Potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the past couple of decades, but they’re truly one of my favorite ingredients. They’re inexpensive, they don’t spoil quickly, they’re versatile, and super easy to cook. These Parmesan Roasted Potatoes are about as easy as it gets when it comes to budget-friendly side dishes. A simple mix of grated Parmesan, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper makes a deliciously crispy coating on the potatoes once roasted. You can eat these potatoes as a side with your dinner, a snack dipped in ketchup, or even as the base of a breakfast bowl. However you eat them, just be careful because these little guys are addictive!
Originally published 11-1-2009, updated 1-27-2022.
What Kind of Potatoes to Use
I’ve made these Parmesan Roasted Potatoes with just about every type of potato available and they’re always great. Russet potatoes will be the least expensive, but they do produce a slightly drier texture potato. Red potatoes, like the ones used in the photographs in this post, have a slightly creamier texture that is absolutely perfect. Yukon gold and baby creamer potatoes also work well.
Grated or Shredded Parmesan?
I used grated Parmesan from a can here, because that’s the most affordable type, but if you have access to freshly shredded Parmesan your potatoes will only be that much more delicious! Shredded Parmesan doesn’t stick to the potatoes quite as well, so you’ll want to take extra care not to stir the potatoes too early, before the Parmesan has baked into a crust on the potatoes.
I left the seasonings very simple in the recipe below with just salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little paprika for color. If you want to punch up the flavor you could sprinkle on some Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, Greek seasoning, garlic herb seasoning, ranch seasoning, or steak seasoning. There are no rules when it comes to how much, just sprinkle it on liberally and measure with your heart!
How to Make Parmesan Roasted Potatoes – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash 2 lbs. red potatoes, then cut them into 1-inch pieces. Place the potatoes in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic powder, a ½ tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat. Next, sprinkle the Parmesan mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat again.
Spread the Parmesan coated potatoes out over a baking sheet (line with parchment for easy cleanup, if desired). To increase the cheesy crust formation, I like to start the potatoes with all cut sides facing down.
Roast the potatoes in the fully preheated 400ºF oven for 30 minutes, then stir. Return the potatoes to the oven and roast for 5-10 minutes more, or until they’re well browned. Total cooking time for the Parmesan Roasted Potatoes will depend on the size of your pieces, but they’re done when they’re nicely golden brown and crispy.
Season with another pinch of salt, if needed, then garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve!
Here’s another super easy meal prep for you! This super simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep follows the basic protein + veg formula and is super fast to make. I’ve got some additional suggestions for you below, if you’d like to bulk up the meal a bit or just make it a little fancier!
This recipe is super flexible, so if you don’t like the vegetables I chose, you can swap them out with other vegetables. Here are some options:
For heartier vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, you may want to pre-steam them for a few minutes just to make sure they get tender.
The Andouille sausage in this recipe is packed with herbs, spices, and a delicious smoky flavor, which ends up adding flavor to the entire dish. You can swap the sausage out with something like shrimp or chicken thighs, but if you do so, I suggest coating the chicken or shrimp well with plenty of Cajun seasoning since they don’t have seasonings built-in, like the sausage.
Bulk it Up!
If you need some carb action to keep you full and satisfied, you can serve these Cajun Sausage and Vegetables over a bed of rice. You can cook your rice in broth or add some herbs and spices for even more flavor.
Another option is to serve the sausage and vegetables over a bed of pasta. I think penne would be a great choice. If serving over penne, you can add a vinaigrette to help coat everything in flavor. I think the Smoky Vinaigrette that I used in my Smoky Roasted Sausage and Vegetables recipe would go nicely.
How Long Does it Last?
I generally keep meal preps like this for about four days, but the lifespan will vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, the freshness of the vegetables, and how long you cook the vegetables. Since I cooked this with the intention of reheating later, I purposely cooked the vegetables very lightly to prevent them from getting super soggy as they wait in the refrigerator. By nature, they will wilt a bit as the days go by, but undercooking them slightly can definitely help.
Cajun Sausage and Vegetables
This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!
Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the red bell pepper and red onion into strips. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl.
Slice the sausage into rounds. Add the sausage and 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.
Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper over top. Toss the vegetables to coat them in oil and spices.
Place the same skillet back over the heat and turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they are slightly tender. The vegetables will pick up the flavor left in the skillet from the sausage, so do not clean the skillet first. Be careful to not overcook the vegetables, as they will cook more when you reheat your meal preps.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cooked sausage and chopped parsley to the vegetables. Toss to combine with the vegetables. Give the sausage and vegetables a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.
*If you can not find Andouille sausage in your area, you can substitute it with any smoked sausage, like kielbasa.
How to Make Cajun Sausage and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos
Prep the vegetables first, so they’re ready to go. Slice one zucchini and one yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice one red bell pepper and one red onion into strips. Place the vegetables in a bowl.
Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage into rounds.
Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.
Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss the vegetables until they’re coated in oil and spices.
Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they begin to soften. The vegetables will pick up the flavor and browned bits left behind by the sausage. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Return the cooked sausage back to the skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley. Toss to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Sweet potatoes are one of my very favorite vegetables. I love using them to make soup, tacos, salads, rolls, and of course sweet potato fries. I also REALLY love Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges. You only need a few ingredients to make them and they are SO …
Sweet potatoes are one of my very favorite vegetables. I love using them to make soup, tacos, salads, rolls, and of course sweet potato fries. I also REALLY love Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges. You only need a few ingredients to make them and they are SO delicious. They are crispy on the outside, tender on…
I love meatballs and have several recipes for fun meatball recipe variations on the website already, but I wanted to have one good basic and easy homemade meatball recipe that could be used in several different meals. That way you can keep a batch of these tasty meatballs in your freezer and use them in different quick weeknight meals later. I’m all about making things easy and uncomplicated!
This homemade meatball recipe is super simple, pared-down, and basic for when you need something fast, easy, and uncomplicated. The other advantage to keeping these meatballs simple is that it makes them more versatile! Because the flavor profile is simple, you can pair these meatballs with a variety of sauces and meals.
And as always, I’ve got a couple of upgrade options for you below if you do want to take these meatballs up a notch and make something a little fancier.
Why Do Meatballs Have Egg and Breadcrumbs?
Egg and breadcrumbs are added to meatballs to help hold together, and the combination helps give the meatballs a slightly more tender texture. While I have made some meatballs without eggs and breadcrumbs in the past (see my Beef Kofta Meatballs), they don’t hold together quite as well and the meat has a more firm texture, similar to that of a hamburger.
If you need to replace the egg or breadcrumbs for dietary reasons, you can experiment with using a flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water) for the egg, and using oatmeal, rice, or crushed gluten-free crackers in place of the breadcrumbs.
Can I Use Different Meat?
Yes, meatballs work great with several different types of ground meat. Just keep in mind that different types of ground meat contain different amounts of fat and moisture, so substituting the meat can change the texture and flavor of the meatballs.
The recipe below uses Italian sausage, which has a ton of herbs and spices already in the meat. Because of that, the meatballs only needed a small amount of extra seasoning added. So if you substitute the Italian sausage with a different type of ground meat, make sure to increase the seasoning in the meatballs accordingly.
How to Use Homemade Meatballs
There’s nothing easier or more satisfying than a plate of spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs, but that’s not the only way to eat meatballs! Here are some other things you can do with homemade meatballs:
Make meabtall subs (hoagie rolls, red sauce, meatballs, mozzarella)
Add the meatballs to a soup (they’d be great in Minestrone)
If you want to take your meatballs up a notch and make them a little fancier, there are several things you can add. Try adding some fresh minced onion or garlic for an extra punch of flavor. Or try using some flavor add-ins like crumbled bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano). You can also try swapping out the milk for a different flavored liquid, like broth or even some of your red sauce. And I’m always a fan of adding a pinch of crushed red pepper to just about anything!
Easy Homemade Meatballs
These easy homemade meatballs are freezer-friendly and versatile. Keep a batch in the freezer for quick weeknight dinners later!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $10.92 recipe / $1.37 serving
Prep Time 25minutes
Cook Time 20minutes
Total Time 45minutes
Servings 8about 5 meatballs each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
1lb.bulk Italian sausage$3.00
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, lightly whisk the two eggs.
Add the breadcrumb mixture, eggs, milk, Italian sausage, and ground beef to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. Avoid over mixing the meat.
Let the meatball mixture rest for five minutes to allow the breadcrumbs time to soften. Divide and shape the meat into about 40 meatballs, approximately 2 Tbsp in volume each.
Oven Cooking Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet about one inch apart from each other.
Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Transfer the meatballs to a pot of red sauce and simmer for five more minutes in the sauce. If not using a red sauce, add an additional 3-5 minutes to the bake time, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
Stove Top Cooking Instructions
Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, swirl the oil to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the meatballs to the skillet.
Cook the meatballs, turning every couple of minutes, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Repeat with the second batch of meatballs.
Transfer the cooked meatballs to a pot of red sauce and simmer for a few minutes more before serving.
You can freeze the meatballs either cooked or uncooked. I prefer freezing them already cooked so they can go straight from the freezer into a pot of red sauce and then just simmer until heated through. Cooked meatballs should be completely cooled before placing in a gallon-sized freezer bag and transferred to the freezer.
To freeze uncooked meatballs, place the raw meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze on the baking sheet until solid (1-2 hours) before transferring to a gallon-sized freezer bag for longer storage. Thaw completely before cooking.
How to Make Homemade Meatballs – Step by Step Photos
Lightly whisk two large eggs in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ cup grated Parmesan, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Pre-mixing these ingredients helps them incorporate more evenly into the meat without having to overmix the meat.
Add the whisked egg, breadcrumb mixture, ¼ cup milk, 1 lb. Italian sausage, and 1 lb. ground beef to a bowl.
Let the meatball mixture sit for five minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture.
Divide and shape the meatball mixture into about 40 meatballs, 2 Tbsp each. I have small hands, so this may actually look bigger than they were. I used a 2 Tbsp measuring cup to portion the meat.
To bake the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet with about one inch between each.
Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned, then transfer to a pot of red sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. If not using a red sauce, bake for 3-5 minutes longer, or until cooked through.
To cook the meatballs in a skillet, heat one tablespoon cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, swirl to coat the skillet in oil, then add the meatballs. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned on all sides and cooked through.
Whether you cook your meatballs in the oven or on the stove top, finishing them off with a brief simmer in red sauce adds an extra dose of flavor and helps keep the meatballs nice and tender.
To freeze the cooked meatballs, cool them completely in the refrigerator first, then place them in a freezer bag and transfer to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months). Once frozen they can be dropped straight from the freezer into a pot of red sauce and simmered until heated through.
I posted some Baked Chicken Wings earlier this week, so it’s only natural that I teach you how to make your own buffalo wing sauce as well! Buffalo sauce is an incredibly addictive, spicy, tangy, and rich sauce that is an absolute must-have for your chicken wings. And the best part? It’s so easy. Just four simple ingredients and about five minutes, and you’re ready for dipping and drizzling the buffalo sauce over your favorite foods.
What is Buffalo Sauce?
If you’re not from the U.S. you’re probably asking yourself how someone made a sauce out of a buffalo, but don’t worry, the name actually comes from Buffalo, New York, where this sauce is said to have originated. It’s an incredibly tasty mix of cayenne hot sauce and butter. This simple combination of ingredients hits four of the major flavor elements (salt, fat, acid, and heat), making it incredibly delicious and almost downright addictive.
Sometimes, depending on the recipe, other ingredients are added for even more flavor. For my recipe below, I kept the sauce fairly simple with just a little garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce for a little more dimension.
What Kind of Hot Sauce to Use
Buffalo sauce is traditionally made with Frank’s Original Redhot Sauce, which is a vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce. That being said, I’ve made buffalo sauce with other brands of cayenne hot sauce and they were equally as delicious, so if you want to cut costs a bit you can always go with a different brand. Just make sure it’s a vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce.
Customize Your Buffalo Sauce
One reason I love this Buffalo sauce recipe is that it is customizable. By simply adding one or two more ingredients you can really change the direction of the sauce. Here are some ideas:
Honey or brown sugar to make a sweet-spicy sauce
Smoked paprika for a smokier flavor
Ranch seasoning for a garlic-herb infused buffalo sauce
Roasted garlic for an extra garlicky kick
Cayenne pepper for an extra hot buffalo sauce
How to Use Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo sauce isn’t just for chicken wings! You can use this tasty sauce on plenty of other types of foods. It’s great for dipping, drizzling, or even using as a dressing. Here are some other foods that taste great when blessed with a little buffalo sauce:
We’re smack dab in the middle of what I like to call “food season.” First, Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and now New Year’s Eve and FOOTBALL! You’ll no doubt need some tasty appetizers to nibble on while you anxiously watch your team play on game day, so I want to offer you some homemade snacks so you’re not tempted to order in. These Baked Chicken Wings are incredibly simple, delightfully crispy, and they can be enjoyed plain or drenched in your favorite sauce.
How to Make Baked Chicken Wings Crispy
Coating chicken wings with cornstarch helps make them extra crispy when baked. The fat from the chicken wing combines with the cornstarch to create extra-crispy skin. But lately, instead of just doing a dry dusting of cornstarch on the chicken wing, I’ve started adding both cornstarch and a small amount of oil. Adding a little bit of oil helps the chicken wings brown and crips up a lot more evenly, which is perfect if you plan to serve the chicken wings plain, without a coating of sauce. …And it’s still way less oil and a lot easier than deep frying. ;)
How to Season Chicken Wings
For the recipe below, I created a very basic seasoning that isn’t too heavy so that it is flexible enough to match with whatever sauce or dip you decided to serve with the wings. If you plan to serve the wings without a sauce or dip and want to punch up the seasoning a bit, you can double the spices listed in the recipe below. If you’d like to try a different seasoning all together, try using 1-2 Tbsp of any of the following seasonings:
I don’t know about you, but flavorful sauces are probably my favorite part about eating chicken wings. Whether you plan to coat the wings in the sauce or just serve it on the side for dipping, there are so many great options for wing sauce. Here are some sauces you can use for chicken wings:
It’s always nice to have some fresh vegetables alongside your chicken wings because their cold, crunchy, fresh texture is such a nice contrast to the crispy wings. Traditionally that would be fresh celery and carrots, but I think fresh broccoli, cauliflower, or grape tomatoes would also be nice. Plus, vegetables usually taste great dipped in the same sauces as your wings (ranch, honey mustard, etc.).
How to Make Baked Chicken Wings – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch, ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and ½ tsp salt.
Pat dry 2.5 lbs. chicken wings or drumettes. Place the dried chicken in a bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbsp cooking oil, and toss to coat. Add the cornstarch-seasoning mixture and toss to coat again. Add the cornstarch-seasoning mixture and toss to coat again.
The wings are now coated in a light mixture of oil, cornstarch, and seasoning which will create a flavorful and crispy exterior once baked.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place two wire cooling racks on top. Add the seasoned chicken on top of the wire racks with some space between each wing (if they’re too close they won’t get as crispy).
Bake the chicken wings in the preheated 400ºF oven for 30 minutes, then flip each wing over. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until they achieve the amount of browning you like.
Serve hot with some fresh vegetables and your favorite sauces for dipping!
I don’t know about you, but it feels like Thanksgiving was just yesterday and I’m not ready to make another big dinner yet. So for Christmas, I’m making these super simple ham steaks instead of a full glazed ham. They’re so incredibly quick, I get my ham fix, and I can spend Christmas day relaxing. 😎 These glazed ham steaks are so good and so easy that they’ll probably be making their way into my normal dinner rotation, too.
I like a thick-cut (½-inch thick) sliced ham steak for this recipe because it gives it more of a main-dish type feel. There are many options for sliced ham or sliced ham quarters in the grocery store (near the refrigerated cured meats) and you can use just about any of them. If you end up with ham that is sliced more thinly, you’ll just cook for a shorter amount of time during the browning step below. And you may need to make more glaze if you’re trying to cover more pieces.
Other Glaze Options
The glaze I used here is a sweet and slightly tangy mix that reduces to a nice sticky glaze. You can’t really taste the Dijon mustard in the end, but if you don’t like Dijon or simply don’t have any on hand, you can also use a sweet-spicy-smoky rub like I used in my Glazed Pork Chops recipe.
How are the Leftovers?
I love, love, loved eating the leftovers of this ham. So much so that I think I might meal prep this on a regular basis! Glazes like this don’t stay clear and glossy after refrigeration, but they still taste great!
How to Make Glazed Ham Steaks – Step by Step Photos
Make the glaze first. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp ground cloves.
These are the ham steaks I used. You can use any type of ham steak available, but if they are thinner than ½-inch, you’ll need to reduce the cooking time from the estimates I have given.
Each of the ham steaks were 8oz., so I cut them in half to create four 4oz. portions. Portion your ham as you see fit.
Add 1 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted, give the skillet a swirl to coat the surface. Add the ham and cook for a few minutes on each side, or until browned.
Spoon half of the glaze mixture over the ham steaks, then flip them over and add the rest.
Cook the ham for a minute or two more on each side, or until the glaze has reduced.
I need to share a food with you that I’ve been crushing on lately. It’s not anything fancy or even unique, but somehow it still blows my mind every time I make it. I’m talking about roasted delicata squash. Everyone always talks about butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash, but we need to be talking about Delicata squash. Because it’s the best winter squash by far, IMHO. We’re nearing the end of the season, so I wanted to squeeze this post in there so you can give it a try before the crop runs out!
Why is Roasted Delicata Squash So Good??
This pretty little winter squash is a little sweet and almost has a rich quality to the flavor, making it taste rather dessert-like, especially when roasted. When delicata squash is roasted all of those natural sugars get caramelized so you get that buttery caramel flavor on the back end. It’s truly perfection and I have a hard time not eating the entire squash myself.
Can You Eat the Skin on Delicata Squash?
Yes! The skin of Delicata squash is 100% edible. That’s the second reason I love this squash so much. It’s so easy to prepare because you don’t have to bother peeling it. Not to mention that gorgeous yellow and green striped skin makes for a really beautiful plate.
How to Season Roasted Delicata Squash
Look, this squash is so delicious it truly doesn’t need any seasoning. That being said, I did just a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You could also play around with adding some sweet-smoky-spicy seasonings like brown sugar, smoked paprika, or cayenne pepper. I think those flavors would pair beautifully with the sweet flavor of the squash.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the ends off the delicata squash, then slice it open length-wise.
Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then slice the squash into ½-inch wide slices.
Place the sliced squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, and pepper over top. Toss the squash until it is fully coated in oil and spices. Make sure it is spread out over the baking sheet in an even layer.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip the squash pieces over. Roast for an additional 10-15* minutes, or until browned to your liking.
Taste the squash and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Serve warm.
*Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your squash.
How to Make Roasted Delicata Squash – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. I bought two delicata squashes, but I only roast one at a time because you need to make sure the slices have plenty of room on the baking sheet and are not crowded in order to get the nice caramelization. (I’ll just save the second one for next week 😏)
Slice the stem off the squash, then slice it open lengthwise. Thankfully, Delicata squash are not that big and are slightly softer than butternut squash, so they’re much easier to cut. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds.
Cut the squash into ½-inch wide slices.
Place the squash pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
Also add a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder (about ⅛ tsp each). Toss the squash pieces until they’re evenly coated in oil and spices, then make sure they’re spread out evenly over the baking sheet again.
Transfer the squash to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the squash out of the oven, flip them over, then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until they’re nice and caramelized like in the photo above.
Give the squash a taste and add more salt or pepper if you prefer. Serve it up warm and enjoy! …And try not to eat all of it before you even sit down to your meal. ;)
When we need an easy meal that the entire family loves, we make tostadas! Our Easy Tostadas are our go to, but sometimes we mix it up and make Sweet Potato Refried Bean Tostadas. These are my personal favorite because all of the flavors are SO good! Th…
When we need an easy meal that the entire family loves, we make tostadas! Our Easy Tostadas are our go to, but sometimes we mix it up and make Sweet Potato Refried Bean Tostadas. These are my personal favorite because all of the flavors are SO good! This is a vegetarian meal that is so…
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. :)
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
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.
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
Measuring cups and spoons
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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
Candied sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts cook together on one sheet pan for a 2-in-1 easy Thanksgiving side dish.
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.
Candied Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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
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 15minutes
Cook Time 15minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 3¾ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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 5minutes
Cook Time 25minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 3¾ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
3 qt. Covered Sauté Pan
12oz.frozen cut green beans$1.00
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.
Stove Top Green Bean Casserole Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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.
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.
Allow the liquid to return to a boil, stirring occasionally, at which point it will thicken to a sauce.
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
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
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 5minutes
Cook Time 10minutes
Total Time 15minutes
Servings 3½ cup each
Author Beth – Budget Bytes
1/8tspdried thyme (or one sprig fresh)$0.03
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!