Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Oh my.

 

This Broccoli Cheese Soup at home is divine. 

 

Better than Panera.

 

And Mrs. Potts will do most of the work for you.

 

You’re welcome. ;)

 

My husband and I loved this recipe, my 14 year old liked it, and my 11 and 7 year old actually ate it. Success? :)

 

Here’s how to get a yummy warm & toasty meal on the table at your home too (and I highly recommend you include a side of homemade bread. Perfection!)

slowcookerbroccolicheesesoup

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cups broccoli florets (I substituted with frozen broccoli which I cooked in the microwave and drained well - to make sure there wasn't too much liquid I reduced the chicken broth by 1/2 cup as frozen veggies are usually packed with water when they cook)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In large skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Saute onions until they become transparent, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and flour, as well as a little salt and pepper to flavor.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Using a whisk, slowly add in evaporated milk and stir well to make it smooth.
  6. Cook mixture until it begins to thicken, then pour into slow cooker with chicken broth, broccoli & thyme.
  7. Cover and cook 2 1/2 - 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  8. Turn heat off (or warm if you have that option), and add in heavy cream, shredded cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.
  9. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!
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Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 11/19/14):

  • Broccoli Buy One Get One Free at Giant Eagle and Food Lion
  • Kroger Shredded Cheese $1.99
  • Swanson Chicken Broth $.50 at Dollar General (14 oz) or $1.89 at Walmart & Target (32 oz), use $1/2 Swanson coupon from the 10/5 SmartSource insert or $1/2 Swanson printable coupon

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy – thanks for a wonderful recipe!  Thanks also to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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$7 No Sew Pom Pom Pillow Cover

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I’m soooooo pleased with how this little project turned out! I was a little anxious that it would be more difficult than it was, but trust me, it was e.a.s.y. And, I absolutely love it!

 

I saw this great tutorial for this Christmas Tree Pom Pom Pillow over at On Sutton Place, and thought it might be more difficult than I was ready for. I’m horrible (horrible) at yarn crafts (I’ve tried for at least four hours to make one of these without any luck. Ugh.)  So, the thought of making Pom Poms from scratch had me just a wee bit anxious! I thought surely I could find ones already made at our local craft store, but they only carried really bright colors, and I knew I wanted something a little more subtle.

 

I decided to try it out, and spent a few minutes watching this tutorial, and within minutes figured out how to get started. 

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Here’s what I used:

  • pillow cover from Hobby Lobby – $5.99 after 40% off coupon
  • hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • yarn (a $3.99 roll of yarn would make a jillion pom poms – at least!)
  • small piece of ribbon for the tree trunk (I just used some that I already
  • Total = less than $7 because the yarn will be used for several more projects and I had everything else on hand

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I made the pom poms following this tutorial (I used about 35), and then followed these instructions to glue them onto the pillow case. (Really, this was so simple – just glue them on in a tree shape and you’re almost done!) And I’m loving using pillow covers to change out my pillows seasonally (you can purchase pillow inserts for around $9.99 at Walmart or your local craft store), which is a great way to save. Success!

 

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Looking for more Christmas DIY ideas? Here’s what I’ve done around here so far this year (I have a really fun one coming this Friday ~ can’t wait to show you!)

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous home projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 165,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

 

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 11/17/14

Here’s this week’s menu plan and grocery shopping list! I’m so excited because I have most of the ingredients that we’ll need for these recipes already at home, so it’ll help keep our budget in check too this week.

 

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If you’re hoping to get on track too, check out my Fall Menu Planning board on Pinterest where I’ve got all the links to the recipes we’re eating each week. Head on over HERE to check that out, and I’d love for you to join all the PPP boards on Pinterest too.

 

Shopping List
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 soft or hard taco shells
  • 2 cans Rotel
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • fresh garlic
  • 2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cups small diced broccoli floret
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • parmesan cheese
  • bag of potatoes for mashed potatoes
  • tortilla chips

Side Dish Extras

  • apples (for salad)
  • grapes (for salad)
  • walnuts (for salad)
  • loaf bread for broccoli cheese soup night (store bought or  homemade bread)
  • carrot sticks or fresh veggies
  • toppings for nachos and tacos – sour cream, black olives, green onion, lettuce, tomato

Pantry Staples

  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • thyme
  • baking powder
  • milk
  • 2 eggs
  • oil
  • onion powder
  • brown sugar
  • minced onion
  • chili powder
  • corn starch
  • cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic
  • oregano

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!  Here are a few previous menu plans that you can also try out:

 

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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No Sew Pillow Case

 

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Okie dokie folks, here goes.

 

I don’t really love this project. 

 

You win some, you lose some, right? ;)

 

ButI do love the idea of this project, and think it has potential. Does that count?

 

I saw this idea over on Pinterest to fluff up plain pillow covers using fabric scraps. Since I’m not a girl who sews ~ at all ~ I headed to Hobby Lobby where they have knock-off Pottery Barn pillow cases for $5.99 after their weekly 40% off coupon.

 

I spent $3 on fabric scraps (I purchased 1/8 yard of three different colors), as well as $6 on Wonder Under (with lots left over), and came home all ready to start fluffing.

 

 

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Here were my mistakes:

  1. I didn’t leave enough room at the edges of the pillow cases and have probably opted for four trees instead of five ~ or skinnier trees. When I put the pillow insert back in the pillow, it just looks crowded I think?
  2. I didn’t really consider my favorite colors when working on the project. I love (LOVE) the colors in this pillow (right on my Goodwill chair.)  My mother-in-law used to decorate homes, and once told me to pick a fabric I loved and decorate around that ~ so smart! So, hopefully I’ll find the right look, and may just change things out a bit (but it was fun to try!)

 

I do think this is a super easy way to get just the look you want, and love that you’re not limited to someone else’s designs. I’m planning to tackle it again, and we’ll see how it goes! Here’s what I did for my first attempt though in case you’d like to try it out too  . . .

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Cut fabric into trees – I didn’t really have a pattern, just kind of played with it until it felt right.

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Then I lined them up . . .  again and again and again . . . until everything was where I wanted it to be.

 

I think if I’d just left more room on the edges it would have turned out so much better, but for my first try it wasn’t too bad? I cut pieces of Wonder Under and followed the directions on the package to iron the fabric scraps on.

 

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So there you have it. ;)  Nothing fancy at all, but pretty simple even for a not-all-that-crafty girl like me. Now, in a perfect world I’d know how to sew and would just sew the fabric on, but this was a great way to try it out!
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Have you done any Christmas crafting lately? I’d love to hear what you’re up to! Here are a few more ideas I’ve been working on at our house . . .

 

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 163,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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Mini Sliders with Secret Sauce

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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I’ve found the perfect burger for you when it’s too cold outside to grill. 

 

You’re welcome. ;)

 

We don’t eat hamburgers all that often in the winter, but these taste so good that they’re worth the extra effort! And, since I have a tiny obsession with slider sandwiches (they’re the perfect size for my kids to decide if they just want one or two), these were just a great weeknight meal.

 

There really isn’t all that much to them beyond a regular burger, but the special sauce (and some French’s onions if you’re really going all out), make them a little more exciting than your regular weeknight meal. I ended up shaping the burgers in muffin cups like the original recipe suggested (it made it easy to come out with the right portions), but think you could probably skip this step if you have a good idea of what the size of your burger should be.

 

Here’s what you’ll need to get started . . . 

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Mini Sliders with Secret Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • muffin liners (optional, but this makes them easier to portion)
  • salt and pepper
  • slider buns
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • dijon mustard
  • relish
  • extra toppings (optional) - lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cheese, French's onions

Instructions

  1. Divide ground beef into 8 portions.
  2. Place muffin liners in muffin tin - sprinkle each cup with salt and pepper.
  3. Shape each portion of beef into a ball and place in lined muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper on top.
  4. Add another liner on top of the meat and push down to form the burger (I skipped this step and just formed the burgers with my hands.)
  5. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook burgers in hot skillet until slightly browned (3 minutes) then flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Mix mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and relish in a small bowl to make the sauce.
  7. Add burger to slider bun, top with secret sauce as well as any other toppings and enjoy!
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http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/11/mini-sliders-with-secret-sauce/

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Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 11/12/14):

  • Kroger Mayo $3.49 when you buy 10  participating Mega Sale items, use $.75/1 Kraft Mayo
  • Kroger Slider Buns $1.49
  • Publix Hunt’s Ketchup $.93
  • French’s Dijon Mustard $1.97 at Walmart, use $.75/1 French’s coupon

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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$20 Ornament Wreath (+ Determine Your Stock Up Price On Christmas Ornaments)

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I have a little girl who’s home sick today so we’re taking the next few hours off to snuggle a bit. Watch later today for more penny pinched posts! ;)

 

I’ve seen all the cute pictures of ornament wreaths over on Pinterest, and my girls and I decided it was time to make one ourselves this weekend! Of course, being the penny pincher I am, I had to do the math to figure out how to get the least expensive ornaments. (Yup, I’m a nerd that way.)

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Here’s what I figured out:

The size of the ornaments were almost identical (the silver ornaments were from the Dollar Tree, all the colored ones were from Michaels), but I liked that Michaels offers quite a few more colors to choose from (our Dollar Tree had silver, gold, red and green.) So, when you’re heading to price ornaments this Christmas, $.20 per ornament is a good baseline price ~ if you find them for less than that, you’re getting a steal! ;)

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I thought surely I’d have enough to do two wreaths, but was only able to fill out one wreath with all those ornaments (I did have a few leftover, but not enough for another wreath.) Here’s what I used:

  • Wreath form $6.99
  • (3) packs ornaments from the Dollar Tree $3
  • 50 pack ornaments from Michaels $11.24
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Total = $21.23

 

Considering some of them sell for over $100 on Etsy (yikes?), this was a better deal than I realized! ;)

 

To make ours, I just started with a basic foam wreath, and added ornaments around the outside edges using a hot glue gun. 

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Then I filled the inside of the wreath up, and finally added ornaments on top of other ornaments to fill in any spaces where you could see the foam wreath.

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If I was doing it again I’d purchase a box of smaller ornaments to fill in those holes (I think they would look great, and it would cost a little less to make it!)

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Here are a few wreath tutorials if you’d like to more in-depth directions:

And you may also want to try making this simple fun mesh wreath as well! Looking for more penny pinched Christmas decorating ideas? Check these out:

 

See previous Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 160,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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Menu Plan Week of 11/10/14

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chilil

Here’s this week’s menu plan and grocery shopping list! I’m so excited because I have most of the ingredients that we’ll need for these recipes already at home, so it’ll help keep our budget in check too this week.

 

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If you’re hoping to get on track too, check out my Fall Menu Planning board on Pinterest where I’ve got all the links to the recipes we’re eating each week. Head on over HERE to check that out, and I’d love for you to join all the PPP boards on Pinterest too.

 

 
Shopping List
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 box fettucine noodles
  • garlic
  • sundried tomato halves
  • 8 slices roma tomatoes for hamburger sliders
  • 14.5 oz can petit diced tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 bags baby spinach (enough for spinach salad and for Tomato Fettucine recipe)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 package Ranch Dressing mix
  • 8 slider buns (I’ve found Kroger has the best price on these)
  • store bought pizza dough (Publix makes a great dough in their bakery if you live in the Southeast – I’m going to use Pillsbury pizza dough if I can’t find anything else here) :)
  • pepperoni
  • mozzarella cheese
  • additional calzone toppings – mushrooms, spinach, onions, green peppers, etc
  • marina sauce for dipping calzones in

Side Dish Extras

  • apples (for salad)
  • grapes (for salad)
  • walnuts (for salad)
  • loaf bread for chili night (store bought or  homemade bread)
  • carrot sticks or fresh veggies

Pantry Staples

  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • sugar
  • butter
  • honey
  • brown sugar
  • vanilla
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • dijon mustard
  • relish
  • mayonnaise
  • ketchup
  • Italian seasoning

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!  Here are a few previous menu plans that you can also try out:

 

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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Monogrammed Burlap Table Runner

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Can I just tell you how thankful I am that burlap is trendy right now? ;)

‘Cause it’s cheap (ahem, penny pinched.) And it’s versatile. And it even looks great as you transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

And, it handles a Sharpie marker just fine. ;)

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See? ;)

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To make a similar runner, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 yards burlap (it comes in tons of great colors if you don’t like brown) – mine was $4.78 after my 40% off Hobby Lobby coupon
  • a pair of scissors
  • a stencil (I used one I had from the burlap banner a few months ago)
  • a sharpie marker (I ended up using a grey one that I found at the last minute in my junk drawer – any color will do!)

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Just cut your burlap into the size that you want (watch this video to see how to easily cut burlap in a straight piece – I learned that trick from the worker at Hobby Lobby and it makes cutting burlap so much simpler!)

Then just fray the edges by pulling off a few strands, and add your monogram with your stencil. Success!

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You can also see how I made wreaths our dining room chairs for just $3 at the Dollar Tree, and stop back Tuesday when I’ll add in another penny-pinched decorating idea for Christmas. I’d love to hear what other tips you have on frugal decorating too this Christmas season!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 161.000 Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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$3 Dollar Tree Christmas Wreaths

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I’m hoping to add in a frugal “fluff up” post on Tuesdays throughout November (in addition to our regular Friday Fluff Ups), because I have so many ideas and sharing them with you kind of keeps me accountable to actually doing them! No promises you’ll see them each week, but it’s worth a shot. ;)

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I’m just a wee bit excited that Christmas (and Christmas decorating!) is right around the corner. ;) As I’ve got a new house to decorate in all different colors this year, I’ve been hunting down frugal ways to update our Christmas decor without breaking the bank, and the Dollar Tree is definitely helping me to get started.

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I’ve always loved homes in magazines where you see small wreaths on the back of each chair in the dining room. But, those wreaths get expensive fast, so I was trying to think of a way to add them on a penny pinched budget. When I found these berries last week at the Dollar Tree (and remembered I had a few Dollar Tree grapevine wreaths from a project a few years ago), I knew it would be pretty easy to make this project work.

 

Here’s what I used:

  • 2 stems berries from the Dollar Tree = $2
  • 1 small wreath from the Dollar Tree = $1
  • ribbon I had already at home (it was on sale when I purchased it 50% off at Hobby Lobby)
  • florist wire

 

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All I did was pull the stems off the main branch (and got rid of most of the leaves from the berries), then wired each stem around the grapevine wreath. Each wreath took about fifteen minutes to  make, and was just the easiest way to fluff up plain dining room chairs!

 

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Watch Friday as I’ve got a few Sharpie Marker plans in the works (so excited!), and let me know if you have any frugal ideas for decorating for Christmas (I love hearing from you!) You can also check out my Christmas board on Pinterest where I have all kinds of ideas popping up.  Goodness it just gets me excited about the Christmas season! ;)

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

Don’t miss how I decorated an entire tree with ornaments from the Dollar Tree ~ I love that place!) ;)

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 160,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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Menu Plan: Week of 11/3/14

Here’s this week’s menu plan and grocery shopping list! I’m so excited because I have most of the ingredients that we’ll need for these recipes already at home, so it’ll help keep our budget in check too this week.

 

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If you’re hoping to get on track too, check out my Fall Menu Planning board on Pinterest where I’ve got all the links to the recipes we’re eating each week. Head on over HERE to check that out, and I’d love for you to join all the PPP boards on Pinterest too.

 

 
Shopping List
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (2 large chicken breasts, cooked)
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 12 oz barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • bag of potatoes – 5 for baking plus enough for mashed potatoes on Thursday night
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 12 oz ziti
  • garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • fresh parsley (optional)
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • Bisquick (or pre-made biscuits)
  • sour cream (for topping potatoes and biscuit mix if not buying pre-made biscuits)
  • 7 up or Sprite (for biscuits)

Side Dish Extras

  • shredded cheddar cheese, chives (for topping baked potatoes)
  • salad
  • fresh, canned or frozen vegetables
  • fresh fruit

Pantry Staples

  • salt
  • pepper
  • Worcestershire
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • butter

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!  Here are a few previous menu plans that you can also try out:

 

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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