Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and cozy meal that is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special occasion.

The post Swedish Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t go to Ikea without getting some of their iconic Swedish meatballs. But I can’t go to Ikea every time that craving hits, so we decided to make a budget-friendly homemade version that is easy enough for a cozy weeknight dinner, yet indulgent enough for an impressive, dinner-party main. Both hearty and comforting, these Swedish meatballs are like a hug in a dish!

Overhead view of a bowl of mashed potatoes topped with Swedish meatballs.

What are Swedish Meatballs?

Köttbullar, known in English as “Swedish meatballs” is a traditional Scandinavian dish of meatballs and gravy. Unlike Italian meatballs, the meat mixture for Swedish meatballs is flavored with allspice (and sometimes nutmeg), and after searing, they are nestled into a creamy gravy fortified with beef broth rather than a spicy, garlicky tomato sauce. 

What to serve with Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs are typically served with mashed potatoes. (We like ours with a little minced parsley and fresh cracked pepper on top, too!) But they’re also great served over egg noodles, or anything that will serve as a vehicle for that delicious gravy! 

Traditional interpretations of this dish frequently include a slightly-sweetened Lingonberry jam (a wild, lowbush berry native to Sweden), which has a similar flavor to cranberries or red currants. If you have leftover cranberry sauce from the holidays, that makes a great addition to this meal.

Can you Make Them Ahead?

Yes, you can make the meatballs a day ahead. If making a larger quantity, sear in batches, taking care that each meatball is cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 145℉. Allow them to cool completely before refrigerating. To reheat, spread them out on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 375℉ while you make the gravy, and then continue with the recipe as written. Once they have simmered in the sauce, each meatball should reach an internal temperature of 165℉ before serving.

Close up side view of Swedish Meatballs in the skillet.
Overhead view of a bowl full of mashed potatoes and Swedish Meatballs.
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Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and cozy meal that is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special occasion.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Scandavian
Total Cost $5.83 recipe / $1.46 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 4 meatballs
Calories 545kcal

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs $0.20
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp allspice $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork $0.99
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.65
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked $0.32

Gravy

  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided $0.60
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 2 cups beef broth* $0.24
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg $0.01
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.55
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.10

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, nutmeg, allspice, garlic powder, and salt. (Note: Mixing the dry ingredients first will ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the meatballs and prevent you from overworking the meat mixture.)
  • Meanwhile, add the pork and beef to a large bowl. Lightly whisk the egg, then add it to the bowl with the meat. Lastly, add the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Use your hands to mix the meat and seasonings together until evenly combined, but avoid overmixing.
  • Divide and shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs, about 1.5 Tbsp each.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of the butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the meatballs. Cook for a minute or two on each side, or until well browned. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Remove the browned meatballs from the skillet. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp butter and the flour. Whisk the butter and flour together as the butter melts. Cook the butter and flour mixture for about two minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the beef broth, making sure to release all of the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, nutmeg, and heavy cream. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*We use Better Than Bouillon to make our broth. If using a low-sodium broth you may need to add more salt to the gravy for taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 44g | Sodium: 844mg | Fiber: 1g
Overhead view of Swedish Meatballs in the skillet.

How to Make Swedish Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

Breadcrumbs and spices in a bowl.

Add ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs to a bowl along with ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp salt and stir until evenly combined.

Meatballs ingredients in a bowl.

Add ½ lb. ground pork, ½ lb. ground beef, the breadcrumb mixture, and one lightly whisked large egg to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. Avoid over-mixing because that will make the meatballs tough.

Shaped meatballs on a red cutting board.

Divide the mixture into 16 meatballs, about 1.5 Tbsp each, and shape them into balls.

Browned meatballs in the skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the meatballs. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally until they are well browned. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through at this point.

Butter and flour added to the skillet, meatballs removed.

Remove the browned meatballs from the skillet and add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and the remaining 3 Tbsp butter to the skillet.

Roux being whisked in the skillet.

Continue to cook the butter and flour over medium heat for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

Beef broth being poured into the skillet.

Slowly pour in 2 cups beef broth while whisking, making sure to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cook and stir the mixture over medium heat until it comes up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy.

Cream and spices added to the gravy in the skillet.

Add 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, ⅛ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp pepper, and ⅓ cup heavy cream to the gravy, and stir to combine. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

Meatballs being added back to the skillet.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and stir to coat in the gravy.

Finished Swedish meatballs in the skillet with gravy.

Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce until cooked through (about 5 minutes).

Overhead view of a bowl full of mashed potatoes and Swedish Meatballs.

Serve the meatballs and gravy over a bed of mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Top with chopped parsley and more pepper if desired.

Super close up image of Swedish meatballs in gravy.

Ooooh, look at that gravy! So lush!

The post Swedish Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

This creamy White Chicken Chili is fast, easy, and extra cozy for those cold fall and winter nights. The leftovers are great, too!

The post Creamy White Chicken Chili appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about cozy soups and stews this time of year and our Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili has always been one of my favorites. But this week I changed it up by making a faster stovetop version with no jarred salsa, and a super creamy finish. The result is an extra cozy, creamy, and lush White Chicken Chili that is easy enough for a weeknight. It’s so good, I think you’re going to want to make it all winter long!

close up overhead view of a bowl of white chicken chili with chips and cheese.

What’s in White Chicken Chili?

White chicken chili is a thick and rich chicken and bean stew made with tender chicken thighs, beans, corn, green chiles, jalapeño, onion, garlic, and a medley of southwest-inspired spices. Rather than using a tomato-based broth, like beef chili, white chicken chili uses chicken broth thickened with a little cream cheese and sour cream to make it extra rich and delicious.

Can I use Chicken Breast?

I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because they’re super forgiving and always stay tender and delicious. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, can be a bit finicky and can dry out if overcooked. You can use chicken breasts for this recipe but you’ll want to be very careful not to cook them over too high of heat. Keep the chili on a gentle simmer so the breast meat cooks slowly without getting tough and dry.

Is White Chicken Chile Spicy?

You can make this white chicken chili either spicy or mild! If you prefer a mild chicken chili, simply skip the fresh jalapeño, make sure to buy mild canned diced green chiles, and skip the cayenne pepper.

If you’d like a spicier white chicken chili, make sure to include some of the seeds from the jalapeño, buy hot diced green chiles, and add more cayenne pepper to your liking. A few dashes of hot sauce would be awesome, as well!

It’s All About the Toppings

My favorite part of chili, be it beef chili or white chicken chili, is the toppings. Sure, you can eat (and enjoy) a bowl of this chili plain, but I love to pile on the toppings to make my bowl my own. Here are some delicious topping ideas for white chicken chili:

  • Sour Cream
  • Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Green Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Hot Sauce
  • Fresh or Pickled Jalapenos
  • Avocado
  • Lime
Overhead view of white chicken chili in the pot with toppings and a spoon.
Overhead view of a bowl of creamy white chicken chili with toppings and a spoon.
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Creamy White Chicken Chili

This creamy White Chicken Chili is easy and extra cozy for those cold fall and winter nights. The leftovers are great, too!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southwest
Total Cost $12.81 recipe / $1.60 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 1.25 cups each
Calories 403kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.13
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.34
  • 1 jalapeño $0.22
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.13
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs $4.94
  • 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans (drained) $1.78
  • 1 15oz. can pinto beans (drained) $0.79
  • 1 7oz. can diced green chiles $1.39
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin $0.30
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 3 cups chicken broth $0.35
  • 1 cup frozen corn $0.47
  • 4 oz. cream cheese $1.10
  • ½ cup sour cream $0.45

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Deseed then dice the jalapeño. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.
  • Add the chicken thighs, cannellini beans, pinto beans, diced green chiles, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, pepper, and chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the chili to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs and shred with two forks. Add the shredded meat back to the pot along with the corn. Stir to combine and heat through.
  • Cut the cream cheese into chunks and stir it into the chili until melted. Stir in the sour cream. To further thicken the chili, smash some of the beans against the side of the pot.
  • Taste the chili and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 701mg | Fiber: 9g
Overhead view of a bowl of white chicken chili with toppings.

How to Make White Chicken Chili – Step by Step Photos

Diced aromatics in the pot with oil.

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Deseed then dice one jalapeño. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to a large pot with one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until the onions have softened.

Chicken, beans, spices, and broth added to the pot.

Add 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, one 15oz. can of pinto beans (drained), two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans (drained), one 7oz. can of diced green chiles, 1 Tbsp cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and 3 cups chicken broth to the pot.

Chicken chili before simmering.

Stir everything together until combined. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the chili to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Simmered chili in the pot with a spoon.

After simmering for 30 minutes, remove the cooked chicken thighs to a cutting board and shred them with two forks.

Corn being poured into the chili in the pot.

Return the shredded chicken to the pot and add 1 cup of frozen corn kernels. Stir to combine and heat through.

Cream cheese chunks added to the chili.

Add 4 oz. of cream cheese (cut into chunks) to the chili and stir until it has melted in. Stir in ½ cup sour cream.

finished creamy white chicken chili in the pot with a spoon.

To thicken the chili further, smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. The chili will thicken even more as it begins to cool. Taste the chili and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

White chicken chili in the pot topped with cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro.

Serve the chili hot with your favorite toppings!

The post Creamy White Chicken Chili appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Roasted Chicken

This roasted chicken recipe gives you crispy skin bathed in butter and meat that’s softly scented with lemon, garlic, and rosemary. There are also unctuous potatoes and carrots that cook in chicken jus. It’s a must try!

The post Roasted Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing quite like this roasted chicken recipe. It gives you crispy skin bathed in butter and meat softly scented with lemon, garlic, and rosemary. There are unctuous potatoes and carrots that cook in chicken jus. It perfumes your entire household. And you can transform a single bird into meals that last for days on end. It truly is perfection.

How To Perfectly Roast Chicken

For the uninitiated, roasting a whole chicken can be intimidating. But it’s easier than you think. You just need to know a few tricks, and luckily you’ve got a friend that has them all up her sleeve. Ahem. It all comes down to is drying your chicken, using salt correctly, introducing fat to keep the breast meat moist, and using the cavity as a vehicle for flavor.

To make the best roasted chicken, use these four tricks:

  • Dry your chicken well for extra crispy skin
  • Use a dry brine to keep meat tender and infuse flavor
  • Coat with herb butter for a deliciously golden brown crispy skin
  • Stuff the cavity with aromatics to make every bite flavorful

Why Should I Dry Chicken?

The first trick to perfectly roasting a chicken is thoroughly drying your bird. I know it sounds counterintuitive. Why would you take juices off a chicken you want to be juicy? Because it gives you the crispiest skin ever. It’s so crucial that some chefs go as far as drying their chicken with a hair dryer. You don’t have to go that far, but don’t skip this step. It sets you up beautifully for a dry brine.

What Is A Dry Brine?

Dry brining is the act of salting chicken (or any other meat) and letting it sit uncovered while the salt draws out the juices. The chicken then reabsorbs the now salted juices, which tenderize the meat and add deep flavors all the way to the bone. This is far superior to just salting the skin on the outside, which leaves you with a bland bird. You can dry brine for as little as an hour, but if you want real magic, dry brine your chicken overnight. Leave it uncovered in your fridge, on the bottom shelf, for at least 8 hours. Then it’s ready for a butter bath.

Why Do People Put Butter On Their Chicken?

You add fat to the chicken breast to keep it moist and then you spread it on the skin to crisp it. The best and tastiest way to do that is to rub your chicken down with softened butter. (Unless you save your bacon fat, in which case, you should definitely use that!). As the butter melts, it bastes the notoriously dry breast meat, which keeps it juicy while adding a huge wallop of flavor. It will also give you deeply golden, crispy skin. Now all you have to do is to level up your flavor game by stuffing the chicken cavity with aromatics.

Why Should I Stuff Chicken?

Leaving the chicken’s cavity empty is a missed opportunity to add flavor. Stuff the cavity with aromatics, like garlic and lemon. If you have fresh rosemary, put a sprig in there as well. (If you don’t, that’s OK. You can add dried rosemary to your butter.) As the chicken cooks, the garlic, lemon, and rosemary release their essences and perfume your entire bird, from the inside out. It will take your chicken over the top, which is exactly where you want it.

What Temperature Do I Cook Chicken To?

Your chicken is done cooking when a thermometer inserted into the breast reads 160°F. Make sure not to touch the bone, which skews the results. You also need to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (again without touching the bone), where it should read 170°F. This is about 50 to 60 minutes for a five-pound bird at 425°F.

Remember the magic of carry-over cooking. The chicken will continue to rise at least five to ten degrees in temperature when it is out of the oven. Taking it out when the breast reads 160°F and the thigh reads 170°F will get you to the perfect temperature for chicken: 165°F to 170°F for the breast and 175°F to 180°F for the thighs. Leaving it any longer will leave you with a well done bird, which might work for the dark meat, but the white meat will be sawdust.

If you don’t have a thermometer, cut into the joint between the thigh and the body. If the juices run clear, you are good to go. If they run red or pinkish, pop your chicken back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Should I Baste Chicken?

I know, I know. Every time you see someone cooking chicken on a TV show or commercial, there’s always a scene where they have the oven door wide open as they gingerly baste their chicken in its juices. Don’t believe the hype. (Said in my best Flavor Flav.) You don’t have to baste chicken to get juicy results. That’s what the dry brine was for—leaving the oven door open to baste lets all of the heat escape and ruins the roast.

How To Roast A Chicken Without A Roasting Pan

A roasting pan with a rack is ideal because you want enough space between the vegetables and the chicken for air to circulate around the chicken, to crisp it and cook it evenly. If you don’t own a roasting pan, you have loads of other choices. Use a cast iron skillet and nestle the bird on top of the veg. The skin on the back won’t be crispy, but it will still be delicious. In fact, you can roast in almost any low-walled oven-safe dish. For example, use a pie pan or a brownie tin. All that matters is that the sides of the pan don’t block the sides of the chicken. They need to be exposed to develop color and get crispy.

Don’t Waste The Drippings

You’ve now set the foundation for a perfectly roasted bird. But why stop there? As that chicken roasts and that butter melts, all of the drippings fall to the bottom of the pan. This is precisely why you fill the pan with carrots, onions, and potatoes. They soak up all that incredible juice and transform into intensely flavored, unctious bites.

That’s it! With those simple tricks, you will have created intensely flavorful bites with perfectly crispy skin every time. And you can keep enjoying that chicken for days. Pull any leftover meat and use it in casseroles, burritos, or soups. Simmer the bones and create chicken stock. Or eat it cold out of the container as you cry uncontrollably while watching the last episode of From Scratch on Netflix. (Have you seen it?!?!?! We. Must. Discuss.)

Overhead shot of whole roasted chicken and roasted vegetables on a white platter..
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Roasted Chicken

This roasted chicken recipe gives you crispy skin bathed in butter and meat that's softly scented with lemon, garlic, and rosemary. There are also unctuous potatoes and carrots that cook in chicken jus. It's a must try!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $11.45 recipe / $1.15 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Calories 291kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 5 lbs $6.62
  • 5 tsp kosher salt or coarse sea salt $0.20
  • 8 Tbsp salted butter, softened $1.20
  • 1 Tbsp dry rosemary $0.30
  • 2 russet potatoes $0.98
  • 1 onion $0.49
  • 3 carrots $0.75
  • 1 lemon $0.51
  • 1 head of garlic $0.40

Instructions

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 425°F. Remove the chicken from its packaging.
  • Remove the innards.
  • Dry the chicken thoroughly inside and out with paper towels.
  • Dry brine the chicken by rubbing salt on it, inside and out. Use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or coarse sea salt per pound of meat. Or 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt or iodized salt per pound of meat. Let it rest uncovered in your fridge for at least an hour but preferably overnight.
  • Chop the vegetables. Quarter an onion, slice the carrots, and quarter the potatoes. Add them to a roasting pan.
  • Add the dried rosemary to the softened butter and mix thoroughly.
  • Place the chicken on a rack over the vegetables and pat it dry again. Cover the chicken inside and out with butter. Work your way under the skin on the breast and add butter there too.
  • Quarter a lemon and slice through the top of a bulb of garlic.
  • Add the garlic and the lemon into the cavity of the chicken.
  • Roast your chicken at 425°F until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast reads 160°F and inserted into the thigh it reads 170°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a serving platter. Let it rest for at least ten minutes before carving it.
  • Stir the vegetables in the bottom of the pan to cover them with the chicken jus. Serve with slices of roasted chicken.
  • Pull any leftover meat off the bones and store it in an air-tight container. Reserve the bones for chicken stock. Simply add them to a freezer-safe container and freeze them until you are ready to use them. Use the pulled chicken for other recipes.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 334mg | Fiber: 1g

How to Roast a Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 425°F. Remove the chicken from its packaging.

Remove the innards. Reserve them for chicken stock.

Dry the chicken thoroughly inside and out with paper towels.

Dry brine the chicken by rubbing salt on it, inside and out. Use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or coarse sea salt per pound of meat. Or 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt or iodized salt per pound of meat. Let it rest uncovered in your fridge for at least an hour but preferably overnight.

When the chicken has brined for an hour, chop the vegetables. Quarter an onion, slice the carrots, and quarter the potatoes. Add them to a roasting pan.
Add the dried rosemary to the softened butter and mix thoroughly.
Overhead shot of chicken being rubbed down in butter.

Place the chicken on a rack over the vegetables and pat it dry again. Cover the chicken inside and out with butter. Work your way under the skin on the breast and add butter there too.

Quarter a lemon and slice through the equator of a bulb of garlic.

Add the garlic and the lemon into the cavity of the chicken.

Roast your chicken at 425°F until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast reads 160°F and inserted into the thigh it reads 170°F. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a serving platter. Let it rest for at least ten minutes before carving it.

Stir the vegetables in the bottom of the pan to cover them with the chicken jus.

Pull any leftover meat off the bones and store it in an air-tight container. Reserve the bones for chicken stock. Simply add them to a freezer-safe container and freeze them until you are ready to use them. Use the pulled chicken for other recipes.

The post Roasted Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Baked Spaghetti

Baked spaghetti is a warm and comforting pasta casserole. As the pasta bakes, flavor infuses into the spaghetti, making it even more flavorful.

The post Baked Spaghetti appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You might be asking yourself, “Why on earth would I bake spaghetti??” Well, the same reason you’d want to bake ziti or any other pasta casserole. Baking spaghetti in the oven lets the spaghetti soak up flavor from the sauce and when you add in a layer of gooey melted cheese, you get an absolutely delicious and comforting casserole. It’s worth the extra 30 minutes. Promise.

Overhead view of baked spaghetti in the casserole dish, sliced.

What’s in Baked Spaghetti

This super simple baked spaghetti casserole has three main components: spaghetti (of course), meat sauce, and cheese. What more do you really need?

I made a really easy homemade meat sauce for this casserole, but if you’re short on time you can absolutely substitute a jar of store-bought pasta sauce. And if you want more meat in your meat sauce and have room in your budget, you can double up on the sausage and use a whole pound.

Can You Sub Ground Beef?

If you prefer ground beef in your meat sauce as opposed to Italian sausage, just make sure to double up on the herbs and spices that you add to the sauce. Italian sausage is packed with a lot of spices that bring tons of flavor to the sauce, so you’ll be missing that if you substitute it with plain ground beef.

Side view of baked spaghetti being lifted out of the casserole dish.

What Else Can I Add?

There is so much room for customization with this recipe. You could add sautéed mushrooms, chopped spinach, olives, or maybe even some sautéed zucchini to add extra vegetables.

If you want to make it extra cheesy, try adding in some crumbled feta or maybe extra mozzarella to the cheese layer. I wanted to keep mine budget-friendly, so I went kind of light on the cheese and sausage this time around.

How to Store Baked Spaghetti

After baking, slice the baked spaghetti into six servings and refrigerate. The spaghetti will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or, once fully chilled, you can package up individual slices and freeze them for longer storage. This dish is so perfect for meal prepping. It’s such a lifesaver to be able to pull a serving of this out of the back of the freezer on a busy night!

What to Serve with Baked Spaghetti

Homemade Garlic Bread is awesome with baked spaghetti, but if you want some vegetables on the side I would go with something like Oven Roasted Frozen Broccoli or a simple side salad.

Overhead view of the casserole dish and spatula with one slice removed.
Overhead view of a slice of baked spaghetti being lifted out of the casserole dish.
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Baked Spaghetti with Sausage

Baked spaghetti is a warm and comforting pasta casserole. As the pasta bakes, flavor infuses into the spaghetti, making it even more flavorful.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.95 recipe / $1.49 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 534kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.42
  • 3 cloves garlic $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. Italian Sausage $3.00
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.45
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.85
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 cup water $0.00
  • 12 oz. spaghetti $1.00
  • 1 cup small curd cottage cheese $0.93
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.50
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $1.25
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional garnish) $0.05

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the Italian sausage and cook until browned.
  • Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and continue to stir and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and water. Stir to combine, then allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add ½ Tbsp salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender, but not fully cooked. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • Add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
  • Combine the cottage cheese, Parmesan, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Lightly grease an 8×11" casserole dish. Layer in half of the spaghetti and sauce, then top with the cottage cheese mixture. Add the second half of the spaghetti and sauce, then top with the shredded mozzarella.
  • Cover the dish with foil then bake the spaghetti for 30 minutes. Top the spaghetti with chopped parsley, if desired. Slice into six pieces, then serve!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 1063mg | Fiber: 5g
Overhead view of a slice of baked spaghetti being lifted out of the casserole dish.

How to Make Baked Spaghetti – Step By Step Photos

Diced onion and minced garlic on a cutting board.

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic.

Browned Italian Sausage in the skillet.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add ½ lb. Italian sausage and cook until browned.

Onion and garlic added to sausage.

Add the diced onion and minced garlic, and continue to cook and stir for a few more minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, and water added to the skillet.

Add one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 3oz. tomato paste, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt, and ½ cup water to the skillet.

Stirred sauce in the skillet.

Stir the sauce until everything is well combined and then let the sauce simmer while you make the pasta. Also, begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Boiled spaghetti in a pot with a pasta spoon.

Add 1/2 Tbsp salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 12 ounces of spaghetti and continue to boil until it is just barely undercooked (it will cook more as it bakes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Cheese mixture in a bowl before stirring.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese layer. Stir together 1 cup small curd cottage cheese, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, and ¼ tsp pepper.

Spaghetti stirred into the meat sauce in the skillet.

Stir the drained spaghetti into the simmered meat sauce.

First two layers of baked spaghetti in the casserole dish.

Lightly grease one 8×11-inch (or 2 liter) casserole dish. Layer in half of the spaghetti and meat sauce, then top with the cheese mixture.

Second layer of pasta and shredded mozzarella in the casserole dish.

Add the second half of the spaghetti and meat sauce, then top with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.

Baked spaghetti with foil being removed.

Cover the casserole dish with foil then bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly around the edges.

Overhead view of baked spaghetti being scooped out of the casserole dish.

Let the pasta cool for about 5 minutes, then slice into six pieces and serve. You can top with chopped parsley garnish for visual effect, but it’s not needed for flavor.

The post Baked Spaghetti appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Dollar Store Dinners – Sausage and Rice

This Sausage and Rice skillet is an easy and filling meal that you can make with ingredients found at the dollar store.

The post Dollar Store Dinners – Sausage and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I hit the jackpot at the dollar store this week! They were more well-stocked than the last time I visited, so I was able to brainstorm several quick dollar store dinners to keep us going for the next few weeks. This week we made this super quick Sausage and Rice, which is a simplified version of my Cajun Sausage and Rice recipe. And the Cajun Sausage and Rice is a simplified version of jambalaya, so I guess you could say that this dollar store sausage and rice recipe is kind of like jambalaya’s third cousin, twice removed. 😆

Dollar Store Dinners

Welcome to the new Dollar Store Dinners series on Budget Bytes. We’re making quick and simple meals using only ingredients found at the dollar store. While the availability of ingredients will vary from store to store, hopefully, these easy recipes will give you some inspiration for when money is tight and access to groceries is limited!

Overhead view of a sausage and rice skillet with hot sauce on the side.

What’s in This Meal?

This super simple meal is cooked all in one pot for maximum flavor and minimum cleanup. It starts with smoked sausage and a mix of frozen vegetables (onion, bell pepper, and celery), then we add rice, chicken broth, and a little creole seasoning. Everything is simmered together until the rice is tender, then topped it off with a couple of dashes of hot sauce, plus a little more creole seasoning to taste. Simple, yet good!

Here’s what we bought at the dollar store:

  • Smoked sausage $1.25
  • Frozen seasoning blend $1.25
  • Vegetable oil $1.25
  • Long grain white rice. $1.25
  • Chicken bouillon $1.25
  • Creole seasoning $1.25
  • Hot sauce $1.25

Total $8.75

And we have plenty of leftover oil, rice, bouillon, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce to use in other recipes!

Dollar store ingredients.

What Kind of Sausage To Use

Since we got all of the ingredients for this dish at the dollar store, there was no room to be choosy about what type of sausage to use. Luckily they had a package of “smoked sausage” that I snatched up immediately. This sausage looked exactly like the “hot dogs” on the shelf next to them, so I’m pretty sure the only difference was the addition of smoke flavoring. If all you had available was hot dogs, I’m sure this would still make a tasty meal!

But if you do have access to a variety of sausage, definitely go for a smoked pork or beef sausage, like andouille or kielbasa.

What Kind of Seasoning to Use

A lot of the flavor in this dish comes from the smoked sausage and chicken broth. I also added some creole seasoning, but if your dollar store doesn’t have that there are other options. Try adding some salt-free all-purpose seasoning (like Mrs. Dash), taco seasoning, or even steak seasoning. Just be aware of the salt content of your seasoning so you don’t over salt the dish.

What else can I add?

If you want to bump up this recipe a bit, try adding a drained can of kidney beans, or maybe a can of diced tomatoes (reduce the broth by the amount of liquid in the can of tomatoes). And I’m a “cheese makes everything better” type of person, so if I had some cheddar I’d throw that on top and let it melt, too. :P

See my full “grocery store” version of this recipe here: Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet.

close up side view of a plate full of sausage and rice.
Overhead view of sausage and rice in the skillet.
Print

Sausage and Rice

This Sausage and Rice skillet is an easy and filling meal that you can make with ingredients found at the dollar store.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.75 recipe / $2.19 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 1.25 cup each
Calories 436kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. smoked sausage $1.25
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $1.25
  • 10 oz. frozen seasoning mix (celery, onion, bell pepper, parsley) $1.25
  • 1 cup long grain white rice $1.25
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth (made with bouillon) $1.25
  • 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning $1.25
  • hot sauce to taste $1.25

Instructions

  • Slice the smoked sausage into ½-inch thick rounds.
  • Add the cooking oil to a deep skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add the smoked sausage and continue to cook until the sausage has browned (3-5 minutes).
  • Add the frozen seasoning mix to the skillet and continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the vegetables are heated through.
  • Add the rice, Creole seasoning, and chicken broth to the skillet, then stir until everything is combined.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let the broth come up to a boil. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the skillet simmer for 15 minutes (do not lift the lid, do not stir).
  • After simmering for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the skillet rest with the lid in place for an additional five minutes.
  • Finally, lift the lid, fluff the rice, and add more Creole seasoing and hot sauce to taste. Serve and enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

The prices listed for this recipe are the purchase price for the full container of the ingredients used.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 436kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 813mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Sausage and Rice – Step by Step Photos

Dollar store ingredients.

Here are all of the ingredients we used: smoked sausage, frozen seasoning blend (onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley), vegetable oil, white rice, chicken bouillon, Creole seasoning, and hot sauce.

sliced sausage on a cutting board.

Slice 8 oz. of smoked sausage.

Browned sausage in a skillet.

Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) in a deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced sausage and cook until browned.

seasoning mix added to the skillet with the sausage.

Add the frozen celery, bell pepper, onion, and parsley mix (called “seasoning mix) and sauté until heated through.

Rice, broth, and seasoning added to the skillet.

Add one cup of rice, ½ tsp of Creole seasoning, and 1.5 cups chicken broth (made with the bouillon). You don’t want to add too much Creole seasoning here because it contains salt and you don’t want to over-salt the dish.

Sausage and rice ready to be simmered.

Stir everything together until evenly combined. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.

Simmered sausage and rice.

When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the skillet simmer for 15 minutes (do not remove the lid or stir it). After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest with the lid in place for an additional five minutes.

Hot sauce being sprinkled over the sausage and rice.

Fluff the rice with a fork, then season to your liking with extra Creole seasoning and hot sauce.

Overhead view of a plate full of sausage and rice.

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Stromboli

Stromboli is a fun way to change up pizza night. Fill, roll, bake, then slice your pizza for the perfect finger food or appetizer!

The post Stromboli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What’s better than pizza? Pizza in a different shape! 😆 Okay, so stromboli isn’t exactly like pizza, but it’s definitely in the pizza family. It’s like a sauce-less pizza rolled up into a delicious sliceable roll… and I have to admit, the roll makes it really fun to eat. You can eat it plain (like I do) or dip each slice into sauce. It’s a great party appetizer or something to snack on for movie night!

Overhead view of slices of stromboli next to a bowl of pizza sauce.

What’s In Stromboli

Traditionally, stromboli would be filled with a variety of cheese, cured meat like salami, and maybe some vegetables, but really it’s up to you! I say go for whatever toppings you like to add to your pizza. Just try to avoid anything super watery, like fresh tomatoes.

I used pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms, provolone, and mozzarella in my stromboli, but here are some other great ingredients to add to stromboli:

  • Olives
  • Banana peppers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Onions

Keep it in Budget

To keep the cost of your stromboli in check, try making your own pizza dough and homemade pizza sauce for dipping! If you don’t have time to make your own dough, a store-bought pizza dough will also work.

Keep a close eye on the price of your filling ingredients, making sure to use a light hand with higher-priced items like meat and cheese. A little bit often goes a long way with those higher-priced items!

What to Serve with Stromboli

Stromboli is a bit heavy with all that meat and cheese, so make sure to lighten up your plate with a simple side salad, or if you’re feeling ambitious, go all out with an Antipasto Salad. You can even use some of the ingredients in the Antipasto inside of your stromboli!

A hand taking one slice of stromboli from the roll.
Overhead view of slices of stromboli around a bowl of pizza sauce.
Print

Stromboli

Stromboli is a fun way to change up pizza night. Fill, roll, bake, then slice your pizza for the perfect finger food or appetizer!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.62 recipe / $0.66 serving
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 slices
Calories 237kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced $1.69
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.11
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper $0.05
  • 1 large pizza dough* $0.62
  • 6 slices provolone $1.50
  • 2 oz. pepperoni slices $1.00
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $1.00

Seasoned Oil Topping (optional)

  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil $0.24
  • 1.5 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.17
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic.
  • Add the mushrooms, butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a skillet. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they begin to release their water. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté until all of the liquid in the skillet has evaporated. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Roll the pizza dough out to a 10×14 inch rectangle. Top the pizza dough with the sliced provolone, sautéed mushrooms, pepperoni, and mozzarella, leaving about an inch of space around three of the edges and 2-3 inches on one long side.
  • Roll the dough up starting on one long side rolling toward the opposite long side. After rolling, keep the seam side down and tuck the ends under to keep the sides closed. Transfer the rolled stromboli to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Pour the mixture over the stromboli, then spread it to cover the surface. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of the stromboli about an inch apart.
  • Bake the stromboli for about 25 minutes, or until well browned and the cheese is bubbling through the slits.
  • Let the stromboli cool slightly before slicing and serving!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*You can use homemade pizza dough or store bought.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 553mg | Fiber: 1g
Side view of stromboli slices on a cutting board.

How to Make Stromboli – Step By Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms in a skillet with butter.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice 8 oz. mushrooms, then add them to a skillet with 1 Tbsp butter and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Sautéed mushrooms in the skillet.

Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they begin to release their water. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté until all of the liquid in the skillet has evaporated from the skillet.

Pizza dough rolled out into a rectangle.

Roll one large pizza dough out into a rectangle about 10×14 inches.

Provolone and mushrooms on pizza dough.

Top the dough with sliced provolone (I used six slices) and the sautéed mushrooms. You’ll want to leave about one inch around three of the sides, and slightly more room on one of the long sides. That will be the last side to roll so you’ll need some extra empty space to keep it closed.

Pepperoni and mozzarella on pizza dough.

Add any remaining toppings. I added about 2oz. pepperoni and one cup shredded mozzarella, again, staying about one inch away from the edges.

Stromboli being rolled up.

Begin to roll the stromboli, starting on one of the long edges and rolling toward the edge that had extra empty space. Make sure the seam is facing down when you finish rolling. Tuck both ends of the roll under to keep the ends closed.

Seasoned oil mixture in a bowl.

Make the seasoned oil for topping the stromboli by stirring together 1.5 Tbsp olive oil, 1.5 Tbsp grated Parmesan, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, and ¼ tsp garlic powder.

Stromboli on a baking sheet seasoned and sliced.

Place the rolled stromboli on a parchment-lined baking sheet with the seam sides down. Pour the seasoned oil over top then spread it over the surface of the stromboli. Use a sharp knife to slice some slits in the top of the stromboli, about an inch apart. This is where you’ll cut it into slices after baking.

Baked stromboli on the baking sheet.

Bake the stromboli in the preheated 400ºF oven for about 25 minutes or until it’s well browned on the surface and cheese is bubbling through the slits.

Sliced stromboli on a wooden cutting board, viewed from above.

Let the stromboli cool until it can be easily handled, then slice and serve!

A slice of stromboli being dipped into a bowl of pizza sauce.

The post Stromboli appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is an easy way to cook the most tender and juicy pork ever. It’s great on tacos, sandwiches, burritos and more.

The post Slow Cooker Pulled Pork appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Something truly magical happens when you cook pork low and slow. It turns into the most mouth-watering tender and juicy meat you’ve ever had. And meat this tender is good with everything, so if you make this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork on Sunday, you’ll have meat to last you all week. Pile that slow cooker pork onto sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, nachos, salads, and more for quick dinners the rest of the week!

Slow cooker pulled pork on a plate with tongs and sandwich fixings on the sides.

What Kind of Pork to Use for Pulled Pork

To get the juiciest and most tender pulled pork make sure to buy a pork butt or pork shoulder. These cuts are marbled with fat and connective tissue that slowly melt and gelatinize when cooked with slow, gentle heat, creating ultra moist and tender meat.

You can buy bone-in or boneless pork butt or pork shoulder. I prefer to use boneless and then cut the pork into large pieces so they cook a little faster, but you can leave the bone in and remove it when shredding the pork if preferred. Just keep in mind that cooking time may be longer if you leave the bone in during cooking.

How to Season Pulled Pork

I used a versatile yet flavorful spice rub on the pork before slow cooking, along with a little extra fresh garlic. This mix of paprika, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and brown sugar enhances the pork’s flavor, but keeps it neutral enough to be paired with BBQ sauce or any other flavor profile you plan to pair with your pulled pork.

Three slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches on a wooden cutting board.

How to Serve Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork sandwiches are always a hit (brioche buns, BBQ sauce, pickles, and/or coleslaw), but this pulled pork is also great for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or nachos. I also love piling pulled pork onto bowl meals, salads, or even adding it to soup or ramen. You can seriously add it to anything!

Storage Instructions

Keep the pork in the juices when refrigerating to keep the meat as moist as possible upon reheating. After cooking, transfer the shredded pork and juices to an air-tight food storage container and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. After completely chilling in the refrigerator, you can transfer the pork to the freezer for longer storage (about three months). To reheat the pork, simply heat in a sauce pot over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Close up side view of a plate full of slow cooker pulled pork.
Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is an easy way to cook the most tender and juicy pork ever. It's great on tacos, sandwiches, burritos and more.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.48 recipe / $1.19 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 247kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pork butt $8.07
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into chunks $0.37
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped $0.32

Spice Rub

  • 2 tsp paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 tsp onion powder $0.10
  • 2 tsp salt $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.04

Instructions

  • Combine the spices for the spice rub in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork butt into large chunks. If the pork butt has a bone you can either remove it before cooking or wait until you are shredding the cooked meat to remove it. Keep in mind the pork will require extra cooking time if cooking with the bone in.
  • Add the pork pieces to a large bowl and sprinkle the spice rub over top. Toss until the pork is evenly coated in spices.
  • Dice the yellow onion and add it to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned pork on top of the onion, then add the roughly chopped garlic on top.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. Test the pork with a fork to make sure the meat is tender. It should shred easily with a fork. If not, cook for one hour longer. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your pork butt.
  • Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.
  • If you prefer crispy edges on your pork, place some of the pork on a sheet pan and broil for a few minutes, or just until the edges are browned and crispy. Keep a close eye on the pork as it broils!
  • Serve the pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, and more!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 694mg | Fiber: 0.5g
BBQ sauce being poured onto pulled pork sandwiches.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – Step by Step Photos

Spices for pulled pork in a small wooden bowl.

To make the spice rub for the pulled pork, combine 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp salt, and ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Chunks of pork butt on a cutting board.

Cut a 3 lb. pork butt into large chunks. If your pork butt is bone-in, you can either remove the bone or cook with the bone in and remove it when shredding your meat. Keep in mind that if you leave the bone in, the pork will take slightly longer to cook.

Meat coated with spices in a bowl.

Place the pork in a bowl, sprinkle the spice rub over top, then toss until the pork is evenly coated in the rub.

Diced onion in the slow cooker.

Dice one yellow onion and place it on the bottom of the slow cooker.

Pork in slow cooker with chopped garlic,

Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker and top with four roughly chopped cloves of garlic.

Cooked pork in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. If your pork butt is larger than 3 lbs. you may need to cook slightly longer. Check the tenderness of the meat after 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. It should pull apart easily. If it’s still tough, let it cook another hour then check again.

Shredded pork in the slow cooker, some being lifted with tongs.

Once the pork is tender, use two forks to shred the meat.

Broiled pulled pork on a baking sheet.

If you want crispy edges on your pulled pork (who doesn’t?!). Place some of the pulled pork on a baking sheet and place it under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes. The melted fat on the pork will fry the edges and make it beautifully crispy! Keep a close eye on the meat as it broils since broilers cook very quickly!

Three pulled pork sandwiches with pickles on a wooden cutting board.

Enjoy your pulled pork on sandwiches, tacos, bowl meals, quesadillas and more!

The post Slow Cooker Pulled Pork appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Honey Chipotle Chicken

The marinade for this sweet, smoky, and spicy Honey Chipotle Chicken is simple and delicious! It’s an easy and flavorful dinner main dish!

The post Honey Chipotle Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

A few weeks ago I made some delicious Chipotle Peach Salsa, but I never seem to use a whole can of chipotle peppers for one recipe, so I make a habit of freezing the rest to save for other recipes. And today I used up some of those leftover chipotle peppers in this super easy and delish Honey Chipotle Chicken. ;) I love quick pan-seared chicken as a simple dinner main, so I whipped up a quick honey-chipotle marinade and then seared the marinated chicken until the marinade turned into a light glaze. The result was a sweet-smoky-spicy chicken with the most deliciously caramelized finish. So, if you find yourself with some extra canned chipotle peppers, you’ve got to try this chicken!

Honey Chipotle Chicken thighs in a skillet from above.

What’s in the Honey Chipotle Marinade

I like to keep things simple, so I whipped up this super simple yet flavorful marinade using canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, honey, lime juice, salt, garlic, and oil. It’s got all the elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat! …and a little sweetness to round it out. ;)

How Long to Marinade the Chicken

I suggest marinating this chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes, but if you prep this in the morning or even the night before, even better! Just make sure to flip the chicken a couple of times as it marinades to maximize contact with all the flavorful ingredients, and refrigerate as you marinade if marinating longer than one hour.

Can I Use Chicken Breasts

You can use this honey chipotle marinade on chicken breasts, just keep in mind that you’ll want to prepare the breasts a little differently than the thighs to make sure they don’t dry out too much. I recommend either filleting the breasts into two thinner pieces or pounding them until they are an even thickness, about ¾-inch thick. This will ensure that the chicken cooks through before the sugars in the marinade begin to burn.

That being said, chicken thighs are WAY more forgiving. The high-fat content of the thighs keeps them juicy and tender, even if they need to be in the skillet a little bit longer. I’m definitely team #chickenthighs for this recipe!

What to Serve with Honey Chipotle Chicken

I served my honey chipotle chicken with my favorite bean salad, Cowboy Caviar, and some rice, but you’ve got lots of options here! You could whip up a simple Avocado and Tomato Salad, Sweet Corn Salsa, or maybe some Cucumber and Black Bean Salad. I also think this sweet and spicy chicken would be a great topper for something like my Loaded Mashed Potato Bowls!

A piece of honey chipotle chicken on a bed of rice with bean salad on the side.
Overhead view of honey chipotle chicken in the skillet.

Honey Chipotle Chicken

The marinade for this sweet, smoky, and spicy Honey Chipotle Chicken is simple and delicious! It's an easy and flavorful dinner main dish!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southwest
Total Cost $8.61 recipe / $1.44 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 thighs
Calories 205kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce $0.30
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.54
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (about one lime) $0.59
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.08
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs $6.78
  • 2 sliced green onions (optional) $0.22

Instructions

  • Mince the chipotle peppers. Combine the minced peppers in a bowl with the honey, lime juice, minced garlic, salt, and 1 Tbsp cooking oil.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over top. Toss the chicken in the marinade until evenly coated.
  • Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to one day. If marinating longer than one hour, refrigerate the chicken as it marinates.
  • When ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the skillet and cook on one side until the water released by the chicken evaporates, the marinade has reduced to a glaze, and the chicken has browned. Flip the chicken over and cook on the second side until browned and cooked through.
  • Top with sliced green onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1thigh | Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 390mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up side view of honey chipotle chicken in a skillet.

How to Make Honey Chipotle Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Can of chipotle peppers open so you can see the peppers in the sauce.

Canned chipotle peppers in adobo are the base for this marinade. You can find these at most major grocery stores in the U.S., usually near the other Hispanic ingredients.

Chopped chipotle peppers

Mince about three chipotle peppers, or about ¼ cup once minced.

honey chipotle marinade in a bowl with a spoon.

Combine the minced chipotle peppers with 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 Tbsp cooking oil, and ½ tsp salt.

honey chipotle marinade being poured over chicken thighs in a dish.

Place six boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a shallow dish, then pour the honey chipotle marinade over top.

Marinating chicken thighs in a shallow dish.

Toss the chicken in the marinade until they’re evenly coated. Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to one day. If marinating longer than one hour, make sure to cover and transfer the chicken to the refrigerator.

Chicken thighs cooking in a skillet.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken thighs and cook over medium until all of the water they release evaporates, the marinade has reduced to a glaze, and the chicken has browned on the bottom.

Finished honey chipotle chicken thighs in the skillet.

Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the other side and cooked through. Flip the chicken back and forth as needed to achieve an even level of browning on both sides. Top with sliced green onions, then serve.

A honey chipotle chicken thigh on a bed of rice on a plate next to bean salad.

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Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Cheesy Sausage Pasta is a quick and easy meal for quick weeknight dinners. Everything cooks in one pot for fast prep and minimum clean-up!

The post Cheesy Sausage Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Cheesy Sausage Pasta is the dish that made me fall in love with one-pot pastas all those years ago. It’s fast, easy, SUPER flavorful, and because everything cooks in one pot, there’s barely anything to clean up after dinner. WIN. The flavorful combination of smoky sausage, spicy diced tomatoes with green chiles, and creamy Monterey Jack is simple but irresistible, and it cooks in about 30 minutes. That’s a winner in my book!

Originally posted 1-23-2010, updated 9-10-2022.

Overhead view of a skillet full of cheesy sausage pasta.

What’s in Cheesy Sausage Pasta?

This recipe was inspired by an absolutely mouth-watering photo I saw on Pinterest, which was this Spicy Sausage Pasta from KevinandAmanda.com. But, of course, I made some changes to fit the ingredients I had on hand. I nixed the heavy cream in the original recipe because I figured that between the cheese and sausage, there’d be plenty of fatty goodness going on. My version ended up being rich, but not so much so that you’ll feel super weighed down. I also added fresh spinach because I have a HUGE bag in my fridge just waiting to be used up. Plus, I felt that the recipe needed a little green.

What Else Can I Add?

Some other vegetable options for this recipe are bell peppers or broccoli, both of which go great with smoked sausage. If you want to add bell peppers, dice them up and saute them with the onions in the beginning. If you want to add broccoli, cut it into very small florets and add it with the pasta so that the broccoli can simmer a little bit and soften. There are so many different ways you can take this recipe… I’m excited to hear what you come up with!

What Type of Pasta to Use

This recipe works great with any short pasta shape (bowties, penne, rotini, etc.). I originally used campanelle (my favorite frilly flower shaped pasta), but I couldn’t find any this time around so I decided to go with wide egg noodles. One note: If you are using regular pasta (not egg noodles, which are a little more delicate), you may need slightly more broth.

Can I Use a Different Cheese?

I particularly love Monterey Jack cheese for this recipe because it melts into a super creamy texture that kind of mixes into the sauce for a super creamy finish…without adding any cream. Other cheeses will also taste great, but they probably won’t have the same creamy finish. You can try cheddar, mozzarella (aim for whole milk mozzarella instead of part-skim), or even a sprinkle of crumbled feta. And remember, pre-shredded cheese won’t melt nearly as well as cheese you shred yourself! ;)

Close up side view of cheesy sausage pasta in the skillet.

Cheesy sausage pasta on a plate with a black fork, on a bamboo mat.

Cheesy Sausage Pasta

Cheesy Sausage Pasta is a quick and easy meal for quick weeknight dinners. Everything cooks in one pot for fast prep and minimum clean-up!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.07 recipe / $1.77 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 538kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.38
  • 7 oz. smoked sausage $1.75
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel) $1.00
  • 8 oz. wide egg noodles* $1.40
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.20
  • 3 cups fresh spinach $0.85
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack $1.25
  • 1 green onion, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and slice the sausage into rounds.
  • Add the cooking oil and sausage to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. If there is excess fat in the skillet, drain it off before moving to the next step.
  • Add the diced tomatoes with green chiles (with juices), uncooked pasta, and chicken broth. Stir until everything is evenly combined. It's okay if the broth does not fully cover the pasta.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and allow the broth to come up to a boil. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the pasta simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir the pasta occasionally, replacing the lid each time.
  • Once the pasta is cooked and only a small amount of saucy liquid remains, it's time to add the spinach to the skillet. Gently stir the fresh spinach into the pasta, allowing the residual heat to wilt the spinach.
  • Once the spinach has wilted, top the pasta with Monterey Jack cheese. Place the lid back on the skillet and let the pasta heat over low until the cheese is melted and creamy.
  • Sprinkle the sliced green onions over top just before serving.

Notes

*If using regular pasta (not egg noodles), increase the broth to 2 cups.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 538kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 956mg | Fiber: 4g

Cheesy sausage pasta on a plate with a black fork, on a bamboo mat.

How to Make Cheesy Sausage Pasta – Step By Step Photos

Diced onion and sliced sausage on a cutting board.

Dice one yellow onion and slice about 7oz. smoked sausage (half of a 14oz. link—you can freeze the rest!) into medallions.

Browned sausage in a skilet.

Add the sausage and 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. If there’s a lot of excess fat in the skillet, drain it off before proceeding to the next step.

Sautéed onions in the skillet with sausage.

Add the onions to the skillet with the sausage and continue to sauté until the onions have softened. Allow the moisture from the onions to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Pasta, tomatoes, and broth added to the skillet.

Add one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel), 8 oz. pasta, and 1.5 cups chicken broth. If you’re using regular pasta (not egg noodles), increase to 2 cups broth.

Lid being placed on the skillet.

Stir everything together until well combined. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the pasta simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (replacing the lid each time). Make sure the broth maintains a simmer.

Cooked pasta pushed to the side of the skillet with the spatula.

While the pasta is cooking, shred about 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese and slice one green onion. When the pasta is tender and only a small amount of saucy liquid remains in the skillet, it’s time to add the spinach.

Wilted spinach stirred into the pasta.

Add about three packed cups of fresh spinach to the skillet and carefully stir until the hot pasta wilts the spinach.

Cheese being added on top of the pasta.

Add one cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top of the pasta. Place the lid on the skillet and let it heat over low for a few minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and creamy.

Finished pasta topped with sliced green onions.

Top the finished pasta with the sliced green onions and serve hot!

Close up overhead view of Cheesy Sausage Pasta in the skillet.

Soooo cheeessyyyy. 🤤

Try These Other One Pot Pasta Recipes:

Creamy Spinach and Sausage Pasta is an easy one pot meal for quick weeknight dinners. BudgetBytes.com

The post Cheesy Sausage Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a cozy and classic comfort food made with a flakey crust and a rich sauce full of tender chicken and vegetables.

The post Chicken Pot Pie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I could eat this chicken pot pie every day for the rest of my life. Okay, maybe I’m being a little hyperbolic, but it’s definitely one of those recipes that I can eat for days in a row and I’ll still be sad once the leftovers are gone. Because when a food makes you feel this cozy and good, how can you not want it in your life every day? Either way, I guarantee this scrumptious homemade chicken pot pie is going to be made on REPEAT in my house all through the fall and winter.

Chicken Pot Pie with a slice removed.

What’s in a Chicken Pot Pie?

Chicken pot pie starts with a deliciously flakey pie crust and is filled with a rich and saucy chicken gravy, chunks of tender chicken, and a medley of colorful vegetables. It’s everything you want in a meal on one plate!

This recipe is pretty flexible, allowing you to take some shortcuts if you need to make the prep easier, or you can do everything from scratch to make this pie an ✨EVENT✨!

Pie Crust Options

It’s no secret that the crust is one of the best parts of a chicken pot pie, so we chose not to skimp on the crust. We used our simple 3-ingredient pie crust recipe, which is super buttery and deliciously flakey. If you want to use a store-bought crust, just make sure to buy a double crust (top and bottom crusts) and follow the baking instructions on the box.

You could also bake this “pie” in skillet without a bottom crust and then top it with your favorite biscuits. The filling is fully cooked before it goes into the pie, so simply top with biscuits and then bake until the biscuits are browned and cooked through.

Can I Use Pre-Cooked Chicken for Chicken Pot Pie?

Yes! Chicken pot pie is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, or even leftover turkey from Thanksgiving! Just skip the first step in the recipe below (cooking the raw chicken) and add your pre-cooked chicken to the filling when the cooked chicken is added back to the gravy with the herbs and spices.

Use Fresh or Frozen Vegetables

To make this chicken pot pie super simple, we used a frozen vegetable medley. Using a frozen veggie mix means less chopping and you won’t have any leftover vegetables to try to use up later. If you do want to slice and chop your own vegetables, use 1-2 carrots, about ½ cup corn kernels, ½ cup chopped green beans, and ½ cup peas. You could also other vegetables, like mushrooms or celery.

Do I Need to Blind Bake the Crust?

When using our 3-ingredient pie crust recipe and a glass pie plate, our chicken pot pie baked to perfection with a golden brown flakey bottom crust without having to pre-bake the bottom crust. That being said, using different crust recipes or store-bought crusts with different types of pie plates may yield different results.

A slice of chicken pot pie being lifted out of the pie pan from the side.
A slice of chicken pot pie taken out of the pie dish.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a cozy classic comfort food made with a flakey crust and a rich sauce full of tender chicken and vegetables.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.44 recipe / $1.06 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 361kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about ⅔ lb.) $3.33
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 yellow onion $0.38
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.50
  • 4 Tbsp flour $0.04
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13
  • 1/2 cup whole milk $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper $0.02
  • 3/4 tsp salt $0.05
  • 12 oz. frozen mixed vegetables $1.25
  • 1 double pie crust $2.34
  • l egg (optional) $0.20

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.
  • Heat a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the cooking oil and diced chicken. Cook just until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  • While the chicken is cooking, dice the onion. After removing the chicken from the skillet, add the diced onion and butter. Sauté the onions in the butter until softened.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the onions in the skillet and continue to cook and stir for two minutes more. It's okay if the flour begins to coat the surface of the skillet, but don't let it burn.
  • Add the chicken broth and milk to the skillet. Whisk to combine and dissolve any flour off the bottom of the skillet. Let the liquid come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy.
  • Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet along with the thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the frozen mixed vegetables and allow them to heat through in the gravy, stirring occasionally, just until the gravy begins to simmer again. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Place your bottom crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Prick the bottom several times with a fork. Transfer the chicken, vegetable, and gravy mixture into the pie crust.
  • Add the top crust and crimp the edges closed. Brush a light layer of whisked egg over the surface of the pie crust (optional). Use a knife to cut large vents in the top of the crust.
  • Bake the chicken pot pie for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and flakey. The baking time may vary depending on the type of crust and pie plate used.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 616mg | Fiber: 3g
Close up overhead view of a chicken pot pie with a slice cut into it.

How to Make Chicken Pot Pie – Step by Step Photos

Cooked diced chicken in a skillet.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Dice one boneless skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil and the diced chicken breast. Cook the chicken pieces just until cooked through (do not over cook).

Diced onion and butter in a deep skillet.

While the chicken is cooking, dice one yellow onion. Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and add the diced onion and 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onions in the butter over medium heat until softened.

Flour being added to the skillet.

Once the onions are soft, sprinkle in 4 Tbsp of all-purpose flour. Continue to cook and stir for about two minutes more. It’s okay for the flour to begin to coat the bottom of the skillet, just make sure it doesn’t begin to burn.

Milk and broth being added to the skillet.

Add one cup of chicken broth and one cup of whole milk to the skillet. Whisk to combine and dissolve any flour off the bottom of the skillet.

Thickened gravy being whisked.

Allow the liquid to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a nice gravy.

Chicken and seasoning added back to the gravy.

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet along with ¼ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp rubbed sage, ¼ tsp black pepper, and ¾ tsp salt. Stir to combine.

frozen vegetables stirred into the gravy.

Stir in one 12oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Allow the gravy mixture to heat through and come back up to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once fully heated through and simmering, remove it from the heat.

Pie filling being added to a pie crust.

Place the bottom crust into a pie plate and prick it several times over the bottom with a fork. Fill the pie crust with the chicken pot pie filling.

Vents being cut into the top pie crust.

Add the top crust and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top of the pie with a thin layer of whisked egg. Use a knife to cut large vents into the top of the pie crust.

Baked Chicken Pot Pie.

Bake the chicken pot pie for 45-50 minutes, or until the pie crust is golden brown and flakey and the filling is bubbling up slightly through the vents. Total cooking time may vary depending on the type of crust and pie dish used. The filling is fully cooked before going into the pie, so adjust the baking time based on the crust.

Chicken pot pie on a blue background with plates and parsley on the sides.

Let the pie cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

A slice of chicken pot pie taken out of the pie dish.

Try these other savory pie recipes:

The post Chicken Pot Pie appeared first on Budget Bytes.