Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Meal Solutions for Turning Leftovers Into New Meals

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 at 3:00 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Meal Solutions - turning leftovers into new meals

Making your budget stretch can be difficult. When you have a family, it’s even harder. But, by getting creative and using some savvy tips, we can keep our budgets in check AND feed our families great meals – with leftovers! Here are some great ideas to stretch your budget for the week during this expensive time of year!

Whether you are cooking for 1 or 2, or for a family of 7, any of these ideas will work for you. This will save you time, money AND hassle of figuring out what’s for dinner! By transforming your leftovers from one meal, you will have to cook less, plan less and spend less, because you’ll be making them into brand new meals!

Keep in mind that in some of these recipes, you’ll simply ignore the “cook” part of the meat, and just re-heat the leftover you have from the night or afternoon before.

You may also like our Meal Planning Tips for Busy Moms + FREE Meal Planning Printable!

Rotisserie Chicken – Chicken Pot Pie – Chicken Salad

leftover meal solutions

Grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store when it’s on sale and you’re in a bind for a quick dinner is a nice, easy solution. When your family can’t finish the entire chicken, don’t waste it! Use the bones and skin to make chicken stock (great for crock pot cooking!) by throwing them in a pot of water with spices, seasonings and any desired vegetables. Boil, then simmer and you have a great stock! Take the leftover meat from the chicken to create 2 more meal options, too.

Meal 1: Rotisserie Chicken w/ Vegetables

Meal 2: Chicken Pot Pies – take all of your leftover chicken to make chicken pot pies with this recipe!

Meal 3: Chicken Salad Sandwiches – Stretch your budget further by using that leftover chicken for lunch! Make chicken salad by shredding up leftover chicken, and mixing it with mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, chopped celery and onions! The chicken pot pie recipe works great as a chicken salad, when you replace the liquid with mayonnaise.


* Fajitas

* Creamy Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

* Chicken Noodle Soup

* Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

* Chicken Lo Mein w/ Broccoli

* Chicken Alfredo Pockets

* Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

* Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

* Chicken Tamale Casserole

* Fort Worth Egg Rolls

(Chicken Pot Pie Photo credit, Chicken Salad Photo credit)


Steak Dinner – Breakfast Hash – Stir Fry

Steak for dinner? If you have leftovers from the kids, or can prepare a little more, you can create a lovely breakfast in the morning AND a fun dinner a couple of days later!Meal 1: Steak & Potatoes

Meal 2: Breakfast Hash – Cut up pieces of the steak, and fry up some leftover potatoes. Throw them in with eggs, cheese, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes or whatever else you want for a morning meal that’s sure to get you going! Even better, if you served your steak the night before with mushroom and onions, this will be awesome in the hash, too!

Meal 3: Host a fun Asian night for your family with a new stir fry recipe! Slice up that leftover steak into strips, add toss it with some frozen vegetables, garlic, orange juice, ginger and whatever else can give it that Asian kick!


* Slow Cooker Steak & Rice

* Grilled Steak Quesadillas

* Beef Stew

* Steak Chili

* Beef Flautas

(Steak Photo credit , Hash Photo credit, Stir Fry Photo credit)


Spaghetti (Ground Beef/Turkey):
Spaghetti Dinner – Stuffed Bell Peppers – Taco Salad

Spaghetti is a quick fix kind of dinner, but if you make a bit extra (sauce and meat), you can turn that into 1 or 2 more meals for the week! Marinara sauce is so practical in a lot of different recipes. In fact, the only different between marinara and a spicier taco sauce is the spices. Add cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and vinegar to marinara and you have transformed your marinara!Meal 1: Spaghetti w/ Meat or MeatballsMeal 2: Stuffed Bell Peppers – take your spaghetti sauce with mixed in meat, add rice, corn, chopped peppers, olives, cheese and whatever else you want to put in your peppers for a quick dinner! Top with cheese, bacon, sour cream or fresh herbs for a nice addition.

Meal 3: Taco Salad – spaghetti sauce & meat are a great start to the makings of Taco Salad! Just add some spices or taco seasoning packets to give it some flare, then toss it around with tomato, avocado, lettuce, tortilla chips, and salsa for a great lunch or dinner in a pinch!


* Beef & Bacon Chili

* Sloppy Joes

* Tacos

* Shepherd’s Pie

* Meatloaf

* Cheesy Beef & Rice Skillet

* Hearty Fall Chili

* Bacon Cheeseburger Soup (don’t sauce all of your meat for this leftover idea)

* Italian Spaghetti Bake

* Spicy Taco Soup

(Bell Pepper Photo credit, Taco Salad Photo credit)


Pork Roast:
Egg Rolls – Pulled Pork w/ Root Beer Sauce Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a great pork roast!? If you happen to have leftovers, or are cooking for just 1 or 2, this is a great meat to make leftover dishes with pizzazz!

Meal 1: Pork Roast w/ Veggies

Meal 2: Egg Rolls – shred up your leftover pork and make egg rolls with this recipe!

Meal 3: Pulled Pork w/ Root Beer Sauce Sandwiches!



* Pork Stroganoff

* Tropical Pork Salad

* Southwest Pork Soup

* Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Enchiladas

* Fully Loaded Pasta Shells (use pork instead of other ingredients)

* Pork Stir Fry – Stir fry w/ diced green bell peppers, chunks of pinapple and quartered onion and tomatoes and then dress w/ a tomato ketchup/soy/splash of pineapple juice mixture. Add a bit of cornflour to thicken and serve with rice.

(Pork Roast Photo credit, Egg Rolls Photo credit, Pulled Pork Photo credit)


Salmon (Fish):
Salmon Cake Breakfast – Salmon Tacos

What’s for dinner? Fish! You can interchange most fish for these salmon dishes, and enjoy wonderful, new ways of eating salmon for dinner, breakfast AND lunch!

Meal 1: Salmon

Meal 2: Salmon Cakes Breakfast – create salmon cakes, then serve with eggs and toast for breakfast in the morning! YUM!

Meal 3: Salmon Tacos – fish tacos are always a hit! Cube and cook the leftover salmon, mixing with spices like cumin and chili powder. Throw in some cilantro, then put it all together on a soft taco shell. Dress it up with veggies of your choice, sour cream, corn, avocado, lemon, salsa, onions and more!



* Salmon Croquettes

* Salmon Corn Chowder

* Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara

* Salmon Salad

What are your favorite leftover solutions? Share in the comments!

Save Time & Money on Your Holiday Baking

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 at 3:20 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

If you are about to start your holiday baking, you know this can mean a hefty grocery bill! Baking at this time of year often involves large quantities or more expensive ingredients, and that can add unnecessary stress to the season.

So before you get ahead of yourself, take into account how much money you have to work with and how to use it best. If you’re making baked goods for lots of people, pick an inexpensive recipe, such as brownies or sugar cookies, and make a large batch that you can divide and present separately. If you stay focused, you can make some great treats and still keep your finances in check. Here are our tips for saving a little $ (and hopefully time) on this fun and festive cooking tradition!

Buy early, buy store brands and store away

The chances of all the items you need for your baking going on sale at the exact moment you need them is unlikely. So if you want to score the best deals, you have to come up with a game plan and get some of your shopping done a little early. For example, butter freezes and thaws very well, so don’t be afraid to stock up when they’re on sale and stow them away in the freezer for later. Other common baking ingredients, such as flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, sugar and molasses, have really long shelf lives, so don’t hesitate to buy them up when they’re on sale. Plus, spreading out the cost of these items over a few months can make the final bill a little more manageable!

Find Multiple Uses for Expensive Ingredients

You don’t want to only use expensive ingredients on one baked good and have the rest go to waste.  So either reconsider making a recipe with an expensive ingredient or try and find multiple recipes that work.  Also, research to find if that ingredient can be frozen and stored for a later recipe.

Use the bulk store to your advantage

Bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club can be huge assets if used right. Many boxed or pre-baked products have high prices and aren’t worth your time, but if you stick to the bulked goods and keep an eye out for sales, you can get some fantastic deals. One of my favorite items I always get there for my holiday baking are nuts.  They are usually much cheaper than the grocery store and can definitely be stored in the freezer for use throughout the whole year.

Use what you already have

It can be tempting to try out a whole bunch of different recipes for the holidays. And though there’s certainly nothing wrong with adding some new items to your collection, picking several creations that will need a variety of different tools and ingredients will be tough on your bank account. To save a little money, look for recipes that make use of the devices and ingredients you already have.

Bake from scratch 

Rather than starting with an expensive mix or refrigerated cookie dough, find recipes to bake from scratch.  They really don’t take much extra time, cost less to create and can be a fun family activity. Plus, then you know all the ingredients that are in your treats and can alter them to fit your particular tastes.

Host a Cookie/Holiday Goody Exchange

This is one of my favorite holiday traditions and can really be one of the best ways to save time and money in the kitchen. Rather than buy ingredients for 20 different kinds of cookies or holiday goodies, consider starting a holiday exchange with a group of friends. You can make just one particular recipe that you bake in bulk and really capitalize on whatever sale items you can score. But by the end of the exchange party, you’ll go home with a nice assortment of cookies for the holidays without all the effort! 🙂

5 New & Unique Christmas Cookie Recipes

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Sunday, December 17th, 2017 at 4:00 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Even though tradition is a big part of the holidays, sometimes it is nice to mix it up and try something new! I usually bake about 8-10 cookie recipes during the Christmas season and most of them are the tried and true classics like sugar cookies, snickerdoodles and gingerbread men. But a few years ago, I started the idea of adding one new and unique recipe to my repertoire and now that has become a family tradition that my family eagerly awaits!

So here are 5 recipes that I have baked before that could easily become a classic in your house!

Smores Cookies~ You have to try this wintry one-bite take on the s’more. The thin, crunchy graham rounds are topped with gooey chocolate ganache and a spiraling pillow of browned marshmallow.

Eggnog Cookies~ A soft, cakey cookie made with eggnog, topped with eggnog frosting.

Milk Chocolate Chip Maple Syrup Glazed Bacon Cookies~ These will blow you away if you are a salty sweet fan! Bacon is not-so-secret ingredient in these smoky cookies, but its the maple syrup that adds a just-right amount of sweetness that really takes them to the next level.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel~ A blend of coconut and salt caramels combines in these delicious cookies for just the right amount of sweet and simple.

Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies~ Cocoa powder, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper make for an aromatic and comforting combination.

Signature Mini Meals (in ONE Muffin Pan) + 21 Meal Suggestions

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Sunday, November 26th, 2017 at 3:00 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Here’s a fun idea for kid-friendly meals that will also help you get rid of some leftovers!  If you missed our tips on using leftovers, head over here to check it out!  You’ll be able to get creative with this recipe idea, and even be able to make several mini meals in one muffin pan – all different to suit your family’s tastes!  Picky eaters in the family?  This allows you to customize each meal, and cater to those with specific requirements for theirs.  These are also great for on-the-go meals, quick lunches and road trip snacks.

Grab my favorite muffin pan HERE.

For a base, use this recipe:

* 1/2 cup Bisquick

* 1/2 cup milk 

* 2 eggs

Mix together and put about 1 tablespoon in each muffin cup, and if you choose to, add another tablespoon to the top of your mixtures (listed below)!  Use a spatula to spread the mixture around in each cup to coat the sides.  Alternatively, you can use plain pancake mix, and forgo the milk and egg.  Another idea is to use cornbread mix – just follow the package directions, and put them in each cup.

Now comes the fun!  You’ll fill the cups the rest of the way up with leftover chicken and veggies, steak shreds, shrimp or whatever else you have laying around or need to eat up before it expires.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.  Even better, you’ll be able to freeze these in freezer bags, take them for lunches and re-heat in the microwave!  Sprinkle your favorite seasoning on top for an extra bit of flavoring, before popping into the oven.


1. BBQ chicken + cream cheese: throw on a dollop of sour cream when it’s done cooking, and you have a delicious and unique little meal!

2.  Ground Beef (leftover taco meat) and mashed potatoes:  this makes for some sweet mini meat loaf or shepherds pies!

3.  Egg & mashed potatoes:  like getting hash browns, a muffin and egg all in one little cup!

4.  Veggies:  broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and grilled bell peppers make for this awesome veggie cup!

5.  Broccoli, Chicken & Cheese:  a mini casserole in the perfect size!  You can also see a great recipe for Broccoli Chicken Casserole HERE!

6.  Chili:  leftover homemade chili (get a recipe HERE for Beef & Bacon chili!), topped with diced onions, all cozy inside it’s own little batter cup!

Here are 15 more ideas:


Create your base (recipe above), then add some marinara sauce, cheese, onions, pepperoni, olives and pineapple!  Kids can pick their toppings and make their very own mini pizza cups!


Use leftover chicken and either shred or cut into chunks.  Pour about 2 tablespoons of alfredo sauce over it for a quick and easy chicken alfredo, in the perfect size portion!


A beef & broccoli pot pie!?  Mmmmm….Top your cups up with some beef and broccoli florets, then drizzle soy sauce or teriyaki over it!  If you have sesame seeds, that would make for a fun and decorative topper!


Take your Thanksgiving meal and make tiny muffin cup servings!  Pour in your base (recipe above), then add a few chunks of turkey, about a 1/2 tablespoon of stuffing and 1/2 tablespoon of mashed potatoes.  Drizzle with gravy when you pull it out of the oven!


Ground beef, ketchup and cheese over your base will create mini cheeseburger cups!  You could add steak sauce, diced onions , relish or whatever else you would normally put on your burger!


Use:  shredded, leftover chicken and top with Rotel, cheese, olives, jalapenos and hot sauce!


Add leftover chicken and ham pieces to your base mixture in the cups.  Place pieces or shreds of swiss cheese over them, sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, then top with more base mixture OR with bread crumbs (crushed croutons work well)!


Throw together some of your favorite vegetables, then sprinkle with pepper, lemon, marinades, balsamic vinegar or any other delicious topping you can think of for a fun veggie cup!


Mix together leftover ground beef, Ranch Style Beans, onion dices and tomato sauce.  Add cheese or seasonings as desired to have some mini chili cups!  Top with the base to have chili pies!


Take crumbled Italian sausage and mix with mushrooms, egg, leftover mashed potatoes and ricotta cheese.  Put about 2 tablespoons on top of your base, then layer with spinach!  You’ll have a unique and flavorful mini meal!


Use leftover taco meat from last night’s meal.  Add to your base, then top with cheese, tomatoes, avocado and seasonings.  These would be nice to re-heat for lunch the next day, or freeze for another meal later in the week!  Once heated, you can top with cold lettuce and sour cream!


If you had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, consider using your leftovers to create fun little meatball cups!  Place a meatball in on the base, then pour on a flavorful combination of tomato sauce and italian spices.  Sprinkle with shredded swiss or parmesan cheese.


Place small pieces of leftover pot roast, potatoes, onions & carrots into each cup with the base.  Pour in some beef broth, cover with more base and ta-da!  You have portable pot roast cups!!


Create your base, then crack an egg into the cup.  sprinkle in bits of bacon, cheese and any spices you like!  You could also mix the egg with milk and onion powder, and scramble, before pouring into the cup.  Brush on some maple syrup around the base before adding other ingredients to really kick this breakfast into high gear!


Use uncooked broccoli florets and mix with a bit of cream cheese, swiss cheese, diced mushrooms and onions, then put 2 spoonfuls into each base-lined cup!

Get more recipes HERE!

More ways to save in the kitchen:

Chipotle’s Guacamole Recipe~ Perfect For Game Day!

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Saturday, October 21st, 2017 at 3:40 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

chipotle guacamoleHere is a no-fail recipe to chow down on while watching your favorite team! And you will never go back to pre-made guac once you try this:


2 ripe Hass avocados
2 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
1/2 jalapeño, including seeds (finely chopped)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

How to make it:

1. Choose the right avocado. It should feel squishy yet firm (like the palm of your hand), and be a nice dark green color on the inside.
2. Cut the avocado in half and the remove the pit (carefully!)
3. Scoop the avocados and place in a medium bowl.
4. Toss and coat with lime juice.
5. Add the salt and using a fork or potato masher, mash until a smooth consistency is achieved.
6. Fold in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
7. Taste the guacamole (over and over) and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Thanks, Chipolte!

30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Thursday, October 12th, 2017 at 2:20 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews

Soups, Chilis and Stews to Warm Your Belly!

Fall is here! The mornings are getting colder, and the days are getting shorter. One of the best things about fall is all of the dishes that are inspired but the changing weather. Dust off that old crock pot and try out these 30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews. These are sure to keep your belly full and your heart happy.

What is YOUR favorite fall weather recipe?

Get more recipes HERE!

More ways to save in the kitchen:

Cheesecake Trifles Recipe – 3 Ingredients, 5 Minutes!

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 2:40 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!


Need a quick, delicious dessert in a hurry?  This Cheesecake Trifle recipe has only 3 ingredients: Jell-O, Cool Whip & graham crackers.  Make the Pudding ahead of time, for faster assembly.  In about 5 minutes, you’ll have a super sweet, cheesecake trifle that’s not only inexpensive, it’s delicious!  Add some chocolate syrup or cherries on top to really give it some extra flavor.  This cheesecake trifle recipe is so easy, you’ll find yourself making it over and over!

This recipe will create 4 small trifles, with a bit leftover.  Adjust accordingly.  *NOTE:  you can either make these with the pudding softer, or more of a thicker consistency.  If you want the pudding thicker, put it in the fridge for about an hour to chill.

1 package Cheesecake flavored Jell-O Pudding Mix (3.4 oz box)
2 cups cold milk
Cool Whip
Graham Crackers (crushed)

Grab a small glass.  These Ozeri Double Wall Glasses  are my favorite for individual desserts. Place crushed & crumbled graham crackers in the bottom.  Top with about 2 spoonfuls of pudding, then top pudding with about 2 tablespoons Cool Whip.  Place crumbled graham cracker on top, then continue to layer until the glass is full.  Sprinkle graham cracker on top, as the last layer. ENJOY!

Cheesecake Trifles recipe


20 Easy Casserole Recipes to Make This Season

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Monday, September 11th, 2017 at 11:00 AM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!


With the weather changing, there is nothing more hearty that a belly warming casserole. There are so many possibilities when it comes to making a casserole. Simply take a protein, add some veggies, a filler and top with your favorite cheese and voila! We love to make casseroles, sometimes something very simple and other times an extravagant casserole. Here are our favorite 20 casserole recipes:

20 Easy Casserole Recipes

*Chicken Tamale Casserole Recipe

*Black Bean & Chicken Enchilada Casserole

*Corn Tortilla Chicken Enchilada Casserole

*Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

*Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

*Crock Pot Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

*Copycat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

*Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole

*Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

*Crock Pot Western Beef Casserole

*Meatball Sub Casserole

*Crock Pot Beefy Ranch Potato Casserole

*Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole

*Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

*Teriyaki Chicken and Rice Casserole

*Chicken and Spinach Pasta Casserole

*Ravioli Casserole

*Skillet Pizza Pasta Casserole

*Ground Beef Casserole

Which one of these do YOU like the most?



Thrifty Tips

September Deals: What to Expect to Find on Sale
Meal Solutions for Turning Leftovers Into New Meals
Choosing Quality Fruits and Vegetables at the Grocery Store
What Foods Can You Freeze? Save Time & Money
Top 10 What to Buy During End of Summer Sales
80 Non-Toxic DIY Cleaners
10 Uses for Muffin Pans
10 Items Worth Buying at the Dollar Store
Signature Mini Meals + 21 Meal Suggestions

+ More!

30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews

Posted by My Dallas Mommy on Friday, October 14th, 2016 at 6:30 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews

Soups, Chilis and Stews to Warm Your Belly!

Fall is here! The mornings are getting colder, and the days are getting shorter. One of the best things about fall is all of the dishes that are inspired but the changing weather. Dust off that old crock pot and try out these 30 Fall Weather Soups, Chilis & Stews. These are sure to keep your belly full and your heart happy.

What is YOUR favorite fall weather recipe?

Get more recipes HERE!

More ways to save in the kitchen: