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Kids Eat Free at Denny’s!

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This post is part of a compensated ambassadorship with Denny’s. All opinions are honest and are my own.

As you can tell by the name of my blog, I like to save money. I’m sure most of you do, too. And if you’re like us, eating out can be one of those things that very quickly adds up and drains a large chunk of your food budget for the month. I know for us, with three kids, the total for a dinner bill can be astounding sometimes.

Fear not, friends. You can eat out – with the whole family – and still live to tell the tale.

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Yep, you read that right. Denny’s offers free kids meals – usually on Tuesdays, but check your local Denny’s to find out when it’s available near you. Our location offers this twice a week – Tuesdays & Saturdays.

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Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

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Y’all. I love thumbprint cookies. Love them. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe here until now! This is another recipe that was originally on my food blog and I’m excited to finally be sharing it on Frugal Novice, too.

When I was pregnant with E, I craved three things: bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-stuffed jalapeños, beef (steak, brisket, burgers, you name it and I craved it), and thumbprint cookies.

Since I had gestational diabetes, though, I had to really watch my sugar intake, so that meant virtually no cookies throughout my pregnancy. Insert frowny face.

I apparently talked a lot about thumbprint cookie withdrawal, because after E was born I had several friends and family members that brought me boxes of them from a favorite local bakery. If that’s not a sign I am surrounded by amazing people, I don’t know what is.

I decided that since thumbprint cookies rank up so high on my favorite cookie list I really ought to work on figuring out how to make them at home.

To me, chocolate is the perfect balance to the mild flavor of thumbprints, so I paired an extra-chocolaty buttercream with the cookies. C, our five-year-old, declared that they definitely needed sprinkles. Of course they did! Genius.

What you end up with is a light, crunchy cookie and a sweet, center. A perfect, colorful cookie combo that can’t help but make you smile.

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Quick & Easy (& Healthy!) Meal Ideas

We love to eat dinner together around the dining table as a family, but sometimes it can be really hard to make it happen. In an effort to do this more often than not, we’ve realized we need to find meals that are realistic to make on a busy evening. It can be easy to think we’re stuck with cereal or salads night after night, but there are a lot of options for dinner that won’t cause you to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. Check out these great meal ideas:

Check out Meals Easier (and Healthier) Than Boxed Mac and Cheese

by Tend Editor at Mode

Red, White & Bacon

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I’m a Denny’s ambassador, and this post is a part of that compensated partnership. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With summer right around us, we’ve got several patriotic holidays coming up – Memorial Day in May, and of course Independence Day in July. To top that off, Independence Day: Resurgence will be in theatres June 24, and Denny’s is celebrating with a limited-time menu full of red, white and blue bacon dishes you’ll definitely want to try.

“Our ‘Red, White & Bacon’ menu is a tasty tribute to an all-American favorite with new, modern flavors and higher-quality ingredients to take our bacon celebration to the next level,” said John Dillon (@DillonJohnW on Twitter), chief marketing officer for Denny’s. “The renewal of this delicious diner staple goes hand-in-hand with the return of another Denny’s classic – the ‘Red, White & Blue Slam®’– brought back in celebration of ‘Independence Day: Resurgence,’ hitting theaters this summer. Stop by and salute these two favorites to satisfy your ultimate bacon cravings!”

I don’t know about you, but in our house bacon is an ingredient that reigns supreme, so we get pretty excited about a menu in which it’s celebrated. And it’s not just bacon, folks… they’ve got new thick-cut Honey Jalapeño Bacon, a sweet and spicy upgrade sure to make bacon lovers rejoice.

Check out the items on this great limited-time menu, and be sure to stop in to try them before they’re gone:

  • Red, White & Blue Slam® – As bacon makes it ultimate return to the menu, Denny’s is bringing back another classic to celebrate “Independence Day: Resurgence.” This all-American dish features two buttermilk pancakes made with blueberries, topped with sliced fresh strawberries, cream cheese icing and whipped cream, served with two eggs cooked to order, hash browns and a choice of two bacon strips or sausage links. This is shown in the photo at the top of this post – it looks delicious, doesn’t it?
  • New Honey Jalapeño Bacon Slam® – Try this sweet and spicy take on a Denny’s favorite with two strips of the finest honey jalapeño bacon, two eggs cooked to order, two pancakes and hash browns.
    Honey Jalepeno Bacon Slam

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Three 20-Minute, Family-Friendly Meals

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We are almost always busy in our house, and I’m sure many of you can relate. Because of this, we’re always on the lookout for quick, healthy, and delicious meals our whole family can enjoy even on the busiest of nights. PastaFits has graciously given me three 20-minute meal recipes to share with you today that I can’t wait to try!

Easy Campanelle

Easy Campanelle with Greens and Pancetta

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. campanelle
  • 8 oz. mustard greens, tough stems removed, roughly torn or chopped
  • 6 oz. pancetta, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup/1 oz. sliced garlic
  • 4 tsp./~½ oz. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp./1 oz. toasted pine nuts

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the campanelle according to package directions. Two minutes before its ready, add the mustard greens. Cook for the last two minutes. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the meat is golden and crisp. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic and starting to brown.
  3. Toss with the reserved pasta and mustard greens. Heat through and drizzle with lemon juice. Divide between 4 bowls and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Reinvented Beef Stroganoff

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Chicken Tacos with Spicy Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

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In doing our menu planning for the week, Brian and I were reminded of a favorite recipe that we haven’t made in a while – chicken tacos with spicy avocado tomatillo sauce. I added it to our menu for the week, and decided it was perfect timing to share with you, too.

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We make tacos quite a bit in our house, but we can tend to fall into a rut of ground beef, shredded cheddar and lettuce. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the classic taco fare, but we’re starting to have more and more fun coming up with a variety of taco fillings – and this chicken taco with avocado tomatillo sauce is a winner. It is so, so good.

How good, you ask? The kids complimented me on the chicken. They ate the chicken without complaining. At all. 

I know, I know – now you understand how amazing this recipe is.

It’s pretty, too, isn’t it?

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Six Delicious Pancake Recipes With 5 Ingredients or Less

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We eat a lot of pancakes in our house (largely because it’s something all three of my kids will actually eat!). Saturday morning pancake breakfasts are a tradition we’ve all come to love, and maybe your family is the same way. As much as we love our standard pancakes, though, it’d be nice to upgrade our breakfasts to something a little more special. And thanks to my friends over at FamilyFun magazine, I have six great pancake recipes to share with you – and none of them use more than 5 ingredients. Just take your standard dry pancake mix (our favorite is this Kerbey Lane buttermilk mix) and cook the pancakes as you normally would after you’ve added the extra ingredients listed for the recipe you choose.

Easy and delicious? Love it!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT-BUTTER CHIP

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • ? cup peanut-butter chips
  • Water

RED VELVET

  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp. red food coloring
  • water

Red Velvet Pancakes

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How to Cook Steak Like a Pro

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I love a good steak. When I was pregnant with our youngest, I started craving beef like I never had before, and it stuck with me. One of my favorite meals to get when we’re out is a lean sirloin with mashed potatoes & roasted veggies. SO good! Or if I’m really treating myself, filet mignon is just the best.

However.

I have no clue how to cook a steak.

I love to cook, and consider myself a good cook, except when it comes to steak.

So I was pretty thrilled to discover this – and I’m hoping it can help me learn to cook steak and be proud of the finished product. And not just that, folks – you can take cheaper cuts of steak and make them taste downright delicious. I’m on board!

Check out How to Make a Cheap Steak Taste Fancy

by Foodie Editor at Mode

Hope this is helpful to you, too – you’ll be impressing your significant other in no time!

Homemade Pesto Ravioli

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Ahh, ravioli. If you read my recent post about our basil fettuccine recipe, you know we love making pasta. That’s probably our favorite, but we like to venture out into trying other recipes, too. The fettuccine was originally shared on my old food blog, as was the ravioli I’m sharing with you here today.

My favorite ravioli has always been four cheese. I mean, combining cheese and pasta – two amazingly delicious things – is pretty much the pinnacle of flavor, right?

Well, we figured out a way to top that.

Pesto.

Yes, my friends, that’s right. Forget spooning pesto on top of the pasta.

That’s for amateurs.

We put the pesto right in the filling.

And it. is. fabulous.

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Spreading More Cheer with Betty Crocker! {$20 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

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If you saw my post the other day, you learned about a fun way to spread cheer to friends and neighbors – Betty Crocker’s #SpreadCheer printables are a great motivator to do something simple and sweet that will really make a difference in somebody’s day. We made our cookies on a school night – it’s that easy! We used the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix and rolled the dough in Christmas-colored sprinkles before baking, then packaged them up cute and left them on our neighbor’s doorstep with instructions on how they could keep the chain going by sending cookies to someone they care about!

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There’s a giveaway in that post for a $20 Target gift card; and guess what? I’m getting to spread even more cheer with another giveaway! This time I’m giving away a $20 Visa gift card so you can get everything you need to make some cookies and package them up to share with your friends and neighbors.

It’s super easy to enter! Here’s how:

You can do one of the following social media shares, and then comment on this post with the link to your share:

  • Post the following message on your Facebook page, making sure that it’s set to public, and that you’re tagging @Frugal Novice and @Betty Crocker:
    “I learned about a great way to #SpreadCheer from Frugal Novice and Betty Crocker! http://frugalnovice.com/2015/12/spread-cheer-with-betty-crocker-this-christmas/”
  • Tweet this message:
    “Try this great way to  from  and     
  • Post my sprinkle cookie picture (found at http://instagram.com/FrugalNovice) on Instagram, with this text:
    “I learned about a great way to #SpreadCheer from @FrugalNovice and @BettyCrocker! Find out more on the Frugal Novice blog (link in their profile). #cookies #cheer #Christmas #holidays #baking”

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm Central on December 28, 2015. 

Spread Cheer with Betty Crocker this Christmas!

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We’re in the midst of the Christmas season, and I’ve been trying to brainstorm about what to do for our neighbors. They’re great – always happy to keep an eye on our house when we go out of town, and just all-around good people.

We decided it’d be fun to spread a little holiday cheer to them by making some cookies to surprise them with. Betty Crocker inspired the idea with their free gift tags and info sheets about how to participate in continuing on with spreading the fun to others.

It’s a busy time of year, though, and we knew there’d never be a perfect time to work on cookies. Then I remembered how quick & convenient the Betty Crocker cookie mixes are, so we knew we could make some great cookies even on a busy weeknight. We ran over to H-E-B to pick up the mixes and the few other things we’d need.

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We decided to make sugar cookies, and besides the mix we only needed two other ingredients – a stick of butter (melted) and one egg. SO easy, and stuff we already had on hand in the fridge.

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#BEFlavorFull with Birds Eye Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes

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As I was cooking our Birds Eye potatoes to go with dinner the other night, our middle child, C, came into the kitchen. “Mom, it smells good in here. It smells like those potato chips I love!” he said. “You’re right!” I told him. “These potatoes are sour cream & onion, and I bet you’re going to love them!”

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids excited about veggies, look no further than Birds Eye Flavor Full frozen veggies. They have a great variety of options available, all with powerful flavor profiles that make the veggies a fun addition to any meal. The current options available are:

And in some areas (including mine), you can find these, too:

  • Sweet Chili Carrots
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Fiesta Lime Corn

 

I love the Flavor Full veggies too because they’re so easy. We served these on a very busy evening, and all we had to do was put the bag in the microwave. You can’t really beat that! We served the potatoes up with some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, and our kids pretty much thought it was the best meal ever.

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With Birds Eye Flavor Full veggies, it’s now easy to serve your family vegetables every day of the week. The unique and delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn.

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Harvested and flash-frozen at their peak freshness, Birds Eye uses only the highest quality vegetables for all its products. From pure and simple vegetables, to mixed medleys, to easy-to-prepare vegetables in sauce, any cook can have a host of nutritious menu options just minutes away.

Brian-Potatoes

 

Right now (through the end of this year) you can get a $1.00 off ocoupon for Birds Eye Flavor Full veggies! Just click here to download the coupon and you’ll be on your way to an easy, delicious, flavor full dinner your kids will love.