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

Ingredients

  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)

Directions

  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

Ingredients

  • 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

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Directions

  • 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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Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites

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These Peanut Butter Energy Bites are so simple to make, and a great snack when you’re in a hurry! They’re guilt free and pretty good for you, and you can easily adapt the recipe with a few added ingredients (mini chocolate chips please?)

recipe

No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Old Fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 peanut butter or chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Cover refrigerate for an hour
  3. Use a cookie scoop to make them the shape of balls or just use your hands.
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2015/08/easy-no-bake-peanut-butter-energy-bites/

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Recipe adapted from GimmeSomeOven.

 

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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!

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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?) 😉

chickenanddumplings

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 . . .

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.)

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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!

howtoflashfreezehomemadecookiedough

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

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Butterfinger Cake

butterfingercake

This Father’s Day my husband asked for a specific meal instead of a present.  :)

 

He wanted Chicken Cordon Bleu, mashed potatoes, Apple Spinach Salad with Vanilla Bean Dressing and this Butterfinger Cake.  Yum!

 

After making it, I couldn’t believe how simple it was to make, and it was so good! My husband gave it a huge thumbs up, and it’s a great recipe to share at a potluck. Here’s what you’ll need:

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:

Butterfinger Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 boxed chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 11 oz bag of Butterfinger snack sized bars, chopped
  • 1 jar caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 8 oz container Cool Whip

Instructions

  1. Prepare cake according to package in an 13X9 in pan.
  2. Cool completely in pan on wire racks.
  3. Poke holes in cake about 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep using handle of wooden spoon.
  4. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cake.
  5. Sprinkle half of chopped Butterfingers over cake.
  6. Pour caramel topping over Butterfingers on cake.
  7. Spread Cool Whip over cake.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining Butterfinger.

Notes

Store in refrigerator until ready to serve

http://passionatepennypincher.com/2015/07/butterfinger-cake/

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Looking for more dessert recipes? Here are a few of my favorites:

 

southernlivingapplecake

Adapted from All Recipes. If you need a little more menu inspiration, head on over HERE.

 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

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We made this recipe from Eat at Home Cooks two weeks ago and I loved it, so much so that while visiting my in-laws I made it for them again last night! It’s such an easy way to cook up a bunch of veggies, and since the sauce is gluten free (my mother-in-law eats a gluten free diet), we easily cooked up gluten free pasta to make a simple gluten free meal for her too.

 

slowcookerchickencacciatore

I’ve just about decided it’s my new go-to simple crockpot meal because it tastes great, and there’s just nothing like coming home to a home smelling like a yummy Italian meal. It’s an easy way to change out every day spaghetti, and we’ll definitely add it to our menu plan at least once a month!

slowcookerchickencacciatore

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore (adapted from Eat at Home Cooks)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds frozen chicken tenders
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 sliced green pepper
  • 1 sliced red pepper
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Place frozen chicken in the bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Add sliced onion and green peppers on top of the chicken.
  3. Mixed together crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, then pour sauce over chicken and veggies.
  4. Cook on low 7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  5. Serve over pasta with fresh parmesan cheese and enjoy!

 

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze

porktenderloinfinal

 

Oh my goodness this recipe is sooooo good and super easy!  This has quickly become one of my favorite meat dishes, and I don’t even like pork all that much. :)

 

 

This is great to throw in the crockpot on a busy day, then come home and finish up the glaze while getting ready for dinner. I’d love to hear if you try it, definitely a new favorite at our house!

 

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Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage or thyme (we used thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic, and sage or thyme.
  2. Rub over tenderloin.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of water to slow cooker, place tenderloin in slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. An hour before the roast is finished, mix together the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan.
  6. Cook over medium heat and stir about 4 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  7. Brush roast with the glaze sauce every 20 minutes for the last hour of cooking.
  8. Serve with remaining glaze on the side - enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2015/06/slow-cooker-brown-sugar-pork-tenderloin-with-balsamic-glaze/

 

Looking for more Slow Cooker Recipes? Here are a few more favorites . . .

Adapted from Laura Sweet Spot! If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Beef Stir Fry {In Less Than 30 Minutes}

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With fresh produce in season, there’s no better time to use tons of fresh veggies as you cook! We had this (super) simple beef stir fry last night and I loved that it was loaded with vegetables and protein, and cooked up in under 30 minutes.

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I noticed this recipe also at All Recipes (it looked so good!), but since the marinade needed to mix for several hours I opted for this simple recipe. The flavors are all so good on their own that you don’t need to add too much, and you can have dinner done in less than 30 minutes. Love that!

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Beef Stir Fry (in Less Than 30 Minutes)

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef sirloin, cut in 2″ strips
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • broccoli florets or carrots (I didn’t have those but they would have been great to add in!)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional – we were out but I wish we’d had them!)

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Directions

 

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  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

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  1. Cook beef until browned, 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Put beef on one side of the skillet, then add in veggies and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

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  1. Mix in beef and add in soy sauce and sesame seeds.
  2. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender, for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Enjoy!

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

 

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4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

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4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

I don’t know about your kids, but mine love morning waffles in the summertime. And, since these days with my kiddos feel like they’re fleeting way too fast, I try to indulge them as often as I can. (Thankfully they’re all pretty busy kids, so whatever they eat for breakfast they wear off throughout the day!)

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Our favorite waffle recipe is this one, but I’ve been looking for a way to simplify things in the mornings and finally decided to try out a Homemade Bisquick recipe. Since all that’s really in it is flour and a few other ingredients, I knew I could make it for next to nothing, and I love knowing exactly what’s going into it! Here’s what you’ll need:

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Homemade Bisquick Mix

Ingredients

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 cup cold butter

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Directions

  1. Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl.
  2. Using a pastry cutter, mix in butter until the mixture is crumbly (I use this pastry cutter and love it, but you could also use a food processor to mix it all in!)
  3. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use, for up to 4 months (makes enough for 3 to 4 days of pancakes and waffles at our house – so double the recipe if you need more!)

waffle

To make life easier in the mornings, I leave the pancake and waffle recipes right on the container so my kids can whip up a batch themselves if I’m working in the morning (my Caroline is an expert already!) Here are the recipes we use . . .

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Waffles
  • 2 cups mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pancakes
  • 2 cups mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

 

You can also use them to make these Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits. Yum!

4 Ingredient Bisquick Mix Recipe

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

 

 

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