10 Minute Pesto Pasta (Kohler Food and Wine)

10 minute pesto pasta is made with fresh basil, parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil.  It brings incredible flavor to your pasta dish and is ready in no time at all! 

For more pesto inspired recipes, be sure to try Easy Baked Pesto Chicken, Pesto Pasta Salad, or this Basil Pesto Chicken Sandwich.

Pesto Pasta

I had one of the most amazing experiences this past fall and I am still talking about how incredible it was!  It was a complete foodie dream come true and I was lucky enough to go to the Kohler Food and Wine Festival and stay at The American Club.  It was everything that my foodie heart could have asked for.  When we first arrived at The American Club, it was a total dream.  It is a five star, five diamond resort in Kohler, Wisconsin and has been an icon for over 100 years.  We were greeted when we arrived and treated like we were royalty.  They staff made sure that we were always taken care of and went above and beyond to make sure our stay there was unforgettable.

My favorite things about Kohler Food and Wine

You know you are in for a real treat when you arrive at The American Club.  Since the resort is such an icon be prepared for some of the best food of your life. The resort has several restaurants that you can choose from including casual dining, small plates, and in room dining.

1. The Dining Experience

My favorite night was at The immigrant Restaurant.  The resturaunt is rated AAA four diamond and four star by Forbess.  We walked into the most beautiful room and the atmosphere was perfect.  Each dish was presented so beautifully and it was all so unique.  Even some of the dishes that were served like tartare, that I wasn’t sure I would like were incredible.  They were all perfectly cooked and the flavor was awesome.

 

A highlight of that dinner was the Grilled A-5 Wagyu.  I have never experienced something so incredible and delicious in my entire life.  It is one of the worlds most exquisite beef and has legendary flavor and it melts in your mouth like with its buttery finish.  The dish was served with black garlic, sautéed trumpet mushrooms, and a salsify puree.  Everything about this dish was truly spectacular.

You guys….  the food everywhere was to die for.  We loved going Craverie Chocolatier Cafe and getting brunch or a good salad while we were out shopping at the shops.  We especially loved Cucina for some good Italian and homemade pasta!

2. Kohler Water Spa

Since my life is so crazy at home with four kiddos, when I travel, it is always nice to unwind and relax and take some time for myself.  The Kohler Water Spa is truly an experience at The American Club.  I got the Cascading Waterfall Massage which includes warm rain from the Kohler custom shower.  It gently falls over your body while you reticence a relaxing Swedish massage.  It was literally one of the best spa experiences of my life.  It is one of the only places in the world to offer this kind of treatment and is unforgettable.  It was so peaceful and relaxing to experience the Kohler Water Spa and one of my favorite things that I did while I was there.

3. Kohler Food and Wine

The Kohler Food and Wine festival is a four day extravaganza of food, good wine, and plenty of fun activities.  We loved attending the events featuring the celebrity chefs.  Fabio was such a blast to watch and so much fun.  He showed us how to make some homemade pasta and an easy pesto.  We all got to taste what he had created and it stood out as one of my favorites.  I love when you can create something so easy and have it be so full of flavor and fresh ingredients.  Fabio talked with us afterwards and I even did a giveaway to one of my readers of his cookbook.  He is an incredible chef and has some amazing recipes in his book.  What an experience to be able to meet celebrity chefs!

The recipe that I am sharing with you today is his pesto that he created.  I love it because it is ready in just 10 minutes and can be used as a simple side or add some protein in for a main dish.

(Me and my blogger bestie Spend with Pennies)

How do you make pesto pasta?

  • In a food processor combine basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Pulse until desired chunkiness.  Adjust to desired seasonings.  
  • Heat pesto in a medium skillet and toss with hot pasta.  

Is pesto good or bad for you?

Pesto is a delicious sauce made of basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.  Ingredients such as the olive oil and pine nuts are higher in calories, because they have a higher fat content.  But, the food is considered “healthy” because the fat is unsaturated.

What do you eat with pesto?

Pesto is usually tossed with pasta, but is also a delicious sauce for meat, fish, chicken, and vegetables.  Just spread the pesto onto salmon, or chicken and you can thin it out a bit with olive oil and spoon it out on top.

Does pesto go bad?

The best way to store pesto is in the refrigerator.  Homemade pesto will keep for about a week or so.  And unopened bottle of pesto will keep for about 3 weeks and an opened bottle will keep for about two weeks in the fridge.

What dishes go well with pesto pasta?

10 Minute Pesto Pasta

10 minute pesto pasta is made with fresh basil, parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil.  It brings incredible flavor to your pasta dish and is ready in no time at all! 

  • 4 Cups Basil leaves (packed)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup Toasted Pine nuts
  • 1 Cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 Cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 16 ounce pasta (cooked and drained)
  1. In a food processor combine basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Pulse until desired chunkiness.  Adjust to desired seasonings.  

  2. Heat pesto in a medium skillet and toss with hot pasta.  

Recipe Inspired by Fabio

 

Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas

Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas are SO easy to make, even on a weeknight! They’re packed with a combo of beef and mushrooms, smothered in a creamy salsa verde sauce, and covered in shredded cheese. They’ll become a new family favorite, guaranteed. 

Enchiladas are our go-to when it comes to Mexican food, so be sure to check out these Skinny Chicken Enchiladas, these Beefy Garlic Enchiladas, or these Ranch Chicken Enchiladas.

Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas

Enchiladas are my jam. I swear I could eat them every single day for the rest of eternity, and never get sick of them. Typically I’m a shredded chicken girl, but every once in a while I have a serious craving for something a little heartier, and beef enchiladas totally hit the spot! Here, a combo of ground beef, cremini mushrooms, and shredded oaxaca cheese make up the hearty filling. The sauce is ridiculously easy with just two ingredients – salsa verde and sour cream – and takes about 30 seconds to throw together.

They have a slight hint smokiness with cumin, and a punch of flavor from a copious amount of garlic, onion, and oregano. They’re creamy, cheesy, and oh-so delicious!

How to make Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas

  • First, brown the mushrooms in a little bit of butter.  Don’t add salt at this point! Because mushrooms soak up salt and moisture, adding salt at this point will prevent them from browning.
  • Once the mushrooms are brown and cooked, remove them from the pan and add the beef. Cook until brown.
  • Add onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and water. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the mushrooms back in the pan and toss together.
  • While the beef and mushrooms cook, add the salsa verde and sour cream to a medium bowl. Whisk until combined.
  • Place a scant 1/2 cup of filling on each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese, roll and line up in the baking dish.
  • Cover with sauce, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro.

Do I have to use cremini mushrooms?

No! I love creminis for their heartiness, but white button mushrooms or even chopped portabellas will also work wonderfully.

Can I make them ahead of time?

Absolutely. And actually they’re even better if the sauce sits for a little bit. I wouldn’t recommend making them any more than 24 hours in advance, but anything prior to that is perfect.

Do I have to use oaxaca cheese??

I do really recommend seeking out this perfectly melty, mild cheese. However, if you absolutely can’t find it, shredded Monterrey jack cheese will also work great.

What to serve with Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas

Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas

Salsa Verde Beef and Mushroom Enchiladas are SO easy to make, even on a weeknight! They’re packed with a combo of beef and mushrooms, smothered in a creamy salsa verde sauce, and covered in shredded cheese. They’ll become a new family favorite, guaranteed. 

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 soft taco-sized tortillas
  • 8 oz oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • 16 oz salsa verde
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. 

  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat. Add butter. Once butter melts, add mushrooms. Cook until brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, toss and cook 1 more minute. 

  3. Transfer mushrooms to a plate and add ground beef to the pan. Brown for 10 minutes. Add onions, cumin, oregano, remaining salt, and garlic. Continue to cook until onions are soft and translucent, another 3-4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Toss to combine and set aside. 

  4. Add salsa and sour cream to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, set aside. 

  5. To assemble enchiladas. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place about 1/2 cup of the filling in the middle of each tortilla. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down. Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until brown and bubbly. 

The Perfect Cheesy Potato Soup (in 30 Minutes)

Close up of loaded baked potato soup in pot with ladle

Baked Potato Soup takes all of the comforting goodness of a fully loaded baked potato and turns it into a belly warming soup!

A rich and creamy soup with loaded with cheddar cheese and topped with all of our favorite toppings we add to traditional Baked Potatoes!

A large pot of baked potato soup topped with cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes are added to a savory chicken broth base resulting in this cheesy potato soup.  We top this loaded potato soup with our favourite baked potato toppings including crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions. The result is a deliciously rich potato soup that tastes just like those fully loaded baked potatoes we all love so much!

Potatoes are one of our favorite veggies, they’re inexpensive, versatile and taste great! There are a ton of ways to prepare potatoes… french fries,  Garlic Ranch Mashed Potatoes, roasted potatoes, Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole… you name it. One of our favorites is to enjoy it as a slurpable soup!

How to Make Baked Potato Soup

This loaded baked potato soup recipe is loaded with flavor from bacon, onions and cheese, everything is melded together to make a rich creamy soup! It’s easy to make, here’s how:

  1. Fry bacon until crisp (yum!).
  2. Cook onions in the bacon drippings until tender. Add broth and mashed potatoes and simmer.
  3. Add a splash of buttermilk and of course sharp cheddar cheese.

Top with your favorite toppings including green onions, sour cream, crisp bacon and cheese!

The Perfect Potatoes for Soup

While this recipe tastes like a baked potato, we actually use mashed (or smashed) potatoes. The use of mashed potatoes makes it quick & easy and creates a creamy texture (and it’s a great way to use up leftovers).

Baked Potato Soup is the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes (if leftover mashed potatoes is even a thing?!). If you don’t have leftovers you can make mashed yourself (recipe below) or even whip up some easy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes. When making mashed potatoes for this recipe, I prefer to have the texture to be a little bit more smashed (or chunky) so the soup has texture.

A bowl of loaded baked potato soup with a soup in white bowl

A Delicious Staple

Mashed potatoes are a staple for good reason, they’re inexpensive, delicious and easy to make! They’re the perfect base for gravies and sauces or for topping with Salisbury Steak or creamed corn!

Mashed potatoes simply require potatoes, butter, and cream (or milk) with seasoning. Depending on what I’m serving them with, I also add in green onions, garlic or even sour cream. Add these mashed potatoes to the soup or you can use leftover mashed potatoes if you have any!

Making the Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ½ to 3/4 cup whole milk (or cream), warmed
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel & cube potatoes. Boil the potatoes (and garlic if using) and in a large pot of salted water until fork tender (about 15 minutes).
  2. Drain very well and place back into the warm pot.
  3. Mash slightly with a potato masher. Add in butter, warmed milk, salt and pepper. Mash to desired consistency.

A ladle of baked potato soup with cheese, bacon and green onions.

Can You Freeze Baked Potato Soup?

This baked potato soup recipe does reheat well and can last about 5 days in the fridge.

Soups containing potatoes can have a change in texture when frozen so I prefer to make it fresh when I can. If you do decide to freeze this soup, you’ll want to reheat it over low heat to help maintaining the creamy and smooth texture!

What Can You Add to Potato Soup?

This baked potato soup recipe has bacon, cheese, sour cream, and green onions which are some of my favourite mix-ins for potatoes!

Baked Potato Soup is extremely versatile making it the perfect way to use up any leftover ingredients in your fridge.

Add in any of the following:

  • Proteins: rotisserie chicken, leftover ham, cooked and drained sausage
  • Vegetables: corn, red bell peppers, leftover roasted vegetables finely chopped
  • Cheeses: change them up or use what you have on hand. Be sure to include at least one sharp flavored cheese such as cheddar or parmesan.

Close up photo of loaded baked potato soup in white bowl

More Potato Recipes You’ll Love

This is honestly the best potato soup I’ve ever had, and it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.

This soup takes about 30 minutes start to finish. While it’s cooking I put together a quick tossed salad and add in some crusty bread for the perfect family meal. When I make this soup for my family, I like to serve it but leave the sour cream, green onion, and bacon on the side. I serve the toppings like I would with a normal baked potato. Everyone loves adding their own toppings!

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup takes all of the comforting goodness of a fully loaded baked potato and turns it into a belly warming soup!

  • 6 slices bacon (chopped)
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded and divided)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 green onions (finely chopped)
  1. Fry bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside leaving the drippings in the pot.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and add diced onion to drippings.  Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and flour, cook 1 minute while stirring. Whisk in chicken broth, bring to a boil over medium high heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in mashed potatoes.  Simmer an additional 5 minutes. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine allowing mixture to just come to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese, half of the bacon and 1/3 cup sour cream.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, reamining bacon, green onion and serve hot.

More Recipes You’ll Love

Baked Potato Soup takes all of the comforting goodness of a fully loaded baked potato and turns it into a belly warming soup! #spendwithpennies #soup #potatosoup #bacon #cheese #bakedpotato #comfortfood #30minutemeal
Baked Potato Soup tastes just like a fully loaded baked potato in a delicious belly warming soup! Loaded with mashed potatoes, cheese and bacon this is going to become a new family favorite! #spendwithpennies #soup #potatosoup #bacon #cheese #bakedpotato #comfortfood #30minutemeal

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice is a staple in our house and the perfect dish to serve alongside Easy Fish Tacos, our favorite creamy chicken enchiladas or even alongside a simple roasted pork tenderloin!

Turning regular white rice from your pantry into this delicious rice side dish is easy! You’ll need just a few ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen!

Homemade Mexican rice is a fun and delicious side dish that everyone loves. We love serving this authentic Mexican rice recipe on taco night! #spendwithpennies #mexicanrice #rice #mexican #mexicanricerecipe #easymexicanrice #authenticmexicanrice

We often make rice recipes to accompany our meals and most of the time they’re quick to make from scratch! Homemade Mexican Rice is so much more flavorful boxed versions and you can add or remove seasonings and spices to suit your tastes.

What is Mexican Rice?

All you need is some regular white rice, Mexican-style seasonings along with a bit of tomato sauce. It’s all cooked together creating a flavorful side dish! It doesn’t take much extra work than making just plain white rice.

You can serve Mexican rice with anything and everything- especially during taco night! I love adding homemade taco seasoning or turning it into Mexican rice and beans with a can of black beans or pinto beans!

What to Serve with Mexican Rice

A pot filled with the ingredients to make Mexican rice

How to Make Mexican Rice

An authentic Mexican rice recipe calls for just a few basic ingredients. Chicken stock is the base for this rice dish and adds lots of flavor and of course tomato sauce adds the color we’re used to seeing in a Mexican rice dish!

A pot of Mexican rice with limes and cilantro

 

To make this Mexican Rice Recipe:

  1. Brown the Rice: Saute the onions, butter and rice about 5 minutes in a pot until the rice becomes golden  in color.
  2. Add Seasonings: Add the seasonings, chicken broth and tomato sauce.
  3. Cook: Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. Once done, let sit covered about 5 minutes.

It’s that easy! I add in a minced and seeded jalapeno for flavor and of course a big squeeze of lime before serving.

Mexican Rice

Take that regular white rice that’s in the pantry and create an easy Mexican rice recipe with just a few ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen. 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded and minced, optional)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup tomato sauce
  • lime & cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. Cook onions, butter, rice and jalapeno if using over medium heat until onions are tender and rice is golden, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cook 1 minute more.

  2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

  3. Remove from heat and let sit 5-10 minutes covered.

  4. Fluff with a fork and serve.

We love making this authentic Mexican rice recipe for taco night. It's an easy and delicious side dish that goes great with tacos, burritos, and enchiladas! #spendwithpennies #mexicanrice #rice #mexican #mexicanricerecipe #easymexicanrice #authenticmexicanrice
We love making this authentic Mexican rice recipe for taco night. It's an easy and delicious side dish that goes great with tacos, burritos, and enchiladas! #spendwithpennies #mexicanrice #rice #mexican #mexicanricerecipe #easymexicanrice #authenticmexicanrice

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Enchilada Sauce is a must-have staple that will enhance any Tex-Mex or south-of-the-border dish. The great thing about my homemade enchilada sauce recipe is that can control the ingredients to keep out the preservatives or MSG that are in some store-bought versions.

We love adding this homemade enchilada sauce to Beef Enchilada Dip, or enchilada soup. Homemade is always better!

A jar of homemade enchilada sauce with cilantro and tomatoes

What is Enchilada Sauce?

Enchiladas are a soft corn tortillas rolled around shredded or ground meat or chicken, then smothered in enchilada sauce and baked in the oven. Enchilada sauce is zesty and flavorful. Hence, it forms the basis of many other Mexican dishes too. You can spoon it over tacos, or use it to enhance the filling in burritos or chimichangas.

What’s in Enchilada Sauce?

Authentic enchilada sauce is basically chili powder simmered in a broth with garlic, onion, tomato paste/sauce and thickened with flour. I start by browning the flour with some oil until it’s fragrant, this step only takes a few minutes but adds a lot of flavor!

While this is a red enchilada sauce, there are other variations (like the green enchilada sauce I add to my creamy chicken enchiladas).

Green enchilada sauce is a little less spicy than red enchilada sauce. Instead of tomato paste and red chili powder, green enchilada sauce recipes use roasted and peeled poblano peppers, cumin, and oregano. You can roast the poblanos as you would make any roasted peppers.

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A pot of enchilada sauce ready for making homemade enchiladas

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

Making enchilada sauce is simple, and literally takes only minutes and requires almost no prep work! You’ll make a sort of a roux with the tomato sauce and broth.

  1. Place oil and flour in a pan and cook until light brown and fragrant.
  2. Stir all the spices and seasoning ingredients and cook for one minute more.
  3. Add the liquids in slowly, stirring as you add to prevent lumps. (It will be thick at first, keep on stirring after each addition until smooth).
  4. Simmer for a few minutes more, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour this sauce over a pan of baked enchiladas for an authentic Mexican meal that your family will love.

Note: This enchilada sauce recipe has been updated (2019) for improved flavor and consistency.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This homemade enchilada sauce is perfect on chicken enchiladas or any other recipe you have in mind! 

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)
  • 3 cups broth
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes while stirring until fragrant and nutty smelling.

  2. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and oregano. Cook 1 minute more.

  3. Add tomato sauce and broth a little at a time, stirring between each addition until smooth. 

  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer 2-3 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information is based on 1 tablespoon of enchilada sauce.

This homemade enchilada sauce is an easy homemade sauce that's perfect on chicken enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or any other dish you can think of! #spendwithpennies #enchiladas #enchilada #enchiladasauce #tacosauce #mexicansauce
This homemade enchilada sauce is an easy homemade sauce that's perfect on chicken enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or any other dish you can think of! #spendwithpennies #enchiladas #enchilada #enchiladasauce #tacosauce #mexicansauce

Easy Slow Cooker Soup!

beef vegetable soup in slow cooker

This slow cooker Vegetable Beef Soup is a hearty, healthy meal loaded with protein and vegetables. Made with chunks of beef and all of your favorite veggies!

When loading up on vegetables, we love Weight Loss Vegetable Soup and this homemade Vegetable Beef Soup recipe. Made in the slow cooker or on the stove top, it’s perfect for making ahead on a busy weeknight! Dinner will be waiting for you when you get home!

a ladle of beef vegetable soup in slow cooker

An Easy Slow Cooker Soup Recipe

I am a big time soup lover, and I’ll eat just about any vegetables you throw into it. This Vegetable Beef Soup can be made lots of different ways, substituting your favorite vegetables or spices for a combination that your family is sure to love!

Be sure to serve this with 30 Minute Dinner Rolls or a nice chunk of crusty bread to soak up all of that incredible broth!

If you love slow cooker soups as much as we do (and have some crusty bread handy), try Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada SoupSausage Potato Soup, or Italian Chicken Noodle Soup.

bowl of slow cooker vegetable beef soup

How to Make Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup:

  • Beef: Place your beef cubes in the slow cooker. You can brown them first or you can skip this step, but with soup recipes I generally recommend browning the meat as it makes for a better broth! This is totally optional and won’t make a big difference.
  • Vegetables: Add some vegetables and some broth.
  • Cook: Turn it on, and let it cook away until everything is melt in your mouth tender.

See how easy that was?

What Cut of Beef is Best for Soup?

Because the meat is slow cooked in broth, it doesn’t need to be an expensive cut of beef to be tender in this crockpot vegetable beef soup.

I like to check my grocery store flyers to see what is on sale. If there is a particular roast that is on for a great price, I’ll buy one and cube it up to make this soup. If you’re not a sale shopper, chuck roast is a great option and will make for some incredibly tender beef.

If you’ve got ground beef instead, you will want to check out my Easy Hamburger Soup for an inexpensive, hearty meal.

Must Try Slow Cooker Soups

overhead vegetable beef soup

Can I Make This Vegetable Beef Soup Ahead?

Soup is great for making ahead, and this easy vegetable beef soup is one of the best because the flavors just get better as it sits.

This is a great option for meal prepping on the weekend when you have more spare time, and then simply reheating throughout the week. Because it has no pasta or rice, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup

This slow cooker Vegetable Beef Soup is a hearty, healthy meal loaded with protein and vegetables. Made with chunks of beef and all of your favorite veggies!

  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 pound beef cubes
  • 1 pound potatoes (finely chopped (about 4 medium))
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 2 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large frying pan over high heat, fry beef in oil just until browned on all sides. Add beef to a 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, beans, broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, garlic, parsley, paprika and pepper to slow cooker and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours, until beef and vegetables are tender.

This slow cooker Vegetable Beef Soup is a hearty, healthy meal loaded with protein and vegetables. Made with chunks of beef and all of your favorite veggies! #spendwithpennies #soup #slowcooker #crockpot #beef #easysouprecipe #easydinner #weeknightmeal #healthyrecipe #vegetablesouprecipe #withvegetables #easylunch
This slow cooker Vegetable Beef Soup is a hearty, healthy meal loaded with protein and vegetables. Made with chunks of beef and all of your favorite veggies! #spendwithpennies #soup #slowcooker #crockpot #beef #easysouprecipe #easydinner #weeknightmeal #healthyrecipe #vegetablesouprecipe #withvegetables #easylunch

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak on Arugula

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak on Arugula drizzled with a balsamic soy-ginger vinaigrette – yum!

Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak on Arugula drizzled with a balsamic soy-ginger vinaigrette – yum!

Sesame Crusted Tuna

Seared or raw tuna is one of my favorite fish to eat whether I’m having sushi, ceviche, poke bowls or salads like this. Some other tuna recipes I love made with sushi grade tuna are Ahi Tuna Watermelon Salad and Seared Tuna Salad with Wasabi Butter Sauce.

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Instant Pot Chili

 

Instant Pot Chili is the perfect hearty, people-pleasing meal! As much as we love a thick and hearty traditional chili recipethis no-fuss Instant Pot chili recipe makes the perfect family dinner for busy weeknights. It’s also a great dish or to make ahead to refrigerate or freeze for later!

Serve it alongside some cornbread or with 30 minute dinner rolls for the perfect meal!

Two bowls of Instant Pot chili topped with cheese with an Instant Pot in the background and a baguette slice next to them.

How to Make Chili in an Instant Pot

Instant Pot Chili shouldn’t take more than 60 minutes to cook from start to finish. Then, to thicken, you’ll need to add more time. The amount of time depends on what thickening method you use.

But first, you need to cook the chili in the Instant Pot:

  1. Brown Beef: Set the Instant Pot to sauté and brown the ground beef in two batches (drain fat).
  2. Deglaze Instant Pot: Add beer and beef broth and scrape up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan. This is important to avoid getting a “burn” message on the Instant Pot.
  3. Add Ingredients: Layer each of the other ingredients on top of the ground beef, then peppers, then beans, and ending with the tomatoes. I add tomatoes last, to prevent them from burning.
  4. How Long to Cook Chili in Instant Pot: Use the chili setting for 20 minutes and let the Instant Pot natural release when the cycle is done. (You can release it sooner if you’re in a hurry, the natural release allows the flavors to blend more).

Ingredients for chili in an Instant Pot like peppers, chili powder, and beef with tomato sauce and kidney beans next to it.

How to Thicken Instant Pot Chili

This easy Instant Pot chili has a substantial amount of flavor-rich broth, thanks to the addition of beef broth and beer. When I make our favorite Stove Top Chili Recipe, a lot of the liquid evaporates while the recipe simmers away. In this recipe the liquid doesn’t have a chance to evaporate so the chili will need to be thickened before serving.

There are two ways you can do this.

  • Thicken with Cornstarch (2 minutes): Make a cornstarch and water slurry by combining equal parts water and cornstarch. When the cook cycle is done and the pressure has released, bring the chili up to a boil using the saute button.Add the slurry a little bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Thicken by Simmering (20 minutes): Simmer your Instant Pot chili with the cover off using the sautee function for 20 minutes, or until the broth has reduced to your desired consistency.

A silver ladle serving Instant Pot chili out of the Instant Pot.

More Recipes You’ll Love

What Goes With Chili

Easy Instant Pot chili is one-pot cooking at its best! The only thing you really need to round out your meal is some kind of starch on the side.

  • Serve your Instant Pot chili over rice.
  • Make homemade griddle-fried corn tortillas, or use store bought ones.
  • Cornbread, warm from the oven with some honey butter. A little sweetness on the muffins is perfect with the warm spices in this Instant Pot chili.

To Freeze Instant Pot Chili: You can keep easy Instant Pot chili in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Simply freeze in individual portions in freezer bags. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove top.

Instant Pot Chili

This no-fuss Instant Pot chili recipe makes the perfect family dinner for busy weeknights!

  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion (or two smaller onions)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (divided)
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 15 oz cans kidney beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 oz canned whole tomatoes (with juice)
  1. Combine beef, onions, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the chili powder.
  2. Turn instant pot to SAUTE and cook half of the beef until browned. Repeat with remaining beef. Drain any fat.
  3. Add beef broth and beer and stir to deglaze any bits stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot making sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom.

  4. Spread cooked beef out in a layer on the bottom. Layer, in order, bell peppers, kidney beans, tomato paste, cumin and finally gently place tomatoes on top. Pour any juice from the tomatoes over top.
  5. Seal the lid and valve of the Instant Pot and use the CHILI function (or set to high pressure for 25 minutes). Once completed, allow to naturally release 20 minutes. Open the valve to release any remaining pressure.

  6. Stir the chili which will likely need thickening.

To thicken the chili

  1. Remove lid, set to SAUTEE and allow to simmer 20 minutes or so until thickened
  2. Or create a slurry by combining 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Turn Instant Pot on to SAUTEE. Once chili begins bubbling, add the slurry a little bit at a time while mixing until chili reaches desired consistency. Allow to boil 1 minute.

Ensure ingredients are layered in order to avoid burning the tomatoes.

This easy Instant Pot chili recipe is a family favorite. This easy chili in the Instant Pot is flavorful, fun, and easy! #spendwithpennies #instantpot #instantpotchili #chili #chilirecipe #instantpotchilirecipe
This easy Instant Pot chili recipe is a family favorite. This easy chili in the Instant Pot is flavorful, fun, and easy! #spendwithpennies #instantpot #instantpotchili #chili #chilirecipe #instantpotchilirecipe

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding is a heavenly dessert made up of layers of creamy vanilla pudding, bananas, and Nilla Wafers. It’s the very recipe that the famous New York City bakery uses! This delicious and easy recipe is sure to become a family favorite!

Bananas are a staple in our home. We always have them hanging around but often they become over ripe before we get around to eating them. Instead of throwing them out we make something yummy like Banana Bread Crumb Cake, No Bake Banana Caramel Pecan Pie, or Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

One of my favorite things to do is make restaurant copycat recipes, especially when they’re as good as this Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding. The amazing New York bakery is famous for it’s cupcakes and banana pudding. There are a few other locations dotted across the country but if you don’t live near one or have a trip planned to visit one, no worries! You can make this famous banana dessert right at home!

This Banana Pudding tastes just like the real deal because it is! The recipe comes right from their cook book. Not only is it delicious, it’s so easy to make! All it takes is 6 ingredients and one of those is water.

How to make Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding?

  • Make the vanilla pudding by mixing the box of powdered gelatin with the ice water and sweetened condensed milk. This can be done by hand with a whisk or by using an electric mixer. Once the pudding is smooth and thoroughly mixed, cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the pudding until there are no more white streaks.
  • Assemble the pudding in either a large bowl, trifle dish, baking pan, or individual dishes. Layer the ingredients by first adding a layer of Nilla Wafers, followed by sliced bananas, and then pudding. Repeat layers until you reach the top of your dish(es).
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place the assembled dessert in the fridge for 4-8 hours. Top with the optional additional bananas and Nilla wafers and serve.

Can I make Banana Pudding in advance?

Yes! You need to make it in advance. The actually pudding part of this dessert needs time to thicken in the fridge so it is best to begin this dessert a night or two before you plan to serve it or in the morning at the latest if you are serving it at night. While this particular step needs to be done in advance, the assembly of the dessert should only be done 4-8 hours in advance.

How long does Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Last?

Once the pudding is assembled with the Nilla Wafers, it’s best to eat withing 4-8 hours. You can definitely eat it right after assembling but to get that perfect texture of the cakey Nilla Wafers, it’s best to wait 4 hours so the pudding can soften them.

After 8 hours the bananas really start to turn brown and the Nilla Wafers will get even softer and become more of a soggy texture than a cake like texture.

How to prevent bananas from turning brown:

Dip or brush the sliced bananas with any acidic fruit juice. This will result in a change in the flavor which is not favorable in some dishes. Where this is the case, use water (it won’t work as well but it will slow the browning). Non-tonic club soda can also be used and won’t affect the taste.

It is the oxidation of the fruit that causes it to turn brown. You can slow the oxidation by limiting the oxygen or air. For this recipe, seal the bananas off from the air by completely covering them in the pudding. If you plan to serve bananas on top of the pudding, wait to add those until just before eating.

Looking for more creamy desserts? Here are a few more!

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • 1 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups bananas (sliced)
  • 1 12 ounce box Nilla Wafers
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sweetened condensed milk with an electric mixer while slowing streaming in the water. Add the pudding mix and beat until thoroughly mixed in. Cover pudding and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight so it can can thicken and set up.
  2. Beat the heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks from. Fold the whipped cream and chilled pudding together until there are no more streaks.
  3. Assemble the pudding in either a large bowl, trifle dish, baking pan, or individual dishes. Layer the ingredients by first adding a layer of Nilla Wafers, followed by sliced bananas, and then pudding. Repeat layers until you reach the top of your dish(es).
  4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the assembled dessert in the fridge for 4-8 hours. Top with additional bananas and Nilla wafers (optional) and serve.

The Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese!

Baked Mac and Cheese is one of our favorite comfort foods ever! Macaroni noodles are tossed in a homemade cheese sauce, topped with a buttery crumb mixture, and baked until hot and bubbly.

Serve this homemade mac and cheese alongside a classic Meatloaf Recipe or baked chicken breasts for the most comforting meal ever.

A scoop of cheesy baked mac and cheese being served out of a white baking dish.

 

 

Macaroni and cheese is my comfort food HEAVEN. From instant pot mac and cheese to slow cooker mac and cheese, no matter how it is prepared you know I’m happy. This baked mac and cheese rivals some of my favorite methods of making macaroni and cheese because it is SO easy but tastes gourmet.

  • Cheese: Sharp cheddar gives this baked mac and cheese tons of flavor. The addition of gruyere to the cheese sauce in this recipe is next level. This simple addition will become your new secret weapon for all things mac and cheese!
  • Macaroni: I use a traditional elbow macaroni but any short pasta will work. Shells (or cavatappi) are great choices! Cook al dente as the pasta cooks more in the sauce.
  • Topping: The most perfect buttery crumb topping is one of my favorite parts of this recipe. Add in bacon, more parm, crushed crackers… pretty much anything with crunch will work!

A white pot of cheese sauce being whisked together for baked mac and cheese

How To Make Baked Mac and Cheese

When you bake mac and cheese, some of the cooking is done on the stove top before it is baked (like most casseroles). To achieve the perfect, ooey gooey creamy homemade mac and cheese, there are a few very simple tips to ensure perfection!

  1. Cook the macaroni noodles to a perfect al dente to avoid mushy noodles.
  2. Make the cheese sauce by starting with a roux.
  3. Shred your own cheese (pre-shredded cheeses have additives that can keep them from clumping which also makes it so they don’t melt smoothly).
  4. Remove your sauce from the heat before adding cheese to keep it from separating or getting grainy.
  5. Bake uncovered until golden. Do not overbake (or your baked mac and cheese will be dry).

Toss everything together, top the baked mac and cheese with the crumb topping (that I could put on everything) then bake it until golden, bubbling, and heavenly.

More Creamy Pasta Dishes

Gooey baked mac and cheese on a white plate topped with fresh parsley.

How Long To Bake Mac and Cheese

This step is important. The key to a creamy mac and cheese is to make certain you do not overbake it!

I make this baked mac and cheese recipe in a 9×13 pan or a dutch oven and bake just until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes or so. Once the macaroni is bubbling and heated and the topping is browned, you know it is ready. Everything is cooked, the baking is to meld the flavors and brown the topping.

Do not overcook or your mac and cheese will be dry.

Baked Mac and Cheese

Macaroni noodles are tossed in a creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with a buttery crumb mixture, and baked until hot and bubbly.

  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 16 oz dry macaroni
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup gruyere cheese (or swiss cheese)
  • 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese (divided)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Combine Panko bread crumbs, melted butter and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

  3. Cook macaroni al dente according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.

  4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and onion powder and cook 2 minutes.
  5. Whisk in milk, heavy cream and seasonings over medium heat. Continue to stir until mixture thickens. Let boil 1 minute while stirring.
  6. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese and remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Whisk until melted.

  7. Stir in macaroni and pour into a 9×13 pan.
  8. Top with crumb mixture and bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and topping is browned. Do not overcook.

Do not over cook. Cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

This delicious baked mac and cheese is comfort food heaven! It is great as a side dish, but I love enjoying it for lunch as a complete meal! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #macaroniandcheese #cheese #macaroni #casserole
This delicious baked mac and cheese is comfort food heaven! It is great as a side dish, but I love enjoying it for lunch as a complete meal! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #macaroniandcheese #cheese #macaroni #casserole