Easy Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch!! This delicious side is easy to make.. and if you add chicken or ham it makes a great main dish!

This Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe is made from scratch with no condensed soup! Fresh broccoli cooked until tender crisp and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!

This cheesy broccoli rice casserole is great served alongside our Crispy Baked Chicken with a tossed salad for the perfect easy meal!

Broccoli Rice Casserole baked with cheese on top

If you’re looking for a side dish your whole family is going to love, this broccoli rice casserole is the answer!  I’ve combined my favorite velvety cheese sauce with a combination of broccoli & rice and baked it until bubbly.  The result is a side (or a quick meatless meal that my whole family loves)!

How Do You Make Broccoli Rice Casserole?

Don’t let the homemade sauce scare you away from giving this recipe a try, this from scratch cheese sauce tastes amazing (much better than just adding in a can of soup)!

Creamy cheese sauce ingredients in a sauce pan.

  1. The sauce for this recipe starts with a roux (which is just butter and flour cooked and milk added). Let the butter and flour cook for a few minutes before adding milk for the best flavor.
  2. Slowly stir in milk a bit at a time while whisking and cook until thick and bubbly. Add cheeses and stir until melted and creamy.
  3. Toss cheese sauce with broccoli and rice and bake in a casserole dish.

Broccoli Rice Casserole ingredients in a bowl.

Variations on Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Lighten it up: To lighten this up a little bit you can use light cheese and lowfat milk with great results. We’ve also subbed in brown rice or quinoa (or even Cauliflower Rice) with amazing results.
  • Add protein: We very often add in chicken to make a chicken and rice casserole (the perfect way to enjoy your leftover baked chicken breasts).  Turkey or ham work great too.
  • Swap the Cheeses: Out of cheddar?  Use swiss, monterey jack or whatever you have on hand.
  • Add veggies: Add in cauliflower or whatever other veggies you have on hand to turn it from a side into a whole meal!

Two images showing the broccoli rice casserole before and after being baked.

Serving Suggestions

Broccoli Rice Casserole is great as an entrée for vegetarians, but if you are a meat-eater, it goes perfectly with any kind of protein! It’s a perfect complement to roasted chicken, pork chops, or even a beef roast!

Add a crunchy, cold salad, some dinner rolls with butter!

Cheesy Dishes You’ll Love

Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch

This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup). Fresh crisp broccoli and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!

  • 6 cups fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

SAUCE

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup onion (diced (about 1 small))
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic & black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cook onion and butter on medium-low heat until softened and translucent. Stir in flour, garlic powder and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour in milk while whisking. Continue whisking over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add dry mustard, paprika, cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Place broccoli in boiling water for about 2 minutes. You still want it slightly crisp as it cooks more in the oven.
  5. Stir together rice, broccoli and cheese sauce. Place in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake 35 minutes or until bubbly and cheese lightly browned.

Top image - close up of broccoli rice casserole. Bottom image - broccoli rice casserole before being baked.>/div>

Close up of broccoli rice casserole.
Close up of broccoli rice casserole.

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Casserole (from scratch)

Looking for an easy, Cheesy Broccoli Casserole recipe from scratch? I’ve got you covered. Tender broccoli florets smothered in an easy homemade cheese sauce and topped with buttery crumbs. This broccoli casserole is baked until golden and bubbly for the perfect side dish!

Like chicken divan, this creamy, cheesy broccoli casserole is deliciously comforting. We love serving it next to some baked chicken breasts or pork tenderloin!

Broccoli casserole being served from a casserole dish

How to Make Broccoli Casserole

This casserole is as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Boil or steam broccoli until tender crisp.
  2. Make the homemade cheese sauce (per recipe below) and toss with broccoli.
  3. Top with buttery crumbs and bake until golden and bubbly.

Homemade cheese sauce for making broccoli casserole

Using Frozen Broccoli

I’d highly recommend using fresh broccoli (or even cauliflower) in this recipe. In a pinch, it can be made with frozen broccoli however it will change the texture as frozen broccoli is much softer.

Defrost broccoli and drain very well to keep the sauce from getting watery. You’ll need about 8 cups of frozen broccoli.

Add-Ins

You can swap out other veggies (cauliflower or asparagus) for some or all of the broccoli. Add in ham or leftover Chicken Breasts to make this a main dish.

Pasta or rice are great additions but do soak up some of the sauce so if you’re adding rice, I’d suggest using a Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe to get the best ratios.

Broccoli with cheese sauce in a casserole dish to make broccoli casserole

Making it in Advance

Don’t worry about sacrificing texture or flavor because this broccoli bake will still look and taste great even if it’s made the day before!

To bake from the fridge don’t put the crumb mixture on top and bake 15 minutes and stir. Add crumb mixture and bake an additional 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Leftover Broccoli Casserole

To reheat broccoli casserole, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 350 degrees. In the microwave reheat until heated through (the crumb may not stay as crisp this way).

As the cheese sauce is homemade, I would not recommend freezing this dish as dairy can change consistency when frozen.

More Amazing Uses For Broccoli

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

This creamy broccoli and cheese casserole is pure comfort food and a delicious side dish for any meal!

  • 2 pounds fresh broccoli* (cut into bite sized pieces (approx. 10 cups))
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Topping

  • 1 cup buttery crackers (coarsely crushed)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Boil broccoli in a large pot for 2-3 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain very well.
  3. In a saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Add in flour, salt & dry mustard, allow to cook 1 minute.
  4. Add milk a little bit at a time whisking after each addition until smooth. Continue whisking over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir cream cheese until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and add in cheddar and parmesan cheeses. Toss with broccoli and pour into a 3qt baking dish.

  6. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over broccoli cheese mixture. Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Fresh broccoli can be substituted with 2 pounds frozen broccoli, defrosted and well drained. Texture will be softer.

A serving of broccoli casserole being scooped with a wooden spoon.
A serving of broccoli casserole being scooped with a wooden spoon.
Top photot - A serving of broccoli casserole being scooped with a wooden spoon. Bottom photo - cheese sauce being poured over broccoli.

Chili Mac Skillet (One Pan Meal)

Supper never fails to satisfy when you serve this Chili Mac Skillet. This cheesy, meaty meal combines ground beef, macaroni, and cheddar cheese in a thick tomato sauce enriched with beef broth.

Make this your go-to recipe when you need to stretch your food budget and still put a smile on everyone’s face! Serve this hearty meal with a light tomato cucumber salad and a slice of garlic bread to soak up every last drop!

Chli Mac in a skillet topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese

What is Chili Mac?

Chili Mac is a fresh take on an American Goulash recipe, with a flavorful Tex-Mex flair, thanks to the addition of chili powder and herbs. Make it on the stovetop in a pot for an easy meal that’s a breeze to prep!

Ingredients for Chili Mac

Not only is the shopping, prepping and cooking for this homemade one pot meal super easy, but cleanup is a breeze too. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  •  Base: ground beef, beef broth, elbow macaroni
  • Toppings: cheddar cheese
  • Veggies: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic cloves
  • Sugar & Spice: parsley, basil, oregano, chili powder, beef bouillon cube, sugar

Substitutions

If you prefer, substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef and use chicken broth and bouillon. Penne pasta, rotini or shells will also serve in place of the macaroni. Add canned black beans, bell peppers or corn to stretch this recipe even more.

For maximum flavor and bite, use extra sharp cheddar. Pepper jack or Colby also work well in this recipe. Consider giving chili mac more of a Mexican vibe by getting creative with cumin powder, jalapenos, or chopped cilantro.

Ingredients to make Chili Mac in a large skillet

To Make this One Pan Skillet Meal

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash:

  1. Brown the ground beef with onion and garlic and drain off any fat.
  2. Add all the ingredients to the same pan (per recipe below) expect the cheese.
  3. Cover and cook until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

Once cooked, adjust seasoning, top with shredded cheddar, a sprinkle of green onion or cilantro and serve.

An overhead image of chili mac ready to serve

Don’t Forget the Sides!

The beauty of one pot meals like this is that you don’t have to fuss too much with sides. Serve chili mac with tortilla chips or tangy panzanella salad for a welcome crunch.

Baked corn on the cob or tomato avocado salad are also tasty and light sides that will complement the stick-to-your-ribs heartiness of chili mac.

How to Reheat It

This is a terrific meal to make in advance to allow the flavors to deepen and develop. Chili mac will keep in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months.

To reheat, thaw and then pop into the microwave until steaming hot. Or you can take it straight from the freezer to the oven and bake until bubbling hot throughout.

Macaroni Madness

Chili Mac Skillet

Creamy tex-mex infused pasta skillet!

  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 pound dry macaroni noodles
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried parsley, basil and oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  1. Finely dice the onion (or grate with a cheese grater). Add onion, beef and garlic to a pan over medium heat. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  2. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover.

  3. Stirring occasionally, let cook 13-17 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through (add a little bit of water if needed).

  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste and serve warm topped with cheese.

 

Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley.
Top photo - Chili Mac Skillet served in a white bowl and garnished with shredded cheddar and fresh parsley. Bottom photo - Chili Mac cooked and ready in the skillet.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato

 

Grilled Cheese with Tomato is the ultimate comfort food, it doesn’t matter if you are an oldster or a youngster. Soft sourdough bread grilled with gruyere, cheddar cheese, and tomato is always the perfect lunch or snack! 

It’s all about the cheese when it comes to the best grilled cheese sandwich!

2 grilled cheese sandwiches stacked on a plate.

How to Make a Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

A pan-fried grilled cheese with mayo and tomato looks just as good on a plate as it tastes! Why not try a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato for a heartier version?

  1. Sprinkle salt on sliced tomatoes and let drain. This helps it stay a little drier so the tomatoes don’t leak all over the bread.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of each slice of sourdough bread. Mayonnaise helps the bread get toasty, whereas butter will burn before the cheese is melted all the way.
  3. Place a slice of cheddar, tomato, basil on each slice of bread and sprinkle with gruyere.

Grilled cheese ingredients on a cutting board.

To Cook: Place, mayo side down, on a heated skillet and fry until golden brown. Turn sandwich over and fry on the other side. Both sides should be equally browned and the cheese melted just enough to squeeze out the sides of the sandwich.

Tip: To speed up the frying process, cover the pan for a few  minutes, this will help melt the cheese a bit faster.

Bread topped with cheese and tomatoes, open faced on a frying pan.

What to Serve with Grilled Cheese

Everyone knows it’s a tradition for a grilled cheese sandwich to be paired with creamy tomato soup, of course! It’s a perfect combination of crunchy and creamy, great for a busy weekday or rainy day!

Another great complement to a tomato grilled cheese sandwich is a crispy tossed salad topped with a bright and tangy vinaigrette and some croutons!

Grilled Cheese Heaven!

Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This grilled cheese sandwich is perfectly paired with sliced tomato for a crunchy and fresh sandwich!

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 large tomato (sliced)
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese (sliced)
  • 2 oz gruyere cheese (or mozzarella, grated)
  • pinch of dried basil
  1. Slice tomato 1/4″ thick and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on paper towels and let drain 10 minutes.

  2. Spread mayonnaise over the outside of each slice of bread.
  3. Place 1 slice of cheddar on each slice of bread. Add tomato slices and basil. Top with gruyere and remaining slice of bread.
  4. Preheat a small skillet over low heat. Place mayonnaise side down in the skillet.
  5. Grill until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and grill the other side until golden.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are great whether served for lunch, dinner or just a snack! This grilled cheese with tomato takes comfort food one step further. It's an easy recipe combining your favorite bread with 2 types of cheese and tomatoes and grilling until golden brown! #spendwithpennies #grilledcheesewithtomato #grilledcheese #sandwich #comfortfood #kidfriendly
Grilled cheese sandwiches are great whether served for lunch, dinner or just a snack! This grilled cheese with tomato takes comfort food one step further. It's an easy recipe combining your favorite bread with 2 types of cheese and tomatoes and grilling until golden brown! #spendwithpennies #grilledcheesewithtomato #grilledcheese #sandwich #comfortfood #kidfriendly
Grilled cheese sandwiches are great whether served for lunch, dinner or just a snack! This grilled cheese with tomato takes comfort food one step further. It's an easy recipe combining your favorite bread with 2 types of cheese and tomatoes and grilling until golden brown! #spendwithpennies #grilledcheesewithtomato #grilledcheese #sandwich #comfortfood #kidfriendly

Creamy Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This Bow Tie Pasta Salad is an easy, tasty side dish that is always a favorite at barbecues, potlucks, or even as a filling lunch! While I often make Italian Pasta Salad, this dish has a rich creamy dressing that’s hard to resist! Ham, cheddar and veggies are mixed in for the perfect potluck dish!

Serve alongside Hamburgers or grilled pork chops for a summer salad everyone loves!

A white serving bowl full of bow tie pasta salad with ham, cheddar and red peppers

Favorite Bowtie Pasta Salad Ingredients

While some of the basic ingredients may change, the star of this pasta salad is the bow tie shaped pasta!  Not only does it hold up well to the creamy mayo dressing but the shape complements round peas, diced pieces of ham and cheese. Like most pasta salad recipes,  you can add or remove ingredients based on what you have on hand; this recipe is very versatile.

  • Base: Bow Tie pasta (you can substitute any medium shaped pasta or even make Tortellini Salad).
  • Meat & Cheese: cheddar cheese & ham are my favorite choices. You can make bowtie pasta salad with feta and skip the ham and make it with chicken or pepperoni.
  • Veggies: I love pasta salad with peas! Add white onion (or swap for red or green), bell pepper (even chopped spinach works well).

These are just the basics! Get creative with what you have on hand and make your own custom summer bow tie pasta salad with items like sliced black olives, celery and even sun-dried tomatoes!

A bowl of bow tie pasta with salad ingredients in bowls around it.

How to Make Bowtie Pasta Salad

To make this pasta salad start by boiling the pasta according to package directions. Once cooked, run it under really cold water to cool, this stops the cooking process so the noodles don’t get overcooked (and mushy)! Once you have that complete, it’s easy ‘peas’-y!

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Toss everything together and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Before taking a big scoop of tasty pasta salad, season with salt and pepper.

A bowl of bowtie pasta salad ingredients and dressing ready to be mixed

To Make Ahead

The flavors blend as this recipe sits making it the perfect make ahead party dish. If making more than a few hours ahead of time, be generous with the dressing as the pasta will soak it up a bit.

Got Leftovers?

Fridge: A bowtie pasta salad with ham can last 3-5 days in the fridge if it is kept cold and in a tightly sealed container.

Freezer: Pasta Salad doesn’t freeze well so prep this shortly before serving.

Close up of a prepared bow tie pasta salad in a creamy dressing

More Delicious Pasta Salad Recipes

Creamy Bow Tie Pasta Salad

A creamy bowtie pasta salad recipe with ham, peas and cheddar cheese!

  • 1 lb bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (diced)
  • 1 cup ham (diced)
  • 3 tablespoons white onion (finely diced)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (finely diced)

Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Boil pasta al dente according to package directions.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

 

This easy bow tie pasta salad is a family favorite! Made with bow tie pasta, peas, ham and cheese, topped with a creamy homemade mayo dressing. It's the perfect potluck, or barbecue dish and a super tasty lunch! #spendwithpennies #bowtiepastasalad #pastasalad #barbecue #sidedish
This easy bow tie pasta salad is a family favorite! Made with bow tie pasta, peas, ham and cheese, topped with a creamy homemade mayo dressing. It's the perfect potluck, or barbecue dish and a super tasty lunch! #spendwithpennies #bowtiepastasalad #pastasalad #barbecue #sidedish

Taco Lasagna – a fun twist on a classic dish!

Taco Lasagna brings a south-of-the-border kinda’ twist to a classic lasagna recipe! All the best parts of a ground beef taco are layered with lasagna noodles to create one colorfully layered entrée!

Serve with your favorite toppings like sour cream, pico de gallo, or a dollop of the best guacamole.

A slice of taco lasagna on a plate, garnished with sliced jalapeños and tomatoes.

Surprise your friends and family with a Mexican twist on an Italian classic! Take this easy taco lasagna to a potluck or an office luncheon! Make it even easier by assembling and baking it earlier! Just reheat it when you reach your destination!

How to Layer Lasagna

For this taco lasagna (made with noodles), start with the tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish. This keeps the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pan and makes the portions come out easier!

The standard layering technique is sauce, noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, noodles, sauce. Just remember to put a layer of noodles between each cheese and sauce layer to keep everything in place!

A four square image of the steps to prepare a taco lasagna.

How to Make Taco Lasagna

Once you have all the mixtures prepped, layering this taco lasagna dish is a breeze!

  1. Beef Mixture: Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet.
    • Drain the fat and stir in the taco seasoning (or use homemade taco seasoning) and water. Cook until is evaporated and sauce is thickened.
    • Add the beans and veggies and cook the sauce mixture until heated thoroughly set it aside.
  2. Cheese Mixture: In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream and egg. Set aside.
  3. Layering: In a 9×13 inch pan, layer the ingredients ending with sauce!
  4. Bake: Cover the taco lasagna, bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Allow the casserole to rest about 10 to 15 minutes so it has a chance to set. Top with sour cream, tomatoes, sliced black olives, sliced green onions or jalapeños!

Taco Lasagna baked in a white casserole dish. Garnished with sliced jalapeños and tomatoes.

What to Serve with Lasagna

Just like a traditional Italian lasagna, this cheesy taco lasagna lends itself to simple sides like a crunchy tossed salad, a tray of fresh cut veggies with Buttermilk Ranch Dip, or even some tortilla chips for scooping!

More Mexican Inspired Dishes You’ll Love

Taco Lasagna

Seasoned beef, beans, and veggies layered between lasagna noodles and baked until bubbly.

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 9 lasagna noodles (cooked and cooled)

Sauce

  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 packages taco seasoning (low sodium or homemade)
  • 1 green bell pepper (finely diced)
  • 28 oz low sodium diced canned tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 15 oz black beans (drained and rinsed)

Cheese Layer

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In a large pan, brown ground beef, onion and garlic. Drain any fat. Stir in taco seasoning and 1 cup water. Cook until water is evaporated.

  3. Add green pepper, undrained tomatoes, corn, and black beans. Let simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

  4. In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, cumin and egg. Set aside.

  5. In a 9×13 pan, layer in the following order: 1 cup of sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of remaining sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup of each cheddar and mozzarella, 3 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce.

  6. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil, add remaining cheeses and bake an additional 15 minutes or until cheese browned and bubbly.

  7. Let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve with desired toppings such as sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onions and cilantro.

Nutrition information does not include optional toppings.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

A slice of taco inspired lasagna served on a white plate and garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes

Taco lasagna bake is a tasty oven-baked casserole dish. Using lasagna noodles, black beans, corn and taco seasoning you can prep and bake this dish ahead of time. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to take to a potluck! #spendwithpennies #tacolasagna #maindish #Mexican #casserole
Taco lasagna bake is a tasty oven-baked casserole dish. Using lasagna noodles, black beans, corn and taco seasoning you can prep and bake this dish ahead of time. Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or to take to a potluck! #spendwithpennies #tacolasagna #maindish #Mexican #casserole

Bacon Grilled Cheese

Bacon Grilled Cheese! What kind of magic is this?! Combining bacon with cheddar and pepper jack cheeses takes a classic grilled cheese sandwich to the next level!

Perfect for lunch served alongside tomato soup or great for game day or movie night. Grilled cheese with bacon is a fancy, filling and flavorful take on a family favorite!

Two bacon grilled cheese sandwiches stacked and topped with extra bacon slices.

How to Make Bacon Grilled Cheese

Start with a bread thick enough to hold the melted cheese and heavy enough so it won’t fall apart. Grilled cheese with bacon (and tomato should you choose) needs a hearty bread. Sourdough is a great choice!

  1. Cook bacon slices until they are crisp. Remove the bacon and drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of two slices of sourdough bread (or bread of your choice).
  3. Layer the cheese and bacon (and optional tomato) over two slices of bread and top with remaining bread.
  4. Grill those slices of heaven up!

Overview of bacon grilled cheese sandwich ingredients on a cutting board.

To Make Bacon Grilled Cheese: Reheat the pan you cooked the bacon in on low heat and let the bacon grease become fully melted.

Gently place the bacon grilled cheese sandwich mayonnaise side out in the center of the pan and cook until golden. Flip and continue cooking until you see the cheese oozing from the sides.

a cross section of a bacon grilled cheese with melted cheese oozing out.

What to Serve with Grilled Cheese

Everything goes with a bacon grilled cheese sandwich!

Traditionally, it’s great with tomato soup (or any soup recipe you love)! On a warm day, we love to add in a tossed salad with a tangy vinaigrette. And nothing tastes better than washing it all down with an icy glass of Watermelon Lemonade!

More Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Bacon Grilled Cheese

A classic grilled cheese is taken to the next level by adding in our favorite, bacon!

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 oz cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz pepper jack cheese
  1. Cook bacon in a pan until crisp. Remove from pan and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan.

  2. Spread mayonnaise over the outside of each slice of bread.
  3. Divide the cheese and bacon over 2 slices of bread and top with remaining bread.
  4. Preheat a small skillet over low heat.
  5. Grill sandwich until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and grill the other side until golden.

REPIN this Delicious Recipe

You can see the bacon and cheese oozing out from the middle of this grilled cheese sandwich

A bacon grilled cheese sandwich! This sandwich combines all my favorites! Cheese and bacon are melted between two pieces of sourdough bread to create this tasty treat! #spendwithpennies #bacongrilledcheese #cheesegrilledsandwich #lunch #kidfriendly
A bacon grilled cheese sandwich! This sandwich combines all my favorites! Cheese and bacon are melted between two pieces of sourdough bread to create this tasty treat! #spendwithpennies #bacongrilledcheese #cheesegrilledsandwich #lunch #kidfriendly

Tasty Frito Taco Salad

Frito Taco Salad is quickly making a name for itself as a hearty, tasty, crunchy meal that’s easy to make and super fun to eat! Our go-to taco salad is paired with our fave corn chips for a delicious crunch!

Top with fresh veggies, sour cream and your choice of toppings like homemade salsa or the best guacamole

A fully prepared Frito taco salad topped with extra corn chips and shredded cheese.

Instead of making a batch of loaded nachos, load up on fresh veggies with this super easy salad recipe and get all the ooh’s and aah’s from family and friends!

Building a Frito Salad

Taco salad ingredients are the same as what you’d put in a regular ground beef taco, but served over a bed of lettuce instead of in a taco shell. Make individual salads or assemble and serve a Frito taco salad bar and let everyone build their own! Assemble the base and let people choose their favorite dressing and add-ins!

A prepared Frito Taco Salad with catalina dressing being poured on top.

How to Make Frito Taco Salad

You can make individual servings or like a Dorito Taco Salad, this is also a great dish to serve at a potluck or party! Just cook the meat mixture, assemble and serve!

  1. Brown beef until fully cooked and drain fat.
  2. Add taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning) and water and simmer until thickened.
  3. Top shredded lettuce with meat mixture and remaining ingredients.

You can toss with your desired dressing or serve dry and let guests choose their own dressing! Once dressed, add extra corn chips and dive in!

What Goes with Frito Taco Salad

This salad definitely stands on its own, but a citrusy side like orange wedges or a bright, flavorful lemonade drink are crowd-pleasers for sure!

Frito Taco Salad prepared in a white bowl before dressing is added. Garnished with slices jalapeños and sour cream.

More Yummy Taco Inspired Recipes

Frito Taco Salad

Impress your family with this hearty, tasty, crunchy Frito Taco Salad that’s easy to make and super fun to eat!

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning (or homemade)
  • 6 cups iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 cups Frito corn chips
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup Catalina dressing (or to taste)
  • toppings as desired (peppers, onions, jalapenos, sour cream)
  1. Brown beef over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
  2. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Top with meat, tomatoes, cheese, 1 cup of Frito corn chips, salsa and desired toppings.
  4. Add dressing and toss well. Top with remaining corn chips. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information does not include desired toppings. 

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Taco Salad with Fritos served in a white bowl and garnished with sour cream, shredded cheddar and Fritos

This Frito taco salad is a fun twist on a classic taco salad. Just brown your meat mixture, top your lettuce with you favorite toppings, like salsa or guacamole, and dive in!  #spendwithpennies #fritotacosalad #tacotuesday #maindish #salad
This Frito taco salad is a fun twist on a classic taco salad. Just brown your meat mixture, top your lettuce with you favorite toppings, like salsa or guacamole, and dive in!  #spendwithpennies #fritotacosalad #tacotuesday #maindish #salad

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes (in half the time)

Cheesy Scalloped potatoes are the perfect comfort food…  creamy, rich and cheesy; but they always take so long to cook! Not anymore! This recipe uses a method that will show you how to make this cheesy goodness in about half of the time of traditional scalloped potatoes recipe

My mom taught me an easy little trick that speeds up the cooking of the potatoes and has them ready on time every time!  If you just pop them in boiling water for just a few  minutes before you put this together, you will cut down your cooking time by as much as an hour, saving time for delicious main dishes like meatloaf or pork chops!

A close up of a spoon serving cheesy scalloped potatoes.

What Are Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are a classic side dish made with thinly sliced potatoes layered and baked until hot and bubbly. A classic scalloped potato recipe doesn’t include cheese and is made with a roux (white sauce).

While similar to au gratin potatoes, there are some key differences:

  • Potatoes au gratin have a cheese sauce (instead of a white sauce), and are most often made with layers of onions and potatoes.
  • Classic scalloped potatoes don’t contain cheese sauce or cheese
  • Cheesy scalloped potatoes use a white sauce and are layered with cheese

A pot full of potato medallions surrounded by cheese and other cheesy scalloped potato ingredients.

How Do You Make Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are easy to make and delicious but they can take a very long time to cook, not anymore!! In this quick recipe, I have a couple of tips to reduce the baking time from about 90 minutes to 45 minutes! 

Tips to reduce cooking time:

  • Potatoes: Boiling the sliced potatoes for a couple of minutes makes this recipe quick as the potatoes don’t have to cook as long and they’re already warm going into the oven.
  • Sauce: These cheesy scalloped have a quick and easy shortcut white sauce to save time (and effort). I use condensed cream of mushroom soup and layer with cheese and onions! If you’d prefer you can make your own Homemade Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup or use cream of chicken or cream of celery!

A collage of process shots of cheesy scalloped potatoes being layered and assembled.

To Make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:

  1. PREP:
    • Slice the potatoes (I use a mandoline slicer to make it quick) and drop the potatoes into boiling water for 5 minutes (this is a huge time saver).
    • Mix the white sauce ingredients together.
  2. LAYER:
    • Layer the sauce, potatoes and cheese in a 9×9 baking dish
    • Top with more cheese
  3. BAKE:
    • Bake the cheesy scalloped potatoes until golden and bubbly.

A serving dish full of cheesy scalloped potatoes fresh from the oven topped with pepper and parsley.

Can You Freeze Scalloped Potatoes

Potatoes can sometimes change texture when frozen, so scalloped potatoes taste best when made fresh. If you plan to freeze them, make sure you have already baked them first. Raw potatoes can still oxidize in the freezer, causing them to turn grey.

Cheesy scalloped potatoes should last up to a month in the freezer. The trick to ensuring they taste great is in the reheating, like most potato side dishes, we prefer to reheat in the oven with a little bit of fresh cheese added on top!

More Perfect Potato Sides

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

This scalloped potatoes recipe is quick and easy to put together yet tastes incredibly delicious!

  • 2 lbs yellow potatoes
  • 1 can cream of mushroom (chicken or celery soup)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash potatoes and slice 1/4″ thick (no need to peel). Drop into boiling water for 5 minutes. During the last minute, add sliced onions to the water. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, combine soup, milk, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl. Microwave until hot.
  4. Put a little bit of the soup mixture in the bottom of a greased 2qt casserole dish, a 9×9 pan or an oven safe pan. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes, 1/2 of the soup mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
  5. Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Scalloped Potato Casserole in a square white baking dish

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These easy cheesy scalloped potatoes are a delicious and easy potato side dish that makes classic scalloped potatoes even simpler! #spendwithpennies #scallopedpotatoes #potatoes #cheesyscallopedpotatoes #scalloped #cheesypotatoes #sidedish #easysidedish
These easy cheesy scalloped potatoes are a delicious and easy potato side dish that makes classic scalloped potatoes even simpler! #spendwithpennies #scallopedpotatoes #potatoes #cheesyscallopedpotatoes #scalloped #cheesypotatoes #sidedish #easysidedish

Pea Salad

The Best Bacon Pea salad is a simple summer side that everyone loves. Tender sweet peas are mixed with bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a bit of red onion for some zest. A simple mayonnaise based dressing is seasoned with a little vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Simple yet perfect.

Already sounds tasty, doesn’t it? This easy side is a welcome salad at any potluck and perfect served next to grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, and other delicious mains!

Pea salad in a wooden serving bowl topped with cheese and bacon.

Classic Pea Salad

The list of ingredients alone will be enough to show how you can take sweet peas and turn them into the perfect side dish for potlucks and barbecues!  Green pea salad is versatile, add in bell peppers or other favorite veggies, substitute leftover ham for the bacon, your favorite cheeses instead of cheddar, and ranch dressing if you don’t have sour cream and mayonnaise.

English pea salad is another favorite variation, add in diced hard boiled eggs. Now that’s one hearty side dish, more like a main course!

A process shot of pea salad ingredients in a clear mixing bowl.

Do You Have to Cook Frozen Peas for Salad?

You really don’t have to cook frozen peas before making green pea salad. That’s because anytime you buy frozen vegetables, they’ve already been blanched. (In other words, partially cooked and quickly chilled.) This prevents the cell walls from bursting and turning vegetables into mush.

To make a sweet pea salad, buy frozen tiny peas, sometimes called baby peas or baby sweet peas. They contain more sugar, and make a nice complement to the saltiness of the bacon.

Simply run the peas under cold water to allow them to defrost.

Pea salad in a wooden serving bowl with bacon and cheese on top.

How to Make Bacon Pea Salad

Here are the steps to making a delicious pea salad with bacon:

  1. Defrost the peas under cold water and cook the bacon until crispy and then crumble.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the peas, bacon, and onion, and stir to coat with the dressing.

Voila. It’s so easy! To make creamy pea salad with fresh peas from the garden, shell the peas and place them in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool completely. If you’d prefer, bacon bits can be substituted for bacon.

Can You Freeze Pea Salad?

In a word, no. Freezing pea salad is not recommended. The mayonnaise will separate, the sour cream will get grainy, and you’ll probably wind up with a yucky mush. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days however, so make it ahead if you need to.

More Easy Sides

The Best Pea Salad

Pea salad is a delicious crowd pleasing summer side dish with tender peas, cheddar cheese and bacon.

  • 8 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • 4 cups frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Add peas, bacon, onion and cheese to the bowl and gently stir.

  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

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Pea Salad in a wooden bowl and garnished with crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and red onion.

This green pea salad recipe is an easy and delicious bacon filled salad recipe that the whole family loves! #spendwithpennies #peasalad #salad #peas #sweetpeasalad #greenpeasalad #easypeasalad #peasaladrecipe
This green pea salad recipe is an easy and delicious bacon filled salad recipe that the whole family loves! #spendwithpennies #peasalad #salad #peas #sweetpeasalad #greenpeasalad #easypeasalad #peasaladrecipe