Homemade Rice Krispie Treats

Sweet and fluffy marshmallows, creamy butter, and crispy rice cereal make these homemade rice krispie treats melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

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I love it when a few simple ingredients can come together to create something truly delicious and I think rice krispie treats are one of those magical ingredient combinations. It’s literally four simple ingredients but together they become a new magical thing that is simultaneously melt-in-your-mouth, soft and chewy, and also light and crispy. They’re just *mwuah* perfection. I like to make mine a little extra soft so that sweet marshmallow melts away to the crispy rice cereal within. You won’t be cutting the roof of your mouth on these babies! Just soft, gooey, marshmallowy goodness!

A stack of homemade rice krispie treats

How to Keep Rice Krispie Treats Soft

There’s nothing worse than a rice krispie treat that is rock hard. To make sure your rice krispie treats are marshmallowy soft and delicious, follow these tips:

  • Make sure to use enough marshmallows (if you follow the recipe below you should have no problem).
  • Use fresh marshmallows. If they’re kind of dry or stale, that will affect how soft your rice krispie treats turn out.
  • Don’t overcook the marshmallows and butter. Sugars become more hard the longer they cook. So to keep your treats soft, make sure to only cook the butter and marshmallow mixture just until the marshmallows have melted, and no longer.

How to Store Rice Krispie Treats

Rice krispie treats can be kept at room temperature for a couple of days, or in the refrigerator for about five days. OR, if you’re like me and want to make them last even longer, you can freeze them in an air-tight container for up to three months. I just take one out at a time and thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before going to town. :)

What Else Can You Add?

Add-ins are my favorite part of any recipe. And with something as simple as rice krispie treats, there is so much room for customization! Here are some fun things to add to make new flavors:

  • Almond extract and rainbow sprinkles for birthday cake flavored treats
  • Replace some of the rice cereal with golden graham cereal and add chocolate chips and more mini-marshmallows (stir in with the cereal so they don’t melt) for smores flavored treats
  • Stir some peanut butter into the melted marshmallows and drizzle chocolate over top
  • Use cocoa pebbles in place of plain rice krispie cereal and stir cocoa powder into the melted marshmallows
  • Stir in crushed oreo cookies for a “cookies and cream” treat
  • Add peppermint extract to the melted marshmallows and stir in white chocolate chips with the cereal
A hand pulling apart a rice krispie treat
Stacked rice krispie treats

Rice Krispie Treats

Sweet and fluffy marshmallows, creamy butter, and crispy rice cereal make these homemade rice krispie treats melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $2.30 recipe / $0.26 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cool time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 221kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp butter (salted) $0.60
  • 6 cups mini marshmallows (10oz. package) $1.00
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.14
  • 4 cups rice krispie cereal $0.56

Instructions

  • Line an 8×8 dish with waxed paper or foil and coat lightly in oil.
  • Add the butter to a pot and melt over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the marshmallows and continue to stir and cook until the marshmallows are melted and incorporated into the butter.
  • Once the marshmallows are melted and incorporated, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the rice krispie cereal and stir until everything is coated in the marshmallow mixture.
  • Press the rice krispie mixture into the prepared dish using a lightly oiled spatula. Avoid over compacting the treats.
  • Allow the treats to cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator until solid. Slice into 9 pieces and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 159mg | Fiber: 1g
Rice krispie treats cut and lined up in a grid

How to Make Rice Krispie Treats – Step by Step Photos

Melting butter in a pot

Add 6 Tbsp of butter to a pot and melt over medium heat.

marshmallows added to the pot with the butter

Once the butter is melted, add 6 cups mini marshmallows (or one 10oz. package). Continue to stir and cook over medium heat.

Melted marshmallows and butter in the pot

When the marshmallows are fully melted and incorporated into the butter, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in ½ tsp vanilla extract.

Rice krispies being added to the pot

Stir in 4 cups of rice krispies cereal.

rice krispie treat mixture in the pot

Make sure to stir until all of the cereal is well coated in the melted marshmallow mixture.

Rice krispie treats in the dish

Line an 8×8 dish with waxed paper or foil coated lightly with oil (I put a little oil on a paper towel and wipe the inside). Press the rice krispie mixture into the dish using a lightly oiled spatula. Avoid packing it down too firmly. Allow the treats to cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator until firm, then slice into nine pieces.

Stacked rice krispie treats

Store the rice krispie treats at room temperature for about two days, in the refrigerator for five days, or in the freezer for longer storage.

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Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.

The post Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve made a few variations of pasta sauce over the years, but this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is definitely one of my favorites. The long slow simmer caramelizes the sugars in the tomatoes and creates a depth of flavor that can’t be matched. Plus, what more could you ask for than to just throw some ingredients in a pot, forget about it for 8 hours, and then come back to a rich, delicious homemade sauce? Then you can divide the sauce into portions, freeze, and you’ll have delicious homemade pasta sauce on hand for quick busy weeknight dinners.

Originally posted on 11/4/2011, updated 1/12/2022.

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker with a spoon, garnished with parsley

Why make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce?

Pasta sauce can be bought premade really cheaply, so I think in a lot of cases it does make sense to just buy a jar and go with it. But if you want to have a little more control over the quality and ingredients of your pasta sauce while still keeping costs low, this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is a great option. 

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

This recipe makes about 2 quarts of sauce, so I would suggest using a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. You don’t need anything fancy, just a very basic slow cooker with basic functions like warm, low, and high. I do find that slow cookers made with a thick ceramic insert (or “crock”) cook much more evenly than metal inserts, like you’d have when using the slow cooker function on an Instant Pot.

Why Add Balsamic Vinegar?

The balsamic vinegar in this recipe adds a subtle depth and brightness to the sauce. It can seem strong at first, but it mellows out as the sauce is cooked. If you’re not a fan of balsamic vinegar or just don’t have any on hand, this recipe will still make a really amazing sauce even if you leave it out.

Can I Add Meat?

I’ve tried this sauce before with ground beef and I found the cook time to be far too long for the ground beef, so if you do want to add meat I suggest browning it separately and then just stirring it into the sauce after cooking. You can also check out my quick Weeknight Pasta Sauce for an easy and flavorful meat sauce option.

How to Freeze Pasta Sauce

This recipe makes about 7 cups. I suggest dividing the sauce into two or three cup portions before freezing so you can take out just enough for one recipe at a time to thaw. Let the spaghetti sauce cool completely in the fridge, then transfer to freezer-safe containers to freeze. The sauce will stay good in the freezer for about three months, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your freezer. If you use quart-sized freezer bags and freeze them laying flat they stack nicely in the freezer without taking up much space. 

You can thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight or just cut the bag away from the frozen sauce, place it in a saucepot, and heat over medium-low until it’s heated through (stir occasionally).

This sauce goes great with Homemade Meatballs (also freezer-friendly)!

A plate of pasta covered in sauce with bread on the side

Pasta sauce in a slow cooker garnished with parsley

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Let the slow cooker do all the work for you when you make this big batch of freezer-friendly homemade spaghetti sauce.
Course Dinner, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Total Cost $4.40 recipe / $0.63 per cup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 7 cups
Calories 77kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes $2.00
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste $0.69
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil $0.30
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.03
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.14
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste) $0.05

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Place both in a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and butter to the slow cooker. Stir everything together well.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking, give it a good stir, then add salt to taste. Start with just ½ tsp of salt and add more if needed (I added 1 tsp). Use the sauce immediately, refrigerate, or freeze for later.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 393mg | Fiber: 1g

Homemade pasta sauce being spooned over a plate of spaghetti

How to Make Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce – Step By Step Photos

Onion and garlic in slow cooker

Dice one yellow onion and mince four cloves of garlic. Add both to a 3 quart or larger slow cooker.

Tomatoes added to slow cooker

Add 2 28oz. cans of crushed tomatoes and one 6oz. can of tomato paste to the slow cooker.

Seasonings added to the slow cooker

Also add 1 Tbsp dried basil, 1.5 tsp dried oregano, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 4 Tbsp butter to the slow cooker. 

Sauce ingredients being stirred together before cooking

Give the ingredients a good stir until they’re evenly incorporated.

Simmered pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. After cooking, it will look a little like the photo above (the white is just the milk fats from the butter). Give it a good stir.

Finished pasta sauce in the slow cooker garnished with parsley

Add salt to the sauce to taste. Start with ½ teaspoon and add more until the flavors pop. I ended up using one teaspoon total. 

Side view of pasta sauce in the slow cooker

Use the slow cooker spaghetti sauce immediately or refrigerate then freeze for long-term storage.

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Cabbage Soup

Forget the cabbage soup diet, you’ll want to eat this super healthy vegetable-filled cabbage soup just because it tastes incredible!

The post Cabbage Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Do you remember the cabbage soup diet? It was one of those crazy fad diets where you were supposed to eat as much as you want of just one thing (in this case cabbage soup) and you’d supposedly lose weight without trying. While I’m not a fan of that type of diet, I am a big fan of the cabbage soup that the diet was centered around. Why? For one simple reason—it’s absolutely DELICIOUSYeah, I was surprised too. The first time I had the famed diet cabbage soup I expected it to be boring and bland, but I was pleasantly surprised by how extremely flavorful and comforting the soup was. I actually ended up eating it over and over again just because I wanted to. And it became a winter comfort food staple for me ever since. 😅

Originally published 1/15/2018, updated 1/8/2022.

Overhead view of a pot of cabbage soup with a ladle

Is Cabbage Soup Healthy?

I’m not going to tell you this cabbage soup will “detox” you or make you lose weight, but this soup is chock-full of a lot of the one thing that almost all of us are guilty of not getting enough of—vegetables.

I’m nicknamed this soup All You Can Eat Cabbage Soup as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the old fad diet, but seriously, eat as much as you want. The more the better, really. You’ll just be getting more of the good stuff. And guess what? This cabbage soup is insanely inexpensive, too! So even more reason to feel free to eat as much as you want!

What’s in Cabbage Soup?

The classic “cabbage soup diet” cabbage soup has taken many forms over the years, but they all have one thing in common—they’re stuffed full of non-starchy vegetables swimming in a flavorful herb-filled broth. I like my broth a bit more tomatoey, so I added some tomato sauce to thicken it up. Some people use V8 instead, but tomato sauce is much less expensive, especially when only a small amount is needed. I also added a bit of smoked paprika (because that’s my fav), and a splash of lemon juice at the end to brighten it up.

How to Store Leftovers

This recipe does make a really large batch, so it’s a good idea to freeze about half of it, just in case you can’t eat all of it within about five days. To freeze this soup, divide it into single-serving portions, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer for longer storage. Keep in the freezer for up to three months.

Add More Protien

Soup recipes in general are very flexible, so you could always add a little extra protein to this soup to make it more filling. Here are some other great ingredients you can add:

  • Beans (cannellini, chickpeas, kidney beans)
  • Ground beef (or check out my Beef and Cabbage Soup)
  • Italian sausage
  • Cubed tofu (extra firm)
  • Shredded chicken

a bowl of cabbage soup with a spoon and garlic bread on the side

Shown with Homemade Garlic Bread.

close up of the pot of cabbage soup

Cabbage Soup

Forget the cabbage soup diet, you'll want to eat this super healthy vegetable-filled cabbage soup just because it tastes incredible! 
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.13 recipe / $1.19 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 133kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 4 carrots $0.57
  • 4 ribs celery $0.50
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.69
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 8oz. can tomato sauce $0.34
  • 1/2 lb. frozen green beans $0.67
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.23
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika $0.15
  • 1 tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage (½ head) $1.14
  • 6 cups vegetable broth $0.78
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice the carrots, chop the celery, and dice the bell pepper. Add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté as you measure the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, frozen green beans, chopped parsley, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Continue to stir and cook while you chop the cabbage.
  • Chop the cabbage into 1-inch pieces. Add the cabbage to the pot along with the vegetable broth and stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.
  • Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with ½ tsp and adding more to your liking. Finish the soup by adding the lemon juice and stirring to combine. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1783mg | Fiber: 7g

A ladle full of cabbage soup held over the pot

How to Make Cabbage Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onion and garlic in a soup pot

Start by mincing four cloves of garlic and dicing one large onion. Add them both to a large soup pot with one tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Celery, carrot, and bell pepper added to the pot

While the onion and garlic are sautéing, peel and slice 4 carrots, slice 4 stalks of celery, and dice one green bell pepper. Add the carrots, celery, and bell pepper to the pot. Continue to sauté over medium.

Tomatoes, spices, parsley, and green beans added to the pot

Add one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced), one 8oz. can tomato sauce, ½ lb. frozen green beans, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp thyme, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir to combine.

cabbage in soup pot, broth being poured in

Chop 1/2 head of cabbage into one-inch pieces (about 5-6 cups once chopped). Add the chopped cabbage to the pot along with 6 cups of vegetable broth.

Cabbage soup before simmering

Stir everything together, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes, or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.

Salt being added to the soup

Once the cabbage is tender, season the soup with salt, starting with 1/2 teaspoon, then adding more to taste (I used 1 tsp total). Next, add one tablespoon of lemon juice, which really helps brighten the flavors. 

close up of the pot of cabbage soup

And then slurp down all that vegetable-y goodness! I garnished with a little more fresh parsley, but it’s not needed for extra flavor.

close up of a bowl of cabbage soup

This soup goes great with some crusty bread (garlic or not) to soak up that delicious broth!

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How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan

Learn how to cook tender, juicy, and flavorful boneless chicken breasts in a pan. Perfect for quick dinners and meal prep!

The post How to Cook Chicken Breast in a Pan appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The last two times I bought chicken breast at the grocery store, the cashiers asked me how to cook them (I had to wonder if they secretly knew what I did for a living 😅). While it can seem like a simple process, it can definitely go wrong if not done properly. And I’m not about to let you big $$$ dry, tasteless chicken breasts. So here is my full tutorial on how to cook chicken breast in a pan so that it stays juicy, flavorful, and tender.

Two chicken breasts in a skillet garnished with parsley

Why I Love Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

This has become my go-to method for cooking chicken breasts. Not only is it super fast and easy, but you get a lot of delicious browning on the outside of the meat, which is something that doesn’t happen in the gentle heat of an oven. Plus, you can change the seasoning and make it taste like something new every time!

I’ve begun cooking a couple of chicken breasts at the beginning of each week, slicing them up, then storing them in the refrigerator to add to salads, pasta, sandwiches, and bowls over the next few days. It’s only a few minutes of prep and then I’ve got an easy protein ready to add to any meal. Here is a roundup of flexible recipes that are perfect for adding any protein, like pan-seared chicken breasts.

Cooking Boneless vs. Bone-in Chicken Breasts

The cooking technique below is for boneless chicken breasts (with or without skin). Bone-in chicken breasts take much longer to cook through, so you’ll want to utilize the oven to make sure the breast heats through completely without burning on the outside. For bone-in chicken breasts, I suggest using the method outlined in my Herb Roasted Chicken Breast recipe.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breasts in a Skillet

The amount of time needed to cook a chicken breast in a pan will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, the amount of heat used, and the type of cookware used. To take the guesswork out of how long to cook the chicken breasts, I suggest using an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken breast has reached 165ºF.

Thick Chicken Breasts

Thick chicken breasts take longer to cook through than thin chicken breasts, so I like to use lower heat (medium-low) and a longer cook time, which allows time for the meat to heat through without the outside burning. For a boneless chicken breast that is about one inch thick, I cook for about 8 minutes per side over medium-low heat.

Thin Chicken Breasts

If you buy thin cut breasts, fillet the chicken breasts yourself, or use a mallet to pound the chicken breasts to ½-inch thick, they will cook much faster. You’ll want to increase the heat to medium so you can still achieve some browning on the outside with a shorter cook time. For thinner breasts, I cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

How to Season Chicken Breasts

I used a very classic smoky seasoning for the chicken breasts in the recipe below, but there are so many other delicious options. Here are some other ways you can season your pan-seared chicken breasts:

side view of chicken breasts in a skillet
close up of cooked chicken breasts in the skillet

Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

Learn how to cook tender, juicy, and flavorful boneless chicken breasts in a pan. Perfect for quick dinners and meal prep! 
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.27 recipe / $0.91 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 229kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp steak seasoning $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika $0.05
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1.3 lbs. total) $6.79
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp butter (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Combine the steak seasoning, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika in a bowl. Coat the chicken breasts liberally with the seasoning on all sides.
  • Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-low (or medium for thin-cut breasts). Once hot, swirl the oil to coat the skillet.
  • Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes without flipping (5 minutes for thin-cut breasts). Flip the chicken and then cook on the second side until well browned and cooked through (internal temperature of 165ºF).
  • For extra luscious chicken, add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet, allow it to melt, then flip the chicken a couple of times to coat in the melted butter.
  • Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 197mg | Fiber: 1g
close up side view of sliced chicken breasts

How to Make Cook Chicken Breasts in a Pan – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken breasts on a cutting board

Begin by seasoning the chicken breast liberally on each side. I used a mix of 2 tsp steak seasoning, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ½ tsp sweet paprika. The steak seasoning contains salt, so no extra salt was needed in my mix.

oil being added to the skillet

Add a tablespoon or so of your favorite cooking oil to a large skillet. Heat the skillet over medium-low (or medium heat for thin cut breasts).

Cooked Chicken breasts in the skillet

Once hot, swirl the oil in the skillet to coat the surface, then add the chicken breasts. Let the chicken breasts cook for 8 minutes without flipping (or 5 minutes for thin cut breasts). Flip once and cook until well browned on the second side and cooked through.

Butter added to the skillet

To make the chicken breasts extra luscious, add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet, allow it to melt, then flip the chicken a couple of times to coat. The butter will help dissolve some of the flavor off the bottom of the skillet to further coat the chicken.

Sliced chicken breasts

Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.

close up of cooked chicken breasts in the skillet

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Easy Buffalo Sauce

This incredibly easy buffalo sauce only takes a few minutes to make and is perfect for dipping or drizzling all over your favorite foods.

The post Easy Buffalo Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I posted some Baked Chicken Wings earlier this week, so it’s only natural that I teach you how to make your own buffalo wing sauce as well! Buffalo sauce is an incredibly addictive, spicy, tangy, and rich sauce that is an absolute must-have for your chicken wings. And the best part? It’s so easy. Just four simple ingredients and about five minutes, and you’re ready for dipping and drizzling the buffalo sauce over your favorite foods.

Buffalo sauce in a jar with wings in the background

What is Buffalo Sauce?

If you’re not from the U.S. you’re probably asking yourself how someone made a sauce out of a buffalo, but don’t worry, the name actually comes from Buffalo, New York, where this sauce is said to have originated. It’s an incredibly tasty mix of cayenne hot sauce and butter. This simple combination of ingredients hits four of the major flavor elements (salt, fat, acid, and heat), making it incredibly delicious and almost downright addictive.

Sometimes, depending on the recipe, other ingredients are added for even more flavor. For my recipe below, I kept the sauce fairly simple with just a little garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce for a little more dimension.

What Kind of Hot Sauce to Use

Buffalo sauce is traditionally made with Frank’s Original Redhot Sauce, which is a vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce. That being said, I’ve made buffalo sauce with other brands of cayenne hot sauce and they were equally as delicious, so if you want to cut costs a bit you can always go with a different brand. Just make sure it’s a vinegar-based cayenne hot sauce.

Customize Your Buffalo Sauce

One reason I love this Buffalo sauce recipe is that it is customizable. By simply adding one or two more ingredients you can really change the direction of the sauce. Here are some ideas:

  • Honey or brown sugar to make a sweet-spicy sauce
  • Smoked paprika for a smokier flavor
  • Ranch seasoning for a garlic-herb infused buffalo sauce
  • Roasted garlic for an extra garlicky kick
  • Cayenne pepper for an extra hot buffalo sauce

How to Use Buffalo Sauce

Buffalo sauce isn’t just for chicken wings! You can use this tasty sauce on plenty of other types of foods. It’s great for dipping, drizzling, or even using as a dressing. Here are some other foods that taste great when blessed with a little buffalo sauce:

Buffalo wings on a plate with celery next to a jar of buffalo sauce
buffalo sauce in a jar with wings in the background

Easy Buffalo Sauce

This incredibly easy buffalo sauce only takes a few minutes to make and is perfect for dipping or drizzling all over your favorite foods.
Course Appetizer, Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $1.73 recipe / $0.29 serving
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 makes ¾ cup
Calories 69kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Redhot Sauce $1.26
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepot over medium heat, then add the remaining ingredients (hot sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder).
  • Whisk the ingredients together and heat through. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 690mg | Fiber: 1g
a hand dipping a chicken wing into a bowl of hot sauce

How to Make Buffalo Sauce – Step by Step Photos

Buffalo sauce ingredients in the saucepot

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a small saucepot over medium heat. Once melted, add ½ cup Frank’s Redhot Sauce, ½ tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce.

Finished buffalo sauce in the pot with a whisk

Whisk the ingredients together and heat through.

buffalo sauce being poured over a bowl of chicken wings

Use the finished sauce for dipping or drizzling over your favorite foods (baked chicken wings pictured above).

Finished buffalo wings in a bowl

This spicy, tangy, rich sauce instantly transforms wings into an insanely addictive snack.

buffalo wings on a platter next to a jar of sauce

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Easy Baked Brie with Apples

Baked Brie is an easy appetizer that is deliciously decadent and perfect for a holiday party or a special night in at home.

The post Easy Baked Brie with Apples appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Okay, I’ve got one more delicious drop for you before I take a few days off for Christmas. If there is one special thing you make for yourself this holiday season, let it be baked brie. There’s no appetizer or delicious treat that is easier than baked brie. It’s basically pure heaven. I topped my baked brie with caramelized apples and pecans, but I’ve got some other topping ideas for you below!

Baked brie surrounded by crackers and apples

What is Brie?

Brie is a soft, ultra-creamy cow’s milk cheese that has a pillowy white outer rind and a soft and creamy beige-colored center. The cheese is soft and spreadable when room temperature, and it gets ultra melty and creamy when briefly baked. Brie is so ultra rich and creamy, that I definitely consider it a treat and perfect for special occasions, like Christmas.

You’ll usually find brie sold in small wheels or in wedge-shaped portions. For this recipe, you’ll want a whole 8oz. wheel so the melty cheese can stay contained in the rind as it melts into a near-liquid state.

Can You Eat the Rind?

Yes, the soft white rind on the wheel of brie is 100% edible. Some people don’t like the slightly musky flavor, but I love the contrast between the earthy outer layer and the creamy interior. If you don’t like the flavor of the rind or you’re just not sure yet, go ahead and slice the rind off the top of the wheel before topping and baking. That will allow you to scoop the cheese out of the center without getting any rind in your bite. Leave the sides and bottom rind intact to hold the melted cheese inside.

Buying Brie on a Budget

Brie can range in price quite a bit, but honestly, even lower level brie is just so creamy and delicious that I wouldn’t worry about buying a less expensive cheese. I was able to find one at Aldi for $2.99, and another on sale at Kroger for $3.49 (other brands can easily be 2-3 times this much). I usually see the more expensive brie cheese at the specialty cheese counter, while less expensive wheels are near the other pre-packaged refrigerated cheeses.

A good way to shop around without having to drive around from store to store is to check your local grocery stores’ websites. Search for “brie” on each one to see what their selection and prices look like before heading out the door.

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use

For baked brie, you’ll want to use an oven-safe dish that is close in size to your wheel of brie. If you’re adding something like the caramelized apples that I added below, you’ll want the dish to be slightly larger (maybe 1-inch wider in diameter) to allow room for the toppings to overflow.

Topping Ideas for Baked Brie

I topped my baked brie with caramelized apples and pecans (instructions included in the recipe below), but there are so many other options, some of which require nothing more than opening up a jar. Here are some other ways you can top your baked brie:

Side view of baked brie with apples surrounded by crackers and apples
close up of a cracker dipping into the baked brie with cheese pull

Easy Baked Brie with Apples

Baked Brie is an easy appetizer that is deliciously decadent and perfect for a holiday party or a special night in at home.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, French
Total Cost $4.52 recipe / $0.75 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 230kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 apple $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar $0.09
  • 1 pinch cinnamon $0.02
  • 8 oz. wheel of brie $2.99
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans $0.52

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and chop the apple into ½-inch pieces.
  • Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the chopped apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sauté the apples in the butter and brown sugar until they're softened and the brown sugar has reduced into a sticky caramel (about 10 minutes).
  • Score the top of the wheel of brie in a hatch pattern (you can also remove the top layer of rind, or leave it whole). Place the brie in a small baking dish, then pour the caramelized apples over top. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.
  • Bake the brie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Enjoy the brie hot with crackers, bread, or apple slices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 273mg | Fiber: 1g
A hand dipping a cracker into the baked brie

How to Make Baked Brie with Apples – Step by Step Photos

Chopped Apple on a cutting board

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Peel and chop one apple.

Chopped apples in a skillet with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once melted add the chopped apples, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon.

Caramelized apples in the skillet

Cook the apples in the butter and brown sugar over medium heat until the apples are softened and the brown sugar has turned into a thick caramel sauce (about 10 minutes). You can stir in the chopped pecans now (¼ cup) if you want them more like candied pecans, or add them later if you want them to have a more toasty flavor.

Scored wheel of cheese

Place your wheel of brie in an oven-safe dish that is close in size to the wheel of cheese. If you don’t like the flavor of the rind, slice the rind off the top of the wheel. I like to simply score the top in a hatch pattern, which makes it easier to dip the crackers in without breaking. You can also leave the rind intact if you prefer.

Caramelized apples poured over brie, topped with nuts

Pour the caramelized apples over the wheel of brie and top with 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 15 minutes.

close up of a cracker dipping into the baked brie with cheese pull

Dig in while it’s still hot! 🤤

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Baked Barley with Mushrooms

Baked Barley with Mushrooms is a hearty side dish perfect for chilly fall and winter nights and pairs perfectly with roasted meat or stew.

The post Baked Barley with Mushrooms appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I grew up eating this Baked Barley with Mushrooms and I always looked forward to it on chilly winter nights. It’s a simple dish made with pearled barley cooked in a flavorful mix of vegetable broth, butter, and mushrooms for an extra umami kick. Plus, it cooks mostly in the oven, leaving your hands and attention available to tend to other things. It’s a nice alternative to plain rice for meals like pot roast, brisket, baked pork chops, or any roasted or braised meat. Those hearty little grains are perfect for soaking up every last drop of your pan drippings!

Originally posted 9/3/2013, updated 12/15/2021.

Overhead view of a bowl full of baked barley with mushrooms

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use

You’ll need some sort of baking dish with a tight-fitting lid, like a Dutch oven, because if the steam from the broth is not held inside as it bakes, the barley will not cook through. I used an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that was probably a little too big for the scale of this recipe, but it still turned out great. The recipe makes about four cups, so something in the 2-3 quart size range is probably ideal. Glass, ceramic, or cast iron will all work as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.

If your baking dish is not safe for use on the stovetop, simply use a skillet for the first couple of steps (sautéing the mushrooms), then transfer to the baking dish when adding the barley and broth.

What is Pearled Barley?

It’s very important that you use pearled barley for this recipe. Pearled barley is whole barley grains that have had the outer husk removed and are then are polished to remove some or all of the outer bran. The resulting grain is tender and chewy once cooked, and doesn’t take quite as long to cook as hulled barley. You can usually find pearled barley near the dry rice and beans in the grocery store, or near other specialty grains. 

I used the Bob’s Redmill brand, which is slightly less polished than other brands that I’ve used and it resulted in a slightly more firm grain. 

Add More Vegetables

This recipe is pretty flexible and you can experiment with adding more hearty vegetables, like carrot, celery, onion, turnip, or rutabega. I suggest dicing the vegetables and sautéing them briefly with the mushrooms before adding the remaining ingredients. 

What to Serve with Baked Barley

This baked barley would go awesome with something like Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew, or pot roast.

Side view of a serving dish full of baked barley with mushrooms

overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon

Baked Barley with Mushrooms

Baked Barley with Mushrooms is a hearty side dish perfect for chilly fall and winter nights that pairs perfectly with roasted meat or stew.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $3.03 recipe / $0.76 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 298kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40
  • 1 cup pearled barley $0.57
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms
  • Add the garlic, mushrooms, and butter to a Dutch oven. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the barley, vegetable broth, thyme and freshly cracked pepper to the dutch oven. Stir to combine, place the lid on top, and transfer to the oven. Bake the barley for one hour.
  • After baking for one hour, stir the barley to fluff it up. Give the barley a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Top with chopped fresh parsley just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 578mg | Fiber: 8g

How to Make Baked Barley with Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos

Butter, garlic, and mushrooms in the pot

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 8oz. sliced mushrooms to a pot. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.

close up of pearled barley in a measuring cup

This is what the pearled barley looks like. As mentioned above, this is Bob’s Redmill brand, which appears to be less polished than other generic brands I’ve used in the past. Pearled barley often looks very white, so this barley still has a considerable amount of bran left intact. Because of that, the grains were a little more firm this time around. Either way, it still tasted great!

broth being poured into the pot with barley and thyme

Add one cup pearled barley, ½ tsp dried thyme, a little freshly cracked black pepper (⅛ tsp), and 2 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Stir briefly to combine.

lid being placed on the pot

Place a lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Bake the barley in the 350ºF oven for one hour.

baked barley before stirring

After baking it will look like this–the mushrooms will have risen to the top, fully covering the barley.

Stirred barley in the pot

Give the barley a good stir. Taste the barley and add salt or pepper if desired.

overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon

Top with chopped parsley just before serving.

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The Ultimate Homemade Hot Chocolate

This homemade hot chocolate is extra rich and delicious, has two types of chocolate, and you can add other flavor add-ins for fun!

The post The Ultimate Homemade Hot Chocolate appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Fun fact: the number of times people searched the internet for hot chocolate in December 2020 was twice that of previous years. Why? Probably because we all needed that extra comfort after a hard year. I don’t know about you, but I still need the creamy, cozy comfort of a mug full of hot chocolate. 😅 Thankfully, homemade hot cocoa is super fast to make, you can make one mug at a time or in a big batch, and I’ve got a bunch of fun ideas for add-ins so you can make a new flavor every time. :) Keep scrolling for delicious, chocolatey goodness!

overhead view of four mugs of hot chocolate with different toppings

What Makes this Hot Chocolate Extra Good

I went all out with this hot chocolate. To make it extra creamy and extra chocolatey I used a 50/50 mix of milk and half and half, semi-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened cocoa powder for a one-two chocolate punch. I added just enough sugar to keep it sweet, but not so much that it’s hard to finish your mug (you can always add more to taste). The result is a perfectly balanced rich, sweet, and chocolatey mug that will give you all the warm and fuzzy cozy winter vibes.

What Type of Chocolate to Use

I used Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate because that’s what I had on hand, but you can definitely use semi-sweet chocolate chips to make this hot chocolate more affordable. You can also experiment with using either milk chocolate or dark chocolate depending on how sweet or bitter you like your hot cocoa. Semi-sweet is right in the middle, which fits my flavor preferences.

Can I Use a Different Type of Milk?

Technically, you can use different types of milk or non-dairy milk substitutes for your hot chocolate, just keep in mind that the type of milk you use will directly impact the creaminess and sweetness of your hot chocolate. The recipe below is designed for a combination of whole milk and half and half, which I found to be rich and creamy without being too heavy.

Half and half is a 50/50 mix of whole milk and heavy cream, so if you don’t have half and half you can change the ingredients below to be 3 cups whole milk and one cup heavy cream for the same result.

What Else Can I Add to Hot Chocolate?

This is where homemade hot chocolate gets fun. There are so many extra ingredients that you can add to make new flavors. Here are a few things you can add to hot chocolate to give it more flavor:

  • Instant coffee or espresso powder
  • Almond extract
  • Peppermint extract
  • Crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne pepper (see my Spicy Hot Cocoa)
  • Nutella
  • Caramel sauce
  • Malted milk powder
  • Maple syrup
  • Almond butter
  • White chocolate
  • Bailey’s Irish cream ;)
Side view of four mugs of hot chocolate with different toppings
close up overhead view of a single mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate syrup

The Ultimate Homemade Hot Chocolate

This homemade hot chocolate is extra rich and delicious, has two types of chocolate, and you can add other flavor add-ins for fun!
Course Beverage, Drinks
Cuisine General
Total Cost $3.96 recipe / $0.99 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 377kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder $0.14
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate $1.75
  • 1/4 cup sugar $0.04
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 2 cups whole milk $0.84
  • 2 cups half and half $0.90
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.28

Instructions

  • Add the cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepot. Pour the milk and half and half over top.
  • Place the saucepot over medium heat. Heat the ingredients over medium while whisking until the chocolate has fully melted into the milk and the milk is beginning to steam (but not simmering).
  • Once the chocolate is fully melted into the milk and the milk is has begun to steam, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Taste and adjust the sugar or chocolate to your liking.
  • Serve hot with your favorite toppings.

Notes

This recipe scales up or down easily. Just change the number in the box next to “servings” at the top of the recipe and the ingredient amounts will adjust for you.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 178mg | Fiber: 3g
close up overhead view of a single mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate syrup

How to Make Homemade Hot Chocolate – Step by Step Photos

Milk being poured into a sauce pot with chocolate sugar and salt

Add ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, ¼ cup sugar, and ⅛ tsp salt to a saucepot. Pour 2 cups whole milk and 2 cups half and half over top.

Finished hot chocolate

Heat the mixture over medium while whisking. The cocoa powder will sit on top at first while the milk is cold, but will begin to incorporate as the milk heats up. The semi-sweet chocolate will begin to melt as you heat, but will not fully incorporate into the milk until the milk gets so hot that it begins to steam. Once steaming, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

four mugs of hot chocolate with different toppings

Taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness or other ingredients before serving and adding your favorite toppings! If you want it to be extra, EXTRA special, try topping it with some homemade whipped cream!

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Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.

The post Spiced Lentils with Carrots appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, then you know how much I love lentils. They’re cheap, easy to cook, and are a blank slate for flavor. This week I decided to take one of my favorite spice combos and add it to some lentils. Warm cumin, garlic, and ginger pair with the subtle sweetness of ginger, cinnamon, and carrots to create a complex flavor that is simply out of this world. Spoon these saucy spiced lentils over something starchy like polenta, rice, or mashed sweet potatoes and you’ll be in lentil heaven.

Overhead view of spiced lentils with carrots in a skillet

Spiced but not Spicy

These lentils are seasoned with a slew of warm, sweet, and savory spices, but they are not hot or spicy. I did add a ¼ tsp crushed red pepper to the mix which gives the back end just a slight kick, but I still wouldn’t consider it spicy by any means. If you do happen to be sensitive to spicy flavors, you can reduce or eliminate the crushed red pepper.

What Kind of Lentils to Use

This recipe is designed for brown or green lentils (not French green lentils, which take much longer to cook). This type of lentil cooks in about 20-30 minutes of simmering, does not require soaking, and they hold their shape when softened. I do not recommend red, orange, or yellow lentils for this recipe because they break down quickly when cooked and will leave you with something more like a mush or porridge.

How to Serve Spiced Lentils

You can serve these lentils in a bowl on their own with some crusty bread for dipping, or spoon them over just about any type of starch. I served mine over a cornmeal mush (like polenta or grits), but you could also serve them over rice, mashed white potatoes or sweet potatoes, farro, or any other grain that you might like.

Meal Prep It!

I think these spiced lentils would make a fabulous vegetarian or vegan meal prep. They’ll keep well in the fridge for four to five days and should reheat quickly in the microwave. They’ll also freeze well, so you can stock a few extra portions in your freezer!

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta
side view of spiced lentils on a bed of polenta

Spiced Lentils with Carrots

These warm, sweet, and savory spiced lentils hold up well as leftovers and make the perfect cozy vegetarian meal prep.
Total Cost $3.91 recipe / $0.98 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 about 1.25 cups each
Calories 314kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger $0.10
  • 4 carrots (about 2 cups chopped) $0.56
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp allspice $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste $0.15
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins* $0.75
  • 3 cups vegetable broth $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and peel and dice the carrots.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and olive oil to a deep skillet. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about five minutes).
  • Add the diced carrots, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and crushed red pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
  • Next, add the uncooked lentils, tomato paste, and broth to the skillet. Stir until the tomato paste has dissolved into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to high.
  • Allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils simmer in the broth with the lid on for 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally.
  • After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be very tender. Give the lentils a taste and add salt or pepper if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth, I did not add any).
  • Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping, or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

*Raisins are the more economical choice here (golden or purple raisins), but I happened to have dried apricots on hand so I used those instead of buying raisins specifically for this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 851mg | Fiber: 18g
close up side view of spiced lentils in the skillet

How to Make Spiced Lentils with Carrots – Step by Step Photos

onion, garlic, and ginger in a skillet

Dice one yellow onion, mince four cloves of garlic, grate about one teaspoon fresh ginger, and peel and dice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Carrots and spices added to the skillet

Add the chopped carrots to the skillet along with 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, and ¼ tsp crushed red pepper. Continue to sauté for about two minutes more.

lentils, tomato paste, and broth being added to the skillet

Add one cup uncooked brown lentils, 3 Tbsp tomato paste, and 3 cups vegetable broth to the skillet.

chopped apricots

Also, add ¼ cup chopped dried apricots or raisins to the skillet. If using dried apricots, chop them to about the same size as raisins.

Lid being placed on the skillet

Stir everything together until the tomato paste is mixed into the broth. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the lentils continue to simmer, with the lid in place, for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Finished spiced lentils in the skillet

After 30 minutes the lentils and carrots should be tender. Give them a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any, but depending on the salt content of your broth, you may need a bit to make the flavors pop.

Overhead view of spiced lentils over a bed of polenta

Serve the spiced lentils with crusty bread for dipping or over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

spiced lentils in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Try These Other Delicious Lentil Recipes:

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Snickerdoodles for Two

This Snickerdoodles for two recipe makes two large cafe-style cookies, perfect for when you want just a little bit of dessert and no more.

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Do you ever have that moment where you want something sweet, but you don’t want to make a whole batch of cookies because you only want one or two and if a whole batch of cookies gets made then a whole batch of cookies is definitely going to be eaten. Enter Snickerdoodles for Two. This small-batch recipe makes two deliciously large cookies (or four regular-sized cookies) with really basic pantry staples, so you don’t ever have to plan ahead. …Or deal with the leftovers. 😂 

Originally posted 1-27-2015, updated 12-8-2021.

Two snickerdoodles on a plate with a cup of coffee in back

What Are Snickerdoodles?

If you haven’t experienced the heaven that is a snickerdoodle cookie, allow me to attempt to translate their deliciousness into words. They’re soft, slightly chewy, rich, not too-too sweet, and they have a warm and cozy cinnamon-sugar coating. They’re simple, delicious, and perfect for dunking in a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee. They’re also incredibly easy to make, especially when you’re preparing a super small batch, like this. You can have these cookies made and ready to enjoy in about a half-hour! 

Make Two or Four Cookies

As mentioned in the introduction, this recipe makes two LARGE cookies. Like the type of big gourmet cookies that you’d get at your local cafe or cookie shop. If you want to make regular-sized cookies, just divide the dough into four portions instead of two and bake for a few minutes less. But personally, I think the big cookies are kind of fun. :)

Where’s the Cream of Tartar?

Snickerdoodles traditionally use a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar as a leavening agent. The cream of tartar, or tartaric acid, gives the cookie a subtle tart flavor that snickerdoodles are known for. For our small batch recipe, we used baking powder for leavening, which is actually just a premixed combination of baking soda and tartaric acid. A traditional snickerdoodle recipe might have slightly more cream of tartar than what is contained in the baking powder here, but when the recipe is scaled down this far the difference isn’t noticeable. Shortcuts for the win! 

a large snickerdoodle cookie broken in half

close up of two snickerdoodles on a plate, one broken in half

Snickerdoodles for Two

This Snickerdoodles for two recipe makes two large cafe-style cookies, perfect for when you want just a little bit of dessert and no more.
Total Cost $0.71 recipe / $0.36 each
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 334kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp room temperature butter $0.30
  • 3 Tbsp sugar $0.03
  • 1 large egg yolk $0.21
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.07
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder $0.01
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour $0.05

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 1 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, whip together the room temperature butter and sugar with a fork.
  • Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl with the butter and sugar. Whip with the fork again until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl and stir together with a fork until everything is evenly combined. Divide the cookie dough into two equal-sized pieces, then roll each one into a ball.
  • In a separate small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Roll each ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar until completely coated.
  • Place the cinnamon sugar coated cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until they're mostly flattened, golden brown on the outer edges, and a little cracked on top.
  • Allow the cookies to cool slightly before enjoying.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 406mg | Fiber: 1g

A hand holding a snickerdoodle cookie broken in half

How to Make Small Batch Snickerdoodles – Step by Step Photos

Butter and sugar in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Whip together 3 Tbsp room temperature butter and 3 Tbsp sugar. The butter must be room temperature or else you won’t be able to effectively combine it with the sugar. Since this is such a small amount, I just used a fork to “whip” it together the best I could.

Egg yolk and vanilla added to the bowl

Once the butter and sugar are well combined, add one large egg yolk, ¼ tsp vanilla extract, and ⅛ tsp salt. “Whip” these together with the fork again, this time continuing to whip until the mixture is light and creamy (it will be much easier to whip once the yolk and extract are added).

Flour added to the bowl

Finally, add ½ tsp baking powder and ⅓ cup all-purpose flour to the bowl. Use the fork to mix the ingredients together until they form a soft cookie dough.

finished cookie dough in the bowl

This is what the cookie dough should look like. It’s very soft. Use your hands to divide the dough into two (or four, if you prefer) and roll each portion into a ball.

Cookie dough being rolled in cinnamon and sugar

In a separate small bowl, combine 1 tsp sugar and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until it is fully coated.

unbaked cookies on the cookie sheet

Place the cinnamon-sugar-coated cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

baked snickerdoodles on the cookie sheet

Bake the snickerdoodles in the preheated 350ºF oven for 15 minutes, or until they’re mostly flattened, the edges are golden brown, and the tops might appear slightly cracked. 

Two snickerdoodle cookies on a plate next to a mug of coffee

Allow the cookies to cool slightly before enjoying.

close up of two snickerdoodles on a plate, one broken in half

They’re just so soft, cinnamon-y, and delicious!! 

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