The Simplest Way To Roast a Whole Chicken

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Okie dokie ladies (and whatever gents are awesome enough to read this slightly girlie site . . . ) :)


Today we’re going to roast a whole chicken.


I know it’s gross. I know touching uncooked-chicken-skin is n.a.s.t.y. 


But, I have full confidence that you can do this.


(Because if I can do it? Anyone can. For real.)


It’s so not my favorite way to deal with meat. But it’s penny pinched. And relatively simple. And really, you are a seriously amazing chick.


You can do this.


Let’s roast a chicken.


Ready? :)


Here’s what you’ll need: 


  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 whole chicken (I usually look for the largest one I can find)


  1. In small bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry.
  3. Place whole chicken in slow cooker (be sure to remove the package of giblets from inside the bird prior to cooking)
  4. Rub seasoning mixture into chicken.
  5. Cook on low 5-8 hours, until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Remove from slow cooker.
  6. If you’d like to brown the skin a bit, cook under broiler in oven for about 5 minutes, until skin is golden brown.


In case you’re wondering, my stock up price on whole chicken is $.99/lb ~ if I can’t find it at that price I’ll choose boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99/lb because I feel like I get more meat that way. I typically make one or two whole chickens at a time (if I’m making two I use my larger slow cooker) then freeze the meat for casseroles, soups or stews. It really is simple, and the meat just tastes so. good.

You’ll never settle for a Costco, Publix, or Kroger Rotisserie chicken again.

You’re welcome. 😉

And if you have a little more energy and will be home all day, try out this fantastic recipe for roast sticky chicken in the oven too. You’ve got this!


If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE.

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 10/5/15



Have you made your menu plan yet for the week? After just about getting back on track last week I realized how much I really need a menu plan at our house, so I’m at it again this week. Here’s what’s on the menu:


Chile Con Carne
Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  



Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  This post is linked up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday where you can find lots more menu planning ideas! 


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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups

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This is one of my family’s favorite recipes, and when a friend mentioned their family made it last week I couldn’t wait to get it back on the menu plan!


It’s easy, quick, and perfect on a busy night. You can definitely skip the jarred alfredo sauce and make it from scratch, but we were in a hurry this week so I took advantage of the Kroger Mega Sale on Private Selection Products (and made my life a wee bit easier.) :)


And on a totally random note, if you’re not following a menu plan, can I just encourage you to try? After just a few days of decent dinners at home because I spent 10 minutes planning our menu this Monday our home has almost instantly run smoother. Go HERE to see what we’re planning this week, and see dozens of menu planning lists that we’ve used before over HERE.


Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Rollups


  1. 12 lasagna noodles
  2. 2 jars alfredo sauce (or make from scratch ~ see recipe below)
  3. 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  4. oregano
  5. garlic salt
  6. 3 cups shredded mozzarella



  • Spray 9×12 pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom of the pan with 3/4 cup alfredo sauce.
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, until al dente.
  • Drain & rinse noodles in cold water, then lay out noodles to fill.


  1. Spread about 2 tbs. alfredo sauce on each noodle. Then sprinkle with a little garlic salt, oregano add shredded chicken, and about 3 tbs. of mozzarella.
  2. Carefully roll up lasagna starting at one end, and place in pan seam side down.  (This is a little messy, but you can do it!)


  • Pour remaining alfredo sauce over the top, then add the rest of the cheese.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!



Homemade Garlic Alfredo Sauce (this recipe is just delicious!)Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 2 oz. cream cheese
  3. 2 cups heavy cream or half and half (we used half and half, which made the sauce a little bit thinner but was worth it to save the calories)
  4. 2 tsp. garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
  6. salt & pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 2/3 cup parmesan cheese


  1.  Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add fresh minced garlic, then cook for one minute.
  2. Add cream cheese & whisk until smooth and cream cheese has melted.
  3. Whisk in heavy cream.
  4. Season with garlic powder, salt & pepper, and bring sauce to a simmer while whisking frequently.
  5. Continue to heat and whisk sauce together until sauce thickets, which will take around 15 minutes.  (Mine never really thickened much while on the stove, but I used half and half, which might have been the problem!  It did thicken some once I removed it from the heat.)
  6. Stir in parmesan, then remove from heat to serve.


Recipe adapted from Mmm…cafe. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE



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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 9/28/15


I have a confession to make.


I have oh-so-fallen off the menu planning train. 




My poor family has lived on a mix of pb&j sandwiches, breakfast for dinner, and even the occasional cereal-or-ice-cream-can-really-count as a meal night.


I know. I’m horrified too.


I’ve done a lot of traveling the last few weeks, the kids are busy with band, soccer, volleyball and tumbling, and menu planning has been so very low on my priority list.


But today that’s changing. :) 


Our Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights are jammed packed, so I’m going to see if I can manage to do well enough the other nights to make up at least some for those nights where there’s no time to prepare a big meal. Here’s what I’m planning:


Easiest Slow Cooker Taco Meat - PINTEREST
If you’re interested in following our menu plan, here are the groceries you’ll need: 
  • bagged salad
  • Taco Seasoning packet
  • 2 lbs. ground beef (get more if you’d like to make extra to freeze)
  • 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I cooked a whole chicken last week using this recipe so it’s already cooked)
  • garlic powder
  • garlic salt
  • salt, pepper
  • oregano
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 refrigerated 9-inch piecrusts
  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 2 ½ cups alfredo sauce or homemade recipe
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella
  • taco fixings – taco shells, lettuce, shredded cheese, tomato, salsa, sour cream
Do you have anything yummy on your menu plan this week?  I’d love to hear what you’re having, and if you have any great recipe ideas please leave a comment to share!  



Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  This post is linked up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday where you can find lots more menu planning ideas! 


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Quesadilla Casserole

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Oh my gracious.


This recipe was sooooo good.


Like, really, really delicious.


Honestly, when I pulled it out of the oven it didn’t look all that appetizing, but goodness gracious it was fantastic!

In fact, my husband was even highly impressed (and he’s always my toughest critic.) 


Here’s the recipe so you can impress your family too ~ yum! 😉


Quesadilla Casserole



  1. Brown ground beef over medium high heat, drain fat from skillet.
  2. Add in tomato sauce, black beans, Rotel, corn, and green chiles. Then add in additional seasonings and cook on low 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup beef mixture to bottom of baking dish.
  4. Then layer 3 tortillas, spread another 1/2 cup beef mixture.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over beef.
  6. Add another layer of tortillas, another layer of beef mixture, and another layer of cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool 5 minutes & enjoy!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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The Best Bread Machine Dough Recipe

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breadpinimageThis is the best bread machine bread you will ever eat. 


And it’s easy.


You’re welcome. 😉


I’ve made it for years about once a month, and every time I pull down my bread machine out of the pantry my family gets a wee bit excited. Last week as I was driving my 15 year old home from band practice before dinner I said “Guess what I made?”


“Chicken and dumplings?”




“Italian Beef?”




“Some chocolate chip cookies?”


Seriously kid? Nope – not that either. Homemade bread! I really am the best mom, right?


“Mmmmm . . . yup, you really are the best mom.” 😉


Folks, this kid is a sophomore so I only have a few more years to convince him my cooking is worth coming home for once he scoots off to college. If chocolate chip cookies, homemade bread and chicken and dumplings do it, you can bet we’ll be eating a lot of those for the next few years . . . 


I can’t make it more often than once a month because I have very little self control when it comes to a loaf of warm homemade bread in the kitchen, but when I do it’s just a happy treat for the whole family. It’s so simple to make and takes about 5 minutes of effort ~ so worth it if your family loves homemade bread too!


Bread Machine Dough


  • 1 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey (if you don’t have any you can skip it and it turns out fine)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (can also substitute with half whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast or active dry yeast

Bread Machine Directions

  1. Put ingredients in the order above into bread machine (you don’t need to stir it , just dump it in!)
  2. Set bread machine on dough setting, and let it make the dough for you.
  3. Once dough is made (it takes my machine about 1 1/2 hours to make), remove dough and place in loaf pan.
  4. Let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour if you have time – sometimes when I don’t I just go ahead and bake it and it works out fine.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, and enjoy!

Note – if you’re away from home during the day you can let the bread machine do all the work for you, I just don’t like the weird shape that my bread comes out in when I use the machine so choose to make it on the dough setting and then bake it in a loaf pan.)


If you don’t have a bread machine . . .

First, say a prayer that you’ll find one at a yard sale (I really do love mine ~ and today only Amazon actually has one as it’s Amazon Gold Box Deal for $79, which is a great price while it lasts!)  Then, go over HERE to see Tammy’s step by step instructions on how to make the dough at home – it really isn’t that hard, and she does a fabulous job giving step-by-step instructions! 




If your family loves bread like mine does, try out some Best Ever Cinnamon Bread too.

So. good.



Today only Amazon’s Gold Box Deal is this TFal Bread Machine with excellent reviews, regularly priced at $125+ but $74 today (by far the lowest price it’s ever been at.) Go HERE to check it out if you’ve been considering purchasing a bread machine ~ mine has lasted 18 years and I love it!

 If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Nacho Bake

I love a good crock pot recipe that doesn’t require any prep work . . . and try really hard to find those most  of the time, but sometimes that’s awfully hard to do with ground beef recipes!  However, I’ve found that during the school year my afternoons are the busiest part of my days,so I’m more than happy to do a little prep work in the morning if it saves me big work when the craziness hits around here.


So, while this isn’t the easiest slow cooker recipe ever, it requires less than 20 minutes of prep work, which can be done on your own schedule. If you don’t have time to brown the beef in the morning, just brown the beef the night before and then throw in the crockpot heading out in the morning.  And, enjoy a yummy plate of nachos when you get home!


Slow Cooker Nacho Bake


  1. 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
  2. 1 can refried beans (we were out of these, so I left them out!)
  3. 1 can red kidney beans, undrained
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  6. 1 cup salsa
  7. 1/2 cup water
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  10. tortilla chips 
  11. Shredded Cheese
  12. Extra toppings (we used lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green onions, salsa and sour cream)


  1. Brown ground beef in skillet on stove.  Drain off any grease.
  2. Add ground beef, refried beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, taco seasoning, water, and garlic powder to crockpot.
  3. Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Arrange chips in the bottom of a large baking sheet.
  6. Spoon meat mixture over tortilla chips.
  7. Top with cheese and tomato.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  9. Top with extra toppings, and enjoy!


Recipe adapted Full Bellies Happy Kids.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Clean The Cupboards Out Pizza Pasta Bake

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Like I’ve shared with you all this month, we’ve been working on  a once a month grocery shopping experiment, and this week it was time to really dig deep and see what I could use in from our kitchen! I had several items in my fridge that I needed to use up, so I quickly came up with this Clean-the-Cupboards-Out-Pizza-Pasta-Bake.


It was delicious.


My whole family devoured it, my youngest even commented (after sticking her nose up before the very first bite), that “this is actually pretty good mama.” And it even made enough for leftovers later in the week.


So, if you need some dinnertime inspiration, this might just be for you! Here’s what you’ll need . . . 


Clean The Cupboards Out Pizza Pasta Bake


  • 16 oz pasta (we used rotelle)
  • 24 oz cottage cheese or ricotta (I like ricotta better but needed to use up the cottage cheese that was in the fridge)
  • 16 oz mozzarella, divided
  • 24 oz spaghetti sauce
  • pepperoni (optional)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • parmesan cheese




  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef. After ground beef is browned, add spaghetti sauce and pepperoni and heat through.
  • Mix together cottage or ricotta cheese and mozzarella in bowl, then add in ground beef mixture.
    Add cooked pasta into spaghetti mixture.
  • Spoon ingredients into greased casserole dish.
  • Top with additional mozzarella and and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE



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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
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Of all the recipes I’ve posted here on Passionate Penny Pincher, these Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (and of course everyone’s favorite Italian Beef) are consistently the ones people mention to me, and I notice folks searching for them almost daily on PPP. My kids love them and would happily eat them once a week if I’d make them that often!


These are just so easy, and while I love to make these homemade Chicken and Dumplings (so good too!), you can’t beat these for a busy weeknight. (You can also try out this Chicken & Dumpling Casserole  . . . can you tell we like some Chicken & Dumplings around here?) 😉


If you have extra time you could make your own cream of chicken soup, and even use homemade biscuit doughThis recipe is super adaptable, and some yummy comfort food if your family loves chicken and dumplings like my bunch does. Here’s the recipe so you can get started . . .


Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings


  • 1-2 pounds chicken breast
  • 2 10 oz cans cream of chicken soup (can substitute with homemade cream of chicken soup)
  • 1 10 oz. can chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 10 0z cans inexpensive biscuits cut in quarters


  1. Place chicken breast, soup, broth, water, salt, garlic powder, pepper & onion in crockpot.
  2. Cook on low six to seven hours.
  3. 1 hours before dinner time, add quartered biscuits to crockpot. (I use kitchen scissors to cut the biscuits.)
  4. Gently stir in biscuits so that they’re covered.
  5. Cook one more hours on low. Enjoy!

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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How to Flash Freeze Cookie Dough

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How to Flash Freeze Cookie Dough

Love warm homemade cookies but hate making a mess in your kitchen? Here’s how to make the dough ahead of time so you can whip up a batch whenever you’d like!


1. Mix your favorite cookie dough (I use this one.)

2. Drop in spoonfuls onto baking sheet (I place them close together since they won’t bake together on a sheet, you’re just using the sheets to freeze them.)

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3. Place cookie dough in freezer while on baking sheets.

4. Freeze dough until completely frozen.

5. Remove dough from freezer and place cookie dough into large plastic bags or plastic storage container. (I’ve read that you should wrap them with in plastic or wax paper first, but have never done that and the dough has been just fine.)


6. Store frozen for up to 3 months.

7. To bake, place on parchment paper and bake according to original cookie dough recipe. Enjoy!

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(See how I recently whipped up a triple batch before flash freezing over HERE. Yikes!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies


And try out my all time favorite cookie dough recipe if you’re looking for the best chocolate chip cookies!


If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE


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