Oven Baked Califlower

Easy Baked Cauliflower is the perfect side dish for any meal! This is one of those sides that everyone needs in their recipe book, nothing fancy, no crazy ingredients but lots of flavor and simple to prep.

Serve it alongside a juicy Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin or perfectly tender Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or thighs.

Baked cauliflower garnished with parsley on a baking sheet

A Simple Side Dish

Want to take your veggie game to the next level? There are so many new and tasty ways to enjoy the vegetables we grew up with (zoodles anyone?). This easy baked cauliflower recipe will please vegetarians and carnivores alike!

Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse with just 50 calories per 2 cups and packed with fiber. This baked cauliflower recipe is a simple fix on a busy night and can easily be placed in the oven along with your favorite meatloaf recipe or even placed in the pan with a roasted chicken!

How to Prepare Cauliflower Florets

Cauliflower is a compact and heavy vegetable, so it is easy to work with.  For this baked cauliflower recipe:

  • Remove any green leaves at the bottom and cut off the stem.
  • Cut the entire head in half vertically from the stem up.
  • Then, with your fingers, break apart each half into smaller pieces. These are the florets. Break them up as big or small as you like. Think about if you will be using a fork or your fingers to eat them with!

A photograph of cauliflower florets on a baking pan

How to Make Baked Cauliflower

I keep it very simple but if i have fresh herbs on hand, I add those in too! Feel free to season with anything you like even toss with dressing after it comes out of the oven!  After rinsing, drain them extra well. Any leftover water will cause them to steam and they won’t brown as nicely.

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and your fave seasonings.
  3. Spread on a greased sheet pan and bake:
    • Bake at 350°F about 30-35 minutes
    • Bake at 375°F about 25-30 minutes
    • Bake at 400°F about 20-25 minutes

These times are a guide if you like your cauliflower softer, cook it longer if you prefer more tender crisp, cook it less. A higher temperature will give more browning (and flavor). I personally don’t stir them, I like one side to get nice and browned. Don’t overcook them, you still want them to be a little crunchy!

More Cauliflower Yum

Baked Cauliflower

Tender baked cauliflower is an easy and effortless side dish!

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Wash and prepare 1 head of cauliflower. Slice so it has one flat side,

  3. Mix together olive oil and remaining ingredients.

  4. Toss dried cauliflower with olive oil mixture.

  5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Garnish with parsley and/or parmesan cheese if desired.

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (Boiled in Milk)

homemade macaroni and cheese in bowl

Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the creamiest, dreamiest version of an all-American favorite! No one can resist a savory combination of a creamy cheddar cheese base blended with macaroni noodles, and it couldn’t be easier made on the stovetop.

Serve this creamy homemade mac and cheese with a fresh tossed salad, some garlic bread, and roasted broccoli for the perfect rounded meal!

Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese in a cooking dish with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Stove Top Mac and Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese is the creamiest version! The secret to this recipe is that the pasta is boiled in milk (which means only one pot for easy clean up). It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Combine milk, garlic powder, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in the macaroni noodles and reduce the heat to low (adding liquid as needed). Cook until the noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once the pasta is fully cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until melted.

The final result is a smooth and hearty easy family entrée that everyone will love and want seconds of!

Troubleshooting

This recipe is really easy to make but here are a few to tips to make sure it comes out creamy.

When the macaroni is done cooking in the milk, you do not want it dry.  You may need to add more milk/water to the pot while it is cooking. The macaroni noodles should be as moist as the photo on the top right below BEFORE you add in the cheese.  Once you add the cheese, remove it from the stove and stir until the cheese has melted.

Keep in mind, pre-shredded cheese often has additives to keep it from clumping. These additives can cause it to be grainy instead of creamy.

Process shots of stovetop macaroni and cheese being made from the pasta being cooked to the cheese being added.

What Goes with Mac and Cheese?

Everything goes with stovetop mac and cheese! A salad with a bright balsamic vinaigrette, or a crusty loaf with Homemade Garlic Butter can round out this meal.

Fresh fruit salad or a tangy gelatin dessert go well for with this rich macaroni. When you serve this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, almost anything goes.

Add ins: You can get creative with this recipe. Add in bacon, jalapenos, canned tuna, peas, even topping mac and cheese with fresh pico de gallo!

Cheese being stirred into stovetop macaroni and cheese with a wooden spoon.

Got Leftovers?

Mac and Cheese leftovers can last 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat on low on the stove top (or in them microwave) and add a splash of milk to keep it creamy.

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese? The best creamy mac and cheese recipes are served just as they’re made, including this one. This recipe doesn’t freeze well.

More Mac and Cheese Love

Extra Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

If you love rich and creamy Macaroni and Cheese then this homemade stovetop recipe is for you!!

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a saucepan combine a pinch of salt, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, butter and water. Bring to a boil.

  2. Add in macaroni noodles, reduce heat to low.
  3. Continue to simmer stirring frequently until noodles are cooked (about 20 minutes).

  4. Watch to make sure the liquid doesn’t completely evaporate. You can add extra milk 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid is low.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, ensure the noodles are not dry. They should be as moist as the photo above before adding cheese. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Cover for 3 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Plain Chicken.

REPIN this Easy Stovetop Recipe

This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop
This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the creamiest, dreamiest version of an all-American favorite! No one can resist a savory combination of a creamy cheddar cheese base blended with macaroni noodles, and it couldn’t be easier made on the stovetop.

Serve this creamy homemade mac and cheese with a fresh tossed salad, some garlic bread, and roasted broccoli for the perfect rounded meal!

Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese in a cooking dish with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Stove Top Mac and Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese is the creamiest version! The secret to this recipe is that the pasta is boiled in milk (which means only one pot for easy clean up). It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Combine milk, garlic powder, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in the macaroni noodles and reduce the heat to low (adding liquid as needed). Cook until the noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once the pasta is fully cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until melted.

The final result is a smooth and hearty easy family entrée that everyone will love and want seconds of!

Troubleshooting

This recipe is really easy to make but here are a few to tips to make sure it comes out creamy.

When the macaroni is done cooking in the milk, you do not want it dry.  You may need to add more milk/water to the pot while it is cooking. The macaroni noodles should be as moist as the photo on the top right below BEFORE you add in the cheese.  Once you add the cheese, remove it from the stove and stir until the cheese has melted.

Keep in mind, pre-shredded cheese often has additives to keep it from clumping. These additives can cause it to be grainy instead of creamy.

Process shots of stovetop macaroni and cheese being made from the pasta being cooked to the cheese being added.

What Goes with Mac and Cheese?

Everything goes with stovetop mac and cheese! A salad with a bright balsamic vinaigrette, or a crusty loaf with Homemade Garlic Butter can round out this meal.

Fresh fruit salad or a tangy gelatin dessert go well for with this rich macaroni. When you serve this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, almost anything goes.

Add ins: You can get creative with this recipe. Add in bacon, jalapenos, canned tuna, peas, even topping mac and cheese with fresh pico de gallo!

Cheese being stirred into stovetop macaroni and cheese with a wooden spoon.

Got Leftovers?

Mac and Cheese leftovers can last 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat on low on the stove top (or in them microwave) and add a splash of milk to keep it creamy.

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese? The best creamy mac and cheese recipes are served just as they’re made, including this one. This recipe doesn’t freeze well.

More Mac and Cheese Love

Extra Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

If you love rich and creamy Macaroni and Cheese then this homemade stovetop recipe is for you!!

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a saucepan combine a pinch of salt, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, butter and water. Bring to a boil.

  2. Add in macaroni noodles, reduce heat to low.
  3. Continue to simmer stirring frequently until noodles are cooked (about 20 minutes).

  4. Watch to make sure the liquid doesn’t completely evaporate. You can add extra milk 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid is low.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, ensure the noodles are not dry. They should be as moist as the photo above before adding cheese. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Cover for 3 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Plain Chicken.

REPIN this Easy Stovetop Recipe

This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop
This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop

Zucchini Pancakes – Deliciously Different!

Zucchini Pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy the perfect vegetable, zucchini! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfectly delicious bites.

Serve the these veggie pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or marinara sauce for the perfect healthy appetizer or side dish!

Moist zucchini pancakes topped with salsa and fresh parsley.

Zucchini Pancakes or Fritters

I love making all types of fritters and pancakes  from Salmon cakes to mashed potato cakes. These zucchini fritters have officially joined the team.

I usually think of fritters as a crisp deep fried item, almost like hush puppies. Zucchini has a lot of moisture giving these zucchini pancakes are a texture that is a cross between a pancake and a fritter; golden and crisp on the outside and soft and tender in the middle.

Zucchini is over 90% water so in these pancakes, I pre-cook the zucchini to remove the moisture and squeeze out any remaining moisture.  Many people salt the zucchini but I prefer the method of cooking the zucchini first (along with the white onion).

Delicious zucchini fritters covered in parsley.

How To Shred Zucchini

When you make zucchini pancakes, shredding the zucchini helps to keep it thin enough to shape them. I use the large side of a standard box cheese grater to shred zucchini.

You don’t need to worry about peeling zucchini before you shred it as the peel softens a ton when it is cooked. You will hardly notice it in your dish.

A stack of delicious zucchini pancakes topped with parsley.

How To Make Zucchini Pancakes

When we make zucchini pancakes, cook the shredded zucchini first to eliminate some of the water. This keeps the pancakes from becoming soggy and helps to hold them together while they cook.

Mix your ingredients and drop about 1 ½ tablespoons into the hot pan. Cook ‘em for about 5 minutes on each side or until you see a beautiful crispy and caramelized exterior!

Serve zucchini pancakes with an array of dipping sauces like pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauce… there’s no wrong answer here!

More Zucchini Faves

Zucchini Pancakes

These zucchini pancakes are the perfect way to enjoy this colorful vegetable! Shredded zucchini is tossed with parmesan cheese, flour, and spices then fried into perfect zucchini pancakes. 

  • 2 large zucchini (or 3 small)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
  1. Cook shredded zucchini in a non-stick pan until tender, about 5 minutes.  Cool and using cheesecloth or a tea towel, squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, seasonings, cheeses and bread crumbs. Add zucchini and egg.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Drop zucchini mixture by large tablespoons into hot oil. Spread to 3″ circles.

  4. Fry about 3-4 minutes on each side flipping as needed.

  5. Serve warm with sour cream or tomato sauce.

REPIN this Delicious Recipe

Zucchini pancakes piled up on each other and topped with tomato sauce

 

These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack
These zucchini pancakes are one of my favorite snacks without all of the guilt! #spendwithpennies #zucchini #keto #snacks #zucchinipancakes #appetizer #easyappetizer #easyrecipe #easysnack

Best Ever Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon

Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon is a popular southern dish that is filled with crunchy peas, crispy bacon, chopped red onions, and cheddar cheese.  This is an easy to make side dish that is perfect for your next potluck! 

For more delicious potluck side dish ideas be sure to try California Spaghetti Salad, Ambrosia Salad, or Pistachio Salad.

Creamy Pea Salad

Peas.  You either love them or hate them right?  I love peas.  One of the only veggies I actually like to eat.  Even if you don’t like peas, this creamy pea salad is a potluck staple.  I have been making some classics here on the blog lately.  Ones that I have grown up with and are always at a potluck or family gathering.  This creamy pea salad is one of them.  It is a southern favorite and really popular.  And filled with bacon, it makes it even better!

I love this pea salad because it is so simple to make.  I am usually in a hurry to make something quick for a BBQ and that is why I love to make this dish.  You just have to add in some thawed peas, bacon, cubed cheese, and red onion and toss it in a creamy mixture.  It is ready to go out the door in no time at all.

How do you make pea salad?

  • To start, add the peas, cooked bacon, red onion, cubed cheese and chopped parsley to a large bowl.
  • Make your creamy dressing by adding sour cream, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar.  Pour on top of the pea mixture and toss until it is coated.
  • Let chill in the fridge for about 3o minutes before serving.

Is it safe to eat frozen peas?

A commonly asked question and yes.  When you cook frozen peas, you really are just warming them up.  No vegetables or fruit are bad for you when eating them raw.

Why is this pea salad the best?

This pea salad is perfected in the creamy mixture.  I have had many pea salads in my day, and come to perfect the creaminess in this pea salad.  With added sour cream, a little bit of cider vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar, you will quickly agree this one is the best!

Can I substitute shredded cheese for cubed?

Absolutely!  You can substitute shredded cheese or cubed.  I just prefer to cube my cheese in my pea salad.

This dish is perfect for featuring a veggie at your next gathering.  Tossed with bacon and cheese in a creamy mixture, this is sure to be a huge hit!  I know your family is going to love this recipe just as much as we do!

Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon

Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon is a popular southern dish that is filled with crunchy peas, crispy bacon, chopped red onions, and cheddar cheese. This is an easy to make side dish that is perfect for your next potluck!

  • 2 pounds peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (cubed)
  • 8 slices bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl add the peas, red onion, cheddar cheese, bacon and parsley. 

  2. In a small bowl whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar.

  3. Pour the creamy mixture in the large bowl over the peas. Toss until the peas are fully coated. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

 

Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan

These Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan are SO easy to make and go with everything! Store-bought pesto is tossed with easy oven-roasted potatoes, and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese. A crowd favorite!

Never run out of easy side dish ideas! Be sure to check out these Garlic Balsamic Mushrooms, These Roasted Brown Butter Honey Garlic Carrots, and this Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.

Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan

It’s easy to get into a rut when it comes to side dishes. I know in our house, we rotate through the same roasted asparagus, baked sweet potatoes, and creamy orzo time and time again, and honestly, it gets super old. We also happen to LOVE roasted potatoes, but even they can get kind of boring. When we’re feeling like we need a little pizzaz in our side dish game, I I look to these Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan.

They’re essentially the same old roasted potatoes, but disguised in a whole new (easy) way. Instead of just serving them as is, once they get out of the oven, I toss them in a little bit of store-bought pesto and then dust them with plenty of parmsan cheese just before serving.

Not only are the GORGEOUS, but they’re SO delicious, and I love that they go with pretty much any main dish.

How to make Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan

  • Toss quartered Yukon gold potatoes with olive oil and salt.
  • Spread on a baking sheet and pop into a 425 degree oven. Cook until brown, then turn over and cook another 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and while still hot, toss with pesto.
  • Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Do you have to use Yukon gold potatoes?

You don’t! This method will work with any potatoes, I just prefer the creamy texture of the Yukon golds. Plus, I love how crispy the skin gets!

Why do you need the oven so hot?

So the key to crispy potatoes is a HOT oven. If you roast them at a low temperature, it will take too long for the exterior to brown, and the inside will get mushy. Also, it’s important that you use a large sheet pan. You really don’t want any of the potatoes touching during the cooking process. If they do, you risk steaming the potatoes, instead of roasting them, and you won’t get the super crispy exterior we all love!

Do I need a specific type of pesto?

Absolutely not. Anything will work, and if you’ve got a little bit of homemade pesto in your fridge, use that!

Substitutions?

  • Swap our parmesan for asiago, pecorino, or Romano
  • Swap out Yukon gold potatoes for russet, red or even fingerling
  • If you don’t have olive oil, canola or peanut oil will work well.

What to serve with Crispy Roasted Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan

Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan

These Crispy Potatoes with Pesto and Parmesan are SO easy to make and go with everything! Store-bought pesto is tossed with easy oven-roasted potatoes, and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese. A crowd favorite! 

  • 1 1/2 lbs baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

  2. Add potatoes to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss again. Spread on to a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the potatoes over, and roast another 8-10 minutes until crispy and golden brown. 

  3. Once the potatoes come out of the oven. Add back to the same bowl you used earlier. Spoon in pesto, and toss to coat. Pour into desired serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

Homemade Cornbread

The BEST homemade cornbread from scratch that is moist and comes out perfect every single time! Sweet and filling cornbread that doesn’t last long at the table.

Butter just melts right in to the cornbread making it rich and flavorful with every bite. This is a great side dish for Creamy White Chicken Chili, White Chicken Chili or Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder.

Homemade Cornbread

I usually make this as a side to a chili or a mexican dish.  They are easy and so delicious.   My boys would prefer to have them for every meal.  They are always gone in about 2 seconds.  I used to always make them in a 9×9, But now I make them individually in a muffin pan. They are easy to grab at the dinner table and everyone loves the individuality of the cornbread muffins. These are great to serve at a potluck or BBQ. I have notice they don’t last long when

How Do You Make Homemade Cornbread?

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 inch pan and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and butter milk and stir until combined.
  • In another large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, powder, and sat. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and stir until combined. Batter will be lumpy.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared 8×8 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

What is Cornmeal?

Cornmeal is a meal ground from dried maize. It is a common staple food, and is ground to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, but not as fine as wheat flour. In the United States, very finely ground cornmeal is referred to as corn flour.

What Can I Substitute with Cornmeal?

If cornmeal is used in a recipe for its texture, you may use substitutes, like semolina, breadcrumbs, ground oats. If you are not particular about the flavor, you may try rice flour, wheat flour, tapioca. Any of them can be used as a cornmeal substitute for baking purposes.

How Long Does Cornbread Last?

Properly stored, freshly baked corn bread will last for about 1 to 2 days at normal room temperature. Freshly baked corn bread will keep well for about 1 week in the fridge when properly stored.

Can You Freeze Cornbread?

Yes, you can definitely freeze cornbread. We simply cut it into squares and place in a well sealed container. If you are layering the cornbread, place parchment paper between the layers to avoid it sticking. Defrost cornbread by letting it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes or so.

Looking For More

Homemade Cornbread

The BEST homemade cornbread from scratch that is moist and comes out perfect every single time! 

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 inch pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the melted butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and butter milk and stir until combined.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking soda, powder, and sat. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and stir until combined. Batter will be lumpy.
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared 8×8 inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Can also bake them in a muffin tin.  Reduce time by about 5 minutes.

Recipe originally published 2012.

Rating: 5 stars  Difficulty of Recipe: 2 stars

How I changed it: I didn’t

Things I may do differently next time: Nothing

Will I make it again? Yes!

Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is a wonderful dish to have in your cooking repertoire. It is a tasty one-pot side dish recipe consisting of rice and a sprinkle of veggies cooked in broth. The perfect side dish to Pork Tenderloin!

There are probably hundreds of ways to make rice pilaf, as this is a dish favored all over the world, and has many ethnic variations. It’s definitely a step up from white rice!

A black serving bowl full of rice pilaf with a silver serving spoon.

What is Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is composed of rice cooked in chicken broth, wine or some other liquid other than just water. Herbs, vegetables, and often meat are also placed in the pot with the rice as it cooks. Usually, it is prepared in a saucepan on the stove top, but you can also make baked rice pilaf by placing it in a covered casserole dish and baking in the oven.

Rice for Making Pilaf

This recipe calls for basmati rice, which is practically a fool-proof, fragrant and flavorful rice, a perfect choice for rice pilaf. You can use any long grain white rice in this recipe (you may need to change the amount of liquid).

RINSE the rice: If using long grain white rice, be aware that it has a starchy outer layer that should be washed away. Rinse it repeatedly in cold water until the water runs almost clear and drain well. Basmati should be rinsed and well drained too, but does not need to be washed as thoroughly as standard white rice.

BROWN the rice: For rice pilaf, you want fluffy rice grains that don’t stick together. Sauteeing the rice in oil keeps it from sticking and of course adds great flavor.

Ingredients for rice pilaf in a cooking pot like browned rice, carrots, and peppers.

How to Make Rice Pilaf

You will also use a bit less water than most rice recipe call for. Usually, recipes on the back of the bag recommend two parts water to one part rice. For pilaf, you should use about ¾ cup liquid for every cup of rice. This can vary a bit based on your cooking conditions. Give the rice only one quick stir after you bring it to a simmer. Cook it covered, on low heat.

Here’s how to make easy rice pilaf:

  1. Combine onion, garlic and butter in a pot and sauté until softened.
  2. Add the washed and drained rice and stir until it starts to turn golden (image above), or turns translucent.
  3. Add the liquid and veggies, give the rice one quick stir, then cover and simmer, until all the liquid is absorbed

Top with almonds and parsley if using and fluff with a fork.

A pot full of rice pilaf being stirred with a wooden spoon.

Leftover Rice Pilaf

Refrigerate: Rice pilaf is best eaten hot and fresh from the stove but it keeps in the refrigerator 2-3 days.

Freeze: Be sure it is completely cool before freezing. It should keep 2-3 months in the freezer, and is best reheated in the microwave (I add a couple of teaspoons water when reheating).

Once you know how to make the basic rice pilaf recipe here, go ahead and create your own versions! Add peas, raisins, spices and seasonings. Play with varieties of rice or veggies. Rice pilaf is a versatile dish that can be tailored to suit your family’s taste!

More Recipes You’ll Love

Rice Pilaf

Rice Pilaf is a wonderful dish to have in your cooking repertoire. It makes a tasty one-pot meal, or you can keep it simple and serve it as a side dish!

  • 1/3 cup onion (finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced red pepper
  • 14.5 oz chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds (toasted)
  • 1 tablespoon green onion (or parsley)
  1. Rinse rice under cold water and drain well.

  2. Combine onion, butter, and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat to soften, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add rice and cook until it begins to smell toasted and turn slightly golden, about 7-10 minutes.

  4. Add remaining ingredients except green onions and almonds. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.

  6. Fluff with a fork and garnish with almonds and parsley.

 

REPIN this Easy Side Dish

A serving bowl filled with rice pilaf topped with fresh parsley.

This easy rice pilaf recipe makes a delicious rice side dish that everyone loves. It's so much better than regular steamed rice! #spendwithpennies #rice #ricerecipe #ricepilaf #pilaf #ricesidedish #sidedish #ricepilafrecipe

Parmesan Roasted Leeks

Roasted Leeks are a tasty side dish that will elevate and enhance any savory meal from meatloaf to chicken piccata. Prep time is quick and ingredients are simple — shredded parmesan, butter, herbs and seasoning.

Roasted leeks soften and caramelize as they cook and have delicious flavor perfect served alongside Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or Salisbury steak.

What are Leeks?

Leeks are a mild-tasting member of the onion family. They grow upright in stalks instead of bulbs, and are white and light green at the bottom, darkening into a deeper green at the top. The layers are thinner than those of onions.

Also unlike onions, leeks don’t really work too well in their raw state. They need to be cooked. When they are, they become melt-in-your mouth tender and develop a surprisingly rich and mildly onion flavor. They can be used as a substitute for onion in any hot dish, like potato leek soup!

An overhead shot of leeks in a cooking dish ready to be roasted.

How to Cut Leeks

Leeks are easier to chop and handle than slippery bulb onions. For roasted leeks, you’ll want to use the white and lightest green parts (the dark green part tends to be tough). Leeks often have a lot of grit/dirt between the layers so be sure to clean them well.

To Prep Leeks:

  • Trim the root end and cut off the tough dark green tops. (You can use the tops to flavor soup stocks.)
  • Cut each stalk in half lengthwise. Fan under cold running water to dislodge any grit particles.

How to Roast Leeks

This roasted leeks recipe is so simple to prepare, and you can roast them in the same oven that you are preparing your main dish in. Here’s all you do:

  1. Place the leeks and water in a baking dish, cut side down.
  2. Simmer on the stove top for a few minutes, then drain.
  3. Flip the leeks over, add the butter and seasoning, top with the parmesan and bake until done.

Steamed leeks covered in olive oil and parmesan cheese ready to be roasted.

Another great way to serve these veggies is with potatoes – roasted leeks and potatoes are one of my favorites. If you are going this route, you’ll need to cut and prep your leeks differently:

  • After trimming the bottom and tops, cut into one-inch rounds.
  • Then swirl the slices under cold running water in a large mixing bowl to dislodge the grit.
  • Lift the leeks out with a strainer and drain well. Then, add the to the pan when making roasted potatoes!

More Roasted Veggie Favorites

Parmesan Roasted Leeks

Roasted leeks are a tasty side dish that will elevate and enhance any savory meal!

  • 4 large leeks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (shreeded)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Cut the root and dark green tops off of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and wash between the layers to remove any dirt/debris.

  3. Place leeks cut side down in an oven-safe pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer on the stove top on low for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender.

  4. Drain any water and flip leeks over so they are cut side up.

  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with melted butter and parmesan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until leeks are tender and golden.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Roasted Parmesan Leeks on a parchment lined baking tray

This easy oven roasted leeks recipe is one of our favorite side dishes ever. Parmesan roasted leeks go with just about any main! #spendwithpennies #leeks #roastedleeks #ovenroastedleeks #parmesanleeks #leek #parmesanroastedleeks
This easy oven roasted leeks recipe is one of our favorite side dishes ever. Parmesan roasted leeks go with just about any main! #spendwithpennies #leeks #roastedleeks #ovenroastedleeks #parmesanleeks #leek #parmesanroastedleeks

How to Make the BEST Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto is soft short grained rice with flavorful button mushrooms, crunchy peas combined to make one of the Best side dishes your family will love! The flavor combination is amazing! 

This classic Italian recipe can be served as main dish or a side dish paired with a hearty meat. A comfort meal that is planned and prepared with you in mind! Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Potatoes, Creamy Tomato Italian Parmesan Chicken or Classic Italian Wedding Soup are some of our favorite classic Italian meals to try.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

I needed something light, comforting and manageable for the week and I knew Mushroom Risotto had to be made! It is a dish that can be warmed up quickly and taste good every day. It has simple ingredients and when combined all together adds this comforting and oh.so.good. meal that makes your day go even better! It is beginning to finally warm up and have the sun out here in Utah. I am loving the rays and enjoying being outside. This Mushroom Risotto is perfect for making ahead for your busy week or enjoying it right off the stove top.

I am all about making life simple in May. With so many kids functions and activities crammed into the last few weeks of school and sports I needed something with comfort to tell me “it’s going to be okay!” This is a quick and easy meal that my kids can warm up quick after school or for lunch with the littles. It has been a life saver for me and getting through the busyness. This Mushroom Risotto is a great recipe for all ages of kiddos and has just enough flavor that it is not overpowering. Hope you enjoy and good luck this May!

How Do You Make Mushroom Risotto?

  • Start by warming the chicken broth.  Either in a large bowl in the microwave or in a medium saucepan over medium heat bring to a simmer.
  • In a large pot heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add 1 tbsp butter, garlic, mushrooms and thyme.  Cook until the mushrooms have softened and are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove and set aside on a plate.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter and add the arborio rice.  Stirring on medium heat, cook the grains until the are lightly brown and start to toast about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until the wine has absorbed.  
  • Add one cup of broth at a time to the rice and stir frequently until the rice absorbs the liquid.  Continue to add one cup of broth and allow the rice to absorb after each addition.  Stir often and cook until the risotto is al dente and not mushy.  You may not need all of the broth.  
  • Add the mushrooms, parmesan, and peas back to the rice and stir.  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serve while warm. 

How to make mushroom risotto

What is Risotto?

Risotto (/rɪˈzɒtoʊ/, Italian: [riˈzɔtto] or [riˈsɔtto], from riso meaning “rice”) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, onion, white wine, and parmesan cheese.

What is the Best Rice to use?

The best northern Italian dishes, risotto is elegant and simple, but there are a few tricks to getting it right. First, always use Italian short- grain rice like arborio or vialone; nothing else will do as a substitute for best results.

What Type of Wine is Best?

Mushroom risotto will make most wines taste delicious, but some will be amazing. In general, it’s especially good with earthier reds, like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, or fuller-bodied whites, like lightly oaked Chardonnay or Pinot Gris. It is always best to choose a wine that you enjoy and use that type of wine in the recipe.

Can You Make Mushroom Risotto without Wine?

Yes! You Can Make Risotto Without Wine. The good news is you can definitely make risotto without wine. White grape juice: Use white grape juice as a substitute when you want to add sweetness, or deglaze the pan. For a punchier substitute, try mixing a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of grape juice. Chicken or vegetable stock: Substitute stock for white wine when you want to add depth of flavor to a dish.

Can You Use a Red Wine Instead of White Wine?

Some recipes get pretty specific about the kind of wine they want you to use: an oaky chardonnay in this reduction sauce, a hearty Italian red for that braise. All wines will chemically behave in the same way, so there’s no danger that a recipe won’t work if you use a red instead of a white or vice versa.

Easy Mushroom Risotto in Pan

What Goes With Mushroom Risotto?

We always love to eat Mushroom Risotto as its self instead of a side dish; however, if it is used as a side dish, any type of meat is complimented by this dish.

What are Button Mushrooms?

Agaricus bisporus is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to grasslands in Europe and North America. It has two color states while immature—white and brown—both of which have various names. When mature, it is known as portobello mushroom.

Button Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value. They’re low in calories, are great sources of fiber and protein (good for plant-based diets). They also provide many important nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, and (particularly when exposed to the sun) vitamin D.

Can You Use Fresh Peas?

Yes! Fresh peas are a great substitute.

Can You Make Mushroom Risotto Ahead of Time?

Yes! If you are making your risotto well in advance, place in a shallow baking pan and cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Are You Looking For More Rice Dishes? Here are some great ones!

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto is soft short grained rice with flavorful button mushrooms, crunchy peas combined to make one of the Best side dishes your family will love! 

  • 6-8 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. butter (divided)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 16 oz. button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (stems removed and minced)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1 c. Fresh Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 3/4 c. frozen peas (thawed)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  1. Start by warming the chicken broth.  Either in a large bowl in the microwave or in a medium saucepan over medium heat bring to a simmer.

  2. In a large pot heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and cook until tender.  Add 1 tbsp butter, garlic, mushrooms and thyme.  Cook until the mushrooms have softened and are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove and set aside on a plate.

  3. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter and add the arborio rice.  Stirring on medium heat, cook the grains until the are lightly brown and start to toast about 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until the wine has absorbed.  

  4. Add one cup of broth at a time to the rice and stir frequently until the rice absorbs the liquid.  Continue to add one cup of broth and allow the rice to absorb after each addition.  Stir often and cook until the risotto is al dente and not mushy.  You may not need all of the broth.  

  5. Add the mushrooms, parmesan, and peas back to the rice and stir.  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serve while warm.