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Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those recipes that feels super fancy but is ready in under an hour! It’s so saucy, cheesy, and delicious!

The post Chicken Cordon Bleu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those recipes that feels super fancy but doesn’t actually take a ton of effort. It can be pricey if ordering at a restaurant, but we have developed a budget conscious recipe that can be made at home. With some simple technique and a little bit of patience, you can make this savory, cheesy, saucy dinner recipe in under an hour!

close-up view of a sliced chicken cordon bleu breast.

What is Chicken Cordon Bleu?

Chicken cordon bleu is made by butterflying a chicken breast and stuffing it with slices of creamy, melty Swiss cheese and salty deli ham. The whole thing gets rolled up, dipped in breadcrumbs, and doused in a creamy sauce for the ultimate decadent dinner. While it can be expensive when ordering out, our version is more cost effective but equally as delicious.

Ingredients For Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: You’ll need 4 large chicken breasts for this recipe so there’s plenty of room to stuff them. Look for ones that are about 7-8 ounces each.
  • Ham: Any flavor of deli ham works well.
  • Swiss Cheese: You can also use provolone or cheddar.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Create a crunchy coating on the chicken. Regular or Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs are also a good choice.
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper season the chicken. Salt also enhances the flavor of the sauce.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter helps the seasonings and breadcrumbs stick to the chicken, and it also forms the base of the sauce.
  • All-Purpose Flour: A bit of flour helps to thicken the sauce.
  • Milk: Milk adds richness and moisture to the sauce. Any kind works, including non-dairy.
  • Dijon Mustard: A touch of mustard adds just a bit of warmth to the sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This umami sauce adds incredible depth of flavor.

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast

  1. Place the chicken breast flat on a cutting board and hold your knife horizontally to the cutting board.
  2. Place one hand on the chicken breast to keep it steady, then insert your knife into the center of the chicken breast and begin to cut horizontally until you have almost reached the other side.
  3. Open the chicken breast like a book.

What To Serve With Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken cordon bleu is rich and saucy, so it pairs beautifully with simple veggies, like Steamed Green Beans or Oven Roasted Broccoli. Soak up that beautiful sauce with Mashed Potatoes, Rice, or Garlic Herb Mashed Cauliflower.

How to Store Leftovers

Once cooked and cooled, store chicken cordon bleu in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you plan to freeze this dish, I recommend doing so before baking it for the crispiest results. It will keep well for up to 3 months. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.

overhead view of chicken cordon bleu covered with sauce on a plate with green beans.
overhead view of chicken cordon bleu covered with sauce on a plate with green beans.
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Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of those recipes that feels super fancy but is ready in under an hour! It's so saucy, cheesy, and delicious!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine French
Total Cost $17.22 recipe / $4.30 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 889kcal

Ingredients

Chicken:

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter $0.53
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.05
  • 3/4 cup milk $0.40
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.04
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Butterfly each chicken breast by slicing horizontally through the middle of the breast, taking care to not cut all the way through. Open the chicken breast up like a book.
  • Lay the breast flat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken breasts into a thin, even layer.
  • Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place a slice of ham and slice of Swiss cheese on each chicken breast.
  • Gently roll up the chicken breast.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic, powder, salt, and pepper. Set up a breading station with 2 shallow bowls; one of melted butter and one for the breading.
  • Dip the chicken rolls in the melted butter, and roll in the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Transfer to a parchment linked baking sheet.
  • Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Then, slowly pour in the milk while whisking to incorporate.
  • Add in the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 889kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 69g | Fat: 57g | Sodium: 2027mg | Fiber: 1g
overhead view of slices of chicken cordon bleu on a plate.

how to make Chicken Cordon Bleu – step by step photos

a hand opening a butterflied chicken breast next to a knife.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butterfly each of 4 chicken breasts by slicing horizontally through the middle of the breast, taking care to not cut all the way through. Open the chicken breast up like a book.

a butterflied chicken breast under plastic wrap with a rolling pin.

Lay the breast flat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken breasts into a thin, even layer.

a butterflied chicken breast with a slice of ham and swiss cheese on top.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place a slice of ham and 1 ounce of Swiss cheese on each chicken breast.

a rolled-up stuffed chicken breast.

Gently roll up the chicken breast.

a rolled-up chicken breast dipped in breadcrumbs.

In a shallow bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set up a breading station with a shallow bowl of 1/2 cup melted butter and the breading. Dip the chicken rolls in the melted butter, and roll in the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Transfer to a greased casserole dish.

4 breaded and baked rolled-up chicken breasts on a baking sheet.

Bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

milk added to a thick roux in a saucepan with a whisk.

To make the sauce, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the 2 Tbsp flour. Then, slowly pour in 3/4 cup milk while whisking to incorporate.

thick and creamy white sauce in a saucepan with a spoon.

Add in 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Season with 1/2 tsp salt. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

overhead view of chicken cordon bleu covered with sauce on a plate with green beans.

This crispy, cheesy, salty, and creamy chicken cordon bleu is the ultimate comfort food!

The post Chicken Cordon Bleu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Ham And Cheese Sliders

These easy Ham and Cheese Sliders are a must-have for parties! They’re buttery, sweet, salty, gooey, and insanely delicious!

The post Ham And Cheese Sliders appeared first on Budget Bytes.

These tasty little Ham and Cheese Sliders might just be the champion of all party food recipes! They’re extremely easy to make, perfect for feeding a hungry crowd, and they’re insanely delicious! With each bite you taste the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls, the saltiness of the ham, the gooeyness of the cheese, and that irresistible buttery sauce. The combination of everything together is simply unmatched! And although these are absolutely perfect for the big football game tomorrow, they can also be enjoyed all year long!

Front side view of a stack of ham and cheese sliders on a plate.

Ham and cheese sandwiches remind me so much of my childhood, but these sliders are definitely the grown up version. My mom has been making these tasty little ham and cheese sliders for years. And every time she makes them, whether it’s for a family gathering, football game, or a holiday party, they are literally gone in minutes! Needless to say I consider these a must-have to enjoy during the Super Bowl game tomorrow!😉

Ingredients For Ham and Cheese Sliders

These buttery & savory ham and cheese sliders are made with just 7 simple ingredients! Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Deli Ham: When picking deli ham you’ll often find thinly sliced or regular sliced ham. I tested both and really liked the thickness of the regular ham slices. It also allowed me to use 1 slice per slider, whereas with the thinly sliced ham I needed to add 2 or 3 slices to make it a full slider sandwich.  
  • Swiss Cheese: Swiss cheese has a milder flavor and pairs perfectly with these sliders, but feel free to use a different cheese if you prefer.
  • Hawaiian Sweet Rolls: Hawaiian rolls have just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the savory & salty taste of the ham. They’re also the perfect size to make party sliders. If you can’t find Hawaiian rolls at your local store you can also substitute with bakery dinner rolls. Dinner rolls are a little bigger than Hawaiian rolls so you may need to add more ham and cheese to accommodate.
  • Sauce: The sauce we used to brush over the tops of the sliders is a simple combination of melted butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and everything bagel seasoning. These flavors combined give the sliders a buttery, tangy taste and compliment the ham and the sweetness of the rolls perfectly!

Recipe Tips and Variations

  1. Use Leftover Ham – If you happen to be making these sandwiches around a special holiday and you have any leftover baked ham, then this recipe works perfectly with your leftover ham.
  2. Turkey and cheese – Not into ham? No worries, this recipe also works well as turkey and cheese sliders! 
  3. Everything Bagel Seasoning – A lot of ham and cheese slider recipes use poppy seeds and dried minced onions as part of the butter sauce. However, we rarely have poppy seeds stocked in our pantry. The good news is that Everything Bagel Seasoning has those ingredients included in it along with dried minced garlic, sesame seeds, and a few other spices. So it works perfectly with these tasty little sandwiches!

Storing Leftovers

If you’re lucky enough to have any of these tasty sandwiches leftover, then just store them in an airtight container or a ziplock storage bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven until warmed through.

Front side view of a hand pulling one ham and cheese slider out of a casserole baking dish.
Front side view of a stack of ham and cheese sliders on a plate.
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Ham and Cheese Sliders

These easy Ham and Cheese Sliders are a must-have for parties! They’re buttery, sweet, salty, gooey, and insanely delicious!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $11.09 recipe / $1.84 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 (2 sliders each)
Calories 517kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the rolls in half lengthwise.
  • Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9×13 baking dish. Fold 1 slice of deli ham and place it on top of each roll.
  • Add the 6 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the deli ham in a single layer.
  • Now make the butter mixture. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and everything bagel seasoning to the bowl. Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Place the top rolls on top of the ham and cheese. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter mixture over the tops of the rolls and the sides of the sandwiches. Brush several layers of the butter making sure the rolls are well coated. You can also carefully pour the butter mixture over the top if you don't have a pastry brush.
  • Loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 2sliders | Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 34g | Sodium: 1214mg | Fiber: 0.1g
Side view of two serving plates of ham and cheese sliders with a napkin on the side.

How to Make Ham And Cheese Sliders – Step by Step Photos

Overhead view of 12 hawaiian rolls cut in half on a cutting board.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls in half lengthwise.

12 ham slices added on top of hawaiian rolls in a white baking dish.

Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9×13″ baking dish. Fold 1 slice of deli ham and place it on top of each roll.

Six slices of Swiss cheese added on top of ham slices.

Add 6 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the deli ham in a single layer. It’s ok if the edges of the cheese overlap a little bit.

Overhead view of melted butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and everything bagel seasoning mixed together in a small mixing bowl.

In a small bowl melt 8 Tbsp (1 stick) of butter in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 1/2 Tbsp everything bagel seasoning to the bowl. Whisk all the ingredients together until well combined.

Melted butter sauce being brushed over the tops of hawaiian rolls with a pastry brush.

Place the top half of the rolls on top of the ham and cheese. Using a pastry brush, brush the butter mixture over the tops of the rolls and the sides of the sandwiches. Brush several layers of the butter making sure the rolls are well coated. You can also carefully pour the butter mixture over the top if you don’t have a pastry brush.

Overhead view of baked ham and cheese sliders in a white baking dish.

Loosely cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue baking for 5-7 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Side view of two serving plates of ham and cheese sliders with a napkin on the side.

Time to enjoy that buttery goodness that’s baked into each ham and cheese slider. Trust me these won’t last long. Serve warm and enjoy!

Overhead view of ham and cheese sliders in a baking dish with a hand pulling one slider out of the dish.

The post Ham And Cheese Sliders appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Buffalo Wings

This buffalo wing recipe has all the great flavor of classic fried wings with none of the mess of deep frying.

The post Buffalo Wings appeared first on Budget Bytes.

When it’s game day, there’s no food I crave more than spicy, saucy Buffalo Wings! I always thought they’d be such a pain to make, but baking them in the oven makes the process so easy. This buffalo wing recipe has all the great flavor of classic fried wings with none of the mess of deep frying.

overhead view of buffalo wings on a white platter with celery and white sauce.

Why Make Buffalo Wings?

Even on Wing Wednesday, buffalo wings can still be pricey. The price per wing really adds up, and I knew there must be a better and cheaper way. It turns out that making them at home was the solution to my wing woes! Seasoned with classic spices like paprika, garlic, and onion, these wings already have so much flavor. Once tossed in that creamy, buttery Buffalo Sauce, you’ll be wondering why you never made them at home before!

Ingredients for Buffalo Wings

  • Cornstarch: A bit of cornstarch helps keep the wings crispy.
  • Spices: Paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt add so much flavor to the wings. Keep the garlic powder handy for the sauce, too!
  • Cooking Oil: You’ll need just enough to drizzle over the wings so they crisp up in the oven. Canola or vegetable oil both work well here.
  • Chicken Wings: Wings or drumettes both work for this recipe, so choose one type or both for variety.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter makes the sauce thick and creamy.
  • Franks RedHot Sauce: Hot sauce is the one ingredient you’ll want to splurge a bit on. It gives these wings their signature flavor and spice! Use the leftovers to make Spinach Artichoke Dip.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This umami sauce adds depth to the buffalo sauce.

How to Serve Buffalo Wings

These classic baked buffalo wings are delicious served as an appetizer with Ranch Dressing or blue cheese for dipping and a side of carrot sticks and celery. You can also make them into a meal by adding a side of Garlic Parmesan Oven Fries, Easy Creamy Coleslaw, or Oven Roasted Broccoli.

Tips for Making Buffalo Wings

  • Pat the wings dry before seasoning them to remove excess moisture.
  • Don’t skip the cornstarch. Tossing the wings in cornstarch helps bring moisture to the surface, leading to ultra-crispy wings.
  • Bake the wings on a wire rack to allow the hot air to circulate evenly around them. This will crisp the wings on all sides!
  • If making ahead, wait to toss the wings in the sauce until just before serving.

How To Store Leftovers

Once baked and cooled, store leftover buffalo wings in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet until solid, about 1-2 hours, before transferring to an air-tight container to store for up to 3 months. Reheat on a wire rack set in a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 7-10 minutes if refrigerated or 15-20 minutes if frozen.

close up view of a buffalo wing dipped in white sauce.
overhead view of buffalo wings on a white platter with celery and white sauce.
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Buffalo Wings

This buffalo wing recipe has all the great flavor of classic fried wings with none of the mess of deep frying.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Total Cost $12.24 recipe / $3.06 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 774kcal

Ingredients

Chicken Wings

Buffalo Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, paprika, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, pepper, and salt.
  • Pat the wings dry, then place them in a bowl. Drizzle the cooking oil over top, then toss until the wings are coated in oil. Add the cornstarch-seasoning mixture, then toss to coat again.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, then place wire cooling racks on top. Place the seasoned chicken wings on the wire racks with space between each wing.
  • Bake the wings for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the wings have achieved the amount of browning desired (this will depend on the size of your wings).
  • While the wings are in the oven, melt the butter in a small saucepot over medium heat, then add the remaining ingredients (hot sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder).
  • Transfer the wings to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss until fully coated.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 774kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 60g | Sodium: 1528mg | Fiber: 0.3g
overhead view of buffalo wings on a white platter with celery and white sauce.

how to make Buffalo Wings – step by step photos

spices in a white bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.

seasoned raw chicken wings in a glass bowl.

Pat 2.5 lbs. of chicken wings dry, then place them in a bowl. Drizzle 1 Tbsp cooking oil over top, then toss until the wings are coated in oil. Add the cornstarch-seasoning mixture, then toss to coat again.

raw chicken wings on a wire rack set in a baking sheet.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, then place wire cooling racks on top. Place the seasoned chicken wings on the wire racks with space between each wing.

baked chicken wings on a wire rack set in a baking sheet.

Bake the wings for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the wings have achieved the amount of browning desired (this will depend on the size of your wings).

buffalo sauce in a saucepan with a spoon.

While the wings are in the oven, melt 4 Tbsp butter in a small saucepot over medium heat, then add the remaining ingredients (1/2 cup hot sauce, 1 tsp Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp garlic powder).

buffalo wings in a metal bowl.

Transfer the wings to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss until fully coated.

close up view of buffalo wings on a white platter with celery and white sauce.

These buffalo wings are crispy, spicy, and so delicious– everything you want in a wing recipe!

The post Buffalo Wings appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade French Onion Dip

This creamy and tangy French Onion Dip is full of caramelized onions and perfect for parties, game day, or as a burger or sandwich spread.

The post Homemade French Onion Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite flavors EVER, so even though you can make a quick French Onion Dip made with just a packet of onion soup mix and sour cream, you know I’m going to try to make it from scratch instead! And this homemade French Onion Dip recipe is surprisingly easy! It only takes a few ingredients and it really lets the flavor of those caramelized onions shine. This dip is creamy, tangy, sweet, savory, and perfect for all your crunchy chips and crackers. Plus, it also makes an ah-maz-ing sandwich and burger spread, so even if you’re not a chip and dip person, you still need to try it!

Overhead view of a bowl of French Onion Dip with a chip in the side and chips all around.

What Is French Onion Dip?

French Onion Dip is a creamy and tangy dip for chips, crackers, vegetables, and more that has a flavor profile similar to French Onion Soup. The quick way to make French Onion Dip is to simply stir a packet of onion soup mix into a container of sour cream, but if you’re looking for more of a “from scratch” approach with that slow caramelized flavor, we’ve got you covered. And while caramelizing the onions does take a little bit of time, you don’t need many more ingredients to turn them into a really stellar dip!

Ingredients for French Onion Dip

Here’s what you’ll need to make a homemade French Onion Dip from scratch:

  • Onions: I just used plain ol’ yellow onions here, but if you want to get fancy you can go for a sweet onion like Vidalia or a Maui onion.
  • Butter: Butter makes the recipe extra rich and gives a slightly nutty flavor to the caramelized onions.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is the rich and tangy base for the dip.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream lightens up the cream cheese just a touch and makes the dip much softer and dippable.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This gives the dip a savory note, similar to French onion soup.
  • Seasoning: I kept the seasonings simple so the flavor of the onions could shine through. All you’ll need is a bit of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You can experiment with adding beef bouillon, but I found this to overwhelm the flavor of the dish, totally masking the delicately sweet flavor of the onions.

How to Serve French Onion Dip

French onion dip is classically served with potato chips, but it’s great for so much more! You can use it for crackers, on a vegetable platter (in place of ranch dip), or as a spread on sandwiches, wraps, or burgers. Try pairing this dip on a sandwich with thinly sliced roast beef, a slice of Swiss cheese, and spring mix. You won’t be disappointed! Or slather it onto a burger with some sautéed mushrooms. YES PLEASE.

How Long Does it Keep?

Homemade French Onion Dip will stay good in the refrigerator for about four to five days, but is not a good candidate for freezing. If your French Onion Dip has been in the refrigerator for a few days, make sure to give it a good stir before enjoying.

Side view of a chip being dipped into a bowl of French Onion Dip.
Overhead view of a bowl of French Onion Dip with a chip in the side and chips all around.
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French Onion Dip

This creamy and tangy French Onion Dip is full of caramelized onions and perfect for parties, game day, or as a burger or sandwich spread. 
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $2.85 recipe / $0.48 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rest Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 (¼ cup each)
Calories 193kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Dice the onions and place them in a skillet with the butter.
  • Cook the onions over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, allowing them to soften and then slowly brown. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes, or until they achieve a deep copper brown color and jammy texture. If the skillet dries out too much as the onions cook, lower the heat slightly and add a tablespoon or two of water. On the flip side, if the onions are taking too long to cook, increase the heat slightly.
  • Meanwhile, stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth and evenly combined.
  • Once the onions are fully caramelized, stir them into the dip.
  • Allow the dip to sit for about 15 minutes for the flavors to blend, then taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve with your favorite chips or spread onto a sandwich and enjoy!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 237mg | Fiber: 1g

How to Make French Onion Dip – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion and butter in a skillet.

Dice one pound of yellow onions (about two medium onions), then add them to a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Half-cooked onions in the skillet.

Cook the onions over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, allowing them to soften and then slowly brown. If the skillet gets too dry as the onions cook, turn the heat down slightly and add a tablespoon or two of water to the skillet to help dissolve the browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Or, if the onions are taking a very long time to cook down, you can increase the heat slightly.

Fully caramelized onions in the skillet.

When the onions are fully caramelized they should look like this—deep copper brown, translucent, and jammy in texture. The caramelization process should take about 30 minutes.

Dip ingredients in a bowl but not combined.

Meanwhile, combine 4oz. room temperature cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl, stirring until the mixture is smooth.

Caramelized onions added to the dip in the bowl.

Add the caramelized onions to the dip and stir to combine.

Finished caramelized onion dip in the bowl with a spoon.

Allow the dip to sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, then taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Overhead view of a chip being dipped into a bowl of French Onion Dip.

Serve with your favorite crunchy chips and enjoy!

The post Homemade French Onion Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.


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Caesar Dressing

I love making salads and Caesar Salad is always a favorite. The best part is the Caesar Dressing…well and the crunchy homemade croutons. If you’ve never had Caesar dressing, you need to try it. It looks similar to ranch, but the flavor prof…

I love making salads and Caesar Salad is always a favorite. The best part is the Caesar Dressing…well and the crunchy homemade croutons. If you’ve never had Caesar dressing, you need to try it. It looks similar to ranch, but the flavor profiles are very different. They are both creamy, but ranch is light, fresh,…

Beef And Tomato Rice Bowl

This budget-friendly, easy Beef Tomato Rice Bowl is lip-smackingly good, endlessly adaptable, and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!

The post Beef And Tomato Rice Bowl appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This budget-friendly, easy Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl is lip-smackingly good, endlessly adaptable, and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner! What’s not to love about buttery rice, unctuous ground beef, tangy tomatoes, and earthy garbanzo beans? Ready in thirty, I bet you have everything you need to make this incredibly tasty and super-filling meal in your pantry right now!

Overhead shot of Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl with fork in it.

Ingredients For Beef And Tomato Rice Bowl

What I love the most about this Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl recipe is how ridiculously versatile it is. But before we get into variations, let’s go over the ingredients you’re going to need:

  • Ground Beef – adds flavor and bulk to the mixture. You can substitute ground beef with plant-based ground beef or minced mushrooms.
  • Onion and Garlic – these aromatics help build depth and add flavor. Use 1 tablespoon of onion powder or 3 tablespoons of dried onion flakes as a substitute for the fresh onion. To substitute the fresh garlic, use a 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic.
  • Diced Tomatoes – add acidity that helps cut through the fattiness of the beef and increases the bulk. You can substitute the diced tomatoes with equal parts fresh tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce. However, depending on your substitution, the texture of the beef mixture will change.
  • Chickpeas – add earthiness and increase bulk. Substitute with your favorite canned bean, just make sure they are drained. If you want to use dry beans, you will need to rehydrate them first and cook through.
  • Oregano, Cumin, and Red Pepper Flakes – all add flavor. Substitute with 3/4 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend.
  • Rice – We used Jasmine rice, but feel free to use whatever rice you have on hand. You can also serve the beef mixture over cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, or over a bed of wilted greens.

Variations

  1. For a vegan version of this dish, use your favorite plant-based ground beef alternative and substitute the chicken broth with veggie broth. Use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce.
  2. To add bulk and increase servings, consider adding diced carrots or potatoes, chopped spinach or kale, or sliced mushrooms or zucchini to the beef mixture.
  3. Skip the rice and serve the beef mixture over Riced Cauliflower, Mashed Potatoes, or Roasted Vegetables.
  4. Serve the dish with some of your favorite toppings like shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or a side of sliced avocado.

How To Store Leftovers

You can store Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl leftovers in an air-tight container for up to four days in the fridge. They will keep up to four months in the freezer. If freezing, cover the surface with plastic wrap or parchment before sealing the container, which prevents freezer burn. If meal prepping, refrigerating, or freezing, add the beef mixture to the container first and then top it with the rice. This will prevent the rice from absorbing all of the sauce. You can reheat leftovers in a microwave. Cook in 30-second increments until the beef mixture is steaming.

Side shot of Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl.
Overhead shot of Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl with fork in it.
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Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl

This budget-friendly, easy Beef Tomato Rice Bowl is lip-smackingly good, endlessly adaptable, and perfect for a quick weeknight dinner!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($7.78 recipe / $1.95 serving)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 bowls
Calories

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1/2 lb ground beef $4.00
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt, divided $0.05
  • 1 yellow onion, diced $0.42
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin $0.03
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz $1.00
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.08
  • 1 can chickpeas, 15 oz, drained $0.79
  • 2 cups rice $0.85
  • 3 cups water $0.00
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter $0.28
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes $0.02

Instructions

  • Set a deep stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil. Once the oil has warmed, add the ground beef and sprinkle it with a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Once the beef has browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat in the pan.
  • Add the diced onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the beef back to the pan with oregano, ground cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Top the meat with the diced tomatoes and their juices. Stir to combine.
  • Add the chicken broth and drained chickpeas to the beef mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook until the chickpeas soften, about 20 minutes.
  • While the beef mixture cooks, add the rice to a rice cooker, alonf with the water, salted butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • When the beef and tomato mixture finishes cooking, sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Divide the rice into four bowls and top with the beef mixture.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Overhead shot of Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl with fork in it.

How to Make Beef and Tomato Rice Bowl – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of ground beef browning in silver sauté pan.
Set a deep stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Once the oil has warmed, add the 1/2 pound of ground beef and sprinkle it with a 1/2 teaspoon salt. As the beef browns, use a wooden spoon to break up large chunks into smaller pieces. Once the beef has browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat in the pan.
Overhead shot of onions cooking in ground beef fat in silver sauté pan.

Add the diced onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Next, add the 2 minced cloves of garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Overhead shot of beef and tomatoes added to onions in silver sauté pan.

Add the beef back to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Then top the meat with one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes and their juices. Stir to combine.

Overhead shot of garbanzo beans added to ground beef mixture in sauté pan.

Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and one 15-ounce can of drained chickpeas to the beef mixture. Then sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook until the chickpeas have softened, about 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of cooked rice in a rice maker.

While the beef mixture cooks, add 2 cups of rice to a rice cooker, along with 3 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of salted butter, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook. If you don’t own a rice cooker, check out our blog post on How To Cook Rice.

Overhead shot of hand sprinkling red pepper flakes into finished ground beef, tomato, and garbanzo bean mixture.

When the beef and tomato mixture is finished cooking, sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes, or more to taste. Then, divide the rice into four bowls and top with the beef mixture. Finally, sit back and enjoy this hearty meal you’ve made with very minimal effort!

More Easy Rice Bowls

The post Beef And Tomato Rice Bowl appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Beer Cheese Dip

Looking for a melted cheese appetizer that’s sure to be the hit of the party? You’ll love the unique taste cheddar gives this Beer Cheese Dip!

The post Beer Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This quick and easy Beer Cheese Dip recipe combines two casual party staples (Beer! Cheese!) into one creamy, decadent cheese dip. This ooey-gooey melted cheese appetizer is similar to queso. But the Cheddar cheese we use gives it a sharp, slightly-tangy flavor that makes it really unique (in a good way!). This funky twist on fondue is the perfect thing to serve up the next time you want to impress without the stress. 

A large white bowl filled with beer cheese dip on a blue background surrounded by different types of pretzels, a wooden cutting board with apple slices and a glass cup of beer.

WHAT IS BEER CHEESE?

This Beer Cheese Dip is precisely what it sounds like: a saucy cheese dip made with beer. The beer is simmered to reduce its alcohol content but still maintains its tangy flavor. Then it’s melded with a combo of cream cheese and extra-sharp cheddar cheese to create an ultra-rich and decadent dip. We also added Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, and seasonings to round out the flavors.

This dish, which originated in Kentucky, shouldn’t be confused with the German cow’s milk cheese Bierkäse, which literally translates to “beer cheese.” It’s also very different from Obatzda, an authentic German cheese spread made with super-funky soft cheese that’s served cold alongside Bavarian-style soft pretzels. 

CHEESE OPTIONS

You can use almost any kind of cheese to make this recipe, but some will be more successful than others. We used a block of extra-sharp, store-brand cheddar cheese since it’s the most traditional and budget-friendly option. It’s also super flavorful (but not too funky!). Here are some more tips to consider when using different types of cheese:

  • Make sure the cheese and beer taste good together — and are ones you enjoy! (Since both heavily impact the sauce’s final flavor, color, and texture.)
  • For the grated cheese, reach for a semi-firm cheese (like Cheddar, Edam, or Gouda) or a semi-soft cheese (like Mozzarella, Jack, Fontina, and Munster). Both types of cheese will shred easier when cold. Hard cheeses and ones that are “aged” or “extra-sharp” can also be used, but don’t melt as easily as their softer, milder counterparts.

BEER OPTIONS

It doesn’t matter what kind of beer you use for this recipe – just pick one you like to drink! We used Pabst Blue Ribbon, a budget-friendly light beer with a mild, malty taste that wouldn’t compete with the flavor of our sharp cheddar cheese. 

  • Light Beers: Considered best for beer cheese. Light beers are usually milder in taste. So they’re less likely to overpower easy-to-melt cheeses like basic Cheddar. Fruity wheat beers pair especially well with cheese!
  • Dark Beers: Stouts and porters also make a great beer cheese sauce, but are best paired with a sharp, funky cheese that can stand up to their strong, rich flavors. 
  • Super-hoppy IPAs: If you love this style of beer, go for it. (They’re truly an “acquired taste!”) But if you don’t like drinking them, you probably won’t enjoy the lingering, bitter aftertaste they give your beer cheese sauce either!

Why is my beer cheese lumpy or grainy?

It’s important not to overheat your cheese dip. High heat makes the proteins and fat in the cheese separate, causing the sauce to “break” and turn into a lumpy mess. If this happens, it can be difficult (or impossible) to repair. You might be able to fix the cheese sauce by adding more cream cheese or Dijon, which are both emulsifying ingredients. Add these ingredients a little at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate them before adding any more. 

DOES BEER CHEESE CONTAIN ALCOHOL?

Boiling beer reduces the alcohol content a lot but doesn’t eliminate it entirely. I promise, no one will get “drunk” from eating too much beer cheese! If consuming alcohol isn’t part of your lifestyle, you can substitute it with a non-alcoholic beer! Or try one of our other easy cheese sauce recipes, like:

eat it fresh & keep it warm

This recipe is best eaten right after it’s prepared. The leftovers probably won’t stay as smooth and creamy, so I’d suggest reducing the serving size of the recipe to avoid wasted ingredients.

serving suggestions

Serve this decadent dip with an assortment of pretzels and crackers, apple slices, or a vegetable party tray. Our Beer Bread and Easy Soda Bread are also great vehicles for this cheese sauce!

A side view of giant Bavarian pretzel that's just been half-dipped in beer cheese is hovering over a large white bowl filled of the dip and is surrounded by an assortment of other pretzels and a glass cup of beer.
An overhead view of a hand swirling a pretzel crisp into a white bowl of beer cheese dip that's surrounded by an assortment of pretzels, a glass cup of beer, a wooden cutting board topped with apple slices, and a small bowl of pretzel salt.
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Beer Cheese Dip

Looking for a melted cheese appetizer that's sure to be the hit of the party? You'll love the unique taste cheddar gives this Beer Cheese Dip!
Course Appetizer, Dip, Side Dish
Cuisine American, German
Total Cost $3.95 RECIPE / $0.66 SERVING
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1/3 cup each
Calories 210kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beer $0.92
  • 1 Tbsp warm water $0.00
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.03
  • 2 oz. cream cheese $0.44
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded $2.49
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Heat the beer in a saucepan on medium-high heat. While the beer heating up, whisk together the cornstarch and warm water in a small bowl to make a slurry.
  • Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Allow the beer to come back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.
  • Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into chunks, then whisk it into the beer until fully melted.
  • Add the shredded cheese a handful at a time, continuing to whisk until the cheese is fully melted before adding more.
  • Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.
  • Cover the cheese dip and keep the pot sitting over low heat so it stays warm and melted (or transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot). Stir the cheese dip occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cup | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 16g | Sodium: 494mg | Fiber: 0.1g
A overhead view of a white bowl of cheese dip sprinkled with black pepper that is surrounded by an assortment of pretzels, a bowl of pretzel salt, a wooden cutting board of apples and a glass cup of beer.

How to Make beer cheese dip – Step by Step Photos

A small saucepot being filled with beer from a glass measuring cup held above the bottom right corner of the pot.

Heat 1 cup (8 oz.) of beer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the beer comes to a rolling boil, let it boil for about 5 minutes. While the beer heating up, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of warm water in a small bowl.

A cornstarch slurry is being poured into the left side of a small saucepot of beer, and a whisk is resting in the bottom right corner of the pot.

Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling beer, whisking constantly to fully incorporate it. Bring the beer back up to a boil, at which point the cornstarch slurry will slightly thicken the beer.

A small saucepot of boiled beer with chunks of unmelted cream cheese in the right side of the pot ready to be mixed into the beer.

Turn the heat down to low. Cut 2 ounces of cream cheese into chunks, and then whisk them into the beer until fully melted.

A hand is sprinkling shredded sharp cheddar cheese into a small saucepot containing a mixture of beer, cornstarch, and cream cheese.

Add 2 cups of shredded cheese to the saucepot a handful at a time. Continue whisking after each addition until all the cheese has melted before adding the next handful.

A hand is pouring Worcestershire sauce into a small saucepot of melted cheese, and there are small piles of unmixed salt and black pepper sitting on the surface.

Add 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Taste the cheese dip and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking. 

A small saucepot of finished beer cheese dip.

Cover the cheese dip and keep it over low heat so it stays warm and melted. You could also transfer it to a small chafing dish, crockpot, or electric fondue pot. Stir it occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming on the surface of the cheese sauce. 

An extreme close up of a giant Bavarian soft pretzel that's just been dipped into a white bowl filled with melted cheese sauce, and an assortment of pretzels and a glass cup of beer are blurred in the background.

There’s nothing quite like a vat of melted cheese and a soft pretzel as big as your face, amirite?! ~ Marion :)

The post Beer Cheese Dip appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Use your slow cooker to make this incredible Beef Stew full of aromatic rosemary and garlic, fork-tender beef, and colorful vegetables.

The post Slow Cooker Beef Stew appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Whoa. Just, WHOA. I’ve never smelled anything as lovely and drool-inducing as the scent in my house while I cooked this Slow Cooker Beef Stew. The aroma had me checking the clock every 15 minutes to see if it was done yet. I couldn’t wait to lift the lid and take a quick taste. And when I finally did? INCREDIBLE. This is definitely a recipe you want to make before winter is over!

Overhead view of a beef stew in the slow cooker.

Ingredients for Beef Stew

Beef stew, in its most basic form, is really simple. It’s just chunky pieces of beef, vegetables, broth, and some herbs and spices, all cooked down until it forms a delicious cozy gravy. But I took this beef stew up a few notches with some extra special ingredients that add more umami and flavor to the stew gravy. The ingredient list may look long, but I promise it’s worth it. Here’s what you’ll need for the most incredible beef stew ever:

  • Beef Stew Meat – Stew meat, which is usually cubed chuck steak, tends to be a tougher cut, but it softens to an extremely tender texture when cooked low and slow (like in a slow cooker).
  • All-Purpose Flour – Lightly coating the stew meat in flour and then searing it before it goes into the slow cooker increases the Maillard reaction and deepens the flavor. The flour also helps thicken the stew’s gravy.
  • Vegetables – We use a hearty and flavorful mix of carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes to create a naturally flavorful gravy. The vegetables also help thicken the gravy as they break down into the broth.
  • Beef Broth – Broth acts as the base for the gravy and provides a nice moist environment for the meat to cook to tender perfection. Make sure to use a broth with great flavor. We like to use Better Than Bouillon to make our broth.
  • Seasonings – This is where we really take the flavor to the next level. For this recipe, we combined garlic, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary, and thyme to make an over-the-top good gravy that is full of layered flavor and umami goodness.

Tips for the Best Beef Stew

  • Sear the meat first. Browning the beef gives it an extra deep flavor that can’t be achieved in the moist environment of the slow cooker alone.
  • Add extra umami. Adding ingredients to the broth that contain a lot of umami, like Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, ramps up the flavor in the stew and makes the flavor extra “meaty”.
  • Don’t rush it. Stew meat needs to cook low and slow for a long time in order for the tough connective tissues to break down and become tender. If your stew meat is tough, reduce the heat and cook it a little longer.
  • Don’t skip the veggies. Including a variety of vegetables in your stew not only adds texture and color, but the vegetables add a ton of extra flavor to the gravy, so you’ll get a delicious, multi-dimensional flavor in the final stew.
Overhead view of a bowl of beef stew with a spoon.

How to Thicken Beef Stew

There are multiple ways to thicken a beef stew, but I prefer to allow the stew to thicken naturally as the vegetables cook and begin to break down into the broth. The stew may look a little watery when you first lift the lid, but once you begin to stir the vegetables (especially the potato) will begin to thicken the liquid in the slow cooker.

Alternately, if you prefer a firmer vegetable, you can add them in the last hour of cooking and then use a cornstarch slurry (3 Tbsp cornstarch + 3 Tbsp water) to thicken your stew. Once the cornstarch is mixed into the broth and brought to a boil, it will thicken into a gravy. This method will result in a less flavorful gravy and a glossy appearance.

What Else Can I add?

This slow cooker beef stew is pretty lush as is, but there are always options if you want to add more! Try adding 8 oz. mushrooms with the vegetables in the beginning (sliced in half) for more vegetable goodness. If you have some red wine on hand, deglaze the skillet used to brown the beef with the wine before proceeding with the gravy. Want it to look extra fancy? Sub 8 oz. pearl onions in place of the chopped onion in the recipe below.

What Do you Serve with Beef Stew?

Beef stew is a pretty well-rounded meal on its own, but you’ll want to sop up every drop of that deliciously thick brown gravy. I suggest serving your Slow Cooker Beef Stew with some bread on the side, like my Focaccia Rolls, or over a bowl warm rice or egg noodles.

Side view of beef stew in the slow cooker.
Close up overhead view of beef stew in a bowl.
Print

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Use your slow cooker to make this incredible Beef Stew full of aromatic rosemary and garlic, fork-tender beef, and colorful vegetables.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $16.20 recipe / $2.03 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 1.25 cups each
Calories 269kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. red potatoes $2.40
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 3 carrots $0.44
  • 4 stalks celery $0.44
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 1.5 lbs. beef stew meat $11.24
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 2 cups beef broth $0.27
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.13
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1.5 tsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1.5 tsp dried rosemary $0.15
  • 1.5 tsp dried thyme $0.15

Instructions

  • Dice the onion and red potatoes. Slice the carrots and celery. Mince the garlic. Place the prepared vegetables in a four or five quart slow cooker.
  • Place the stew meat in a bowl and sprinkle the flour, salt, and pepper over top. Toss the meat until it's evenly coated in flour.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once very hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the stew meat and cook, without stirring, until browned on the bottom. Stir and then allow the beef to brown on a second side. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker.
  • Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium-low. Add the broth, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary, and thyme to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium-low until all the browned bits have dissolved off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Pour the broth over the ingredients in the slow cooker and everything a good stir.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking the meat and vegetables should both be tender. Stir the stew well to allow the potatoes to slightly break down and thicken the gravy. Taste the stew and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking. Serve hot!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 591mg | Fiber: 3g

Love Beef Stew? You’ve got to try my Chicken Stew next! 

How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Stew – Step by Step Photos

Vegetables for beef stew on a cutting board.

Prepare the vegetables for the stew first. You’ll need to dice 2 lbs. red potatoes and one yellow onion, slice 4 stalks of celery and 3 carrots, and mince 4 cloves of garlic.

Vegetables in a slow cooker.

Place all of your chopped vegetables in a 4 or 5 quart slow cooker. 

Stew meat in a bowl coated with flour, salt, and pepper.

Place 1.5 lbs. stew meat (beef chuck) in a bowl. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper over the meat. Toss the beef until it’s evenly coated in flour, salt, and pepper.

Browned beef in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. When it’s very hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the stew meat and let it cook until browned on the bottom, then stir and allow it to brown on the second side again. Do not stir often, or the beef will not have a chance to brown. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker.

Ingredients for the gravy added to the skillet.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low and add 2 cups beef broth, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 tsp brown sugar, 1.5 tsp dried rosemary, and 1.5 tsp thyme. Heat and stir the ingredients until all of the browned bits are dissolved off the bottom of the skillet.

Broth being poured over the ingredients in the slow cooker.

Pour the broth over the ingredients in the slow cooker. It’s okay if the broth does not fully cover the ingredients in the slow cooker at this point.

Slow cooker being covered with a lid.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Cooked beef stew in the slow cooker.

After four hours on high (or eight hours on low) the stew should look a little like this. The meat and vegetables should both be tender. The gravy may look a little thin at this point, but don’t worry…

Stirred beef stew in the slow cooker.

Give the stew a good stir and the potatoes will break down a bit and thicken the gravy into a nice rich consistency. Depending on the type of broth used, you may want to taste the stew and add salt to your liking (I did not add any).

Close up overhead view of beef stew in a bowl.

Serve the Slow Cooker Beef Stew as is or spooned over a bowl of hot rice or pasta. THIS will keep you warm and full on cold winter days!

The post Slow Cooker Beef Stew appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and cozy meal that is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special occasion.

The post Swedish Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t go to Ikea without getting some of their iconic Swedish meatballs. But I can’t go to Ikea every time that craving hits, so we decided to make a budget-friendly homemade version that is easy enough for a cozy weeknight dinner, yet indulgent enough for an impressive, dinner-party main. Both hearty and comforting, these Swedish meatballs are like a hug in a dish!

Overhead view of a bowl of mashed potatoes topped with Swedish meatballs.

What are Swedish Meatballs?

Köttbullar, known in English as “Swedish meatballs” is a traditional Scandinavian dish of meatballs and gravy. Unlike Italian meatballs, the meat mixture for Swedish meatballs is flavored with allspice (and sometimes nutmeg), and after searing, they are nestled into a creamy gravy fortified with beef broth rather than a spicy, garlicky tomato sauce. 

What to serve with Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs are typically served with mashed potatoes. (We like ours with a little minced parsley and fresh cracked pepper on top, too!) But they’re also great served over egg noodles, or anything that will serve as a vehicle for that delicious gravy! 

Traditional interpretations of this dish frequently include a slightly-sweetened Lingonberry jam (a wild, lowbush berry native to Sweden), which has a similar flavor to cranberries or red currants. If you have leftover cranberry sauce from the holidays, that makes a great addition to this meal.

Can you Make Them Ahead?

Yes, you can make the meatballs a day ahead. If making a larger quantity, sear in batches, taking care that each meatball is cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 145℉. Allow them to cool completely before refrigerating. To reheat, spread them out on a parchment-lined sheet pan at 375℉ while you make the gravy, and then continue with the recipe as written. Once they have simmered in the sauce, each meatball should reach an internal temperature of 165℉ before serving.

Close up side view of Swedish Meatballs in the skillet.
Overhead view of a bowl full of mashed potatoes and Swedish Meatballs.
Print

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are a delicious and cozy meal that is easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner but fancy enough for a special occasion.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Scandavian
Total Cost $5.83 recipe / $1.46 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 4 meatballs
Calories 545kcal

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs $0.20
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp allspice $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork $0.99
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.65
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked $0.32

Gravy

  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided $0.60
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 2 cups beef broth* $0.24
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg $0.01
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.55
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish) $0.10

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, nutmeg, allspice, garlic powder, and salt. (Note: Mixing the dry ingredients first will ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed throughout the meatballs and prevent you from overworking the meat mixture.)
  • Meanwhile, add the pork and beef to a large bowl. Lightly whisk the egg, then add it to the bowl with the meat. Lastly, add the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Use your hands to mix the meat and seasonings together until evenly combined, but avoid overmixing.
  • Divide and shape the meat mixture into 16 meatballs, about 1.5 Tbsp each.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of the butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the meatballs. Cook for a minute or two on each side, or until well browned. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Remove the browned meatballs from the skillet. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp butter and the flour. Whisk the butter and flour together as the butter melts. Cook the butter and flour mixture for about two minutes.
  • Slowly whisk in the beef broth, making sure to release all of the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, nutmeg, and heavy cream. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*We use Better Than Bouillon to make our broth. If using a low-sodium broth you may need to add more salt to the gravy for taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 44g | Sodium: 844mg | Fiber: 1g
Overhead view of Swedish Meatballs in the skillet.

How to Make Swedish Meatballs – Step by Step Photos

Breadcrumbs and spices in a bowl.

Add ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs to a bowl along with ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp salt and stir until evenly combined.

Meatballs ingredients in a bowl.

Add ½ lb. ground pork, ½ lb. ground beef, the breadcrumb mixture, and one lightly whisked large egg to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. Avoid over-mixing because that will make the meatballs tough.

Shaped meatballs on a red cutting board.

Divide the mixture into 16 meatballs, about 1.5 Tbsp each, and shape them into balls.

Browned meatballs in the skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. When the butter is melted and foaming, add the meatballs. Cook the meatballs, turning occasionally until they are well browned. The meatballs do not need to be cooked through at this point.

Butter and flour added to the skillet, meatballs removed.

Remove the browned meatballs from the skillet and add 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour and the remaining 3 Tbsp butter to the skillet.

Roux being whisked in the skillet.

Continue to cook the butter and flour over medium heat for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly.

Beef broth being poured into the skillet.

Slowly pour in 2 cups beef broth while whisking, making sure to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cook and stir the mixture over medium heat until it comes up to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a gravy.

Cream and spices added to the gravy in the skillet.

Add 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, ⅛ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp pepper, and ⅓ cup heavy cream to the gravy, and stir to combine. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt or other seasonings to your liking.

Meatballs being added back to the skillet.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and stir to coat in the gravy.

Finished Swedish meatballs in the skillet with gravy.

Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce until cooked through (about 5 minutes).

Overhead view of a bowl full of mashed potatoes and Swedish Meatballs.

Serve the meatballs and gravy over a bed of mashed potatoes or egg noodles. Top with chopped parsley and more pepper if desired.

Super close up image of Swedish meatballs in gravy.

Ooooh, look at that gravy! So lush!

The post Swedish Meatballs appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Baked Beans

These baked beans combine the simplicity of canned beans with bacon and a sweet, smoky, and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.

The post Baked Beans appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve only had canned baked beans in the past then you’ve GOT to try these homemade baked beans. They’re seriously delicious and make really incredible leftovers. I used canned beans to keep these baked beans super easy, but then combined them with bacon (bacon makes everything better!) and a super simple homemade BBQ sauce to take the beans to the next level. The beans are then slowly baked to rich, sweet, smoky perfection. You’re going to LOVE them!

Close up overhead view of baked beans in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon.

What Kind of Beans to Use for Baked Beans

Navy beans or Great Northern beans are my top picks for baked beans. The small shape, creamy texture, and neutral flavor of both navy and Great Northern beans make them the perfect complement to the rich and tangy sauce. Great Northern beans will hold their shape better, whereas navy beans may break down a bit if stirred too much.

What’s in the Sauce?

I used my homemade BBQ sauce for these baked beans. It’s really simple to prepare, just stir all the ingredients together and let it bake along with the beans and bacon for maximum flavor! The sauce includes tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, like smoked paprika and garlic powder. It’s sweet, savory, tangy, and smoky!

Baked beans on a spoon held close to the camera.

How to Serve Baked Beans

Baked beans are so good that they may become the focal point of your plate, even when served as a side! I love to serve them with southern classics like pulled pork, burgers, coleslaw, potato salad, and mac and cheese. But you could also use them as a bowl meal! Add them to some mashed potatoes, top with cheese and green onion, and you’ve got a cozy and filling bowl of comfort.

What Cookware to Use

I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for my baked beans, but any heavy-duty ceramic or cast iron baking dish or Dutch oven will do well. Thinner materials like metal or glass may cause the sauce to overcook or burn around the edges. You’ll want a dish that can hold about two quarts in volume.

What Else Can I Add?

A lot of baked beans recipes will also include bell pepper and onion. When I originally tested this recipe I included finely diced bell pepper and onion that I sautéed until soft in the bacon fat after the bacon had browned, but I wanted to simplify the recipe this time around (less chopping and fewer ingredients!) I found the version without to be every bit as delicious!

Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.
Overhead view of baked beans in the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Baked Beans

These baked beans combine the simplicity of canned beans with bacon and a sweet, smoky, and tangy homemade BBQ sauce.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.56 recipe / $0.76 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10 ½ cup each
Calories 307kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bacon $2.40
  • 3 15oz. cans Great Northern Beans $2.37
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce $0.89
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste $0.32
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar $0.17
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.16
  • 1/4 cup molasses $0.77
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.05
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce $0.03
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and cook in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon fat.
  • Drain the canned beans well, then add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and black pepper. Stir until everything is very well combined.
  • Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes, stirring once at 30 minutes and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is thick at 60 minutes, it's done. If it's still a bit runny, bake 10-15 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot with your other favorite comfort foods!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 446mg | Fiber: 7g
Close up side view of baked beans in the skillet.

How to Make Baked Beans – Step by Step Photos

Bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut 8 oz. bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Drain off all but 1-2 Tbsp of the bacon grease. If you’ll be baking your beans in a different vessel, go ahead and transfer the cooked bacon and remaining fat to your baking dish.

Beans added to skillet with cooked bacon.

Drain 3 cans of Great Northern or navy beans well. Add them to the skillet and stir to combine with the bacon.

BBQ sauce ingredients added to the skillet.

Add the ingredients for the BBQ sauce to the skillet: 15 oz. tomato sauce, ¼ cup tomato paste, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Baked beans in a skillet before going into the oven.

Stir the ingredients until everything is evenly combined. Transfer the beans to the preheated 350ºF oven.

Baked beans after baking, a spoon stirring them slightly.

Bake the beans for 60-75 minutes (uncovered), stirring once after 30 minutes of baking, and again at 60 minutes. If the sauce is nice and thick at 60 seconds, they’re done. If it’s still a bit liquidy, bake until the sauce is thick.

Finished baked beans stirred in the cast iron skillet.

Serve your homemade baked beans hot with other classic comfort foods like mashed potatoes, green beans, and mac and cheese!

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