(Copy Cat) Betty Crocker Brownies

26 Oct

I found this recipe on Pinterest. I love finding ways to prepare pre-packaged things at home. I didn’t calculate how much it cost to make these, but the recipe says its only 30 cents per mix! We all enjoyed these. They were rich, delicious, and better than store bought. I loved how easy they were to make, with normal pantry ingredients. I made up a few mixes to have on hand in my pantry. To change the recipe up, you can add in peanut butter chips, nuts, or chocolate chips.

Copy Cat Betty Crocker Brownies
source: Fake It Frugal

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Mix all dry ingredients together with a whisk and dump into a zip lock bag. On the bag, add the following instructions:

Add: 2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

copy cat betty crocker brownies

Texas Sheet Cake (freezer friendly)

16 Oct

At nearly every family get together, this cake makes a appearance. I love how rich and delicious it is. It is super simple to make, and I always have the ingredients to make it on hand. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make a substitute. Here is a link on how to do that 🙂
Buttermilk Substitute

Texas Sheet Cake
Source: Jamie Cooks It Up

2 cup flour
2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
8 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla


3/4 cup butter
4 heaping Tb cocoa powder
6 Tb milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Toss with a fork. In a medium-sized saucepan, add 1 cup butter, 8 tablespoons cocoa, and water. Heat and allow butter to melt and all the ingredients to combine. Pour over dry ingredients and beat until smooth with a mixer.

Into a medium-sized mixing cup, measure 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk until egg is incorporated. Pour this mixture into the batter, and mix well.

Spray a large sheet pan (12 x 17) with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Place 3/4 cup butter into a medium-sized saucepan. Add 4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa and 6 tablespoons milk. Heat mixture on stove top. Allow the butter to melt and ingredients to combine; only takes a couple of minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and a dash of salt. Beat until smooth with mixture. Pour icing over warm cake. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

**I haven’t tried to freeze this yet, but the recipe states to wrap tightly in foil. I would also place in a freezer safe ziplock bag.

texas sheet cake

Cheesy Ranch Chicken

6 Oct

This was such an easy meal to put together, and we loved the cheesy ranch flavor. My toddler even liked it, and he is hard to please when it comes to eating meat. I didn’t broil it at the end, like the recipe suggests. I actually forgot to, and it was still delicious. I might try that next time I make it.

Cheesy Ranch Chicken
source: table for seven, adapted from Spark Recipes

1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 to 1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I used grated)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat chicken with ranch dressing. Mix cheeses together. Top chicken with mixed cheeses. Bake uncovered on a greased baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. To crisp up, put broil chicken for a few minutes.

cheesy ranch chicken

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

24 Sep

I thought these cookies were really tasty, and so did my toddler. They were super easy to make, you can’t beat 3 ingredients! They are low fat too. I packaged them in snack size bags and stored them in the freezer. They freeze really well.

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Yummy Healthy Easy

1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and pumpkin. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooking rack.

pumpkin cookies

Baked Ziti {freezer friendly}

7 Sep

We are expecting our second baby, and I have begun stocking my freezer with meals in preparation. I know I will be busy with a toddler and a newborn! I still want my family to enjoy home cooked meals while we transition into this new life 🙂 I have made this recipe twice now, and we all enjoyed it, even my 2 year old. I have 2 9×9 pans of this in the freezer for us to enjoy as well. I haven’t tried any of the frozen ones yet.

Baked Ziti
source: slightly adapted from Six Sisters

1 pound ziti pasta
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars of spaghetti sauce
8 slices of provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook ziti according to package directions; drain. Brown ground beef and onion powder; drain. Add spaghetti sauce to beef and simmer 15 minutes. Spray 2 9×9 inch pans with cooking spray. Layer as follows: 1/4 ziti, 1/4 sauce, 4 slices provolone, 1/2 of sour cream, 1/4 ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 sauce. Top with grated Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.

If you plan on freezing this right away, do not bake first. Cover with 2-3 layers of foil before freezing. When ready to eat, thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. You may need to bake on a pan if ingredients are all the way to the top of the pan, so they don’t bubble out into oven during cooking.

baked ziti

Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos

28 Aug

I have made this recipe 3 times now, and we really like it. It is a great weeknight meal, it comes together really fast. We both love the flavor of ranch dressing, so I knew we would like this recipe. My toddler ate the chicken taco meat and enjoyed it too. I served this on corn taco shells, and it was great. I only had cheese and salsa on hand last time I made it, but it would be great with any of your favorite taco toppings.

Easy Chicken Ranch Tacos
Source: Six Sisters Stuff

3 cups boneless skinless chicken, cut up and cooked
1 package of beef or chicken taco seasoning
1/2 cup ranch dressing
taco shells
shredded cheese, lettuce etc.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add cooked chicken, and warm it for a few minutes. Sprinkle the whole package of taco seasoning over. Do not add any water. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is heated through and taco seasoning is sticking to it. Add ranch dressing and heat an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve in taco shells with desired toppings.

chicken ranch tacos

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken & Homemade Rice-a-Roni

19 Aug

We all liked both of these recipes, and would make them again. I found both of these recipes on Pinterest, and happened to have all the ingredients on hand to make them. The chicken was moist and flavorful, the combo of the cheese and Italian dressing mix matched well with the chicken. I was surprised at how easy it was to make homemade Rice-a-Roni. I served this meal with steamed broccoli, a favorite of my toddler.

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken
Source: Key Ingredient

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package Italian dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the cheese, Italian dressing, and garlic powder together. Moisten the chicken breasts with water, and then coat in the cheese mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Homemade Rice-a-Roni
Source: Rita’s Recipes

1 C white (regular long grain) rice
1/2 C pasta, (spaghetti) broken into small pieces
2 T butter
3 C chicken broth
2 T parsley flakes
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t pepper
1/4 -1/2 t seasoned salt (depending of saltiness of broth)

Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the rice and pasta until golden, stirring often. Stir in all the seasonings, then add the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer covered until the liquid had been absorbed and the rice and pasta are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork a few times. If it is still too wet, let it sit on low with the lid off a few minutes.


American Goulash

4 Aug

I remember my mom making goulash when I was a little girl. I have been looking for a good recipe to try. She never seemed to follow a recipe, just whipped it up on her own. I do better if I have a recipe to follow. I have made the Paula Deen recipe in the past, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. This recipe was delicious! It reminded me of what my mom used to make. My 2 year old kept asking for “more”. I was pretty excited, because he generally doesn’t eat very much meat. I made this twice in 2 weeks we liked it so much 🙂

American Goulash
Source: Slightly adapted from Gonna Want Seconds

2 pounds ground beef
1 large yellow onion (I used onion powder)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water (I added a little more as it was cooking)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

In a large pot, cook meat over medium heat. Cook until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces. Drain grease. Stir in onions and garlic, cooking until onions are translucent.

Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, season salt, and black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Stir in the elbow macaroni, and simmer over low heat until pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and refrigerate if possible overnight. **I served this immediately with Parmesan cheese on top.

American Goulash

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

19 Jul

I have always been a fan of chicken and rice casserole, but I really liked it with the addition of cheddar cheese. We both liked this recipe, the only things I would change next time is adding a little salt, and adding a little more cheese. I served it with steamed broccoli and apple sauce. It takes a little time to cook, so prepare ahead of time. I didn’t realize how long it had to bake for, so we had a really late dinner 🙂

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
Source: Tastes Better From Scratch, adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups uncooked long grain white rice, not minute rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 envelope dry onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Layer rice, 1 cup of cheese, and pepper in bottom of pan. Top with chicken breasts. Spoon cream soup over chicken, spreading to make an even layer. Mix water, chicken broth, and onion soup mix together and pour over casserole. (I picked out the large pieces of dry onion for my onion hating husband). Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, checking after one hour. If water is absorbed before rice and chicken are completely cooked, you can add 1/2 cup water. Remove from oven, add 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

cheesy chicken and rice

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

10 Jul

My two year old loves macaroni and cheese, so I was excited to try this recipe out on him. I’m sure glad I did, he loved it. I thought it was good too. It kind of reminded me of Stouffers frozen macaroni and cheese. I have tried a crockpot macaroni and cheese recipe before, and it didn’t turn out very good. The milk in that recipe curdled in the crockpot. I didn’t have that problem with this recipe, it was smooth and creamy.

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese
Source: Six Sisters, originally from Paula Deen

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste after cooking
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes and drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Heat over medium high heat and stir until the cheese melts. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper in your slow cooker. Add the drained macaroni and stir again. Cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese