Grilled Skirt Steak Salad

GRILLED SKIRT STEAK SALADOur Grilled Skirt Steak Salad with fresh peaches and creamy burrata is one of our favorite things to serve guests during the summer. It’s so fresh, packed with so much flavor, super satisfying, and the best part? -it&#821…

GRILLED SKIRT STEAK SALAD
Our Grilled Skirt Steak Salad with fresh peaches and creamy burrata is one of our favorite things to serve guests during the summer. It’s so fresh, packed with so much flavor, super satisfying, and the best part? -it’s very easy to make! Skirt steak is so underrated…

Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs)

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This light and fresh Bún Chả recipe features flavorful and juicy pork meatballs paired with vermicelli noodles and plenty of herbs and vegetables. Bún chả is light yet filling and it comes together effortlessly in a few straightforward steps. Served with a homemade dipping sauce, this refreshing recipe is perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

Close up of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

What is Bún Chả?

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was a name for these delicious juicy pork meatballs. They were just something my mom made for me because it was one of the five things that I was willing to eat without question. It’s a recipe that you can easily make, you can scale it up or down, and most importantly, it’s super flavorful. 

Bún chả, also known as Vietnamese pork meatballs with vermicelli noodles, is a popular Vietnamese dish that is thought to have originated in Hanoi. You can find them served anywhere from street food stalls to restaurants in Hanoi. While a popular lunchtime recipe, you can enjoy this recipe any time of the day. I love how refreshing the noodles, vegetables, and herbs are on a hot summer day. You can even find Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama enjoying it on an episode of Parts Unknown!

What is fish sauce? 

Fish sauce is the secret ingredient of this entire recipe. It goes into the meatballs as well as the dipping sauce (nước chấm) and is an absolute umami bomb. It is a liquid condiment that is made from fermenting fish over time. It adds major savory, salty, and general deliciousness to the overall dish. You can find fish sauce in the international aisle in most grocery stores, or at an Asian grocer.

Bún chả being dipped in a bowl of sauce with ingredients on the sides.

What is lemongrass? 

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb that has a fragrant complex flavor that is bright and citrusy. You can purchase lemongrass fresh or frozen. I usually find frozen lemongrass at Asian grocers and like to stock up my freezer with them. If you can’t find lemongrass, lemon zest and some ginger could work in a pinch, but I highly recommend not substituting the lemongrass because it is key to achieving the authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

When using fresh lemongrass, keep in mind that the bottom woody section should be discarded. I’ve been noticing more chain grocery stores carrying fresh lemongrass so you should be able to find it relatively easily. If not, check where the ginger paste is kept and you might find lemongrass paste instead for an easy swap!

How to store leftovers

This recipe is perfect for meal prepping! Store the rice noodles, veggies, and herbs in one container and the pork meatballs in another container. This makes reheating the meatballs much easier, especially at work. Everything should keep and stay fresh for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tips for Making Bún Chả

  • Do not overpack the meatballs while shaping the meatballs as you do not want them to be dense. 
  • For uniformed meatballs, use a cookie scoop. This helps them cook evenly as well. You do not want to go any larger than around a golf ball’s size.
  • For the nước chấm, feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. 
  • While I use a non-stick skillet, you can use a grilling pan or cast-iron skillet as well. 
  • When buying rice vermicelli noodles, make sure to double-check the ingredients. At first glance, they look similar to cellophane noodles but they are not the same.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

Bún chả

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnames
Total Cost $16.22 recipe / $4.06 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 469kcal
Author Carmy Do

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork $4.49
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped $0.24
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot $0.68
  • 4 Tbsp minced lemongrass $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce $0.23
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02

Dipping Sauce (​​Nuoc Cham)

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes) $1.20
  • 3/4 cup water $0.00
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce $0.68
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper $0.10
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced $0.16

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles $2.99
  • 1 head butter lettuce $1.59
  • 1 handful fresh mint $2.19
  • 1 carrot, sliced $0.16
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced $0.50

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  • CHop the garlic and shallots, and mince the lemongrass.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.
  • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 20 meatballs), and then gently flatten them a bit.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

For the Sauce:

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together and adjust to your tastes. Optional: heat the water and whisk the sugar in to dissolve before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the Bowls:

  • Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (usually cook 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).
  • Serve the noodles with the meatballs along with a handful of lettuce, mint, carrots, and cucumbers with the nuoc cham on the side.

Notes

Editor’s note: The prices listed above are from U.S. chain grocery stores. If you have an Asian market in your area you’ll be able to source ingredients like fish sauce, lemongrass, limes, Thai chilis, mint, and rice noodles for much cheaper and often with much higher quality.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 2098mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

How to Make Bún chả – Step by Step Photos

Prepared aromatics for the meatballs on a cutting board.

First, prepare the aromatics for the meatballs. Mince three cloves of garlic, ¼ cup shallots, and 4 tablespoons lemongrass.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Add the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass to a bowl with about one pound of ground pork, 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix the ingredients together then set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge so the flavors can blend.

Shaped meatballs in a casserole dish.

Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and then gently flatten them a bit. To help divide the mixture evenly, first, dive the meat into four equal pieces, then divide each quarter into five pieces to yield 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

Prepared dipping sauce in a small container with a whisk.

For the sauce, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, ¾ cup water, 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped red chili, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and some thinly sliced carrots (optional garnish). Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients to your taste buds.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a sieve over a bowl.

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (they usually require cooking for 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water). Drain the noodles and set them aside.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables for your bowls. Slice a cucumber, slice a carrot into matchsticks, pull a handful of mint leaves from the stems, and wash some tender lettuce.

Finished Bún chả bowl from above.

Build the Bún chả bowls by adding the rice vermicelli noodles to a bowl along with some lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and Bún chả. Dip the Bún chả into the sauce, or drizzle a little over the bowl.

Bún chả in a bowl of dipping sauce.

SO fresh and so GOOD!

Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with noodles and vegetables, dipping sauce on the side.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Panzanella

This panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My friends, don’t sleep on this simple Panzanella salad! It’s a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time. What’s not to love?!?!

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

What Is Panzanella?

Panzanella is a hearty Tuscan salad and an OG food waste recipe. It was created by Italian peasants to keep stale bread out of the trash and to use up garden produce before it spoiled. It can be made with almost any combination of fruits and veggies, but traditionally, the stars of the show are juicy summer tomatoes and crusty bread that’s had time to absorb the salad’s tangy dressing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You’ll need some day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, some fresh greens, and any other summer fruit and veg you want to take advantage of. You can dress it with your favorite bottled dressing, or you can use our easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Beth and I added mozzarella pearls because, YES. Then we just drizzled it with a little olive oil and vinegar that we emulsified in a mason jar. (That’s just chef-speak for shaking the ever-living life out of it until the oil and vinegar transform into a creamy dressing.)

How Long Does Panzanella Last?

While it lives forever in my dreams, in real life, Panzanella doesn’t last longer than a day. You’ll need to make it an hour or so before serving to give the bread time to soak up the dressing.

Can I Meal-Prep Panzanella?

I’ve had lots of success prepping Panzanella components ahead of time. Chop and toast the bread, cool it, then store it in an air-tight container with a folded paper towel in it to absorb humidity. Slice and salt the tomatoes and store them in an airtight container as well. The salt forces them to release their juices, which you can then incorporate into your dressing. Chop the rest of your ingredients and also store them in your fridge in an airtight container. Then it’s as easy as mixing everything together with greens and dressing. Toasted bread will stay fresh at room temperature for a few days. Chopped produce will also stay fresh for a few days in the fridge.

Side view of panzanella salad in a white bowl.
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Panzanella

This scrumptious Panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Total Cost $13.54 recipe / $2.26 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 254kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread, cubed $2.00
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided $0.64
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes $3.49
  • 1 nectarine $0.90
  • 1 cucumber $0.69
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 10 oz. baby spring mix $3.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella pearls $1.75
  • 1 tsp salt $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.
  • While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine in 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice the red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.
  • Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.
  • Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, red onions, and mozzarella pearls.
  • Add remaining olive oil, vinegar, and salt to a small mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.
  • Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 664mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

How to Make Panzanella- Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cubed bread in a sheet pan being dressed with olive oil .

Slice three cups of day-old (or fresh) bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and nectarines on a wood cutting board.

While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice the pint of cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine into 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice half of a red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad croutons in a sheet pan.

Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad components.in a white bowl.

Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with 10 oz. of salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, and red onions. Finish with mozzarella pearls (not pictured here.)

Overhead shot of panzanella salad being dressed in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the tablespoon of vinegar, and the teaspoon of salt to a small mason jar or another container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Side shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Check out these other great summer salads

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho

STRAWBERRY AND TOMATO GAZPACHOWe love a refreshing chilled soup, especially on a hot summer day and our Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho Recipe is one of our absolute favorites! It’s light, super refreshing, slightly sweet, spicy and savory. It&#82…

STRAWBERRY AND TOMATO GAZPACHO
We love a refreshing chilled soup, especially on a hot summer day and our Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho Recipe is one of our absolute favorites! It’s light, super refreshing, slightly sweet, spicy and savory. It’s packed with tons and tons of flavor and we seriously can’t get…

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!

The post Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peanut butter banana smoothies have been a favorite snack (or dessert) of mine since I was a teenager. I usually always have the ingredients on have on hand, they’re ultra-creamy, just sweet enough to kill my sweet tooth, and filling enough to stand in for breakfast. Plus, they’re INEXPENSIVE. There are a lot of ways you can modify this simple banana smoothie if you want to make it your own, so if you haven’t tried this one yet, definitely put it on your list!

Peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a yellow striped straw.

Use any Nut Butter

I love the classic peanut butter-banana combo, but if you don’t like peanut butter or can’t have it for other reasons, feel free to substitute it with any type of nut or seed butter. Almond butter or Sun Butter would be awesome, and it would also be fun to experiment with flavored nut butters. The nut butter makes this smoothie extra rich and delicious, so don’t skip this ingredient!

Use Frozen Bananas for the Best Texture

The key to getting this ultra-creamy milkshake-like consistency is to use frozen bananas. Not only will frozen bananas make the smoothie extra thick and creamy, but they also keep it cold without having to add ice, which would water down the smoothie. So anytime I have bananas that are on their last leg, I make sure to peel, slice, and freeze them to use in smoothies and other desserts later.

Use Any Type of Milk

This smoothie recipe is incredibly flexible. You can use any type of dairy or non-dairy milk for this smoothie, keeping in mind that the creamier the milk, the creamier the smoothie will be. I like whole milk the best, but I think coconut would also pair nicely with these flavors!

What Else Can I Add?

As mentioned above, there are a lot of different things you can add to this smoothie to take it in a different direction. Try adding some of these ingredients to your banana smoothie:

  • Quick oats (about ¼ cup)
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Cocoa powder
  • Instant coffee
  • Chia seeds
  • Spinach
Overhead view of a peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with cinnamon.
Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $0.71 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 (approx. 12 oz.)
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.14
  • 1 tsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.13
  • 1 cup milk $0.20

Instructions

  • Add the sliced banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to a blender.
  • Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, add more milk. If the smoothie is too thin, add more frozen banana. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1smoothie | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 232mg | Fiber: 5g

How to Make a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie – Step by Step Photos

Smoothie ingredients in a blender cup.

Add one sliced frozen banana to a blender along with 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp brown sugar, and ¼ tsp vanilla extract.

Milk being poured into the blender cup.

Add one cup of milk. I use whole milk, but you can use the milk of your choice.

Blended smoothie in the blender cup, from above.

Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more milk. If it’s too liquidy for your taste, you can add more frozen sliced banana.

Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Try These Other Smoothie Recipes:

The post Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Butter Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta

BUTTER ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO PASTAOne of my favorite things to make during the summer is this Butter Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta! This recipe is a great way to use up a lot of super ripe and seasonal cherry tomatoes that are readily available during th…

BUTTER ROASTED CHERRY TOMATO PASTA
One of my favorite things to make during the summer is this Butter Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta! This recipe is a great way to use up a lot of super ripe and seasonal cherry tomatoes that are readily available during the summer months. It’s also a simple…

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.

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.

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Creamy Cucumber Salad

This simple Creamy Cucumber Salad is the quintessential side dish of summer. It’s light, fresh, and so quick to prepare!

The post Creamy Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know if there’s any salad that says “Summer” more than a simple creamy cucumber salad. This salad is so light and fresh, and it only takes minutes to make, so it’s the perfect side dish for all of your summer meals.

Close up front view of a shallow bowl full of creamy cucumber salad.

What’s in Creamy Cucumber Salad?

This classic summer salad is made with cucumbers, onions, and a simple creamy dressing. The dressing can vary from recipe to recipe, but it’s usually either a sour cream or yogurt base with some sort of acid (lemon juice or vinegar), a little sugar, and dill. It’s simple, fresh, and delicious!

Can I Use Fresh Dill?

Creamy Cucumber Salad is often made with fresh dill, but since fresh dill can sometimes be hard to find or more expensive, I made the version below with dried dill. You can certainly use fresh dill if you have access to it. I’d use about 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill in place of the dried dill listed below.

To Peel or Not to Peel the Cucumbers

It’s totally up to you whether or not you want to peel the cucumbers. I love the contrast of color the peel provides, but some people experience digestive upset with cucumber peels, so peel them if you prefer. You can also scrape out the seeds if those bother you as well.

How Are the Leftovers?

This salad is best when freshly made because the salt in the dressing will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers and cause the salad to get watery if refrigerated for a day or more. Luckily, this salad is really easy to scale down, or, if you know you plan to eat the leftovers for a few days, you can salt the cucumbers ahead of time to draw out the excess water. But salting the cucumbers will make them softer, which is why it’s not my personally preferred method.

To pre-salt the cucumbers, place the sliced cucumbers in a large colander and toss with ½ tsp salt. Let the cucumbers drain for about ½ hour, then pat dry with a paper towel. Since the cucumbers will already have some salt on them, skip adding salt to the sour cream dressing and just add salt to taste once the salad is assembled.

Close up overhead view of a plate full of creamy cucumber salad.
Close up overhead view of a plate full of creamy cucumber salad.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This simple Creamy Cucumber Salad is the quintessential side dish of summer. It's light, fresh, and so quick to prepare!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $2.31 recipe / $0.58 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 74kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.55
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill $0.05
  • 1 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 large cucumber $1.49
  • 1/4 red onion $0.10

Instructions

  • To make the dressing, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, dill, and salt in a bowl. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel the cucumbers, if desired. Slice the cucumbers and thinly slice the red onions.
  • Combine the cucumber, red onion, and dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes, give it another stir, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 302mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up side view of creamy cucumber salad in a bowl.

How to Make Creamy Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Sour cream and dill dressing in a bowl with a red spatula.

Make the dressing first. Stir together ½ cup sour cream, ½ tsp dried dill, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.

Sliced cucumber and red onion on a cutting board.

Peel the cucumbers, if desired. Slice one large cucumber and thinly slice ¼ of a red onion.

Combine cucumber, onion, and dressing.

Add the cucumber, onion, and dressing to a large bowl.

Finished cucumber salad in a bowl with a spatula.

Stir to combine. I like to let the salad sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving just to let the flavors combine a bit. Give it a good stir again before serving.

side view of a plate of creamy cucumber salad.

Enjoy this super fresh summer salad immediately!

Try These Other Cucumber Salads:

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