Super Smart Way to Store Ground Beef (Genius!)

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My friend Jamie is here today sharing this SUPER smart way to store ground beef! I *love* this idea, and will be doing it in the future since we have a small freezer. Thanks so much for sharing Jamie!

If you buy ground beef or ground turkey in bulk to save money – this is such a clever idea to store it!  The flat little bricks make it easy to thaw and cook whenever you need it –  and help you avoid wasting meat by forgetting it.  (Has that ever happened to you?  I know it has to me!)

1 . Start with any ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, venison, etc…) a rolling pin and a gallon freezer bag.

(If you don’t have a rolling pin, but maybe have a wine bottle in the house, that would work too.)

Put the ground meat in the bottom of the bag and lie it down flat, leaving the zipper part open.

 

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2 . Using a rolling pin, roll to flatten the meat and spread it out in the bag evenly.

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3 . Using a ruler, or the back of a long knife, press lines to divide the meat into six sections.

Freeze for 30 minutes and pull out.  (It should be mostly frozen already)  Bend at the dividing lines until it is separated more cleanly into bricks.  Now just seal the zipper and place back in the freezer to use whenever you need ~ you’ll be able to pull off just one brick at a time to thaw the next time you need ground beef!

 

I think this is just SO super smart. It takes up so little space in the fridge and really makes it easy to thaw out when you’re ready to cook. LOVE simple tricks like this!

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Star Patriotic Pops

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Here’s such a fun patriotic treat to enjoy this summer! Super simple, and your kids will love helping you make these.

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Makes 4- prep- 5 minutes total time 4 hours 5 min

 

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INGREDIENTS / MATERIALS:

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and slice your pears into thin pieces.
  2. Use your star cookie cutter to cut out star shaped pears.
  3. Thaw your ice pops and fill 1/4 way full with the red ice pop, add in a few stars, place a lollipop stick in the center, and freeze for 1 hour.
  4. Now fill another 1/4 with the blue ice pop, add in a few more stars (you might need to center your lollipop stick at this point), and freeze for another hours.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until full and frozen.
  6. Place the plastic part of your mold under running hot water for 10-15 seconds, wiggle on your stick, and they will slide right out.

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*(apples can be used in place of pears as can a red and blue sports drink for juice)

 

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Looking for more patriotic desserts?

patrioticoreopops

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Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs

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Ready for another slow cooker recipe? If you’d like ribs but don’t want to fire up the grill, these are a simple way to make them inside. So good, and you only need five ingredients . . . love that!

 

I think I’ve finally figured out ribs in the slow cooker (WOOHOO!)  After reading through a few suggestions on how to cook ribs in the crockpot, I made these today and they were perfect. 

 

And EASY. 

 

What more could a girl ask for? 🙂

 

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Here’s the trick:  do NOT just put the ribs in the slow cooker.

 

(I know, I know . . . that takes a little of the fun out of slow cooking, but I promise spending a few minutes to prepare those ribs in the morning will reward you with some fall-apart-heavenly ribs!) 

 

Allow just thirty minutes in the morning to pre-bake them in the oven, and then let your slow cooker to the rest of the cooking for you.  These were so good that my family declared them better than Logan’s Roadhouse, and liked them as much as our favorite rib recipe for the grill.

 

 

Yup, I was a rockstar at our house this week. 

 

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to be a rockstar today too. 🙂 

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Ingredients

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Salt
  • Barbecue Sauce (we used Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 3-4 lbs. Pork Long Country Style Ribs, or Pork Sirloin Chops

Instructions

  1. Season ribs with salt, pepper and garlic salt.
  2. Bake at 350 in oven for 15 minutes, then turn ribs over and bake another 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer ribs to slow cooker (you may need to cut them to fit into Mrs. Potts!) 🙂
  4. Pour bottle of barbecue sauce over top of the ribs.
  5. Cook for 6-7 hours on low.
  6. Serve along with extra barbecue sauce (optional).

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Looking for more slow cooker recipes to add to your menu plan this week? Here you go . . .

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Nutter Butter Balls

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Y.u.m.

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My sweet niece Sarah visited over Easter and made these super yummy Nutter Butter Balls, and I’ve been waiting to share them with you! They were so good, so simple, and a huge hit at our house.

 

So, if you’re looking for a new twist on regular Oreo balls, I promise you’ll love these. Here’s what you’ll need  . . .

 

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Nutter Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 24 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed (about 3 cups)
  • white melting chocolate
  • dark melting chocolate

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Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and nutter butter crumbs until combined.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch balls – place in a shallow pan and freeze for 10 mins.
  3. Dip frozen balls into the melted chocolate and place on a pan lined with wax paper.
  4. Drizzle white and dark chocolate over the dipped balls for decoration.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.  Keep refrigerated and enjoy!

 

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Looking for more dessert recipes?

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Greek Chicken Pasta

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So, this was my first attempt at a Mediterranean recipe (following the craziness we had two weeks ago ~ read more HERE.) I absolutely loved it, my kids didn’t love it so they stuck with pasta and grilled chicken, and my husband survived it but said it wasn’t all that bad.

 

 

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Not gonna lie ~ he’d choose Paula Deen’s fried chicken over Mediterranean Greek chicken any day.

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I thought it was fantastic though, so I’m sharing it. 🙂 It does have a lot of ingredients and isn’t the most penny pinched meal, but if you’re looking for a healthy option on the Mediterranean Diet, this one’s fantastic!

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Honestly the more I’m looking at recipes to try I think we’ll be sticking more and more to just whole foods eating (more fish, whole chicken, whole veggies, whole fruits ~ fewer carbs, and nothing processed), but I’m going to keep watching for Mediterranean recipes that look great along the way. I’m pretty convinced whole foods are the way to go (especially after following the 21 Day Fix for a few months), but always love trying new recipes out.

 

 

Greek Chicken Pasta

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  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (14 ounce) can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons, wedged, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (boil for about 8-10 mins) and drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear (about 5 to 6 mins).
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low ~ add artichoke hearts, tomato, feta cheese, parsley, lemon juice, oregano, and cooked pasta. Cook and stir until heated through (about 2 to 3 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon wedges (optional) and enjoy!

 

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Looking for more chicken recipes?

 

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

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21 Day Fix Chicken

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As many of you all know I’ve started a new round of the 21 Day Fix this week. And I’m thrilled that we have over 100 ladies joining us this time around. (I love that!)

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What I love about the 21 Day Fix is that the recipes are pretty simple, but doing a little prep work makes everything go so much easier, so making up a big batch of this 21 Day Fix chicken at the beginning of the week is a necessity around here.

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So on Monday nights I usually make a big batch of this chicken to serve for dinner (my family all loves it), then I refrigerate the chicken to use throughout the week. 

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Easy!

 

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Here’s the recipe so you can get 21-Day-Fixin’ too . . . 

21 Day Fix Chicken

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
  • cooking spray
  • seasoning salt (Lawry’s is my favorite)

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Instructions

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Place chicken breast on broiling pan.
  3. Lightly (LIGHTLY) sprinkle with seasoning salt.
  4. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Broil in oven for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn chicken tenderloins over.
  7. Sprinkle again very lightly with seasoning salt.
  8. Spray with cooking spray.
  9. Broil on high another 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.
  10. Once cooled, store refrigerated to have ready for salads throughout the week.

 

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21 Day Fix Counts

  • 1 red container

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Looking for more chicken recipes?

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Want to learn more about the 21 Day Fix? Go HERE to learn more about what we’re up to.

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Don’t you just love when penny pinching makes you a wee bit resourceful, and the results turn out fantastic?

 

(Me too.)

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Last week my sweet boy turned sixteen.

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Sixteen.

 

 

However, over the weekend we’d purchased a new car (finally retiring my 10-year-old-190,000-mile-mini-van ~ eek!), and I’ve been determined to really be wise with our finances. (We were able to purchase our new-to-us-car using cash which is the coolest feeling ever. But, shelling out that much cash that’s been saved hurts just a bit!)

 

So, I decided I was absolutely not going to buy anything we didn’t need for at least a few weeks.

 

And then I remembered that I needed a cake for my cute kid’s birthday.

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I went through my pantry, fridge and freezer to try to come up some genius plan, and remembered this E’clair cake a friend of mine made for us years ago.

 

It usually calls for cool whip, but I only had Kroger Reddi Whip in the fridge, so decided to make that work.

Goodness, that boy of mine was in heaven.

 

In fact, he asked this weekend if I could make him some e’clair cake again.

 

The moral of the story?

 

Get a little creative with what you already have before spending more moo-lah ($40 for a cookie cake? No thanks!) and your family might just enjoy that little penny-pinched-splurge too.

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Directions

Mix together cool whip or reddi whip, pudding and milk. Layer graham crackers on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.

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Next, spread half pudding mixture over graham crackers, then cover with another layer of graham crackers.

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Spread remaining pudding mixture over graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers.

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Pop frosting in microwave and heat for about 30 seconds. Then spread carefully over graham cracker layer.

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Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then serve.

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

Ingredients:

2 packages instant vanilla pudding
2 cans of dairy whipped topping (or one tub of non-dairy whipped topping)
3 cups milk
1 package graham crackers
1 container chocolate frosting

Directions:

  1. In a bowl mix together the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk until completely combined.
  2. Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9×13″ dish. Spread half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Top the pudding layer with another layer of graham crackers.  Add the other half of the pudding mixture and top that with a final layer of graham crackers.
  3. Spread frosting over the graham cracker layer all the way up to the edges of the pan. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Looking for more dessert recipes?

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

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Menu Plan Monday: Week Of 4/18/16

 

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Good. gravy.

 

Do you feel life like is just racing by, and you’re in the backseat praying things will just slow down a wee bit?

 

Me too. 

 

After a big trip to Canada for Spring Break, a crazy season starting for my kids of soccer, track, and rugby (my son is playing rugby. please. pray. yikes. really. yikes.) and some big projects here on PPP, I feel like menu planning has been thrown right on out the window at our house.

 

So this morning I took a step back, started thinking about my first love here in my home as homemaker, and decided to get some control.

 

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I shined my kitchen sink (don’t you love my little sign? I ordered it from Crystal and just love it as well as my Mrs. Meyer’s soap from my last Prime Pantry order)

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Then I shared a quick video of my main 21 Day Fix must-have-foods with our PPP 21 Day Fix group (it’s not too late to join if you sign up today ~ go HERE to learn more!)

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 I popped chicken and dumplings in Mrs. Potts, 

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and even tackled our laundry pile.

 

Success!

 

While I love sharing deals here on PPP and running my little business from home, by far taking care of my favorites come first, and it was so nice to start off taking care of them first today. 

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Curious what’s on our menu plan this week? Here you go:

  • MondaySlow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings, green beans, biscuits, salad (We don’t normally eat these kind of meals especially when I’m 21 Day Fixin‘ but I’ll have a big salad and we haven’t had a night off from activities in ages. This is my family’s favorite meal so I’m treating them after not really cooking in 3 weeks, but there was a tiny piece of me considering swinging by Sonic for 50¢ cheeseburgers!)
  • TuesdaySlow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin, salad, brown rice, veggies
  • Wednesday – Leftovers
  • Thursday – Breakfast for dinner (we have soccer, rugby, track and cheer on Thursdays – eggs and fresh fruit it is!)
  • Friday – 21 Day Fix Grilled chicken (I’ll share the recipe I use later this week ~ I just sprinkle seasoning salt on chicken tenderloins, spray with Pam cooking spray, and broil for 4 minutes on each side until cooked through), baked potatoes, salad, veggies

 

 

Check out my recipes to try board on Pinterest, and see more penny-pinched recipe ideas.  

 

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Small Batch Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars

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Need a quick treat for just a few? I love this recipe for a small batch of peanut butter rice crispy bars ~ perfect when you just want a quick treat in a small batch!

 

 

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Ingredients:

1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup corn syrup or honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tbs of chocolate chips

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Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the ingredients and microwave another 20-30 seconds.
  2. Remove the mixture from the microwave, stir again and then add in the 1 cup of crispy rice cereal. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat the cereal.
  3. Drop by round spoonful onto wax paper or evenly spread in a small baking dish like this one. Let set and then cut into bars.
  4. Serves 1-2.

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More easy snack options:

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Baked Chimichangas

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

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Here’s an easy recipe if your family loves Mexican like mine does!  This is what you’ll need . . .

 

 

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First, sauté the garlic, onions and pepper in a greased skillet over medium heat.

 

Then add in your turkey and spices until completely cooked.  Drain any excess fat from the pan and add in the tomato sauce and let simmer so all the flavors come together.

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Next, spoon the turkey mixture onto your tortilla, add some cheese and roll it up.

 

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Then start by folding in the sides and then roll away, place them seam side down on a greased baking sheet.

 

 

Spray them quickly with cooking spray or olive oil (to make the crisp up) and pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 mins.

 

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Yum!

 

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Baked Chimichangas

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Spray a pan with cooking spray (or use some olive oil) and add in the garlic, onions and peppers.
  2. Add the turkey or ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and cumin
  3. Break up the turkey or ground beef until browned and drain.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, bringing to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors are blended and the mixture thickens.
  6. Spoon the meat mixture onto each tortilla and top with the cheddar cheese.
  7. Fold in the sides and then roll to enclose the filling.
  8. Place the chimichangas seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.
  9. Lightly spray the tops of the tortillas with nonstick spray or olive oil.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees until golden , about 20 minutes and enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Kitch Me. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

Looking for more Mexican inspired dishes?  Try these:

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