Zucchini Bread

This Zucchini Bread recipe is super moist, flavorful, and the best way to use up extra zucchini during the summer or all year round!

The post Zucchini Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m not saying you have to make zucchini bread this summer, but you HAVE to make this Zucchini Bread this summer!😄 It’s made with the simplest ingredients, is perfectly moist, and the best way to enjoy breakfast on the go for just $0.41 per slice! I was first introduced to this delicious zucchini bread recipe by my mom about 10 years ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It’s my favorite way to use up extra zucchini during the summertime. But I’ll be honest, this zucchini bread is so good it will have you wanting to make it all year long!

Overhead view of zucchini bread sliced on a cooling rack.

Why Make Zucchini Bread?

If you’re wondering what’s all the hype about zucchini bread, let me fill you in. Zucchini has a fairly neutral flavor and adapts very well to the warm spices, like cinnamon and vanilla, in this recipe. So it ends up being the perfect way to incorporate a green vegetable into a delicious homemade bread recipe. And because zucchini contains over 90% water it also makes this zucchini bread super moist and irresistible!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s everything you need to make this easy zucchini bread recipe:

  • Zucchini: Zucchini naturally contains a lot of water, but there’s no need to pat or squeeze out the excess water for this recipe. In this case the extra liquid helps add moisture to the bread, saving you an extra step!
  • Flour: All-purpose flour gives the zucchini bread structure and body. 
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents to help the bread rise into a pretty doamed loaf shape. I used both due to the extra acidity from the applesauce.
  • Eggs: Eggs help the ingredients bind together and help give the loaf strength. 
  • Sugar: I used a combination of both white and brown sugar to balance the sweetness, moisture and texture of the zucchini bread. 
  • Applesauce & Oil: The combination of both applesauce and oil keeps the bread moist, but not too oily and also adds wonderful flavor.
  • Cinnamon & Vanilla: Simple spices like cinnamon and vanilla extract adds the perfect amount of flavor and richness to this zucchini bread.
  • Walnuts: Chopped walnuts are optional, but I love the contrast in flavor and texture they add to the bread.

Do You Peel the Zucchini Before Grating It?

You don’t have to worry about peeling the zucchini before grating it, saving you another extra step. Just give it a good wash with your hands or a vegetable brush and you’ll be good to go!

Tips for The Best Zucchini Bread!

  1. Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing will cause the bread to become rubbery and dense instead of light and fluffy. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until they are just barely combined and there are no traces of dry flour left in the bowl.
  2. Grease your loaf pan well with butter or oil to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan.
  3. Extremely large zucchini tend to have an even higher water content than regular sized zucchini. So if you happened to grow some extra-large zucchini this year in your garden or picked up some from your local farmers market, you may need to squeeze out just a little bit of the excess water after it’s grated.

Storing Leftovers

This homemade zucchini bread makes the best grab-n-go breakfast! To store leftovers make sure the bread is completely cooled after baking, then cut it into thick slices. Place the zucchini bread in an airtight container or a gallon-sized storage bag in the fridge for up to 4 days. For longer storage, store in a freezer-safe storage bag for up to 3 months. Individual slices can be taken out and thawed at room temperature or briefly microwaved to warm through.

Two slices of zucchini bread on a white plate with butter spread on one slice.

If muffins are more your jam, don’t worry…this recipe also makes perfect, smaller-sized Zucchini Muffins!

Overhead view of zucchini bread sliced on a cooling rack.
Print

Zucchini Bread

This Zucchini Bread recipe is super moist, flavorful, and the best way to use up extra zucchini during the summer or all year round!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.96 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 234kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini* (about 1 lb.) $1.49
  • 2 large eggs $0.33
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar $0.20
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar $0.28
  • 1/3 cup sweetened applesauce $0.18
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.50
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.40
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.04
  • 1 tsp cinnamon $0.10
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) $1.20

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Next wash the zucchini well, trim off the stem, then using the large holes on a box grater, grate the zucchini and set it to the side. You’ll need roughly 2 cups of grated zucchini.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  • Add the grated zucchini to the bowl and stir until well combined.
  • Now in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir them together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix at this point.
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the bowl and gently fold them into the batter until just combined.
  • Grease a 8.5"x4.5" loaf pan with butter, then add the batter evenly into the pan.
  • Bake the zucchini bread in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until it's deeply golden brown on top, has a crack down the center, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but wet batter is not).
  • Allow the loaf to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once cooled, slice, serve, and enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*If you have extra-large zucchini you may need to squeeze out a little bit of the excess water after it’s grated. Extremely large zucchini tend to have an even higher water content than medium-large sized zucchini.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 193mg | Fiber: 1g
Side view of zucchini bread on a cooling rack with a cup of coffee on the side.

How to Make Zucchini Bread – Step by Step Photos

Zucchini being grated on a box grater.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Next wash the zucchini well, trim off the stem, then using the large holes on a box grater, grate 2 cups of grated zucchini and set it to the side.

Wet ingredients for zucchini bread.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 1/2 cup granulated white sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup sweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well combined.

Grated zucchini added to wet ingredients.

Add the grated zucchini to the bowl and stir until well combined.

Dry ingredients for zucchini bread.

Now in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon until combined.

Zucchini bread batter in a large bowl.

Pour the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir them together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix at this point.

Chopped nuts added to zucchini bread batter.

Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the bowl and gently fold them into the batter until just combined.

Zucchini bread batter added to a loaf pan.

Grease a 8.5″x4.5″ loaf pan with butter, then add the batter evenly into the pan.

Cooked zucchini bread in a loaf pan.

Bake the zucchini bread in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until it’s deeply golden brown on top, has a crack down the center, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but wet batter is not).

Side view of zucchini bread on a cooling rack with a cup of coffee on the side.

Allow the loaf to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once cooled, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Slices of zucchini bread stacked on a white plate.

The post Zucchini Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Best Zucchini Bread

Moist and sweet Zucchini Bread is one of the best quick breads ever, with warm flavors of cinnamon, vanilla and crunchy walnut. Double up the recipe so you’ll have extra for the freezer!

Moist and sweet Zucchini Bread is one of the best quick breads ever, with warm flavors of cinnamon, vanilla and crunchy walnut. Double up the recipe so you'll have extra for the freezer!

Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars are wholesome and healthy! Loaded with oats, dates, peanut butter, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

The post Granola Bars appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When I’m looking for a snack, I want it to be wholesome. These Homemade Granola Bars are delicious and free of all the junk and preservatives you can’t pronounce on most boxes of affordable store-bought granola bars. Instead, I loaded mine with quick rolled oats, Medjool dates, peanut butter, walnuts, and chocolate chips. They still taste amazing and are much healthier with whole food ingredients.

3 stacked granola bars on a white plate.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a bit crunchy… the kind of “crunchy” who left the city for the county, lives on a farm, grows their own vegetables, and makes their own Granola Bars. Guilty as charged! I love a hearty, chewy granola bar with a variety of textures, and this recipe is all of that and more! Marsha and I break these out of the freezer at the Budget Bytes studio on a regular basis; they make one heck of a snack.

Bonus: Because there’s no heat involved, these homemade granola bars are also fun to make with kids! They can mold the dough into fun shapes and help you in the kitchen!

Are Granola Bars Healthy?

That depends on a lot of factors. In general, granola bars are a good source of fiber (and sometimes protein, too!). However, many times, they also contain as much sugar and calories as candy bars. As a general rule, if I check the ingredient label on something and I can’t recognize or pronounce the majority of the ingredients, I usually put it back.

My homemade bars are made with Medjool dates and honey as the primary sweeteners, which are both lower on the glycemic index, making these bars more nutrient-dense and healthier than ones made with straight up sugar or corn syrup. The peanut butter and walnuts add a good bit of protein, and the oats up the fiber content. Overall, these homemade granola bars are much healthier than store-bought, but taste even better!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make granola bars:

  • Medjool Dates: Sweeten the bars and help bind them together.
  • Chunky Peanut Butter: Adds creaminess and crunch, and also helps bind everything together.
  • Walnuts: Add extra crunch and protein.
  • Cinnamon: Adds a touch of warmth to the bars that enhances their overall flavor.
  • Sea Salt: Enhances the flavors of these bars.
  • Quick Rolled Oats: These are cut into smaller pieces than traditional rolled oats, making for a more cohesive bar.
  • Honey: Adds a little extra sweetness and helps the bars harden.
  • Chocolate Chips: Add a pop of rich chocolate flavor!

Is it cheaper to make your own granola bars?

Sometimes! I like to buy peanut butter and oats in bulk whenever they’re on sale since they keep well for a long time unopened. This really helps me cut down on costs. Some value-sized packs of store-bought granola bars are cheaper than my homemade recipe, but I can guarantee the ingredients aren’t nearly as wholesome. At just $0.72 per bar, these healthy homemade granola bars are good for your wallet and better for your body!

What Else Can I Add?

These bars are a great base for all kinds of mix-ins. Try:

  • White chocolate chips
  • Dried or freeze-dried fruits
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Crushed pretzels

Do you have a peanut allergy? Try swapping peanut butter and peanuts for almond butter. If you’re allergic to all tree nuts, try tahini and pumpkin seeds instead!

overhead view of 10 granola bars.
3 stacked granola bars on a white plate.
Print

Granola Bars

Homemade Granola Bars are wholesome and healthy! Loaded with oats, dates, peanut butter, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($7.42 recipe / $0.72 serving)
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10 (1 bar each)
Calories 222kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted $2.99
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter $0.29
  • 1/4 cup walnuts $0.87
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt $0.01
  • 1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats $2.23
  • 1/4 cup honey $0.78
  • 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips $0.20

Instructions

  • Gather ingredients. In a food processor, process dates (make sure all of them are pitted!) until they form a big ball of “dough”
  • In a mixing bowl, combine Medjool date "dough", chunky peanut butter, walnuts, ground cinnamon, sea salt, cups quick rolled oats, honey, and dark chocolate chips and mix together by hand (it’s going to be sticky!)
  • Spread granola bar batter into a lined baking dish and freeze for 1-2 hours until firm but not completely solid.
  • Remove from freezer. Cut bars into the size and shape you want. These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one month!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 122mg | Fiber: 3g
overhead view of 2 granola bars on a white plate next to granola bars on parchment.

how to make Granola Bars – step by step photos

medjool date paste in a food processor.

Gather ingredients. In a food processor, process 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (make sure all of them are pitted!) until they form a big ball of “dough”

pouring honey into a bowl with granola bar ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, combine combine Medjool date “dough”, 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips and mix together by hand (it’s going to be sticky!)

spreading granola bar mix into a baking pan with a rubber spatula.

Spread the granola bar batter into a lined baking dish and freeze for 1-2 hours until firm but not completely solid.

cutting granola bars on a cutting board.

Remove from freezer. Cut bars into the size and shape you want. These will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one month!

3 stacked granola bars on a white plate.

You’ll never buy store-bought granola bars again!

The post Granola Bars appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Banana Cake

When life hands you overripe bananas about to meet their doom, make this budget-friendly Banana Cake instead!

The post Banana Cake appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Listen, I am hard on myself when it comes to food waste. It’s up there on my top 10 list of pet peeves, right next to the car being left on empty. My solution? When life hands you overripe bananas about to meet their doom, make this sweet, creamy, budget-friendly Banana Cake instead!

a cut banana cake missing a slice in a glass baking dish.

This creamy, rich Banana Cake is dessert, it’s breakfast, it’s the treat we all need and deserve! The cake is moist and sweet and is complimented perfectly by the ultra creamy cream cheese frosting. The best part? This cake is so easy to make, and I bet you have most- if not all- of the ingredients already on hand!

What is Banana Cake?

Banana cake is really as simple as it sounds… a cake with bananas in it! This cake is perfectly sweet and dense, but a little fluffier than your typical banana bread. The cream cheese frosting compliments the sweet and warm banana flavor perfectly. I highly recommend having banana cake for breakfast after making this!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make banana cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour: Gives the cake its structure.
  • Baking Soda: Helps the cake rise.
  • Cinnamon: Adds warmth to the batter.
  • Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the cake.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides the necessary acid to activate the baking soda and emphasizes the tangy flavor of the frosting.
  • Bananas: You’ll need 3 very ripe bananas for this cake. Unripe or just ripe bananas will not mash well and won’t have as much natural sweetness.
  • Sugar: Granulated and light brown sugar sweeten the cake, while powdered sugar sweetens the frosting without making it gritty.
  • Eggs: Help bind the cake together.
  • Unsalted Butter: Adds moisture and richness to the cake and helps create a smooth and cohesive frosting.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds warmth to the cake and the frosting.
  • Milk: Adds moisture to the cake.
  • Cream Cheese: Creates a rich and tangy frosting.
  • Walnuts: Add a delightful crunch to the top of this cake.

Can Bananas Be Too Ripe?

Yes, but you’d have to wait a good long while. Bananas are safe to eat and cook with well after their skins have turned black. However, if you notice any fuzzy white, gray, or green mold or if the banana smells rotten, fermented, or is leaking any fluids, it’s best to toss it. Additionally, if the fruit itself has turned completely black, it is beyond saving.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use very ripe bananas. The sugar content of bananas increases as they ripen, so the more ripe your bananas are the sweeter the cake and the more pronounced the banana flavor will be.
  • Grease the baking dish well. This is a VERY moist cake, and it will stick if you don’t grease the baking dish well.
  • Use room-temperature eggs and dairy. This will help the batter come together more quickly, and it will help create the smoothest frosting.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. A few lumps are okay.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting it. Frosting a hot cake is a recipe for disaster!
side view of a slice of banana cake on a white plate with a fork.
a cut banana cake missing a slice in a glass baking dish.
Print

Banana Cake

When life hands you overripe bananas about to meet their doom, make this budget-friendly Banana Cake instead!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($10.80 recipe / $0.72 slice)
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 15 slices (1 slice per serving)
Calories 513kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour $0.45
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda $0.06
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1 tsp lemon juice $0.01
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed $0.81
  • 1 cup granulated sugar $0.34
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar $0.34
  • 3 eggs, room temperature $0.47
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter $1.89
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract $1.30
  • 1 1/2 cups milk $0.27

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature $1.86
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature $0.94
  • 3 cups powdered sugar $1.02
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.65
  • 1 tsp lemon juice $0.01

Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp crushed walnuts $0.29

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13” baking dish. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  • Mash the bananas and lemon juice with a fork and set aside.
  • Using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • Add the eggs and the vanilla to sugar/butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until combined.
  • Then, add the mashed bananas.
  • With the mixer on low speed, using your free hand, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the milk, back and forth until all ingredients are fully mixed in. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a little lumpy from the bananas.
  • Spread batter into the buttered pan and bake for 45–50 minutes. When you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean, you know your cake is done! If you notice the cake is browning very quickly, test it with the toothpick and cover loosely with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake time if it’s not quite done.
  • To make your frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with your handheld mixer until completely creamy and smooth.
  • Allow cake to cool completely (on the countertop it took my cake about an hour) before frosting. Frost and enjoy with an extra sprinkle of crushed walnuts on top!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 263mg | Fiber: 1g
three-quarters view of a cut banana cake in a glass baking dish missing a slice.

how to make Banana Cake – step by step photos

dry ingredients for banana cake in a white bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13” baking dish. Whisk 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp salt together. Set aside.

mashing bananas in a white bowl with a fork.

Mash 3 very ripe bananas and 1 tsp lemon juice with a fork and set aside.

butter and sugars in a white bowl.

Using a handheld mixer, beat 3/4 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup light brown sugar on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

eggs added to creamed butter and sugar in a white bowl.

Add 3 room temperature eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extract to the sugar/butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until combined.

mashed banana added to cake batter in a white bowl.

Then, add the mashed bananas.

banana cake batter in a white bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, using your free hand, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of the milk, back and forth until all ingredients are fully mixed in (1 1/2 cups of milk total). Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a little lumpy from the bananas.

baked banana cake in a glass baking dish.

Spread batter into the buttered pan and bake for 45–50 minutes. When you insert a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean, you know your cake is done! If you notice the cake is browning very quickly, test it with the toothpick and cover loosely with aluminum foil for the remainder of the bake time if it’s not quite done.

cream cheese frosting in a white bowl.

To make your frosting, combine all 8 oz. room temperature cream cheese, 8 Tbsp room temperature unsalted butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 tsp lemon juice in a large mixing bowl and mix with your handheld mixer until completely creamy and smooth.

crushed walnuts sprinkled over frosted banana cake in a glass baking dish.

Allow cake to cool completely (on the countertop it took my cake about an hour) before frosting. Frost and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp crushed walnuts!

overhead view of a slice of banana cake on a white plate with a fork.

There’s no better use for overripe bananas than this delicious banana cake!

The post Banana Cake appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My Red White and Blue Salad is Summer in a bowl. Christmas and Thanksgiving are great holidays, but I’m a summer gal through and through. There’s just something magical about the smell of sunscreen and fresh cut grass mingling with drool-worthy scents wafting from the grill. Are you with me? Now, all you need is an ice cold beverage, some sunshine, and this Red White and Blue Fruit Salad! You’re going to want to save this recipe, because it’s perfect for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.

The only thing I love more than celebrating ‘Merica and honoring our veterans is berries being in season! I pretty much refuse to buy berries when they aren’t in season because the quality is never as good and they are never quite as budget-friendly. I’m also a sucker for nostalgia and I feel like there was always a whipped cream fruit salad variation at all of my family gatherings growing up, probably because fruit salads require almost zero prep and they are always a crowd pleaser! This one is extra special because it brings the patriotic vibes, too.

What is Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad?

This patriotic fruit salad utilizes red, white, and blue fruits to create a colorful display fit for Independence Day or Memorial Day (or anytime I’m craving a refreshing and fun fruit salad). Strawberries represent the red, bananas and apples represent the white, and blueberries represent the blue. I added a little bit of crunch with some walnuts for texture. Topped off with some classic Cool Whip, this is one refreshing salad that’s a great BBQ side dish or dessert.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this red white and blue fruit salad:

  • Fruit: I used a combination of bananas, strawberries, apples, and blueberries to create this patriotic salad.
  • Sugar: A little bit of granulated sugar makes the berries glisten and helps prevents the apples from browning.
  • Walnuts: Crushed walnut pieces add a bit of savory nuttiness and crunch.
  • Marshmallows: Add pops of sweetness. Mini marshmallows are the perfect size, but you can also quarter full-sized marshmallows.
  • Cool Whip: The perfect garnish for this fresh and fruity salad. You can also make your own whipped cream if you prefer!

What Else Can I Add?

  • Fruits: If you’re not needing this to be particularly red, white, and blue, you can add any fruits your heart desires. Blackberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, concord grapes, pomegranate arils, or chopped pineapple would all keep the red white and blue theme going! Just be careful to avoid smushing the fruit when tossing the ingredients so you can see the distinct red, white, and blue colors throughout.
  • Crunch: Pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, or homemade granola are all great sources of crunch.

How To Store Leftovers

This fruit salad can be prepared up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it, although the tender berries may shed some juices as they sit and the bananas and apples may brown a bit. To achieve true fireworks, prepare just before your company arrives! It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses.
overhead view of a bowl of red white and blue fruit salad.
Print

Red White and Blue Fruit Salad

This red white and blue fruit salad is packed with fresh fruits, crunchy walnuts, and chewy marshmallows– perfect for Fourth of July!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($11.74 recipe / $1.46 serving)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people (about 1 cups each)
Calories

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas $0.46
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries $2.50
  • 1 diced apple $1.00
  • 2 cups blueberries (1 pint) $2.99
  • 2 tsp. sugar $0.01
  • ½ cup walnut pieces $2.64
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows $1.00
  • 1 cup Cool Whip $1.14

Instructions

  • Dice bananas into ¼ inch pieces, quarter strawberries, core and dice the apple, gather walnut pieces, blueberries and mini marshmellows.
  • Toss bananas, strawberries, apple, and blueberries in a big mixing bowl with sugar.*
  • Fold in walnut pieces and mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.
  • Top each serving with a generous dollop of Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream and extra walnut pieces.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*The sugar will make your berries glisten and will slow down the apples from browning!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup
scooping a bite from a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass.

how to make Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for red white and blue fruit salad on a cutting board.

Dice 2 bananas into ¼ inch pieces; quarter 2 cups of strawberries; core and dice 1 apple; and gather ½ cup walnut pieces, 2 cups of blueberries and 1 cup of mini marshmallows.

cut fruits tossed with sugar in a white bowl.

Toss the 2 diced bananas, 2 cups of quartered strawberries, 1 diced apple, and 2 cups of blueberries in a big mixing bowl with 2 tsp sugar.

red white and blue fruit salad mixed up in a white bowl with a side of cool whip.

Fold in ½ cup walnut pieces and 1 cup mini marshmallows to sugared fruits and toss to combine.

overhead view of servings of red white and blue fruit salad in stemless wine glasses with cool whip.

Top each serving with about 1 Tbsp of Cool Whip and extra walnut pieces.

close-up side view of a serving of red white and blue fruit salad in a stemless wine glass with cool whip.

This easy-to-make red white and blue fruit salad will be the star of your July 4th BBQ!

I would like to express my endless gratitude for the veterans who have sacrificed their lives while defending our country and their families.

The post Red White and Blue Fruit Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It’s my new go-to for parties!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s nearly grilling season, and I need a reliable side dish to bring to parties, family reunions, and barbecues. This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It has a great balance of sweet and tangy flavors, and the texture is unbeatable. It’s a fact that if you add bacon to any vegetable dish, even the most discerning meat eaters will give it a try. Baby steps, right?! I love making sure my loved ones eat their vegetables!

overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

What Is Broccoli Salad?

Broccoli salad is a classic side dish made from broccoli florets tossed with cheddar cheese, raisins, bacon, walnuts, and red onion, coated in a creamy and tangy dressing. This salad has a wonderful balance of flavors and textures and is so versatile!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make broccoli salad:

  • Broccoli: Has an earthy and slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor, as well as a delightful crunch!
  • Cheddar Cheese: Adds a creamy and salty component to the salad.
  • Raisins: Add a pop of sweet and fruity flavor.
  • Bacon: Adds a great savory and umami flavor. You’ll need 6 strips of cooked bacon. Vegetarian? No problem, just leave it out. Sometimes I put the bacon on the side for gatherings where there might be varied dietary restrictions.
  • Walnuts: Add a nutty flavor and delicious crunch.
  • Red Onion: Adds a bit of bite to the recipe and a wonderful crunchy texture, creating a great contrast to the sweet and chewy raisins.
  • Mayo: Adds richness and creaminess to the dressing.
  • Greek Yogurt: Makes the dressing extra creamy and tangy with fewer calories and fat than sour cream. I highly recommend Greek yogurt over plain yogurt or sour cream for its thicker, creamy texture.
  • White Vinegar: Adds a refreshing brightness and tanginess to the dressing to balance the richness.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness to balance out the vinegar.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhance the overall flavor of the salad.

Should I Blanch The Broccoli?

In testing, I preferred the final texture of raw broccoli over blanched, but you certainly can blanch the broccoli if you prefer. The blanching process takes out some of the natural bitter flavor from the broccoli; simply drop the florets in a large pot of salted boiling water for 1 minute, then quickly shock in a bowl of ice water. Instead, I opted to simply rinse my broccoli florets in hot water to make them extra bright green and make sure they were nice and clean.

Top Tip

To keep your broccoli salad from turning out watery, make sure to thoroughly dry the florets. The salt in the dressing will naturally draw out some of the moisture from the veggies, so making sure they are dry after washing them is an important step! I like to spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and gently pat them dry with another towel laid on top while I prep the rest of my ingredients.

What To Serve with Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad is such a fresh and crunchy dish with a ton of flavor, so I suggest pairing it with simple proteins, like air fryer chicken breast or glazed pork chops.

close up of broccoli salad on a white plate.
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.
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Broccoli Salad

This broccoli salad is the perfect creamy, crunchy, rich, and flavorful side to go with any meal. It's my new go-to for potlucks!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($5.79 recipe / $0.96 serving)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 (about 1 cup each)
Calories 305kcal

Ingredients

Broccoli Salad

  • 1 large broccoli crown, separated into florets (about 4 cups) $1.10
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $1.24
  • 1/4 cup raisins $0.39
  • 6 strips bacon $0.90
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, crushed $0.80
  • 1/4 red onion, diced into small pieces $0.21

Broccoli Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo $0.75
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt $0.21
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp sugar $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper $0.05

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Let cool on clean paper towel-lined plate. Chop into bite sized bits and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, Greek yogurt, white vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk together and set dressing aside.
  • Cut broccoli into florets, shred the cheddar cheese, gather raisins, crumble bacon, crush walnuts, and dice red onion.
  • Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  • Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Sodium: 477mg | Fiber: 1g
overhead view of broccoli salad in a white bowl.

how to make Broccoli Salad – step by step photos

ingredients for salad dressing in a white bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

creamy dressing in a white bowl.

Whisk together and set dressing aside.

overhead view of ingredients for broccoli salad on a wooden cutting board.

Cut 1 large crown of broccoli into florets, shred 1 cup of cheddar cheese, gather 1/4 cup of raisins, crumble 6 strips of crispy bacon, crush 1/4 cup walnuts, and dice 1/4 of a red onion.

ingredients for broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Combine salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

broccoli salad in a white bowl.

Pour the dressing over broccoli salad and toss together until completely coated. Serve immediately, or let it marinate and get extra yummy in the fridge for up to 5 days!

The post Broccoli Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Your favorite chocolate chip cookies, but easier? We had to do it, friends! These vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie BARS have all the flavor, but there’s no chilling, no scooping, and no hand mixer involved! Just stir, spread, and bake.
Plus, ju…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan)

Your favorite chocolate chip cookies, but easier? We had to do it, friends! These vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie BARS have all the flavor, but there’s no chilling, no scooping, and no hand mixer involved! Just stir, spread, and bake.

Plus, just 8 ingredients and 1 bowl required! They’re so easy it almost seems wrong…but they’re so right: perfectly sweet, chewy, buttery, and studded with melty chocolate chunks.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan) from Minimalist Baker →

Homemade Banana Bread

This homemade Banana Bread recipe is super rich, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s the perfect Saturday morning treat!

The post Homemade Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One day a friend was telling me about how she used to be so in love with the Starbucks banana bread and all I could think about was how the price for one slice is probably more than it costs to make a whole loaf, so I had to working on a dupe. It took about eight tries, but I finally made a homemade banana bread recipe that is super rich, moist, and totally melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And the best part? It ended up costing about $0.38 per slice. 😱 Take that, ‘bucks! Anyway, this banana bread was so good that I’ve been dreaming about it ever since. 🤤 So now the question is, is it wrong to make banana bread every single weekend??

Front view of a sliced loaf of banana bread on a wooden cutting board.

There are so many different recipes for banana bread out there and they create loaves that vary quite a bit in color, size, shape, texture, and of course flavor. My goal for this homemade banana bread recipe was to create a loaf that was super soft and moist, had a really good pronounced banana flavor, the loaf had to rise to a nice doamed shape (not be a flat brick), and did not get too over-browned. It took a combination of ingredients and techniques, but we finally got the perfect loaf of banana bread.

Ingredients for Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need to make this incredibly moist and delicious banana bread:

  • Bananas: You must use very ripe bananas for banana bread. Like, half brown ripe. This will ensure they provide enough sweetness, moisture, and banana flavor to the bread. Underripe bananas will give you a dry, bland loaf.
  • Butter & Oil: I used a combination of butter and oil for this banana bread. Butter gives the bread a ton of rich flavor, while oil keeps the loaf super moist after it cools in a way that butter can not. It’s a one-two flavor-texture punch!
  • Eggs: Eggs help give the loaf strength, so it doesn’t crumble, and they also help leaven the loaf so that it bakes up nice and fluffy.
  • Sugar: Using a combination of brown and white sugar again maximizes the flavor and texture. Brown sugar adds a deep flavor and helps moisten the loaf, while white sugar sweetens without making the batter too heavy.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour provides strength and body to the banana bread.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda helps leaven the loaf so it rises into a pretty doamed loaf shape.
  • Vanilla: A touch of vanilla extract adds richness to the flavor.
  • Spices: We add just a little bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the batter to add complexity to the flavor without overpowering the banana. They’re supporting roles, not the main character.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts are optional, but I love the contrast in flavor and texture they add to the bread. You can also substitute in chocolate chips if that’s your jam!

How to Store Banana Bread

I could eat this whole loaf of banana bread within a few days by myself no problem, but if you’re not a champion eater like myself, here’s how to store the leftovers. Make sure the bread is completely cooled after baking, then cut it into thick slices. The sliced bread can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 4-5 days, or it can be frozen for longer storage.

To freeze the banana bread, place sheets of parchment paper between the slices to prevent them from sticking, then place them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Individual slices can be taken out and thawed at room temperature or briefly microwaved to warm through.

Tips for the Best Banana Bread

I made a LOT of loaves during the development of this recipe, so here are some tips that I found will help you get the absolute best banana bread ever:

  • Make sure your bananas are VERY ripe. The sugar content of bananas increases as they ripen, so the more ripe your bananas are the sweeter the bread and the more pronounced the banana flavor will be.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Stirring the bread batter too much or too vigorously will create a rubbery texture in the banana bread. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together just until evenly combined.
  • Preheat the oven. This is a non-negotiable when baking. The sudden exposure to high heat (rather than a slow increase of a non-preheated oven) is what helps the loaf rise properly.

How to Make Banana Muffins

This banana bread recipe also bakes up really well as muffins. To make banana muffins simply prepare the batter as listed in the recipe below but divide the batter between 12 wells in a standard-size muffin tin. Bake the banana muffins in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes, or until the muffins have risen all the way in the center, they’ve browned nicely, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean (crumbs but no wet batter).

Overhead view of a slice of banana bread with butter spread on it.
Overhead view of a slice of banana bread with butter spread on it.
Print

Homemade Banana Bread

This homemade Banana Bread recipe is super rich, moist, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It's the perfect Saturday morning treat!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.57 recipe / $0.38 slice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp salted butter, room-temperature $0.54
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil $0.16
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar $0.18
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar $0.26
  • 1.5 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas) $0.84
  • 2 large eggs $0.29
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.60
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $0.40
  • 1 tsp baking soda $0.04
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) $1.20

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add the room-temperature butter, cooking oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the ingredients together until they become light and creamy.
  • Mash the bananas well, then add them to the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar, along with the eggs and vanilla extract. Use the mixter again to beat the ingredients together until smooth.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and fold them together just until combined. Do not overmix.
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the bowl and gently fold to combine again.
  • Grease an 8.5"x4.5" loaf pan with butter or oil, then add the batter and smooth it out evenly into the pan.
  • Bake the banana bread in the preheated 350ºF oven until it's deeply golden brown on top, has a crack down the center, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but wet batter is not).
  • Allow the loaf to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack. Once cooled, slice, serve, and enjoy!

Banana Muffins Instructions

  • Prepare the batter as listed above, then divide it between 12 wells of a standard-size muffin tin.
  • Bake the banana muffins for 30 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven or until they have risen all the way in the center, have browned nicely, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (crumbs are okay, but no wet batter).

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 233mg | Fiber: 2g
Overhead view of a sliced loaf of banana bread.

How to Make Banana Bread – Step by Step Photos

Butter, oil, and sugar added to a mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp of room-temperature salted butter, ¼ cup cooking oil, ½ cup white sugar, and ½ cup brown sugar to a mixing bowl.

Creamed butter and sugars in the mixing bowl.

Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to cream the butter, sugars, and oil together until it looks light and creamy.

Mashed bananas in a measuring cup with a fork.

Mash 3-4 bananas, or until you have 1.5 cups of mashed banana.

Banana, eggs, and vanilla added to the butter and sugar mixture.

Add the mashed banana, two large eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar. Use the mixer to mix the ingredients together until smooth.

Dry ingredients being poured into the bowl of wet ingredients.

In a separate bowl, stir together 2 cups of all-purpospe flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp cinnamon until well combined. Pour the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and then fold them together just until they form a wet batter. Do not overmix.

Chopped walnuts being folded into the banana bread batter.

Add ½ cup of chopped walnuts to the batter and fold briefly to combine.

Banana bread batter being smoothed into a bread pan.

Grease a standard 8.5″x4.5″ bread pan. Pour the batter into the pan and then spread it out evenly.

Baked banana bread in the bread pan.

Bake the bread for 60 minutes, or until golden brown on top, cracked in the middle, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then gently remove it from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Stacked slices of banana bread on a plate.

Once cooled, slice the banana bread and enjoy!

Butter being smeared onto a slice of banana bread.

The post Homemade Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF)

The goal: portable, delicious, and a bit nutritious! And so banana buckwheat muffins were born! These nutty, wholesome muffins are vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and easy to make with just 1 bowl and 10 ingredients required. 
They’re gre…

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF)

The goal: portable, delicious, and a bit nutritious! And so banana buckwheat muffins were born! These nutty, wholesome muffins are vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and easy to make with just 1 bowl and 10 ingredients required. 

They’re great for after-school snacks, on-the-go breakfasts, and more! Grab your mixing bowl, let’s make muffins!

These 1-bowl buckwheat muffins begin with the wet ingredients: a flax egg, mashed banana, coconut sugar, a little oil, and vanilla.

1-Bowl Banana Buckwheat Muffins (Vegan + GF) from Minimalist Baker →

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a Christmas cookie favorite, but there are SO many different names for these little buttery pecan cookies. What do you call them? I call them Mexican Wedding Cookies because that is what my family calls them. To be honest th…

Mexican Wedding Cookies are a Christmas cookie favorite, but there are SO many different names for these little buttery pecan cookies. What do you call them? I call them Mexican Wedding Cookies because that is what my family calls them. To be honest though, when I was little I didn’t really like them. I always…