A spoonful of caramel makes any dessert more decadent – not to mention more dressed up! A sauce is typically the easiest way to finish off a dessert with a new layer of flavor and this 5-Minute Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce recipe is one that you should definitely have in your arsenal. …
A spoonful of caramel makes any dessert more decadent – not to mention more dressed up! A sauce is typically the easiest way to finish off a dessert with a new layer of flavor and this 5-Minute Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce recipe is one that you should definitely have in your arsenal. Eat it with a spoon, drizzle it over ice cream or serve with slightly warmed brownies – the options are endless and this caramel sauce is simple enough that you can try them all.
This simple caramel sauce is made with brown sugar, cream and butter, along with a dash of vanilla and salt to round out the flavors. It comes together in under 5 minutes, including the time that you need to measure out all your ingredients. I happen to be a big fan of the warm molasses note of brown sugar and like the complexity that it brings to this sauce, a little change of pace from most store-bought caramel sauces.
To make it, simply combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan or a medium-sized nonstick skillet. While it may seem like the ingredients could fit into a smaller pan, the caramel will bubble up as it cooks and you’ll reduce the risk of making a mess by simply using a slightly larger pan to start out with. After boiling the caramel for about two minutes – stirring to dissolve any crystals from the sugar – you’ll end up with a buttery, creamy caramel sauce.
I add vanilla and salt right after taking the caramel off the heat. By adding the vanilla while the sauce is still very hot, the alcohol in the extract will evaporate, leaving only the vanilla flavor behind. I also add another pinch of coarse salt – for that salty-sweet effect – after the caramel has cooled slightly. If you enjoy salty-sweet desserts, you’ll appreciate the subtle crunch of coarse salt in the finished sauce.
The Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce will thicken as it cools, so you will need to reheat it in the microwave (or on the stovetop in a nonstick pan) to make it drizzle-able if you need to. The sauce does not thicken up enough to turn into a sliced caramel, however, so you’ll need to one of my other reipes if you’re looking for that kind of treat!
5-Minute Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup light or golden brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
coarse salt, for topping
In a medium sized skillet (pref. nonstick) or a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, heavy cream and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, stirring regularly, for about 2 minutes. Mixture will bubble up as it cooks. Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla extract. Transfer to a small container – such as a glass jar or bowl – to cool slightly before using. Top with sprinkle of coarse salt before serving.
Sauce will be easy to drizzle when warm, and it is ok to reheat it in the microwave if necessary.
Making food at home versus buying premade is always a question of time versus money. But if there’s one thing that is definitely way cheaper to make at home without taking a lot of extra time or energy to make, it’s granola! This homemade granola recipe is SO fast and easy, you can customize it a hundred different ways, and it’s pennies on the dollar compared to store-bought granola.
What is Granola Made Of?
Granola, at its most basic, is simply a combination of oats, nuts, seeds, and fruit coated in a mixture of sugar and oil, then baked until deliciously crispy and toasty in flavor. My basic granola formula is:
4 cups oats
1 cup nuts & seeds
½ cup dried fruit
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
Spices or extracts for extra flavor
To make different varieties of granola, I simply substitute different nuts, seeds, fruit, oils, sugars, and flavorings.
The recipe I have below is a very classic homemade granola recipe that will go with just about anything. I’ll list some other options for add-ins and flavors so you can experiment with making it your own!
What Makes Granola Crunchy?
The combination of oil and sugar gives granola that classic crunchy and clumpy texture. The oil helps the oats, nuts, and seeds toast without developing an overly dry texture, while the melted sugars help bind the ingredients into clumps and gives an extra crunchy finish. While it may be tempting to reduce the oil or sugar, keep in mind that doing so will drastically change the texture of the finished granola.
Can I Use Quick Oats?
Old-fashioned or plain rolled oats are best for granola because they have more texture than quick oats. While it is possible to use quick oats, quick oats tend to be very delicate and thin, which doesn’t provide as much texture to the final granola.
How Long Does Homemade Granola Last?
After baking the granola, make sure to allow the granola to cool to room temperature so any residual moisture will evaporate before placing it in an air-tight food storage container. Granola will stay good in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a month. It will stay edible longer, but the granola will slowly absorb moisture from the air and become stale over time.
What Else Can I Add?
Here’s the fun part. You can add all sorts of ingredients to your granola. You can plug any nut, seed, or dried fruit into the recipe below. Here are some ideas:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, and coconut.
Add the oil, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (about 3-5 minutes).
Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is very well coated in the oil and sugar.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment, then spread the granola out over the parchment in an even layer.
Bake the granola for 20 minutes, or until it is deeply golden brown.
Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries while the granola is still warm and soft. Spread it out into an even layer again and let it cool completely. The granola will harden as it cools.
Once cool, break the granola into chunks and transfer it to an air-tight container for storage.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, and seeds) in a large bowl. I used 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped pecans, and ½ cup unsweetened coconut. Do not add the dried fruit yet. Stir these ingredients together well.
Add ½ cup cooking oil (or oil of choice), ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp vanilla extract into a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (3-5 minutes).
Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl.
Stir the two mixtures together until everything is very, VERY well coated in the oil and sugar. Make sure no dry spots remain.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the granola out onto the parchment in an even layer.
Transfer the unbaked granola to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown (photo below is after baking).
Once the granola has baked and turned a deep golden brown color, remove it from the oven. Stir in the dried cranberries while it’s still warm and soft. Spread the granola out into an even layer again to cool.
Allow the granola to cool completely to room temperature. It will harden and crisp up as the sugars cool.
Once the granola is completely cool, break it into clumps and transfer it to an air-tight food container for storage. Enjoy with yogurt, milk, ice cream, smoothie bowls, and more!
Peanut butter banana smoothies have been a favorite snack (or dessert) of mine since I was a teenager. I usually always have the ingredients on have on hand, they’re ultra-creamy, just sweet enough to kill my sweet tooth, and filling enough to stand in for breakfast. Plus, they’re INEXPENSIVE. There are a lot of ways you can modify this simple banana smoothie if you want to make it your own, so if you haven’t tried this one yet, definitely put it on your list!
Use any Nut Butter
I love the classic peanut butter-banana combo, but if you don’t like peanut butter or can’t have it for other reasons, feel free to substitute it with any type of nut or seed butter. Almond butter or Sun Butter would be awesome, and it would also be fun to experiment with flavored nut butters. The nut butter makes this smoothie extra rich and delicious, so don’t skip this ingredient!
Use Frozen Bananas for the Best Texture
The key to getting this ultra-creamy milkshake-like consistency is to use frozen bananas. Not only will frozen bananas make the smoothie extra thick and creamy, but they also keep it cold without having to add ice, which would water down the smoothie. So anytime I have bananas that are on their last leg, I make sure to peel, slice, and freeze them to use in smoothies and other desserts later.
Use Any Type of Milk
This smoothie recipe is incredibly flexible. You can use any type of dairy or non-dairy milk for this smoothie, keeping in mind that the creamier the milk, the creamier the smoothie will be. I like whole milk the best, but I think coconut would also pair nicely with these flavors!
What Else Can I Add?
As mentioned above, there are a lot of different things you can add to this smoothie to take it in a different direction. Try adding some of these ingredients to your banana smoothie:
Quick oats (about ¼ cup)
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!
These sweet and salty peanut butter-packed cookies are a peanut butter lover’s dream: soft and chewy and studded with peanut butter chips for an even more intense peanut butter flavor. I think you’ll agree with me that the best cookies consider the texture as well as flavor, and these salted peanut butter cookies don’t disappoint: […]
These sweet and salty peanut butter-packed cookies are a peanut butter lover’s dream: soft and chewy and studded with peanut butter chips for an even more intense peanut butter flavor.
I think you’ll agree with me that the best cookies consider the texture as well as flavor, and these salted peanut butter cookies don’t disappoint: soft and almost cookie dough-like in the middle, crispy on the bottom, with a coating of granulated sugar on the outside for a delicate crunch you’ll adore.
This right here is proof that a cookie doesn’t have to have chocolate to be sinfully good.
For various reasons I had to go chocolate free for a week. Let me tell you… it’s harder than I thought it would be. Even my mid-morning granola bars have chocolate in them.
And of course, the second you tell me I can’t have something, I just want it all the more. Needless to say my sweet cravings were running amok.
I wasn’t just avoiding chocolate either, it was anything acidic really, so I couldn’t even turn to fruit desserts to sate my cravings.
Peanut butter was pretty much my only remaining option for a sweet indulgence. And rather than devouring the bag of peanut butter chips by the handful like a monster (ok, I admit, I may have snuck a few handfuls), I decided to put those chips to good use bake myself some truly extra peanut butter cookies.
The result is quite possible the ultimate peanut butter cookie: sweet and salty with extra peanut butter and peanut butter chips for good measure (because if some is good, more is better, right?) You know me, I’m not one to half ass things, so you certainly can’t say I didn’t go all in on this one.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet and continue to sauté until the vegetables have softened.
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.
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.
Toast your buns in a skillet or in the oven, then pile the saucy meat mixture on top.
Enjoy your sloppy joes with some chips and plenty of napkins because they’re as messy as they are delicious!
It’s grilling season and if you are looking for a simple and delicious grilled chicken recipe, you have to try this Soy Ginger Chicken. I guarantee it will be a summer staple and a favorite at every BBQ. The chicken marinade is made with basic in…
It’s grilling season and if you are looking for a simple and delicious grilled chicken recipe, you have to try this Soy Ginger Chicken. I guarantee it will be a summer staple and a favorite at every BBQ. The chicken marinade is made with basic ingredients and is easy to whisk up. We like to…
We wanted to make the Easy Vegan BBQ Sauce from our cookbook even better, but the truth is, friends, it’s already magical. It’s perfectly sweet and tangy, just a little spicy, and FULL of flavor. This slightly modified version has all that flavor, and …
We wanted to make the Easy Vegan BBQ Sauce from our cookbook even better, but the truth is, friends, it’s already magical. It’s perfectly sweet and tangy, just a little spicy, and FULL of flavor. This slightly modified version has all that flavor, and we simplified it even more.
It’s made in 1 pot in just 15 minutes and happens to be gluten-free and vegan — and can be naturally sweetened, too.
I was rummaging through my pantry the other day and noticed that I had way too many half-used bags of dried fruit and nuts, and I knew exactly what I needed to make to use up all those odds and ends. Muesli! What is Muesli? The short answer: muesli is the old-school version of overnight oats. Keep reading below for a more detailed explanation!
Originally posted 3/1/2011, Updated 5/18/2022.
What is Muesli?
Muesli is a mixture of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and fresh or dried fruit that have been soaked in milk, yogurt, or juice. This dish is attributed to a Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, who fed this refreshing and filling breakfast to the patients in his hospital. For that reason, muesli often goes by the name “Bircher Muesli.”
Muesli vs. Granola
You might be asking yourself, “How is that different from granola??” While they are similar, there are distinct differences between muesli and granola. Muesli is almost like raw granola. You can turn muesli into granola by adding some sweeteners and binders, like honey or brown sugar and oil, then baking it until it becomes deliciously crunchy.
How Do You Eat Muesli?
There are a few different ways you can enjoy muesli. You can add cold milk or yogurt, stir it on up, and let it soak for just a few minutes so the oats are just barely chewy. Or, if you prefer a softer oat, you can let them soak overnight or for up to about four days. And just like the “overnight oats” that have taken the internet by storm over the past decade, muesli is a great way to meal prep your breakfast for the week.
You can also treat your muesli like little homemade instant oatmeal packets. Divide the muesli into ⅓ or ½ cup servings, place in resealable containers, then every morning add about a cup of milk and microwave for a minute or two and you have a hot bowl of oatmeal.
What Kind of Oats are Best for Muesli?
The best type of oat for muesli is, in my opinion, old-fashioned rolled oats. These oats are hearty and have a lot of texture, but still soften fairly quickly when soaked. Quick oats are very thin and delicate and will create a much mushier texture in your muesli. Steel-cut oats are very tough and will need to be soaked for several hours before they soften.
What Else Can You Put in Muesli?
Just like overnight oats, you can add so many different things to your muesli. You can add any type of dried fruit, nut, or seed to the dry mix (stored at room temperature), or once you begin soaking your muesli you can add wet or perishable ingredients, like fresh fruit or maple syrup.
Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts soaked in cold milk or yogurt make Muesli a quick and refreshing meal prep breakfast for summer!
Total Cost $2.54 recipe / $0.32 serving
Prep Time 5minutes
Total Time 5minutes
Servings 8½ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
3cupsdry old-fashioned oats $0.68
1/2cupchopped walnuts* $0.60
2Tbspbrown sugar (optional)$0.08
Combine the oats, cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir until evenly mixed. Store mixture in an air-tight container in a cool dry place until ready to eat.
To prepare the muesli, combine 1/2 cup muesli with 1/2 cup of cold milk. Let soak for 5 minutes, or up to four days in the refrigerator.
*You can use any type of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Add your oats, fruit, nuts, spices, and sweetener (optional) to a bowl. I used 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup sunflower seeds, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon.
Simply stir the ingredients together and now it’s ready to use!
You can store this mix in an air-tight container at room temperature. It will last just as long as the individual dry ingredients themselves.
To enjoy your muesli, measure ½ cup of the dry muesli mix into a bowl. Pour ½ cup of milk (or more) over top and let sit for about five minutes (or refrigerate overnight for a softer oat).
Enjoy the muesli as is or top with your favorite fresh fruit, maple syrup, or nut butter.
I am super excited because we are talking ALL about Banana Bread. Yes, I get excited about banana bread because it is one of my favorite things to bake and eat. I am always asking myself, “What can I do with bananas that are going bad?” The…
I am super excited because we are talking ALL about Banana Bread. Yes, I get excited about banana bread because it is one of my favorite things to bake and eat. I am always asking myself, “What can I do with bananas that are going bad?” The answer is always BANANA BREAD! Who doesn’t love…
Last week I saw an amazing photo of an incredible slow cooker French dip sandwich recipe and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I wanted those sandwiches and I wanted them bad. But then I thought, “What if I tried to make vegetarian French dip sandwiches?” and then I was on a mission. This portobello mushroom-based […]
Last week I saw an amazing photo of an incredible slow cooker French dip sandwich recipe and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I wanted those sandwiches and I wanted them bad. But then I thought, “What if I tried to make vegetarian French dip sandwiches?” and then I was on a mission. This portobello mushroom-based French dip recipe turned out really amazing on the first try. So amazing, in fact, that this is the most enthusiastic that I’ve seen my boyfriend about any recipe that I’ve made for him so far. And I feed him a lot. ;)
Originally posted 12-15-2016, updated 5-0-2022.
What is a French Dip Sandwich?
French dip sandwiches are made with tender shaved beef piled onto a French roll, topped with melted cheese (sometimes) and served with a rich broth, or au jus, for dipping. It’s absolutely delightful. BUT, because beef is so expensive these days, these vegetarian French dip sandwiches made with portobello mushrooms are a really tasty alternative. You won’t belive how delicious this broth is!
And what recipe had me drooling at my computer screen and ultimately inspired the vegetarian version? These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches from Carlsbad Cravings.
How to Make a French Dip Sandwich Vegetarian
I replaced the tender beef in classic French Dip sandwiches with meaty strips of portobello mushrooms and sautéed onions to bulk them up while keeping the price low.
I’d normally add a little Worcestershire to the broth of a beef French dip, but that has anchovies in it. So, to mimic the salty-sweetness of Worcestershire, I added a little soy sauce and just a smidge of brown sugar. That hint of sweetness from the brown sugar really helped balance the flavors and made the broth complex, so don’t be tempted to skip it.
Also, I highly suggest using Better Than Bouillon to make your broth. It has a deep flavor and just the right amount of salt.
How to Store Leftovers
If you’re not eating these sandwiches all at once, store the mushroom and onions in the broth and reheat them together before piling the filling into the sandwiches and dipping them into the remaining broth. You can heat these sandwiches in a matter of minutes under the broiler, so it’s a nice quick meal for leftovers!
What Kind of Bread Should I Use?
One last note. Due to pricing and product availability, I did not use a French loaf for my sandwiches (I know, I know). Instead, I bought a pack of hoagie rolls that worked quite well. The key to choosing your bread for these sandwiches is to make sure you have something very sturdy and crusty so that it holds up to dipping in the delicious broth.
Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches
These Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches are fast, easy, and feature a salty-sweet herb infused vegetarian au jus for dipping.
Slice the onion into thin strips. Rinse the portobello caps to remove any dirt or debris. Slice each cap in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips.
Add the butter to a deep skillet along with the sliced onions. Sauté the onions over medium heat for a few minutes, or just until they begin to soften.
Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet along with the salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their moisture and the liquid in the bottom of the skillet has evaporated (about 10 minutes). You should see some browned bits coating the bottom of the skillet.
Add the vegetable broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic powder and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Allow the liquid to come up to a simmer, then turn down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes while you toast the bread.
Open the rolls and place them on a baking sheet, open sides up. Turn the oven on to broil and place the rolls in the oven on the middle rack. Watch the rolls closely and broil just until you see a slightly browning on the edges (about 5 minutes).
Use a slotted spoon or tongs to take the mushrooms and onions out of the au jus. Divide the mushrooms and onions among the four rolls. Top each sandwich with a slice of provolone.
Return the sandwiches to the oven and broil for a few minutes more, or just until the cheese is melted. Close the sandwiches up and serve with the au jus from the skillet for dipping.
*The type of broth you use will greatly affect the end flavor of the au jus. I used vegetable flavored Better Than Bouillon concentrate to make my vegetable broth.
How to Make Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos
Slice one yellow onion into thin strips. Wash and slice three portobello caps. I used three caps, which weighed ½ lb. total. I like to slice them in half, then crosswise into strips so that the strips aren’t super long.
Add the onions and 2 Tbsp butter to a deep skillet. Sauté the onions over medium heat just until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes).
Then add the sliced mushrooms, a pinch of salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme. Sauté the mushrooms and onions until the mushrooms release all their moisture and the liquid in the bottom of the skillet evaporates. There should be some caramelized browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
Add 2 cups of vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the browned bits off the bottom. Then add 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp garlic powder.
Let the au jus come up to a simmer, then turn it down to low and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes while you toast the bread.
Place four opened French or hoagie rolls on a baking sheet, open side up. Turn the oven on to broil and toast the bread under the broiler just until you start to see a little browning on the edges. I kept my oven rack in the middle so that the bread was far enough away from the broiler that it wouldn’t toast super fast. That gives you a little more room for error.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to pick the mushrooms and onions up out of the au jus, then pile them onto the toasted rolls.
Add a slice of provolone to each…
Then return the sandwiches to the broiler to melt the cheese. The open bread will continue to brown here, so if your bread was a little more on the brown side after the first broil, flip the pieces over so they’ll brown on top instead.
Finally, close up the sandwiches and serve while hot! But don’t forget to ladle that yummy au jus into little bowls for dipping.
These Vegetarian French Dip Sandwiches are seriously good stuff. nomnomnom