How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

Make these easy scaled-down recipes for turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more to make a classic Thanksgiving dinner for two.

The post How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner for Two appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Huge Thanksgiving dinners with tons of family and loved ones are awesome, but not everyone has the option to travel or the family to get together with. If for one reason or another you find yourself alone or celebrating Thanksgiving with just one other person, you can still enjoy a classic Thanksgiving dinner on a smaller scale. I’ve crafted this smaller-sized meal that can be prepared in about two hours, so you can enjoy all those delicious thanksgiving recipes without a huge production. :)

Thanksgiving for two spread as seen from above

What’s Included in This Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

This smaller Thanksgiving dinner menu includes the following scaled-down classic Thanksgiving recipes:

  • Roasted Turkey Breast and Stuffing
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean “Casserole” (stove top version)
  • Mushroom Herb Gravy

Each recipe makes about 2-4 servings, so you’ll still have a few leftovers, but not as much as if you had cooked regular-sized Thanksgiving dinner (we’re all about reducing food waste here at Budget Bytes).

Three recipes will be prepared in the oven (at the same time and same temperature) and three will be prepared on the stove top while the other recipes are doing their thing in the oven.

In addition to the recipes listed above, here are a couple optional extras you can add, either homemade or store-bought. You can make homemade cranberry sauce or mini pumpkin pies the day before. You might want to prepare a quick Thanksgiving grazing board to snack on earlier in the day, or maybe some cranberry cream cheese dip with crackers. And don’t forget to make a couple of Apple Cider Mimosas!

How Long Does it Take to Prepare?

I was able to make this meal in about two hours. The turkey and stuffing takes approximately 1.5 hours to roast, and I was able to prepare the rest of the sides while they were in the oven. I’m probably a bit faster than the average home cook and very well accustomed to multi-tasking in the kitchen, but I also paused to take all of my photographs in that time, so I think 2-3 hours is reasonable for most people. Beginners may wan to allow for extra time.

NOTE: The most important part of being able to prepare this meal in a decent amount of time is to read through the plan thoroughly before beginning. You need to understand how to execute each recipe and in which order before you begin so you don’t get lost. Making a Thanksgiving dinner, any Thanksgiving dinner, takes coordination and multi-tasking skills.

What You Need

For this entire meal you’ll need the following equipment:

  • 8×8″ casserole dish
  • Large baking sheet (about 16″x13″)
  • Medium saucepot (2.5 qt.)
  • 3 qt. covered sauté pan or pot
  • 10″ skillet
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Colander
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Parchment paper

In addition to the equipment listed above, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
  • ½ lb. Brussels sprouts
  • ¾ lb. sweet potato
  • 1 lb. russet potato
  • 8 oz. mushrooms
  • 12 oz. frozen cut green beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 6oz. box stuffing mix
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 ½ Tbsps all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup French fried onions (packaged)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 11 Tbsp butter
  • 1 ¼ tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 ⅛ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil
Thanksgiving dinner for two on a plate with a fork

How to Make Thanksgiving for Two – Step by Step Instructions

Okay, let’s get into it! I have the process divided into steps below. Each recipe is its own step so you can skip recipes you don’t like or even scale up recipes that you may want more of. You’ll be cooking most of these simultaneously, but they are listed in order of execution. Keep in mind that the cooking times will overlap. Make sure to read through the instructions thoroughly before beginning. Understanding the process for each recipe and the sequence is critical to executing a Thanksgiving dinner!

NOTE: Before beginning, adjust the racks in your oven so the top rack is slightly above the middle position and the lower rack is just below the middle position (not on the lowest position). The bottom rack only needs enough vertical room for a sheet pan, while the top rack needs enough height for the casserole dish and turkey breast.

1. Turkey and Stuffing

Sliced roasted turkey and stuffing on a plate

This turkey turns out so incredibly juicy and so so much easier than roasting a whole bird. The stuffing absorbs the juices and fat from the turkey as it roasts, making it even more flavorful!

The turkey and stuffing take the longest to cook (about 1.5 hours), so you’ll want to begin this first. The rest of the sides can be prepared while the turkey and stuffing are in the oven.

Sliced roasted turkey and stuffing on a plate

Roasted Turkey Breast with Stuffing

Herb roasted turkey breast and stuffing cook together for one easy and flavorful main dish in this Thanksgiving for two.
Total Cost $13.85 recipe / $4.62 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 3 to 4
Calories 552kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 6oz. box stuffing mix $0.89
  • 1.5 cups water $0.00
  • 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.40
  • 1 tsp dried sage $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.05
  • 2.5 lb. bone-in, skin on turkey breast $12.21

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the box of stuffing mix to a bowl, then pour in 1.5 cups warm water. Stir and let the stuffing sit to absorb the water as you prepare the turkey.
  • Combine the room temperature butter, sage, rosemary, thyme, and salt in a small bowl.
  • Pat the turkey breast dry, then spread the herb butter mixture all over the surface.
  • Transfer the stuffing to the bottom of an 8×8-inch casserole dish and place the turkey breast on top. The turkey should cover nearly all of the stuffing. If there is a lot of stuffing exposed, use foil to cover the stuffing mix to prevent it from browning too much during the hour and a half in the oven.
  • Transfer the turkey and stuffing to the oven (upper rack) and roast for about 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey breast reaches 165ºF.
  • After roasting, let the turkey and stuffing rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. The stuffing under the turkey will have absorbed quite a bit of moisture from the turkey, while the stuffing on the edges will be quite crunchy. Simply stir the stuffing together and let it sit for about five minutes to rehydrate the drier pieces before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 66g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 1722mg | Fiber: 1g

Turkey and Stuffing Step by Step Photos

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the contents of one 6oz. box of stuffing mix in a bowl and add 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to combine, then set it aside to soak as you prepare the turkey.
  2. Combine 4 Tbsp room temperature butter with 1 tsp dried sage, 1 tsp dried rosemary, 1 tsp dried thyme, and ¾ tsp salt. Pat a 2.5 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast dry, then smear the herb butter over the surface (if the turkey breast is wet, the butter won’t stick, so dry it well).
  3. Place the hydrated stuffing mix in the bottom of an 8×8-inch casserole dish and place the turkey breast on top. The turkey should cover most of the stuffing. If there are any large portions of stuffing exposed, you may want to cover the exposed portions with foil to prevent them from browning too much as the dish is in the oven. Do not cover the turkey with foil.
  4. Roast the turkey and stuffing in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 1.5 hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165ºF. Let the turkey rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
  5. The stuffing under the turkey will have absorbed a lot of moisture from the turkey as it roasts while the stuffing on the outer edges will be quite crunchy. Simply stir the stuffing together and let it sit for about five minutes for the moisture levels to equalize.

Once the turkey and stuffing are in the oven, move on to recipe #2, Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

2. Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts on a plate

While the turkey and stuffing are roasting, begin the candied sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. These will cook together on one sheet pan in the oven at the same time as the turkey and stuffing. The sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts take about 40 minutes to cook, so you can prepare them on the sheet pan and then wait to put them into the oven until the turkey has about 40 minutes to go.

These candied sweet potatoes were so delicious it was all I could do to keep from eating them ALL myself. :o

Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts on a plate

Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Candied sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts cook together on one sheet pan for a 2-in-1 easy Thanksgiving side dish.
Total Cost $3.19 recipe / $1.60 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 356kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Candied Sweet Potatoes

  • 3/4 lb. sweet potato $0.75
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts $2.00
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper $0.03

Instructions

  • Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick rounds. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter and then stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour the sweet butter over the sliced sweet potatoes and stir to combine.
  • Cut off any dry ends from the Brussels sprouts, then slice them in half. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then toss to coat.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then lay the butter-coated sweet potatoes out over half of the baking sheet. Try to get as much of the butter mixture out of the bowl onto the sweet potatoes as possible. Spread the Brussels sprouts over the other half of the baking sheet.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to the oven, placing it on the rack below the turkey. Roast the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender, flipping once halfway through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 490mg | Fiber: 10g

Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Step by Step Photos

  1. Peel and slice one ¾ lb. sweet potato into ½-inch thick rounds. Melt 1.5 Tbsp butter, then stir in 1 Tbsp brown sugar, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ⅛ tsp ground cloves, and ⅛ tsp salt. Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes and stir until they’re coated.
  2. Cut off the dry stem end of ½ lb. Brussels sprouts, then slice them in half. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and ⅛ tsp each of salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Place the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined sweet pan. Make sure to get as much of that butter mixture from the bowl onto the sweet potatoes.
  3. The vegetables only take about 40 minutes to roast, so you may want to leave them prepped on the sheet pan until the last 40 minutes or so of the turkey’s baking time so they’re not done too early. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven (lower rack) and roast the vegetables for about 40 minutes, or until browned and tender, flipping them once halfway through.

Once the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are on the sheet pan and prepared to go into the oven, you can move on to preparing the next recipe, mashed potatoes. When the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are in the oven you can prepare the last two recipes, green bean “casserole” and mushroom herb gravy.

3. Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes in a bowl with melted butter on top

You can prepare the mashed potatoes while you’re waiting to put the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts in the oven. They’re pretty quick to prepare, then they can sit on the stovetop with a lid on to stay warm while you finish the rest of the side dishes.

This recipe is also pretty flexible, so if there are other ingredients that you like to add to your mashed potatoes, like sour cream, cheese, or herbs, feel free to stir them in at the end!

Small-Batch Mashed Potatoes

This smaller batch of mashed potatoes is perfect for a Thanksgiving for Two or any quick weeknight dinner when you don't want leftovers.
Total Cost $1.25 recipe / $0.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 ¾ cup each
Calories 133kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • Medium Saucepot

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. russet potato $0.99
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided $0.02
  • 1/4 cup milk $0.11
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Peel the potato then dice into ½-inch cubes. Rinse the diced potatoes with cool water in a colander to remove excess starch.
  • Place the cubed potatoes in a medium pot and cover with one inch of water. Add ½ tsp salt. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until very tender.
  • Drain the potatoes in a colander and then give them another brief rinse.
  • Add the butter, milk, garlic powder, and pepper to the pot used to boil the potatoes. Heat over low until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Return the drained potatoes to the pot and mash. Taste the mashed potatoes and add salt, if needed (I added ¼ tsp).
  • Place a lid on the pot then move it to a back burner (not turned on) to stay warm while you prepare the rest of the sides.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 598mg | Fiber: 2g

Small Batch Mashed Potatoes Step by Step Photos

  1. Peel and dice a one pound russet potato into ½-inch pieces. Rinse the pieces briefly in a colander to remove excess starch. Place the cubed potato in a medium pot and cover with water. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the water. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until very tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and give them another brief rinse.
  2. Add 2 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup milk, and ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp pepper to the pot used to boil the potatoes. Heat the milk and butter mixture over low until the milk is hot and butter is mostly melted. Add the drained potatoes back to the pot.
  3. Mash the potatoes until mostly smooth. Taste and add salt if needed (I added ¼ tsp). Place a lid on the pot and move the pot full of potatoes to an unused burner (heat turned off) to stay warm until the rest of the meal is finished.

4. Green Bean “Casserole”

A bowl of creamy green beans with fried onion topping

Once your potatoes are mashed and are resting on the back of the stove, begin the green bean “casserole”. This is essentially a quick stovetop version of the classic baked casserole. Tender green beans coated in a creamy mushroom sauce and topped with French fried onions. You can bake this in the oven after assembly if you prefer, but I was aiming for speed and simplicity with this recipe, so I skipped the baking step.

A bowl of creamy green beans with fried onion topping

Stove Top Green Bean “Casserole”

A quick stove top version of the classic baked green bean casserole. Tender green beans with a creamy mushroom sauce and French fried onions.
Total Cost $2.99 recipe / $1.00 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 ¾ cup each
Calories 242kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • 3 qt. Covered Sauté Pan

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. frozen cut green beans $1.00
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
  • 4 oz. mushrooms $0.75
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 cup milk $0.44
  • 1 cup vegetable broth $0.13
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.03
  • 1/2 cup Fried Onions* $0.32

Instructions

  • Add the frozen green beans to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, then bring the water up to a boil over high heat. Boil the green beans for about 5 minutes, or until tender, then drain in a colander.
  • While the green beans are boiling, slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.
  • Add the mushrooms, garlic, and butter to the pot used to boil the green beans. Sauté over medium heat. Once the mushrooms have released all their water and all of it has evaporated off the bottom of the pot, add the flour and continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  • Whisk in the milk, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Make sure to whisk until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the pot. Allow the milk mixture to return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, it will thicken into a sauce.
  • Return the drained green beans to the pot with the sauce and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and allow the green beans to remain heating over low, stirring occasionally, as you make the final recipe (mushroom herb gravy). The sauce will continue to thicken as it heats over low.
  • When you're ready to serve the green beans, transfer them to a bowl and top with the fried onions.

Notes

*This is a store bought product, like French’s Crispy Fried Onions

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 695mg | Fiber: 4g

Stove Top Green Bean Casserole Step by Step Photos

  1. Add 12oz. frozen green beans to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a boil. Boil the green beans until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the green beans in a colander.
  2. While the beans are boiling, slice 4oz. mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and 2 Tbsp butter to the pot that was used to boil the beans (after draining them). Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and it has completely evaporated off the bottom of the pot.
  3. Once there is no more water pooling on the bottom of the pot, add 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour and continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about a minute more.
  4. Whisk in one cup milk, one cup vegetable broth, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Make sure to keep whisking until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the pot.
  5. Allow the liquid to return to a boil, stirring occasionally, at which point it will thicken to a sauce.
  6. Stir the drained green beans back into the sauce. Turn the heat down to low and let the green beans heat over low, stirring occasionally, as you make the final recipe (mushroom herb gravy). When ready to serve, top with ½ cup fried onions.

5. Mushroom Herb Gravy

mushroom herb gravy in a bowl with a spoon

This mushroom herb gravy only takes a few minutes to make, so it’s best to make it last just before you serve your Thanksgiving dinner. Gravies tend to gel up even more as they cool, so if you find your gravy becoming too thick after it begins to cool, simply stir in a tablespoon or two of warm water to loosen it back up.

mushroom herb gravy in a bowl with a spoon

Mushroom Herb Gravy

This small batch of mushroom herb gravy takes minutes to prepare and is full of delicious savory flavor!
Total Cost $1.23 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 ½ cup each
Calories 78kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • 10" skillet

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. mushrooms $0.75
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter $0.15
  • 1.5 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 cup vegetable broth $0.13
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme (or one sprig fresh) $0.03
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and butter to a small skillet and sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all of their water and the water has completely evaporated off the bottom of the skillet.
  • When there is no more water pooling on the bottom of the skillet, add the flour and continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
  • Add the vegetable broth and whisk well until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Also add the sage, thyme, and pepper. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally, at which point it will thicken to a gravy.
  • Taste the gravy and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.

Notes

If the gravy becomes too thick as it cools down, simply whisk a tablespoon of water into the gravy until smooth to loosen it up.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 365mg | Fiber: 1g

Mushroom Herb Gravy Step by Step Photos

  1. The gravy starts out the same as the green bean casserole. Slice 4oz. mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic. Sauté the mushrooms and garlic in 1.5 Tbsp butter over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and it has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet. Once no more water is left on the bottom of the skillet, add 1.5 Tbsp flour and continue to stir and cook for about a minute more.
  2. Whisk in 1 cup vegetable broth. Make sure to keep whisking until all of the flour has dissolved off the bottom of the skillet. Also add ¼ tsp rubbed sage, ⅛ tsp dried thyme, and ⅛ tsp pepper.
  3. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to simmer it will thicken into a gravy. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately.
Thanksgiving dinner for two all the dishes spread out in display

And there you have it! By the time you’re finished making the gravy, the rest of the dishes should be done and waiting to be served. This meal should provide two people with generous helpings, plus a little leftover for the next day. ;) If you make this meal make sure to take a photo and tag us on social media! I want to see your masterpiece!

Thanksgiving for two plated with a fork and bowl of gravy on the side

The post How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner for Two appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Thanksgiving is probably going to look a little different for a lot of us this year, but we can still celebrate, enjoy good food and each other’s company in new and creative ways. Since a lot of Thanksgiving gatherings will be a bit smaller this year, I’m going to take advantage of cooking less volume by adding a little more flare. Maybe go for that fancy cheese. Add that extra topping. Cook a sauce from scratch. It’s all easier and more affordable when you’re cooking for a smaller crowd. So that’s what I did with this super cheesy, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. It’s a rich and indulgent side dish with tons of fun toppings and a smaller batch size, fit for a smaller 2020 Thanksgiving feast.

This post is sponsored by ALDI. Ingredient prices and availability may vary. Visit ALDI on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Instagram.

cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background with a striped napkin

Adding that extra flare is also more affordable thanks to the awesome selection at my local ALDI store. They have everything I need for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, plus those fun specialty ingredients that can take your meal to the next level, all for unbeatable prices. And their cheese selection? Ah-maz-ing. So, I had a little fun with the cheese in this dish and used two different varieties of cheddar. #noregrets

What Kind of Cheese is Best?

Cheddar is definitely the best choice for this Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole because it melts smoothly and has a rich and creamy flavor. But you can play around with different flavors of cheddar to give the dish more flare. I used Emporium Selection Vintage Selection White Cheddar from ALDI for the cheese sauce, and their classic Happy Farms Mild Cheddar for the topping. If you want to try something more fun, they have tons of seasonal flavored cheddars like smoked cheddar, hatch pepper cheddar, or Cajun spice cheddar, all of which would all be incredible in this casserole.

Use the ALDI store finder here to find a store near you, then tell me in the comments below what kind of cheese you tried, so I can go try it too. ;)

What Else Can I Add?

If you want to add even more to your already “loaded” cauliflower casserole, I have some ideas. I tend to like things spicy, so a few thinly sliced jalapeños would be awesome, especially if coupled with a few small dollops of cooling sour cream. Slices of avocado might also be nice. Or, if you want to take this a different direction, a light drizzle of sweet and tangy BBQ sauce would be an amazing compliment to the creamy, cheesy sauce.

Want to turn it into a meal casserole? Add some shredded chicken or browned Italian sausage before drenching the cauliflower with sauce.

What is the Serving Size?

While I could probably easily eat half of this myself, I don’t think that would be a reasonable serving size, considering how rich this casserole is. This recipe makes about six smaller Thanksgiving sized servings (serving sizes tend to shrink when you’re trying to fit more items on one plate), or maybe four regular weeknight-dinner-sized side dish servings. It all depends on how many other items you’re serving with your meal.

Can the Recipe be Doubled?

Yes, absolutely! I purposely made this a smaller batch size recipe, but if you do have more mouths to feed this recipe is easily doubled. As long as you use a 9×13″ casserole dish so that everything is still evenly spread out, the cook times should all remain the same.

close up of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole being scooped out of the dish
Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

This rich and cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole is an indulgent Thanksgiving side dish with plenty of flare.
Total Cost $8.65 recipe / $1.44 serving (prices may vary by location)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 about ¾ cup each
Calories 418.13kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. Appleton Farms Hickory Bacon $1.63
  • 1 head cauliflower $2.29
  • 3 Tbsp Countryside Creamery Salted Butter 0.42
  • 3 Tbsp Baker's Corner All-Purpose Flour $0.03
  • 2 cups Simply Nature Organic Whole Milk $0.75
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Simply Nature Organic Garlic Powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Stonemill Black Pepper $0.02
  • 6 oz. Emporium Selection Vintage Cheddar, shredded $3.16
  • 2 oz. Happy Farms Mild Cheddar, shredded $0.42
  • 1/4 cup Chef's Cupboard French Fried Onions $0.16
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.11

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower, then cut it into small florets. Add the cauliflower florets to a pot and cover with water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil for about 5 minutes, or until it is fork tender. Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
  • While the cauliflower is draining, prepare the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a sauce pot. Melt the butter over medium heat, then continue to cook and stir the flour and butter for about two minutes more.
  • Whisk the milk into the flour and butter until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to heat and stir over medium until the milk reaches a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.
  • Season the white sauce with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat, then begin adding the shredded vintage cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it has fully melted in before adding the next handful. If the sauce becomes too cold to melt the cheese, place it over low heat only until all the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  • Place the boiled and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, making sure it is fully covered. Top with the remaining 2 oz. shredded mild cheddar and the French Fried onions.
  • Bake the cauliflower for only ten minutes, then switch the oven from bake to broil and broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until the top is slightly browned (broiling is optional). Do not over bake the casserole, or the cheese sauce will split.
  • Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 418.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.67g | Protein: 21.08g | Fat: 30.43g | Sodium: 962.32mg | Fiber: 2.68g
close up side view of cheesy cauliflower casserole

How to Make Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a skillet

Cook about 4oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the grease in the pan and let it drain on a paper towel lined plate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

cauliflower florets in a pot with water

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the leaves and stem from one head cauliflower, then cut it into florets. Add the florets to a large pot, cover with water, place a lid on top, then bring it up to a boil over high heat. Let the cauliflower boil until fork tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the cauliflower in colander.

flour and butter roux in a pot

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a pot over medium heat (I used the same pot from the cauliflower to avoid dirtying another pot). Add 3 Tbsp flour and continue to cook and stir for about two minutes.

milk being poured into the pot

Whisk two cups of milk into the butter and flour mixture until it is fully dissolved, and no lumps remain. Continue to cook and stir the milk over medium heat until it comes to a gentle simmer, at which point it will thicken to about the same consistency as heavy cream.

Seasoning in white sauce

Season the sauce with ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt.

shredded cheddar added to the pot

Remove the sauce from the heat and begin adding the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, making sure it is fully melted in before adding more. If the sauce becomes too cold to continue melting the cheese, place it over low heat only as you melt in the rest of the cheese.

thick cheese sauce in a pot

When all of the cheese has been melted into the sauce it will be thick and cheesy.

cheese sauce being poured over cauliflower in casserole dish

Place the cooked and drained cauliflower in a 2-quart casserole dish, then pour the cheese sauce over top, making sure to fully cover the cauliflower.

shredded cheddar added to top of cauliflower

Add the final 2oz. shredded mild cheddar and ¼ cup French fried onions on top. Bake the casserole for ten minutes, then switch the setting on the oven from bake to broil. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or just until you get some slightly browning on top.

Final toppings added to casserole

After baking, add the final toppings: cooked bacon and sliced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness!

Overhead view of cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole on a blue background

The post Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options […]

The post Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy mushroom sauces make me weak in the knees. Anyone else? The chicken here is purely a vehicle for the creamy, garlicky, heavenly mushroom sauce. And the crispy onions? Well that’s just icing on the cake! This Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions is a really simple and scrumptious dinner with plenty of customizable options that I’ll outline for you below. Tuck this one in your back pocket (browser bookmarks?) because I’m sure you’re going to be making it again and again. ;)

Overhead view of creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet

What Are “Crispy Onions”?

I’m not sure how popular crispy fried onions are outside the U.S. so I wanted to take a second to explain and link out to this product for those who are unfamiliar. They’re basically deep fried onions that you can buy in a carton and are often used to top the classic Thanksgiving recipe, Green Bean Casserole. The onions are super crispy, a little salty, and they just add a wonderful texture and flavor in contrast the to the creamy mushroom sauce. The only brand I know that makes them is French’s, but you might be able to find a generic version at some grocery stores. 

Can I Use Chicken Thighs?

Yes, boneless, skinless chicken thighs will work beautifully for this recipe and, because they are already thin and flat, will not require the pounding step that I show for the chicken breasts below. I do not suggest bone-in chicken thighs or breasts for this recipe because they require a much longer cooking time.

Can I Substitute the Mushrooms?

Not a mushroom lover? No problem. This recipe would also be great with spinach. Simply make the sauce without the mushrooms by adding the garlic to the skillet after removing the chicken, then proceeding to deglaze the skillet with broth as directed below. After adding the cream, simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce, then stir in fresh spinach until wilted. Finally, add the chicken and warm through.

Make it Dairy-Free

Full fat coconut milk will work well here in place of the heavy cream, just as it does in my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen. Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk in a can, not the kind in a carton, which is thinner and meant to be a substitute for dairy milk. Shake up the can well before measuring, to distribute as much fat throughout the liquid as possible. Also, use coconut oil or your cooking oil of choice in place of butter.

Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Pictured with Steamed Green Beans and mashed potatoes.

 
Creamy mushroom chicken on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions

Creamy Mushroom Chicken topped with delicious crispy onions is an easy weeknight dinner with plenty of options for customization!
Total Cost $8.70 recipe / $2.18 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 369.8kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms $1.69
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1.3 lbs. total) $5.63
  • 1 pinch salt $0.02
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided $0.26
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.39
  • 1/4 cup crispy fried onions $0.37
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Rinse and slice the mushrooms. Set the sliced mushrooms aside.
  • Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch thick. Cut each chicken breast into two pieces, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add one tablespoon of the butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover with foil or an upside down plate to keep it warm.
  • Add the second tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet begins to dry up again. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute more.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon mushroom cream sauce over each piece. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes more, or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Top the chicken with the crispy fried onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 369.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.25g | Protein: 36.13g | Fat: 22.4g | Sodium: 345.45mg | Fiber: 0.65g

How to Make Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms

Wash and slice 8oz. baby bella mushrooms. Set the mushrooms aside.

Pounded chicken breasts on a cutting board with a rolling pin

Place two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a mallet or a rolling pin to gently pound the chicken until it is an even thickness, about ¾-inch. This helps the chicken cook quickly and evenly in the skillet.

Chicken portions seasoned with salt and pepper on the cutting board

Cut each chicken breast in half to create four portions, then season each with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cooked chicken in the skillet

Add one tablespoon butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and the skillet is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep it warm (either foil or another plate turned upside down).

Sautéed mushrooms and garlic in the skillet

Add another tablespoon of butter and the sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all their water and the skillet dries up again. Add four cloves minced garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute more.

Cream being poured into the skillet with mushrooms

Add ½ cup chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. Add ½ cup heavy cream to the skillet and stir to combine.

Chicken in creamy mushroom sauce in the skillet

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and spoon the creamy mushroom sauce over the chicken. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through and the sauce is slightly reduced.

Creamy mushroom chicken in the skillet, topped with crispy fried onions

Top the chicken with crispy fried onions (I used about ¼ cup total). 

Finished Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, garnished with parsley

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired, then serve. This goes really well with mashed potatoes or pasta, so the creamy sauce can be spooned over top like a gravy.

The post Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions appeared first on Budget Bytes.