Budget Bytes https://www.budgetbytes.com Delicious Recipes Designed for Small Budgets Mon, 18 Nov 2019 19:21:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing https://www.budgetbytes.com/roasted-apple-cranberry-cornbread-stuffing/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/roasted-apple-cranberry-cornbread-stuffing/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2019 15:54:30 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46262 My philosophy on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Simple is elegant, simple is cost effective, and simple is easy (because hey, the cook wants to enjoy the day, too). I like to take super simple recipes and add just a little somethin-somethin’ to make them special, without making them overly complicated or expensive. For this […]

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My philosophy on Thanksgiving is to keep it simple. Simple is elegant, simple is cost effective, and simple is easy (because hey, the cook wants to enjoy the day, too). I like to take super simple recipes and add just a little somethin-somethin’ to make them special, without making them overly complicated or expensive. For this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing, I’ve transformed a simple box of cornbread stuffing mix into a vibrant and flavorful Thanksgiving side dish with just a few fresh and affordable ingredients.

This post is sponsored by ALDI—my “secret weapon” for keeping this year’s Thanksgiving feast easy and super affordable, without sacrificing quality or flavor.

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

A pot full of Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing with the ingredients scattered all around

Keep Your Costs in Check

While sticking to simple recipes with basic ingredients helps keep my Thanksgiving budget in check, sometimes I still want to include a few special ingredients, like pecans, that could easily spoil my budget. This is where shopping at ALDI really saves the day. In just 4-5 aisles, they have all the basics I needed for my Thanksgiving dinner, plus some fancier fun ingredients at seriously reasonable prices (have you seen their wine and cheese selection??).

I don’t know how ALDI works their magic, but their prices always come in substantially lower than the other national chains, without sacrificing quality or standards (tons of organic options!). Their cornbread stuffing mix alone was 70% less than the generic brand at the national chain grocery store across the street. Savings like that add up fast, especially when you’re cooking an enormous feast. And that is how I can afford to add the little luxury ingredients, like pecans. :)

So if you haven’t yet, click here to find your nearest ALDI store, and do a little cost comparison before you begin planning your Thanksgiving menu. You might be able to add a few more goodies to the lineup this year! And let me know how it turned out! I love hearing and sharing ALDI #wins with fellow ALDI fans. :)

Thanksgiving side dishes on a table from above

It’s Okay to Take Shortcuts

It’s 100% okay to not make everything from scratch on Thanksgiving. It’s practically impossible to do, unless you have six sets of helping hands and multiple ovens, luxuries I do not have. Boxed stuffing mix is a shortcut that I like to use to my full advantage. It’s nothing more than dried bread, seasoning, and bouillon, all of which I would have added to my stuffing anyway, so I’m all about having done and ready to go. But I still want it to be special, so…

How to Fancy Up Your Stuffing Mix

There are a lot of ways that you can make a 69 cent boxed stuffing mix look and taste like a million bucks, but here is what I did today:

  • Use fresh onion and celery. Two super inexpensive ingredients that will add a LOT of flavor to the “broth” in your stuffing, not to mention color and texture throughout.
  • Roasted apples and cranberries. Nothing says fall like apples and cranberries. Roasting them in the oven first softens the cranberries and sweetens up their naturally pucker-inducing tart flavor, with a little help from the sweet apples and brown sugar.
  • Pecans. Pecans are the little bit of luxury that take this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing over the top.

Can I Make This Cornbread Stuffing Ahead?

Absolutely! Since it’s nearly impossible to cook everything for Thanksgiving dinner on the day of, this Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing can be made entirely or in part the day before. Here are a couple of options:

  • Roast the Apples and Cranberries, and chop the celery and onion the day before. The day of, just sauté the celery and onion, and assemble the rest of the recipe (5-10 minutes).
  • Make the entire recipe the day before, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Reheat in the oven the next day in a covered casserole dish, at 350ºF for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 165ºF.

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing on a Thanksgiving table with other dishes in the background

 

Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

A few fresh ingredients added to a simple box of cornbread stuffing mix makes this vibrant and flavorful Thanksgiving side dish.

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries ($1.09)
  • 2 apples* ($0.50)
  • 2 Tbsp Baker's Corner Brown Sugar ($0.08)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 4 Tbsp Countryside Creamery Salted Butter ($0.39)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.28)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 6 oz. boxes Chef's Cupboard Cornbread Stuffing Mix ($1.38)
  • 1/2 cup Southern Grove Pecan Halves ($1.76**)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice the apples. Add the apples, cranberries, brown sugar, and salt to a large baking dish. Stir until the apples and cranberries are evenly coated in sugar. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Stir the apples and cranberries, return them to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and appear wrinkled.

  2. Meanwhile, dice the celery and onion. Add the butter, celery and onion to a large pot. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Chop the pecans.

  3. Add 3 cups water to the pot with the celery and onion, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water up to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornbread stuffing mix and stir briefly to combine. Turn off the heat, place the lid on top and let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes to absorb the liquid.

  4. After the stuffing has rested, add the roasted apples and cranberries and chopped pecans. Fold them into the stuffing. Serve immediately, or transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy.

*Use a sweet-tart variety of apple, like Gala or Honeycrisp.

**Prices may vary by store location.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A full Thanksgiving dinner plate on a table with other Thanksgiving dishes

 

How to Make Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing – Step by Step Photos

Chopped apples, cranberries, and brown sugar in baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Core and dice two apples. Add the apples, 12 oz. cranberries, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt to a large baking dish. Stir until the apples and cranberries are evenly coated in sugar.

Roasted Apples and Cranberries in baking dish

Roast the apples and cranberries in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then stir. Return the apples and cranberries to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until all of the cranberries have burst and they look shriveled.

Diced onion and celery

Meanwhile, dice three ribs of celery and one yellow onion.

Chopped pecans

Chop 1/2 cup pecans.

Water being poured into a pot with sautéed onion and celery

Add the diced onion and celery to a large pot with 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add 3 cups water to the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high and bring the water to a boil.

Cornbread stuffing mix being poured into the pot of boiling water

Once boiling, add two 6 oz. boxes of cornbread stuffing mix. Stir briefly to combine, then turn off the heat, place the lid on top and let it rest for about 5 minutes so the bread can absorb the liquid.

Roasted apples and cranberries being folded into the pot of stuffing

Fold the roasted apples and cranberries and chopped pecans into the cornbread stuffing.

Finished Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing in the pot

Either serve the Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing as is, or transfer to a casserole dish and bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy!

Side view of the Roasted Apple Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing in the pot

That whole pot of fancy Thanksgiving goodness for only $5.86! With ALDI, you can totally SLAY Thanksgiving dinner without killing your budget. :)

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Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta https://www.budgetbytes.com/mushroom-and-spinach-pasta-with-ricotta/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/mushroom-and-spinach-pasta-with-ricotta/#comments Sun, 17 Nov 2019 17:15:00 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46486 There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over […]

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There’s something really special about the simplicity of pasta with butter, salt, and pepper. The creaminess of the butter and the little pops of salt and pepper sitting on the surface of the pasta, it’s simple goodness at its best. I love this combo so much that I’ve made several variations on that theme over the years. This week I added some sautéed mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and a few dollops of fresh ricotta for extra creaminess. This Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is still an incredibly simple and delicious pasta dish, perfect for those nights when you want something special, but not complicated. Pair it with a glass of white wine and you’ve got a really amazing dinner!

Easy Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork, next to a few whole mushrooms

If you’re as in love with the simple combo of pasta, butter, salt, and pepper as I am, check out my other variations on this simple dish: Spicy Orecchiette with Sausage and Kale, Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta with Ricotta, Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta, or Bowties and Broccoli.

What Kind of Mushrooms Should I Use?

I’ve been really taking advantage of these Baby Bella mushrooms from ALDI that have been $1.69/8 oz. for a while, so that’s what I used. You can use regular white button mushrooms, if needed, or full sized portobello mushrooms. If you have access to something a bit fancier, like morels, by all means take advantage of that! 

Can You Freeze Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta?

I don’t suggest this pasta dish for freezing. The “sauce” is extremely light and will get absorbed into the pasta, leaving it dry. Even when reheating refrigerated leftovers, you may want to add a little extra butter to make up for what has absorbed into the pasta while it is in the refrigerator.

What Can I Substitute for Mushrooms?

This dish is all about the mushrooms. If you don’t like or are allergic to mushrooms, I suggest trying one of the other similar recipes linked above (just below the first photo).

What Can I substitute for Spinach?

You can either leave the spinach out, or try something like kale. If using kale, you’ll just need to sauté a bit longer to soften the kale (see Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta).

What Can I substitute for Ricotta?

If you’re not a fan of ricotta, you can either leave it out, or add a generous amount of Parmesan to the pasta in its place.

Close up of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet, from the side.

 

Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta

This simple Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta is an easy and elegant dinner option for busy weeknights when you need to make dinner FAST.

  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta ($0.53)
  • 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms ($3.38)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($1.07)
  • salt and pepper to taste ($0.05)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta ($1.00)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper (optional) ($0.03)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the bowtie pasta and continue to boil until tender (about 7 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining in a colander.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Wash and slice the mushrooms, then add them to a large skillet along with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their water, the water has evaporated, and the mushrooms begin to brown (about 7 minutes).

  3. While the mushrooms are cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic and butter to the browned mushrooms and continue to cook over medium for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

  4. By this time the pasta should be finished cooking. Add about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. The starchy pasta water and butter will make a slurry that will act as a light "sauce" that helps the salt and pepper adhere to the surface of the pasta.

  5. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until wilted (1 minute). Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir until everything is evenly combined. Turn the heat off and season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is dry, you can add an additional splash of the reserved pasta water.

  6. Finally, spoon the ricotta on top of the pasta in one-tablespoon dollops. Add a pinch of red pepper on top, if desired, and serve warm.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A skillet full of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta with spinach leaves and whole mushrooms on the sides

 

How to Make Mushroom and Spinach Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Cooked bowtie pasta with starchy pasta water in a measuring cup on the side

Begin by cooking 8 oz. bowtie pasta. You’ll be able to prepare the rest of the dish while the pasta is cooking. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, then continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Before draining, reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water.

Sliced mushrooms and olive oil in a large skillet

After you get the water started, wash and slice 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms. Add them to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat.

Water releasing from mushrooms in the skillet

As you cook the mushrooms they’ll begin to release water. Keep cooking until all of that water evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown.

Butter and garlic added to the skillet with mushrooms

Once the mushrooms have browned a little, add 2 Tbsp butter and two cloves of minced garlic. Sauté only for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the garlic softens a bit.

Add spinach and starchy water to skillet

Add about ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom. The butter and water will make a sort of slurry that acts as a light sauce. Add 2 cups fresh spinach to the skillet and stir just until the spinach has wilted (about 1 minute). 

Stir cooked pasta into skillet

Finally, stir the cooked and drained pasta into the skillet until everything is well combined. Turn the heat off and then season liberally with salt and pepper. If the pasta is too dry here, you can add a splash more of the reserved starchy pasta water.

Finished Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta in the skillet next to spinach leaves and whole mushrooms

Finally, add ½ cup whole milk ricotta in one-tablespoon dollops on top of the pasta and sprinkle a pinch of crushed red pepper over top, if desired. Serve warm!

Close up side view of Mushroom and Spinach Pasta with Ricotta on a plate with a black fork.

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Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli https://www.budgetbytes.com/garlic-noodles-with-beef-and-broccoli/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/garlic-noodles-with-beef-and-broccoli/#comments Fri, 15 Nov 2019 21:46:58 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46464 Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main […]

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Have you ever tried Garlic Noodles? They’re a super rich, buttery, salty-sweet, umami filled dream. I usually serve them as a side dish, but this week I decided to just go ahead and turn them into a full meal. Because it’s so much easier to just cook just one dish for dinner than a main and two sides. Ammiright? So, to make dinner a little easier, I give you Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli!

Quick & Easy Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Two black plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and broccoli next to the pan and a bowl of sliced green onions.

What is Oyster Sauce?

This recipe revolves around one ingredient—oyster sauce. It’s a thick, rich, salty sauce that packs a huge umami punch. But don’t worry, this sauce doesn’t taste fishy at all. It’s just salty, rich, and good. You can find oyster sauce in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, near the other Southeast Asian ingredients. It’s usually fairy inexpensive, but you’ll be able to get an even better deal if you go to an Asian market. Scroll down to the step by step photos below the recipe to see the kind of oyster sauce I used.

Can I use Hoisin Sauce Instead?

I’ve had several people comment on my original Garlic Noodles recipe stating that they have used hoisin sauce in place of the oyster sauce and enjoyed the results, but I have not tried this swap myself. While the two sauces are similar in color and consistency, they differ quite a bit in flavor. Hoisin sauce is much sweeter and not nearly as rich, so your end results will definitely be different.

Can I Freeze Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli?

I wouldn’t suggest this dish for freezing, as the sauce would probably absorb into the noodles and become dry.

Is This Recipe Spicy?

No. The Garlic Noodles themselves are not spicy at all (I often suggest them as a non-spicy alternative to my Dragon Noodles), but if you top them with red pepper flakes, as I did, you will get some heat. If you prefer a totally non-spicy dish, simply skip the crushed red pepper flakes at the end.

Close up of a fork twirling some Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli on a black plate

 

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli

Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli is a quick and easy all-in-one bowl dinner recipe with a rich, buttery, salty, and sweet sauce.

  • 4 Tbsp oyster sauce ($0.40)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.12)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil* ($0.30)
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef ($2.65)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets ($1.30)
  • 8 oz. spaghetti ($0.55)
  • 4 green onions ($0.40)
  • 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes ($0.05)
  1. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl (microwave for about 20 seconds) then add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the spaghetti is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, begin the beef and broccoli. Add the remaining tablespoon butter to a large skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the ground beef and continue to cook over medium heat until the beef is cooked through (5-7 minutes). If you're using a higher fat content beef, drain the fat before moving onto the next step (I used 10% fat and there wasn't enough to drain).

  4. While the beef is cooking, mince the garlic. Add the garlic to the skillet with the browned beef and continue to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes more, or until the garlic has softened slightly.

  5. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the beef and garlic. Continue to sauté over medium heat just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so it does not need to be completely heated through at this point.

  6. Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta and the prepared sauce to the skillet with the beef and broccoli. Continue to cook and stir until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

  7. Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving, along with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

*Toasted sesame oil does not always have the word “toasted” on the label. Look for sesame oil that is deep brown in color, not a light straw color. Toasted sesame oil has a much stronger, nutty flavor compared to regular sesame oil. Scroll down to the step by step photos to see the kind I used.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

Close up of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

 

How to Make Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli – Step by Step Photos

Prepared oyster sauce mixture in the bowl

Begin by preparing the sauce. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a bowl, then add ¼ cup oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1 Tbsp sesame oil. Stir to combine. Set the sauce aside.

Bottle of oyster sauce

This is the bottle of oyster sauce I used. It’s very inexpensive and can be found at most major grocery stores in the International aisle, although you’ll probably get a better deal (and better product) if you go to an Asian grocery store.

Toasted sesame oil

And this is the toasted sesame oil I used (from ALDI). Toasted sesame oil can also often be found in the International foods aisle. Don’t confuse this with untoasted sesame oil, which has a much more mild flavor and a light straw color. Once you start using this super potent nutty oil, you’ll want to add it to everything!

Cooked Spaghetti

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the spaghetti. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (about 7 minutes). Drain the spaghetti in a colander.

Browned beef and minced garlic in a skillet

While the spaghetti is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the dish. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once melted, add ½ lb. ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is cooked through. If you’re using a higher fat content beef, drain the excess fat. Mince 4 cloves garlic, then add them to the browned beef and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more.

Frozen broccoli added to the skillet with beef

Add ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets to the skillet and continue to cook over medium just until the broccoli is no longer frozen. The broccoli will continue to cook in the next steps, so no need to cook to the point where it is heated through here. Just cook until it is no longer frozen.

Spaghetti and sauce added to the skillet with beef and broccoli

By this point the spaghetti should be finished and drained. Add the drained spaghetti to the skillet along with the prepared sauce. Continue to cook and stir everything over medium heat until everything is combined, coated in sauce, and heated through.

Finished Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli in the skillet

Slice four green onions and sprinkle over top just before serving. If you like a little spiciness, add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes on top as well.

Two plates of Garlic Noodles with Beef and Broccoli next to a bottle of oyster sauce and a small bowl of sliced green onions

Enjoy that big ol’ plate of rich noodles!!

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How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream https://www.budgetbytes.com/how-to-make-homemade-whipped-cream/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/how-to-make-homemade-whipped-cream/#comments Wed, 13 Nov 2019 19:03:36 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46409 It’s the season for cozy mugs of hot cocoa, pumpkin pies, and other delectable desserts, all of which can benefit from a heaping spoonful of fluffy, cloud-like whipped cream. And not just any whipped cream, homemade whipped cream. If you’ve been using whipped cream out of a tub or can your whole life, please allow me […]

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It’s the season for cozy mugs of hot cocoa, pumpkin pies, and other delectable desserts, all of which can benefit from a heaping spoonful of fluffy, cloud-like whipped cream. And not just any whipped cream, homemade whipped cream. If you’ve been using whipped cream out of a tub or can your whole life, please allow me to blow your mind. Homemade whipped cream requires only three ingredients, takes only 5 minutes, and is the smoothest, creamiest dream you’ve ever tasted. Please promise me you’ll try it, at least once!

5-Minute Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream being spooned onto a mug of hot cocoa, a second mug in the background

First things first. When we’re talking about making homemade whipped cream, you have to make sure you have the right type of cream. And it can definitely be a little confusing, so let’s take a closer look.

Whipping Cream vs. Heavy Whipping Cream vs. Heavy Cream

They all sound similar, right? But they’re not the same thing and choosing the wrong one can impact your results. Whipping cream is 30-35% milk fat. Heavy Whipping Cream and Heavy Cream (two names for the same product) is a minimum 36% milk fat. The higher fat Heavy Whipping Cream or Heavy Cream is the best for making homemade whipped cream. It will whip up faster and easier, and you’ll be able to create stiffer peaks (if that’s what you want).

So, instead of looking for “whipping” on the label, look for “heavy” on the label of your cream.

Do I Need a Mixer to Make Homemade Whipped Cream?

Homemade whipped cream can easily be made with nothing more than a bowl, a whisk, and about five minutes of intense tricep work. That being said, it’s a lot easier if you have a hand mixer or stand mixer. It takes me about five minutes to whisk heavy cream into whipped cream by hand, but only about 2-2.5 minutes to do it using a not-so-powerful hand mixer.

How Long Does Homemade Whipped Cream Last?

Homemade whipped cream is best when whipped fresh just before serving. Luckily, it’s so fast and easy to make that this is usually doable. If you can’t use it right away, you can refrigerate it for a day or so, but it will slowly deflate over that time. There are ways to stabilize homemade whipped cream and make it last longer, usually by adding additional ingredients. Here’s a great article from Food52 about ways to stabilize whipped cream.

Whipped cream being scooped onto a slice of Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

Can You Freeze Whipped Cream?

Another option for saving leftover whipped cream is to freeze it! Simply add dollops of your whipped cream to a parchment lined baking sheet, freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer bag for long term storage. The frozen whipped cream dollops can be stored for about three months in the freezer. To use the frozen whipped cream, add the dollop directly to the top of a hot mug of coffee or cocoa, or let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to thaw. 

Soft Peaks or Stiff Peaks?

As you whip your heavy cream it will become more stiff, first achieving soft peaks, then stiff peaks, and then if you keep going the fat molecules will begin to clump and separate from the water and you’ll create butter. You don’t want to go that far. But whether you want soft peaks or stiff peaks is a matter of personal preference. For something like pie, I prefer a soft peak so that it will kind of slump over the side of the pie. For something like hot cocoa, I prefer more of a stiff peak so that it will sit tall and fluffy on top of the mug like a big cumulous cloud.

Soft peak stage is when you pull the beater out of the bowl of whipped cream and it forms a peak that slumps over to the side. Stiff peaks will stand straight up at attention when you pull out the beater. Never keep beating past stiff peak stage (unless, of course, you are trying to make butter).

Soft peak in a bowl of homemade whipped cream

Medium peak whipped cream pictured above.

 

Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream takes only three ingredients and five minutes to make, but is far creamier and dreamier than whipped cream from a can or tub.

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar ($0.04)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.30)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream ($0.78)
  1. Add the sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream to a glass or metal bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer* to whip the cream on high until soft or stiff peaks form (depending on your preference, about 2-3 minutes). Stop the mixer occasionally to test the stiffness of the peaks, to avoid over whipping.

*This can be done by hand. If whipping by hand, it can help to pre-chill your bowl and whisk.

Homemade whipped cream being dolloped on top of a mug of hot cocoa, a second mug and bowl of whipped cream nearby.

 

How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream – Step by Step Photos

Heavy cream being poured into a bowl with sugar and vanilla

Add 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 cup cold heavy cream to a bowl. If you’re going to be whipping by hand, pre-chilling the bowl in the freezer will make the task a lot easier.

Whipped cream in a bowl, close up, with beaters still in the cream

Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the cream on high for about 2-3 minutes, or until soft or stiff peaks form. Whether you want the whipped cream to be soft or stiff is a personal preference. I like mine slightly on the soft side for pies, a little more stiff for hot cocoa.

Whipped Cream stiff peaks

As you whip the cream, occasionally lift the whisk or beaters out of the cream to see how stiff the peaks are. If they slump over, they are soft peaks, if they stand straight up, they are stiff peaks. Do not whip past stiff peaks or the cream will begin to separate and you’ll make butter. 

Whipped cream on lined baking sheet ready for freezing

If you want to freeze your leftover whipped cream, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then drop dollops of the whipped cream on top (about the size that you’d use for serving). Freeze the whipped cream on the baking sheet until the little mounds are solid.

Transfer frozen whipped cream to freezer bag

Then once frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag for air-tight long term storage. You can keep them in your freezer for about three months. Either pop them directly onto a hot mug of cocoa or coffee, or let them thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Homemade whipped cream being spooned onto a mug of hot cocoa, a second mug in the background

I’m tellin’ y’all. Homemade whipped cream is where it’s at!! Try it in my Blueberry Lemon Curd Shortcakes, Strawberry Shortcake, No-Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream, or Peanut Butter Fluff Cups.

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Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup (Vegan) https://www.budgetbytes.com/creamy-vegetable-wild-rice-soup-vegan/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/creamy-vegetable-wild-rice-soup-vegan/#comments Sun, 10 Nov 2019 15:16:26 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46385 Soup is such a great food. So easy, so filling (if you do it right!), a great way to use up leftover ingredients, and the flavor possibilities are endless. I recently discovered how delicious vegetable broth and coconut milk are together (see Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen) and I knew I had to experiment with that […]

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Soup is such a great food. So easy, so filling (if you do it right!), a great way to use up leftover ingredients, and the flavor possibilities are endless. I recently discovered how delicious vegetable broth and coconut milk are together (see Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen) and I knew I had to experiment with that combo some more. So when I saw a bag of wild rice blend on sale this week, I snatched it up to make this super delish Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup!

Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

Overhead view of a bowl full of creamy vegetable wild rice soup on a wooden plate with a piece of bread on the side

Choose Your Broth Wisely

The type of vegetable broth used in this soup will greatly determine the end flavor, so make sure you use a quality broth. A weak broth will give you a weak and unexciting soup. If you’ve been hanging around here a while, you probably already know that my favorite is Better Than Bouillon. I can keep it on hand indefinitely (refrigerated), make any amount of broth I need, and it comes in tons of varieties (organic, low sodium, etc.). Mushroom broth would also be really good in this soup, but that’s not one I usually keep on hand, so I used vegetable flavor.

What Kind of Coconut Milk is Best for This Wild Rice Soup?

Full fat coconut milk (in the can, not the kind in a carton intended as a dairy milk substitute) is the best choice here. While you can use light coconut milk, it will be a lot less creamy, so just keep that in mind. I used a brand called Field Day Organic this time and it was great. I’ve also tested this recipe with Thai Kitchen and Goya. The Goya is the only one I wasn’t a fan of because the coconut milk was not smooth and left a grainy appearance in the soup. It tasted fine, but it wasn’t pretty.

Front view of a bowl of creamy vegetable wild rice soup with a spoon lifting some out of the bowl

This is NOT a “Thick” Soup

A lot of wild rice soups are a really thick, almost gelled consistency. This soup is not that texture. This is a brothy soup. I did make one of the test batches a thick version by cooking some oil and flour in a skillet until the flour was lightly browned, then whisking it into the soup, but I didn’t feel like it added a lot to the overall enjoyment of the soup, while adding a lot of extra work. So that step got nixed. :)

Can I Skip the Mushrooms?

IMHO, the mushrooms are critical to the overall flavor of the soup. Something about the way the mushrooms and coconut play together really make this soup hit home. So, while I wouldn’t suggest skipping or substituting the mushrooms, that might have to be a personal call.

What Kind of Wild Rice Blend Did you Use?

I used a brand called Lundberg. It’s a mix of wild rice, brown rice, and other rice varieties, so there is a lot of color and texture to the blend. Wild rice isn’t the cheapest thing around, but luckily I got it on sale. Scout those sales and stock up when they hit! 

 

Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

This ultra-creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup is chock-full of delicious vegetables and a wild rice blend, with no dairy or other animal ingredients.

  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms ($1.69)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots ($0.45)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage ($0.03)
  • 1 cup wild rice blend (uncooked) ($1.55)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)
  • 1 13 oz. can full-fat coconut milk ($2.49)
  1. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Add the olive oil and mushrooms to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms are fully wilted and browned on the edges (cook until all the moisture is released, evaporated, and the mushrooms begin to actually brown for the best flavor).

  2. While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince the garlic, dice the onion, slice the celery, and peel and slice the carrots.

  3. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, thyme, and sage to the pot with the mushrooms. Continue to sauté for about five minutes more, or until the onions are soft.

  4. Finally, add the wild rice blend and vegetable broth, and stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes with the lid in place (or however long the instructions on your brand of rice suggests for cooking).

  5. Once the soup has simmered and the rice is tender, add the coconut milk. Stir to combine and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes more. Finally, taste the soup and add salt if needed (I did not add any, but this will depend on the salt content of your broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Two bowls of creamy vegetable wild rice soup on wooden plates, each with a piece of bread on the side

 

How to Make Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup – Step by Step Photos

Sautéed mushrooms in soup pot

Start by washing and slicing 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms. Add them to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until they are browned. The key here is to not just cook until they’re limp, but keep cooking until all of their moisture has evaporated and they actually begin to brown on the edges.

Onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and herbs added to the pot.

While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince two cloves of garlic, dice one onion, slice 3 ribs celery, and peel and slice about ½ lb. carrots. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, ¼ tsp dried thyme, and ¼ tsp dried sage to the pot with the mushrooms. Continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onions are soft.

Wild rice blend package

This is the wild rice blend I used. Depending on what brand you have, it may suggest different cooking times. This brand suggests 45 minutes, so I simmered my soup for 45 minutes. Adjust the soups’s cooking time according to the rice blend you are using.

Vegetable broth being poured into the pot with vegetables and wild rice

Add 1 cup uncooked wild rice blend and 4 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer for 45 minutes (or for the suggested cooking time for your rice blend).

Cooked rice in soup

After simmering for 45 minutes, the rice blend is tender and it’s time to finish up the soup!

Coconut milk being poured into the soup

Add one 13 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk (not the dairy milk substitute kind—that stuff is super watery). Make sure to get all the solid fat out of the can. Stir the coconut milk into the soup and then let it simmer for about 5 minutes more. That last bit of simmer time will take the sweet edge off the coconut milk and help the flavors blend together.

Finished Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup in a ladle above the soup pot

And now the Creamy Vegetable Wild Rice Soup is finished! Give it a taste and add salt if needed (I did not add any). 

Overhead view of a bowl of Creamy vegetable wild rice soup with bread and a napkin on the side.

Enjoy hot with some crusty bread or crackers for dipping!

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How to Make an Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners https://www.budgetbytes.com/how-to-make-an-easy-thanksgiving-dinner-for-beginners/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/how-to-make-an-easy-thanksgiving-dinner-for-beginners/#comments Sat, 09 Nov 2019 14:06:36 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46290 Thanksgiving dinner is a daunting task, even for experienced cooks. It’s a bit of a logic puzzle figuring out how to prepare ten different dishes with one stove and still have everything hot and delicious when it’s time to eat. Luckily, I enjoy puzzles. So I’ve put together this guide on How to Make an […]

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Thanksgiving dinner is a daunting task, even for experienced cooks. It’s a bit of a logic puzzle figuring out how to prepare ten different dishes with one stove and still have everything hot and delicious when it’s time to eat. Luckily, I enjoy puzzles. So I’ve put together this guide on How to Make an Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners to help guide any newbies out there, and ease you into the rite of passage that is cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.

How to Plan and Cook Thanksgiving Dinner – A Beginner’s Guide

Side view of a simple Thanksgiving dinner table with turkey, green beans, and mashed potatoes

 

About This Thanksgiving Dinner Guide

This Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners plan includes a menu of 11 recipes, including: one appetizer, a cocktail, one main dish, seven side dishes, and one dessert. All the recipes are super simple to accommodate new cooks. You don’t want your first attempt at Thanksgiving dinner to be for a crowd of 20, so this menu serves approximately six people, with some leftovers. Start small, my friends. 

The guide also includes a complete prep schedule to help you get everything completed in time for dinner, no matter what time you like to eat your Thanksgiving meal. This Thanksgiving dinner for beginners can be prepared by one person (I’ve done it!), but if you have helpers, that’s even better.

My newsletter subscribers will also receive a pdf of the menu, prep schedule, and a full grocery list! So if you’re not already a subscriber, subscribe here (it’s free!):

If you want to plan out your own Thanksgiving dinner, or are attending a larger gathering and only need to bring one item, make sure to check out our Holiday Recipes category, and our Friendsgiving Recipe Roundup for more delicious Thanksgiving recipes.

 

The Shortcuts

I’m all about taking a few shortcuts with Thanksgiving dinner, especially if you’re a beginner. I have included a few simple shortcuts in this plan, to help keep you from pulling out your hair:

  • Store bought pie crust – Pie crust is, on its surface, very easy, but it can take some finesse. Finesse can be learned another time, when you don’t have ten other recipes to cook. ;)
  • Boxed stuffing mix – The stuffing recipe below uses boxed stuffing mix as a base, but is spruced up with a bunch of fresh ingredients. Wrestling with cubing and drying a huge loaf of bread on Thanksgiving is just more work than necessary. Save the from-scratch stuffing for when you’re only in charge of one dish.
  • Roasted turkey pieces – This plan does not include roasting a whole turkey. *pearl clutch* Roasting a whole turkey is a LOT of work. Roasting turkey pieces takes half the time, is way less work, and still insanely delicious. Let’s start there and work up to the whole turkey another year.

Close up view of a full Thanksgiving dinner plate with other dishes on the table in the background

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Here are the recipes included in this Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners plan:

Appetizers/Drinks

Side Dishes

Main Dish

  • Cider Roasted Turkey (double recipe, using a full 4 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey breast and two drumsticks, roast about 2 hrs. total)

Dessert

 

So, how do you cook all that with just one oven? Let’s take a look…

Overhead view of a table full of Thanksgiving side dishes

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

The Day Before:

COOK:

  1. Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie – cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
  2. Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip (make cranberry sauce, assemble the dip and platter the next day) – you have the option to just make a double batch of the plain cranberry sauce and use that for both the appetizer and a side with dinner (the sauce in the appetizer recipe has jalapeño). 
  3. Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce – cool, then refrigerate.
  4. Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes – cool, then refrigerate. 

PREP:

  1. Dice sweet potatoes for Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  2. Clean and remove stems on green beans for Lemon Butter Green Beans
  3. Chop apple, onion, and Celery for Apple Walnut Stuffing
Basing Cider Roasted Turkey Breast with Apples and Onions

Thanksgiving Day:

4 HOURS BEFORE:

  1. Take 1 stick of butter out of refrigerator to warm to room temperature for Cider Roasted Turkey. 
  2. Make Cornbread Muffins. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Assemble and serve Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip.
  4. Serve Cider Mimosas now, or wait for dinner (save one cup for roasting the turkey).

3 HOURS BEFORE:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF for turkey.
  2. Assemble Cider Roasted Turkey and begin roasting (will take approx. 2 hrs).

2 HOURS BEFORE:

  1. Begin reheating Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes in a pot on the stove top over low heat (with lid, stir often, and add extra milk to keep it moist, if needed).
  2. Cook Apple Walnut Stuffing. Keep it warm in a pot on the stove top with lid.
  3. Cook Mushroom Herb Gravy. Pour into a gravy boat, cover with foil. 
  4. Assemble Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans to get ready for roasting.

1 HOUR BEFORE:

  1. Remove turkey from oven (check internal temperature first), cover with foil, and let rest.
  2. Turn oven temperature up to 400ºF. Cook Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans.
  3. Cook Lemon Butter Green Beans.

AT DINNER

  1. Assemble and serve Cider Mimosas.
  2. Enjoy the good food, good company, and good memories!

Don’t forget to subscribe to get the free pdf download of the Thanksgiving for Beginners Meal Plan, including prep schedule AND grocery list!

Close up overhead shot of Apple Walnut Stuffing in the casserole dish with a wooden spoon in the corner

How to Make Cider Mimosas

Since you’ll have leftover apple cider from the Cider Roasted Turkey Breast, might as well make it into a quick cocktail!

  1. Fill champaign flutes half way with apple cider
  2. Top off with sparkling wine (I suggest a Brut or other dry sparkling wine)
  3. Add a small sprig of rosemary for garnish, then serve!

Overhead view of a Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie with a slice cut out, on a plate on the side with whipped cream.

Got questions? Ask away in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help you troubleshoot!

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Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans https://www.budgetbytes.com/maple-roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-pecans/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/maple-roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-pecans/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2019 13:45:00 +0000 http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/11/19/maple-roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-pecans-5-28-recipe-0-88-serving/ Whether you call them Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes or candied yams, these tender, sweet, and irresistible nuggets are the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish. They’re also super simple to prepare, which gives them a permanent spot on my Thanksgiving menu. Because when I’m trying to cook ten recipes at once, I need things to be as […]

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Whether you call them Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes or candied yams, these tender, sweet, and irresistible nuggets are the quintessential Thanksgiving side dish. They’re also super simple to prepare, which gives them a permanent spot on my Thanksgiving menu. Because when I’m trying to cook ten recipes at once, I need things to be as simple as possible! Just mix everything up in a dish, pop it in the oven, and let them do their thing while you work on the rest of the meal. Done and done!

Originally posted 11/19/11, updated 11/07/19.

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans – A Classic Thanksgiving Side

Overhead view of a casserole dish full of Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with pecans with a wooden spoon on a deep blue background

See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.

Are They Yams or Sweet Potatoes?

This has been the topic of much debate for decades. While these orange fleshed root vegetables are often labeled “yams” at the grocery store, that’s really just a slang term and true yams are a different vegetable all together. Here is a great video clip from Alton Brown’s Serious Eats that goes over the history of sweet potatoes and the controversy over the term “yam” (worth the watch just for the “man yam” bit).

But I don’t care what you call them. Language is fluid. Just make sure to buy the orange guys for this recipe. ;)

Can You Make These Roasted Sweet Potatoes Ahead?

While you can roast these the day before and reheat on Thanksgiving day, I think they have a much better presentation when prepared fresh. The appearance does change from a glassy candied appearance to sort of a darker dull color after refrigeration. Instead, go ahead and peel and cube your sweet potatoes the day before so that all you have to do on the big day is pop them in the oven.

Can I Roast The Sweet Potatoes at a Lower Temperature?

If you’re trying to do double duty and roast these sweet potatoes at the same time as your turkey, you can make it work. If your turkey is being roasted at 350ºF, you can roast the sweet potatoes at the same time, keeping in mind that they will take much longer to roast (probably an additional 20 minutes or so). Make sure to stir the sweet potatoes about every 20 minutes while roasting.

 

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans (aka Candied Yams) are an easy, classic Thanksgiving side dish that everyone will love.

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($3.39)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ($1.20)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 cup pecans ($1.76)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the sweet potato cubes in a large casserole dish (11×15" or 5 quart).

  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is melted, then stir until combined. Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes in the casserole dish, and stir to coat.

  3. Transfer the casserole dish to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, roughly chop the pecans. After roasting for 20 minutes, add the chopped pecans, give everything a good stir, and then roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft and the liquid in the casserole dish has reduced to a sticky candy coating. Serve hot.

Want more Thanksgiving recipes? Check out our Holiday Recipes category!

Front view of the casserole dish full of Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans with pine cones on the side

 

How to Make Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Step By Step Photos

Diced sweet potatoes in casserole dish

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Peel and dice 3 lbs. of sweet potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. Place them in a large casserole dish (11×15″ or 5 quart). 

Butter maple syrup brown sugar and spices

Combine 2 Tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the butter, then stir to combine.

Butter mixture being poured over cubed sweet potatoes

Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes and stir until they’re all evenly coated. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes.

Chopped pecans on a cutting board with measuring cup

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, roughly chop 1/2 cup pecans (or just use pre-chopped pecans).

Pecans added to half roasted sweet potatoes

After roasting for 20 minutes, add the chopped pecans, give everything a really good stir, and return the sweet potatoes to the oven. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Fully roasted sweet potatoes in the casserole dish

Roast until the sweet potatoes are very tender and all the liquid in the bottom of the dish has reduced to a sticky candy coating.

front view of roasted sweet potatoes in the casserole dish

I mean, look at those potatoes… 🤩

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes in a casserole dish with a wooden spoon on a blue background with leaves and pine cones on the side.

These Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes (or candied yams, whatever) will be a stunning addition to your Thanksgiving table!

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Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad https://www.budgetbytes.com/chipotle-butternut-squash-and-quinoa-salad/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/chipotle-butternut-squash-and-quinoa-salad/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2019 17:51:03 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46300 Just because it’s not summer anymore, doesn’t mean I stop rollin’ with my refrigerator salads! This Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad is a little smoky, uses hearty autumn vegetables, and can be served either cold or warm, making it perfect for this cooler autumn weather. And like all my refrigerator salads, this salad holds […]

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Just because it’s not summer anymore, doesn’t mean I stop rollin’ with my refrigerator salads! This Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad is a little smoky, uses hearty autumn vegetables, and can be served either cold or warm, making it perfect for this cooler autumn weather. And like all my refrigerator salads, this salad holds up well in the refrigerator and can be eaten alone or as the base for several different meals. Read on to find out more!

Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

Overhead of a bowl of Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad with a black fork

How Long Does This Salad Last?

Store this salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and you’ll get about four days out of it, give or take some depending on the freshness of your ingredients and the conditions in your refrigerator. Remember to give the salad a stir just before serving to remix any dressing that may have settled.

How to Serve Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

You can serve this salad either warm or cold. It’s great both ways! The salad has quite a bit of protein on its own, but if you want to “beef” it up a bit more, you can add some grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, sautéed shrimp, a soft boiled egg, tofu, or tempeh.

Is This Salad Spicy?

Yes. The dressing contains a good amount of chipotle powder, which has a smoky-spicy flavor. If you want to make this salad NOT spicy, simply substitute smoked paprika for the chipotle powder.

What Can I Substitute for Butternut Squash?

This salad can very easily be made with sweet potato instead of butternut squash. Just peel, dice, and sauté the sweet potato in the same manner as the butternut squash. Use about 1.5 to 2 pounds of sweet potato.

What if I Hate Cilantro??

Don’t worry, you have options. To make this Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad without cilantro, simply substitute sliced green onion in its place. In fact, green onion can be added to this salad even if you are using cilantro as well. It might be a great way to use up those leftovers!

Side view of a bowl of Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

 

Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

This make ahead Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad holds up well in your refrigerator for fast and easy lunches all week!

  • 1 cup quinoa ($1.20)
  • 2 lb. butternut squash (about 4 cups diced) ($1.45)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 1 pinch salt ($0.02)
  • 1 cup frozen corn ($0.20)
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans ($0.49)

Dressing

  • 1 cup chopped parsley ($0.35)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro ($0.19)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced ($0.24)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil ($0.42)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin ($0.05)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder* ($0.10)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.05)
  1. Rinse the quinoa well with cool water in a fine wire mesh sieve. Add the quinoa and 1.75 cups water to a sauce pot. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow it to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low, and let the quinoa continue to simmer for 15 minutes (lid on).

  2. After 15 minutes of simmering, turn the heat off, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes.

  3. While the quinoa is simmering, prepare the butternut squash. Cut the ends off the squash to provide a flat sturdy surface. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. Finally, dice the remaining squash.

  4. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add it to a large bowl along with the frozen corn. Stir to combine, allowing the hot quinoa to thaw the corn. Set the bowl aside.

  5. Next cook the butternut squash. Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced squash and a pinch of salt. Sauté the squash until it is tender and slightly browned (about 15 minutes). If the squash begins to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water and allow the steam to loosen the squash.

  6. While the squash is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans, and prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh cilantro, three cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chipotle powder, and 1 tsp salt. Stir to combine.

  7. When the butternut squash is finished cooking, add it to the bowl with the corn and quinoa. Also add the rinsed and drained black beans, and the prepared dressing. Stir to combine, then season with salt to taste, if needed. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

How to Make Chipotle Butternut Squash Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked Quinoa in a sauce pot

Begin with the quinoa. Rinse 1 cup quinoa with cool water in a fine wire mesh sieve. Add the rinsed quinoa to a sauce pot with 1.75 cups water. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer (with lid) for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Quinoa and frozen corn in a bowl

When the quinoa is finished cooking, add it to a large bowl with 1 cup frozen corn and stir to combine. The heat from the quinoa will thaw the corn. Set the bowl aside.

Peel butternut squash

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the butternut squash. Cut the ends off the squash to give yourself a stable base to work on. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the squash.

Scoop seeds from butternut squash

Slice the squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. 

Diced butternut squash

Then dice the rest of the squash into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes. To dice the squash, first cut it into slices, then cut across the slices into cubes. Make sure the cubes are not too large, or they’ll take forever to cook.

Sautéed Butternut Squash in a Skillet

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the cubed butternut squash and a pinch of salt. Sauté the squash until it is tender and a little browned (this can take 10-15 minutes). If the squash begins to stick, add a tablespoon or two of water to the skillet and the steam will loosen the squash.

Prepared dressing for salad

While the squash is cooking, rinse and drain one 15 oz. can black beans and prepare the dressing. Chop 1 cup parsley and 1/2 cup cilantro. Mince three cloves of garlic. Combine the parsley, cilantro, and garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chipotle powder, and 3/4 tsp salt. Stir to combine.

Butternut squash black beans and dressing in bowl

Once the butternut squash has cooked, add it to the bowl with the corn and quinoa. Also add the rinsed black beans and the prepared dressing.

Finished Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad in the bowl

Stir the ingredients to combine, give it a taste, and adjust the salt to your liking if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Close overhead view of a bowl full of Chipotle Butternut Squash and Quinoa Salad

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Apple Walnut Stuffing https://www.budgetbytes.com/apple-walnut-stuffing/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/apple-walnut-stuffing/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2019 18:48:00 +0000 http://www.budgetbytes.com/2009/11/19/apple-walnut-stuffing-4-18-recipe-0-70-serving/ I’m all about making things from scratch. When it makes sense. If you’re cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, I think it makes sense to take a few shortcuts. One shortcut I like is zhuzhing up a boxed stuffing mix with a few fresh ingredients. Because I really don’t have time to cube and […]

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I’m all about making things from scratch. When it makes sense. If you’re cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, I think it makes sense to take a few shortcuts. One shortcut I like is zhuzhing up a boxed stuffing mix with a few fresh ingredients. Because I really don’t have time to cube and dry a whole loaf of bread (AND clean up all those crumbs) if I’m making all the other dishes, too. That’s why this Apple Walnut Stuffing is my go-to Thanksgiving side dish.

I’ll save the from-scratch stuffing for my potluck style Thanksgiving dinners and Friendsgiving dinners, when I’m only responsible for one dish. 😜

Originally posted 11-19-09, updated 10-31-19.

Stove Top Apple Walnut Stuffing

A casserole dish full of Apple Walnut Stuffing with a wooden spoon on the side

See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.

What Kind of Boxed Stuffing Should I Use?

For this recipe you’ll want to use two standard 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix (dried bread crumbs + seasoning/bouillon powder). I used chicken flavored stuffing mix, but you can use any flavor you prefer. You can even use a cornbread stuffing mix. If you want to make this stuffing vegetarian, make sure to use a vegetable flavored stuffing mix and double check the ingredients for any meat derived ingredients.

Can I Make This Apple Walnut Stuffing Ahead?

Yes! This Apple Walnut Stuffing is a great candidate for a make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish. I will say that the texture changes just slightly as it refrigerates over night (it’s not quite as “fluffy” the next day), but the flavor is on point.

How to Reheat Apple Walnut Stuffing

If you do make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, you can reheat it in the oven, covered with foil, at 350ºF, for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature rises above 165ºF. The total time to reheat will depend on the size, shape, and type of dish you’re using, and how crowded the oven is. I suggest using an instant read thermometer to make sure.

Other Add-Ins

Stuffing is great because there are so many different directions you can take it. If you like meat in your stuffing, you can also brown some sausage or bacon and stir that into the stuffing. I garnished my stuffing with chopped parsley for color, but that is entirely optional and not required to flavor the dish.

Close up side view of Apple Walnut Stuffing in the casserole dish, being scooped out with a wooden spoon.

 

Apple Walnut Stuffing

Take a Thanksgiving dinner short cut by upgrading a boxed stuffing mix with fresh ingredients for more flavor, texture, and visual appeal.

  • 4 Tbsp butter ($0.52)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
  • 2 apples ($0.50)
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage ($0.05)
  • 3 cups water ($0.00)
  • 2 6 oz. boxes stuffing mix ($1.38)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts ($0.60)
  1. Finely dice the onion and celery. Add the butter, onion, and celery to a large pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

  2. While the onion and celery are sautéing, core and finely dice the apples. Add the apples and dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery, and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the apples soften slightly.

  3. Add the water to the pot, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add both boxes of stuffing mix, stir briefly to combine, turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes.

  4. While the stuffing mix is absorbing the hot water, chop the walnuts. After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, remove the lid, add the walnuts, and gently fold them into the stuffing (vigorous stirring will make the stuffing gummy).

  5. Serve immediately, or bake uncovered at 350ºF for about 15 minutes to achieve a crispy top layer.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Close up overhead shot of Apple Walnut Stuffing in the casserole dish with a wooden spoon in the corner

 

How to Make Apple Walnut Stuffing – Step By Step Photos

Diced onion, celery, and butter in a pot

Finely dice one yellow onion and three ribs of celery. Add the onion and celery to a large pot along with 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add diced apples and sage to pot

While the celery and onion are sautéing, core and finely dice two apples. Add the diced apples and 1/2 tsp dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery. Sauté for one to two minutes more, or just until the apples begin to soften.

Water being poured into the pot.

Pour 3 cups water into the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water up to a boil.

Stuffing mix being added to boiling water

Once the water is boiling, remove the lid, pour two 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix into the pot, and give it a brief stir to combine. Turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for about 5 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.

Chopped walnuts on a cutting board

While the stuffing is resting, chop 1/2 cup walnuts.

Chopped walnuts added to the pot with stuffing

After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, add the chopped walnuts and gently fold to combine. Don’t stir too much, as this will make the stuffing gummy. Serve the stuffing immediately, or bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy.

A casserole dish full of the finished Apple Walnut Stuffing, garnished with chopped parsley

Or you can cover and refrigerate the stuffing for the next day. To reheat the stuffing, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF (use an instant read thermometer). The total reheating time will vary depending on your baking dish and oven.

Thanksgiving side dishes on a dining table, from above

What are your go-to Thanksgiving side dishes?

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Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie https://www.budgetbytes.com/maple-brown-butter-pumpkin-pie/ https://www.budgetbytes.com/maple-brown-butter-pumpkin-pie/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2019 22:42:28 +0000 https://www.budgetbytes.com/?p=46161 There are a million pumpkin pie recipes on the web. There’s even a perfectly good recipe on the back of every single can of pumpkin purée on the store shelves. So I didn’t want to make just another basic pumpkin pie. No one needs that. Instead, I made a couple simple swaps to fancy it […]

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There are a million pumpkin pie recipes on the web. There’s even a perfectly good recipe on the back of every single can of pumpkin purée on the store shelves. So I didn’t want to make just another basic pumpkin pie. No one needs that. Instead, I made a couple simple swaps to fancy it up just enough to make you go “Oooh…” with that first bite, but not enough that it made what is normally a very easy pie into something complicated. Enter my Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie.

Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

Overhead view of a Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie with a slice cut out, on a plate, with whipped cream on top.

See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.

What Makes this Pie Special?

Brown butter and maple syrup. A magical combination. If you don’t know, browned butter is a magical elixir that makes any baked good even better. It gives food a wonderfully rich and nutty flavor that is unparalleled. I also switched out some of the usual sugar in this pumpkin pie for maple syrup. The results are subtle, but just enough to set this pie apart.

What Kind of Pie Crust Should I Use?

I’m not going to lie, I used a store bought pie crust. Why? Because while pie crust may seem simple on the surface (flour, fat, water), it is a bit nuanced and it’s not something I’m not super confident with yet. Plus, you have to add steps to chill the dough etc., and when it comes to pumpkin pie, I just don’t have time for that. I NEED MY PUMPKIN PIE. Not having that extra work was worth the $0.85 cents I paid for the pre-made crust.

So, you can make your own pie crust or buy a frozen or refrigerated pie crust. Whatever works for you will work for this Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie. Just make sure it’s unbaked and deep dish. If using a frozen pie crust, you can pour the filling into the crust frozen, without thawing first.

If you want to make a homemade crust, a site I really trust for baked goods is Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has a Buttery Flakey Pie Crust recipe or All Butter Pie Crust recipe, both of which look great.

Whipped cream being scooped onto a slice of Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

Can I Make This Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Ahead?

Yes, in fact, I suggest you make this pie ahead of time. Pumpkin pie takes a while to cook (almost an hour) and then takes another hour to hour and a half to cool. You’ll want it to be mostly cool before cutting into it, so the custard is well set. If you refrigerate it overnight, it sets even more, and is, IMHO, even better. Just make sure it’s completely cool before refrigerating to prevent condensation.

How Long Does Pumpkin Pie Last?

Because pumpkin pie is a custard (milk and eggs) you will need to refrigerate this pie. Make sure it’s completely cool before refrigerating, then it will last about 4 days in the refrigerator, if it’s not eaten by then!

Can I Make This Pumpkin Pie Dairy-Free or Vegan?

Unfortunately there aren’t any easy swaps for this one to make it dairy-free or vegan. Custards can be quite finicky and swapping out the evaporated milk or eggs (or brown butter for that matter), will have a massive effect on the texture. There are vegan pumpkin pie recipes out there on the web, though. So if that’s what you’re looking for I suggest following a recipe from someone who has already tested and perfected that technique (I have not).

Overhead view of a baked Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie, uncut with whipped cream, mini pumpkins, and leaves on the side.

 

Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

This Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie is the perfect special touch for your Thanksgiving dinner, without adding a lot of extra work or unusual ingredients.

  • 4 Tbsp butter ($0.39)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ($1.20)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ($0.10)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger ($0.05)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.47)
  • 1 15oz. can pumpkin purée ($0.79)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk ($0.65)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie crust ($0.85)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cut the butter into four tablespoon-sized chunks, then add them to a small skillet. Heat the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter solids turn deep brown and develop a nutty aroma (it will first become foamy, then the solids will sink to the bottom and turn brown). Remove the butter from the heat immediately to prevent burning, and carefully pour it into a mixing bowl.

  2. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt to the bowl with the brown butter. Stir to combine.

  3. Add the eggs and pumpkin purée to the bowl with the butter and spices. Whisk until smooth. Lastly, add the evaporated milk, and whisk until smooth again.

  4. Place the pie dish with pie crust on a baking sheet for easy transport in and out of the oven. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust. Transfer the filled crust to the oven.

  5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then turn the heat down to 350ºF and continue to bake for 35-40 minutes more, or until the pie is slightly domed on top, lightly browned around the edges, and the center is no longer liquid, but jiggles just slightly when you shake the baking sheet. If the crust begins to brown too much as it bakes, you can cover the crust with foil to stop the browning.

  6. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool at room temperature for about one hour. Once cool, cut and serve, or cover with foil or plastic and transfer to the refrigerator for storage.

Scroll down to see the step by step photos!

A slice of Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie close to the camera, whole pie in the background.

 

How to Make Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie – Step by Step Photos

Brown butter in a skillet

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Cut the butter into four one-tablespoon chunks and add them to a small skillet. Heat the butter over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter solids sink to the bottom, turn deep brown, and take on a nutty aroma. The butter will become quite foamy before this happens, but eventually you’ll be able to see, as you stir, the browned solids on the bottom. Remove the butter from the heat immediately to prevent burning and pour the hot butter into a mixing bowl. For more detailed directions on how to brown butter, see my tutorial: How to Make Brown Butter.

Brown Butter, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, and Spices in a bowl

Add 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt to the browned butter, then whisk until combined.

Eggs and pumpkin in bowl with butter and sugar mixture

Add two large eggs and one 15 oz. can of pumpkin purée to the butter and sugar mixture, then whisk until smooth.

Evaporated milk being poured into the bowl.

Lastly, add 1 cup evaporated milk, and whisk until smooth again.

Pie filling being poured into a pie crust

Place your 9-inch deep dish pie plate with pie crust on a baking sheet for easy transport in and out of the oven. Pour the pumpkin pie filling into the crust, then transfer to the preheated oven.

Baked Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

Bake the pumpkin pie for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then turn the heat down to 350ºF and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until it’s domed in the center, slightly browned on the edges, and the center is no longer liquid, but still jiggles just slightly when you shake the pan. If the crust begins to brown too much as it bakes, you can cover the crust with foil to stop the browning.

Baked Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie with mini pumpkins in the background

Although it may be hard, let the pie cool for at least one hour before slicing and serving so the custard can set. Once cooled, you can serve your Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie or cover and refrigerate to serve the next day!

Overhead view of a Maple Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie with a slice cut out, on a plate on the side with whipped cream.

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