No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

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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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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

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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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Skinny Zucchini Quiche

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Looking for a light side dish and/or main dish to add to your menu?  You’ve got to try this skinny zucchini quiche!  I was looking for something a little “lighter” to serve while my family was in town, and this worked perfectly.

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I am so. so. SO. glad I made it . . . because it was delicious.

and . . . 

 

it’s good for you too!

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The best part? 

 

Since it’s a meatless meal, not only will you skimp on calories, you’ll also skimp on price without sacrificing taste at all.

 

I love that. 🙂 

 

Here’s how to get started: 

 

Shred zucchini (I used three good sized zucchinis as I was making two quiches.) Since I was pressed for time, I just popped them in my Black & Decker Chopper (I love this thing!)

 

Squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as you can (I used my salad spinner which worked great!)

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Put all the ingredients except the eggs and zucchini in a bowl – then add the zucchini and pour the slightly beaten eggs on top.

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Mix it up until combined and pour that into a greased pie plate and pop it in the oven.

 

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. . . and you’re done!

 

Skinny Zucchini Quiche

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients

  • 10 oz shredded zucchini (about 2 medium sized zucchinis – with as much liquid squeezed out as you can get)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in one large bowl.
  2. Add both cheeses, onions, chives, olive oil and zucchini to the dry mixture.
  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and pour on top of the ingredients.
  4. Mix well and pour into a greased pie plate.
  5. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes and let stand 5 minutes before serving ~ Enjoy!

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

Green Bean Casserole

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3 Ingredient Easter Nests

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You guys …  are you looking for something quick and easy to add to your Easter menu?  These cute nests took just ten minutes to make!!

 

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Here’s what you’ll need . . .

 

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Melt candy coating in the microwave and dump in the chow mein noodles …

 

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Drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper, add Cadbury mini eggs (I love those!)

 

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And use them to decorate your table.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂 

 

Hope your family is enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend!

 

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Easter Nests

  • 1 lb of candy coating (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1 bag of Chow Mein Noodles
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs

Directions:

  1. Microwave the candy melt for 1 minuet.  Stir and melt again in 15 second intervals until completely melted.
  2. Dump the chow mein noodles into the melted chocolate and mix until they are all evenly coated.
  3. Drop the “nests” onto parchment paper using a spoon.
  4. Place two Cadbury mini eggs on top and you are done!

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Whoopie Pie Cake

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Oh my word.

 

You have got to make this cake.

 

It’s got everything you need rolled right up in one perfect cake, and your family will rave about your baking skills. 🙂 

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Start off with a chocolate cake mix (substituting the oil for unsweetened applesauce, and adding an extra egg – I forgot to include a picture of the applesauce in the picture!)

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Now, beat up the whoopie pie filling.  Mix in butter and marshmallow cream until it’s nice and fluffy . . .  then add in the powdered sugar until combined.

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Dump all that whoopie pie filling on the first layer of your cake and spread around evenly.

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Top with your second layer and get ready to make the ganache.

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Ganache is so easy to make ~ don’t let the name fool you (just two ingredients!)  Heat up your half and half on the stove and just before it starts to boil, remove it from the heat.

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Dump in your chocolate chips and stir gently …

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… until they’re all completely melted.

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Spread that perfect ganache all over the cake, and let your friends share what an amazing cook you are.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂 

 

Yummmmmm!

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Whoopie Pie Cake

CAKE
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix (prepared per package directions – subbing unsweetened applesauce for the oil and adding one extra egg)
WHOOPIE PIE FILLING
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
GANACHE
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Whoopie Pie Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray or Grease 2 9×13 pans.
  3. Prepare cake according to package directions, subbing unsweetened applesauce for the oil and adding one extra egg.
  4. Split the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let the cakes cool completely.

Whoopie Pie Filling

  1. Mix the butter and marshmallow fluff together until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Spread the whoopie pie filling on top of one of the cakes. Top this with the other cake.

Whoopie Pie Ganache

  1. In small saucepan bring the half and half to an almost boil.
  2. Quickly remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until smooth.
  3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread evenly over the cake.

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups.

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4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

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Oh my. 

 

I was so excited this week to find a 21 Day Fix recipe that also works in Mrs. Potts.

 

WOO-stinkin’-HOOO!

 

(I know, I know, that’s a little too much excitement, but cooking in Mrs. Potts makes me happy, and there aren’t all that many 21 Day Fix recipes that work well in my crockpot!)

 

But this one does. 

 

It’s simple.

 

(Really simple.)

 

And, you can cook up a ton of chicken breast like I did if you like, bake some for dinner tonight, then leave the rest in the slow cooker to cook a wee bit longer and shred it up for nachos.

 

If you’re 21 day fixin’, you can use the meat for Mexican lettuce wraps or taco salad. You’re welcome. 🙂  

Let’s get started. 

 

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Dump your chicken in Mrs. Potts.

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Pour on some taco seasoning (if you’re doing the 21 Day Fix perfectly, pick up low sodium taco seasoning – this is what I had in my pantry, so I decided to work with it!)

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Pour on a jar of salsa.

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Let Mrs. Potts do the cooking for about 2 hours on high. (Don’t let her cook longer than that or the meat will shred up and you won’t be able to bake it.

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Once meat has cooked, transfer to baking dish.

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Top with some shredded cheese.

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Bake for 15 more minutes . . .

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And top with a little extra salsa.

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Perfection!

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4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from jocooks.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 jar mild salsa (about 2 cups – low sugar salsa is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (low sodium taco seasoning is best on 21 Day Fix)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, Mexican blend

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour the salsa to cover them. Cook between 1½ to 2 hours on high, don’t cook longer because it will start to fall apart.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  3. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease and carefully place the chicken in the dish. Spoon the leftover salsa/sauce (from the slow cooker) over the chicken and sprinkle with the cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until it’s nice and golden brown, and you see the sauce and cheese bubbling.

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Note: I baked all 10 chicken breasts that I had, but only pulled out 4 to bake for dinner. I left the rest in Mrs. Potts to cook for another hour, then shredded it to use for tacos, nachos, and taco salads (I even froze some for a quick dinner in a pinch.) Love that!

21 Day Fix Counts

  • 1 red container
  • 1/2 green container
  • 1 blue container for cheese (use less if you’d rather it count for less!)

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2 Ingredient Apple Chips

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Note from Laurie ~ my friend Cheryl shared this 21 Day Fix approved snack with me, and goodness it looks so good! I haven’t tried them yet, but have some apples in my fridge so I’m hoping to make them for my kids this afternoon. For 21 Day Fix participants, these would count as one purple. 

 

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Slice up two apples (you can use a mandolin, or a knife will do) seeds and all!  I used two apples, one Gala and one Red Delicious as that is what we had on hand.  The Gala was far better than the Red Delicious, so use a sweeter apple.

 

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Sprinkle cinnamon over the slices – I did front and back – but front will be plenty (not too much or they will come out bitter).

 

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Halfway through baking, turn them over (they should look like these, just a little curled).  And, your house will smell delicious!

 

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1-2 hours later you are ready to snack on these crunchy healthy treats. Yum!

 

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Note – depending on how thinly these are sliced they will take less time.  Thicker slices may require 2 hours where thinner slices will be ready in one hour!

 

If you’re trying to determine a decent price on apples to make any apple recipes (like Apple Cake, Apple Dumplings, Skillet Apple Pie, Snickers Apple Saladwhatever), aim to pay less between 60¢-80¢/lb. during the fall season, around 99¢ per pound during the rest of the year. And if you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard (or have a friend who has an apple tree), this is a great time to stock up!

 

 

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2 Ingredient Apple Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet apples
  • cinnamon

Directions

  1. Slice apples thinly (use a mandolin like this one or just use a knife).
  2. Place sliced apples on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon on the slices (you can do front and back but not too much or they will be bitter).
  4. Cook at 225 degrees for 1 hour to 1 and a half hours (depending on how thin the apple slices are) – turning once midway.
  5. Take them out and let them cool and enjoy!

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Looking for a few apple recipes? Here are our favorites:

skilletapplepie

 

 

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21 Day Fix Bruschetta Chicken

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Oh my word. 

This is some must-make-chicken.

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So. so. good. 

And?

It’s good for you too. 

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You’re welcome. 🙂 

One of the sweet girls that joined our 21 Day Fix group shared it from Fit Mom Angel D, and I was honestly so surprised that it was so yummy. (If you’re interested in joining the group, we’ll start a new round in mid-April.) It was absolutely fantastic, and just got added to our regular menu rotation even when we’re not 21-day-fixin’.

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(In fact, my 15 year old got home late from rugby practice and ooh’ed and aah’ed over the leftovers. Success!)

So, pull out your sharpest knife (I’ve heard rave reviews on these), and get ready to chop up some fresh tomatoes. You’ll be so glad you did!

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21 Day Fix Bruschetta Chicken

PRINT RECIPERecipe adapted from Fitmomangelad.

Ingredients

Bruschetta Topping

  • 6 medium roma tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2  1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Parmesan cheese (I used about 1/4 cup – use more or less depending on your personal preference ~ I like the DiGiorno Parmesan cheese or Kroger Private Selection found in the dairy case best)

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Instructions

  1. Mix together bruschetta ingredients in bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Place chicken in gallon bag.
  3. Mix together remaining ingredients for chicken and pour over chicken.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, longer if you have time (overnight is best, but I only had one hour and it was still delicious!)
  5. Let chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 350.
  7. Place chicken in baking dish, discard marinade.
  8. Cook 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. (Can also grill chicken on grill if you prefer, 5  minutes per side.
  9. Serve bruschetta on top of chicken, garnish with a little extra Parmesan if desired. Can also serve over pasta.

21 Day Fix Counts

  • 4 oz chicken toped with 1/2 – 1 cup bruschetta salsa = 1 red, 1/2 green, 1/2 blue, and 1 tsp

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chili

Looking for more 21 Day Fix Recipes? Try out this 21 Day Fix Approved Black Bean Chili. 

 

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