Mini Chef Mondays – Frugal Novice
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Mini Chef Mondays

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Covered Pretzels

This week’s recipe is SO simple but it’s also one of my very favorite treats I’ve ever made, so it seemed perfect to share for Mini Chef Mondays. My kids love these, and think it’s a lot of fun helping me make them.

What is this treat, you ask? Imagine eating a Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patty/Tagalong, and it being even better.

Yup, friends. I’m confidently proclaiming that these are better than Girl Scout cookies.

Peanut butter stuffed, chocolate coated pretzels. SO good.

I mean, chocolate and peanut butter? Amazing. Chocolate and pretzels? SO good. All three together? Perfection.

We were immediately hooked, and I think you will be, too.

The recipe just requires two ingredients:

PeanutButterPretzels

Melt the chocolate almond bark in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Make sure not to overheat the chocolate or it will seize up. You can vary the amount for this recipe easily; I used one square and was able to cover 20 pretzels.

Dip each pretzel into the melted chocolate and place it on wax paper to dry.

Pretzels-Chocolate

Eat. And try not to eat them all in one sitting.

J-Pretzels

Good luck with that.

PeanutButterChocolatePretzels_FrugalNovice

Enjoy!

MiniChefMondays-Bloggers

I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 10 fabulous bloggers! Read how Mini Chef Mondays started, plus how to link up!
Join our facebook group to find even more recipes and share recipes too!

Get featured and follow us too!
  • Pinterest: Each post/recipe linked up will be added to our Mini Chef Mondays board
  • Instagram: Use our hashtag #MiniChefMondays so we can repost your mini chef
  • Twitter: We retweet every post with #MiniChefMondays

Be sure to check out each of their Mini Chef posts as well!

  1. Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark Recipe // Courtney’s Sweets
  2. Ham & Egg Cups // Momma Lew
  3. Yogurt Dipped Frozen Banana on a Stick // Baby Loving Mama
  4. Bacon Egg and Cheese Pretzel Bites // We’re Parents
  5. Tips for Planting a Kids Vegetable Garden // Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke
  6. Pastelillos de Carne (Puerto Rican Meat Turnovers) // Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  7. 18 Mother-Child Bonding Activities // Step Stool Chef
  8. Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bites // Vegging at the Shore
  9. Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteaks // O’Boy! Organic
  10. Chocolate Milk Mini Fudge Pops // Can’t Google Everything


5 Ingredient Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

The recipe I’m sharing with you today has been a favorite in our family for years now. It’s delicious, and it is one of the absolute easiest recipes ever! This chicken pesto pasta salad has always been a hit at parties, so I knew it’d be perfect to make as part of our Easter brunch – and it’s a perfect recipe for little ones to help with, too!

As the title indicates, there are just five ingredients in this recipe. You can make your own pesto, and we have in the past, but there are lots of great pre-made pestos available that are perfect to use in this pasta salad.

PastaSalad-Ingredients

Boil your pasta per instructions. While the pasta is boiling, drain your chicken and pour it into a small sauté pan; cook it on medium low heat for about 5 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces while it cooks. You’re basically just cooking out some of the moisture. If you are weirded out by using canned chicken, you can use a cup of shredded white chicken instead. The canned chicken really works great in this recipe, though, and saves you a ton of time.

Pour your pasta into a big bowl, and then have your chicken and pesto ready.

Chicken-Pasta-Pesto

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White Chocolate Covered Grapes

Hi all! Easter’s right around the corner, and this week’s Mini Chef Monday post has a simple, sweet treat that’s perfect to add to your menu.

We’ve all had chocolate covered strawberries before, and I am sure you’ll agree with me that they’re pretty delicious. These white chocolate covered grapes, though, are something a lot of people haven’t tried before, so they’re a fun surprise to offer. And they’re SO good! The sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly compliments the tart green grapes.

You just need two ingredients: green grapes and either white chocolate or vanilla almond bark (both are delicious)! The almond bark will dry/set much more quickly, so it’s all about preference and the amount of time you’ve got.

Green-Grape

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Lemon Bars With Blackberry Drizzle

Our kids love lemon, so it’s a go-to flavor profile whenever I’m considering what dessert I should make. You might remember us making lemonade cake a while back! Well, this time we decided to make lemon bars with an added treat – blackberry drizzle.

These lemon bars are perfect for spring & summer – they’re light, bright, and cold. They’re easy to whip up, too!

LemonBars-BlackberryDrizzle-SingleBar

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Mini Pizza Pot Pie Recipe

We love pizza in our house – it’s one of the foods that all three kids will actually eat and enjoy, and it’s easy (which means a lot on a weeknight, amIright?)

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have an alternative to an old standby, so we like to make what we call mini pizza pot pies as a fun twist on our typical fave.

I’ve shared this recipe several years ago, but thought it deserved to be resurfaced for Mini Chef Monday because it’s a perfect mini-sized meal for your mini chef to eat and to help make with you!

We made these when we had friends over for dinner one night – they have two kids, too, so it was the perfect dinner choice. My friend Kristi used two sizes of plastic cups to cut out rounds of pizza dough – a larger round went into the bottom of the muffin tin, and we used the smaller one to top it off. This is a great and easy way for you to let your kids help prep – you can cut the dough without any sharp knives needed!

Ragu_CuttingDough

Ragu_MeatSauce_Stove

Another thing that’s great about this recipe is that you can use a variety of combinations to fill the pizzas. You could do ground beef mixed with pasta sauce, spinach, pepperoni, or a mixture of the three, along with shredded mozzarella to add that cheesy goodness.

Ragu_Pizza_Cheese

Ragu_Pizza_IngredientsSauce

Once all the pizzas are filled, top off the dough and fold the tops and bottom together to get a nice seal. Use kitchen shears to snip a small slit in the top and allow steam to escape while baking.

Ragu_Pizzas_ReadyToBake

Bake at 350 degrees until the dough on top is golden brown, let cool for a bit, and they should pop right out of your muffin tin. Don’t they look delicious?

Ragu_Pizzas_Stacked

And each one is filled with all sorts of flavor:

Ragu_Pizza_Inside

Perfect for adults & kiddos alike!

J_Ragu_Pizza

These would be great for grab & go dinners, because it would be incredibly easy to eat these while you’re out and about. They make nice leftovers, too – just pop a couple in your lunch bag and you’re all set at work the next day!

MiniPizzaPotPies-FrugalNovice

Is your mouth watering yet? Here’s the recipe so you can go home and make these tonight:

Ingredients:

  • Pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza dough, either store-bought or homemade
  • Pepperoni
  • Any other ingredients you’d like to add! Red peppers, onions, olives, and mushrooms could all be great additions.

Directions: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a plastic cup, cut out a round of pizza dough to press into the bottom of a well in your muffin tin – there should be a little dough overhanging the edges so you can crimp it with the top layer of dough to seal! Put dough out for as many of the pizzas as you’d like to make.
  3. Fill your pizzas with whatever combinations of ingredients sound best, making sure to include sauce and cheese either in between layers or on the top so you have flavor and so your pizza isn’t dry. Don’t pile your ingredients any higher than the top of the muffin tin.
  4. Use a smaller plastic cup to cut out a smaller round of pizza dough, and place this on top of your creation, and fold the edges from the bottom layer over, pressing to seal the two rounds of dough. Using kitchen shears, snip a small slit in the top of each one to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake your pizzas about 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Enjoy!

As always, I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 11 fabulous bloggers! Read how Mini Chef Mondays started and how to link up!

Be sure to check out each of their Mini Chef posts – and we would love it if you would share your Mini Chef posts ( this can be a kid-friendly recipe, or a recipe you made with your kiddo) with us each week, too!

Follow along socially and join in on the fun by using our hashtag #MiniChefMondays to share creations your mini chef created in the kitchen.

  1. Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe // Courtney’s Sweets
  2. Original Rice Krispies Treats // Momma Lew
  3. Chocolate Dipped Sundae Marshmallows // Baby Loving Mama
  4. Homemade Chicken Meatballs // We’re Parents
  5. Alphabet Snack H is for Hippo // Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke
  6. Peep S’Mores Bites // Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  7. Teach Your Kids to Cook THIS Spring Break // Step Stool Chef
  8. Easy to Make Hamantaschen // Vegging at the Shore
  9. Turn Recipes into Memories with a Keepsake Cookbook // Mom’s Messy Miracles
  10. Whole Wheat Pretzel Bites // O’Boy! Organic
  11. Carrot Cake Dip with Easter Bunny Chips // Can’t Google Everything

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Princess Bread

I’m sure you won’t be shocked to learn that my three year old daughter, E, loves pink and purple. Purple is her very favorite right now, because Sofia the First wears a purple dress, and E thinks Sofia hung the moon.

We incorporate pink & purple into her clothing, her accessories, her bedding, and even her food. Ice cream and suckers are chosen for what color they are, with no thought whatsoever given to flavor. We’ve even made purple waffles for breakfast before, and that gave me the idea to give another food the “princess” treatment – bread!

I call this Princess Bread because it incorporates pink & purple, and because my daughter will instantly love bread that sounds like it’s something Sofia would eat! This is a typical sandwich bread recipe, but you could put strawberry or grape preserves on it for added princess flair. And imagine how fun it’d be to surprise your child with this bread on her sandwich at lunch!

Here’s how to make Princess Bread with step-by-step pics – and the recipe itself will be shared below!

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Super Soft Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maybe it’s because we just had Valentine’s Day, but when I was trying to think what we should make for Mini Chef Monday this week, chocolate was involved in every idea I had. Ultimately, though, I settled on super soft double chocolate chip cookies (try saying that five times fast) because they’re easy to pack in the kids’ lunches throughout the week – and they’re chock full of chocolate flavor.

They’re really easy to make, and E was eager to help as always. The batch we made creates 24 small cookies, but you can easily double this if you want more. I like this smaller batch, because it really doesn’t require much in the way of ingredients. You’re likely to have all of this on hand at any given time, so you can get your chocolate fix at a moment’s notice.

If you need an endorsement for how good these cookies are, they made two boys stop playing Minecraft to come over for a taste!

Kids-Chocolate-Cookies

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Simple & Sweet Tea Party Menu

My daughter, E, is 3 and a half now, and she is all about tea parties. She got a tea set for Christmas, and she makes us all sorts of tea to drink (we’re so British now, right?). I thought it would be fun for this Mini Chef Mondays post to focus on a simple and sweet tea party menu that you could put together for your little girl. It’d be great for a birthday, or for a fun play date with friends.

This menu consists of 5 items – simple!

  • Raspberry Tea
  • Cheese & Cracker Tray
  • Heart-Shaped Sandwiches
  • Dipped Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Mini-Cakes

Most of the items on the menu are pretty quick to put together, but I thought it would be fun to let E in on the fun and bake the chocolate cakes together. We got two adorable baking sets from Handstand Kids – the Deluxe Baking Set and the Cupcake Baking Set – and E was so proud to have her very own kitchen tools to use.

E-HandstandKids-Tools

The kits included measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas, a whisk, silicone cupcake and cake molds, a frosting bag and tips, and more, all in fun hues. They also came with recipe cards, and we used their “Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake” recipe for our tea party.

Recipe-HandstandKids

HandstandKids-MeasuringCup

Vanilla-HandstandKids

HandstandKids_Batter

The batter made enough to have a variety of cake types – we made mini muffins, cupcakes, a mini loaf and a mini bundt. You can serve these plain, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or could add frosting and sprinkles if you’d like to add some color to the table.

BundtCake

Now, on to the other menu items:

  • Raspberry Tea: This is an easy way to make an elevated tea (with a pink hue – win!). Make sweet tea as you normally would (using about 5 tea bags). In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of fresh raspberries and 4 cups of water to a boil until the raspberries start to break down. Run the raspberry mixture through a fine strainer and add the raspberry syrup to the tea; mix well. Pour tea into goblets and add a few fresh raspberries to float in the glass for a pretty presentation.
  • Cheese & Cracker Tray: If you haven’t seen them already, Pepperidge Farms makes adorable butterfly-shaped crackers. Pair these with sliced cheese cut into flower shapes with small cookie cutters, and you’ve got a tray fit for a princess.
  • Heart-Shaped Sandwiches: Continuing the theme of pretty shapes, make small sandwiches with whatever ingredients you prefer (turkey and cheese, chicken salad, etc.), then use a large heart-shaped cookie cutter to add a special touch.
  • Dipped Marshmallows: You’ll need marshmallows, lollipop sticks, candy melts, and sprinkles for this quick and easy treat. Place a stick into each marshmallow, then dip marshmallows into the candy melts and sprinkles. There are a ton of colors available so you can mix and match to your heart’s desire!

And if you’d like to get your little one involved in tea party prep, check out all the kits and gear available for little ones from Handstand Kids!

TeaPartyMenu-FrugalNovice

As always, I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 11 fabulous bloggers! Read how Mini Chef Mondays started and how to link up!

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Be sure to check out each of their Mini Chef posts as well. We would love it if you would share your Mini Chef posts with us each week, too! Follow along socially and join in on the fun by using our hashtag #MiniChefMondays to share creations your mini chef created in the kitchen. Additionally, if you have a kid-friendly recipe that kids can easily recreate, link up! Don’t have a blog? Share the URL of your instagram photo in our linky below.

  1. Chocolate Caramel Apple Nachos // Courtney’s Sweets
  2. Easy Pizza Dough Recipe // Momma Lew
  3. Easy Pumpkin Bread Pudding // Baby Loving Mama
  4. Homemade Bread Bowl Recipe // We’re Parents
  5. Kid Friendly Meal Chicken Nugget Kabobs // Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke
  6. Mango Clementine Banana Smoothie // Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  7. Yummy Dutch Apple Crisp // Step Stool Chef
  8. Riceless Vegetable Sushi // Vegging at the Shore
  9. Chicken Chilaquiles with Eggs // Mom’s Messy Miracles
  10. Apple Pie Taquitos // O’Boy! Organic
  11. Strawberry Blueberry Swirl Fruit Leather // Can’t Google Everything


DIY Macarons: A Step-by-Step Guide

Our kids are kind of obsessed with macarons right now, and to be honest, I am too. They hadn’t even heard of them until a recent episode of the Kids’ Baking Championship on Food Network, where the contestants had to come up with unique macaron flavors. We all watch the show together each week, and that episode had us all talking about what flavor combinations we thought would be best. Our 8 year old mentioned he’d never tried one, so we made it our mission to find a macaron bakery on an upcoming trip to Dallas.

Macaroons! Err…. macarons! Either way, delicious. #yum #macarons #chocolate #instafood

A photo posted by Christi (@frugalnovice) on

We discovered JOY Macarons, and had a field day picking among the many flavors they offered.

JoyMacarons

We bought half a dozen, started sampling, and then went back to buy a dozen more. We were hooked. In fact, while we were still in Dallas I ordered a silicone mat with a macaron template on Amazon so we could make our own macarons at home.

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Carrot Cake Cookies – Sneak in Veggies for Your Kids!

Hi everyone! It’s the first weekend in February, which seems unreal to me – 2016 is already off to a fast start! If you’re still looking for a fun Valentine’s cookie recipe, don’t miss my chocolate & sprinkle coated shortbread cookies I shared a couple of weeks ago. They’re perfect for kids’ parties!

Of course, with it being February I’m also thinking a lot about spring, and so this week for Mini Chef Monday I’m re-sharing a recipe that’s perfect for this time of year – plus it lets you sneak veggies in for your kiddos (my carrot-hating son even ate these cookies) – just don’t tell them what they’re called!

Carrot-Cake-Cookies-MCM

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Sofia the First Cookies

I mentioned earlier this month that we’ve started something new in our house – we’re scheduling dates with each of our kids using this chart. We rotate months so that Brian and I each get one-on-one time with the kids, and we also get time together as a family doing a specific activity.

For January I had a date with J, Brian had a date with C, and E got to pick a family activity for us to all do together. She chose – very specifically, I might add – that we would all make Sofia the First cookies. We don’t own Sofia the First cookie cutters, so we had to get creative. I also wanted to keep things simple, because this has been a busy month for us and I just didn’t have the energy to do anything too time-intensive.

Right off the bat I knew we’d need to make these cookies purple. Sofia’s dress is purple, and E is all about purple right now. We found a great sugar cookie recipe on allrecipes.com and followed it pretty directly, only modifying it to add a bit of purple food coloring.

CookieBatter-Mixing-Sofia

Next, we had to figure out how to make these cookies look Sofia the First-ish. We don’t own princess-themed cookie cutters, but guess what kind of cookie cutters work perfectly for a Sofia theme? Easter cookie cutters! Our set included a rabbit face and profile (who doesn’t love Clover the rabbit on Sofia, right? You’ve got to include him! Blue Ribbon Bunny was a favorite episode of E’s for several weeks), a butterfly (these have been present in many Sofia episodes, specifically Princess Butterfly) and two different flowers (Sofia and friends spend lots of time in the garden – we mentioned Vivian’s enchanted garden at her new castle, seen in All the Sprite Moves and E agreed flowers were perfect to include.

E-SofiaCookies-CookieCutter

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Raspberry Lime Sorbet: Mini Chef Mondays

Hi all! If you saw my post last week, you know we’re already thinking about Valentine’s Day around here. This week’s recipe is another great sweet treat perfect for February 14 – and beyond. I’ve got to give credit for the idea to Brian – when I was brainstorming for this week’s post, he immediately thought raspberry sorbet would be perfect. I decided to add lime in to the mix because I think the two flavors are great together. And this raspberry lime sorbet just has four ingredients!

Sorbet is a perfect dessert to pair with a Valentine’s Day meal, which can often be heavy. It’s light and bright, and this combination of raspberry and lime is sure to wake up your taste buds!

Raspberry Lime Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions:

 

  1. Get out a large pot, and add your raspberries. Be sure you buy more than 4 cups if your little helper plans to eat a few a ton.
  2. Add the sugar, water, and lime juice, then stir.
  3. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the raspberries have softened a bit.
  4. Use your immersion blender to mix everything up until it’s a smooth liquid. If you don’t like seeds, you’ll want to run this mixture through a fine strainer, but we don’t mind them at all, so we keep them in.
  5. Once the mixture has cooled for about 10 minutes, pour it into your ice cream maker and let it run for about 45 minutes.
  6. Let the sorbet set up in the freezer for 3 hours or overnight, then serve!

Step-By-Step Photo Instructions:

Get your raspberries ready – and while I’m thinking of it, if you’ve got a little helper like I do, you might want to get a good step stool for the kitchen. We found ours at IKEA, but there are some on Amazon too that are nice. E loves being up at counter height to help out!

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