White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

 

These are one of my favorite Christmas treats to bake, and it packs well to give as gifts! Last Christmas I found this recipe for White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars (originally adapted from Martha Stewart), and couldn’t wait to try them out. They were perfect, and such a nice different treat to bake.

 

I had everything except molasses in my pantry, so I substituted with honey and they turned out just the way I would have expected, however they might be a wee bit richer with molasses. Either way, I’m pretty sure you’ll love with the results, and am betting you’ll want to add them to your gotta-make-each-year list too. They also pack easily, so they’re perfect if you’re getting recipes ready to share this Christmas season! (By the way, with the amount of butter these babies call for I definitely would have figured they were a Paula Deen recipe rather than from Martha Stewart, but apparently butter makes things better for everyone.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never made another recipe that called for this amount of butter, but I’m sure that’s why they’re so good!) 

White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup molasses (I substituted with honey)
  • 10 oz, white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 17x12" baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together butter, brown sugar and white sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time and mix well.
  4. Add in vanilla and molasses (or honey if substituting). Reduce mixing speed to low.
  5. In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire racks.
  8. Enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/12/white-chocolate-gingerbread-bars-2/

 

Do you have a favorite Christmas treat that you love to make? Leave a comment sharing the recipe, and feel free to link to it on your blog or another page and we might sample it here! Here are a few more recipes you may want to try . . .

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How To Make Perfect Peanut Butter Fudge

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fudge

Here’s how to make perfect peanut butter fudge.

You can thank me later. ;)

peanutbutter

Perfect Peanut Butter Fudge
Ingredients
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

peanutbutterfudge

Directions
  1. Grease 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Combine brown sugar, white sugar, butter & evaporated milk in saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring mixture to boiling while stirring constantly.
  4. Once boiling, boil constantly for seven minutes without stirring.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in marshmallow creme until blended in and melted.
  6. Let cool for 15 minutes, then add in peanut butter and vanilla, stir until smooth.
  7. Spread in pan, and let cool.
  8. Cut into squares, and refrigerate to keep firm. YUMMMMMM!

 

desserts

Looking for more special recipes to try this Christmas?  Here are a few of our favorites . . .

Need a little more menu inspiration? go HERE

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Slow Cooker Emergency Chicken Alfredo

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slowcookerchickenalfredo

Okie dokie folks. This is the easiest-ever-don’t-even-think-about-it-meal-when-you-just-really-need-dinner-tonight.

 

Nothing fancy.

 

Just emergency food. ;)

 

In case you’re like me and occasionally have those days too.

 

This Monday (yes, Cyber Monday would be the one), I came down with the all out worst stomach bug I have ever had in my life. 

 

We’re talking, so bad my husband stayed home from work Monday to keep our kids.

 

That bad.

 

(Since my kids were off school Monday, he figured he’d better stay home to make sure I didn’t die under their watch. I think he was really afraid that might  happen.) Thankfully I had a few helpers here to keep up deal hunting a bit, and I posted deals as I could from my laptop in bed.

 

It wasn’t pretty.

 

Tuesday came though, and thankfully I felt oh-so-much-better, but at lunchtime I realized my family would be expecting a meal for dinner that night.

 

I took a look around my pantry, freezer and fridge, noticed I happened to have my emergency-chicken-alfredo-staples on hand, and pulled out Mrs. Potts. (After of course scrubbing an extra time or two because the last thing I wanted was to pass on any germs around here!)

 

Mrs. Potts (again) saved the day. Dinner was served, and my family all loved it. (A tiny miracle around here!) So, if you have one of those oh-my-goodness-what-on-earth-do-I-feed-these-people-for-dinner-again-kind-of-days, this little recipe’s right here for you.

 

You’re welcome. ;)

 

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 1.27.16 PM

Slow Cooker Emergency Chicken (aka Slow Cooked Creamy Chicken Alfredo)
Ingredients
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (can substitute with Healthy Request cream of chicken soup or try out these substitutes here – let me know if they work for you!)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (frozen is fine ~ that’s what I used)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 packet Italian Seasoning mix (can also make your own at home)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • pasta (whatever type your family likes)
Directions
  1. Place chicken, Italian seasoning, water, and soup in slow cooker.
  2. Give it a quick stir, then cook on low 5-6 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before serving, shred chicken and add in cream cheese. Give it another good stir to mix everything well.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Once cream cheese is heated through and everything mixes together, give it one more stir.
  6. Serve chicken and sauce over cooked pasta, top with parmesan cheese and parsley if you want to be fancy.
  7. Enjoy. ;)

 

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 12/3/14):

  • Ronzoni Pasta BOGO $1.58 at Publix, use $1/2 Garden Delight
  • Kroger Pasta $1
  • Campbell’s Condensed Soup $1 at Kroger, use $.40/2 coupon from the 10/12 SmartSource insert
  • Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Frozen) 32 oz $6.79 at Publix or Fresh Publix Greenwise Chicken Breast Antibiotic Free $3.49/lb.
  • Kroger Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 3 lb. bag $7.99 (will vary by region)
  • Kroger Cream Cheese $1.25

 

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

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Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

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slowcookerbroccolicheesesoup2

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!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/11/slow-cooker-broccoli-cheese-soup/

 

 

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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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.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 12.27.57 PM

 

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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Mini Sliders with Secret Sauce

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minisliderssauce

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 . . . 

slider4

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!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/11/mini-sliders-with-secret-sauce/

minislider1

minisliders7
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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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.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 10.37.00 AM

 

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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Apple, Spinach Salad with Warm Vanilla Bean Dressing

 

apple

Note from Laurie – Shannon shared this recipe with me when she got back from her mission trip to Japan and it looks delicious ~ I’m thinking it would such a great salad to have on Thanksgiving (I love that the dressing is served warm), and I’m planning to make this at home tomorrow!

 

This recipe for Spinach Salad with Sweet Vanilla Bean Dressing is soooo good and so easy to make!  I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite recipe I’ve shared here on Passionate Penny Pincher. (Not that I’ve posted all that many, but this one is just amazing!)

 

Laurie can attest that I’m one of the pickiest eaters alive.  I don’t like condiments. (No ketchup. No mustard. No mayo. Nothing.)  I eat all my sandwiches, salads, and everything else plain.

 

On my recent mission trip to Japan we stayed with a sweet missionary couple for two days and I helped our host Susan with dinner preparations.  As one of the side dishes for a meal she made this salad, and while we were making it I realized I actually did like all the ingredients and it was possible I might like it. And I did!

 

After we got home from our trip we had family over to visit and made this salad, and they all loved it too. I’m betting your family will enjoy it as well ~ here’s how to get started . . .

Apple, Grape, Walnut Spinach Salad with Homemade Vanilla Bean Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Add all the top 4 ingredients together for Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 3 apples
  • grapes
  • Walnuts
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of honey
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (can substitute more vanilla or vanilla paste since vanilla bean is so expensive)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Melt butter in saucepan.
  2. Add honey and brown sugar. Stir until melted.
  3. Add a pulp of vanilla bean. (If you're substituting with regular vanilla, skip this step.)
  4. Transfer to blender.
  5. Add vanilla and olive oil. Pulse until combined.
  6. Mix together spinach, grapes, apples, and walnuts in large bowl.
  7. Drizzle vanilla bean dressing over top while still warn - enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/11/apple-spinach-salad-vanilla-bean-dressing/

 

Recipes adapted from Our Vintage Home Love.

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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.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 8.54.53 AM

 

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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Simple Spooky Halloween Treats

spookysnacks

My friend Cathy shared these cute “spooky” snacks on her Facebook page, and I thought they were way too cute (and easy) so I had to share them with you! All you need is pretzel sticks and string cheese for the brooms, apples, peanut butter and marshmallows for the teeth, and mandarin oranges with a sharpie for the jack-o-lantern.

Jack O Lantern Quesadillas

I just loved these (and have all the items in my kitchen to surprise my kids with them after school today too.) You can also have fun making these cute Jack-O-Lantern Quesadillas - such fun simple treats to enjoy this Halloween!

Thanks so much for the smart idea Cathy – I love it! ;)  See more penny pinched recipe ideas over HERE.

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