Avocado Sauce

Avocados are in my top 5 foods of all-time. They make everything better. I love adding them to salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more! And of course, I love guacamole and avocado toast. Avocados are the BEST! I also love using avocados to make this simple…

Avocados are in my top 5 foods of all-time. They make everything better. I love adding them to salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more! And of course, I love guacamole and avocado toast. Avocados are the BEST! I also love using avocados to make this simple Avocado Sauce. The sauce is creamy, smooth, and made with…

Cheesy Pinto Beans

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

The post Cheesy Pinto Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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

A bowl of cheesy pinto beans over rice.

What Are Pinto Beans?

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

Can I Use Dry Beans?

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

How to Serve Cheesy Pinto Beans

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

What Else Can I Add?

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

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

Cheesy Pinto Beans

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

How to Make Cheesy Pinto Beans – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and jalapeño in a pot.

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

Puréed pinto beans in a blender.

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

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

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

Seasonings added to the pot.

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

Shredded cheese added to the beans.

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

Cheesy pinto beans being stirred.

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

Finished cheesy pinto beans in the pot.

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

The post Cheesy Pinto Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Guacamole

The fresh flavor of homemade guacamole can’t be beat! This simple avocado dip is creamy, zesty, and so deliciously fresh.

The post Guacamole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chips and guac are my weakness. Like, just give me that as a meal because I don’t want anything else. 😅 But guacamole at restaurants is expensive and buying a container of pre-made guacamole at the store is usually not very delish. So when that guac craving hits, I’ve got to whip up a batch myself. Homemade guacamole only takes a few minutes to make and the fresh flavor is so good. Plus, I love using it to top just about everything else I eat, so it never goes to waste.

overhead view of a bowl of guacamole surrounded by chips.

What’s in Guacamole?

Guacamole is a Mexican dip or condiment made with mashed avocados. In its most simple form, it just has mashed avocado and salt, but many recipes include additional ingredients. I love the traditional combo of lime to brighten the creamy mixture, cilantro for freshness, jalapeño for a spicy kick, and a little tomato and onion for color and texture.

What Else Can I Add to Guacamole?

There are so many fun ingredients that you can add into guacamole. If you want to get a little funky with your guac, here are a few ideas:

  • Pineapple
  • Tajín
  • Roasted corn
  • Sour cream
  • Garlic (fresh or roasted)
  • Chipotles
  • Mango
  • Bacon
  • Cotija cheese
  • Radishes

How to Store Guacamole

IF you happen to have leftovers, here’s how you can store them without the guacamole turning brown. Guacamole turns brown when exposed to oxygen, similar to apples or bananas. So, to prevent this simply eliminate the exposure to oxygen. Transfer your guacamole to an air-tight food storage container, then place an extra layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole, making sure there are no air bubbles trapped under the plastic. Seal the container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.

How to Use Guacamole

If you do happen to have som guac left over, here are some ways that I love to use it:

close up side view of a bowl full of guacamole.
close up of guacamole in the bowl with a chip.

Guacamole

The fresh flavor of homemade guacamole can't be beat! This simple avocado dip is creamy, zesty, and so deliciously fresh.
Course Appetizer, condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Total Cost $6.70 recipe / $0.67 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 ¼ cup each
Calories 101kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice) $0.89
  • 2 Roma tomatoes $0.44
  • 1 jalapeño $0.09
  • 1/4 red onion $0.11
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro $0.15
  • 3 medium avocados (or 4 small) $5.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Prepare the guacamole add-ins first. Juice the lime. Finely dice the tomatoes, jalapeño (remove seeds), and red onion. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Remove the peels and pits from the avocados. Place the avocados in a bowl, then mash them with a fork.
  • Add the diced tomato, onion, and jalapeño to the mashed avocados, along with the chopped cilantro, about 1 Tbsp of lime juice and ¼ tsp salt.
  • Stir the ingredients together, then taste the guacamole. Add more lime and salt to your liking. I usually end up adding about 2 Tbsp lime juice and ½ tsp salt total. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 121mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up of guacamole on a chip.

How to Make Guacamole – Step by Step Photos

Guacamole ingredients.

For this simple version of guacamole you’ll need 3-4 avocados (mine were small, so I used four), 2 Roma tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, 1 lime, ¼ red onion, ½ tsp salt, and a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board with a bowl of lime juice.

Prep all the add-ins first. Finely dice the tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeño. Roughly chop the cilantro, and juice the lime.

Peeled and seeded avocados in a bowl.

Remove the peels and pits from the avocados, then place them in a bowl.

Mashed avocado in a bowl.

Mash the avocados. Leave them a little chunky or mash them completely smooth. It’s up to you. I like them a little chunky.

Other ingredients added to the mashed avocado in the bowl.

To the mashed avocado add the diced tomato, diced red onion, diced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Start with about 1 Tbsp lime juice and ¼ tsp salt, then add more after tasting.

Mixed guacamole in the bowl.

Mix everything together well, then give it a taste and adjust the salt and lime to your liking. I usually end up using about 2 Tbsp lime juice and ½ tsp salt total.

Guacamole in a bowl with plastic wrap for storage.

To store your leftover guacamole without it turning brown, make sure to add a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Press out as many of the air bubbles as possible to prevent browning. Seal the container closed and keep for 4-5 days, refrigerated.

close up of guacamole in the bowl with a chip.

The post Guacamole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Spicy pickled carrots are an easy and delicious snack that can also be served as a side dish or condiment with your favorite meals.

The post Spicy Pickled Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Back when I lived in Baton Rouge, there was a restaurant, Ninfa’s, that kept jars of spicy pickled carrots and other vegetables on the tables as an appetizer. Practically every time I went there I would ruin my appetite on those pickles before I even had a chance to order an entree. So, when I saw this post for Ninfa’s Spicy Pickled Carrots on The Homesick Texan, I got very, very, very excited. I didn’t have all the ingredients called for in that recipe, but the version I made below is still AMAZING and I literally can’t stop eating them.

Originally published 8-11-2011, updated 4-27-2022.

Overhead view of a glass bowl full of spicy pickled carrots

What’s in Spicy Pickled Carrots

These spicy pickled carrots are a “quick pickle” not a fermented pickle, so they start with a vinegar brine. This particular brine includes white vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and oil. To add even more flavor, the carrots are pickled along with red onion and jalapeño. The original recipe that I used for inspiration also included garlic, but I completely forgot to add it to mine, so if you have it, add a couple of cloves of fresh garlic in there, too!

How Long Do Pickled Carrots Last?

These deliciously spicy carrots will last about 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. 

What Else Can I Add?

I’m dying to add all sorts of other vegetables to my spicy pickled carrots the next time I make them. I think small cauliflower florets would just be incredible in there, but it would be fun to also try some sliced radishes, green beans, or maybe even some mini bell peppers. 

How to Serve Pickled Carrots

As mentioned above, I was first introduced to these carrots as a sort of snack or appetizer. But I think they’d also be great added to a salad, bowl meal, tacos, or salads. Basically, anytime you want to add a tangy-spicy bite to your meal, add a spicy pickled carrot!

Close up side view of spicy pickled carrots.

Overhead view of spicy pickled carrots in a glass bowl.

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Spicy pickled carrots are an easy and delicious snack that can also be served as a side dish or condiment with your favorite meals.
Course Appetizer, condiment, Snack
Cuisine Mexican, Southwest
Total Cost $2.12 recipe / $0.27 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 101kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. carrots $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion $0.21
  • 1 jalapeño $0.08
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 cups white vinegar $0.50
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 tsp salt $0.05

Instructions

  • Peel and slice the carrots into ¼-inch thick slices. Slice the red onion and jalapeño into ¼-inch thick slices as well.
  • Add the water, vinegar, oil, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper to a pot. Bring the brine to a boil.
  • Carefully add the sliced vegetables to the boiling brine, then continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
  • After boiling for 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and carefully transfer the vegetables and all of the brine into jars or another heat-proof container.
  • Store the pickled carrots in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 624mg | Fiber: 2g

Overhead view of spicy pickled carrots in a glass bowl.

How to Make Spicy Pickled Carrots – Step By Step Photos

Sliced carrots, onion, and jalapeño.

Begin by slicing 1 pound of carrots (about 8 carrots), ½ of a red onion, and one jalapeño. I like to slice my carrots on a diagonal to give them a more interesting shape. 

Brine ingredients in the pot.

Make the brine by combining the 1 cup water, 2 cups white vinegar, ¼ cup cooking oil, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp dried oregano, 2 tsp salt, and about ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Bring the bring up to a boil. 

Vegetables added to the brine.

Add the sliced vegetables to the boiling brine (carefully) and boil for about 5 minutes. You don’t want the carrots to get too soft or for the color to fade too much.

Pickled carrots in a glass bowl.

After boiling, carefully ladle the vegetables and all of the brine into jars or another heat-proof container. You can eat them right away (I couldn’t help it!), but the flavor is even better after refrigerating for at least a day.

side view of a glass bowl full of spicy pickled carrots.

The post Spicy Pickled Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Queso Blanco (White Cheese Dip)

This Tex-Mex queso blanco (white cheese dip) recipe is easy to make in about 20 minutes, perfectly melty and scoop-able, and irresistibly delicious. Meet my all-time favorite queso recipe. ♡ Anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows that excellent chips, salsa and queso are some of my favorite things in the world. And […]

This Tex-Mex queso blanco (white cheese dip) recipe is easy to make in about 20 minutes, perfectly melty and scoop-able, and irresistibly delicious.

Queso Blanco (White Cheese Dip)

Meet my all-time favorite queso recipe. ♡

Anyone who has followed this blog for awhile knows that excellent chips, salsa and queso are some of my favorite things in the world. And after having made homemade cheese dip about a million different ways over the years, this Tex-Mex queso blanco recipe continues to be the unbeatable gold standard in my book.

It’s inspired by the famous espinaca con queso at Jose Pepper’s, which I was completely obsessed with back when we lived in Kansas City. And true to its name, it’s loaded up with lots of fresh spinach, as well as diced onion, jalapeño, garlic, tomatoes, chiles and cilantro for lots of zesty flavor. It’s also made with my preferred blend of Monterrey Jack and white American cheeses, which I’m going to insist that you use if you want a genuinely melty, creamy, scoop-able cheese dip. (I’ve tested at least a dozen varieties of Mexican and American cheeses when making queso over the years, and have found this combination is key for achieving a melty vs gritty texture.) And it is absolutely, irresistibly, can’t-stop-going-in-for-another-dip delicious.

I’m also a big fan of this queso recipe because it be ready go in about 15 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for easy entertaining. And if you happen to have any leftovers, it even reheats well the next day.

Alright, fellow cheese lovers, let’s make some restaurant-style queso together!

Queso Blanco in Saucepan (more…)

Cucumber Salsa

This cucumber salsa is cool and zesty, pairing this crunchy veggie with jalapeño, cilantro and lime. Ideal for chips, tacos,…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This cucumber salsa is cool and zesty, pairing this crunchy veggie with jalapeño, cilantro and lime. Ideal for chips, tacos, and more!

Cucumber Salsa

Here’s a unique salsa variation everyone should try: Cucumber Salsa! Using this green vegetable instead of tomato is a bit off the beaten path. But turns out, cucumber is just the veggie for pairing with jalapeño, cilantro and lime! It adds a cooling essence and a hydrating crunch to each bite. Zingy and zesty, it’s ideal for dipping chips or showering over tacos. Or, sprinkle it over grilled salmon for a summery meal. Anything goes here!

Ingredients in cucumber salsa

All you need are a handful of ingredients to make a killer cucumber salsa! Like with any salsa, the time is in the chopping. It takes about 15 minutes to chop all the ingredients: but the payoff is immense! Take one bite, and the zingy, crunchy cool flavor will sweep you off your feet. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • English cucumber (or standard cucumber; see below!)
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Lime juice
  • Kosher salt
Cucumber Salsa

English cucumber vs standard cucumber

This cucumber salsa is best with an English cucumber, but you can use a standard cucumber if that’s what you have on hand! What’s the difference and why is it better in this salsa?

  • English cucumbers are long and straight, with a thin skin with ridges. The seeds are very small and the flavor is sweeter than a standard cucumber. Because of the thin skin and small seeds, it doesn’t need to be peeled or seeded before eating! The flesh has a bright green color which looks beautiful in recipes. Because the thin skin is so fragile, it’s sold with a plastic covering in the grocery store.
  • Standard slicing cucumbers are shorter, with thick, dark green skin and very large seeds. The thick skin and seeds can be bitter, so they’re often removed when cooking. You can use it here, but you’ll need to peel and seed it first. The flavor is not quite the same as the English cucumber, but it’s still tasty!

How long does cucumber salsa last?

Homemade cucumber salsa lasts 4 days refrigerated. While it’s best when it’s fresh, it lasts well and the flavor intensifies over time.

Cucumber Salsa

Ways to use cucumber salsa

This cucumber salsa is quite versatile: it’s great on its own as a dip, but it’s even more fun combined into a meal! Here are a few ways to serve it:

How do you plan to serve your cucumber salsa? Let us know in the comments below!

Chickpea tacos

More cucumber recipes

Got a few more cool cucumbers on hand? Here are some of our favorite cucumber recipes to use them:

This cucumber salsa recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Cucumber Salsa

Cucumber Salsa


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (about 3 cups)

Description

This cucumber salsa is cool and zesty, pairing this crunchy veggie with jalapeño, cilantro and lime. Ideal for chips, tacos, and more!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely diced English cucumber (1 English cucumber or about 2 standard cucumbers, peeled and seeded)
  • ½ cup minced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup minced red onion (about 1/4 large onion)
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (depending on your spice tolerance)*
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Chop the English cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro as noted above.
  2. Place the vegetables in a medium bowl and mix with the cumin, lime juice, and kosher salt. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Serve immediately with chips, tacos or grilled fish. Stores refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Cucumber salsa, cucumber salsa recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Is What Dreams Are Made Of

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we’re gue…

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. Inspired by the column, the Big Little Recipes cookbook is available now.


As someone who loves jalapeños, loves cheese, and does not love football, I reject any implication that jalapeño poppers are a seasonal snack. Super Bowl, sure, but any day of the year is worthy of their crispy-spicy-gooey goodness. Jalapeño poppers are timeless.

Read More >>

Easy Refried Black Bean Tacos

These refried black bean tacos are a perfect quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Made with canned black beans and pickled jalapeños, they’re packed with flavor and serve as the perfect foundation for your favorite taco toppings. This is one of those recipes you’ll come back to time and time again; it really is as quick […]

The post Easy Refried Black Bean Tacos first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

These refried black bean tacos are a perfect quick and easy vegetarian dinner. Made with canned black beans and pickled jalapeños, they’re packed with flavor and serve as the perfect foundation for your favorite taco toppings.

This is one of those recipes you’ll come back to time and time again; it really is as quick and easy as it claims, not to mention perfect if you’re trying to eat less meat, but don’t want to sacrifice on flavor.

Three folded Easy Refried Black Bean Tacos on a white plate, with big dollops of sour cream and other toppings

There is no shortage of black bean taco recipes on this site, it being one of our favorite fillings for meat-free tacos.

But these black bean tacos, which involve a quick refried-style black bean filling made from canned black beans and flavored with spices and pickled jalapeños, may just be our favorite. Served with your choice of toppings in a soft flour or corn tortilla, they really are a perfect vegetarian weeknight main that checks all the boxes.

Choose your toppings accordingly and they can even be vegan!

(more…)

Corn Salsa

Summer and sweet corn are a match made in heaven! I grew up in Illinois, where the corn is plentiful, and we always ate A LOT of sweet corn during the hot summer months. I loved eating it right of the cob, with lots of butter and salt, but I also enjoy…

Summer and sweet corn are a match made in heaven! I grew up in Illinois, where the corn is plentiful, and we always ate A LOT of sweet corn during the hot summer months. I loved eating it right of the cob, with lots of butter and salt, but I also enjoyed making fresh Corn…

The post Corn Salsa appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.