Baked Beans

These baked beans combine the simplicity of canned beans with bacon and a sweet, smoky, and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.

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If you’ve only had canned baked beans in the past then you’ve GOT to try these homemade baked beans. They’re seriously delicious and make really incredible leftovers. I used canned beans to keep these baked beans super easy, but then combined them with bacon (bacon makes everything better!) and a super simple homemade BBQ sauce to take the beans to the next level. The beans are then slowly baked to rich, sweet, smoky perfection. You’re going to LOVE them!

Close up overhead view of baked beans in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

What Kind of Beans to Use for Baked Beans

Navy beans or Great Northern beans are my top picks for baked beans. The small shape, creamy texture, and neutral flavor of both navy and Great Northern beans make them the perfect complement to the rich and tangy sauce. Great Northern beans will hold their shape better, whereas navy beans may break down a bit if stirred too much.

What’s in the Sauce?

I used my homemade BBQ sauce for these baked beans. It’s really simple to prepare, just stir all the ingredients together and let it bake along with the beans and bacon for maximum flavor! The sauce includes tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, like smoked paprika and garlic powder. It’s sweet, savory, tangy, and smoky!

Baked beans on a spoon held close to the camera.

How to Serve Baked Beans

Baked beans are so good that they may become the focal point of your plate, even when served as a side! I love to serve them with southern classics like pulled pork, burgers, coleslaw, potato salad, and mac and cheese. But you could also use them as a bowl meal! Add them to some mashed potatoes, top with cheese and green onion, and you’ve got a cozy and filling bowl of comfort.

What Cookware to Use

I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for my baked beans, but any heavy-duty ceramic or cast iron baking dish or Dutch oven will do well. Thinner materials like metal or glass may cause the sauce to overcook or burn around the edges. You’ll want a dish that can hold about two quarts in volume.

What Else Can I Add?

A lot of baked beans recipes will also include bell pepper and onion. When I originally tested this recipe I included finely diced bell pepper and onion that I sautéed until soft in the bacon fat after the bacon had browned, but I wanted to simplify the recipe this time around (less chopping and fewer ingredients!) I found the version without to be every bit as delicious!

Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.
Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Baked Beans

These baked beans combine the simplicity of canned beans with bacon and a sweet, smoky, and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.56 recipe / $0.76 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 ½ cup each
Calories 307kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bacon $2.40
  • 3 15oz. cans Great Northern Beans $2.37
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce $0.89
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste $0.32
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar $0.17
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.16
  • 1/4 cup molasses $0.77
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon fat.
  • Drain the canned beans well, then add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and black pepper. Stir until everything is very well combined.
  • Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes, stirring once at 30 minutes and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is thick at 60 minutes, it's done. If it's still a bit runny, bake 10-15 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot with your other favorite comfort foods!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 446mg | Fiber: 7g
Close up side view of baked beans in the skillet.

How to Make Baked Beans – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut 8 oz. bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon grease. If you’ll be baking your beans in a different vessel, go ahead and transfer the cooked bacon and remaining fat to your baking dish.

Beans added to skillet with cooked bacon.

Drain 3 cans of Great Northern or navy beans well. Add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.

BBQ sauce ingredients added to the skillet.

Add the ingredients for the BBQ sauce to the skillet: 15 oz. tomato sauce, ¼ cup tomato paste, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Baked beans in a skillet before going into the oven.

Stir the ingredients until everything is evenly combined. Transfer the beans to the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked beans after baking, a spoon stirring them slightly.

Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes (uncovered), stirring once after 30 minutes of baking, and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is nice and thick at 60 seconds, they’re done. If it’s still a bit liquidy, bake until the sauce is thick.

Finished baked beans stirred in the cast iron skillet.

Serve your homemade baked beans hot with other classic comfort foods like mashed potatoes, green beans, and mac and cheese!

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Succotash

Succotash is a simple and colorful side dish made with corn and lima beans that is savory, subtly sweet, and full of delicious flavor.

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If you’re looking for a simple, hearty, and inexpensive side dish that you pair with just about any meal, you’ve got to try succotash. This colorful mix of corn, lima beans, and tomatoes has a natural subtle sweetness balanced with savory broth, herbs, and a creamy butter finish. It’s one of those combinations that is so simple, but you won’t be able to stop shoveling it into your mouth, forkful after forkful.

Succotash in a skillet with a wooden spoon, garnished with parsley.

What is Succotash?

Succotash is a simple dish of stewed corn and beans that originated with the Narragansett people in what is now the New England region of the U.S. The Narragansett called the dish sahquttahhash, or “broken corn kernels”, and introduced it to colonists in the 17th century when it likely took on its current name. Over the centuries the dish has taken many forms and has become part of classic southern cuisine in the U.S. The version you’ll find below is simple, delicious, and most importantly budget-friendly!

What’s in Succotash?

Succotash can take many forms, but the common thread between most versions is a combination of corn and lima beans stewed together with other vegetables, herbs, and sometimes a fatty meat. My version is very simple with corn, lima beans, tomatoes, and onions, all stewed together in a little bit of chicken broth and finished with a little creamy butter.

Some people love to add a little bacon or salt pork to their succotash to give it an extra flavor punch. Other vegetables that can be commonly found in succotash include red bell pepper, okra, squash, and garlic.

What to Serve with Succotash

Succotash is a very versatile side dish and can be served alongside any grilled meat, baked fish, or pork chops. Succotash would also be great to add to a bowl meal, or just it as a bed on your plate for some Garlic Butter Shrimp. YUM!

Overhead view of a bowl of succotash with a black spoon.
Overhead view of a skillet full of soccotash.

Succotash

Succotash is a simple and colorful side dish made with corn and lima beans that is savory, subtly sweet, and full of delicious flavor.
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $5.46 recipe / $0.55 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 ½ cup each
Calories 128kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.38
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided $0.50
  • 1 12oz. bag frozen lima beans $1.69
  • 1 12oz. bag frozen sweet corn $1.25
  • 1 cup chicken broth* $0.13
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt, divided $0.05
  • 1 large tomato $1.29
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the yellow onion and add it to a skillet with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat until the onion has softened.
  • Add the lima beans, corn, broth, thyme, pepper, and ½ tsp salt to the skillet. Stir to combine and allow the broth to come up to a simmer. Let the corn and beans simmer in the broth, without a lid, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • While the corn and lima beans are simmering, dice the tomato. Add the diced tomato to the skillet and simmer for an additional five minutes.
  • Give the mixture a taste and add more salt to your liking (I added an extra ½ tsp salt). Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and stir until they are melted in.
  • Top the succotash with chopped fresh parsley and another pinch of black pepper. Enjoy hot!

Notes

*Make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 377mg | Fiber: 3g
A spoonful of succotash held close to the camera.

How to Make Succotash – Step by Step Photos

Sautéed onions in a skillet.

Begin by dicing one yellow onion. Add the onion and 2 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and sauté over medium heat until the onions are softened.

Corn, lima beans, spices, and broth being poured into the skillet.

Add one 12oz. bag of frozen lima beans, one 12oz. bag of frozen sweet corn, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp salt, and 1 cup chicken broth. Stir to combine. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, then simmer the corn and beans in the broth, without a lid, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Diced tomatoes being stirred into the skillet.

While the corn and beans are simmering, dice one large tomato (or 2 small tomatoes). Stir the diced tomatoes into the skillet then continue to simmer, without a lid and stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes.

More butter added to the skillet.

Taste the mixture and add more salt to taste (I added another ½ tsp). Finally, add two more tablespoons of butter and stir them in until melted.

Finished succotash topped with parsley and pepper.

Garnish the finished succotash with fresh chopped parsley and a little more freshly cracked pepper.

Side view of a bowl of succotash with a spoon.

Enjoy hot!

Try These Other Easy Veggie Side Dishes

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Tomato Rice

Tomato rice is an easy yet flavorful side dish that uses only a few simple ingredients, and it’s sure to liven up any dinner plate!

The post Tomato Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love a big ol’ bowl of hot rice. Rice is filling, cozy, and CHEAP. 🙌 Plus, it’s super easy to add different flavors to rice, so it never gets boring. This easy and flavorful tomato rice uses really simple ingredients that I often have on hand, and it has the most delicious bright yet savory flavor. Plus you can use it as a base for bowl meals, or you can serve it as a side to liven up your dinner plate.

Tomato rice in a bowl with limes and green onion.

What’s in Tomato Rice?

This tomato rice is similar to what a lot of people call Spanish rice or Mexican rice, although I can’t say that my technique is authentic to either culture. It’s simply rice that has been cooked with onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, a couple of spices (cumin and chili powder), and a flavorful broth. So simple, yet SO good! I couldn’t stop taking forkfuls right out of the pot. 😅

What Else Can I Add?

There are a lot of ways you can modify this rice to make it your own. You can swap the vegetable broth for chicken broth for a slightly different flavor, or replace the diced tomatoes with salsa or Rotel. You can also experiment with adding some extra spices, like cayenne or smoked paprika, or even squeeze a little lime juice in with the broth before cooking. Want more vegetables? Try stirring in some frozen peas or diced bell pepper.

I like to garnish the tomato rice with some sliced green onions and lime wedges, but they are not required to make the rice taste great.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer simmer time (2-3 times longer) than white rice. So while I’d need to test this with brown rice before offering exact recommendations, it is definitely possible to make this tomato rice with long grain brown rice.

How to Store the Leftovers

If you plan to use your rice for meal prep or if you want to freeze the leftovers, make sure to divide the rice into single portions before refrigerating to make sure it cools down quickly once in the refrigerator. Once completely cooled, it can be transferred to the freezer for longer storage (make sure it’s in an air-tight container).

The tomato rice can be reheated quickly in the microwave. Add a sprinkle of water or an ice cube before reheating to prevent the rice from drying out.

Close up side view of a bowl of tomato rice.

Tomato Rice

Tomato rice is an easy yet flavorful side dish that uses only a few simple ingredients, and it's sure to liven up any dinner plate!
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $2.40 recipe / $0.30 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 186kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.56
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin $0.02
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $0.79
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.08
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and finely dice the onion. Add the onion, garlic, and cooking oil to a saucepot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the rice, chili powder, and cumin to the pot. Continue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes more to toast the rice and spices.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, and broth to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve and spices that are stuck to the bottom.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low (or just above low) to bring the broth down to a gentle simmer.
  • Let the rice gently simmer for 20 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, and let the rice rest for five minutes without lifting the lid.
  • After resting, fluff the rice with a fork to redistribute the tomatoes throughout. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 471mg | Fiber: 2g
Overhead view of a pot full of tomato rice with limes and green onion.

How to Make Tomato Rice – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion and garlic on a cutting board.

Start by mincing two cloves of garlic and finely dicing one onion.

sautéed onion and garlic in the pot.

Add the onion and garlic to a sauce pot with 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent.

Rice and spices added to the pot.

Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice, ½ tsp chili powder, and ¼ tsp cumin to the pot.

Rice and spices cooked in the pot.

Cook and stir the rice and spices for a couple of minutes more to slightly toast the rice and spices.

Tomatoes and broth added to the pot.

Add one 15oz. can of petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 cups vegetable broth, and ½ tsp salt to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve any spices stuck to the bottom of the pot. I like to keep frozen tomato paste on hand in one tablespoon portions, just for recipes like this!

Tomato rice before simmering.

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low (or lightly above low) to bring the broth down to a gentle simmer.

Simmered rice in the pot with tomatoes on top.

Let the rice gently simmer for 20 minutes without stirring or lifting the lid. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat (lid still on) and let the rice rest for 5 minutes. This is what it looks like after simmering.

Fluffed tomato rice in the pot.

Fluff the rice with a fork to redistribute the diced tomatoes, which float to the top as the rice simmers.

Lime being squeezed over the rice in a bowl.

Serve hot! I like to garnish with a little lime and green onion, but it’s not necessary! The rice tastes great on its own, too. :)

Try These Other Flavored Rice Recipes:

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Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is a deliciously fresh bean salad with a colorful mix of beans and vegetables, plus a zesty lime dressing.

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This super fresh and colorful Cowboy Caviar combines two types of beans, delicious summer vegetables, and a sweet and tangy lime dressing to make a bold and versatile dish that you’ll find yourself making over and over. From a party dip to a salad topper, Cowboy Caviar has become a go-to healthy meal prep item in my kitchen. It’s the O.G. refrigerator salad. 😄 Read on for more ideas on how to use this amazing cross between bean salad and salsa!

Originally posted 7-19-2016, updated 6-1-2022.

Close up overhead view of cowboy caviar in a bowl with chips on the side.

What is Cowboy Caviar?

Cowboy Caviar, sometimes called Mexican Caviar, is like a cross between a bean salad and a fresh salsa. It combines two types of beans (black beans and black eyed peas) with a colorful medley of fresh vegetables and a tangy balsamic-lime vinaigrette.

Where Do You Find Black Eyed Peas?

If you can’t find black eyed peas in the canned bean aisle, check with the canned vegetables. Because they’re a “pea” they’re sometimes found with the canned vegetables rather than the beans. And if you can’t find black eyed peas, you can substitute pinto beans or navy beans.

How Long Does it Last?

Well, if you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it can happen!), Cowboy Caviar holds up extremely well in the refrigerator and will be just as tasty after about 4-5 days of refrigeration. While the vegetables will let off a little water, most of the ingredients are very sturdy. Just be sure to stir the salad before serving to redistribute the dressing. This salad will probably not freeze well, due to the fresh herbs and vegetables.

Close up of Cowboy Caviar on a chip.

How to Serve Cowboy Caviar

There are SO many ways to eat Cowboy Caviar that you’ll probably find yourself adding it to everything you eat. But here are a few ideas anyway:

  • Serve it as a side dish with dinner
  • As a chunky dip for chips
  • As a topping for tacos
  • Stuffed into a burrito or as part of a burrito bowl
  • Sprinkled over a green salad
  • Spooned on top of scrambled eggs
  • Stuffed into a quesadilla with some cheese

…and so much more. If you have a favorite way to eat your Cowboy Caviar, feel free to share it with the rest of us in the comments below!

Recipe Variations

One of the best things about Cowboy Caviar is that it is extremely versatile. You can customize this recipe to give it your own personal touch. Here are a couple of substitutions and add-ins that will make it your own:

  • Add avocado for a creamy finish
  • Skip the jalapeño to make it mild, or keep the jalapeño and add a few dashes of hot sauce to make it extra spicy
  • Substitute green onion for the red onion to make the salad milder
  • Add sweet corn for more color and flavor variation
  • Add ½ tsp smoked paprika to the dressing for a smokier finish

Can you Freeze Cowboy Caviar?

I don’t suggest freezing this dish because it has multiple delicate fresh vegetables that will become limp and soggy upon freezing and reheating. You want those veggies to be fresh, juicy, and crunchy to give the salad its amazing texture! :)

close up side view of cowboy caviar in a bowl.

Close up overhead view of cowboy caviar in a bowl with chips on the side.

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar is a deliciously fresh bean salad with a colorful mix of beans and vegetables, plus a zesty lime dressing.
Course Dinner, Dip, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $5.30 recipe / $0.53 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 10 (1/2 cup each)
Calories 140kcal

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice) $0.33
  • 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder* $0.05
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.02

Salad

  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.89
  • 1 15oz. can black eyed peas $1.09
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) $1.50
  • 2 Roma tomatoes $0.86
  • 1 jalapeño $0.12
  • 1/4 red onion $0.20
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro $0.20

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 2 Tbsp of juice from the lime, balsamic vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and sugar.
  • Rinse and drain both cans of beans in a colander. Once well drained, transfer them to a large bowl.
  • Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. Try to dice the vegetables into pieces that are roughly the same size as the beans. For a less spicy salad, scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl with the beans.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, then stir until everything is well coated. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

*This chili powder is a mild blend of chiles and other spices.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 122mg | Fiber: 7g

How to Make Cowboy Caviar – Step by Step Photos

Dressing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.

Make the dressing first so the flavors have a few minutes to blend. Whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lime juice, ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chili powder, ½ tsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.

Rinsed and drained beans in a bowl.

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of black beans and one 15oz. can of black eyed peas in a colander. 

Fresh vegetables on a cutting board.

Gather one bell pepper (any color), two Roma tomatoes, one jalapeño, 1/4 of a red onion, and 1/4 bunch of cilantro. While any color bell pepper can be used, I like the colorful pop of a yellow or orange bell pepper. 

Chopped vegetables in the bowl with the beans.

Finely dice the bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeño, and red onion. The idea is to get the pieces close in size to the beans so that you have a “caviar” type appearance in the end. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves. Place the chopped vegetables in the bowl with the rinsed beans.

Dressing being poured over the salad in the bowl.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad.

Finished cowboy caviar in the bowl.

Stir the salad until everything is coated in the dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. This is one of those salads that tastes even better after it has time to chill in the fridge, so it’s great to eat over the course of a few days!

Finished cowboy caviar in a bowl with a chip.

Cowboy Caviar makes a great snack with tortilla chips, a topper for tacos, bowl meals, or salads, or spoon some onto baked or grilled fish for a nice light meal!

Try These Other Bean Salad Recipes:

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Lemony White Bean Salad

This simple Lemony White Bean Salad is an expensive, light, and fresh option for summer meals or your weekly meal prep.

The post Lemony White Bean Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve been leaning on canned beans a lot lately because they’re just super fast and easy to make things with, and, as grocery prices continue to climb, they’re an inexpensive way to fill my belly. I made this super simple Lemony White Bean Salad the other day for meal prep and it was too easy and too good not to share. It makes a great side dish, or you can add a few more ingredients to make it a meal!

Overhead view of lemony white bean salad in a bowl.

What’s in this White Bean Salad?

I love simple food, and this bean salad is a great example. It’s just white beans, thinly sliced red onion, a little parsley, and a quick homemade lemon vinaigrette. Quick, simple, delicious, and FRESH.

What Kind of White Beans Are Best

For this salad, you want a bean that is fairly large and firm so they don’t fall apart when the salad is stirred together. I used cannellini beans, but butter beans would also do well. I would avoid using navy beans or great northern beans for this recipe.

What to Serve with White Bean Salad

I served this salad as part of my weekly meal prep along with some Garlic Marinated Chicken, and a few triangles of pita. It would also go great with Mediterranean Turkey Burgers, Baked Cod, Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs, or as an addition to a Hummus Lunch Box.

What Else Can I Add?

Because this recipe is so simple and basic, there are a lot of ways to dress it up and make it into something new! So browse your fridge and pantry for ingredients that might need to be used up, because chances are you can add them to this salad! Here are a few ideas:

  • Fresh or sun dried tomatoes
  • Crumbled feta
  • Fresh spinach
  • Any fresh herbs (scallions, chives, basil, tarragon, cilantro, rosemary)
  • Cucumbers
  • Sautéed kale
  • Tuna
  • Grilled chicken
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Diced avocado
White bean salad in meal prep containers with chicken and pita.
Shown with pita bread and Garlic Marinated Chicken.
Overhead view of a bowl of lemony white bean salad.

Lemony White Bean Salad

This simple Lemony White Bean Salad is an expensive, light, and fresh option for summer meals or your weekly meal prep.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $2.53 recipe / $0.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 ½ cup each
Calories 151kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.05
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 2 15oz. cans Cannellini beans $1.78
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.10

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Rinse and drain the cannellini beans. Thinly slice the red onion and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Place the beans, onions, and parsley in a bowl, then pour the vinaigrette over top. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 373mg | Fiber: 7g
Close up side view of Lemony White Bean Salad in a bowl.

How to Make Lemony White Bean Salad – Step by Step Photos

Lemon vinaigrette in a bowl.

Make the Lemon Vinaigrette first so the flavors have a few minutes to chill. Simply whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove of minced garlic, ⅛ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Cannellini beans draining in a colander.

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans.

Salad ingredients being combined in a bowl.

Thinly slice about ¼ of a red onion and roughly chop about 2 Tbsp of parsley. Add the beans, onions, and parsley to a bowl, then pour the vinaigrette over top.

White bean salad stirred together in a bowl.

Stir the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemony white bean salad.

You can serve the salad immediately or let it chill in the refrigerator for a while. It will be good for 3-4 days and the flavors will blend more as time goes on. Always give it a good stir to redistribute the flavors just before serving!

The post Lemony White Bean Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Coconut Rice

This savory coconut rice features fragrant jasmine rice, rich coconut milk, and savory garlic for a simple yet delicious side dish.

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I’m not kidding when I say this coconut rice is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. There’s something about it that literally just makes my body melt upon the first bite. It’s rich, savory, carby, and just insanely delicious. It’s pretty simple to make, too, which is always a plus. Whether you like to make rice on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, you can make this incredible savory coconut rice with very little effort.

Originally posted 12-22-2011, updated 5-4-2022.

Overhead view of a plate full of coconut rice on a bamboo mat.

What’s in Coconut Rice?

This incredible rice is deceptively simple. It’s just long-grain white jasmine rice cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and water, with a little minced garlic and salt for depth. THAT’S IT. It sounds so plain, but you’ll be blown away on first bite. 

What Kind of Coconut Milk?

For this recipe you’ll need canned coconut milk, not the kind that is meant to be used as a substitute for dairy milk–that’s just too watery. As far as canned coconut milk goes, I’ve used both full fat and light and it turns out great with both. Full-fat coconut milk creates an ultra-rich rice (because it has so much more fat), while lite coconut milk has a slightly more mild coconut flavor and the rice will have a lighter, fluffier texture (less fat weighing it down).

What is Jasmine Rice?

Jasmine rice is a fragrant variety of rice grown in Southeast Asia. Using jasmine rice in this recipe really takes the flavor over the top, so definitely get it if you can! Jasmine rice is becoming more popular in the U.S. so you can find it at most grocery stores these days. Check the bottom shelf of the rice aisle for large 5 lb. bags to get the best deal. While jasmine rice is more expensive than plain white rice, it is totally worth the price. Plus, since it’s shelf-stable, it won’t go to waste! You can use long grain jasmine rice in place of plain white rice in most recipes for an extra flavor boost.

Can I Use a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you can make this coconut rice with a rice cooker instead of in a pot on the stovetop, as directed below. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and press go! 

What to Serve with Coconut Rice

This super delish rice is a great side dish to any Asian or tropical-inspired meal. Use it as a bed for Honey Sriracha Tofu, Teriyaki Chicken, Baked Ginger Salmon, or Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry Bowls.

Coconut rice in a saucepot on a bamboo mat, garnish with green onion and toasted coconut.

Coconut rice on a plate garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

Coconut Rice

This savory coconut rice features fragrant jasmine rice, rich coconut milk, and savory garlic for a simple yet delicious side dish.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Total Cost $2.88 recipe / $0.48 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 about ¾ cup each
Calories 295kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain jasmine rice $0.48
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1 13.5oz. can coconut milk $2.29
  • 1 cup water $0.00

Instructions

  • Rinse the jasmine rice using a wire mesh strainer or a bowl, making sure to pour off as much excess water as possible. Add the rinsed rice to a pot along with the minced garlic and salt.
  • Add the coconut milk and water to the pot. Give the rice a brief stir.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the liquid to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low. Allow the rice to simmer over low for 15 minutes. Make sure the pot maintains a simmer. Do not stir or lift the lid as the rice simmers.
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Finally, after the rice has rested, you lift the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 303mg | Fiber: 1g

Close up side view of coconut rice on a plate, garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

How to Make Coconut Rice – Step By Step Photos

Rinsed rice in a saucepot with minced garlic and salt.

Rinse 1.5 cups long grain white jasmine rice, making sure to pour off as much excess water as possible. Add the rinsed rice to a pot along with one clove of minced garlic and ¾ tsp salt.

Coconut milk being poured into the saucepot.

Add one 13.5oz. can of coconut milk to the saucepot with the rice.

Water being poured into the saucepot.

Add an additional cup of water. Give the rice a brief stir. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the liquid to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low. Allow the rice to simmer over low for 15 minutes. Make sure the pot maintains a simmer. Do not stir or lift the lid as the rice simmers.

Cooked rice in the saucepot.

After simmering for 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Finally, after the rice has rested, you may lift the lid.

Rice being fluffed in the saucepot.

Fluff the rice with a fork and then serve.

Coconut rice on a plate garnished with green onion and toasted coconut.

I garnished my rice with sliced green onion and toasted coconut, but neither is needed to make this rice taste amazing! It’s mind-blowing on its own!

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Cheesy Pinto Beans

Cheesy Pinto Beans are a quick and satisfying meal made with simple pantry staple ingredients, like canned beans.

The post Cheesy Pinto Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We’re getting back to the basics with this one! I love exploring really simple ways to transform pantry staples, like canned beans, into a filling and satisfying meal. For these Cheesy Pinto Beans, I simply seasoned up some canned beans, puréed half to make the beans nice and creamy, then stirred in a little cheese to make it extra flavorful and satisfying. Serve them over rice and you’ve got an easy and satisfying meal for pennies.

A bowl of cheesy pinto beans over rice.

What Are Pinto Beans?

Pinto beans have been a staple ingredient in many parts of the world, including Mexico and the Southwest U.S., for generations, so if you live in those areas you’re probably very familiar with this delicious bean. But if pinto beans aren’t already part of your regular diet, this recipe will be a great introduction. Pinto beans are a small, tan-colored bean that has a speckled appearance when dried. They have a deliciously creamy texture once cooked, which makes them great for refried beans, soup, burritos, or just enjoying over rice, like I did here.

Can I Use Dry Beans?

Dry beans will always be more budget-friendly, usually lower sodium, and oftentimes have better flavor, but they can definitely a little more time and work to prepare. This Cheesy Pinto Bean recipe is designed for convenience, so we’re using canned beans this time around. If you want to use pinto beans that you’ve cooked from dry, you’ll need about three cups of cooked beans. You’ll likely need to add a little more salt to your recipe at the end, as well.

How to Serve Cheesy Pinto Beans

This deliciously simple recipe can be eaten a few different ways. I served mine over a bowl of rice, but you could also purée more of the beans and serve it as a beany chip dip! I think it would also be good served in a bowl then scooped up with some fluffy naan or pita. Or, simply serve them alone as a side dish with your favorite meal.

What Else Can I Add?

Beans are such a flexible ingredient, so there are several other ingredients you can add to these cheesy pinto beans. Here are some other ingredients that you can stir into your beans:

  • Diced Hatch green chiles
  • Salsa
  • Diced red onion
  • Diced ham or bacon
  • Sour cream (makes the beans EXTRA creamy)
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
Cheesy Pinto Beans on a serving spoon in the pot.
Overhead view of a bowl of cheesy pinto beans over rice.

Cheesy Pinto Beans

Cheesy Pinto Beans are a quick and satisfying meal made with simple pantry staple ingredients, like canned beans.
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican, Southwest
Total Cost $2.96 recipe / $0.74 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 ⅔ cup each
Calories 268kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 jalapeño (optional) $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 2 15oz. cans pinto beans $2.00
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 dashes hot sauce $0.10
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese $0.50

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and finely dice the jalapeño (remove the stem and seeds).
  • Add the onion, jalapeño, and cooking oil to a pot. Sauté the garlic and jalapeño over medium heat for about one minute, or just until the garlic is very fragrant.
  • Add one can of pinto beans to a blender, with the liquid in the can, and purée until smooth.
  • Add the puréed beans and the second can of beans (drained) to the saucepot with the garlic and jalapeño. Stir to combine.
  • Season the beans with the smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine, then heat through over medium, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, add the shredded cheddar and stir until it has melted smoothly into the beans. Taste the beans and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve over rice or with your favorite meal.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.66cup | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 664mg | Fiber: 10g

How to Make Cheesy Pinto Beans – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and jalapeño in a pot.

Mince two cloves of garlic and finely dice one jalapeño (seeds and stem removed). Add them to a pot along with one tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant.

Puréed pinto beans in a blender.

Add one 15oz. can of pinto beans to a blender (with the liquid in the can) and purée until smooth. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender in the pot with the beans.

Pinto beans in the pot, puréed beans being poured into the pot.

Add the puréed beans to the pot along with a second 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained). Stir to combine.

Seasonings added to the pot.

Season the beans with ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp ground cumin, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and a couple of dashes of hot sauce. Stir to combine and then allow the beans to heat through, stirring occasionally.

Shredded cheese added to the beans.

Once the beans are hot, add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Cheesy pinto beans being stirred.

Stir the beans until the cheese has melted smoothly into the beans.

Finished cheesy pinto beans in the pot.

Taste the beans and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Because canned beans and cheese contain a fair amount of salt, I did not find that I needed to add any to the beans. Serve the beans over rice, with chips, or as a side to your favorite meal!

The post Cheesy Pinto Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How to Cook Rice

A simple step by step guide on how to cook rice on the stove top, with tips, tricks, and answers to all of your rice questions.

The post How to Cook Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Grocery shopping is getting a bit rough these days with prices that are higher than ever and shelves that always seem to be half empty. So now is a great time to revisit one of the most inexpensive and versatile pantry staple ingredients available: rice. Once you know how to cook rice on the stovetop, you’ve got an inexpensive and filling base upon which you can build a million different meals!

Cooked rice in a bowl with a wooden spoon.

Cooking Rice on the Stovetop

Cooking rice on the stovetop is just one of many ways you can cook rice. It’s my preferred method because it’s simple, it doesn’t require special equipment, and it’s fairly quick. That being said, you might find that you like a different method better.

You can also cook rice in a rice cooker or an Instant Pot, you can bake it in the oven, you can cook it in a microwave, and you can even cook it in an excess of water, kind of like pasta! Each of these methods has its pros and cons, so you can always experiment with another method if you’re not a fan of cooking rice on the stovetop.

What Type of Rice to Use

There are a lot of different types of rice in the world and each cooks a little differently. For that reason, this tutorial will only cover white and brown long grain rice. Other types of rice will require different amounts of liquid, different cook times, and maybe even a different method altogether.

Should I Rinse my Rice?

Rinsing rice before it’s cooked can be helpful for a couple of different reasons. Not only does it help remove debris and other contaminants, but it can also help remove excess starch, which tends to make rice a little more sticky once cooked.

The easiest way to rinse rice is to use a fine wire mesh sieve or strainer. This will allow the water to rinse right through without the risk of accidentally pouring out the rice along with the rinse water, and without inadvertently leaving a lot of excess water in the rice.

Uncooked rice in a metal measuring cup.

Water to Rice Ratio

Using the correct amount of water and rice will have a big impact on how your rice turns out. Use too much water and your rice will be mushy. Use too little water and your rice might not cook through. The exact amount to use can also vary based on your cookware and your personal preferences, but in general, for long grain white rice, you can use between 1.5 to 2 cups of water for every cup of uncooked rice (use less for more firm rice, more for softer rice). Brown rice needs a little more liquid, so you can use 2 to 2.25 cups of water for every cup of uncooked brown rice.

Another method for determining the amount of water needed is the knuckle method. This ancient measuring technique is considered fool-proof by those who use it. Simply place your rinsed rice in your pot or rice cooker, touch the top of the rice with your fingertip, then add water until the top of the water comes up to the first knuckle after your fingernail. Sounds crazy, but it works!

Use The Correct Cookware

Using the correct cookware will also help you achieve perfectly cooked rice with less efort. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure to choose a pot that is the correct size for the amount of rice you’re cooking. Choose a pot that is about 6-8x the volume of uncooked rice (cook one cup of rice in a 1.5-2 quart pot).
  • Use a thick-bottomed or heavy-duty pot because they will heat more evenly and reduce the chances of burning the rice.
  • Make sure you’re using a burner that is close in size to the bottom of your pot. This will help the rice cook evenly and prevent crunchy, undercooked rice around the outside edges of the pot.

How to Add More Flavor to Rice

One of the reasons I love rice, aside from being so filling and affordable, is that it is so easy to change the flavor. Here are a few easy ways to add more flavor to your rice:

  • Toast the rice in butter or oil before adding water. This gives the rice a deeper, toastier flavor.
  • Add aromatics, like minced garlic or diced onion to the rice and water before cooking.
  • Add herbs and spices to the water before cooking.
  • Use a flavored liquid in place of water. You can cook rice in broth, stock, milk, or coconut milk for even more flavor.
  • Finish with flavor: Add a drizzle or sprinkle of your favorite sauce, spice, or herb after cooking, then fold gently to combine (think citrus juice, fresh herbs, finishing oils, etc.).
Cooked rice in a saucepot with a fork.
Cooked rice in a black bowl with a wooden spoon.

How to Cook Rice

A simple step by step guide on how to cook rice on the stove top, with tips, tricks, and answers to all of your rice questions.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine General
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 cups rice
Calories 169kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain white rice*
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Rince the rice using a fine wire mesh strainer.
  • Add the rice, salt, and water to a saucepot.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a full boil.
  • Once the water reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid or stir as it simmers. Make sure it maintains a gentle simmer the entire time.
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the rice rest without lifting the lid or stirring, for an additional five minutes.
  • After letting the rice rest, lift the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve hot.

Notes

*To cook long grain brown rice, increase the water to 2 cups and let the rice simmer for 45 minutes instead of 15. Don’t forget to let the rice rest after turning off the heat, just as you do with the white rice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 152mg | Fiber: 1g

How to Cook Rice – Step by Step Photos

Rice being rinsed in a bowl.

Rinse the rice first with a fine wire mesh strainer or in a bowl. If rinsing in a bowl, swish it around a few times then carefully pour off the rinse water. Repeat this 3-4 times, pouring off as much water as possible with the last rinse.

salt being added to a saucepot with rice

Place one cup of rice in a saucepot, then add ¼ tsp salt.

Water being poured into the pot.

Also add 1.5 cups of water.

Lid being placed on the pot.

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a full boil.

Simmered rice in the pot, lid half off.

Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid or stir the rice while it simmers. After 15 minutes of simmering, turn off the heat and let the rice rest for an additional five minutes (still no lifting the lid or stirring!).

Rice in the pot being fluffed with a fork.

Finally, after the rice has rested, lift the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve hot with your favorite meal!

Close up of cooked rice in a pot with a fork.

Troubleshooting

  • Burned rice: heat was too high when simmering, not enough water was used or too much steam escaped while simmering (keep that lid on tight), or thin cookware caused hotspots on the bottom.
  • Mushy rice: too much water was used or not enough water was drained after rinsing, rice was stirred during cooking.
  • Crunchy rice: not enough water was used, too much steam escaped during simmering (do not lift the lid), uneven heating (outside edges not simmering so the rice could not absorb the water), rice not allowed to rest after simmering.
  • Rice cooked unevenly: Burner was too small for the pot, thin pot that does not conduct heat evenly, rice was not allowed to rest after simmering.

When to Use a Rice Cooker

Still can’t get the hang of it? No problem. Sometimes using a rice cooker really is the best option! Rice cookers are generally inexpensive, they are quite versatile (you can cook more than just rice in them), and they leave your hands and attention free to tend to other things while preparing your meal. There’s no shame in using a rice cooker!

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Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice is a fast, easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal that you can whip up with ingredients on hand at any time!

The post Vegetable Fried Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Fried rice is a take-out classic because it’s fast, easy, filling, delicious, and inexpensive, which is everything I want from a meal made at home, too! I love making vegetable fried rice at home because it’s an easy way to use up odds and ends in my fridge, it’s always satisfying, and it’s FAST. Plus, I can always add some meat or seafood if I’m feeling it!

Originally posted 6/2/2010, updated 3/30/2022.

Overhead view of a black plate full of vegetable fried rice on a yellow background

What is Fried Rice?

Fried rice is a Chinese dish made with cooked rice that is then stir-fried in a wok with other ingredients, like meat, seafood, vegetables, and eggs, and then seasoned with a savory sauce. It’s extremely flexible and budget-friendly, which is why we love this dish! The recipe below is an American adaptation, using a skillet instead of a wok and ingredients that are easily sourced in most American grocery stores. If you’d like to try an authentic Chinese Fried Rice recipe, be sure to check out Chinese Fried Rice from Rasa Malaysia, Egg Fried Rice from Red House Spice, or Classic Chicken Fried Rice from The Woks of Life.

Use Leftover Rice for Best Results

To avoid clumpy or gummy fried rice, use rice that has been previously cooked and completely cooled, preferably overnight. The slightly drier, less starchy rice is perfect for stir-frying because it can absorb moisture from the sauce and vegetables without becoming overly sticky. If you don’t have leftover rice from the day before, simply cook some rice, spread it out thin on a baking sheet or wide baking dish for faster cooling, then refrigerate until completely cool before using in the stir fry. 

Do I Need a Wok?

Woks are wonderful for stir fry because the large surface area makes it possible to add a lot of ingredients without overcrowding. While using a frying pan doesn’t work quite as well, we can make up for the crowding issue by cooking the ingredients separately, then combining them at the very end. 

What Else Can I Add to Vegetable Stir Fry?

Here’s my favorite part. A simple Vegetable Stiry is a blank slate for all sorts of add ins, whether it’s more vegetables, a meat or seafood, a different sauce, or even a crunchy topping! Here are some other fun add-ins for your stir fry:

  • Other vegetables like beansprouts, mushrooms, green beans, corn, broccoli, red chiles, or kimchi
  • Meat or seafood like chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, or sausage
  • Other sauces like oyster sauce, sriracha, or chili crisp
  • Crunchy toppers like cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, crushed ramen noodles

Overhead view of fried rice in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Overhead view of a plate full of vegetable fried rice on a yellow background.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Vegetable Fried Rice is a fast, easy, delicious, and budget-friendly meal that you can whip up with ingredients on hand at any time!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Chinese
Total Cost $4.50 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 336kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 carrot, diced $0.16
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced $1.50
  • 4 green onions, sliced $0.40
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.50
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.12
  • 3 cups cooked and cooled rice $0.62
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce $0.18
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil $0.30

Instructions

  • Prepare the vegetables before hand so they're ready to go when needed. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, dice the carrot and bell pepper, slice the green onions (separate the green ends from the white ends), and measure the frozen peas.
  • Lightly whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs and gently scramble until cooked through. Transfer the cooked eggs to a clean bowl or plate.
  • There should be a good amount of oil left in the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrots and stir and cook for about two minutes. Next add the bell pepper and the white firm ends of the green onions. Cook and stir for one minute more. Finally, add the frozen peas and stir and cook until heated through. Transfer the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface. Add the garlic, ginger, and cooked and cooled rice to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the rice is heated through.
  • Pour the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil over the rice. Stir the rice and sauce together until evenly combined. Turn the heat off.
  • Add the eggs and vegetables back to the skillet with the rice and stir to combine. Allow the residual heat to heat everything through. Top with the remaining green ends of the sliced green onions. Taste and adjust the soy sauce or sesame oil to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 771mg | Fiber: 4g

side view of a plate full of fried rice with chop sticks on the side.

How to Make Fried Rice – Step By Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board

Prep the vegetables before you begin cooking because once you start, it will go fast! Mince two cloves of garlic and mince or grate about 1 tsp fresh ginger. Peel and dice one large carrot and one red bell pepper. Slice four green onions, separating the tender green top half from the firm lower half, and measure out one cup of frozen peas.

Scrambled eggs in a skillet

Lightly whisk two large eggs. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the eggs to the skillet and gently scramble until cooked through. Remove the scrambled eggs to a clean bowl or plate.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

There should be quite a bit of oil left in the skillet after removing the eggs. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the diced carrot to the skillet and stir fry for about two minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and the firm white ends of the sliced green onion. Stir fry for about a minute more. Lastly, add the frozen peas and stir fry just until heated through. Remove the vegetables to a clean bowl or plate.

Stir fried rice in the skillet.

Add another tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the surface again. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and three cups of cooked and cooled rice to the hot skillet. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. Don’t worry if the rice sticks a bit to the bottom. It will loosen after the sauce is added.

Stir fry sauce being poured over the rice.

Add 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil to the rice. Fold the rice and sauce together until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.

vegetables and eggs added back to the rice.

Add the vegetables and eggs back to the skillet. Turn the heat off and stir to combine, allowing the residual heat to reheat everything through.

Finished vegetable fried rice in the skillet.

Top with the sliced green ends of the green onions and you’re done! Give it a taste and add extra soy sauce or sesame oil to fit your taste buds.

finished vegetable fried rice in a skillet against a yellow background.

What do you like to put in your fried rice?

You Might Also Like:

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Baked Barley with Mushrooms

Baked Barley with Mushrooms is a hearty side dish perfect for chilly fall and winter nights and pairs perfectly with roasted meat or stew.

The post Baked Barley with Mushrooms appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I grew up eating this Baked Barley with Mushrooms and I always looked forward to it on chilly winter nights. It’s a simple dish made with pearled barley cooked in a flavorful mix of vegetable broth, butter, and mushrooms for an extra umami kick. Plus, it cooks mostly in the oven, leaving your hands and attention available to tend to other things. It’s a nice alternative to plain rice for meals like pot roast, brisket, baked pork chops, or any roasted or braised meat. Those hearty little grains are perfect for soaking up every last drop of your pan drippings!

Originally posted 9/3/2013, updated 12/15/2021.

Overhead view of a bowl full of baked barley with mushrooms

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use

You’ll need some sort of baking dish with a tight-fitting lid, like a Dutch oven, because if the steam from the broth is not held inside as it bakes, the barley will not cook through. I used an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that was probably a little too big for the scale of this recipe, but it still turned out great. The recipe makes about four cups, so something in the 2-3 quart size range is probably ideal. Glass, ceramic, or cast iron will all work as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.

If your baking dish is not safe for use on the stovetop, simply use a skillet for the first couple of steps (sautéing the mushrooms), then transfer to the baking dish when adding the barley and broth.

What is Pearled Barley?

It’s very important that you use pearled barley for this recipe. Pearled barley is whole barley grains that have had the outer husk removed and are then are polished to remove some or all of the outer bran. The resulting grain is tender and chewy once cooked, and doesn’t take quite as long to cook as hulled barley. You can usually find pearled barley near the dry rice and beans in the grocery store, or near other specialty grains. 

I used the Bob’s Redmill brand, which is slightly less polished than other brands that I’ve used and it resulted in a slightly more firm grain. 

Add More Vegetables

This recipe is pretty flexible and you can experiment with adding more hearty vegetables, like carrot, celery, onion, turnip, or rutabega. I suggest dicing the vegetables and sautéing them briefly with the mushrooms before adding the remaining ingredients. 

What to Serve with Baked Barley

This baked barley would go awesome with something like Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew, or pot roast.

Side view of a serving dish full of baked barley with mushrooms

overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon

Baked Barley with Mushrooms

Baked Barley with Mushrooms is a hearty side dish perfect for chilly fall and winter nights that pairs perfectly with roasted meat or stew.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $3.03 recipe / $0.76 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 298kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1 cup pearled barley $0.57
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms
  • Add the garlic, mushrooms, and butter to a Dutch oven. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the barley, vegetable broth, thyme and freshly cracked pepper to the dutch oven. Stir to combine, place the lid on top, and transfer to the oven. Bake the barley for one hour.
  • After baking for one hour, stir the barley to fluff it up. Give the barley a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Top with chopped fresh parsley just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 578mg | Fiber: 8g

How to Make Baked Barley with Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos

Butter, garlic, and mushrooms in the pot

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 8oz. sliced mushrooms to a pot. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.

close up of pearled barley in a measuring cup

This is what the pearled barley looks like. As mentioned above, this is Bob’s Redmill brand, which appears to be less polished than other generic brands I’ve used in the past. Pearled barley often looks very white, so this barley still has a considerable amount of bran left intact. Because of that, the grains were a little more firm this time around. Either way, it still tasted great!

broth being poured into the pot with barley and thyme

Add one cup pearled barley, ½ tsp dried thyme, a little freshly cracked black pepper (⅛ tsp), and 2 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Stir briefly to combine.

lid being placed on the pot

Place a lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Bake the barley in the 350ºF oven for one hour.

baked barley before stirring

After baking it will look like this–the mushrooms will have risen to the top, fully covering the barley.

Stirred barley in the pot

Give the barley a good stir. Taste the barley and add salt or pepper if desired.

overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon

Top with chopped parsley just before serving.

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