Copycat Panda Express Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry

If you have always loved eggplant tofu but Panda Express doesn’t serve it near your location anymore or if you always wanted to try it but never had a chance, you should fry up your skillet now and make this tofu, eggplant, and bell pepper dish s…

If you have always loved eggplant tofu but Panda Express doesn’t serve it near your location anymore or if you always wanted to try it but never had a chance, you should fry up your skillet now and make this tofu, eggplant, and bell pepper dish stir-fried in a sweet and spicy sauce. If you...

Read More

The post Copycat Panda Express Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry appeared first on My Pure Plants.

Curried Chicken, Chickpea & Arugula Wraps

These curried chicken & arugula wraps are proof that lunch doesn’t have to be boring: healthy and satisfying with a mix of tantalizing flavors and textures that’ll make your tastebuds happy indeed. Featuring a curried chicken and chickpea salad, sweet tart cranberry sauce, crunchy almonds and a pile of spicy greens and herbs, these fresh […]

The post Curried Chicken, Chickpea & Arugula Wraps first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

These curried chicken & arugula wraps are proof that lunch doesn’t have to be boring: healthy and satisfying with a mix of tantalizing flavors and textures that’ll make your tastebuds happy indeed.

Featuring a curried chicken and chickpea salad, sweet tart cranberry sauce, crunchy almonds and a pile of spicy greens and herbs, these fresh and flavorful curried chicken wraps are sure to be a new lunch favorite.

One cut Curried Chicken, Chickpea & Arugula Wrap on a plate, bowls of ingredients blurred in the background.

Lunch has always been a struggle for us. Working from home, you think it wouldn’t be, but unless we have leftovers from the night before (which we often do, we’re masters at cooking for 4 despite there being only 2 of us) our well of lunch-inspiration is disappointingly shallow.

We went through a long stretch of cheesiness (get it, cheese? stretch?) with grilled cheese, quesadillas, or cobbled together cheese and crackers being the most common of our lunch choices, along with the holy trinity of ‘salad’ sandwiches (chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad).

But in an effort to eat a bit less cheese, we turned to wraps, and quickly realized that basically any kind of sandwich or salad (or salad sandwich), can, in actuality, become a wrap.

Still, as good as a chicken caesar salad or turkey club wrap is, it gets repetitive after the first week or two. And the quickest way to turn us off from something is to overdo it. Needless to say we try to mix up the wrap flavors regularly to keep it fresh, so we’re always looking for inspiration.

(more…)

Greek Chickpea Salad

Chickpea salads are my favorite salads. A few of my go-to’s include: Easy Chickpea Salad, Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta Salad, Fall Chickpea Salad, and Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Salad. I also REALLY love this Greek Chickpea Salad because Greek…

Chickpea salads are my favorite salads. A few of my go-to’s include: Easy Chickpea Salad, Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta Salad, Fall Chickpea Salad, and Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Salad. I also REALLY love this Greek Chickpea Salad because Greek flavors are always SO good. If you like my Greek Quinoa Salad and Greek Tortellini Salad, I…

Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas

Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas are an easy and flavorful vegetarian dinner idea that all cooks on one pan for easy cleanup!

The post Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I got that craving for fajitas the other day and just had to have ’em. I decided to switch things up a bit from my usual sheet pan fajitas and use portobello caps in place of the chicken. I also added a little smoky chipotle powder to the spice mix to keep things interesting. These Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas are a new and welcome twist on the classic. A little squeeze of lime on top and a slice or two of creamy avocado, and you have a really tasty veggie-filled dinner.

Originally posted 6/11/2016, updated 8/8/2022.

Three Portobello Fajitas on a plate.

Portobello Mushrooms on a Budget

Portobello mushrooms aren’t the cheapest item in the produce aisle, so it’s important to use some of our budget byting principles here. First, make sure you compare prices both between available grocery stores and even within the store. If your grocery store sells them both packaged together and loose, be careful to compare the per-pound price because it might be cheaper to buy them loose! 

Second, we’re going to combine the portobello mushrooms with other ingredients that are much less expensive, like onions, bell peppers, and tortillas to balance out the total price and keep the price per serving on the low side. 

Make it Spicy or Mild

The recipe, as written below, is a little smoky and spicy thanks to the chipotle powder in the fajita spice mix. If you prefer a mild fajita, skip the chipotle powder and make sure to use a chili powder blend that is mild. If you want your fajitas to be smoky but not spicy, replace the chipotle powder with smoked paprika. 

Meal Prep It!

The filling for the fajitas works great as a meal prep. Just pack up the roasted mushroom, pepper, and onion mix in a lunch container with a slice of lime and a couple of tortillas. When it’s time for lunch, remove the tortillas and lime, reheat, then fill the tortillas, squeeze your lime, and enjoy!

For the avocado, I suggest slicing a few slices off the whole avocado each day. Only the exposed surface will darken, and it only darkens slightly (it doesn’t turn completely black like mashed avocado). The darkening of the avocado does not mean it is spoiled, it just means that it has been exposed to oxygen (like a brown apple), and is still perfectly safe to eat.

What to Serve with Portobello Fajitas

Sweet Corn Salsa or Summer Sweet Corn Salad would be a wonderfully light and fresh contrast to these portobello fajitas. And if you want to dress them up a little bit more you could whip up a quick batch of Guacamole or Pico de Gallo

Roasted portobello and vegetables on a sheet pan.

Three portobello fajitas on a plate.

Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas

Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas are an easy and flavorful vegetarian dinner idea that all cooks on one pan for easy cleanup!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $10.81 recipe / $2.70 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 (two fajitas each)
Calories 423kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

FAJITA SPICE MIX

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder* $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1 tsp cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1 tsp sugar** $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03

FAJITAS

  • 2 portobello mushroom caps $3.99
  • 2 bell peppers (any color) $2.29
  • 2 yellow onions $0.64
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil $0.38
  • 8 small flour tortillas (6-inch) $1.00
  • 1 avocado $1.09
  • handful cilantro (optional) $0.25
  • 1 fresh lime $0.59

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients for the fajita spice mix
  • Slice the portobellos, bell peppers, and onions into 1/4 inch wide strips. Place the sliced vegetables on a large sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables then sprinkle the fajita spice mix over top. Use your hands to toss the vegetables until everything is well coated in oil and spices.
  • Roast the vegetables in the fully preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly wilted and the edges have a nice brown color. Stir the vegetables half way through the roasting time to make sure everything gets even exposure to the hot air.
  • After removing the vegetables from the oven, squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the vegetables. To serve the fajitas, scoop a small amount of the roasted vegetables into each tortilla and add a slice of avocado.

Notes

*The chili powder I use is a mild blend made by McCormick. It is not spicy at all and contains barely any salt. If using a different brand, make sure to adjust the salt and/or chipotle accordingly.
**The small amount of sugar in this recipe helps caramelize the vegetables and give everything that grilled or charred flavor that is characteristic of fajitas.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 423kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 782mg | Fiber: 9g

side view of three portobello fajitas on a plate.

How to Make Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas – Step by Step Photos

Fajita spices in a wooden bowl.

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, stir together 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp chipotle powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt. 

Whole vegetables on a cutting board.

I used 8 oz. portobello caps (2-3 depending on their size), two bell peppers (any color), and two yellow onions for my fajitas.

Sliced vegetables on a baking sheet.

Slice the vegetables into strips about ¼-inch wide. I also cut the portobello strips in half, so the pieces aren’t quite so large. Place the sliced vegetables on a large sheet pan.

Spices being sprinkled over the sliced vegetables.

Drizzle 3 Tbsp olive oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle the prepared fajita seasoning over top.

Seasoned vegetables ready to roast.

Use your hands to toss the vegetables in the oil and spices until everything is evenly coated, then make sure the vegetables are spread out over the baking sheet in an even layer.

Roasted vegetables on the sheet pan.

Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until they are slightly wilted and have browned on the edges. Stir the vegetables halfway through the roasting time to make sure everything gets even exposure to the hot air. 

Finished fajita vegetables on the baking sheet with lime and cilantro.

After roasting, squeeze lime juice over the vegetables and top with chopped cilantro.

Three portobello fajitas on a plate.

To serve, scoop a small amount of the fajita vegetables into each small tortilla and add a slice of fresh avocado.

Overhead view of the fajita vegetables on a sheet pan.

Seriously, these Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas are probably one of my favorite vegan recipes!

Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas are an easy and flavor packed dinner perfect for summer. BudgetBytes.com

The post Sheet Pan Portobello Fajitas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How To Make Sofrito

Sofrito is the aromatic flavor base of many Caribbean dishes. It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe.

The post How To Make Sofrito appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sofrito is the heart and soul of Caribbean cuisine and the knock-out flavor base of many of its dishes. It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe. If you want to kick up your cooking prowess a hundred notches with just one technique, THIS IS IT.

Overhead shot of green sofrito in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.

What is sofrito?

Sofrito originated in Spain, and the word refers to a technique where you fry aromatics to release flavor compounds. The sauce took on different forms as the Spanish colonized the Caribbean, and islanders recreated sofrito with available ingredients. In Puerto Rico, where I was born and raised, sofrito is called recaito, after recao, an herb that grows wild throughout the island and gives the puree its distinctive bright green color.

How do you make sofrito?

In its most basic form, sofrito is a mix of aromatics like peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs. Think of it like the Latin version of a mirepoix or the holy trinity. Except making it is as simple as busting out your blender or food processor. Of course, if you don’t have these kitchen tools, you’ll have to rely on old-fashioned elbow grease and mince the ingredients. Either way, the results will always be fantastic.

What’s in Sofrito?

The ingredient list for sofrito changes depending on the region. In Spain, the sauce includes tomatoes; in the Dominican Republic, it contains vinegar; in Puerto Rico, neither of those ingredients made the cut. Traditionally, Boricuas (i.e., Puerto Ricans) make sofrito with a sweet pepper known as ají dulce, garlic, onion, and, as I mentioned earlier, recao. This pungent herb is a distant relative of cilantro and is also known as Chinese parsley or sawtooth coriander. You can usually find ají dulce and recao at an Asian or Latino supermarket. When I can’t find these traditional ingredients, I sub them with green bell pepper and cilantro.

No matter what the ingredients, sofrito is usually the first thing to hit the pan, where it is lightly fried until your kitchen smells like heaven. (Am I the only one that thinks heaven will smell like something amazing’s cooking?) No matter your religious musings, I’ve seen many islanders get choked up at the first whiff of sofrito. TRUST ME. This sauce is powerful stuff.

How do you store sofrito?

A little sofrito goes a long way, so you’ll always have leftovers when you make a batch. Store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a month. Or do like every abuela (Spanish for grandma) does on the island: freeze any leftovers in an ice cube tray. Then transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe container, where they will stay fresh for up to three months.

How is Sofrito Used?

Honestly, many savory recipes would benefit from a few tablespoons of sofrito. Of course, it’s imperative that you use it in Caribbean dishes, like my recipe for Arroz con Pollo (Puerto Rican chicken and rice). But you should also try it in your favorite stews, soups, beans, and sauces. For example, a few tablespoons would be spectacular in this easy chili, this hearty vegetable barley soup, or this dreamy Spanish chickpeas and rice.

Side view of sofrito in a white bowl with a wood spoon in it and a black and white linen napkin next to it.
Close up of sofrito on a wooden spoon with the bowl in the background.

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Sofrito is the aromatic flavor base of many Caribbean dishes. It's budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe.
Cuisine Latin
Total Cost $2.53 recipe / $0.36 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 7 ¼ cup each
Calories 14kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.79
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro $0.89
  • 6 cloves garlic $0.48

Instructions

  • Peel the onion and deseed bell pepper, then quarter them. Rinse the cilantro and chop the bunch roughly.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a smooth, thick puree forms.
  • Use the sofrito in a recipe immediately, store in an air-tight container for up to a month in the fridge, or portion into ice cube trays and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up of sofrito on a wooden spoon with the bowl in the background.

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito- Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cilantro, green bell pepper, yellow onion, and garlic in a food processor.

Prep and quarter the onion and bell pepper. Rinse and chop the cilantro. Add the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor or blender.

Overhead shot of blended sofrito in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until the ingredients transform into a smooth, thick puree. If the blades get stuck cutting through the ingredients, add a little olive oil to move things along.

Sofrito being portioned into an ice cube tray.

You can use the sofrito immediately, store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a month, or portion into an ice cube tray and freeze. Place the cubes into a freezer-safe container and store for up to three months.

Overhead view of a bowl of sofrito with a wooden spoon.

The post How To Make Sofrito appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes)

Menemen, or Turkish scrambled eggs, is an easy, healthy, and customizable dish that can be ready in less than 30 minutes! BudgetBytes.com

The post Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ready to up your breakfast game? Try this traditional Turkish scrambled eggs recipe, also known as Menemen. This one-pan vegetarian egg dish is healthy, filling, easily customizable, and ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Overhead view of a skillet full of menemen with a wooden spoon.

What Is Menemen?

Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast recipe made by cooking eggs with onions, peppers, and tomatoes with a subtle hint of spice. It gets its name from a Turkish town called Menemen, located in Izmir. 

What to Serve with Menemen?

Menemen is traditionally served in the skillet that it is cooked in while it is still hot and bubbly. It is usually served with crusty bread on the side, which is then dipped into the soft scrambled eggs and vegetables for a satisfying bite.

With that being said, if you want to serve it as Turks do then I would recommend a few must-haves on the side:

  • Cheese & olives: You can’t talk about Turkish breakfast and not include cheese and olives. In terms of cheese, you can use feta cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, or even cheddar cheese. And for olives, serve it with Kalamata olives, green olives, or a mixture of the two with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
  • Simit: A breakfast staple in Turkey, simit is a sesame-crusted circular bread similar to an American bagel but crustier on the outside and softer on the inside. It pairs wonderfully with menemen and can also be enjoyed with cheese and olives. 
  • Turkish Borek: Borek is made by layering phyllo dough with a filling usually made with cheese and sauteed vegetables. One of the most popular fillings is spinach and feta, which would pair perfectly with this hearty scrambled egg dish.

Ingredient Variations & Substitutions:

The best part of this Turkish soft scramble recipe is that you can easily change it up with whatever you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make it without onions: There is an ongoing debate amongst the diehard menemen fans about making it with or without onions. The good news is that it can be made with or without it. Simply omit using onions and sautee peppers and spices by themselves instead. 
  • Peppers: The traditional menemen recipe uses fresh green Turkish peppers, aka sivribiber, which could be hard to find. In my version here I used bell peppers, but feel free to use whatever pepper you have on hand. Seeded and chopped jalapeno, Anaheim peppers, and even Hungarian wax peppers would all work.
  • Tomatoes: I used a canned tomato to make it easy and convenient. However, during the summer months, when they are in season, I prefer using two or three medium-size fresh tomatoes instead.
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese is a very popular topping but you can also add shredded mozzarella cheese on top at the last minute and let it melt on top before serving.

What else can I add?

You can follow the recipe as written or take it up a notch with a few additions to it.

  • Lamb or Italian Sausage: If you are a meat-eater, you can sautee ½ lbs of sausage at the same time as you sautee onions and peppers.
  • Spices: Sprinkle it with Aleppo pepper, Urfa chili pepper, or red pepper flakes if you don’t mind a little bit of heat.
A hand dipping bread into a pan of menemen.
A skillet full of menemen with dishes and bread on the side.

Menemen

Menemen, or Turkish scrambled eggs, is an easy, healthy, and customizable dish that can be ready in less than 30 minutes!
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Turkish
Total Cost $5.36 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 255kcal
Author Aysegul Sanford

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.25
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) $0.98
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or Aleppo pepper) $0.03
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes $0.79
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten $0.78
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.40
  • 1 cup crumbled feta (optional) $1.64

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add in onion, pepper, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened for about 7-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Sautee for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are heated through.
  • Gently pour the lightly beaten eggs into the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are just barely set yet still soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Immediately sprinkle it with chopped parsley and crumbled feta cheese, if using. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 1086mg | Fiber: 1g
A skillet full of menemen with dishes and bread on the side.

How to Make Menemen – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion and bell pepper on a cutting board.

Begin by dicing one bell pepper (any color) and one small onion.

Onion, bell pepper, and spices in a skillet.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and bell pepper, along with ½ tsp dried oregano and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Sauté until the vegetables have softened.

Diced tomatoes being added to the skillet from a bowl.

Add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with the juices), 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Stir to combine.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet.

Continue to sauté for about 2-3 minutes more, or until everything is heated through well.

Beated eggs being poured into the skillet.

Lightly beat four large eggs, then pour them into the skillet.

Eggs and vegetables being scrambled in the skillet.

Cook the eggs, stirring frequently, until they are just barely set yet still soft (about 2-3 minutes).

Parsley being sprinkled onto scrambled eggs.

Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the eggs.

Feta being sprinkled over the eggs.

Top with crumbled feta and more black pepper, if desired.

bread being dipped into a pan of menemen.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping!

The post Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sloppy Joes

Ground beef in a tangy sauce piled onto a soft bun, homemade Sloppy Joes are an easy, classic American weeknight dinner.

The post Sloppy Joes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sloppy Joes were a mainstay weeknight dinner in our house when I was growing up in the 80s, but we always made it with a canned sauce (Manwich, or the generic equivalent). Once I started cooking for myself, I realized how easy it was to quickly whip up sauces like that from ingredients I already had in my pantry, and I never looked back. These Homemade Sloppy Joes are quick, easy, full of flavor, AND freezer friendly. 🙌 Plus, I’ve got some tips for you below to make them even more budget-friendly, since the price of ground beef isn’t getting lower anytime soon.

Side view of a sloppy joe on a plate with potato chips.

What is Sloppy Joe Sauce?

Sloppy Joes are a loose meat sandwich made with ground beef, peppers, and onions in a special red sauce, and the sauce is totally what makes a sloppy joe sandwich. It’s a savory, tangy, and slightly sweet tomato-based sauce. While some recipes simply use heavily seasoned ketchup for the sauce, our recipe is a bit more rich in flavor with tomato sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire, vinegar, sugar, Dijon, and chili powder.

How to Serve Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are traditionally served on a hamburger bun, sometimes with cheese, sometimes without. But you can totally get creative. Pile it into a tortilla and turn it into a sloppy joe taco, spoon it over a baked potato, eat it as a bowl meal over rice, or go for the ultimate budget option and just eat it on white bread (if you know, you know).

And don’t forget some chips or steak fries to serve on the side! …Or maybe some roasted broccoli. ;)

Budget Options

Ground beef is pretty expensive these days, so there are a few things you can do to make your sloppy joes a little lighter on the wallet. Here are some ideas:

  • Buy your ground beef in bulk, then divide and freeze the other portions (or make a double-batch of sloppy joes and freeze half).
  • Replace half of the ground beef with lentils or black beans.
  • Shred and sauté any extra vegetables you have before browning the beef to help bulk up and extend the ground beef.
  • Don’t forget to freeze your leftover tomato paste for the next time you make sloppy joes (or any other recipe that uses tomato paste)!
Sloppy joe meat in a skillet.
A sloppy joe on a plate with potato chips.

Sloppy Joes

Ground beef in a tangy sauce piled onto a soft bun, homemade Sloppy Joes are an easy, classic American weeknight dinner.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $10.20 recipe / $2.04 each
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 ¾ cup meat sauce each
Calories 440kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.79
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1 lb. ground beef* $5.49
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce $0.79
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.21
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar $0.12
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • 1 tsp chili powder $0.10
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.03
  • 5 hamburger buns $1.87

Instructions

  • Finely dice the onion and bell pepper, and mince the garlic.
  • Add the olive oil and beef to a skillet and cook over medium heat until the beef is cooked through. Drain off any excess fat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the skillet with the beef. Continue to sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Finally, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar Dijon, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce,and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  • Allow the meat and sauce to simmer over medium-low for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve over toasted buns.

Notes

*You can use any fat percentage ground beef. If using a higher fat content beef, like 80/20, you’ll want to drain the excess fat after browning. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 1138mg | Fiber: 3g
An open-faced sloppy joe on a plate with potato chips.

How to Make Sloppy Joes – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Chop the vegetables first, so they’re ready to go. Finely dice one yellow onion and one green bell pepper, and mince 2 cloves of garlic.

Browned ground beef in a skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 lb. ground beef to a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until the ground beef has browned. If you’re using a higher fat content ground beef, you’ll want to drain off the excess fat after it has browned.

Vegetables added to ground beef in the skillet.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet and continue to sauté until the vegetables have softened.

Sauce ingredients added to the ground beef.

Finally, add the ingredients for the sauce: one 15oz. can tomato sauce, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and ¾ tsp salt.

Finished sloppy joes mix in the skillet.

Stir everything to combine and heat through. Let the meat and sauce simmer over medium-low for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened to your liking.

Sloppy joe meat being spooned onto a toasted bun.

Toast your buns in a skillet or in the oven, then pile the saucy meat mixture on top.

Open-faced sloppy joe on a plate with potato chips.

Enjoy your sloppy joes with some chips and plenty of napkins because they’re as messy as they are delicious!

The post Sloppy Joes appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cowboy Caviar

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

The post Cowboy Caviar appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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:

The post Cowboy Caviar appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Thai Basil Chicken

Fragrant and savory this Thai Basil Chicken recipe is simple, fast and flavorful!  Perfect for weeknight dinners or an easy delicious lunch ready to serve in under 30 minutes. Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults you…

Thai Basil Chicken is simple, fast and flavorful!  Made with ground chicken (or ground turkey) it's ready to serve in under 30 minutes.
Fragrant and savory this Thai Basil Chicken recipe is simple, fast and flavorful!  Perfect for weeknight dinners or an easy delicious lunch ready to serve in under 30 minutes. Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.~ Walt Whitman Thai Basil Chicken is a simple stir fry that couldn’t be...

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:

The post Vegetable Fried Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.