Recipes – Frugal Novice
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Three-Ingredient Fudge: Mini Chef Mondays

It’s an incredibly busy time of year, so I’m pretty excited to bring this super-easy, three-ingredient, five minute fudge recipe to you. It needs to chill, so it’s also a great make-ahead option. We made peppermint white chocolate fudge, but it would be very easy to substitute ingredients for a variety of different flavors.

Three-Ingredient Peppermint White Chocolate Fudge


  • Bag of white chocolate chips
  • Bag of Andes Peppermint pieces
  • Can of sweetened condensed milk


  1. Pour white chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl.
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Creamy & Crunchy Chicken Crescents: Mini Chef Mondays

Oh my word, guys – it’s December. We’re even getting a few cold days here in Texas, and there’s nothing better on a cold day than a nice, warm, comfort food meal – and these creamy & crunchy chicken crescents are just that. We’ve made these for years, but this was the first time E helped me make them – and she loved it! There are lots of opportunities for getting your hands dirty, which kids love.

Here’s the recipe – and don’t forget, as always I’m sharing step-by-step photo instructions so you can make this with your mini chef!

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Lemonade Cake: Mini Chef Mondays

We went to Austin this past week for Thanksgiving, and I thought it’d be fun for my mother-in-law to join in on the Mini Chef Mondays fun.

I started dating my husband back when we were in high school, and one of the first things I can remember my mother-in-law making is lemonade cake. Oh my word, people, this cake was good. It’s been years since she’s made it, though, and we realized that my kids hadn’t ever even tried it. It seemed like the obvious choice for the recipe to share with you today!


It also fit in great with a new book we recently read called Mother Bruce. It’s a fun story about a grumpy bear who loves to cook, and who inadvertently becomes mama to some goslings; there’s a part at the end that includes lemonade, so capping off the story with a treat tie-in was a lot of fun. Find out more about the book here!


Here’s the recipe – and don’t forget, as always, there are step-by-step photo instructions for you to make this cake with your kiddos!

Lemonade Cake


  • Lemon cake mix
  • Lemon jello mix
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil & 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pour lemon jello powder in mixing bowl; then add in the boiling water and mix until the jello is dissolved.
  3. Add the vegetable oil and lemon juice, then mix.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each egg.
  5. Wipe 9×13″ pan down with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, then flour the pan. Pour batter in pan, then bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. While the cake is baking, mix up your glaze – 2 cups powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons lemon juice.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let it set until the glaze has hardened.

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Chewy Chocolate Marshmallow Chex Bars

If you saw my White Chocolate & Cranberry Cobbler Bars recipe post from yesterday, you know that I promised you another great recipe today – and a giveaway, too. Well, I’m here to deliver. These Chewy Chocolate Marshmallow Chex Bars are easy to make and are a nice twist on the typical marshmallow cereal bar. And stay tuned at the end of this post for the giveaway details!

These bars are something I’ve been making for years. In fact, I can distinctly remember having a really stressful week my sophomore year in college and making these bars to treat myself. My kids love chocolate and marshmallows, so I thought these would be a fun treat to make for us all to enjoy. These are great for sending in school lunches, too.


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Cranberry White Chocolate Cobbler Bars: Mini Chef Mondays

Hi, y’all! First off, can you believe Thanksgiving is basically here? Texas even got temps in the 40’s so we can finally feel like it’s fall, and here in my house we are all very ready for Thursday to arrive.

Around this time of year, there are certain ingredients that really come to mind, and the cranberry is one of those. It’s something that’s important to Thanksgiving, but it’s also a flavor that’s prevalent in all sorts of Christmas desserts, too. So this week, to celebrate Thanksgiving and welcome the start of the Christmas season, E and I made cranberry white chocolate cobbler bars. I’ve gotta give credit to my mother-in-law; a conversation with her a few weeks ago about cranberry desserts is what got my mind headed down this path to begin with. Oh – I was going to just call these cranberry white chocolate bars, but Brian said they reminded him of cobbler, so he helped inspire the name.

Y’all, I’m not lying when I say this dish is one of my very favorites everIt’s a perfect blend of sweet and tart, chewy and crunchy. It is amazing and I hope you get lots of opportunities to take it to parties over the next few months, because I promise everyone will love you for it.

As always with Mini Chef Mondays, I’ll share the basic recipe, and then below that you’ll get step-by-step photos if you’d like to make this with your kid chef!

I don’t want to forget to mention this, also: be sure and check back tomorrow for another recipe post AND a really fun giveaway. Now, let’s get on to the food!

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This Delicious 3-Ingredient Appetizer Will be a Party Fave!

Acorn Disclosure

Thanksgiving is next week, but we’re starting the celebration early by having my mom, brother, and sister-in-law over for a pre-Thanksgiving party. Since we know a heavy meal is right around the corner, we’ve opted to keep things lighter and each provide several appetizers to share.

I haven’t had a lot of time to plan what to make, though. It’s been insanely busy at work lately – I’m a graphic designer for three magazines, and it’s right around deadline for all three. Add to that all the busy-ness that comes with being a parent to three kids under 10, and it’s easy to see why it’s hard to invest a lot of time in party prep! I’m sure many of you can relate to this not-enough-time-in-the-day feeling, right?

Because of all I’ve got going on right now, and because easy is always appealing to me, I wanted to find something quick but delicious to contribute, so I decided on this 3-ingredient recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

The idea for this recipe centers around the cheese. I love a good cheese, and when I saw this Boursin® Garlic & Fine Herbs gournay cheese at Walmart I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  I went ahead and picked up some of the monterrey jack & spicy pepper cheese dip, too, thinking it’d provide a completely different flavor profile to have at our gathering. Just a note – these cheeses were in a stand-alone refrigerated display up near the deli counter at our Walmart.


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French Toast Muffins: Mini Chef Mondays

We’re big breakfast lovers in our house, so for this week’s Mini Chef Mondays I decided to do a twist on a classic breakfast with french toast “muffins.” You could modify these to be a breakfast casserole, but I like the idea of something small, and I figured the kids would like it too!

French Toast “Muffins”

“Muffin” Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Pinch of salt

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Melt butter in microwave and mix with brown sugar. Put 1/2 tablespoon in the bottom of each of 24 cupcake liners (greaseproof liners work best!). Fill each liner with bread pieces (not packed tightly).
  2. In a separate bowl, mix milk, eggs, cinnamon, granulated sugar, and salt. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup of this mixture over the top of each liner.
  3. Make the crumble – use two knives or a pastry cutter to mix the butter and other ingredients together, then sprinkle over top of each muffin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees F, or until the tops of the muffins are caramelized and the centers are cooked through.
  5. Optional: You can serve these with syrup, or can make a simple glaze of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk to serve drizzled on top.

Now, if you’re familiar with my Mini Chef Mondays posts, you know what comes next – step-by-step photos to use with your little one!


First, get a loaf of good French bread. We taste-tested our loaf several times to make sure it was high-quality enough. So, although the recipe says to use a whole loaf, we used a loaf minus probably 3 slices total.

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: Mini Chef Mondays

Last week I debuted my first post as part of Mini Chef Mondays, a weekly series I’m co-hosting with 11 other bloggers. Our three-year-old E helped me make Super Easy Salsa (or maybe I should say helped her!)  and it was a lot of fun cooking together. This week I decided to make something sweet, and E quickly volunteered to be my helper again. I love how much fun she has cooking with me. I know we’re making lots of memories, and she learns a lot along the way.

We love peanut butter in our house, so we decided to make double peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the flour.
  4. Add in salt and baking soda, mixing well on medium.
  5. Stir in all the chips.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, put dough evenly on a cookie sheet (I like to line mine with a silicone mat or parchment paper).
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cookies are slightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

And, like last week, here’s a step-by-step photo guide to show your little helper if you’d like to make these with your kiddo(s):


Add the butter and peanut butter to your mixer. We forgot to photograph these first two steps, but I did catch E cleaning off the peanut butter spoon for me – so helpful!

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Super-Easy Salsa: Mini Chef Mondays

I’m really excited to be a part of a great new link up called Mini Chef Mondays. Each Monday I’ll be sharing a post with a fun recipe I’ve done in the kitchen with one or all of my kiddos, and I’m starting off this week with a Super-Easy Salsa recipe that you can create with your own mini chef! Below my recipe be sure and check out my co-hosts’ posts, and share your recipe on our linky!


We LOVE to make salsa in our house, and we love to eat it even more. We never buy it from the store because we know just how easy it is to make it ourselves, and it’s so delicious, too. I have E helping me this week; she’s 3 and she loves to be my sous chef!

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Peanut Butter Cookie Squares

I’ve made peanut butter cookies more times than I can count. They’re one of Brian’s favorite cookies, and the rest of us happen to love them too, so they’re a logical go-to whenever I’m in the mood to bake. I had never really deviated from my standard recipe, until my peanut butter world was rocked with a brownie I tried. It was a peanut butter-chocolate brownie, and it was amazing. And it had hints of – wait for it – cinnamon. Totally unexpected, right? I knew then that I’d have to try incorporating cinnamon into my next batch of peanut butter cookies, and boy am I glad I did. The result is a thick, soft cookie with crispy edges, and a subtle warmth complimenting the salty flavor of the peanut butter.

These peanut butter cookie squares are quick to make because you don’t have to scoop out individual cookies – I just press the dough out into a cookie sheet with raised sides, just like this one. I wanted the cookies to still have a quaint touch, but since making marks with forks would be difficult to do en masse, I pulled out our rocker-style pizza cutter and gently scored the top of the dough, giving it a quilted effect.

Beautiful and delicious. Easy, too.

I shared this recipe on my food blog, but thought it deserved a little love over here, too. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Easy & Delicious Texas Nachos

If you live in Texas, it’s quite likely that you’ve had a classic dish: corn chips topped with chili, and often finished off with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve eaten it – school lunches, football games, youth activities – it’s a go-to meal for Texans, and with good reason. It’s SO good, and so easy to prepare!


When Hormel gave me the opportunity to think of a recipe to represent my state, my mind immediately went to the classic, and it only made sense to embellish the original with a little TexMex flair. We eat Mexican or TexMex food at least twice a week in our family, so it’s a logical conclusion that adding TexMex flavors would provide us with a dish we all love.

I’m calling this recipe Texas Nachos, and y’all, it’s SO easy. And SO delicious. I can’t believe I’ve missed eating these my whole life!

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Crispy Honey Chipotle Lime Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken in our house, and I’m always trying to find new ways to prepare it so we don’t fall into a rut of making the same thing over and over again.

To celebrate Honeycomb Cereal’s 50th anniversary I was sent a box of the cereal and tasked with creating a recipe. You’re probably wondering how that ties in to chicken, aren’t you? I’ll admit, my first thoughts for recipes all centered around dessert (there are some great dessert recipes for Honeycomb cereal on the Post website, by the way), but Brian suggested going savory and then I got to brainstorming.

Honeycomb cereal is made with real honey, so I started thinking about flavor combinations that work well with that, and crispy honey chipotle lime chicken was born.


This a really easy – and flavorful – variation on your typical pan-fried chicken breast. It’s a great mix of sweet and sour with a kick of heat from the chipotle – the best of three worlds.

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