One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!

The post One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Welcome to another episode of “How can so few ingredients make such a delicious meal?!” One-pot meals are a miracle, my friends, and this Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is the perfect example. This dish is packed with flavor thanks to a hefty dose of lemon pepper, chicken broth, juicy chicken thighs, and a pop of feta at the end. Plus, it’s fast, easy, and barely anything to clean up afterward. :)

Originally posted 8/5/2015, updated 8/15/2022.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the skillet with a napkin and parsley on the sides.

What’s in Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

For this skillet meal, I liberally seasoned some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with lemon pepper, then combined it with some orzo, chicken broth, and parsley. Everything gets cooked together in one pot so that orzo soaks up all the flavor from both the chicken thighs and the broth, and not a drop of flavor is lost. It’s so simple, yet so good. Add a quick little side salad with fresh greens and you’ve got a five-star dinner (and very few dishes to clean). Victory!

Can I Use Boneless Chicken?

I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can use boneless thighs or breasts if you prefer. The chicken will cook a little faster if you use boneless and you might miss out on a little bit of the flavor that comes with bone-in chicken. Also, be aware that chicken breasts do tend to dry out faster than chicken thighs, so the end product won’t be quite as juicy.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pasta

Getting one pot pasta meals to cook just right can take a little practice, but here are a few tips to make sure your pasta cooks evenly and all the way through without leaving too much liquid behind:

  • Use a heavy or thick-bottomed piece of cookware. Thin cookware doesn’t cook evenly and can leave some pasta undercooked and some pasta overcooked. A deep skillet or Dutch Oven will work well for this recipe.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to the bottom of your pot or pan. If the burner is a lot smaller than the width of the pan, you may have trouble getting the outside edges to cook evenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. Heat settings on ranges can vary, so you may need to adjust the heat up or down slightly to maintain a simmer in the broth.

Lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a shallow bowl with a fork.

Overhead view of a pot full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo.

One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.54 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 612kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs* $3.74
  • 2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.26
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.20
  • 1.5 cups orzo $1.29
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $1.25

Instructions

  • Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp lemon pepper total).
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add the cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. After removing the chicken from the skillet, turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add the orzo and half of the chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.
  • After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.
  • Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*I used bone-in chicken thighs with skin, but you could use boneless and skinless, if preferred.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 715mg | Fiber: 3g

Close up side view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

How to Make One Pot Chicken and Orzo – Step by Step Photos

Bone-in chicken thighs seasoned with lemon pepper on a cutting board.

Start by blotting four chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Drying them helps the seasoning stick and helps them brown better in the skillet. I used bone-in thighs with skin, but you could use boneless, skinless if desired. Just keep in mind that boneless and skinless thighs are usually a bit more expensive and will cook faster. Season both sides of each thigh liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp total). 

Browned chicken thighs in the skillet.

Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.

Garlic added to the skillet.

While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. Turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.

Broth being poured into the skillet.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Broth being whisked in the skillet to dissolve chicken drippings.

The broth will turn a deep brown color as the drippings are dissolved into the mixture.

Parsley and orzo added to the skillet.

Add about half of the chopped parsley and 1.5 cups of orzo. Stir to combine.

Chicken thighs added back to the pot.

Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.

Cooked orzo and chicken in the pot.

After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.

Finished lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. And that’s all it takes to make this simple Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo. I could seriously eat this orzo all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a bowl.

Try These Other One Pot Chicken Recipes:

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Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is easy, inexpensive, and endlessly customizable. Use your favorite mix of nuts, seeds, and spices to make it your own.

The post Homemade Granola appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Making food at home versus buying premade is always a question of time versus money. But if there’s one thing that is definitely way cheaper to make at home without taking a lot of extra time or energy to make, it’s granola! This homemade granola recipe is SO fast and easy, you can customize it a hundred different ways, and it’s pennies on the dollar compared to store-bought granola.

Overhead view of homemade granola in a glass storage container.

What is Granola Made Of?

Granola, at its most basic, is simply a combination of oats, nuts, seeds, and fruit coated in a mixture of sugar and oil, then baked until deliciously crispy and toasty in flavor. My basic granola formula is:

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup nuts & seeds
  • ½ cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Spices or extracts for extra flavor

To make different varieties of granola, I simply substitute different nuts, seeds, fruit, oils, sugars, and flavorings.

The recipe I have below is a very classic homemade granola recipe that will go with just about anything. I’ll list some other options for add-ins and flavors so you can experiment with making it your own!

What Makes Granola Crunchy?

The combination of oil and sugar gives granola that classic crunchy and clumpy texture. The oil helps the oats, nuts, and seeds toast without developing an overly dry texture, while the melted sugars help bind the ingredients into clumps and gives an extra crunchy finish. While it may be tempting to reduce the oil or sugar, keep in mind that doing so will drastically change the texture of the finished granola.

Overhead view of a bowl of yogurt topped with granola and strawberries.

Can I Use Quick Oats?

Old-fashioned or plain rolled oats are best for granola because they have more texture than quick oats. While it is possible to use quick oats, quick oats tend to be very delicate and thin, which doesn’t provide as much texture to the final granola.

How Long Does Homemade Granola Last?

After baking the granola, make sure to allow the granola to cool to room temperature so any residual moisture will evaporate before placing it in an air-tight food storage container. Granola will stay good in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a month. It will stay edible longer, but the granola will slowly absorb moisture from the air and become stale over time.

What Else Can I Add?

Here’s the fun part. You can add all sorts of ingredients to your granola. You can plug any nut, seed, or dried fruit into the recipe below. Here are some ideas:

  • Nuts: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, peanuts
  • Seeds: flaxseed, chia seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
  • Fruit: dried cherries, raisins, banana chips, dried apples, dried pineapple, chopped dried dates, dried blueberries
  • Other add-ins: wheat germ, wheat bran, chocolate chips, citrus zest, crystalized ginger, nut butters, mashed bananas
  • Spices and Flavors: ground ginger, almond extract, cocoa powder, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric
  • Other sugars: maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar
  • Other oils: coconut oil, ghee or clarified butter
Close up of homemade granola on a baking sheet with a spatula.
Overhead view of homemade granola in a glass storage container.

Homemade Granola

Homemade granola is easy, inexpensive, and endlessly customizable. Use your favorite mix of nuts, seeds, and spices to make it your own.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $5.87 recipe / $0.49 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cool time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 ½ cup each
Calories 295kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.93
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans $1.18
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut $0.84
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil $0.80
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.16
  • 1/4 cup honey $1.08
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.25
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries $0.53

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, and coconut.
  • Add the oil, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is very well coated in the oil and sugar.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment, then spread the granola out over the parchment in an even layer.
  • Bake the granola for 20 minutes, or until it is deeply golden brown.
  • Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries while the granola is still warm and soft. Spread it out into an even layer again and let it cool completely. The granola will harden as it cools.
  • Once cool, break the granola into chunks and transfer it to an air-tight container for storage.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 102mg | Fiber: 4g

How to Make Granola – Step by Step Photos

Granola dry ingredients in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, and seeds) in a large bowl. I used 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup chopped pecans, and ½ cup unsweetened coconut. Do not add the dried fruit yet. Stir these ingredients together well.

Sugar, oil, and spices in a saucepot.

Add ½ cup cooking oil (or oil of choice), ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp vanilla extract into a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is melted (3-5 minutes).

Oil and sugar mixture being poured over the dry granola.

Pour the sugar and oil mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Granola coated in oil and sugar.

Stir the two mixtures together until everything is very, VERY well coated in the oil and sugar. Make sure no dry spots remain.

Uncooked granola being spread out onto a baking sheet.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the granola out onto the parchment in an even layer.

granola ready to bake.

Transfer the unbaked granola to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until it turns a deep golden brown (photo below is after baking).

Dried cranberries being added to the granola after baking.

Once the granola has baked and turned a deep golden brown color, remove it from the oven. Stir in the dried cranberries while it’s still warm and soft. Spread the granola out into an even layer again to cool.

Finished crispy granola on the baking sheet.

Allow the granola to cool completely to room temperature. It will harden and crisp up as the sugars cool.

Overhead view of homemade granola in a glass storage container.

Once the granola is completely cool, break it into clumps and transfer it to an air-tight food container for storage. Enjoy with yogurt, milk, ice cream, smoothie bowls, and more!

Try These Other Granola Recipes:

The post Homemade Granola appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peach Galette

This stunning peach galette is stupid-easy to make. It’s my favorite way to showcase succulent summer peaches. You can use my simple three-ingredient pie dough recipe for the crust or opt for store-bought pie dough to get this luscious dessert on the table in under an hour.

The post Peach Galette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This stunning peach galette is stupid-easy to make. It’s my favorite way to showcase succulent summer peaches. You can use my simple three-ingredient pie dough recipe for the crust or opt for store-bought pie dough to get this luscious dessert on the table in under an hour.

Overhead shot of peach galette surrounded by fresh peaches.

What is a galette?

Galette is French for a free-form pastry with a sweet or savory filling. It’s baked on a sheet pan, not a pie pan. It’s the perfect way to use a bounty of juicy, ripe peaches. It’s an absolute cinch to put together and looks gorgeous on your table for the three seconds it takes before it gets gobbled up.

How to pick a ripe peach

Skip pale yellow peaches and opt for fruit that has a deep golden color. It should feel heavy for its size, and the flesh should be firm but still have a bit of a give. The skin around the stem should be slightly wrinkled, and the fruit should have a robust honey-like aroma.

Can I use frozen, canned, or jarred peaches?

If prepping fresh peaches seems like too much work, or if you simply don’t have access to them, opt for two pounds of frozen. You can use canned or jarred but opt for ones without added sugar. Drain them and pat them dry. If all you have are peaches packed in syrup, rinse them off, pat them dry, and lower the sugar in the recipe to ¼ cup. 

Overhead shot of slice of peach galette on a wood plate with a dollop of whipped cream.

How do I serve a peach galette?

With pride! You can serve it warm or cold, though warm is so much better. I love finishing a peach galette with a pinch of flaky salt. Then I serve the slices with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and a drizzle of honey. It also goes well with a scoop of no-churn strawberry ice cream and chopped pistachios. If you want to get real fancy with it, serve it with a chilled glass of rosé. OH, YOU’RE WELCOME.

How to store leftovers

A galette is best enjoyed the day it’s made, but if you manage some sort of self-control, first email me your secret. Then wrap any leftovers in parchment or wax paper and store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days. There is NO WAY they will last any longer than that, so stop showing off your superior craving control and don’t even bother asking me about freezing.

Side view shot of slice of peach galette being lifted by a pie spatula.
Overhead shot of peach galette with one slice being removed.

Peach Galette

This stunning peach galette is stupid-easy to make. With the help of a pre-made pie crust, you can get it on the table in about an hour.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($8.16 recipe / $1.02 serving)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Calories 320kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 double pie crust* $1.34
  • 8 peaches $6.24
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.26
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar $0.19
  • 2 tbsp corn starch $0.02
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream $0.09

Instructions

  • Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400°F. Moisten your countertop and place a 15×15-inch sheet of parchment paper on it. Dust the parchment paper lightly with flour.
  • Place the pie dough on the parchment paper and roll it out to 14 inches in diameter. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the center of the dough.
  • Transfer the pie dough on the parchment paper to a sheet pan and chill it in the freezer while you prepare the peaches.
  • Slice the peaches, skin on, into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices in a large bowl and drizzle with vanilla. Mix the sugar and cornstarch, then sprinkle over the peaches.
  • Toss the peaches gently to cover them in the sugar mixture, then place them in a mesh sieve set over the large bowl. Macerate the peaches until they release their juices, about fifteen minutes.
  • Add the juices to a small pot set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Do not stir. Swirl the juices. Once the juices thicken, remove them from the heat.
  • Remove the chilled pie dough from the freezer and layer it with the peach slices, working from the center out. Leave a four-inch border. Top the peaches with the cooled caramel.
  • Fold the outer lip of the dough over the peaches, pleating it where necessary. Lightly brush a thin layer of heavy cream onto the top of the galette.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and golden.
  • Cool the galette on the sheet pan for fifteen minutes before serving. Use the edges of the parchment paper to help you lift it off the sheet pan.

Notes

*You can substitute with store-bought pie dough, the kind that comes with two crusts.
If using store-bought pie dough:
  • Roll out two smaller rounds on separate pieces of parchment, each about 9 inches in diameter.
  • Use a fork to poke holes in the center of each crust, leaving a three-inch border.
  • Divide the peaches between the two chilled crusts. Leave a three-inch border.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 194mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead shot of peach galette with one slice being removed.

How to Make Peach Galette – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of rolled out pie dough.

Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400°F. Moisten your countertop with a sprinkle of water, place a 15×15-inch sheet of parchment paper on it, dust it with flour, and place the pie dough on top. Roll the dough into a 14-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick, and use a fork to poke a few holes in the center. Transfer the pie dough on the parchment paper to a sheet pan and chill it in the freezer.

Overhead shot of sugar cornstarch mixture being sprinkled onto peaches with a tablespoon measure.

Cut the peaches with their skin on into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices in a large bowl and drizzle with vanilla. Mix the sugar with the cornstarch, then sprinkle the sugar mixture over the peaches.

Overhead shot of wo hands tossing peaches with sugar mixture in a white bowl.

Toss the peaches gently to cover them in the sugar mixture. Place the peaches in a mesh sieve and place it over the large bowl. Macerate the peaches for about fifteen minutes until they release their juices.

Overhead shot of peach juice being strained into a pot.

Take the juices (not the peaches) and simmer them in a small pot. Do not stir, as this will crystallize the caramel. Occasionally pick up the pan to swirl the juices. Once the juices thicken and turn a golden brown, remove them from the heat.

Overhead shot of peach juice caramel being drizzled onto sliced peaches arranged on pie dough.

Remove the chilled pie dough from the freezer. Layer the peach slices on the dough, working from the center out. Leave a four-inch border. Top the peaches with the cooled caramel.

Overhead shot of pie dough edges being folded over peaches.

Fold the outer lip of the dough over the peaches, pleating it where necessary. You’re not looking for perfection here; that’s the beauty of a galette. Lightly brush a thin layer of heavy cream onto the top of the galette.

Overhead shot of baked peach galette.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is crispy and golden. Cool the galette on the sheet pan for fifteen minutes before serving. Use the edges of the parchment paper to help you lift it off the sheet pan.

Side shot of slice of peach galette on a pie spatula.

I mean, is this the prettiest thing you’ve seen all day or what?!?!?!? Eight servings for under $10 and JUST SIX INGREDIENTS. This one’s gonna be on repeat for a while.

The post Peach Galette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes)

Menemen, or Turkish scrambled eggs, is an easy, healthy, and customizable dish that can be ready in less than 30 minutes! BudgetBytes.com

The post Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ready to up your breakfast game? Try this traditional Turkish scrambled eggs recipe, also known as Menemen. This one-pan vegetarian egg dish is healthy, filling, easily customizable, and ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

Overhead view of a skillet full of menemen with a wooden spoon.

What Is Menemen?

Menemen is a traditional Turkish breakfast recipe made by cooking eggs with onions, peppers, and tomatoes with a subtle hint of spice. It gets its name from a Turkish town called Menemen, located in Izmir. 

What to Serve with Menemen?

Menemen is traditionally served in the skillet that it is cooked in while it is still hot and bubbly. It is usually served with crusty bread on the side, which is then dipped into the soft scrambled eggs and vegetables for a satisfying bite.

With that being said, if you want to serve it as Turks do then I would recommend a few must-haves on the side:

  • Cheese & olives: You can’t talk about Turkish breakfast and not include cheese and olives. In terms of cheese, you can use feta cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, or even cheddar cheese. And for olives, serve it with Kalamata olives, green olives, or a mixture of the two with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of dried oregano.
  • Simit: A breakfast staple in Turkey, simit is a sesame-crusted circular bread similar to an American bagel but crustier on the outside and softer on the inside. It pairs wonderfully with menemen and can also be enjoyed with cheese and olives. 
  • Turkish Borek: Borek is made by layering phyllo dough with a filling usually made with cheese and sauteed vegetables. One of the most popular fillings is spinach and feta, which would pair perfectly with this hearty scrambled egg dish.

Ingredient Variations & Substitutions:

The best part of this Turkish soft scramble recipe is that you can easily change it up with whatever you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make it without onions: There is an ongoing debate amongst the diehard menemen fans about making it with or without onions. The good news is that it can be made with or without it. Simply omit using onions and sautee peppers and spices by themselves instead. 
  • Peppers: The traditional menemen recipe uses fresh green Turkish peppers, aka sivribiber, which could be hard to find. In my version here I used bell peppers, but feel free to use whatever pepper you have on hand. Seeded and chopped jalapeno, Anaheim peppers, and even Hungarian wax peppers would all work.
  • Tomatoes: I used a canned tomato to make it easy and convenient. However, during the summer months, when they are in season, I prefer using two or three medium-size fresh tomatoes instead.
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese is a very popular topping but you can also add shredded mozzarella cheese on top at the last minute and let it melt on top before serving.

What else can I add?

You can follow the recipe as written or take it up a notch with a few additions to it.

  • Lamb or Italian Sausage: If you are a meat-eater, you can sautee ½ lbs of sausage at the same time as you sautee onions and peppers.
  • Spices: Sprinkle it with Aleppo pepper, Urfa chili pepper, or red pepper flakes if you don’t mind a little bit of heat.
A hand dipping bread into a pan of menemen.
A skillet full of menemen with dishes and bread on the side.

Menemen

Menemen, or Turkish scrambled eggs, is an easy, healthy, and customizable dish that can be ready in less than 30 minutes!
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine Turkish
Total Cost $5.36 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 255kcal
Author Aysegul Sanford

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.25
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) $0.98
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or Aleppo pepper) $0.03
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes $0.79
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten $0.78
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.40
  • 1 cup crumbled feta (optional) $1.64

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add in onion, pepper, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are softened for about 7-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Sautee for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes are heated through.
  • Gently pour the lightly beaten eggs into the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are just barely set yet still soft, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Immediately sprinkle it with chopped parsley and crumbled feta cheese, if using. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Sodium: 1086mg | Fiber: 1g
A skillet full of menemen with dishes and bread on the side.

How to Make Menemen – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion and bell pepper on a cutting board.

Begin by dicing one bell pepper (any color) and one small onion.

Onion, bell pepper, and spices in a skillet.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and bell pepper, along with ½ tsp dried oregano and ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper. Sauté until the vegetables have softened.

Diced tomatoes being added to the skillet from a bowl.

Add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with the juices), 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Stir to combine.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet.

Continue to sauté for about 2-3 minutes more, or until everything is heated through well.

Beated eggs being poured into the skillet.

Lightly beat four large eggs, then pour them into the skillet.

Eggs and vegetables being scrambled in the skillet.

Cook the eggs, stirring frequently, until they are just barely set yet still soft (about 2-3 minutes).

Parsley being sprinkled onto scrambled eggs.

Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the eggs.

Feta being sprinkled over the eggs.

Top with crumbled feta and more black pepper, if desired.

bread being dipped into a pan of menemen.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping!

The post Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Summer Vegetables in Red Sauce

Colorful summer vegetables simmered in a red sauce and spooned over warm polenta make a hearty and inexpensive summer meal.

The post Summer Vegetables in Red Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One of my favorite things about summer is all of the colorful vegetables. I pack my plate with as many vegetables as I can this time of year because I know that six months from now they won’t be nearly as delicious or inexpensive. Simmering a medley of vegetables in a simple jar of pasta sauce makes a really quick, filling, and inexpensive meal that you can spoon over a bowl of polenta, a plate of pasta, or even a hearty piece of toast. Simple and delicious!

Close up overhead view of vegetables in red sauce over polenta with a fork.

What Vegetables to Use

Whenever I make a recipe with multiple vegetables, I always try to make sure to get a variety of colors. So today I used eggplant (dark/purple), zucchini (green), red bell pepper (red), and yellow onion (white). But here are some other vegetables that would also work well in this recipe:

  • Carrots
  • Yellow squash
  • Green bell pepper
  • Spinach or kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus

Red Sauce Options

To keep this recipe extra simple, I just used a jar of store-bought pasta sauce, but just about any red pasta sauce will work here. If you prefer to make your own instead of buying pre-made sauce, you can try my quick weeknight pasta sauce, or a deeper slow cooker pasta sauce.

What to Serve with Vegetables in Red Sauce

I whipped up a quick Parmesan polenta to serve as the base for these vegetables and sauce, but they would be equally good over pasta, mashed potatoes, or even a sturdy piece of toast.

Overhead view of vegetables in red sauce in the pot.
Close up overhead view of cornmeal and vegetables in red sauce in a bowl with a fork on the side.

Summer Vegetables in Red Sauce

Colorful summer vegetables simmered in a red sauce and spooned over warm polenta make a hearty and inexpensive summer meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.15 recipe / $1.36 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup vegetables each
Calories 263kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

Vegetables in Red Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 eggplant $1.49
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.03
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 zucchini $1.47
  • 1 24oz. jar pasta sauce $1.50
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.10

Parmesan Cornmeal (optional)

  • 5 cups water $0.00
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal $0.40
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.36

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.
  • While the onion and garlic are cooking, dice the eggplant into ½-inch pieces. Add the eggplant to the pot with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and continue to sauté over medium heat.
  • Dice the red bell pepper. Once the eggplant has softened, add the diced bell pepper to the pot and continue to sauté.
  • Slice the zucchini into ¼-inch thick quarter-rounds, then add them to the pot. Continue to sauté just a couple minutes more, or until the zucchini just begin to soften.
  • Add the red sauce and 1/4 cup water to the pot and stir to combine. Let the vegetables simmer in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of tenderness.
  • While the vegetables are simmering, bring a separate pot of water to a boil.
  • Once boiling, stir in the salt, then pour in the cornmeal while whisking. Continue to cook and whisk until the cornmeal thickens (this should happen quickly).
  • Once the cornmeal has thickened, stir in the butter until melted, then add the grated Parmesan. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • To serve, spoon ⅔ cup cornmeal into a bowl then top with one cup of the vegetables and red sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Notes

Other serving options include serving the vegetables and sauce over pasta, a hearty piece of toast, or even a baked potato!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 1143mg | Fiber: 8g
A bowl of summer vegetables in red sauce over polenta with a fork in the center.

How to Make Summer Vegetables in Red Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Garlic Onion and Oil in the pot.

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large pot along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions have softened.

Diced eggplant added to the pot.

While the onion and garlic are cooking, dice an eggplant into ½-inch pieces. Add them to the pot with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, and continue to sauté until the eggplant have softened.

Diced bell pepper added to the pot.

Dice one red bell pepper, add it to the pot, and continue to sauté.

Chopped zucchini added to the pot.

Slice one zucchini into 1/4-inch thick quarter-rounds. Add the zucchini to the pot and sauté just until the zucchini begins to soften.

pasta sauce being poured into the pot.

Add one 24oz. jar (3 cups) red sauce and 1/4 cup water to the pot and stir to combine.

Simmered vegetables in red sauce in the pot.

Let the vegetables simmer in the red sauce for about 10 more minutes. Taste and season with salt to taste.

Cornmeal being poured into a pot of boiling water with a whisk.

If you’d like to serve the vegetables over polenta, bring 5 cups of water up to a boil. Once boiling, stir in one teaspoon salt, then add one cup of cornmeal while whisking. Continue to cook and whisk until it thickens (this only takes a minute or two).

Butter added to cooked cornmeal.

Stir two tablespoons of butter into the thickened cornmeal.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled over the cornmeal.

Finally, Stir in ¼ cup grated Parmesan. Taste the cornmeal and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Close up overhead view of cornmeal and vegetables in red sauce in a bowl with a fork on the side.

Add about ⅔ cup of the cornmeal to a bowl and top with 1 cup of the vegetables in red sauce. Top with a little more Parmesan and some chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!

The post Summer Vegetables in Red Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

BIG Kale Pasta Salad

This Big Kale Pasta Salad is the perfect fast and filling summer lunch, packed with flavors, textures, and colors. Great for meal prep!

The post BIG Kale Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I probably wouldn’t survive the summer if it wasn’t for big cold “meal salads” like this Big Kale Pasta Salad. It’s cold, filling, has tons of flavors and textures to keep me interested, and it’s just super easy to pull together. Oh, and it holds up REALLY well in the fridge, too. So yeah, it pretty much wins the “perfect summer meal” prize. :)

Overhead view of a serving bowl full of kale pasta salad with toast in the side.

What’s in the BIG Kale Pasta Salad?

I combined a few of my favorite things for this BIG kale pasta salad. I used my favorite homemade balsamic vinaigrette to massage the kale and make it a little more tender, then added some chickpeas for extra bulk, grape tomatoes for freshness, red onion for a savory note, and a little Parmesan for more umami. This one is hitting all the bases!

Dressing Options

If you’re not into balsamic dressing or you just don’t want to make your own, any store-bought vinaigrette-style dressing will be great with this salad. Italian dressing, Caesar dressing, or tomato basil vinaigrette would also be good.

What Else Can I Add?

As with most salads, this Big Kale Pasta Salad is extremely flexible. Here are some other great ingredient options that you could add in place of or in addition to what I used:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Kidney beans
  • Feta
  • Pickled red onions
  • Crispy chickpeas
  • Olives
  • Shredded carrot
  • Toasted pita
  • Baked salmon
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Diced mozzarella
  • Cured meat (salami, pepperoni, etc.)

How Long Does it Last?

This salad will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Kale holds up beautifully to dressing and pasta salads in general also hold up very well. If you plan to meal prep the salad, I do suggest that you reserve the rest of the dressing after massaging the kale to add to the salad just before serving (to prevent the salad from drying out as it’s refrigerated).

A bowl of kale pasta salad next to the serving dish.
Overhead view of the serving bowl full of kale pasta salad.

BIG Kale Pasta Salad

This Big Kale Pasta Salad is the perfect fast and filling summer lunch, packed with flavors, textures, and colors. Great for meal prep!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.88 recipe / $1.31 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 355kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.85
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.42
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.15
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.09
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 8 oz. penne pasta $0.67
  • 8 oz. chopped kale* $1.50
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $2.00
  • 1/2 red onion $0.22
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $1.09
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan $0.72

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Set the dressing aside.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and boil until tender (7-8 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander and allow it to cool.
  • Add the kale to a large bowl. Drizzle ⅓ of the prepared balsamic dressing over the kale and then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Massage the kale for 3-5 minutes, or until it has wilted to half its volume.
  • Slice the grape tomatoes in half, thinly slice the red onion, and rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  • Add the drained and cooled pasta to the bowl with the kale, along with the tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, and Parmesan.
  • Pour the rest of the dressing over top, then stir the salad until everything is evenly combined and coated in dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Notes

*If not using pre-chopped kale, simply remove the stems and tear or chop the kale into small pieces. Rinse and drain the kale well before using it in the salad.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 316mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up side view of a bowl full of big kale pasta salad.

How to Make A BIG Kale Pasta Salad – Step by Step Photos

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk.

Make the dressing first. Whisk together ⅓ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove of minced garlic, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Set the dressing aside.

cooked penne in a colander.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add ½ lb. of pasta (any short shape). Boil until tender and then drain in a colander.

Bag of pre-chopped kale.

Meanwhile, begin to prepare the kale. I use this pre-chopped kale because it’s super convenient and also inexpensive. If you are using a bunch of kale instead of pre-chopped, simply remove the stems and chop the kale into 1-2 inch pieces. I used half of this one-pound bag for my salad.

Chopped kale in a bowl.

Before massaging the kale, it has a lot of volume and entirely fills my big salad bowl.

Massaged kale in the bowl, less volume.

Add about ⅓ of the prepared dressing to the kale and then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. The kale will get softer and lose volume as it is massaged. Set the kale aside.

sliced red onion in a bowl of ice water.

Slice ½ of a red onion. If red onion is a bit too strong for you, you can soak it briefly in ice water to take the sharp edge off.

Sliced grape tomatoes

Slice one pint of grape tomatoes in half.

Ingredients for salad in the bowl with dressing being poured over top.

Add the drained and cooled pasta, tomatoes, sliced onions, one drained 15oz. can of chickpeas, and ½ cup grated Parmesan to the bowl with the kale. Pour the remaining dressing over top.

sald and pepper added to tossed salad.

Stir everything together, then season the salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Finished kale pasta salad.

Enjoy the salad immediately or refrigerate for later!

Overhead view of the serving bowl full of kale pasta salad.

The post BIG Kale Pasta Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast nachos are a fun and easy way to change up your breakfast or brunch routine. Plus, the topping options are endless!

The post Breakfast Nachos appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love doing a big Sunday breakfast or brunch at home. It’s just such a great way to enjoy my day off without spending the money on going out to eat. …And I can do it in the comfort of my pajamas. 😏 But I don’t always have big energy to do a BIG brunch, so these Breakfast Nachos are a fun compromise. They’re definitely a splurge compared to my regular weekday oats, but still super easy. Plus, I can use up whatever ingredients I have left in my fridge as extra toppings! WIN! 🙌

Overhead view of a sheet pan full of breakfast nachos.

What Makes them Breakfast Nachos?

Okay, so these are pretty much just regular nachos but with scrambled eggs on top, but hey, what better excuse to eat nachos for breakfast?? You can make them even more breakfast-y by adding some browned breakfast sausage or crumbled bacon, but I went with a vegetarian nacho this time around.

What Else Can I Add?

I topped my nachos with eggs, cheese, black beans, tomato, onion, jalapeños, and sour cream, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to possible nacho toppings. Scan your fridge to see if you have any of these other ingredients to add to your nachos:

Tips for Making Nachos

Nachos seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve got a couple of quick tips to really help take your nachos to the next level.

  1. Use sturdy chips. Avoid “thin & crispy” tortilla chips and go for the kind that are thick and sturdy because they need to be strong enough to lift all those delicious toppings!
  2. Layer the ingredients! There’s nothing worse than getting a chip with no toppings or a chip so loaded that it breaks under the pressure, so layer your toppings for the best chip-to-topping ratio.
Close up overhead shot of breakfast nachos.
Overhead view of breakfast nachos on the sheet pan.

Breakfast Nachos

Breakfast nachos are fun and easy way to change up your breakfast or brunch routine. Plus, the topping options are endless!
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American, Southwest
Total Cost $8.04 recipe / $2.01 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 933kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 Roma tomato $0.36
  • 1/4 red onion $0.09
  • 1 jalapeño $0.18
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained $0.79
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $1.25
  • 6 large eggs $1.20
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.22
  • 1 15oz. bag tortilla chips $3.49
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.42

Instructions

  • Dice the tomato and red onion. Slice the jalapeño. Rinse and drain the black beans. Shred the cheddar cheese.
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the whisked eggs and gently stir and fold until the eggs are mostly set, but still slightly wet (they'll finish cooking in the oven).
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Spread half of the tortilla chips over the surface of the baking sheet, then top with half of the eggs, half of the black beans, and half of the shredded cheese.
  • Repeat with a second layer of chips, eggs, beans, and cheese.
  • Bake the nachos in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the nachos from the oven and top with the remaining fresh ingredients: tomato, onion, jalapeño, and sour cream. Serve hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25batch | Calories: 933kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 50g | Sodium: 1249mg | Fiber: 13g
Close up of a chip with toppings.

Love nachos? Check out my Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos!

How to Make Breakfast Nachos – Step by Step Photos

Tomato onion and jalapeño chopped.

Prep the toppings first, so they’re ready to go when you need them. Dice one Roma tomato, slice one jalapeño, and dice ¼ of a red onion. Rinse and drain well one 15oz. can of black beans. Shred 4oz. of cheddar cheese.

Whisked eggs in a bowl.

Begin preheating the oven to 350ºF. Whisk six large eggs in a bowl with ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.

Lightly scrambled eggs.

Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium. Once the skillet is hot and the butter is melted, swirl to coat the surface. Add the whisked eggs to a skillet and let them cook, gently folding and stirring, until they are mostly set, but still slightly wet. Do not cook the eggs fully here because they will cook more when the nachos are in the oven.

tortilla chips on a lined baking sheet.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Add ½ of a 15oz. bag of tortilla chips to the baking sheet. The chips do not need to completely cover the surface of the baking sheet.

Eggs, beans, and cheese layered on top of chips.

Add half of the scrambled eggs, half of the drained black beans, and half of the shredded cheddar.

Second layer of chips, eggs, beans, and cheese.

Add a second layer of chips, eggs, beans, and cheese.

Baked nachos on the sheet pan.

Bake the nachos in the fully pre-heated 350ºF oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Finished breakfast nachos with fresh toppings added.

Quickly add your fresh and cold toppings like the tomato, onion, jalapeño, and sour cream (about 1/2 cup total). Serve hot!

Overhead view of breakfast nachos on the sheet pan.

The post Breakfast Nachos appeared first on Budget Bytes.

No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

Looking for an easy, budget-friendly dessert that’ll help you beat the summer heat? This dangerously delicious, no-churn strawberry ice cream recipe is a winner!

The post No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream appeared first on Budget Bytes.

What if I told you that you don’t need to buy a fancy appliance to make your own homemade ice cream?? Not only is this simple homemade ice cream delicious, but you can make so many different flavors and it’s just a super fun summer project. This year we took advantage of some of the season’s fresh strawberries to make this dangerously delicious, no-churn strawberry ice cream, and it might be my favorite flavor yet. So make sure to bookmark this recipe for this weekend. You’ll be so happy to have some homemade ice cream stashed away in your freezer later. ;)

Side view of a hand holding a no-churn strawberry ice cream cone.

What Does No-Churn Mean?

No-churn simply means you don’t need an ice cream maker to make this INSANELY easy dessert. The ice cream base doesn’t need to be continuously stirred as it freezes to stay soft and fluffy, and you don’t need to stand over a stove gently simmering and stirring eggs, cream, and sugar into a smooth custard. Halleloo! Whipping the ingredients together before freezing helps keep the ice crystals small and the ice cream smooth and delicious.

With just five ingredients and a hand mixer, this recipe will give you delectable, velvety results. This ice cream is so good I make a double batch because I know that despite my best efforts, I will devour most of it in one sitting.

How Do You Flavor Ice Cream?

There are two ways to flavor your no-churn ice cream. You can flavor the ice cream base or you can swirl flavorful ingredients into the whipped ice cream just before freezing. To keep this recipe simple, we flavored the base with just a touch of vanilla, then swirled in strawberries and strawberry syrup just before freezing.

If you don’t have fresh strawberries or don’t want to make your own strawberry syrup, you can swirl in a little thinned-out strawberry jam. Simply loosen up the strawberry jam by stirring in a little warm water until it is just loose enough to run off a spoon. Then swirl it in as we did with the strawberry syrup below.

What Keeps No-Churn Ice Cream Soft?

Ice cream made in an ice cream maker is slowly churned as it freezes, which incorporates air into the mixture and keeps the ice crystals really small as they form. With no-churn ice cream, the mixture is whipped before freezing to incorporate the air, and the high fat and sugar content of the base helps prevent large ice crystals from forming as it freezes. It’s so incredibly easy and the results are so fantastic, you’ll be glad you didn’t drop $$$ on that ice cream machine.

Love no-churn ice cream? Try these other no-churn ice cream flavors: Balsamic Peach Ice Cream or Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream being scooped out of the baking dish.
Close up side view of a strawberry ice cream cone.

No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

Looking for an easy, budget-friendly, dessert to help beat the summer heat? This delicious no-churn strawberry ice cream recipe is a winner!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.60 recipe / $0.94 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freeze Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 7 1 cup each
Calories 471kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Strawberry Syrup

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, divided $1.99
  • 1/3 cup sugar (granulated) $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract $0.06
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01

Ice Cream Base

  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk $1.59
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream $2.39
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.50
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01

Instructions

  • Make the strawberry syrup first. Wash the strawberries and remove the green tops. Dice the strawberries into ¼-inch pieces. Reserve half of the chopped strawberries to fold into the ice cream later.
  • Add the other half of the diced strawberries to a sauce pot with the sugar. Stir and cook over medium heat until the strawberries release their liquid and form a syrup in the saucepot.
  • Let the strawberries simmer in the syrup, stirring occasionally until they break down and lose their shape and the syrup has thickened slightly. You'll know it's ready when you drag a wooden spoon across the bottom center of the pot and the syrup stays parted for a few seconds. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set the strawberry syrup aside to cool.
  • While the syrup is cooling, prepare the ice cream base. Add the sweetened condensed milk, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and salt to a bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the mixture until it is light and fluffy, and has formed soft peaks.
  • Fold the reserved chopped fresh strawberries into the ice cream base. Transfer the whipped ice cream base to a freezer-safe container. Drizzle the cooled strawberry syrup over the ice cream and gently swirl it into the mixture.
  • Cover the ice cream and freeze for eight hours before scooping and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 30g | Sodium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up side view of a strawberry ice cream cone.

How to Make Strawberry Ice Cream – Step by Step Photos

Strawberries being chopped into quarter inch pieces.

Make the strawberry syrup first. Wash the strawberries and remove the green tops from one pound of strawberries. Dice the strawberries into ¼-inch pieces. Reserve half of the chopped strawberries to fold into the ice cream later.

Chopped strawberries in pot with sugar.

Add the other half of the diced strawberries to a sauce pot with ⅓ cup sugar.

Strawberries releasing their liquid and turning into syrup.

Stir and cook over medium heat until the strawberries release their liquid and form a syrup in the saucepot and the mixture comes up to a simmer.

Strawberry syrup in a pot with a spoon in it.

Let the strawberries simmer in the syrup, stirring occasionally until they break down and lose their shape, and the syrup has thickened slightly. You’ll know it’s ready when you drag a wooden spoon across the bottom center of the pot and the syrup stays parted for a few seconds. Remove the syrup from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Set the strawberry syrup aside to cool.

Combine heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a bowl.

While the syrup is cooling, prepare the ice cream base. Add one 14oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, one pint of heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to a bowl.

Whipping heavy cream mixture into soft peaks.

Use a hand mixer to whip the mixture until it is light and fluffy, and has formed soft peaks (when you lift the beaters out of the mixture it will form a gentle peak that slumps over to the side).

Folding chopped strawberries into whipped cream mixture.

Fold the reserved chopped fresh strawberries into the ice cream base.

The ice cream base is spooned into a freezer-safe container.

Transfer the whipped ice cream base to a freezer-safe container.

Strawberry syrup is being swirled into the ice cream base in a freezer-safe container.

Spoon the cooled strawberry syrup over the ice cream and gently swirl it into the mixture. Don’t over mix it! :)

Strawberry ice cream that's been frozen for eight hours and is ready to serve.

Cover the ice cream and freeze for eight hours before scooping and serving.

Overhead view of ice cream being scooped out of the dish.

The post No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.

The post Loaded Hummus Pitas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When it’s WAY too hot in the kitchen, fill up and stay cool with these easy-to-make, no-cook, loaded hummus pitas. Though this summer recipe is Mediterranean-inspired, pita bread and hummus are a blank canvas. So if you have any leftover veggies in the fridge, add them to the mix to create a delicious lunch in a snap!

Loaded hummus pita on a plate surrounded by ingredients.

Do I have to use pita bread?

No, you don’t HAVE TO use pita. Naan is a great substitute. In fact, any sturdy sliced bread you have on hand will work great. This is also a great recipe to use up the last of those tortillas you’ve had hanging out in the back of the fridge for the last three weeks. (Is that just me?) The key is to use bread you don’t have to toast. Though if you WANT TO toast your bread, go for it. You can warm up a pita (or naan or tortillas) on the stove, in a dry pan over medium heat, or in a 350-degree preheated oven.

Do I have to use hummus?

For the ultimate convenience, reach for creamy store-bought hummus. Or if that’s not in your budget, you can always make your own. I’ve got some great hummus recipes that will only take you five minutes to whip up. If you’re not a hummus fan, try Greek yogurt or mashed avocado.

What else can I add to Loaded Hummus Pitas?

This recipe is endlessly customizable, which is music to my ears when it’s close to the end of the week and I’m trying to use up leftover odds and ends. Do you have some greens left over from yesterday’s salad? Use them! Do you still have some of the sliced radishes and raw diced onions from a take-out taco adventure? Go for it! Also try adding:

  • Roasted summer vegetables
  • Chopped cauliflower florets
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Sliced, pitted olives
  • Sliced radish
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Pickled onions
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Shredded carrots
  • Asparagus ends
  • Chopped cold cuts
Close up of loaded hummus pita.
close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $7.70 recipe / $1.93 each
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 pitas
Calories 345kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cucumber $0.53
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $1.08
  • 1/4 red onion $0.09
  • 8 kalamata olives $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $0.82
  • 4 pitas $1.99
  • 1 cup hummus $2.20
  • 2 tsp olive oil $0.11
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Dice the cucumber into small ¼-inch pieces. Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Dice the red onion. Roughly chop the parsley and crumble the feta.
  • To assemble the pitas, spread ¼ cup hummus over the surface of each pita. Top with cucumber, tomato, red onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Finish with a little crumbled feta, chopped parsley, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pita | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 814mg | Fiber: 6g
Close up of hand holding loaded hummus pita.

How to Make Loaded Hummus Pitas – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of ingredients, including pitas, diced onions, sliced kalamata olives, crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, and chopped parsley.

For this recipe, you’ll need four pitas and a cup of hummus. You’ll also need to small dice half of a cucumber and a quarter of a red onion, slice a cup of grape tomatoes into halves, chop a tablespoon of fresh parsley, crumbled two ounces of feta cheese, and slice about eight kalamata olives.

Pita with a quarter cup of hummus spread on it.

Spread about a quarter cup of hummus on each pita.

Pita topped with chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes.

Add the chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes to each pita, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pitas loaded with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Top each pita with a half-ounce of feta cheese, two kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Finishing loaded hummus pitas with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pe

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!

close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Cold, crunchy, delicious, and filling! 🙌

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Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad, and the perfect side dish for any summer meal.

The post Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Not a summer goes by without me making this incredible Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad. It’s so fresh and delicious, quick to make, AND it stays good in the fridge for days. What more could you want from a summer salad?? Plus, it’s a great dish to bring to all those summer potlucks and BBQs, too!

Originally posted 6-19-2013, updated 6-18-2022.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad with lemons on the side.

What is Couscous?

Couscous is a small, ball-shaped pasta. It cooks really fast, is a fun texture, and is a great way to bulk up salads. The variety used for this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a larger-sized couscous called pearl couscous, or sometimes Israeli couscous or giant couscous. If you can’t find pearl couscous, you can use regular couscous or even orzo in its place (orzo would be my first choice since it’s similar in size). Regular couscous cooks a little differently, so take a look at this couscous salad (made with regular-sized couscous) for cooking instructions and size reference.

Can I Use Bottled Lemon Juice?

Fresh lemon is key to achieving the powerfully fresh lemon flavor in this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad, so I do not suggest substituting the fresh lemon with bottled lemon juice. The lemon zest alone is responsible for most of the lemon flavor in this salad, and, unfortunately, you just can’t get that from bottled juice.

What to Serve with Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

This super fresh summer salad is a great side dish for anything you might cook on the grill, or you could serve it with something like Garlic Marinated Chicken, a giant Veggie Sandwich, or Mediterranean Turkey Burgers.

How Are the Leftovers?

I love this salad so much simply because it stays good in the fridge for days. The couscous sort of acts like a moisture regulator, keeping the cucumbers from getting soft or soggy and keeping the salad almost as perfect as it was on day one. So if you’re looking for something to meal prep for lunch this summer, this couscous salad is it!

Close up side view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. 
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Middle-Eastern
Total Cost $6.46 recipe / $1.08 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 250kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups pearl couscous $2.20
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.89
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 English cucumber $1.49
  • 1/4 bunch parsley $0.27
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled $1.23

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the couscous and continue to boil for about minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain the couscous in a colander or wire strainer. Rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the couscous, then allow to drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Zest the lemon and then squeeze the juice. You'll need about ½ tsp of zest and 3 Tbsp of juice.
  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Chop the cucumber into quarter-rounds and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Add the cooled and drained couscous to a large bowl along with the cucumber, parsley, lemon zest, and feta. Pour the dressing over top, then stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Video

Notes

If you are substituting regular couscous for Israeli couscous, be aware that the cooking instructions are different. You can find instructions and step by step photos in this recipe post. You can substitute orzo for the couscous without any adjustments.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 265mg | Fiber: 3g

Side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

How to Make Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad – Step by Step Photos

A package of pearl couscous.

This is what pearl or Israeli couscous looks like. It cooks exactly like pasta. For reference, check out this couscous salad to see the size of regular couscous. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of pearl couscous for this recipe.

Cooked couscous draining in a colander.

To cook the couscous, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add the couscous, and then continue to boil until the couscous is tender. Since the couscous is small, it cooks very quickly (about 5 minutes). Drain the couscous and then rinse briefly with cool water to bring the temperature down. 

Zested and juiced lemon.

While the couscous is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad. Start by zesting and juicing one lemon. You’ll need about 1 tsp zest and 3 Tbsp juice.

Lemony dressing in a bowl with a whisk.

To make the lemony dressing, whisk together 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. If you’re a garlic lover, you can mince up a clove of fresh garlic instead of garlic powder. I decided that I wanted the salad to have just a hint of garlic flavor, so I added a touch of powdered garlic instead of fresh.

Chopped parsley and cucumber on a cutting board.

Roughly chop ¼ bunch parsley (about ½ cup chopped) and slice one cucumber into quarter-rounds.

Salad ingredients in the bowl, not mixed.

Transfer the cooked and cooled couscous to a large bowl, then add the chopped parsley and cucumber, and about 3 oz. crumbled feta.

Dressing being poured over the salad.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients in the bowl.

Finished lemony cucumber couscous salad in the bowl with a large spoon.

Stir the salad until everything is evenly mixed and coated in dressing. You can give it a taste here and adjust the salt, pepper, or any other ingredients to your liking.

Overhead view of lemony cucumber couscous salad in a bowl garnished with lemons.

And now you’re ready to eat! Or, you can chill it until it’s time for dinner. The flavors get even better as it chills and once it’s cold the salad is extra refreshing!

Close up side view of a bowl of lemony cucumber couscous salad.

Seriously, this Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is my favorite summer treat. Sometimes I add a grilled chicken breast on top and make it a meal. A dollop of hummus is also good in there!

Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad is a light, fresh, and vibrant pasta salad perfect for any summer meal. BudgetBytes.com

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