Mini Chef Mondays – Frugal Novice
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Mini Chef Mondays

Chocolate & Sprinkle-Coated Shortbread Cookies – Mini Chef Mondays

If you’ve walked in Target lately you’ve probably noticed the overabundance of pink in the store right now (which my daughter thinks is perfection, by the way. You can never have too much pink!), and although Valentine’s Day is still over a month away it’s definitely been on my mind. We don’t do a lot for the holiday, but we’ll plan valentines for classmates, something little to do for each of the kids, and Brian and I usually do something small for each other, too.

In thinking about Valentine’s Day, I was brainstorming some fun dessert ideas for the inevitable class parties and thought these chocolate & sprinkle coated shortbread cookies would be really perfect. They’re pretty adorable, they’re delicious, and they’re not messy to eat like cupcakes. They’re also really easy – and fairly quick – to make, which earns HUGE points in my book!

I typically have one of the kiddos help me with my Mini Chef Mondays posts, but this was a very busy weekend and I’ll admit that I made these cookies at about 12:15 this morning. SO, I’ve included a collage of my kiddos with the cookies, because they’ll end up being the primary consumers!



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together.
  2. Add in the salt and mix well.
  3. Mix in the flour until everything is well-combined.
  4. Add water sparingly until your dough starts to come together.
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Roll your dough out to about 1/2″ thick, and use cookie cutters to achieve your desired shape – hearts are perfect for Valentine’s Day!
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until your cookies are golden.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled, dip them in chocolate, adding sprinkles if you’d like!


As always, I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 11 fabulous bloggers!

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. Easy Fruit Salad Recipe for Valentine’s Day // Courtney’s Sweets
  2. Red Velvet Waffles // Momma Lew
  3. Homemade Cherry Banana Ice Cream // Baby Loving Mama
  4. Peanut Butter Cheesecake Overnight Oats // We’re Parents
  5. Chocolate & Sprinkle Coated Shortbread Cookies // Frugal Novice
  6. Best Lactation Cookies Recipe // Eating Richly
  7. Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn // Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  8. Chicken & Broccoli Quesadilla // Step Stool Chef
  9. Farro with Roasted Vegetables // Vegging at the Shore
  10. Chocolate Strawberry Puppy Chow // Mom’s Messy Miracles
  11. Healthy Ambrosia Salad // O’Boy! Organic
  12. Cinnamon Sugar Dessert Preussens // Can’t Google Everything

Spicy Shredded Beef Quesadillas: Mini Chef Mondays

Happy 2016, everyone! I’m writing this on Sunday evening, and am not quite sure how our Monday will go – it’s the first Monday back after two weeks off of school for the kids, and it’s hard getting back into routine. We’re organized, at least, so hopefully we’ll get out the door on time, and with no tears from any of the 5 of us. :)

This week’s Mini Chef Monday recipe is one that uses leftovers, so it piggybacks off of the simplest Crock Pot recipe ever. We modified a Pioneer Woman recipe to make it even easier than Ree’s, and we think it’s pretty great.

Put about 1.5 pounds of stew meat in your Crock Pot, then follow that with a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a carton of beef stock. If the meat isn’t fully covered, add a little water, too. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8. Drain most of the liquid, pull out the peppers, and chop up the meat to serve on sandwiches, over grits, or however you like.

Our leftover recipe uses the meat and gives us spicy shredded beef quesadillas. These are SO good, and also nice and simple. You could dress them up with all sorts of things, of course, but we just have tortillas (buttered, because, um, butter), beef, shredded cheese, and caramelized onions (the sweetness really cuts the spiciness nicely). Cook these in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted and both tortillas are golden and crispy. Sooooo good! Here’s the process step by step:

Butter one side of two tortillas; we do this and then face the buttered sides together so then E can put all the toppings on them while they’re still on the plate rather than over the heat of the stove.



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Mini Chef Mondays – 2015 Posts in Review

Wow, y’all. 2016 is almost here. I can honestly say 2015 has been the fastest year yet for me – it truly flew by! I’m really thankful to have joined up with other great bloggers for Mini Chef Mondays, and to celebrate the end of the year we’re sharing our MCM posts so far. Check back next Monday for more new recipes!

Rice Krispie Treat Presents: Mini Chef Monday

Hi all! Christmas will be here in just four days and I’ve got a fun and easy food project you can do with your little one for the holidays.

Make Rice Krispie Treats, following the recipe on the cereal box. Instead of pouring the treats into a 9×13 pan, pour them into a sheet pan.

Cut six squares of the treats all the same size and form them into a box, pressing the corners to adhere them together.


Fill the box with your recipients’ favorite treat – we went with red & green M&M’s.


The best part of this is letting kids have fun with it. Mine loved tearing it apart and eating pieces with M&M’s!

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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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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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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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