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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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:

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Skinny 7 Layer Dip

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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.

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Skinny 7 Layer Dip

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Ingredients:

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

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Directions:

  • 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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

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Directions

  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.

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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!

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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

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Directions

  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!

 

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

4ingredientapplesauce4

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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!

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Ingredients

  • 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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Directions

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

 

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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?”

 

Nope.

 

“Italian Beef?”

 

No.

 

“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!

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Bread Machine Dough

Ingredients

  • 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.)

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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! 

 

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

So. good.

 

CUISINART KNIVE SET (3)

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?)

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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The Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Folks, this is the best spinach and artichoke dip you will ever eat.

 

Promise.

 

So, if you’re planning a summer get together and need an appetizer to share, here’s the one for you. Enjoy!

Hot Spinach, Artichoke & Chile Dip

Ingredients

  1. 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  3. 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
  4. 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  5. 12 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  6. 10 oz box frozen spinach chopped, thawed and drained

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Directions

  1. Mix together softened cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir until mixed together.
  2. Add in Parmesan cheese, drained artichokes, spinach, and chiles.
  3. Pour mixture into baking dish
  4. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips – enjoy!

Note – I doubled the recipe and it made a TON – I used an 8×11 Pyrex dish and there was plenty to serve 25 people. 

Need a little more menu inspiration? Go HERE

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Simple Spooky Halloween Treats

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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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