Skinny 7 Layer Dip


You guys.


This is for you.


With Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, I knew I needed to find a yummy appetizer on a skinny-slimmed up diet.
(Still working on the 21 Day Fix over here!)


It’s so simple, pretty penny pinched, and yummy too.


Honestly, the bulk of your calories on a dip come from the chips, so if you can serve it with celery you’ll skip a few calories too.




Skinny 7 Layer Dip

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8 oz container fat-free sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional ~ I did not include cilatro)
1 (1 ounce) packet taco seasoning
5 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cups shredded lettuce or broccoli slaw (I used broccoli slaw to add in a little better veggies)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained
1 cup chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 Roma (plum) tomato, chopped



  • In small bowl, mix sour cream, garlic, cilantro, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce and half of the lemon juice until blended
  • Spread shredded lettuce or broccoli slaw over a 12-inch serving platter.
  • Next layer on black beans
  • Top with can of drained Mexican-style corn
  • Then top with sour cream mixture
  • Layer salsa on top of the sour cream mixture
  • Top with Mexican cheese, black olives, green onions, and tomato.
  • Serve cold with chips.


Super bowlsplurges (1)

Take a look at these 12 lightened up Super Bowl Splurges.


And, if you’re looking for a few more Super Bowl favorites that aren’t quite so healthy, :) here you go . . .

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.

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Chex Mix: Crock Pot vs. Oven?


Has anyone else been curious if Chex Mix worked in the Crock Pot? After seeing a few pins on Pinterest where people used their crock pot, I was too! So, this year when my hubby mixed up his annual big batch, we decided to bake half in the oven and cook the other half in the slow cooker.


Now, y’all know I’m a big fan of Mrs. Potts, but this time it just wasn’t a win for me. We mixed everything up according to our regular recipe, then dumped half in the crockpot and half in our slow cooker.




We cooked the Chex Mix in the slow cooker with the lid on according to several posts I’d seen, and stirred it every 30 minutes. 



The results? 

The oven clearly (overwhelmingly!) won.

The batch made in our slow cooker tasted almost stale, so during the last 30 minutes we took the lid off which seemed to help a bit. However, it just wasn’t as good, and we ended up throwing most of it away.


If you’ve had better luck making Chex Mix in your crock pot I’d love to hear about it, but I’m thinking we’ll stick with the oven from now on. :) 

Homemade Chex Mix


  • 1 box Cheerios
  • 1 box Wheat Chex 
  • 1 box Corn Chex
  • 1 box Rice Chex
  • 2 bags thin pretzels
  • 1 can mixed nuts
  • 1 jar regular peanuts
  • 1 lb. margarine
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or red pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce



  1. Mix together first seven ingredients.
  2. Melt margarine over low heat.  Add worcestershire, tabasco sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and celery salt.
  3. Slowly drizzle margarine mixture over dry ingredients.
  4. Bake at 200-225 for 2 hours, lifting and stirring every 20 minutes.


If you need a little more menu inspiration, visit the Recipe Index, and  join Passionate Penny Pincher on Facebook to keep up with all the meals & deals. And, don’t miss 12 more Christmas Treats you need to make this year!

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4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

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Note – mine turned out very brown ~ I think because of the cinnamon? I did use lemon juice which should have kept it from browning, but added a little more cinnamon than some recipes called for because we love cinnamon at our house. Would love to hear if yours turns out that color or if it’s lighter!


I’m so excited about this! Over the weekend I shared over on Facebook that I was trying my hand at homemade apple sauce, and it worked. I’d tried to make it years ago (but it may have been apple butter that I tried to make? I’m old. I can’t remember. ahem.) But whatever it was, I burned it completely and just about chargrilled Mrs. Potts by baking her in blackened-apple-crusty-this-is-a-disaster-stuff.


But when I found apples for $.59/lb. last week, I decided to try it out again. I was thrilled with how yummy it turned out ~ served warm or cold it’s just the best.


(My family claimed it almost as good as Cracker Barrel ~ high praise around here.) :)


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 $.50-$.80/lb. during the fall season. 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!


Here’s how to get cooking . . .

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 4 Ingredient Homemade Slow Cooker ApplesauceIngredients

  • 4 lbs tart apples, peeled and cored (I use this peeler/corer – it makes this recipe so much easier!)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice



  1. Mix apples, cinnamon, and sugar and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Add water and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on low 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and mashing with a fork depending on how “mashed” you want them to be. My slow cooker cooks very quickly and mine were just about ready at 3 hours, so I turned them to the “warming” option on my slow cooker and let them cook another 2 hours.
  4. Serve warm or cold – yum!




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


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Heath Bar Apple Dip

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This Heath Bar Dip (aka Apple Brickle Dip), is by far one of the easiest recipes to make, and such a yummy treat when apples are in season!  I got it from a cousin at a family gathering, and goodness now it’s one of our family’s favorites. Here’s the recipe so you can try it out too!



  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 bag of Heath Bar toffee bites
  • 4 apples (cut into slices)
  • 2 tbs lemon or lime juice

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  1. Mix first 5 ingredients using mixer.
  2. Chill for an hour.
  3. Toss sliced apples in the lemon juice.
  4. Enjoy!


heath bar dip



If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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The Best Bread Machine Dough Recipe

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breadpinimageThis is the best bread machine bread you will ever eat. 


And it’s easy.


You’re welcome. 😉


I’ve made it for years about once a month, and every time I pull down my bread machine out of the pantry my family gets a wee bit excited. Last week as I was driving my 15 year old home from band practice before dinner I said “Guess what I made?”


“Chicken and dumplings?”




“Italian Beef?”




“Some chocolate chip cookies?”


Seriously kid? Nope – not that either. Homemade bread! I really am the best mom, right?


“Mmmmm . . . yup, you really are the best mom.” 😉


Folks, this kid is a sophomore so I only have a few more years to convince him my cooking is worth coming home for once he scoots off to college. If chocolate chip cookies, homemade bread and chicken and dumplings do it, you can bet we’ll be eating a lot of those for the next few years . . . 


I can’t make it more often than once a month because I have very little self control when it comes to a loaf of warm homemade bread in the kitchen, but when I do it’s just a happy treat for the whole family. It’s so simple to make and takes about 5 minutes of effort ~ so worth it if your family loves homemade bread too!


Bread Machine Dough


  • 1 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey (if you don’t have any you can skip it and it turns out fine)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (can also substitute with half whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast or active dry yeast

Bread Machine Directions

  1. Put ingredients in the order above into bread machine (you don’t need to stir it , just dump it in!)
  2. Set bread machine on dough setting, and let it make the dough for you.
  3. Once dough is made (it takes my machine about 1 1/2 hours to make), remove dough and place in loaf pan.
  4. Let rise for about 30 minutes to an hour if you have time – sometimes when I don’t I just go ahead and bake it and it works out fine.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, and enjoy!

Note – if you’re away from home during the day you can let the bread machine do all the work for you, I just don’t like the weird shape that my bread comes out in when I use the machine so choose to make it on the dough setting and then bake it in a loaf pan.)


If you don’t have a bread machine . . .

First, say a prayer that you’ll find one at a yard sale (I really do love mine ~ and today only Amazon actually has one as it’s Amazon Gold Box Deal for $79, which is a great price while it lasts!)  Then, go over HERE to see Tammy’s step by step instructions on how to make the dough at home – it really isn’t that hard, and she does a fabulous job giving step-by-step instructions! 




If your family loves bread like mine does, try out some Best Ever Cinnamon Bread too.

So. good.



Today only Amazon’s Gold Box Deal is this TFal Bread Machine with excellent reviews, regularly priced at $125+ but $74 today (by far the lowest price it’s ever been at.) Go HERE to check it out if you’ve been considering purchasing a bread machine ~ mine has lasted 18 years and I love it!

 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?)


No Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


  • 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


  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.


Recipe adapted from GimmeSomeOven.


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Simple Spooky Halloween Treats


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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Homemade Uncrustables: Just 19¢ Per Sandwich

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It really is the little things in life that get me oh-so-excited! This week when I saw all the fantastic prices on PB&J at Publix & Kroger, it dawned on me (because I’m so smart? ~ahem~ ) that I should try out making homemade uncrustables.


Seriously folks, why has this taken so long????


I ordered my very own homemade-uncrustable-maker Monday from Amazon, it arrived in my mailbox today, and this afternoon I whipped up exactly 20 PB&J sandwiches all ready to go for school. (School that doesn’t even start for two weeks. I was just too excited to wait.) 😉




I absolutely hate racing around in the morning before school trying to put together sandwiches, but even more than that I hate paying so much for Smuckers to make Uncrustables for me, so this was brilliantB.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T., I’m telling you! Kinda sad that it took 14 years of mommying for me to figure this one out, but I’m going to teach you how to make them too now so that you can be just as smart as me, probably a whole lot sooner.


Ready? 😉


Gather up your ingredients.


Use your Wonder Sandwich Seal’R N’ DeCruster.

Slather some peanut butter in the center part of your bread (not too close to the edges since you’ll lose them – I like to put peanut butter on both sides of the bread so it keeps the sandwiches from getting soggy.)

Plop some jelly on each sandwich and spread it out. (The photo shows too much jelly, I ended up using a little less on each sandwich but was in a hurry taking the pictures!)

Then use the your de-cruster to remove the crusts. (I can’t believe I missed getting a picture of trying it out! Be sure to press down on the outsides only of the de-cruster so you get a nice seal.

Then wrap in plastic bags, foil, or saran wrap, and place in larger freezer bag, being sure to label which type you’ve made if you have picky pb&j eaters like I do. (I have a crunchy-peanut-butter-and-jelly-eater, creamy-peanut-butter-only-eater, and creamy-peanut-butter-and-jelly-eater at home, so I love that I can make all of them at once this way!)

Pop those babies in the freezer, and your lunches are made for school. WOOOOHOOOOO!

(kinda sad, but I really am just that excited about this. I think I’ll say it one more time  . . . WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) 😉


Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week on PB&J so you can get your supplies ready too (as of 7/30/14):


  • Jif Peanut Butter Mega Sale $1.49, use $.50/1 coupon from the 7/13 Red Plum insert
  • Smuckers Jelly $1.99, use $.35/1 coupon from the 6/29 REd Plum insert or $.50/1 coupon from the 7/13 Red Plum insert 
  • Kroger Bread $1



  • Peter Pan Peanut Butter $1.80, use $.25/1 Saving Star, also spend $30 on participating Conagra products, submit for $10 Publix gift card 
  • Smuckers Jelly $1.62, use $.35/1 coupon from the 6/29 REd Plum insert or $.50/1 coupon from the 7/13 Red Plum insert

Winn Dixie


  • Peanut Delight Peanut Butter $1.49
  • Berryhill Grape Jelly $1.59
And don’t forget to get your Wonder Sandwich Seal’R N’ DeCruster too. (Yes, that’s my affiliate link but feel free to go directly to Amazon if you’d rather not use it ~ I was just so pleased with it and so glad it worked as well as I hoped it would!) 😉
Looking for more ways to simplify lunchbox duty? Here you go.

This post is linked up to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday – thanks for the opportunity to link up! Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Corn Dog Muffins

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Corn Dog Muffins

I really (really) wanted to make this recipe to share with you today. I shopped my pantry for all the ingredients, had them right out on the counter (except for the beer ~ I planned to swap that one out with water. . . ), 😉 and had just about pulled down the bread machine from the top shelf.


But then I started thinking that lots of folks might not have a bread machine. Or the energy to put together pretzel hot dogs. Or would just figure that if you’re going to wrap bread around a hot dog you might just as well make a pig-in-a-blanket with some crescent rolls out of the fridge.


So you’re getting these instead. 😉


Please don’t judge the fact that my kids eat corn dogs occasionally. In all reality they love them, and I figure that if you’re heading to the ballpark where you’re going to buy them a corn dog anyways, you can just as easily pop these in the oven and save at least a few calories since they’re not fried. (And did I mention you’d pinch a few pennies too?)


You’re welcome.


In just a few weeks I {hope!} we’ll be all set up in our new kitchen and I’ll be sharing a few 0h-so-fancy recipes that aren’t made completely for folks under the age of 14.  But for now we’re still keeping it simple around here making recipes with what I’ve got in the kitchen. Maybe it’ll help you out too if you’re feeling a little overdone this week!


Note: I made the mistake of putting the hot dogs in on top of the batter ~ I think if you’ll place those in the muffin tins first, you’ll have much prettier muffins! 😉 



Corn Dog Muffins


  • 2 8.5 oz. packages Cornbread Mix (I used Jiffy)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 9 hot dogs cut in chunks


  1. Grease 18 muffin cups.
  2. Mix together cornbread mix and brown sugar in large bowl.
  3. In separate bowl, mix together 2 eggs and milk.
  4. Add milk mixture to corn bread mixture, then stir in cheese.
  5. Place pieces of hot dogs down into muffin cups.
  6. Pour corn bread batter over each cup, about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Cool for five minutes, then serve!

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 5/7/14:)

  • Ball Park Hot Dogs BOGO $3.20 at Publix
  • Sargento Shredded Cheese $2.99 at Publix, use $.70/1 Kroger ecoupon
  • Kroger Bar-S Hot Dogs $1
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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Recipe Ideas For The Big Game

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Planning to watch the big game tomorrow? Here’s a roundup of my favorite recipes your family might enjoy. Have a fantastic Sunday!

 White Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chilil

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

ham and cheese sliders

Best Ever Ham & Cheese Sliders (if you make these up in the morning they’ll be ready in time for the game!)

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders 

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooked Italian Beef Sliders

Mini Meatball Subs

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls

Sassy Chicken Enchilada Dip


Slow Cooker Chicken Nachos


Slow Cooker Beef Nacho Bake

Restaurant Style Nachos


Slow Cooker Warm Chicken Nacho Dip

If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE. 

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