Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice)

Arroz con Pollo is a mouth-watering, budget-friendly, one-pot chicken and rice dish that’s perfect for a weeknight meal.

The post Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Arroz con Pollo (Spanish for chicken and rice) is a mouth-watering, budget-friendly, one-pot dish, that only has about ten minutes of hands-on cooking time, and is ready to go in a little over a half hour. Win, win, win, win, win!! It’s a staple on many Latin American tables, though the ingredients and techniques used to make the dish vary depending on what country you’re in. This arroz con pollo recipe is the Puerto Rican version, and the one I grew up eating at my Abuela’s (grandmother’s) table.

Arroz con pollo on a white dish with a black fork in it.

What is arroz con pollo?

At its most basic, arroz con pollo is a one-pot chicken and rice dish. In the Puerto Rican version, the rice is rendered a bright yellow by annatto, the same spice that gives cheddar cheese its signature golden hue. It gets earthy herbal notes from the recaito (aka sofrito), a fragrant puree of cilantro, yellow onions, green bell peppers, and garlic. And there are delightful pops of acidity from the Spanish olives. Traditionally, pigeon peas are used, but they can be hard to find on the mainland, so frozen peas make for an easy substitute.

What cuts of chicken should I use?

You can use any cut of chicken, though you should be mindful that darker meat, like thighs and drumsticks, are more forgiving of a longer cooking time because of their higher fat content. Chicken breasts can dry out fairly quickly, so keep an eye on them. You can also keep the chicken pieces whole or on the bone. For pickier eaters, feel free to slice the chicken into bite-size pieces before cooking. If you use cuts with skin on, try removing the skin after cooking and placing it on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. Bake the skin in a 350ºF oven until crispy and then use as a garnish.

Can I substitute the rice?

If you want to substitute the white rice for brown, you’ll need to add more chicken stock. For 2 cups of brown rice use 4 cups of chicken stock. You will also need to increase the cooking time by ten to fifteen minutes. You can also use cauliflower rice, but you won’t need to cook it as long, as it will turn to mush. Decrease the amount of chicken stock to 1 cup and cook the chicken in the liquid until it has reached 160 to 165ºFs. Remove the chicken from the pan and then stir in the cauliflower rice and the peas. Cook for just a few minutes until tender, add the chicken back to the pot, and garnish.

Over head view of arroz con pollo in a red Dutch oven.

Do I have to use chicken stock?

While chicken stock is traditional, you can substitute it with veggie stock or even salted water if you prefer. If you’re trying to waste less food, you can also use bean water. For creamier results with heavy tropical vibes, use a mixture of half chicken stock and half coconut milk.

What can I serve it with?

Arroz con Pollo is a full meal, but it is traditionally served with a few slices of ripe avocado. You can make a vibrant and simple side salad as well. I also love it with a few hearty slices of garlic bread.

Does arroz con pollo freeze well??

Arroz con Pollo is perfect for meal prep and freezer meals. It will last up to three days in your refrigerator. Sprinkle it with a little water before reheating to loosen it up. If freezing, make sure that everything has cooled before portioning into a freezer-safe container. You can prevent frost from forming on your rice by filling the container to the tippy top or by placing a piece of wax paper on top of the rice, so it isn’t exposed to air.

close up side view of Arroz con Pollo in the pot.
Over head view of arroz con pollo in a red Dutch oven.

Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice)

This scrumptious Puerto Rican chicken and rice dish is a weekly staple at my house. Arroz con Pollo is an easy one-pot meal, that's ready in no time and is perfect for meal prep and freezer meals.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Latin
Total Cost $12.30 recipe / $2.46 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 591kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning $0.20
  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs $6.49
  • 2 2/3 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.11
  • 1/4 cup sofrito $0.36
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice, divided $0.98
  • 1/2 yellow onion, small dice $0.19
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced $0.24
  • 2 Tbsp tomato sauce $0.06
  • 1/2 cup pimiento stuffed Spanish olives $1.16
  • 2 cups rice $0.74
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock $1.12
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 1/2 tsp sazón seasoning $0.19
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas $0.33
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (optional garnish) $0.11

Instructions

  • Place chicken thighs in a shallow bowl and rub down with 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and adobo seasoning. Place uncovered in your refrigerator and allow to marinate for thirty minutes.
  • Set a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to the pot. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs to the pot, arranged in an even layer. Sear each side of the thighs until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the thighs from the pot and set them aside.
  • Add the sofrito, diced onion, and half of the diced red pepper to the chicken fat in the pot. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato sauce, and olives. Sauté the mixture until it's fragrant and most of the liquid has cooked out. A spoon run down the middle of the pan should leave a dry trail.
  • Add the rice and sazón and gently mix them into all of the ingredients, so that every grain is covered in the sauce. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Allow mixture to boil undisturbed until the stock has evaporated and the rice is visible on the surface of the pot. There should be multiple round steam vents on the surface of the rice.
  • Place the reserved chicken thighs on top of the rice. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting heavy lid. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until all of the stock has evaporated and rice has cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Stir in frozen peas and fluff the rice. Add the chicken thighs back to the pot. Garnish with the remainder of the diced red pepper and cilantro leaves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 591kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 763mg | Fiber: 3g

How to Make Arroz con Pollo – Step by Step Photos

Raw chicken marinating in a white dish.

Place chicken thighs in a shallow bowl and rub down with 2 teaspoons of cooking oil and 2 teaspoons of adobo seasoning. Place uncovered in your refrigerator and allow to marinate for thirty minutes.

Raw chicken browning in a Dutch oven.

Set a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to the pot. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs to the pot, arranged in an even layer. Sear each side of the thighs until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the thighs from the pot and set them aside.

Sofrito, onions, and red peppers browning in a red Dutch oven.

Add the sofrito, diced onion, and half of the diced red pepper to the chicken fat in the pot. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Olives, tomato sauce, and other ingredients browning in a Dutch oven.

Add the garlic, tomato sauce, and olives.

Spatula cutting through ingredients in a red Dutch oven.

Sauté the mixture until it’s fragrant and most of the liquid has cooked out. A spoon run down the middle of the pan should leave a dry trail.

Adding sazon to ingredients in a Dutch oven.

Add the rice and sazón and gently mix it into all of the ingredients, so that every grain is covered in the sauce.

Adding chicken stock to ingredients in a red Dutch oven.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Rice in a red Dutch oven that has had chicken stock cooked out of it.

Allow mixture to boil without a lid, undisturbed, until the stock has evaporated and the rice is visible on the surface of the pot. There should be multiple round steam vents on the surface of the rice.

Rice topped with chicken in a red Dutch oven.

Place the reserved chicken thighs on top of the rice. Lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting heavy lid. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until all of the stock has evaporated and rice has cooked through.

Green peas being stirred into rice in a red Dutch oven.

Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside. Stir in frozen peas and fluff the rice.

Finished arroz con pollo in a red Dutch oven.

Add the chicken thighs back to the pot. Garnish with the remainder of the diced red pepper and cilantro leaves.

Arroz con Pollo on a plate with a fork.

Try These Other One Pot Chicken Recipes:

The post Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice) 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!

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Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is an easy and inexpensive classic for potlucks, summer BBQs, or an easy side dish for dinner.

The post Macaroni Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You can’t have a summer potluck or BBQ without a big ol’ bowl of macaroni salad. It’s a classic summer comfort food. Cold, creamy, carby, and delicious. And cheap! Which is great because we all need that right now. But macaroni salad isn’t just good for gatherings, it’s also a great side to meal prep for your lunches for the week.

Overhead view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

What’s In Macaroni Salad?

Macaroni salad starts with a base of one of our favorite budget-friendly ingredient, macaroni. We add a little celery, bell pepper, and red onion for color and crunch, and a couple of hard-boiled eggs to give the salad more heft. All of this gets finished off with a super creamy dressing made with mayo, Dijon, sweet pickle relish, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Classicly creamy, sweet, tangy, crunchy, and delicious.

Adjust the Sweetness

There are two main camps when it comes to macaroni salad, sweet and not so sweet. I like my macaroni salad with just a touch of sweetness to balance the acidity and creaminess of the dressing, so that’s what you’ll get with the recipe below. If you like a sweet macaroni salad, you can simply add more sugar to taste (up to about ¼ cup sugar).

What Else Can I Add to Macaroni Salad?

Macaroni Salad is another one of those great catch-all recipes. You can add all sorts of ingredients for color, texture, and flavor. Here are some ideas for other ingredients to add to your macaroni salad:

  • Cheddar cheese cubes
  • Broccoli florets
  • Peas
  • Black olives
  • Shredded carrots
  • Diced ham
  • Chopped parsley

How Long Does Macaroni Salad Stay Good?

Macaroni salad can be kept in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. The macaroni will continue to absorb moisture as it sits in the refrigerator, so you may find it gets a little drier each day. If taking your macaroni salad to a potluck or BBQ, make sure to not let it sit out at room temperature for more than two hours.

close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.
close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is an easy and inexpensive classic for potlucks, summer BBQs, or an easy side dish for dinner.
Course Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.89 recipe / $0.61 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 ¾ cup each
Calories 332kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs $0.48
  • 1/2 red bell pepper $0.75
  • 1/2 red onion $0.20
  • 2 ribs celery $0.47
  • 8 oz. macaroni $0.67

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise $1.16
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.18
  • 1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the salad ingredients first, so they're ready to go. Dice the hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper, onion, and celery.
  • Boil the macaroni until tender, then drain it in a colander. Briefly rinse the pasta with cool water to cool it off.
  • While the macaroni is boiling, prepare the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon, relish, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Combine the cooled and drained macaroni, egg, bell pepper, celery, and onion in a bowl. Pour the dressing over top, then stir until everything is well combined and coated in dressing.
  • Serve the macaroni salad immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 385mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Macaroni Salad – Step by Step Photos

Chopped salad ingredients on a cutting board.

Chop the macaroni salad add-ins first. Dice two hard-boiled eggs (here’s a tutorial on how to make hard-boiled eggs, if needed), ½ of a red bell pepper, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion.

Cooked macaroni in a colander.

Next, boil 8oz. elbow macaroni until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse briefly with cool water to cool down the pasta.

Dressing ingredients in a bowl.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp sweet relish, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Macaroni and salad ingredients in a bowl.

Add the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl along with the chopped egg, bell pepper, celery, and red onion.

Dressing poured over the salad ingredients.

Pour the prepared dressing over the salad in the bowl.

Finished macaroni salad in a bowl.

And now your macaroni salad is ready to eat! Make sure to keep it in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to serve it right away, and give it a good stir again just before serving.

close up side view of macaroni salad in a bowl.

Need more recipe ideas for your summer gatherings? Check out our round-up of Recipes for Summer BBQs and Potlucks.

The post Macaroni Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable stir fry is a quick and easy option for dinner, plus it’s super flexible and a great way to use up leftovers from your fridge!

The post Easy Vegetable Stir Fry appeared first on Budget Bytes.

We love a good “catch-all” recipe here at Budget Bytes, and a simple vegetable stir fry is the perfect example of that. Whether you’re using up leftover vegetables from your freezer or using a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, a quick and easy vegetable stir fry is an easy solution for dinner. In addition to the very simple version below, I’ve got plenty of ideas for add-ins and flavor modifications in case you want to switch it up!

Vegetable stir fry in a skillet against a blue background

What Vegetables are Good for Stir Fry?

It’s important to get a variety of colors and textures when you make a vegetable stir fry. I chose to use onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots to provide that variety, but here are some other vegetables that are great in stir fry:

  • Green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Baby corn
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Green onion
  • Sweet peas
  • Spinach

Other Stir Fry Add-ins

In addition to vegetables, you can add all sorts of other ingredients, like:

  • Chicken, beef, or pork
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Noodles
  • Scrambled egg
  • Peanuts or cashews

Customize the Sauce

I’ve included a very basic brown stir fry sauce below, but there are so many options for customizing the sauce to fit your taste buds. Here are some options:

  • Make it spicy: add a tablespoon or so of sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or gochujang
  • Make it extra rich: stir in a couple tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • Make it sweet and tangy: stir in a couple tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • Give it a tropical twist: use pineapple juice instead of water (add a little less brown sugar)

The Trick to Good Stir Fry at Home

There are two important tips for making stir fry at home:

1) Use a big wok or skillet and high heat. If your pan is too small there won’t be enough surface area for the steam to evaporate and the vegetables will get soupy. Likewise, if the heat isn’t high enough the steam will not evaporate fast enough and the vegetables will also get soupy.

2) Don’t overcook the vegetables. You want the vegetables to just be tender-crisp and vibrantly colored. You can always cook them a little longer once the sauce is added at the end, but if you cook them too long in the first steps you’ll end up with limp vegetables that are drab color.

Two bowls with vegetable stir fry and rice
close up of stir fry vegetables from above.

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Vegetable stir fry is a quick and easy option for dinner, plus it's super flexible and a great way to use up leftovers from your fridge!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Total Cost $9.06 recipe / $2.27 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 209kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce $0.24
  • 1/4 cup water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.10
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.03

Vegetables*

  • 3/4 lb. broccoli $1.34
  • 2 carrots $0.33
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.69
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas $2.99
  • 1 small onion $0.28
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.16
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds $0.06

Instructions

  • Make the stir fry sauce first. Combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set the sauce aside.
  • Chop the vegetables into similar-sized pieces. It's up to you whether you slice, dice, or cut into any other shape you prefer.
  • Add the cooking oil to a very large skillet or wok. Heat over medium-high. When the pan and oil are very hot (but not smoking), add the hardest vegetables first: carrots and broccoli. Cook and stir for about a minute, or just until the broccoli begins to turn bright green.
  • Next, add the mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Continue to cook and stir for a minute or two more, or just until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  • Finally, add the softest vegetables, bell pepper and onion. Continue to cook and stir just until the onion begins to soften.
  • Give the stir fry sauce another brief stir, then pour it over the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and turn glossy. Remove the vegetables from the heat, or continue to cook until they are to your desired doneness.
  • Top the stir fry with sesame seeds and serve!

Notes

*You can use any mix of vegetables you like. You’ll need about 8 cups once chopped.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 869mg | Fiber: 6g
close up of stir fry vegetables from above.

How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry – Step by Step Photos

stir fry sauce being whisked in a white bowl

Make the stir fry sauce first so the flavors have a little time to blend and the sauce is ready to go when you need it. Vegetable stir fry is a fast process, so you’ve got to be ready! Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk until combined, then set aside.

Whole vegetables on a cutting board.

For my stir fry mix, I used 1 small yellow onion, ½ lb. broccoli, 2 carrots, 8oz. mushrooms, and 8oz. sugar snap peas. You can use any mix of vegetables you’d like, just try to get a good variety of colors and textures. You’ll want about 8 cups once chopped.

Chopped vegetables on the cutting board

Chop the vegetables into similar sized pieces. Since carrots take so long to soften, it was okay to cut them much smaller than the rest.

Sautéed broccoli and carrots in the skillet first.

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a very large skillet or wok. Heat over medium-high until the pan is very hot. Once hot, add the hardest vegetables first (or the vegetables that take the longest to soften), in this case, it was carrots and broccoli. Stir briskly for about one minute, or just until you start to see the color of the broccoli turn bright green. They will continue to cook as you add more vegetables.

Mushrooms and peas added to the skillet.

Next, add the vegetables that soften semi-quickly, in this case, the mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Again, stir briskly and cook only for about 1-2 minutes, or just until you see the mushrooms begin to soften. They will continue to cook further as you add more vegetables.

peppers and onions added to the skillet.

Lastly, add your softest vegetables, in this case, the onion and bell pepper. Stir and cook just for one minute more, or just until the onions begin to soften. They will continue to cook and soften after you add the sauce.

stir fry sauce being poured over the vegetables in the skillet.

Give the stir fry sauce a quick stir to recombine, then pour the sauce over the vegetables in the skillet. Stir and cook until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and turn glossy. Remove the skillet from the heat, or continue to cook until the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

Finished stir fry in the skillet

Top the stir fry with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Vegetable stir fry in the skillet against a blue background.

Try These Other Stir Fry Recipes:

The post Easy Vegetable Stir Fry appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Curry Lentil Soup

Do you cook with lentils? I love them. If you haven’t tried them, don’t be intimidated. They are easy to cook, affordable, and a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and folate. My Lentil Salad and Lentil Soup are two of my all-time favori…

Do you cook with lentils? I love them. If you haven’t tried them, don’t be intimidated. They are easy to cook, affordable, and a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and folate. My Lentil Salad and Lentil Soup are two of my all-time favorite recipes. Today, I am sharing a Curry Lentil Soup recipe, that…

Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!

The post Cajun Sausage and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s another super easy meal prep for you! This super simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep follows the basic protein + veg formula and is super fast to make. I’ve got some additional suggestions for you below, if you’d like to bulk up the meal a bit or just make it a little fancier!

four glass containers full of Cajun sausage and vegetables

Vegetable Options

This recipe is super flexible, so if you don’t like the vegetables I chose, you can swap them out with other vegetables. Here are some options:

  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Green Beans
  • Brussels sprouts

For heartier vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, you may want to pre-steam them for a few minutes just to make sure they get tender.

Protein Options

The Andouille sausage in this recipe is packed with herbs, spices, and a delicious smoky flavor, which ends up adding flavor to the entire dish. You can swap the sausage out with something like shrimp or chicken thighs, but if you do so, I suggest coating the chicken or shrimp well with plenty of Cajun seasoning since they don’t have seasonings built-in, like the sausage.

Bulk it Up!

If you need some carb action to keep you full and satisfied, you can serve these Cajun Sausage and Vegetables over a bed of rice. You can cook your rice in broth or add some herbs and spices for even more flavor.

Another option is to serve the sausage and vegetables over a bed of pasta. I think penne would be a great choice. If serving over penne, you can add a vinaigrette to help coat everything in flavor. I think the Smoky Vinaigrette that I used in my Smoky Roasted Sausage and Vegetables recipe would go nicely.

How Long Does it Last?

I generally keep meal preps like this for about four days, but the lifespan will vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, the freshness of the vegetables, and how long you cook the vegetables. Since I cooked this with the intention of reheating later, I purposely cooked the vegetables very lightly to prevent them from getting super soggy as they wait in the refrigerator. By nature, they will wilt a bit as the days go by, but undercooking them slightly can definitely help.

Close up of Cajun Sausage and Vegetables in the skillet
rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Cajun Sausage and Vegetables

This simple Cajun Sausage and Vegetables meal prep is a fast, easy, flavorful, and delicious way to get your daily dose of vegetables!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $6.94 recipe / $1.74 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 440kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini (½ lb.) $0.72
  • 1 yellow squash (½ lb.) $0.70
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 red onion $0.28
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $3.33
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.20

Instructions

  • Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice the red bell pepper and red onion into strips. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl.
  • Slice the sausage into rounds. Add the sausage and 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet. Cook the sausage over medium heat until well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the remaining 1 Tbsp cooking oil, then sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper over top. Toss the vegetables to coat them in oil and spices.
  • Place the same skillet back over the heat and turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they are slightly tender. The vegetables will pick up the flavor left in the skillet from the sausage, so do not clean the skillet first. Be careful to not overcook the vegetables, as they will cook more when you reheat your meal preps.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cooked sausage and chopped parsley to the vegetables. Toss to combine with the vegetables. Give the sausage and vegetables a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
  • Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*If you can not find Andouille sausage in your area, you can substitute it with any smoked sausage, like kielbasa.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25recipe | Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 36g | Sodium: 1043mg | Fiber: 3g
Close up of a forkful of Cajun sausage and Vegetables

How to Make Cajun Sausage and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos

Chopped vegetables in a bowl

Prep the vegetables first, so they’re ready to go. Slice one zucchini and one yellow squash into half-rounds. Slice one red bell pepper and one red onion into strips. Place the vegetables in a bowl.

sliced sausage on a cutting board

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage into rounds.

Cooked sausage in a skillet

Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is well browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the sausage to a clean bowl.

seasoning being added to the vegetables

Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over the vegetables, then sprinkle with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Toss the vegetables until they’re coated in oil and spices.

Sautéed vegetables in the skillet

Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high. Once very hot, add the vegetables and sauté just until they begin to soften. The vegetables will pick up the flavor and browned bits left behind by the sausage. Be careful not to overcook the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Finished Cajun sausage and vegetables in the skillet

Return the cooked sausage back to the skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of chopped parsley. Toss to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

rectangular glass containers with Cajun Sausage and Vegetables lined up

Serve immediately or divide into four portions and refrigerate until ready to eat.

The post Cajun Sausage and Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you are looking for an easy soup recipe that everyone will love, make Chicken Tortilla Soup. It is a forever favorite, a classic, a soup that always gets rave reviews! It only takes 30 minutes to make! You can’t go wrong with this one! Chicken…

If you are looking for an easy soup recipe that everyone will love, make Chicken Tortilla Soup. It is a forever favorite, a classic, a soup that always gets rave reviews! It only takes 30 minutes to make! You can’t go wrong with this one! Chicken tortilla soup is a Mexican-inspired soup that has a…

The post Chicken Tortilla Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!

The post One Pot Veggie Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a quick little one pot pasta I’ve been making lately with my leftover veggies. You can literally add in whatever you have on hand and it creates a tasty one pot meal with tons of color, flavor, and texture. It may not be revolutionary, but I think sometimes it helps to see what quick meals other people are making and this One Pot Veggie Pasta is my latest go-to quick fix. :)

Overhead view of one pot veggie pasta in a bowl

Use Your Leftovers

As far as one pot pasta goes, this recipe isn’t that revolutionary, but I love it for one main reason—it’s perfect for using up leftovers. Got two carrots left? Or maybe a half of a bell pepper. A handful of mushrooms? How about that partial bag of broccoli florets hiding the back of your freezer? They can all go in this super quick one pot pasta! The more colors and textures the merrier.

Use Your Favorite Sauce

Convenience is the name of the game with this quick weeknight pasta dish, so I used a jar of pasta sauce instead of making my own this time around. You can literally use any red pasta sauce, as long as it’s one you know you like. …Actually, I bet you could also turn this into a really tasty alfredo! *jots down notes for testing next week*

How Are the Leftovers?

As with any leftover pasta dish, the rotini does get a little softer as it is stored in the refrigerator. Personally, that has never bothered me or stopped me from eating leftover pasta, but if you’re sensitive to textures, you might not enjoy the leftovers of this pasta.

Success with One Pot Pasta Recipes

Learning how to cook a one pot pasta can take a little practice. It’s all about observing and adjusting. The goal is to have the pasta simmer in a small amount of liquid so that by the time the pasta is tender, there is only a small amount of saucy liquid left in the bottom of the pot. You need to simmer with the lid on (to hold in the steam) and stir occasionally. Every time you stir, check the pasta texture and the amount of liquid left in the pot. If the pasta is almost tender and there is still a lot of liquid, let it simmer without a lid. If the liquid is almost gone but the pasta is not tender, add a splash more water. Here are some more tips for cooking one pot pastas:

  • Use a pot with a thick bottom. Thin-bottomed pots will create hot and cold spots that tend to cook the pasta unevenly.
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of the pot. If the burner is too small the outer edges will not simmer and the pasta will cook unevenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, the pasta will stop cooking and will become mushy.
One Pot Veggie Pasta in the pot half scooped
One pot veggie pasta in a bowl with a fork

One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!
Total Cost $7.99 recipe / $2.00 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 zucchini $0.90
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1/2 lb. rotini (not cooked) $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 24 oz. pasta sauce $1.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded (optional) $0.83

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, slice the mushrooms. Once sliced, add them to the pot with the other vegetables and continue sautéing.
  • While the rest of the vegetables are sautéing, dice the zucchini and bell pepper.
  • Once the bell pepper and zucchini are diced, add them to the pot along with the rotini, basil, oregano, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. It's okay if the broth doesn't fully submerge the pasta.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  • Once the broth reaches a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  • Once the pasta is tender, add the pasta sauce to the pot and stir to combine. Top with the shredded cheese then place the lid back on the pot. Let the pasta heat for a few minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 1573mg | Fiber: 8g
Close up of one pot veggie pasta being lifted on a spoon

How to Make One Pot Veggie Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Onion carrot and garlic in the pot

Mince two cloves of garlic, dice one yellow onion, and slice 2 carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Sliced mushrooms added to the pot

While the garlic, onion, and carrots are sautéing, slice 8oz. mushrooms (or you can buy pre-sliced). Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and continue to sauté while you chop the rest of the vegetables. Chop one zucchini and one red bell pepper.

pasta, vegetables, and broth added to the pot

Add the chopped zucchini and bell pepper to the pot along with 8oz. rotini (not cooked), ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp oregano, and 2 cups vegetable broth.

Stirred but uncooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Stir everything together. Don’t worry about the pasta not being fully submerged in the broth. I promise it still works. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring the broth to a boil. When it reaches a full boil, give everything a quick stir, put the lid back on top, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Let the pasta and vegetables simmer, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, until the pasta is tender and there is very little liquid left on the bottom of the pot.

Pasta sauce being poured into the pot

Add a 24 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce and stir to combine.

Shredded cheese being added on top

Top the pasta with 4 oz. shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit for about 2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted.

Finished one pot veggie pasta garnished with parsley

And then it’s done! I garnished with a little chopped parsley to make it pretty, but it’s totally unnecessary for flavor.

Close up side view of a bowl of veggie pasta with cheese

Enjoy!

Love One Pot Pastas? Try These Other Flavors:

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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Soup season is my favorite season. You can’t be a one pot meal! If you are a fan of the traditional stuffed bell peppers, you are going to LOVE this soup. It has all of the same flavors, but is super easy to make! Instead of stuffing individual b…

Soup season is my favorite season. You can’t be a one pot meal! If you are a fan of the traditional stuffed bell peppers, you are going to LOVE this soup. It has all of the same flavors, but is super easy to make! Instead of stuffing individual bell peppers, you put all of the…

The post Stuffed Pepper Soup appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Mediterranean Coleslaw

This bright and fresh Mediterranean Coleslaw has a light lemony dressing (no mayo!) and a medley of crunchy and colorful vegetables.

The post Mediterranean Coleslaw appeared first on Budget Bytes.

HELLO, NEW FAVORITE! Sorry about the caps, but I’m really excited about this Mediterranean Coleslaw. It’s so freaking delicious. This coleslaw is actually very similar to my Marinated Cauliflower Salad, but with a coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrot) base instead of cauliflower, and a more lemon-y dressing. It’s fresh, crisp, colorful, and the perfect side dish for dinners or potlucks!

Overhead view of an oval serving dish with mediterranean coleslaw and tongs

What is Colesaw Mix?

This recipe uses bagged “coleslaw mix” that you can purchase in most grocery stores in the U.S. It’s simply a mix of shredded green cabbage and carrots. While I don’t use convenience products like this often, I find that coleslaw mix is extremely convenient, usually very inexpensive, and doesn’t leave me with ½ head of leftover cabbage.

If you do want to use fresh cabbage, you’ll need about six cups of shredded cabbage (loosely packed) and one shredded carrot.

What to Serve with Mediterranean Coleslaw

I think this slaw would make a great side dish to burgers (particularly my Mediterranean Turkey Burgers), Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Vegetables, or even Beef Kofta Meatballs.

You could also pile this coleslaw into a wrap with some Garlic Marinated Chicken to make a wrap sandwich. Or top the Mediterranean Coleslaw with some Garlic Butter Shrimp and make it a meal salad.

How Are The Leftovers?

As with any coleslaw, the cabbage will begin to wilt as it is refrigerated. I enjoyed the leftovers of this coleslaw for about two days before it got a little too limp for my tastes. You’ll definitely want to give it a stir every time before serving to make sure the dressing and all the flavors get redistributed.

Close up of mediterranean coleslaw in tongs with the serving dish in the background
Side view of mediterranean coleslaw in a serving dish

Mediterranean Coleslaw

This bright and fresh Mediterranean Coleslaw has a light lemony dressing (no mayo!) and a medley of crunchy and colorful vegetables.
Total Cost $7.21 recipe / $1.20 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5 1 cup each
Calories 176kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.42
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice $0.18
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Salad

  • 16 oz. coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) $1.69
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced $0.75
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.23
  • 1 2.25oz. can sliced black olives $1.50
  • 1/2 12oz. jar banana pepper rings $1.00
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $1.25

Instructions

  • Prepare the lemon garlic vinaigrette first. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl or jar. Whisk until combined, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Dice the bell pepper and chop the parsley. Add the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots), bell pepper, black olives (drained), banana peppers, feta, and parsley in a large bowl.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients then toss until everything is combined and coated in dressing. Let the slaw sit for 15 minutes before serving. Stir one last time just before serving to redistribute the vinaigrette.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 482mg | Fiber: 3g
Side view of mediterranean coleslaw in a serving dish

How to Make Mediterranean Coleslaw – Step by Step Photos

Lemon Vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork

Prepare the lemon garlic vinaigrette first. Combine ¼ cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl or jar. Whisk until combined, or close the jar and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.

prepped vegetables for mediterranean slaw in a bowl

Dice ½ a red bell pepper and chop about ¼ cup fresh parsley. Drain the black olives. Add one 16oz. bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) to a large bowl along with the bell pepper, parsley, black olives, about ½ jar of banana peppers, and 2 oz. crumbled feta.

Lemon garlic vinaigrette being poured over salad ingredients

Pour the prepared lemon garlic vinaigrette over the salad ingredients in the bowl.

Finished mediterranean coleslaw in a bowl with tongs

Toss the ingredients together until everything is combined and coated in the vinaigrette. Let the salad sit for about 15 minutes for the flavors to combine, then toss once again before serving.

Overhead view of mediterranean coleslaw in an oval serving dish with tongs in the side

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