bake at the same temperature. Because the muffins are smaller and have more surface area exposed to the heat, the baking time will be shorter. Just keep an eye on the muffins starting at about 20 minutes, and let them continue to bake until puffed in the center and golden brown around the edges.

How to Store Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Allow the cornbread to cool completely to room temperature and then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Or, you can wrap it tightly in plastic, place it in a freezer bag, and freeze it for a few months. To thaw, simply let the cornbread sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, or microwave for 30 seconds or so.

A piece of jalapeño Cornbread being lifted out of the baking dish
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread half in the baking dish and half on a cooling rack

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

This Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread is rich, moist, and spicy. It's perfect for pairing with your favorite soup or chili. 
Total Cost $3.19 recipe / $0.35 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 9 pieces
Calories 289kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp butter $0.04
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour $0.15
  • 1 cup cornmeal $0.38
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder $0.06
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 4 oz. cheddar, shredded $1.00
  • 2 jalapeños $0.14
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.58
  • 1/2 cup milk $0.20
  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Use the butter to grease the inside of an 8×8 inch baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Remove the seeds from one of the jalapeños and finely dice it, then slice the second jalapeño into rounds. Add the diced jalapeño to the bowl with the flour, saving the sliced jalapeño to use as a topping.
  • Add about ¾ of the shredded cheddar to the bowl with the flour mixture, saving the remaining to use as a topping. Stir the diced jalapeño and shredded cheddar into the flour mixture until evenly combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, and oil.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is moist (it's okay if there are a few lumps).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Top with the sliced jalapeños and the remaining shredded cheddar.
  • Bake the cornbread for about 35 minutes, or until the center has puffed up and the edges are golden brown.
  • Slice the cornbread into nine squares and serve warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 450mg | Fiber: 2g

Love cornbread? Try these other cornbread flavors: Sweet Potato Cornbread, Lemon Blueberry Cornbread Skillet, Easy Homemade Cornbread (classic cornbread), or Hatch Chile Sweet Potato Cornbread.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread half in the baking dish and half on a cooling rack

How to Make Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread – Step by Step Photos

cornbread dry ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and use about 1 tsp butter to grease the inside of an 8×8-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 3 tsp baking powder, and ¾ tsp salt.

Diced and sliced jalapeño on a cutting board

Remove the seeds from one jalapeño and then finely dice the pepper. Slice the second jalapeño into rounds. The diced jalapeño will go into the batter and the rounds will be used as a topping.

jalapeño and shredded cheddar added to the dry ingredients

Add the diced jalapeño and most of your 4oz. shredded cheddar cheese to the bowl with the dry ingredients (save about ¼ of the cheese to use as a topping). Stir the jalapeño and cheddar into the flour mixture.

Eggs oil and milk in a bowl with a whisk

In a separate bowl, whisk together ½ cup milk, 2 large eggs, and ¼ cup cooking oil.

Wet ingredients being poured into the bowl of dry ingredients

Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients.

stirred cornbread batter

Stir until everything is moist. Avoid over stirring. It’s okay if it’s a little lumpy.

cheddar being sprinkled on top of cornbread batter in the baking dish

Spread the cornbread batter into an 8×8-inch baking dish, then top with the sliced jalapeños. Finish by topping with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese.

baked jalapeño cheddar cornbread in the baking dish

Bake the cornbread in the preheated 400ºF oven for about 35 minutes or until the center is puffed and it’s golden brown around the edges.

Two baskets full of jalapeño Cornbread pieces

Slice the cornbread into nine pieces and serve warm with your favorite soup or chili!!

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“Everything But the Bagel” Sandwich Rounds

These easy Sandwich Rounds are made with a simple no-knead dough and topped with a healthy dose of “everything but the bagel” seasoning!

The post “Everything But the Bagel” Sandwich Rounds appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I know these Sandwich Rounds may look kind of like bagels, but they’re not. They’re no-knead focaccia in an “Everything But The Bagel” disguise! That’s right, it’s my same no-knead focaccia dough in a convenient single-serving round shape and topped with a delicious dose of Everything But The Bagel seasoning. Perfect for building epic homemade sandwiches and WAY easier than making actual bagels!

EBTB Sandwich Rounds on a cooling rack with tongs next to a bowl of seasoning

What is Everything But the Bagel Seasoning?

“Everything but the bagel” seasoning is that same chunky mix of dried onion, garlic, salt, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds that you find on top of an “everything” flavored bagel. This seasoning is super delish and adds tons of flavor and texture wherever it’s sprinkled! It was popularized by Trader Joe’s a few years back and can now be found in just about every grocery store (I got mine at ALDI). But if you can’t find it at your local store, here’s a recipe for homemade Everything Bagel Seasoning from Two Peas & Their Pod.

What is the Texture of This Bread?

Since this is made with the same dough as my No-Knead Focaccia, it’s definitely a more “sturdy” bread. If you’re into soft white bread, this isn’t the recipe for you. This bread is for those that like bread that can stand up to their sandwich toppings without getting soggy. A bread that can handle being doused in Italian dressing. These sandwich rounds won’t bow under pressure!

Can I Use Whole Wheat Flour?

I’ve had success making my no-knead focaccia with up to ½ of the all-purpose flour replaced with whole wheat, but when you go beyond that the bread does tend to get really dense. Even with ½ whole wheat you’re probably going to need to increase the water a bit, as whole wheat flour tends to absorb more moisture.

These Sandwich Rounds Are Freezer Friendly

One of the best parts about making your own bread is that you can keep in the freezer and have fresh, homemade bread on hand all the time. To store your sandwich rounds in the freezer, make sure to let them cool to room temperature first. Then transfer them to a gallon-sized freezer bag and place them in the freezer. They’ll be good for about three months. To thaw, either let them sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, or microwave for about 30 seconds. Otherwise, they’ll be good in the fridge for about 3-4 days (air-tight container).

A sandwich made with the EBTB Sandwich round next to the rest of the batch on a cooling rack
EBTB Sandwich Rounds on a cooling rack with tongs

“Everything But the Bagel” Sandwich Rounds

These easy Sandwich Rounds are made with a simple no-knead dough and topped with a healthy dose of “everything but the bagel” seasoning.
Total Cost $1.54 recipe / $0.26 each
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 179kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some for dusting) $0.30
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (or bread machine yeast) $0.45
  • 1.25 cups water $0.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp Everything But The Bagel Seasoning $0.60

Instructions

  • Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl and stir until very well combined.
  • Add the water and olive oil and stir until a sticky ball of dough forms. There should be no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Loosley cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for two hours, or until the dough has doubled in size and is very fluffy and bubbly in texture.
  • Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and use your hands to scrape it down off the sides of the bowl. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface. The dough will be very loose and sticky, so use flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and work surface.
  • Divide the dough into six pieces, then shape each into a ball. Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a 4 to 5-inch diameter circle. Place the flattened circles on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Brush a thin layer of water on top of each round, then sprinkle about one teaspoon of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning onto each one. Let the sandwich rounds rise for 30 minutes.
  • Toward the end of the rise time, begin preheating the oven to 400ºF. Use your fingers to press dimples down into each sandwich round (this helps them stay flat as they bake).
  • Once the oven is fully preheated, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the sandwich rounds for about 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
  • Remove them from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The crust may seem really hard immediately after they come out of the oven, but they will soften as they cool. Once cooled serve or store in the refrigerator (3-4 days) or freezer (3 months), in an air-tight container.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich round | Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 558mg | Fiber: 2g
Side view of a sandwich made on an EBTB Sandwich Round

How to Make EBTB Sandwich Rounds – Step by Step Photos

Dry ingredients for sandwich rounds in a bowl

Stir together 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 tsp instant yeast (or bread machine yeast) and ¾ tsp salt. Make sure they’re very well combined.

Water being poured into the bowl of flour

Add 1.25 cups water and 1 Tbsp olive oil.

Sticky bread dough in the bowl

Stir until it forms a sticky ball of dough. There should be no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Loosely cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for two hours.

Risen dough being scraped from the sides of the bowl

After two hours the dough should have doubled in size and should be very fluffy and bubbly in texture. Sprinkle some flour on top to keep it from sticking (because it WILL be sticky), then use your hands to scrape it off the sides of the bowl.

Dough divided into six pieces

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into six pieces.

Rolled out dough rounds

Use flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Shape each piece into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a flattened circle about 4 to 5-inches in diameter.

Water being brushed on top of the sandwich rounds

Place the flattened rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush a thin layer of water on top of each one (this helps the seasoning stick).

Seasoning being sprinkled on top of sandwich rounds

Sprinkle about one teaspoon of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning on top of each round. Let the rounds rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Risen sandwich rounds

Toward the end of the rise time, begin preheating the oven to 400ºF. Once risen, use your fingers to press dimples into the sandwich rounds. This helps them stay flat as they bake.

Baked sandwich rounds

Bake the sandwich rounds in the fully preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

A stack of EBTB sandwich rounds on a cooling rack

Transfer the sandwich rounds to a cooling rack to cool until room temperature, then serve or save for later! Once cooled, I keep mine in an air-tight container either in the refrigerator for a few days, or in the freezer for up to about 3 months.

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Funfetti Mug Cake

This super cute Funfetti Mug Cake is the perfect single-serving dessert for when you need something sweet and fast! It only takes five minutes and seven simple pantry staple ingredients!

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If you’re a fan of single serving desserts like I am, I think you’re going to love this cute little Funfetti Mug Cake. In classic mug cake fashion, this perfectly sized dessert takes only a few minutes to mix together and about 60 seconds to cook. It’s the perfect quick fix for those times when you want just a little something sweet. Plus it’s just cute and cute food makes me smile.

A funfetti mug cake topped with whipped cream, sprinkles spilled in the back

What is Funfetti, Anyway?

Funfetti cake is basically just vanilla cake with rainbow sprinkles. The sprinkles kind of look like confetti, and so it is sometimes called “confetti cake,” but somewhere along the line someone coined the term funfetti (fun + confetti) because, let’s just face it, sprinkles are FUN. And I guess that name stuck! Now you can find “funfetti” everything, from frosting to cake mixes, cookies, and more.

Frosting Options

The recipe below is just for the cake part of the funfetti mug cake. There are a lot of options for the topping, so I wanted to leave that part up to you.

Whipped Cream – It’s really difficult to make just a couple of tablespoons of frosting at once, so I found whipped cream to be the most reasonable option for topping this mug cake. You will want to let the cake cool a bit before adding whipped cream, or else the whipped cream will melt.

Buttercream – You can kind of create a make-shift buttercream frosting by mixing 2 Tbsp room temperature butter, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp milk, and ⅛ tsp vanilla. You’ll want to use a fork to vigorously “whip” the ingredients together until they get sort of aerated. Since it’s such a small amount, it’s tricky and doesn’t turn out quite as well as a normal-sized batch of frosting where you’d use a mixer to whip air into the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting – Similar to the buttercream frosting above, you can mix together 1 oz. room temperature cream cheese, 1 Tbsp room temperature butter, 1 tsp milk, ⅓ cup powdered sugar, and ⅛ tsp vanilla. Again, you’ll want to try to “whip” it as best you can with a fork until slightly aerated.

Ice Cream – OR you could just go all out and top your mug cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Honestly, that actually sounds like the best choice. ;)

Can I Make This Funfetti Mug Cake Vegan?

Yes, this mug cake should be pretty easy to make vegan. You can use any type of dairy milk alternative in place of the whole milk listed in the recipe, and simply substitute a store-bought vegan butter in place of the dairy butter. It’s also a good idea to check the ingredients on your sprinkles just to make sure those are vegan as well.

What Size Mug to Use

I’m used a small 8oz. mug for my funfetti mug cake and it completely filled the mug and even domed out over the top. I would suggest using a mug anywhere in the 8-12oz. size range for this mug cake.

a spoon lifting a bite of the funfetti mug cake out of the mug
a spoon lifting a bite of the funfetti mug cake out of the mug

Funfetti Mug Cake

This super cute Funfetti Mug Cake is the perfect single-serving dessert for when you need something sweet and fast!
Total Cost $0.41 each
Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 313kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder $0.02
  • 1 tsp rainbow sprinkles $0.10
  • 3 Tbsp milk $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp butter (melted) $0.09
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.07

Instructions

  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and sprinkles to a microwave safe mug (8oz. or larger). Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract to the mug. Stir until a soft batter forms, making sure to scrape all the flour out of the corners of the mug.
  • Microwave the mug cake for about 60 seconds, or until it has puffed to about 2-3 times the volume. Cook time will vary with the wattage of your microwave (I used a 1000 watt microwave and 60-70 seconds was perfect).
  • Allow the mug cake to cool for a few minutes and then top with your preferred frosting option, or enjoy unfrosted.

Nutrition

Serving: 1mug cake | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 226mg | Fiber: 1g
Overhead view of an unfrosted funfetti mug cake with a spoon on the side and sprinkles in the background

How to Make A Funfetti Mug Cake – Step by Step Photos

mug cake dry ingredients in the mug

First, combine the dry ingredients. Add ¼ cup all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp rainbow sprinkles to a mug (8oz. or larger). Stir until everything is really well combined.

Wet ingredients added to the mug

Next, add 3 Tbsp milk, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and ¼ tsp vanilla extract.

uncooked funfetti mug cake batter in the mug

Stir everything together until it forms a soft batter. Make sure to scrape all the dry flour out of the bottom corners of the mug.

Cooked funfetti mug cake

Microwave the mug cake for about 60 seconds, depending on your microwave wattage (I’m using a 1000 watt microwave). The mug cake should puff up to about 2-3 times the volume of the uncooked batter.

A funfetti mug cake topped with whip cream, a scoop taken out of the side

Either eat the mug cake as-is or let it cool a few minutes then top with your favorite icing. Whipped cream is an easy option, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top would also be sublime. I’ve also listed a couple of options for making small-batch frosting in the blog post above the recipe.

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Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Creamy Monterey Jack cheese, tangy diced green chiles, and a little earthy cumin make this green chile mac and cheese anything but ordinary!

The post Green Chile Mac and Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Green Chile Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that if a restaurant has it on the menu, I’m 100% going to order it. There’s just something about that green chile flavor paired with creamy cheese that I can’t get enough of. So why, in green chile heaven, had I not made it myself at home yet?? It was time to fix that. ;)

overhead view of green chile mac and cheese in a bowl with a fork on the side

Green Chile Mac: The Long Way and The Short Way

There are a few ways you can go about making green chile mac, but they all fall into two categories: the long way or the short way. The long way means buying fresh hatch chile peppers and roasting them yourself before adding them to your mac and cheese. This will definitely get you the most delicious and smokey green chile flavor, but in most of the U.S. fresh hatch chiles aren’t readily available year-round.

So I decided to make my green chile mac and cheese the short way, using canned green chiles. It’s fast, easy, and still gets you a good amount of that green chile flavor! And that’s more my style (most nights of the week, anyway).

Is it Spicy?

Green chiles can be spicy or mild. If you can’t handle the heat, make sure to look for a canned green chile that specifically says “mild” on the label. The recipe below also includes a pinch of crushed red pepper and while that ingredient can be spicy, it’s in such a small quantity in the recipe that it will not add a significant amount of heat to your green chile mac and cheese.

What Kind of Cheese is Best for Green Chile Mac and Cheese?

For macaroni and cheese in general, you want something that melts smoothly instead of stringy. Cheeses in the cheddar family melt smoothly, while mozzarella is a good example of a stringy cheese. To go with the green chile and cumin flavors in this dish, I recommend going with either a white cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a pepper jack if you want your mac to be a little spicier.

How Are the Leftovers?

Cheese sauces are usually a lot better when fresh compared to after refrigeration and reheating, but I still enjoyed the leftovers of this green chile mac and cheese quite a bit! While the cheese sauce wasn’t quite as smooth and saucy, the green chile flavor does intensify as it refrigerates, which added to the enjoyment.

What to Serve with Green Chile Mac

I wouldn’t be opposed to sitting down to a large bowl of this as my whole meal, but it’s probably best used as a side dish. I’d serve this macaroni and cheese as a side to something like Turkey Taco Skillet, Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas, or Smoky Black Bean Soup.

Overhead view of a pot full of green chile mac and cheese
Overhead view of a bowl full of green chile mac and cheese

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Creamy Monterey Jack cheese, tangy diced green chiles, and a little earthy cumin make this green chile mac and cheese anything but ordinary!
Total Cost $5.00 recipe / $1.25 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 571kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. macaroni $0.50
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.82
  • 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $1.69
  • 2 4oz. cans diced green chiles $1.78
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add the macaroni and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the green chile cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a saucepot and cook over medium heat while stirring for about 2 minutes.
  • Whisk the milk into the cooked butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk and cook over medium heat until the milk begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken to a cream-like consistency.
  • Turn the heat off. Begin stirring in the shredded Monterey Jack cheese, one handful at a time, until fully melted into the sauce.
  • Drain the canned green chiles and stir them into the cheese sauce along with the cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Make sure it is heavily seasoned as the flavor will dilute slightly when mixed with the pasta.
  • Finally, combine the cooked and drained pasta with the green chile cheese sauce. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 779mg | Fiber: 3g
side view of a fork lifting green chile mac and cheese from the bowl

How to Make Green Chile Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Cooked macaroni in a colander

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add 1/2 lb. macaroni and continue to boil until the macaroni is tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the macaroni in a colander.

butter and flour being whisked in a saucepot

While the macaroni is cooking, begin the cheese sauce. Add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to a sauce pot. Cook over medium while stirring for about 2 minutes.

milk being poured into the pot with butter and flour

Whisk 2 cups whole milk into the saucepot with the butter and flour. Continue to cook and whisk over medium heat until the milk comes up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken. It should thicken to the consistency of cream.

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese added to the saucepot

Turn off the heat and begin stirring in the 8oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese, one handful at a time, until it is all melted into the sauce.

green chiles and spices added to the cheese sauce

Drain two 4oz. cans of diced green chiles, then add them to the cheese sauce along with ½ tsp cumin, ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine, then taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings to your liking if needed. The sauce should taste heavily seasoned as the flavor will dilute a bit when mixed with the pasta.

Cheese sauce being poured over the drained pasta

Finally, combine the cooked and drained pasta with the green chile cheese sauce.

finished green chile mac in a pot with a spatula

Serve and enjoy while it’s hot and creamy!

The post Green Chile Mac and Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Scones are my bakery treat of choice to have with coffee. Why? Because they’re not too sweet, they’re not too rich, and they’re not too heavy. Especially when they’re dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with a bright and zesty lemon glaze. Homemade scones are especially great because they’re incredibly easy, super inexpensive, and they […]

The post Lemon Blueberry Scones appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Scones are my bakery treat of choice to have with coffee. Why? Because they’re not too sweet, they’re not too rich, and they’re not too heavy. Especially when they’re dotted with juicy blueberries and topped with a bright and zesty lemon glaze. Homemade scones are especially great because they’re incredibly easy, super inexpensive, and they freeze really well, so you can keep them in the freezer to reheat one at a time when that craving hits. And of alllll the flavors of scones, these Lemon Blueberry Scones are by far my favorite!

Originally posted 8/9/2010, updated 6/12/2021.

Lemon blueberry scones on a wire cooling rack drizzled with glaze

What is a Scone, Anyway?

It’s important to note that the word “scone” can mean different things depending on where you are in the world. Classic British scones are simple, with not a lot of fat or sugar, they’re often round, and are served with clotted cream and jam. In the U.S., scones are decidedly more dessert-like with a crust of sugar on top or a drizzle of glaze, they’re served with coffee or breakfast and are often triangular in shape. But the bones are the same. It’s a deliciously tender and flakey baked good leavened with baking soda or baking powder, rather than yeast. They’re quite similar to what we call a biscuit in the U.S., although scones are usually a little more dense and less rich. 

This Lemon Blueberry Scone Recipe is for a U.S.-style scone. It’s sweet, although not as sweet as a muffin or cupcake, triangular in shape, and deliciously crumbly. It’s the perfect side for a hot cup of coffee!

If you’d like to learn more about British-style scones, try this recipe for Authentic British Scones from Curious Cuisinière. She does a great job breaking down the difference between the two types of scones.

Fresh Lemon is a Must

While I use bottled lemon juice for a lot of recipes, this is one where you definitely want to use fresh lemon. The lemon zest is where most of the lemon flavor comes from in the scones, while the juice just provides tartness to the icing. 

How to Freeze Lemon Blueberry Scones

As I mentioned in the intro, I love to keep a batch of these Lemon Blueberry Scones in the freezer. To freeze the scones, first make sure they are fully cooled to room temperature (which they should be before adding the glaze, anyway). You can either freeze them without the glaze, or glaze them and wait about 30 minutes for the glaze to dry slightly. Then just place them in a gallon-sized freezer bag and toss in the freezer. The glaze will absorb a little moisture while in the freezer, but they’re still quite tasty!

To thaw the frozen lemon blueberry scones, either let them sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or microwave for about 30 seconds straight from the freezer.

Two lemon blueberry scones on a plate, one partially crumbled

Two lemon blueberry scones on a plate, one partially crumbled

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Lemon Blueberry Scones are the perfect brightly flavored baked good to go with a hot cup of coffee. They're super easy and freezer-friendly!
Total Cost $3.07 recipe / $0.38 each
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon $0.60
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.19
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 2 tsp baking powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter* $0.66
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh $0.89
  • ¼ cup milk $0.10
  • 2 large eggs $0.47
  • 1 cup powdered sugar $0.07

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Zest and juice the lemon. You'll need about 1 tsp lemon zest for the dough and 2 Tbsp lemon juice for the glaze.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Stir until they are very well combined.
  • Grate the butter into the flour mixture and stir until the butter is well incorporated and no large lumps remain.*
  • Add the blueberries to the flour mixture and stir to combine (no need to thaw first, if frozen).
  • Whisk together the milk and eggs, then pour it into the bowl with the flour and bluberries. Stir everything together until it forms a cohesive ball of dough, with no dry flour remaining on the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too dry to come together into a single ball of dough, add a splash more milk (1 Tbsp or so) until it comes together.
  • Press the dough out into a flat 8-inch diameter circle. Cut the circle into eight wedges. Place the cut scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the scones in the preheated 425ºF oven for 15-17 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the baked scones to a wire rack to cool.
  • Allow the scones to cool completely, then combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 Tbsp lemon juice until it forms a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones, then enjoy!

Notes

*I like to put a stick of butter into the freezer 5-10 minutes before making my scones. This stiffens up the butter enough to make it easy to grate on a cheese grater, but not so frozen solid that grating becomes difficult.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 348mg | Fiber: 1g

Love lemon and blueberry together? Me too! Try these other great lemon blueberry desserts: Blueberry Lemon Curd Shortcakes, Lemon Blueberry Cornbread Skillet, or Lemon Blueberry Cream Cheese Galette.

Side view of lemon blueberry scones on a wire cooling rack

How to Make Lemon Blueberry Scones From Scratch – Step By Step Photos

Scone dry ingredients in a bowlPreheat the oven to 425ºF. Zest and juice the lemon. You’ll need 1 tsp zest, and about 2 Tbsp juice. The zest will be used in the scone dough, the juice will be used later for the glaze. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, and 1 tsp lemon zest in a bowl. Stir until very well combined.

Butter added to dry ingredients

Grate 6 Tbsp cold butter into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir everything together until the butter is very well mixed into the flour and no large clumps remain.

Frozen blueberries added to the flour mixture

Stir ½ cup frozen blueberries into the flour mixture. Do not thaw the blueberries first.

Milk and eggs in a bowl with a whisk

Whisk together ¼ cup milk and 2 large eggs

Egg mixture being poured into flour mixture

Then pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour and blueberries.

Scone dough in the bowl

Stir everything together until it forms a stiff dough. There should be no more dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. If it’s too dry and won’t stick together in a cohesive ball or there is a lot of flour left on the bottom of the bowl, add a small amount of milk (maybe 1 Tbsp) to bring the dough together.

Scone dough cut into wedges

Press the blueberry scone dough out into an 8″ diameter circle, then cut it into eight wedges.

Cut scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment

Place the cut scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Baked blueberry scones on the baking sheet

Bake the scones in the fully preheated 425ºF oven for 15-17 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire cooling rack to cool.

Mixed lemon glaze in a bowl, dripping off a spoon

Allow the scones to fully cool before making the glaze. Once ready, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice until it forms a thick glaze.

Lemon glaze being drizzled over scones on the cooling rack

Drizzle the lemon glaze over the blueberry scones. If the scones are still hot or warm when you try to glaze them, the glaze will simply melt off, so make sure the scones are cool first!

Two lemon blueberry scones on a plate with a mug of coffee on the side

Serve your delicious, homemade lemon blueberry scones with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the day!

The post Lemon Blueberry Scones appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Country Sausage Gravy

Make this easy Country Sausage Gravy from scratch in under 20 minutes for a hearty southern style breakfast at home.

The post Country Sausage Gravy appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you don’t live in the south, you might have never tried this classic southern breakfast dish, and believe me when I say you’re missing out. Sausage gravy is rich, comforting, inexpensive, and surprisingly easy to make from scratch. So you don’t have to wait 45 minutes in line at your favorite brunch spot to get some good biscuits and gravy. Let me show you how to do it at home for way less time and way less money.

Biscuits and gravy on a plate with eggs, a fork taking a bite

What Kind of Sausage to Use for Sausage Gravy

The sausage is the most important part of sausage gravy because the herbs and spices in the sausage end up flavoring the gravy, and the fat from the pork makes everything extra rich. Look for a fresh pork sausage (not in links or patties) that is labeled either “pork sausage,” “country sausage,” or “breakfast sausage.” You’ll usually find it packaged in a tube or roll.

Here are some examples of sausage that you can find in most grocery stores in the U.S. that can be used for Country Sausage Gravy: Tennessee Pride Country Sausage, Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage, or Bob Evans Original Sausage Roll. Most major grocery stores also sell their own store brand of country sausage.

What to Serve with Country Sausage Gravy

Traditionally, sausage gravy is spooned over homemade biscuits (or you can use store-bought biscuits as a shortcut), but this rich gravy is pretty good on just about any starchy vehicle. Here are some fun alternatives to biscuits for your sausage gravy:

  • Breakfast Potatoes or hashbrowns
  • Tortilla Chips (make it like breakfast nachos)
  • English Muffins
  • Grits
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Hearty toast

And if you want something on the side? Definitely some fried or scrambled eggs!

Can You Make it Ahead?

While this sausage gravy is definitely best when made fresh (and it only takes a few minutes), you can make it ahead if you need to. Sausage gravy will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of days. To reheat, simply add it back to a skillet and reheat over medium-low, stirring often until heated through, and adding a splash of milk to loosen it up if needed.

Side view of biscuits and gravy on a plate with eggs

P.S. Don’t forget you can double the recipe below by simply changing the number in the “servings” box to 8 and it will automatically double the ingredient amounts for you! :)

Side view of biscuits and gravy on a plate with eggs

Country Sausage Gravy

Make this easy Country Sausage Gravy from scratch in under 20 minutes for a hearty southern style breakfast at home.
Total Cost $2.53 recipe / $0.63 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 296kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. pork sausage $1.45
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.82
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional) $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the pork sausage to a skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking it into chunks as you stir, until it is cooked through. Do not drain the fat from the skillet.
  • Add the butter and flour to the skillet with the pork. Continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes more.
  • Whisk the milk into the skillet, making sure to dissolve all the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet as you whisk. Continue to stir and cook until the milk begins to simmer lightly, at which point it will thicken into a nice gravy (5 minutes).
  • Season the gravy with red pepper, freshly cracked black pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Serve over biscuits or your favorite starchy breakfast item.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 523mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up of country sausage gravy in a skillet with a spoon lifting a bite

How to Make Sausage Gravy From Scratch – Step by Step Photos

browned sausage in a skillet

Add ½ lb. fresh pork sausage to a skillet and stir and cook over medium heat until browned. Break the sausage into pieces as you stir.

butter and flour added to cooked sausage in a skillet

Add 1.5 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir for about two minutes more.

Milk being whisked into the skillet

Whisk 2 cups whole milk into the skillet, dissolving all the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet as you whisk.

Thickened gravy in the skillet

Continue to cook and stir until the milk comes up to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken into a nice gravy (5 minutes).

Seasonings added to gravy in the skillet

Season the gravy with ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp salt.

Finished sausage gravy in the skillet

Give the gravy a taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

A fork taking a bite of biscuits and gravy off a plate with eggs

Serve over biscuits or with your favorite starchy breakfast food!

The post Country Sausage Gravy appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

Y’all know I love to get creative with flavors, but every once in a while I get in the mood for straight-up American comfort food, like cheeseburgers. When that craving hit this week I decided to make a cheeseburger flavored pasta, which gives me all that cheeseburger flavor with a lot less actual burger. Because […]

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Y’all know I love to get creative with flavors, but every once in a while I get in the mood for straight-up American comfort food, like cheeseburgers. When that craving hit this week I decided to make a cheeseburger flavored pasta, which gives me all that cheeseburger flavor with a lot less actual burger. Because when meat is one of the most expensive items at the grocery store you have to streeeeeeeeetch it any way you can. This  Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet does just that. If you loved Hamburger Helper when you were growing up, you’re going to love this homemade version even more!

Originally posted 4-27-2016, updated 5-29-2021.

Overhead view of cheeseburger pasta skillet in the pan with a spatula in the side

Hot Dog Relish is the Secret Ingredient

This cheeseburger pasta is super good even without the relish, but adding a couple spoonfuls of hotdog relish at the end really makes it taste like you’re eating a hamburger. What is hot dog relish? It’s basically a dill pickle relish mixed with yellow mustard. If you can’t find hot dog relish at your grocery store, you can buy plain dill relish and mix a little yellow mustard into it (about a teaspoon). 

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pasta

Cooking one pot pasta recipes is a little bit like riding a bike. You have to watch it and adjust to the nuances of the pasta as it cooks, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Here are a few tips:

  • Use heavy, thick cookware to help the ingredients heat evenly.
  • Use a burner size close to the size of the bottom of your pot for even heating.
  • The broth does not need to fully cover the pasta for it to cook, so resist the urge to add extra water or broth.
  • Make sure the liquid is simmering the whole time the pasta is cooking. If the heat is too low, the pasta will just get gummy.
  • Stir the pot occasionally to prevent sticking, but not too often or your risk breaking down the pasta.
  • Use your judgment. If your pasta looks close to being cooked through, but there is too much liquid left in the skillet, let it finish simmering with the lid off. If the liquid is gone but your pasta is still not tender, add a splash more water or broth and continue to simmer.

How to Serve Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta

I’m usually all about stuffing my recipes with as many vegetables as possible, but I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate more vegetables into this recipe without making it less hamburger-like, so I’m just going to suggest you serve it with a simple side salad. Nothing fancy, maybe just some Romaine, tomatoes, and dressing. Keep it easy. :) And maybe Homemade Garlic Bread. Because every meal is better with garlic bread. ;)

Freeze Some For Later

Saucy pasta dishes like this freezer pretty well, IMHO, so if you’re cooking for yourself this would make a good cook-and-freeze-for-later dish. If you’re extra sensitive to texture changes like pasta getting slightly softer, though, you may not be a fan of the leftovers.

Overhead view of cheeseburger pasta in a bowl with a fork on the side

Close up of cheeseburger pasta skillet being scooped out with a spoon

Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet

Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet is a fast and easy homemade version of hamburger helper that cooks all in one pot for easy cleanup!
Total Cost $5.03 recipe / $1.26 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 555kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.29
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.26
  • 1/2 lb. pasta shells, uncooked $0.50
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $0.75
  • 2 Tbsp hot dog relish $0.16
  • 2 green onions, sliced (optional) $0.20

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion. Add the onion, olive oil, and ground beef to a large deep skillet and sauté over medium heat until the beef is fully browned and the onion is soft and translucent. Drain off any excess fat, if needed.
  • Add the flour to the skillet and continue to stir and cook for one minute more. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the skillet. Be careful not to let the flour burn.
  • Add the tomato sauce and beef broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the flour off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. The liquid in the skillet may not fully cover the pasta, but that is okay.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the liquid come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir to loosen any pasta from the bottom of the skillet, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low. Let the pasta simmer, stirring occasionally (always replacing the lid), for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off.
  • Add the shredded cheddar to the skillet and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Stir the hot dog relish into the sauce and then top with sliced green onions. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 1045mg | Fiber: 4g

If you love easy one pot pasta dinners, check out our One Pot Meals category!

Close up of cheeseburger pasta skillet being scooped out with a spoon

How to Make Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Ground beef and onion cooked in the skillet

Start by finely dicing one onion. Add the onion, 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large deep skillet. Sauté the onion and beef until the beef is fully browned and the onions are soft and translucent. Drain off any excess fat, if needed (if you’re using 90% lean or higher, there probably isn’t anything to be drained off).

Flour added to the cooked ground beef

Add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the skillet and continue to stir and cook for one minute. The flour will bein to coat the bottom of the skillet. This is okay, just be sure to watch it closely and not let it burn. The flour will help thicken the sauce and help the cheese melt smoothly into the sauce.

Tomato sauce in the skillet, beef broth being poured in

Add an 8oz. can of tomato sauce and 2 cups beef broth. Stir to dissolve the flour off the bottom of the skillet.

Uncooked pasta shells added to the skillet

Add ½ lb. uncooked pasta shells to the skillet and stir to combine. The liquid in the skillet does NOT need to fully cover the pasta for it to cook. The steam in the skillet will help cook the pasta that is above the surface and the pasta will be stirred to ensure even cooking.

Cooked pasta in the skillet a spatula pulling the pasta aside to show the sauce

Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the liquid to come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, give it a quick stir to loosen any pasta from the bottom of the skillet, replace the lid, and turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer, stirring occasionally (always replacing the lid), for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened. Turn the heat off.

Shredded cheddar added to the skillet

Add 4oz. shredded cheddar cheese and stir it into the pasta until it is melted and creamy.

hot dog relish added to the skillet

Finally, add 2 Tbsp of hot dog relish (mustard dill relish), and stir it into the sauce. I feel like the relish is what really made this taste like a hamburger, but if you’re not into relish you skip this last step and still have an amazingly cheesy beef pasta. 

cheeseburger pasta skillet topped with sliced green onions

I had some green onions in the fridge, so I sliced a couple up and added them on top. They add just a little extra pop of flavor and nice visual appeal to the otherwise very monochromatic dish.

Close up side view of cheeseburger pasta skillet with a spoon dug in the side

OMG look at that cheesy sauce! 😍

Skillet Cheeseburger Pasta is a fast and easy "from scratch" version of the classic hamburger helper. BudgetBytes.com

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Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing […]

The post Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Talk about addictive! Once you try one of these crispy Coconut Chicken strips dipped in tangy sweet chili sauce you’re going to want to make them on a weekly basis. Because the chicken is sliced nice and thin and then cooked quickly in hot oil, the chicken stays juicy and tender on the inside, while developing a perfectly golden brown and crispy exterior. Pair that with a bowl of cool, sweet, and tangy Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping and I’m in absolute heaven. So if you love chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless wings, or anything along those lines, I think you’re going to love these Coconut Chicken Strips.

Originally posted 1-18-2010, updated 5-10-2021.

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with one being dipped into a bowl of sweet chili sauce

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I’ve tried this recipe with both chicken breast (boneless, skinless) and chicken tenders. Chicken tenders ended up being too large when used whole, so while they are an option you’ll probably still want to slice them into thinner pieces before breading and cooking. 

Another option would be to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks, so you’ll have something more along the lines of coconut chicken “bites” than strips. I think that would be awesome! The dark meat of chicken thighs will be extra tender and juicy.

Cooking Options

Frying – I chose to shallow fry my coconut chicken strips in a skillet because I don’t have a deep fryer and I don’t deep fry often enough to warrant using as much oil as deep-frying requires. Shallow frying will still get you that great super crispy exterior without allowing the inside to dry out.

Baking – While you can bake these, the results won’t be as awesome as frying. Baking takes longer and the hot air causes more evaporation, which results in drier chicken. You also won’t get as much browning as you will with frying. To help the browning issue, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut breading mixture, similar to the technique used in my Homemade Chicken Nuggets. I suggest using the baking temperature and technique used for the chicken nuggets as well, but increasing the bake time by a few minutes.

Air Frying – I do not own an air fryer, so unfortunately I can’t offer suggestions for cooking times and temperature, but I suspect these chicken strips would be a good candidate for air frying. Because this appliance uses hot air, similar to an oven, I would suggest either spritzing the strips with a little spray oil or mixing a tablespoon or two of oil into the panko and coconut mixture to help with browning.

What to Serve with Coconut Chicken Strips

Don’t skip that sweet chili sauce! You can find sweet chili sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or you can try making your own with my Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce recipe. For side dishes, you can pair this with something like Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Sesame Dressing, Cucumber Mango Salad, or Savory Coconut Rice

What Oil is Good For Frying?

It’s really important to use the right kind of cooking oil for frying. Every type of cooking oil has a different “smoke point,” which is the temperature that the oil begins to smoke and burn. And obviously, we want to avoid that because burned oil does not taste good (and it’s a fire hazard!). So, you’ll want to choose an oil that can withstand the high temperature of frying and an oil that doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own. Some good oils to choose from are canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil.

Close up of a coconut chicken strip being dipped into sweet chili sauce

A plate of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center, a hand dipping one chicken strip into the sauce

Coconut Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce

These tender and crispy homemade Coconut Chicken Strips are perfect for dipping in a tangy and sweet chili sauce.
Total Cost $10.95 recipe / $2.73 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 4 strips each
Calories 873.13kcal

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $7.70
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.01
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 large eggs $0.42
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk $0.25
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs $0.22
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut $0.56
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil, divided* $0.32
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce $1.43

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken breasts into ½-inch wide strips, slicing diagonally to maintain a more even length among the strips.
  • Sprinkle the salt and flour over top of the sliced chicken. Toss the chicken until they're evenly coated.
  • Whisk together the eggs and coconut milk in a bowl. In a separate wide shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and flaked coconut.
  • To bread the chicken, dip each chicken strip into the egg wash, allow the excess to drip off, then dip it into the breadcrumb mixture until it's fully coated. Place the breaded chicken strips on a clean plate or tray until they're all breaded.
  • Once they're all breaded, it's time to fry. Heat ¼ cup cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. To test the heat of the oil, drop a breadcrumb into the oil. It should begin to sizzle immediately. If the oil begins to smoke at anytime, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chicken strips, several at a time, leaving a little space between each one. Cook the chicken strips for about three minutes on on each side, or until they're deeply golden brown. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain, then repeat with another batch of chicken. Remove any burned pieces of coconut before beginning the next batch, and add more oil as needed, making sure to wait until it is hot before adding more chicken.
  • After frying all of the chicken, it's time to serve! Serve hot with a bowl of sweet chili sauce for dipping.

Notes

*Use a high heat cooking oil. Good options include: canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil, refined coconut oil, corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, refined olive oil, or refined avocado oil. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 873.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 82.7g | Protein: 39.45g | Fat: 42.1g | Sodium: 1313.3mg | Fiber: 3.15g

Close up of coconut chicken strips on a plate with a bowl of thai sweet chili sauce

How to Make Coconut Chicken Strips – Step by Step Photos

Sliced chicken breasts

Start with about 1.3 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cut them into ½-inch wide strips. I like to do this sort of on a diagonal to keep them more even in length. If your chicken breasts are very large, you might want to cut the length of the strip in half as well. Cutting the chicken strips thin enough is important because this allows it to cook through quickly. 

Chicken strips coated in flour and salt

Sprinkle ¼ tsp salt and 2 Tbsp flour over the chicken strips, then toss until they’re evenly coated.

Egg and coconut milk mixed in a bowl

Whisk together two large eggs and ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk in a bowl. Make sure to use the type of coconut milk that is in a can, not the type in a carton that is meant to be a dairy milk substitute.

Coconut and panko breadcrumbs mixed together in a bowl

Combine 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs in a wide, shallow bowl.

Breading station with chicken, egg wash, coconut and breadcrumbs

Set up your breading station with the bowl of coconut egg wash, the bowl with coconut and breadcrumbs, and a plate or tray for the breaded chicken. I’m using a parchment lined baking sheet to hold the breaded chicken just for easy cleanup. Dip each chicken strip first into the eggwash (let excess drip off), then into the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the breadcrumbs and coconut fully coat all sides, then place the chicken strip on your holding tray.

Breaded chicken strips on a baking tray

Once all of the chicken strips are breaded, it’s time to start cooking. Add ¼ cup cooking oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Wait until the oil is very hot, but not smoking. If you drop one of the panko breadcrumbs into the hot oil, it should immediately begin sizzling. If it doesn’t sizzle right away, the oil is not hot enough. If at any point during the cooking process the oil begins to smoke, remove it from the heat immediately and wait for it to cool down. 

Browned chicken strips in the skillet

Once the oil is good and hot, add several of the chicken strips, leaving a little space between each. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they are deeply golden brown on each side. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Scoop out any loose pieces of coconut, add a little more oil if needed, wait for it to get hot again, and then cook a second batch of chicken strips. You should be able to cook them all in 2-3 batches. 

Finished Coconut Chicken Strips on a paper towel lined plate

Once they’re all cooked, it’s time to serve! 

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut chicken strips with a bowl of sweet chili sauce in the center

Pour about one cup of sweet chili sauce into a bowl and place that in the center of the coconut chicken strips. I sprinkled the chicken strips with a little cilantro for color, but that’s not needed for flavor. Sliced green onions are another optional garnish idea. Enjoy!

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Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach

I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick […]

The post Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick béchamel sauce, stirred in some grated Parmesan, and a good dollop of pesto. I poured the luxurious sauce over my cooked macaroni then aded couple handfuls of thawed frozen spinach (because I’m all about balance), and had myself the most delicious and creamy pesto mac and cheese.

Originally posted 3-8-2016, updated 4-26-2021.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach, fork in the center

What Kind of Pesto is Best?

I used a simple basil pesto, but the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible. You could do a homemade Kale Pesto, you could do a sun-dried tomato pesto, or practically any flavor pesto that you’d like. 

How to Use Leftover Pesto

Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and costs $3.99. I usually only use about ¼ cup at a time in a recipe, so there is always some leftover. Here are some other recipes that use pesto:

If you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.

What Else Can I Add to Pesto Mac and Cheese?

You can really take this recipe so many different directions! Try adding a handful of sun dried tomatoes, or maybe some chopped up rotisserie chicken. Or try topping it with some crumbled feta, bacon bits, or some buttered breadcrumbs!

Close up of a spoonful of creamy pesto mac with the pot in the background

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach

A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
Total Cost $4.05 reicpe / $0.68 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup each)
Calories 333.58kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni $0.50
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.60
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.53
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $1.33
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 1/2 lb. frozen spinach $0.80

Instructions

  • Thaw the spinach at room temperature or in the microwave. Squeeze out the excess water. Set the spinach aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the macaroni. Boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  • While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce. Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the butter and flour over medium heat until it forms a creamy paste and begins to bubble. Continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  • Whisk the milk into the butter and flour, then allow it to come up to a simmer, while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Whisk the Parmesan and pesto into the sauce until smooth. This will further thicken the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Make sure the sauce is well seasoned as the flavors will be less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in.
  • Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot (heat turned off) and add the thawed spinach. Pour the sauce over top, then stir until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 333.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.75g | Protein: 12.33g | Fat: 14.08g | Sodium: 665.92mg | Fiber: 2.75g

Close up side view of a bowl of creamy pesto mac with spinach

How to Make Pesto Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos

Macaroni being poured into a pot of boiling water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add two cups of macaroni and continue to boil until tender but not mushy. Drain the pasta in a colander.

Thawed spinach in a bowl

While the macaroni is boiling, thaw 1/2 lb. spinach and then squeeze out some of the excess water. It doesn’t have to be bone-dry, just make sure it’s not sopping wet.

Butter and flour being whisked in a sauce pot

Place 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour into a small sauce pot. Heat them over a medium flame while whisking. Once bubbling, continue to stir and cook for about a minute. This mixture is called a roux (this is a blonde roux, in particular) and is used to thicken the sauce. Cooking it for a minute or so slightly toasts the flour so that you don’t have that raw paste-like flavor to your sauce.

Milk being poured into the sauce pot with the roux

Whisk in two cups of whole milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer, whisking occasionally to make sure the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.

Thickened white sauce on the back of a spoon

Once the milk starts simmering, that’s when the roux magic happens. The milk will thicken slightly. It won’t be as thick as a cheese sauce at this point, but it should have noticeably more body. Turn the heat off.

Grated Parmesan being added to the sauce pot

Whisk in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. The cheese will help thicken the sauce even more. 

A measuring cup full of basil pesto held over the sauce pot

Then whisk in 1/4 cup basil pesto.

Salt and pepper added to the creamy pesto sauce

Finally, season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. You want the sauce to be pretty heavily seasoned because it will taste less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in. I used 1/2 tsp salt and about 5-10 cranks of a pepper mill.

Creamy pesto sauce and spinach added to the pot with the cooked macaroni

Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot it was cooked in, add the thawed and squeezed spinach, then pour the creamy sauce over top.

Finished creamy pesto mac in a pot with a large spoon

Then stir all that creamy pesto goodness together. Oh my.

Overhead view of a bowl full of creamy pesto mac with spinach, a fork in the center

I’ll just say it one more time, then leave it there… Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach–OH MY.

Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach - BudgetBytes.com

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