One Pot Veggie Pasta

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

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

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

Overhead view of one pot veggie pasta in a bowl

Use Your Leftovers

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

Use Your Favorite Sauce

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

How Are the Leftovers?

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

Success with One Pot Pasta Recipes

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

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

One Pot Veggie Pasta

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Nutrition

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

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

Onion carrot and garlic in the pot

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

Sliced mushrooms added to the pot

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

pasta, vegetables, and broth added to the pot

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

Stirred but uncooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

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

Cooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

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

Pasta sauce being poured into the pot

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

Shredded cheese being added on top

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

Finished one pot veggie pasta garnished with parsley

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

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

Enjoy!

Love One Pot Pastas? Try These Other Flavors:

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Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It’s the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.

The post Easy Pumpkin Chili appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love all things pumpkin, and I’m not sorry about it. I also love just about every iteration of chili that is out there (see my Homemade Chili recipe and the long list of variations you can make). So it’s only fitting that I combined my two fall loves. Adding pumpkin is a super easy way to add a dose of nutrients to your pot of chili without changing that classic chili feel. The flavor and texture blend seamlessly into a pot of classic chili and even kind of makes it feel a tad lighter, so I’m totally into it!

A bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

What Does Pumpkin Chili Taste Like?

Okay, if you’re looking at me with a side-eye over the idea of putting pumpkin into your chili, just hear me out. The flavor difference is subtle. It makes the chili a little more saucy and rich, without being overly heavy. The pumpkin adds a little earthiness and a super subtle sweetness, which is nice because I usually add a little bit of brown sugar to my chili, but I was able to skip that with the pumpkin. And since I like to load up my chili with a lot of spices (see my homemade chili seasoning), the flavor of the pumpkin is not super noticeable.

And I think this is a good time to mention that you don’t want to taste your chili until it has simmered on the stove a while. You might be tempted to give it a taste right after you add everything to the pot, but at that point, it does not taste good. The chili needs time to do its thing. The spices need to bloom, the flavors need to cook down and combine. Give it time, and then taste. Be patient!

Make it Vegetarian or Vegan

It’s super easy to make your pumpkin chili vegetarian or vegan. Just swap out the ground beef for an extra can of beans, cooked lentils, some crumbled tempeh, or your favorite ground beef substitute. Most of the flavor in this chili comes from the chili seasoning, tomatoes, and other vegetables, so you can safely substitute the beef without too much of an effect.

Use a Different Meat

You can also swap the ground beef out for a different kind of ground meat. Ground turkey is very popular for pumpkin turkey because it has a lighter flavor to match the lighter flavor of the pumpkin, but I also think that some Mexican chorizo would be awesome. Those smoky spices would pair perfectly with the flavor of the pumpkin.

Is Pumpkin Chili Spicy?

The recipe, as written below, is only as spicy as the chili powder you use. Many grocery store chili powders tend to be quite mild, but some brands can be spicy. So, if you’re sensitive to heat, make sure you use a chili powder that is mild. I find that McCormick brand chili powder is pretty mild.

If you want to add more heat to your pumpkin chili, feel free to dice up a jalapeño and sautéing that with the onion and garlic in the beginning. You can also add some chipotle powder to the chili seasoning, or dice up a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and stir that into the chili. There are a lot of options!

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili
Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Easy Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin chili is hearty but light and packed with fiber and other nutrients. It's the perfect warm and cozy bowl of fall flavors.
Total Cost $9.73 recipe / $1.62 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 1.25 cups each
Calories 431kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Chili

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 lb. ground beef $5.35
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans, drained $0.59
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained $0.55
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $0.69
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée $1.05
  • 1/2 6oz. can tomato paste (5 Tbsp) $0.25
  • 2 cups water $0.00

Chili Seasoning*

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Add the garlic, onion, and olive oil to a large pot. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the kidney beans (drained), black beans (drained), diced tomatoes (with juices), puréed pumpkin, tomato paste, water, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top of the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer, stirring occastionally. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed. Serve hot with your favorite toppings (sour cream, cheese, green onion, corn chips, etc.)

Notes

*You can use your own store-bought chili seasoning or your favorite mix of chili herbs and spices.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 1131mg | Fiber: 14g
A spoon lifting a bite of pumpkin chili with melted cheese stretching from the bowl

How to Make Pumpkin Chili – Step by Step Photos

diced onion and minced garlic in a pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onion and garlic to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes).

browned ground beef in the pot with onion and garlic

Add one pound ground beef and continue to sauté until the beef is cooked through.

remaining chili ingredients added to the pot, unstirred.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: 1 15oz. can black beans (drained), 1 15oz. can kidney beans (drained), 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée, ½ of a 6oz. can tomato paste, 2 cups water, ½ tsp smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir until everything is well combined.

simmered chili in a pot with a spoon

Place a lid on the pot and allow the chili to come up to a simmer. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After simmering 30 minutes, give the chili a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any extra).

Overhead view of a bowl of pumpkin chili with cheese and tortilla chips

Serve hot with your favorite toppings! I especially like something creamy on my bowl, whether that is cheese, avocado, or sour cream. :)

Overhead view of a pot of pumpkin chili with toppings on the sides

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Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.

The post Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken recipe was one of the top things I was looking forward to making once I figured out the formula for my Homemade Ranch Seasoning. The slow-cooked chicken is tender, spicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time and there are a hundred different ways you can use it! Sandwiches, dips, salads, pizza, and more. I’ve got a full list of how to use this insanely easy and delish shredded buffalo chicken below, so don’t miss it! I’m sure this is something you’ll want to make over and over again throughout football season and the holidays.

Shredded buffalo chicken in a slow cooker with tongs

What is Buffalo Sauce?

If you’re unfamiliar with this American classic, Buffalo Sauce is basically a combination of hot sauce (traditionally Frank’s Red Hot Sauce) and butter, which creates a super tangy, spicy, and slightly rich sauce that is used to coat fried chicken, among other things. For this slow cooker buffalo chicken, we’ve gone one step further and added ranch seasoning mix, which is a super tasty combination of buttermilk powder, herbs, and spices. The ranch seasoning adds a huge burst of flavor to the sauce and makes it even a little bit more creamy. It’s just to die for!

What Kind of Hot Sauce to Use

As mentioned above, buffalo sauce is usually made with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but you can use any similar vinegar-based cayenne flavored hot sauce for this recipe. I used the ALDI version of Frank’s and it was great!

Can I Substitute the Ranch Mix?

The ranch seasoning mix really brings a lot of flavor to this sauce, so I would avoid skipping it if possible. If you don’t have the ingredients to make your own ranch seasoning mix you can definitely use one packet of store-bought ranch seasoning in place of the ingredients listed below. Or, if you want to use your own herbs and spices but just don’t have the buttermilk powder, that will still taste really good, just slightly less rich.

How to Use Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Okay, here’s the fun part. How do you use this delicious shredded buffalo chicken? SO MANY WAYS. Here are some ideas:

  • As a buffalo chicken sandwich or wrap: bun or tortilla, coleslaw, pickles, ranch dressing
  • On nachos: on tortilla chips with lettuce, shredded carrot, and a drizzle of ranch dressing
  • Make a buffalo chicken dip: stir cream cheese into the shredded chicken until melted for a super creamy dip
  • In a quesadilla: fill a tortilla with the chicken and shredded Monterey jack cheese, then toast in a skillet
  • On a salad: pile the chicken onto crisp iceberg, top with chopped celery, shredded carrots, and blue cheese dressing
  • Pizza: add it to a pizza with a white sauce and top with a little mozzarella and maybe a drizzle of ranch after baking

My mouth is totally watering just typing all of that out! This stuff is seriously so good.

Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs
Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.
Total Cost $12.65 recipe / $1.58 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 191kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Ranch Seasoning*

  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk powder $0.15
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Buffalo Chicken

  • 12 oz. hot sauce $2.19
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $9.53
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40

Instructions

  • Combine the ranch seasoning (buttermilk powder, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper) and hot sauce in a bowl.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. Cut the butter into chunks and place the butter on top of the chicken. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for four hours. After four hours, use two forks to shred the chicken (if it's not tender enough to shred yet, let it cook a little longer).
  • Serve the shredded chicken and sauce on sandwiches, in quesadillas, on top of nachos or salads, or as a dip for crackers and chips.

Notes

*You can use a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning instead of the homemade mix, if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1350mg | Fiber: 1g
tongs holding a scoop of buffalo chicken over the slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken – Step by Step Photos

ranch seasoning being poured into a bowl of hot sauce

Combine the ingredients for the ranch seasoning (2 Tbsp buttermilk powder, ½ tsp dried parsley, ¼ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp lemon pepper, ⅛ tsp sugar, ⅛ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper) with one 12 oz. bottle of vinegar-based hot sauce.

Chicken and butter in the slow cooker

Place about 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast in the bottom of a slow cooker. Cut 4 Tbsp butter into chunks and place them on top of the chicken.

Hot sauce mixture being poured over the chicken in the slow cooker

Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter in the slow cooker.

Cooked buffalo chicken in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low heat for four hours.

two forks shredding the chicken in the slow cooker

After four hours the chicken should be tender and easily shreddable using two forks (if it’s not, let it cook another 30 minutes).

shredded chicken in buffalo sauce in the slow cooker

Fully shred the chicken, then enjoy!

A buffalo chicken sandwich with coleslaw
Shown on a bun with Creamy Coleslaw.

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BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits

BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits is the perfect cozy meal for for crisp fall evenings, football games, and afternoons spent raking leaves.

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It’s officially cozy comfort food time! These BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits are the perfect mix of tangy BBQ sauce, juicy meatballs, and rich and creamy cheese grits to create all those cozy vibes. And if you’ve never had cheese grits before, definitely go check out my cheese grits blog post because they’re a delicious southern staple that can be topped with all sorts of delicious goodies. And today’s delicious goodies are BBQ meatballs. ;)

Overhead view of a bowl of cheese grits with bbq meatballs and collard greens

What to Serve with BBQ Meatballs and Cheese Grits

This is a pretty rich bowl of deliciousness on its own, so I highly suggest pairing it with something green to balance out the weight of the meal. I paired my BBQ Meatballs and Cheese Grits with Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens. The jerk seasoning pairs perfectly with the tangy BBQ sauce. You could also pair this dish with Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Vegetarian Mustard Greens, or Braised Red Cabbage.

Can I Use a Different Meat?

Yes, if you do not eat pork you can definitely substitute with a different type of ground meat. Ground beef or turkey will both work great for this recipe. I highly suggest using ground meat that has a slightly higher percent fat to keep the meatballs moist and tender.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce Do you Suggest?

I’m an equal opportunity BBQ sauce lover, so I don’t really have a favorite. For this particular dish, I’d probably go for something smoky or honey flavored, both of which will pair well with the cheddar cheese in the grits. I would probably avoid anything pineapple or teriyaki flavored.

If you want to try making your own BBQ sauce, check out my Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe.

A fork cutting into a bbq meatball on a bed of cheese grits
Overhead view of a bowl of cheese grits with bbq meatballs and collard greens

BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits

BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits is the perfect cozy meal for crisp fall evenings, football games, and afternoons spent raking leaves.
Total Cost $7.74 recipe . /$1.94 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 841kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

BBQ Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork $3.49
  • 1 large egg $0.21
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs $0.07
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce, divided $0.54
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02

Cheese Grits

  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.26
  • 2 cups milk $1.25
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits $0.49
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.18
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar $1.15

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the ground pork, egg, breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce, salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the seasoning into the pork until everything is well combined.
  • Divide and shape the pork mixture into 16 meatballs about the size of ping pong balls. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cheese grits. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and garlic powder in a medium saucepot. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching.
  • Once boiling, stir in the quick cooking grits and salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the grits simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter and pepper. Next, stir in the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, until fully melted into the grits.
  • Once the meatballs have finished baking, add them to a clean bowl and pour the remaining BBQ sauce over top. Stir to combine. The heat from the meatballs will warm the BBQ sauce. If your BBQ sauce is cold from refrigeration, you may want to heat the meatballs and sauce in a saucepot over low for a few minutes.
  • To serve, place about one cup of the cheese grits in the bottom of a bowl. Top with four meatballs and some of the BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 841kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 46g | Sodium: 2010mg | Fiber: 3g
side view of bbq meatballs and cheese grits in a bowl with collard greens

How to Make BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits – Step by Step Photos

meatball ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add 1 lb. ground pork, 1 large egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper to a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.

raw, shaped meatballs on the baking sheet

Divide and shape the pork mixture into 16 meatballs roughly the size of ping pong balls. Transfer the meatballs to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Milk being poured into a pot with chicken broth

While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cheese grits. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups milk, and ¼ tsp garlic powder to a medium sauce pot. Bring the liquid up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

grits being poured into the pot with the milk and broth

As soon as the liquid reaches a boil, stir in 1 cup quick cooking grits and ¼ tsp salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the grits simmer for about five minutes, or until thickened.

butter and pepper added to the grits

Remove the grits from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp butter and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Shredded cheddar being added to grits

Finally, stir in a handful of the shredded cheddar at a time until fully melted, repeating until all of the cheese has been added (1 cup total).

Baked meatballs on the baking sheet

Remove the baked meatballs from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl.

BBQ sauce coated meatballs in a bowl with a spatula

Pour the remaining BBQ sauce (about 1 cup) over the meatballs and stir to combine. The heat from the meatballs will warm the BBQ sauce. If your BBQ sauce was cold from refrigeration, you may want to do this in a sauce pot over low heat to help heat the sauce.

close up side view of bbq meatballs on cheese grits

To serve, place about 1 cup cheese grits in a bowl and top with 4 meatballs plus some of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

If you think a salad can’t fill you up, think again. This awesomely crunchy and flavorful Kale and Chicken Salad is chock full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, celery, and lots of fiberlicious kale to keep your belly full. And flavor? Oh don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the flavor. A tangy, sweet, and creamy […]

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If you think a salad can’t fill you up, think again. This awesomely crunchy and flavorful Kale and Chicken Salad is chock full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, celery, and lots of fiberlicious kale to keep your belly full. And flavor? Oh don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the flavor. A tangy, sweet, and creamy honey Dijon dressing drenches the salad in tons of flavor. Throw a few sweet golden raisins on top for a pop of sweetness and you’ve got salad magic. And the best part? All of these ingredients hold up well to refrigeration, so this salad is perfect for your weekly meal prep. 🙌

Originally posted 7-28-2014, updated 8-16-2021.

Dressing being poured over a kale and chicken salad

If you love regular chicken salad, I think you’ll love this kale and chicken salad as well. It has all the same flavors as traditional chicken salad, but the ingredients are piled onto a bed of greens and the dressing is made slightly thinner so that it’s pourable instead of acting like a thick binder. And just as with regular chicken salad, there is a lot of room for customization here, so keep reading for some ideas.

Can I Use Different Greens?

Sure! If you’re not into kale, you can swap it out with your favorite greens. I think a crunchy green like Romaine or finely shredded cabbage would probably be best, but you could use any green that you like to use for fresh salads.

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I used plain chicken breast that I cooked quickly in a skillet and then diced, but you can take a shortcut and use store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. 

Raisin Substitutes

I love the mildly sweet golden raisins in this recipe, but you could swap them out with dried cranberries, chopped apples for more crunch, or even fresh grapes (sliced). 

Dressing Options

If you don’t want to make your own homemade dressing for this salad, a store-bought honey mustard or poppyseed dressing would be awesome with the flavors in this salad.

How to Meal Prep Kale and Chicken Salad

The sturdy, crunchy nature of the ingredients in this salad means that it holds up extremely well to refrigeration without much effort. I would store the dressing on the side just to maintain maximum crunch-factor, but other than that, all of the ingredients can be stored together in single-serving containers. The prepped salads will stay good in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

Side view of dressing being poured onto kale and chicken salad

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad

Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of flavor, texture, and a tangy-sweet homemade dressing. It's perfect for your weekly meal prep!
Total Cost $8.29 recipe / $2.07 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 446kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1.5 cups chopped cooked chicken $4.33
  • 6 cups chopped kale $1.25
  • 1 cup chopped celery $0.37
  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds $0.79
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins $0.47

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.50
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar $0.18
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey $0.27
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.09
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Chop the cooked chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Clean the celery and chop into similar small bite-sized pieces.
  • Remove the kale from the stems, tear it into 1-2 inch pieces, rinse well in a colander, and drain well.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
  • To build the salad, start with a base of kale, top with the chopped chicken and celery, almonds, and raisins. Drizzle the dressing over top, toss until everything is coated, then enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Sodium: 444mg | Fiber: 2g
Love kale salads? Try these other awesome kale salads:

Tossed kale and chicken salad in a bowl next to the serving platter full of kale salad

How to Make Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked chicken breast in the skillet

You can us any pre-cooked chicken for this recipe and you’ll need about 1.5 cups once chopped. I used one chicken breast (⅔ lb. total) that I filleted into two thinner pieces so that it would cook quickly in a skillet. Once browned on the outside and cooked through, I simply let it cool for 5-10 minutes and then chopped it into small pieces.

Salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

While my chicken was cooling, I made the dressing. This dressing is very similar to a dressing you’d use for chicken salad, but it’s a little bit thinner so it’s pourable and will easily coat all of the kale. In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1.5 Tbsp honey, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Washed kale in a colander

Next, prep the kale. I used bagged kale that comes pre-chopped because it’s super convenient and just about the same price as bunched kale. If your kale is still on the stem, simply pull it off the stem and tear it into 1-2 inch pieces. Rinse it in a colander and then let it drain well. Watery salad is never good. I used ½ of a one-pound bag, or about 6 cups of chopped leaves.

Chopped celery on a cutting board

Next, dice two ribs of celery, or about 1 cup once chopped.

chopped chicken on a cutting board

Chop the cooked chicken to similar sized pieces (about 1.5 cups chopped).

Kale salad topped with chicken and celery

Then just build your salad(s)! You can either build one large salad or build it as four smaller single-serving portions. Start with your bed of chopped kale, then add the chopped chicken and celery…

raisins and almonds added to the salad

Then add ⅓ cup almonds (sliced or slivered) and ⅓ cup golden raisins.

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad

Pour your dressing over top just before serving.

tossed kale salad in a bowl next to the serving platter

Toss to coat everything in dressing and enjoy! (I added a little extra cracked black pepper on top because I love pepper!)

The post Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Antipasto Salad

This super hearty antipasto salad is full of cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for an extra flavorful and filling salad.

The post Antipasto Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

You know how we’re all kind of obsessed with charcuterie boards right now? Who doesn’t love a selection of savory snacky meats, cheeses, and pickled items, ammiright? Well, the Italian version of that is antipasto and it also happens to make for a really delicious and filling salad. So, if you’re like me and don’t want to eat anything but salads for the remainder of summer, I think you’re going to love this Antipasto Salad.

dressing be poured over a serving dish full of antipasto salad

What is Antipasto?

Antipasto is an Italian appetizer course offering a snacky selection of cured meats, pickled vegetables, cheeses, olives, anchovies and more. The word “antipasto” means “before the meal” so it’s basically an appetizer platter. This gorgeous spread is usually served as part of a formal meal, rather than an everyday spread. You can read more about antipasto here.

So to make an antipasto salad I simply piled all those tasty little bits on top of a bed of greens and added a cheesy Italian dressing. And that’s all I really want in a summer meal. Okay, well, maybe some crusty bread to go along with it. ;)

Antipasto is Flexible, So Get Creative!

The best part about this salad is that it’s so flexible, so you can mix and match the toppings depending on your budget or availability of ingredients. You can use just about any type of salad green that you like, any meat (or no meat), any cheese, and any vegetable. Need some inspo? Here are a few other ingredients that you can swap in or add:

Antipasto on a Budget

This salad can get expensive quick if you’re not careful! If you’re lucky to live near an ALDI store, they have a great selection of meats and cheeses for antipasto or charcuterie boards (and I was lucky enough to grab my mozzarella on clearance!). Watch for sales on those shelf-stable jarred items (olives, pickled peppers, artichoke hearts) and save them up for making antipasto later. And get to know your deli because a lot of delis will mark down sliced meats and cheeses when they get near the sell-by date.

A lot of these ingredients also make great pizza toppings, so whenever you have leftovers from pizza night, those items can be used to make antipasto the next night!

Make a Half Antipasto Salad, If Needed

The recipe below is for a pretty large salad with 8 servings because it uses whole containers of each ingredient. But it’s easy enough to scale the recipe down as needed. All of the toppings stay pretty fresh when stored separately, so you can make half batches, ¼ batches, or even one salad at a time instead of making the entire batch at once and risking things getting soggy.

And remember, you can change the number of servings in the “servings” box below and the ingredient amounts will auto-adjust for you.

Salad tongs in a half stirred antipasto salad with bread and dressing on the side
dressing being poured over the antipasto salad

Antipasto Salad

This super hearty antipasto salad is full of cured meats, cheeses, and pickled vegetables for an extra flavorful and filling salad.
Total Cost $16.92 recipe / $2.12 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 535kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 8 oz. salad greens of choice $0.99
  • 1 12oz. jar artichoke hearts $2.45
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes $1.79
  • 8 oz. mozzarella $0.99
  • 8 oz. salami $3.00
  • 1 6oz. jar kalamata olives $1.99
  • 1 8oz. jar banana peppers $1.69
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 8 oz. provolone $1.79

Italian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil $0.84
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.12
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan $0.22

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar (olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar, grated Parmesan). Close the jar tightly and shake or whisk in a bowl until the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Cut or slice any meat or cheeses into bite-sized pieces. Drain the olives and any brined vegetables. Thinly slice the red onion and slice the grape tomatoes in half.
  • Lay your greens in the bottom of a bowl, then top with your antipasto items. Give the dressing one last whisk or shake, then drizzle over the salad (start with half the dressing and add more as needed). Toss the salad until everything is coated in dressing, then enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1salad | Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 45g | Sodium: 2130mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up of antipasto salad in a bowl with a fork

How to Make Antipasto Salad – Step by Step Photos

Italian dressing ingredients in a jar

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar: ½ cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, ½ tsp sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan. Shake or whisk the ingredients until they are incorporated.

Chopped spinach in a serving bowl

Add your salad greens to the bottom of a bowl. I’m using spinach and I chopped it slightly first to make bite-sized pieces.

salami, onions, mozzarella, and tomatoes added to the salad bowl

Cut your meats and cheeses into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the red onion and slice the grape tomatoes in half.

provolone, olives, peppers, and artichokes added to the salad bowl

Drain all of your jarred items (olives, banana peppers, artichoke hearts) and add them to the salad. Slightly chop anything that has larger pieces.

dressing being poured over the antipasto salad

Give the dressing one last shake or whisk, then drizzle it over the salad. Start with half the dressing, then add more as needed.

Antipasto salad being tossed with metal salad tongs

Toss the salad until everything is coated in dressing, then enjoy!

The post Antipasto Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice

This easy one-pot chipotle lime chicken and rice is tangy, smoky, spicy, and incredibly delicious. Makes a great main dish or meal prep!

The post Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about cooking as much flavor into rice as possible and this Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice is FLA-VOR-FUL! You’ve got a hefty dose of spices, tangy lime juice, and a bunch of flavor from the chicken that cooks right in the same pot. It turns out smoky, spicy, tangy, and oh so delicious! And don’t worry, I’ve got some suggested sides to round out your meal listed below.

chipotle lime chicken and rice in the skillet, garnished with lime wedges

What is Chipotle Powder?

Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeño peppers. They give a beautifully spicy, smoky flavor to everything. You can buy chipotle peppers dried, canned with adobo sauce, or ground into a powder. This recipe uses the powdered form, which can be found along with other herbs and spices in the spice aisle.

Can I Use Bone-In Chicken?

The quick cooking method used in this recipe is not suitable for bone-in chicken breasts, as they require a much longer cooking time. It may work with smaller bone-in chicken thighs, but you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to make sure they reach 165ºF on the inside. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work just as well as the boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe.

Tomato Options

You have a few options for the diced tomatoes in this recipe. I used a can of plain diced tomatoes because that is what was available the day I made this, but I also tried it with fire-roasted diced tomatoes while in the recipe testing phase and they were fantastic. You could also do a petite diced tomatoes if you don’t like such large tomato pieces, or even a diced tomato with green chiles if you want it extra-EXTRA spicy.

What to Serve with Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice

Because this dish is so spicy you’ll probably want to pair it with something that has a cooling effect, so something that is creamy or can be served cold to balance the heat. A little dollop of sour cream on top would be good, or maybe a slice or two of avocado, if you have it. And I highly suggest something green to round out the colors on your plate. Here are some great side dish options:

Side view of chipotle lime chicken and rice in a bowl
Chipotle lime chicken and rice in the skillet garnished with limes

Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice

This easy one-pot chipotle lime chicken and rice is tangy, smoky, spicy, and incredibly delicious. Makes a great main dish or meal prep!
Total Cost $9.16 recipe / $2.29 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 393kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tsp chipotle powder $0.15
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1 lime $0.50
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast $5.79
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes* $0.59
  • 1 cup chicken broth $0.13
  • 1 cup long grain white rice $0.62
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.22
  • 1 oz. Cotija cheese (optional) $0.55

Instructions

  • Combine the chipotle powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a bowl. Squeeze 2 Tbsp juice from the lime into a separate bowl (this should be about half a lime, save the other half to cut into wedges for garnish).
  • Use a rolling pin or a mallet to gently pound the chicken breast to an even thickness (about ¾-inch thick). Use half of the prepared spice mix to coat both sides of the chicken pieces (reserve the other half of the spices for later).
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for a few minutes on each side, or until browned. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked, just browned on both sides. It will continue to cook with the rice.
  • While the chicken is cooking, dice the onion. Remove the browned chicken from the skillet to a clean plate. Add the diced onion to the skillet and sauté until softened. Add the remaining spices and sauté for one minute more.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), rice, chicken broth, and lime juice to the skillet with the onions. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium high, and allow the liquid to come up to a boil.
  • Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, and allow the chicken and rice to simmer on low for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the skillet rest, without lifting the lid, for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Finally, remove the lid, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Fluff the rice to stir the tomato and onion back in. Slice the chicken then place it on top of the rice. Sprinkle with slice green onion and Cotija cheese. Add any remaining lime wedges, and serve!

Notes

*You can use plain diced tomatoes, petite diced tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes, or diced tomatoes with chiles.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 887mg | Fiber: 3g
Side view of chipotle lime chicken and rice in a skillet

How to Make Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice – Step by Step Photos

Spices in a wooden bowl

Combine 1.5 tsp chipotle powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, and ½ tsp salt in a bowl. Squeeze about 2 Tbsp juice from a lime into a separate bowl (that should be about ½ the lime, so you can save the other half to make wedges for garnish).

Seasoned chicken breast on an orange cutting board

Use a rolling pin or a mallet to gently pound 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts out to an even thickness (about ¾-inch thick). Use half of the spice blend to season both sides of the chicken. Save the other half of the spices for later.

Cooked chicken in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large deep skillet. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken and cook for a few minutes on both sides, or just until browned. It doesn’t have to be cooked through here because it will cook more with the rice.

Cooked onion in the skillet with spices

While the chicken is cooking, dice one yellow onion. Remove the browned chicken to a clean plate, then add the diced onion in its place. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, or until softened, then add the remaining spices and sauté for one minute more.

diced tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

Add one 15oz. can diced tomatoes, 1 cup long grain white rice, 1 cup chicken broth, and 2 Tbps lime juice to the skillet. Stir briefly to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Chicken added back to the skillet

Add the browned chicken back to the skillet. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the liquid to come up to a boil.

Cooked chicken and rice in the skillet

Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer on low for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest, with the lid in place, for another 5 minutes.

Sliced chicken on top of stirred rice in the skillet

Finally, remove the lid. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Fluff the rice with a fork to stir the tomatoes and onion back into the rice. Slice the chicken, then place it back on top of the rice.

Chipotle lime chicken and rice garnished with cotija, green onion, and limes

Sprinkle sliced green onions on top, a little Cotija cheese, and add any remaining lime wedges.

overhead view of a bowl with chipotle lime chicken and rice and a fork

Serve and enjoy! A little sour cream on top wouldn’t be so bad, either. ;)

The post Chipotle Lime Chicken and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw

Earlier this week I made a big batch of sunny and fresh Cumin Lime Coleslaw, but I didn’t intend to just eat coleslaw all week. So, I used the coleslaw as a topping for these super simple fish tacos. I love making tacos for dinner because they’re so easy, fresh, and not too heavy, which […]

The post Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Earlier this week I made a big batch of sunny and fresh Cumin Lime Coleslaw, but I didn’t intend to just eat coleslaw all week. So, I used the coleslaw as a topping for these super simple fish tacos. I love making tacos for dinner because they’re so easy, fresh, and not too heavy, which is great when it’s 100 degrees outside. I like to keep my tacos pretty simple (in this case just fish, slaw, jalapeño, and avocado), but I’ve got some suggestions for extra toppings below if you want them! ;)

Originally posted 3-27-2015, updated 7-15-2021.

Overhead view of fish tacos on a platter, toppings on the sides

What’s in a Fish Taco?

For these fish tacos, I seasoned some white fish filets with a simple mix of chili powder, cumin, garlic, and salt, then cooked them up quickly in a skillet. I topped them with tangy Cumin Lime Coleslaw, a slice of creamy avocado, and a couple super thin slices of jalapeño. It’s the perfect mix of earthy, spicy, creamy, and tangy. 

What Kind of Fish is Best for Tacos?

I used cod fillets for my fish tacos because they have a mild flavor that can be easily paired with any seasoning or toppings. You could also use something like tilapia, halibut, mahi mahi, snapper, or grouper. I usually get the best prices on frozen fillets, and they usually come individually wrapped, so you can thaw as many as you need and keep the rest in the freezer for later. 

What Else Can I Add?

Tacos are fun because you can get creative with the toppings. If you want to swap out some of the toppings I used for something else, or just want to add to what is listed in the recipe below, here are some ideas:

What Kind of Tortillas?

Corn tortillas are the traditional option for tacos, but go ahead and use whatever you like best. Cooking is about doing what works for you. So if you like flour tortillas or crunchy taco shells better or happen to have those on hand, use them. :) If you’re using corn tortillas, make sure to toast them before making your tacos so they get that deliciously toasty corn flavor (otherwise they kind of taste like nothing). And keep in mind that if you use larger tortillas you’ll get fewer tacos out of the ingredients listed below.

What to Serve with Fish Tacos

Two tacos does not a meal make, so here are some ideas for sides:

Side view of fish tacos on a platter

Fish tacos on a platter with toppings on the sides

Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw

These super easy Fish Tacos with Cumin Lime Slaw are light, fresh, and the perfect quick dinner for hot summer nights, or any night!
Total Cost $9.17 recipe / $2.29 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (2 Tacos each)
Calories 437kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Cumin Lime Coleslaw

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.40
  • 1 lime (1 Tbsp juice) $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 16oz. bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) $0.75
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.22

Tacos

  • 8 small corn tortillas $0.80
  • 2 tsp chili powder $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 lb. cod fillets* $4.96
  • 1 avocado, sliced $0.99
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced $0.15

Instructions

  • Toast the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat until browned on each side. Stack the tortillas and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Make the cumin lime coleslaw next. For the dressing, stir together the mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lime juice, cumin, cayenne, salt, and sugar.
  • Place the coleslaw mix and sliced green onions in a bowl, pour the coleslaw dressing over top and stir to combine. Refrigerate until you're ready to build your tacos.
  • Next, season the fish fillets. Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Cut each fish fillet into smaller taco-sized pieces. Season both sides of the fish with the spice mix.
  • Add half of the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, add half of the fish and cook for a few minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked through (it will feel firm, look opaque, and be easily flaked). Repeat with more oil and the second batch of fish.
  • Top each toasted tortilla with a piece of fish, a slice of avocado, a small scoop of the cumin lime slaw, and a couple slices of jalapeño. Enjoy warm.

Notes

*You can use just about any type of white fish for this, like tilapia, mahi mahi, or halibut.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tacos | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 424mg | Fiber: 9g

How to Make Fish Tacos – Step by Step Photos

corn tortillas being toasted in a skillet

If you’re using corn tortillas you’ll want to toast them before making your tacos. This gives them more flavor and helps make them a bit more sturdy. I do this in a dry skillet over fairly high heat, but if you have a gas range you can do it right over an open flame (just a second or two on each side). You can keep them warm on a plate covered with foil.

Cumin lime slaw ingredients in a bowl, dressing being poured

Next, prepare the cumin lime coleslaw so it’s ready to go when the fish finishes cooking. To make the dressing, stir together 1 Tbsp lime juice, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp slat, ⅛ tsp cayenne, and ½ tsp sugar. Place ½ of a bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) in a bowl with 2 sliced green onions. Pour the dressing over top. You can also wait to pour the dressing over until just before serving, if preferred.

finished cumin lime coleslaw in bowl

Stir to coat the vegetables in dressing, then refrigerate until ready to build your tacos. 

Seasoned fish fillets

Next, make the seasoning mix for the fish. Combine 2 tsp chili powder (this is a mild blend of chiles and other spices), ½ tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp salt. Cut 1 lb. fish into taco-sized pieces (in this case I had four fillets, so I cut each in half for one piece per taco). Season the fish on both sides with the prepared spice mix.

Fish cooked in the skillet

Heat ½ Tbsp cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add half of the fish and cook for a few minutes on each side, or until cooked through (the fish will be opaque and easily flake when cooked). Repeat with a little more oil and the second batch of fish.

Tacos being built

To build the tacos, place one piece of fish in each tortilla, add one slice of avocado, a small scoop of cumin lime coleslaw, and a couple slices of jalapeño.

Fish tacos on a platter with toppings on the sides

If you have leftover lime from making the slaw, slice it into wedges to serve with the tacos.

close up of a fish taco in a hand

Enjoy that summery goodness!

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One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

You only need one pot and 8 ingredients to make this easy and flavorful Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice. Fast, easy, and delicious!

The post One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you can cook rice, then you can make this stunning Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice. It’s seriously easy, and impressive enough for serving to company (or date night!). This is definitely one of those recipes where I can’t stop asking myself, “how do so few ingredients make so much flavor?” as I shovel forkful after forkful into my mouth. :)

lemon garlic shrimp and rice in a skillet with lemons and parsley on the sides

What Kind of Shrimp to Use

You definitely want to purchase raw shrimp for this recipe rather than pre-cooked, and you can usually get the best price when buying frozen shrimp. You can buy them peeled or unpeeled, tail on or off, it doesn’t matter. Most frozen shrimp already comes deveined, which makes peeling super fast and easy. Here is a great tutorial on how to peel and devein shrimp from Simply Recipes, if needed.

I used a medium size shrimp for this recipe, which I feel is a good size for this type of dish, where you’ll want it to fit on your fork. The shrimp I used were 41-60 size, which means that at that size you’ll get about 41-60 shrimp per pound. Smaller numbers mean larger shrimp (it takes fewer shrimp to equal a pound), and higher numbers mean smaller shrimp (it takes more shrimp to equal a pound).

Tail On or Tail Off?

It’s completely up to you whether you want to remove your shrimp tails or keep them on. Removing them makes the dish easier to eat, but leaving them on makes it prettier. Keeping the tail on can inject more shrimp flavor into the rice as they steam together, but this might be more subtle than most people will notice.

Can I Make This in a Rice Cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes, this should work very well in a rice cooker or Instant Pot! For the rice cooker, just add everything (except the shrimp) to the cooker and cook as you would regular rice. After the rice has cooked, add the shrimp on top, close the lid, and keep it on the “keep warm” setting and allow the shrimp to steam for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque and cooked through. For an Instant Pot, you’ll want to do a quick release after your rice has cooked, add the shrimp, close the lid, and then keep it on the “keep warm” setting, allowing the shrimp to steam for 5-10 minutes or until opaque and cooked through.

For both machines, avoid leaving the lid open for more than a couple minutes when adding the shrimp. You want as much steam trapped in the unit as possible to continue cooking the shrimp.

What to Serve with Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

I like to make sure every meal has a variety of colors and at least a little veggie action, so here are some recipes that I think would make a great side to this dish and create a well rounded meal:

Lemon garlic shrimp and rice on a plate with a fork on the side
overhead view of lemon garlic shrimp and rice in a skillet

One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice

You only need one pot and 8 ingredients to make this easy and flavorful Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice. Fast, easy, and delicious!
Total Cost $7.53 recipe / $1.88 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 407kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. shrimp (41-60 size) $4.99
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.60
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.24
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.93
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.26
  • 1/2 cup water $0.00
  • 1 tsp Tony Chachere's seasoning* $0.10
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.09

Instructions

  • If your shrimp is frozen or unpeeled, make sure you thaw and peel the shrimp before beginning. Juice half of the lemon (you'll need about 2 Tbsp juice) and slice the rest of the lemon for garnish.
  • Mince the garlic. Add the garlic to a deep skillet along with the butter and sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the rice and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more. You should hear the rice begin to snap and crackle a little as it sautés in the hot butter.
  • Carefully add the chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, water, Tony Chachere's (or seasoning salt), and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • After simmering for 10 minutes, most of the broth should be absorbed by the rice. Lift the lid briefly in order to scatter the shrimp over the surface of the rice. Replace the lid and allow the skillet to continue to cook over low for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to rest, lid in place, for an additional five minutes. After resting, lift the lid. The shrimp should be opaque and pink.
  • Use a fork to carefully fluff the rice and partially stir the cooked shrimp into the rice. Add the leftover lemon slices and sprinkle with extra chopped parsley, if desired. Serve hot.

Notes

*Or your favorite seasoning salt.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1729mg | Fiber: 2g
close up side view of lemon garlic shrimp and rice in the skillet

How to Make Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice – Step by Step Photos

Raw shrimp in a bowl

Thaw and peel 12oz. shrimp. You can leave the tails on or remove them if you prefer. Juice half of a lemon (you’ll need 2 Tbsp juice) and slice the remaining lemon for garnish.

minced garlic and butter in a deep skillet

Mince four cloves of garlic and add them to a deep skillet along with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the garlic in the butter over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more. You should hear the rice kind of making a snap-crackle sound as it cooks in the butter.

Broth being poured into the skillet with the rice, seasoning, and parsley

Add 2 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, ½ cup water, 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning (or your favorite seasoning salt), and 2 Tbsp chopped parsley to the skillet. Stir to combine.

Cooked rice in the skillet with the lid on

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the rice simmer on low for 10 minutes. After ten minutes most of the broth should be absorbed.

raw shrimp added to the rice in the skillet

Lift the lid just briefly enough to scatter the shrimp over the surface of the rice. Replace the lid and continue to simmer over low for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest, lid in place, for 5 more minutes.

Cooked shrimp on the rice

After resting, the shrimp should be pink, opaque, and cooked through.

finished lemon garlic shrimp and rice in the skillet

Use a fork to gently fluff the rice and partially stir the shrimp into the rice. Add the remaining lemon slices and an extra pinch of chopped parsley.

close up side view of lemon garlic shrimp and rice in a bowl

Serve hot and enjoy!

The post One Pot Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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.