BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken

Forget boring or bland baked chicken breasts, this BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken is going to be the star of your dinner plate.

The post BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I used to think chicken breasts were bland and boring, but then I changed how I approached them. Instead of seeing chicken breast as the main feature of a recipe, now I see them simply as the vehicle for the flavor in a recipe. In this BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken, the chicken breast is a filling base that carries the tangy BBQ sauce, creamy cheddar, zesty red onion, and fresh cilantro straight to your taste buds. When chicken breast is used like this, I’m ALL ABOUT IT.

Overhead view of BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken in a baking dish

Tips for Baking Chicken Breast

Successfully baking chicken breast can take a little know-how. If you want to avoid overcooked or dry chicken breast, here are a few tips:

  • Adjust baking time for the size of your chicken breast. Larger or thicker chicken breasts will take longer to cook (20-25 minutes), while thinner or smaller chicken breasts will take less time (15-18 minutes).
  • Use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound the thick end of your chicken breasts to make the breast a more even thickness. This helps them cook quickly and evenly.
  • Use a meat thermometer for best results. Chicken breasts should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. The more it cooks beyond that point the more it will begin to dry out and become tough.
  • Let the chicken breast rest after baking. Make sure to let the chicken breast sit for 5-10 minutes after baking to reduce the steam pressure within the meat. This helps the juices stay in the meat once it’s cut, rather than escaping and leaving behind dry, tough meat.

Can I Use Bone-In Chicken?

This recipe is best suited to boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Bone-in chicken takes much longer to cook through and you may find that the BBQ sauce begins to burn with those longer cook times.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce is Best?

For an inexpensive yet flavorful BBQ sauce, I usually go with Sweet Baby Ray’s, but I highly suggest using whatever brand BBQ sauce you like the best. And while just about any flavor BBQ sauce would work for this dish, I would lean toward something more on the savory or smoky side rather than a sweeter BBQ sauce.

What to Serve with BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken

I served my BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken with some potato salad and a colorful bean salad (recipes coming next week), but I think it would also go great with Cowboy Caviar, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Cornbread, Summer Sweet Corn Salad, Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, or Green Chile Mac and Cheese.

BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken on a plate with potato salad and bean salad, a fork grabbing a slice of chicken
close up of a fork taking a piece of bbq cheddar baked chicken off a plate

BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken

Forget boring or bland baked chicken breasts, this BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken is going to be the star of your dinner plate.
Total Cost $8.89 recipe / $2.22 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 320kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 pounds total) $7.58
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce $0.13
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar $0.85
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion $0.05
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro $0.09

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If your chicken breasts are very thick or uneven in thickness, use a mallet or rolling pin to first pound them out to a more even thickness. Slice the chicken breasts in half, so you have four pieces.
  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, then sprinkle the seasoning mix over both sides of each piece of chicken.
  • Place the seasoned chicken pieces in a baking dish, then spoon 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce over top of each piece, spreading it from edge to edge to cover the chicken.
  • Bake the chicken in the preheated 400ºF oven for about 18 minutes (less for smaller or thinner pieces).
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and top each piece with shredded cheddar. Return the chicken to the oven and continue baking for five minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • After baking the chicken, let the chicken rest for five minutes, then top with diced red onion and chopped cilantro just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 677mg | Fiber: 1g
bbq cheddar baked chicken being lifted out of the baking dish, viewed from the side

How to Make BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Pounded Chicken Breast

You’ll need two boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, about 1.3 lbs. total. If your chicken breasts are very thick or a very uneven thickness, use a mallet or rolling pin to gently pound them to a more even thickness. This helps them cook more quickly and evenly. (Covering them with plastic helps keep everything clean as you pound.

Seasoned chicken breast

Pat the chicken breast dry, then cut each one in half so that you have four pieces. Combine 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning over all sides of the chicken pieces.

BBQ sauce being spread over chicken in a baking dish

Place 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce over each piece of chicken and spread it to cover the surface. Transfer the chicken to the preheated 400ºF oven and bake for about 18 minutes (a few minutes less for smaller or thinner chicken pieces).

Prepared toppings: red onion, cilantro, and cheddar

While the chicken is baking, prepare the toppings. Shred about 1 cup cheddar cheese, finely dice about ¼ cup red onion, and roughly chop ¼ cup cilantro.

Shredded cheese being added to the baked chicken

After baking for about 18 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and top the chicken with about 1 cup shredded cheese (about ¼ cup per piece of chicken). Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF.

Baked bbq chicken topped with red onion and cilantro

After baking, let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes, then top with the diced red onion and chopped cilantro.

close up of a fork taking a piece of bbq cheddar baked chicken off a plate

Serve and enjoy!!

The post BBQ Cheddar Baked Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet

This beef and cauliflower taco skillet has layers of flavor, color, and texture, and all of your favorite taco flavors in one hearty bowl.

The post Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

A couple of months ago I posted a side dish, Southwest Cauliflower Rice, and ever since I’ve been dying to flesh it out into a main dish. This week I finally got around to it, and OMG, so good! I added some ground beef, black beans, and a bunch of fresh ingredients on top, so you get this wonderful mix of hot and cold flavors and textures, kind of like when you eat a taco, but in bowl form.

Overhead view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet with vegetables on the side and a spatula in the side

Is it Spicy?

The heat level in this recipe depends on the spiciness of two ingredients: the canned diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Ro-tel) and your chili powder. Unfortunately, with both of these ingredients, some brands are spicy and some are not. So you may need to do some experimenting to find the brands that match the heat level that you prefer.

Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower Rice?

You can use either fresh homemade cauliflower rice or frozen store-bought cauliflower rice for this recipe. Both types of riced cauliflower cook very quickly and you shouldn’t need to make any changes to the recipe based on the type of cauliflower rice used.

Take the Taco Seasoning Short Cut

The recipe below includes all the herbs and spices in my homemade taco seasoning. If you don’t have a well stocked spice cabinet, you can use a packet of store-bought taco seasoning in place of the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper listed in the recipe below.

Other Topping Ideas

This recipe is so flexible! If you don’t like some of the toppings that I used, here are some other ideas:

Make it Low Carb or Vegetarian

If you want to make this tasty skillet low-carb, you can skip the black beans and use a full pound of ground beef instead.

If you want to make this taco skillet vegetarian, add an extra can of beans in place of the ground beef. You can use an extra can of black beans, or add a can of pinto or kidney beans.

Close up side view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet being scooped out of the skillet
overhead view of beef and cauliflower taco skillet with vegetables on the sides

Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet

This beef and cauliflower taco skillet has layers of flavor, color, and texture, and all of your favorite taco flavors in one hearty bowl.
Total Cost $7.74 recipe . /$1.94 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 467kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.50
  • 3 cups riced cauliflower $1.25
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles $0.55
  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.50
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 2 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded $0.38
  • 1 avocado $0.99
  • 1 tomato $0.46
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion $0.10
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro $0.10

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, and ground beef to a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the ground beef is browned. If you're using a high fat content beef, you may want to drain off the excess fat before the next step.
  • Drain the can of black beans and add them to the skillet along with the diced tomatoes with green chiles (not drained), chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until the skillet is simmering.
  • Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet (no need to thaw, if frozen). Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender (about five minutes).
  • While the beef and cauliflower are heating, dice the tomato, avocado, and red onion. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Top the beef and cauliflower mixture with the shredded cheddar. Place a lid on the skillet, and let it heat over medium for a few minutes, or until the cheddar has melted.
  • Once the cheese is melted, top the skillet with the tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 360mg | Fiber: 14g
beef and cauliflower taco skillet in a bowl with a fork on the side

How to Make Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet – Step by Step Photos

browned ground beef in a skillet

Mince two cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil and ½ lb. ground beef. Cook over medium heat until the ground beef is browned.

Tomatoes, beans, and seasoning added to the skillet

Drain one 15oz. can of black beans and add them to the skillet along with one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (not drained), 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Continue to cook and stir until the skillet is simmering.

Frozen riced cauliflower added to the skillet.

Add 3 cups riced cauliflower to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir until the riced cauliflower is tender (about 5 minutes).

Diced tomato, avocado, and onion

While the cauliflower and beef are heating, dice one tomato and one avocado. Finely dice about ¼ cup red onion. Roughly chop one small handful of cilantro.

Shredded cheddar being added to the skillet

Top the skillet with 2 oz. (about ½ cup) shredded cheddar cheese. Place a lid on the skillet and let it heat over medium for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

skillet topped with fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro

Once the cheese is melted, top with the fresh tomato, avocado, red onion, and cilantro, then serve!

A fork lifting a bite of beef and cauliflower taco skillet out of a bowl

That’s one FLAVORFUL bowl!!

The post Beef and Cauliflower Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Taco Salad

We LOVE taco night at our house, but sometimes we mix it up and make Taco Salad. Everyone needs a good taco salad recipe, it’s a classic! This recipe is the very best because it’s loaded with LOTS of fun toppings. It is colorful and the fla…

We LOVE taco night at our house, but sometimes we mix it up and make Taco Salad. Everyone needs a good taco salad recipe, it’s a classic! This recipe is the very best because it’s loaded with LOTS of fun toppings. It is colorful and the flavors are outstanding! It is the perfect salad for…

The post Taco Salad appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Southwest Cauliflower Rice

Southwest Cauliflower Rice is a quick, easy, and flavorful side dish that can also be spruced up and turned into an entire meal!

The post Southwest Cauliflower Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Look, I’m not one to say that cauliflower tastes like rice. It doesn’t. Not to me anyway. But there is something to say for cauliflower that has been “riced.” Or cauliflower that is minced to the size of small granules. It’s a fun and useful ingredient in its own right. So today I’m highlighting a really easy recipe using riced cauliflower. This Southwest Cauliflower Rice makes a super flavorful and easy side dish, or you can spruce it up and turn it into an entire meal! Keep on reading to find out how.

Overhead view of a skillet full of Southwest Cauliflower Rice garnished with lime and a bowl of salt on the side

What is Cauliflower Rice?

Cauliflower rice is simply cauliflower that has been minced to rice-sized granules. It takes on flavors really well and is an easy way to add a bunch of vegetable fiber to your meals. You can find this in the freezer section of most major grocery stores, or you can make your own with a food processor or a knife. I’ve got a tutorial for this coming later this week!

Cauliflower rice gained in popularity with the low-carb movement because a lot of people use it as a substitute for rice. I don’t find them to be similar at all, but I think that it’s useful as its own unique way.

Take a Short Cut with Taco Seasoning

I seasoned this dish with my Homemade Taco Seasoning (minus the cayenne and garlic powder), but if you want a short cut or don’t yet have a well stocked spice cabinet, you can use one packet of store-bought taco seasoning in place of the herbs and spices listed in the recipe below.

Overhead view of a bowl full of southwest cauliflower rice with a fork on the side

Is it Spicy?

I would rate this as a “medium” on the spicy scale. All of the heat is going to come from either the diced tomatoes with green chiles or the chili powder. Some brands of both chili powder and diced tomatoes with green chiles do make mild versions (no heat), so if you can’t handle spiciness, make sure you look for non-spicy versions of both of these ingredients. You can also try using fire-roasted diced tomatoes in place of the tomatoes with green chiles.

How to Serve Southwest Cauliflower Rice

This simple recipe makes a great side dish to any southwest-flavored dish, like Hearty Black Bean Quesadillas, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, Baked Beef and Black Bean Tacos, or Black Bean and Avocado Enchiladas. But you can also add a few ingredients and just make the cauliflower rice into a whole meal…

Make it a Meal

To make this Southwest Cauliflower Rice into a full meal you can add a can of black beans, ground beef or turkey, top it with some shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and maybe a couple of jalapeños. In fact, let me just put that on my list of recipe to make because now I want some!!

Overhead view of a skillet full of southwest cauliflower rice with a bowl of salt and cilantro on the side
Close up overhead of southwest cauliflower rice in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Southwest Cauliflower Rice

Southwest Cauliflower Rice is a quick, easy, and flavorful side dish that can also be spruced up and turned into an entire meal!
Total Cost $3.00 recipe / $0.75 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 83.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice $1.66
  • 1 10oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles $0.50
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and add it to a skillet with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for about one minute, or just until the garlic is slightly softened and fragrant.
  • Add the cauliflower rice and continue to sauté for about five minutes, or until the cauliflower is a little softer.
  • Finally, add the diced tomatoes with green chilies (and all the juices from the can), as well as all the spices: chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about five minutes more, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Taste the cauliflower rice and adjust the salt or other spices to your liking. Top with sliced green onions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 83.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.13g | Protein: 3.33g | Fat: 4.08g | Sodium: 456.33mg | Fiber: 3.95g
Side view of a fork picking up some southwest cauliflower rice out of a bowl

How to Make Southwest Cauliflower Rice – Step by Step Photos

Cauliflower rice in a skillet with a spatula

Mince two cloves of garlic and add them to a skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or just until soft and fragrant. Add 4 cups of cauliflower rice and continue to sauté for about five minutes, or until the cauliflower has softened.

Tomatoes being poured into the skillet with cauliflower rice and spices

Add one 10oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (with the juices), ½ Tbsp chili powder, ½ tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper.

Finished southwest cauliflower rice in the skillet

Continue to sauté the cauliflower, tomatoes, and spices for about five minutes more, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Give the cauliflower rice a taste and adjust the salt or other spices to your preferences. Top with sliced green onions and serve!

Close up overhead of southwest cauliflower rice in a skillet with a wooden spoon

The post Southwest Cauliflower Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs

These Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs are easy, colorful, and delicious. Plus the leftovers hold up great, so they’re meal prep friendly!

The post Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You guys know how I feel about meatballs, right? Well I’m also a huge fan of cooking things on a sheet pan. So I decided to bring these two favorite things of mine together to make these Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs, complete with roasted peppers and onions, and big slices of sweet pineapple. This meal is delicious, easy, and packs up well for meal prep! WIN.

Sheet pan bbq meatballs on the pan with pineapple, peppers, and onions. Tongs resting on the side.

Use Two Sheet Pans for Best Results

While you can do this all on one sheet pan, you’ll definitely get better results using two pans. Why? Because the peppers and onions caramelize better when they have room to breathe. If they’re too crowded, the steam will get trapped they’ll just get kind of soft instead of having those nice brown flavorful edges. Of course, if convenience is your priority, you may choose to use one pan.

Can I Use a Different Meat?

Absolutely! These meatballs work great with ground pork, beef, or chicken instead of the ground turkey listed in the recipe below.

Do I Need to Line The Sheet Pans?

This is really up to you. I ended up lining the sheet pan I used for my meatballs with parchment paper and left the sheet pan with the peppers, onions, and pineapple unlined. Lining the sheet pan makes clean up a lot easier, but you do get less caramelization since the vegetables are not in direct contact with the hot pan. So, if you prefer easy clean up, go ahead and line both pans. If you prize flavor over convenience, leave the pan (or pans) unlined.

Sheet pan bbq meatballs in a bowl with pineapple, onions and peppers, and rice
Overhead view of sheet pan with bbq meatballs, pineapple, peppers, and onions, tongs on the side

Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs

These Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs are easy, colorful, and delicious. Plus the leftovers hold up great, so they're meal prep friendly!
Total Cost $7.84 recipe / $1.96 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 549.03kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground turkey $3.89
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs $0.07
  • 6 Tbsp BBQ sauce, divided $0.20
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Siides

  • 1 20oz. can pineapple slices (in juice) $0.89
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (uncooked) $0.40

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Combine the ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp of BBQ sauce (reserve the remaining ¼ cup for later), garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together by hand until evenly combined.
  • Divide and shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs. This is easiest by first dividing the mixture into four equal portions, then dividing and shaping each of those portions into four meatballs. The mixture may be fairly wet. That is okay. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside.
  • Slice the bell pepper and onion into ¼-inch wide strips. Place the pepper and onion slices on a second baking sheet (lined or unlined, your choice) and drizzle with cooking oil. Toss to coat, then season with salt. Spread the peppers and onions evenly over one side of the baking sheet.
  • Remove the pineapple slices from the can and blot them dry with paper towel. Lay the pineapple slices over the second half of the baking sheet with the peppers and onions.
  • Place both baking sheets in the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  • While the sheet pans are in the oven, begin cooking the rice. Add the rice and 1.5 cups water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on top and bring the water up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low. Let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest, undisturbed and with the lid on, until the rest of the meal is finished.
  • After roasting for 15 minutes, take the sheet pan with the vegetables out and give the peppers and onions a stir. Use a brush to lightly coat the pineapple slices with about 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. Return that sheet pan to the oven.
  • Remove the sheet pan with the meatballs and use the brush to lightly coat the meatballs with the remaining 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. Return the sheet pan to the oven. Finish roasting both sheet pans for an additional 10 minutes.
  • After the meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple have finished roasting, it's time to serve! Fluff the rice with a fork, then add about ¾ cup rice to each bowl or meal prep container. Divide the meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple slices between the four bowls. Top with sliced green onion, then enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 549.03kcal | Carbohydrates: 77.25g | Protein: 28.68g | Fat: 14.1g | Sodium: 823.63mg | Fiber: 4.15g
Side view of sheet pan with peppers and onions, bbq meatballs, and pineapple slices

How to Make Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

Meatball ingredients in a bowl

Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF. Combine 1 lb. ground turkey, one large egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce (save the remaining ¼ cup for later), ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp salt in a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until evenly combined.

Shaped meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet

Divide and shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs. I do this by first dividing the mixture into four portions, then dividing and shaping each of those portions into four meatballs. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set them aside.

Sliced peppers and onions on a baking sheet

Slice one yellow onion and one red bell pepper into ¼-inch wide strips. Place the peppers and onions on a second baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Toss to coat in the oil, then season with ⅛ tsp salt.

Pineapple slices on a baking sheet with the peppers and onions

Move the peppers and onions over to one side of the baking sheet. Remove the pineapple slices from the can and blot them dry with paper towel. Place the pineapple slices on the other half of the baking sheet with the peppers and onions. Transfer both sheet pans to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple are cooking, begin the rice. Add 1 cup long grain white rice to a sauce pot with 1.5 cups water. Place a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and bring the water up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest, undisturbed and lid in place, until the rest of the meat is finished.

BBQ sauce being brushed onto pineapple slices

After having roasted for 15 minutes, remove the sheet pan with the peppers, onions, and pineapple from the oven. Give the peppers and onions a stir. Use a brush to lightly coat the pineapple with 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. Return the sheet pan to the oven.

BBQ sauce being brushed onto the meatballs

Remove the sheet pan with the meatballs and use the brush to lightly coat them with the remaining 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce. Return the sheet pan to the oven. Finish roasting both sheet pans for an additional 10 minutes.

Finished sheet pans with meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple

After the final 10 minutes you should have some nice caramelization on the peppers and onions and the meatballs will be cooked through.

Glass meal prep container with rice, bbq meatballs, peppers, onions, and pineapple

Fluff the rice with a fork, then add ¾ cup rice to each bowl or meal prep container. Divide the peppers, onions, BBQ meatballs, and pineapple slices between each bowl or container. Top with sliced green onions and serve, or refrigerate until ready to eat (3-4 days).

A bowl with rice, sheet pan BBQ meatballs, roasted peppers and onions, and pineapple slices.

What a delicious meal!!

The post Sheet Pan BBQ Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don’t have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Mardi Gras is definitely looking a little (okay, a lot) different this year, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t celebrating! I no longer live in New Orleans, but I still like to celebrate every year with a big pot of red beans and rice. I usually make a traditional pot of my Louisiana Style Red beans using dry beans, but I get so many questions about how to do it with canned beans that I decided to make this Quickie Red Beans and Rice recipe for those who just don’t have time to soak and cook dry beans. It’s not a traditional pot of red beans, but it’s faster, satisfying, and will make you wish you were watching parades and catching beads!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with sausage, corn muffins on the side

You’ll Still Need a Little Time…

Okay, I’m calling these “quickie” red beans and rice, but they do still need a little time to cook and for all those delicious flavors to blend and develop. But we’re talking more like one hour instead of several hours, like a traditional pot of beans.

What Kind of Red Beans Should I Use?

I used dark red kidney beans for this recipe because that’s the only canned variety that was available when I was shopping. When I make a pot of red beans from dry beans, I prefer small red beans instead of kidney beans because they make a smoother, creamier pot of beans. I usually can’t find small red beans canned, so kidney beans are the next best option. You can use either light or dark kidney beans.

Are Red Beans and Rice Spicy?

You can make these red beans and rice either spicy or mild, according to your preference. If you prefer mild, make sure the sausage you get is not spicy and skip the cayenne pepper in the spices listed below. If you want your red beans to be spicy, use a spicy sausage and increase the cayenne pepper to your liking.

Make Your Red Beans Vegetarian

It’s super easy to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan. Just skip the sausage and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. To make up for the richness of the pork fat that comes from the sausage, use coconut oil in place of the cooking oil listed below, and consider adding a couple extra tablespoons. This will make your red beans super rich and delicious! Here’s a link to my Vegan Red Beans made from dry beans.

Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side
Overhead view of a bowl of quickie red beans and rice with corn muffins on the side

Quickie Red Beans and Rice

When you don't have time to soak and boil dry beans, these Quickie Red Beans and Rice get you all the flavor in a fraction of the time.
Total Cost $8.02 recipe / $1.34 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 1.5 cups beans, 1 cup rice
Calories 603.18kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $2.99
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 bell pepper $0.69
  • 3 ribs celery $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1 tsp dried thyme $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 3 15oz. cans kidney beans $1.50
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13
  • 3 green onions, sliced $0.30
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.93

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into rounds or half-rounds. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery. Mince the garlic.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper to the pot and continue to cook and stir for a minute more.
  • Drain two of the cans of beans. Add the third can to a blender, with the liquid from the can, and purée until smooth. The puréed beans will help thicken the pot and make everything extra creamy. Add the drained beans, puréed beans, and chicken broth to the pot, then stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot and allow the beans to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the pot continue to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the red beans are simmering, begin cooking your rice. Add the uncooked rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Once the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice sit, undisturbed, lid in place, for an extra 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
  • After the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed (between the sausage and canned beans I didn't find I needed to add any, but salt content can vary so be sure to give it a taste). Serve the beans in a bowl, topped with a scoop of rice, and a few sliced green onions.

Notes

*If you can’t find Andouille sausage you can use any other type of smoked sausage. The sausage I bought came in a 14oz. package, but you can use anywhere from 12-16oz.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 603.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 74.85g | Protein: 23.73g | Fat: 23.1g | Sodium: 1396.82mg | Fiber: 11.6g
Close up of a spoonful of quickie red beans and rice with the bowl in the background

How to Make Quickie Red Beans and Rice – Step by Step Photos

browned sausage rounds in a pot

Slice 14oz. Andouille sausage (or any smoked sausage, if you can’t find Andouille) into rounds or half-rounds. Add it to a large pot with 1 Tbsp cooking oil and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has browned.

Onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic added to the pot

While the sausage is cooking, dice one yellow onion, one bell pepper, and three ribs of celery. Mince four cloves of garlic. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot with the sausage and continue to stir and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Spices being poured into the pot with sausage and vegetables

Next, add 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute more.

Pureed red beans in a blender

No, this is not a photo of a strawberry smoothie, but this is where the recipe gets a little interesting. Drain two 15oz. cans of kidney beans. Pour the third can, including the liquid from the can, into a blender and purée until smooth.

red beans added to the pot

Add the two cans of drained beans and the one can of puréed beans to the pot. The puréed beans are going to help thicken the pot and make everything nice and creamy.

Chicken broth added to the pot, beans ready to simmer

Finally, add 1 cup chicken broth to the pot and stir everything to combine. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. (Photo above is before simmering)

Cooked rice in sauce pot

While the beans are simmering, begin the rice. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice to a pot with 3 cups water. Place a lid on top and turn the heat on to high. When it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, with the lid in place, for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff just before serving.

Simmered pot of red beans

Once the beans have simmered for 30 minutes, give them a taste and add salt if needed. Between the sausage and canned beans, I didn’t find that I needed to add any salt, but if your beans are tasting bland try adding a little. Salt doesn’t just make things salty, it actually helps our tongue distinguish different flavors, so it can really make a dish pop when used correctly!

Overhead view of a pot of red beans with corn muffins on the side

Serve your red beans in a bowl topped with a scoop of rice and a few sliced green onions. Cornbread or corn muffins are also a nice side with red beans. ;)

The post Quickie Red Beans and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

There’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked, tender, juicy shredded pork. It’s versatile and freezes well, so I love making a big batch of this Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork to keep on hand for quick dinners later. This heavily spiced pulled pork has become one of my favorites over the years and is probably one of […]

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

There’s nothing quite like a slow-cooked, tender, juicy shredded pork. It’s versatile and freezes well, so I love making a big batch of this Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork to keep on hand for quick dinners later. This heavily spiced pulled pork has become one of my favorites over the years and is probably one of my most cooked recipes. It’s just too easy, with the slow cooker doing all the work, and the results are soooo delicious! 

Originally posted 9-12-2015, updated 2-13-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

Use a Slow Cooker for Tender, Moist Meat

Pulled pork is super easy to make, especially if you have a slow cooker. Slow cooking holds in all the moisture during cooking and slowly breaks down connective tissue, so the meat is so tender that it just falls apart and shreds with the touch of a fork. Combine those spectacular results with the fact that slow cookers are essentially hands off, and this is, without dispute, my favorite way to make pulled pork.

How To Use Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

This delicious shredded meat can be used so many different ways. Pile the pork into rice bowls, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, or just enjoy on a bun. I also love using it to top salads for an extra shot of protein.

Freeze the Extras

This makes a BIG batch, so keep some in your fridge for the week and freeze the rest. To freeze the pulled pork, divide the pork into more manageable portions (I usually do 1-2 cup portions), then chill it completely in the refrigerator overnight. Transfer the pork to the freezer once completely cooled and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Any freezer safe container works.

Front view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings in the back

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork is a tender, juicy, and flavorful meat that can be used for tacos, nachos, burritos, salads, and more!
Total Cost $5.54 recipe / $0.92 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 (1/2 cup each)
Calories 434.52kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. boneless pork butt or shoulder $4.47
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder* $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika $0.30
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1 tsp salt $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Combine the chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl.
  • Cut the pork butt into 2-3 inch cubes. Place the pork cubes in a large bowl, sprinkle the prepared spice mix over top, then stir to coat the meat in the spices.
  • Place the seasoned meat in a slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.
  • After cooking, stir the meat with a fork to shred the meat. If it's not tender enough to fall apart when stirred, return the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes adn try again. After shredding the meat, it is ready to serve, or portion and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Keep the shredded meat in the juices from the slow cooker until ready to serve for the best flavor.

Notes

*This chili powder is not spicy. It is a mild, earthy blend of chiles and other spices commonly referred to as "chili powder" in the United States.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 434.52kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.37g | Protein: 40.1g | Fat: 28.6g | Sodium: 649.27mg | Fiber: 1.42g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Three pulled pork tacos on a plate with coleslaw

Chili rubbed pulled pork served as tacos in corn tortillas with sliced jalapeños, pickled red onions, and cotija, Cumin Lime Coleslaw on the side.

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

Spices for the chili rubbed pulled pork in a small wooden bowl

Prepare the chili spice rub first. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until they’re evenly mixed.

Pork butt cut into large chunks

Cut one 3 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder into large chunks (about 2-3 inch pieces). 

Seasoned pork butt pieces in a bowl

Place the pieces of pork in a bowl and pour the spices over top. Stir the pork pieces until they’re evenly coated in spices.

Seasoned pork in the slow cooker

Place the seasoned pork in a slow cooker (I’m using a 5 qt slow cooker and it’s only about half full). I do not add any water or liquid to the slow cooker, as the meat will release quite a bit of liquid as it cooks. If your slow cooker specifies that you must add some liquid, you can add a cup of water.

Cooked Pork in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours. After cooking it should be so tender that it begins to fall apart when stirred. If it doesn’t, simply put the lid back on and continue to cook for 30-60 minutes more. Sometimes that last little bit of time makes a huge difference in the texture.

Shredded pork in the slow cooker

Stir the pork in the slow cooker until it has shredded into smaller pieces. Serve immediately or transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate and/or freeze for later. I like to keep the meat right in the cooking juices during storage for maximum flavor.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chili rubbed pulled pork with taco fixings on the sides

It’s soooo tender and juicy! And those spices!!

Close up of a chili rubbed pulled pork taco

And it makes the absolute BEST tacos!!

Chili Rubbed Pulled Pork - BudgetBytes.com

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Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

Who doesn’t love Broccoli Cheddar Casserole?? This cozy homemade version doesn’t contain any canned “cream of” soup and comes together quickly. This comforting classic is great as a Thanksgiving side, or just a tasty addition to dinner any night of the week. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover rice from the night […]

The post Broccoli Cheddar Casserole appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Who doesn’t love Broccoli Cheddar Casserole?? This cozy homemade version doesn’t contain any canned “cream of” soup and comes together quickly. This comforting classic is great as a Thanksgiving side, or just a tasty addition to dinner any night of the week. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover rice from the night before!

Originally posted 3-7-2015, updated 1-30-2021

Overhead view of a large spoon scooping some broccoli cheddar casserole from the dish

Don’t Have Pre-Cooked Rice?

This recipe is written using rice that is already cooked. Much like fried rice, this recipe benefits from rice that has already been cooked and cooled so the grains are no longer sticky and are slightly more absorbent. If you don’t have rice on hand that is already cooked, allow time to cook some rice and allow it to cool before making this recipe. To cool your cooked rice faster, spread it out onto a baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator. The large surface area will help it cool quickly.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Yes! I’ve made this recipe using both brown and white rice and it’s delightful either way. Since you’re measuring the rice after it has been cooked, no adjustments need to be made to the recipe below if you plan to use brown rice. Brown rice gives this broccoli casserole a slightly nutty flavor and a little bit more texture.

Can the Broccoli Cheddar Casserole Be Assembled Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can assemble this broccoli cheddar casserole up to one day ahead of time, keeping it refrigerated until you’re ready to cook. Because the casserole will be chilled when going into the oven, you may need to add an extra 20-30 minutes to the cooking time to make sure the casserole is heated through. 

Side view of broccoli cheddar casserole being lifted out of the dish with a spoon

Broccoli cheddar casserole being scooped out of the dish

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

A creamy broccoli cheddar casserole from scratch, using no "cream of" soups. Rich, cheesy comfort food at its best!
Total Cost $6.09 recipe / $1.02 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 437.58kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets $1.99
  • 4 cups cooked rice (white or brown) $0.67
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese $1.69
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 3 Tbsp butter $0.42
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 2 cups milk (2% milk fat or higher) $0.75
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Thaw the frozen broccoli, then chop it into smaller pieces. Add the chopped broccoli to a large bowl along with the cooked rice and about 1.5 cups of the shredded cheese (save the last ½ cup for topping the casserole).
  • Begin to preheat the oven to 350ºF. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Add the butter, onion, and garlic to a small saucepot and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (2-3 minutes). Add the flour and stir until a paste forms. Continue to stir and cook the paste for about two minutes, or just until it turns a light golden brown.
  • Whisk the milk into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk the mixture as it heats, allowing it to reach a simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  • Season the sauce with the salt, smoked paprika, cayenne, and pepper. Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if desired. The sauce should be heavily seasoned because it will be spread out over the broccoli and rice, which contain no seasoning of their own.
  • Pour the sauce over the rice, broccoli, and cheese, and stir until everything is evenly coated in sauce. Spread the casserole mixture evenly into a 9x9 inch casserole dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
  • Bake the casserole for about 35 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and is slightly browned around the edges. Divide into six portions and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 437.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.1g | Protein: 17.25g | Fat: 21.82g | Sodium: 569.2mg | Fiber: 3.28g

Looking for a low-carb alternative? Check out my Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole.

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Casserole – Step by Step Photos

Chopped frozen broccoli florets on a cutting board

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw one pound of frozen broccoli florets, then chop them into smaller pieces.

Chopped broccoli, rice, and shredded cheddar in a bowl

Add the chopped broccoli to a large bowl along with four cups cooked and cooled rice, and 6 oz. (1.5 cups) shredded cheddar cheese. Save the remaining ½ cup cheddar to top the casserole.

Stirred together broccoli, rice, and cheddar in the bowl

Stir the broccoli, rice, and cheese together until evenly combined, then set them aside.

Onion, garlic, and butter in a sauce pot

Next, begin the white sauce. Finely dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a saucepot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Flour added to the sauce pot

Add 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour to the cooked onions and garlic. Continue to stir and cook for about a minute more. The flour will form a paste with the butter.

Milk being poured into the onion and flour mixture.

Pour two cups whole milk into the saucepot and whisk until all the flour is dissolved into the milk. Continue to stir and cook until the milk begins to gently simmer, at which point it will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.

Seasoning added to the white sauce

Season the white sauce with ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, and ⅛ tsp black pepper. Give the sauce a taste and adjust the seasoning if you prefer (it should be heavily seasoned).

White sauce mixed in with broccoli, rice, and cheddar

Pour the white sauce into the bowl with the broccoli, rice, and cheddar, then stir to combine.

Broccoli rice mixture in a casserole dish being covered with shredded cheddar

Transfer the broccoli rice mixture to a casserole dish (about 9×9 inches) and then add the remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Baked broccoli cheddar casserole

Bake the casserole for 35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on top and it’s browned around the edges.

Broccoli cheddar casserole being scooped out of the dish

Serve hot and enjoy that cozy comfort!

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Vegetarian Taco Skillet

We love taco nights, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up. That is when I pull out my skillet and make this Vegetarian Taco Skillet. You get all of the great taco flavors in ONE pan. I am always up for an easy one-pan meal, especially during t…

We love taco nights, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up. That is when I pull out my skillet and make this Vegetarian Taco Skillet. You get all of the great taco flavors in ONE pan. I am always up for an easy one-pan meal, especially during the week. This recipe kind of reminds…

The post Vegetarian Taco Skillet appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Turkey Tacos

Taco night is a weekly occasion at our house. We don’t always do Taco Tuesday, but I promise Taco Thursday or Taco Saturday is just as fun and just as delicious. Tacos are good any day of the week. We love mixing up the tacos we have: steak, swee…

Taco night is a weekly occasion at our house. We don’t always do Taco Tuesday, but I promise Taco Thursday or Taco Saturday is just as fun and just as delicious. Tacos are good any day of the week. We love mixing up the tacos we have: steak, sweet potato, shrimp, chicken, cauliflower, and more.…

The post Turkey Tacos appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.