Valentine’s Day Mini Ombre Cakes Recipe

Looking for a fun dessert you can make for Valentine’s Day? If so – try these mini Ombre cakes.

They are cute from the outside, and when you cut through them you’ll reveal a surprise:

different colored mini layers of cake! While these may look fancy, the good news is that they require easy to find, inexpensive ingredients and equipment.

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Boxed Yellow Cake mix (Duncan Hines was used for today’s recipe)
  • Ingredients for the cake mix (Duncan Hines is: 3 eggs, 1/3 C oil, 1 C water)
  • Red food coloring
  • Pink food coloring
  • Round cookie cutter
  • 2 sheet pans/cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooking spray

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, you’ll also need: 

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs milk
  • Red food coloring
  • Pink food coloring

Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.

Line pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Prepare cake mix according to box and divide the batter evenly into 4 bowls. (3 bowls plus the one you mixed in is fine.)

Leave one the way it is, and color the remaining 3 different tints of pink and red.

The Best Freezer Waffle Recipe Ever


I sometimes get the urge to make a whole mess of pancakes or waffles on a lazy Saturday morning. I happen to have had a bit of buttermilk in my fridge, so I decided to peruse for a great buttermilk waffle recipe.

I’m happy to say, I found one! In fact, these waffles were so good I decided to make them again, this time doubling the recipe so I could freeze them.

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I’m going to warn you though – while this recipe is simple to follow, there are definite steps you will need to follow. Don’t skip them! They result in what I think has got to be the absolute best waffle batter I’ve ever worked with.

Mini Calzone Recipe (Easy, Kid-Friendly Lunch Idea)

Mini Calzones Recipe: Easy, Portable Back to School Lunch idea (and freezer friendly!)

Mini Calzones Recipe

Have you ever come up with an idea so simple, it’s just genius? I don’t mean to gloat – but that’s basically what you’re about to encounter here with today’s recipe.

Not only are these calzones simple and inexpensive to make – they are portable, freezer-friendly, and kid-friendly. In other words, they are perfect to tuck into your kid’s lunch this fall.

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One of my kids’ favorite meals is pizza. However, pizza isn’t always so easy to make and pack for school lunches. I researched many recipes for pizza rolls and pizza pockets, but many of them involved making dough from scratch or many ingredients, so I decided to strike out on my own with today’s recipe.

I wanted to create something that was delicious, and portable, but that wouldn’t require a huge time/energy commitment on your part, either. The good news is this recipe ticks all those boxes.

Simple Homemade Mac’n Cheese

Simple Homemade Mac'n Cheese: Never buy the boxed stuff again!

One of my daughter’s very favorite (and most requested!) meals is macaroni and cheese. And yes, while I’ve purchased boxed varieties over the years, I’ve wondered if I couldn’t develop my own homemade version using whole ingredients that I control. After several months of tinkering and experimenting, I’m happy to say her favorite macaroni and cheese is now my recipe, not one from a box!

Not only is today’s recipe delicious – it’s very quick and easy to prepare and chances are, you have most (if not all) of the ingredients right now!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6-8 oz dry pasta (I am using elbow macaroni today, but we’ve also used rotini, shells, and other shapes)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar for a nice cheese flavor)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs + 2 tbsp melted butter (optional)

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle Recipe

Who remembers the Good Humor strawberry shortcake ice cream bars from your childhood? You know, these ones…


Very seldom did we get to buy ice cream off the ice cream truck, but when we did, this was always my “go-to” ice cream.  Something about those strawberry/vanilla crunch balls was just sooooo yummy in my tummy. A few summers ago I introduced this ice cream bar to my kiddos….as expected, they loved it just as much as I did at their age.

The other day I had this giant flat of strawberries from Costco. As I was slicing them up, this ice cream popped in my head and I remembered a recipe from years ago that used a strawberry/vanilla crumble top. I decided it was time to play around with what I had to see what I could come up with. Let’s just say my finished product was a HUGE hit and one I’m sure you will love as well!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Instant Pot Cheeseburger Soup Recipe

Looking for a delicious, but easy recipe you can make in your Instant Pot this week? Try this hamburger soup! I purchased an Instant Pot myself a couple years ago (you might want to read more about my experiences with the Instant Pot if you’re on the fence!). If you don’t have one, Amazon has been the best source of Instant Pot deals in my experience, and there are many models to choose from.

Not only is it delicious and hearty – chances are you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into cubes
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
  • (2) 10.5 oz cans of cheese soup
  • 3 C. chicken broth
  • 1/2 C. half & half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder


Don’t forget the Instant Pot!

Place the ground beef, garlic and diced onion in the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté function.

Easy Egg Bites Recipe {Freezer-Friendly; Batch-Friendly!}

I swear that I always get the best ideas when I’m out running. Maybe it’s the blood flow finally hitting the brain or the chance to get away from other distractions and just think.

Whatever the case, the inspiration for today’s recipe came while I was out running the other day.

I’ve been seeing these ads from Starbucks about sous vide egg bites and I really dig the idea of nourishing, portable breakfast ideas.

I tend to just be a cereal or oatmeal kind of gal, but there are times when you want something a bit more hearty to “stick to your ribs!” Today’s Egg Bites Recipe fits the ticket.

Not only are these egg bites delicious to make – they are easy. Even better, they are budget-friendly (but what else would you expect from a frugal living blog)?

This recipe is also extremely versatile. Change up the protein, cheese, or veggies to suit what you have in your pantry, your tastes, or whatever diet you’re on.

Here’s what you’ll need to make 12 egg bites: 

  • 9 large eggs
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely minced
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons half and half or milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Start by heating your oven to 350°.

In a pan, fry up that bacon to desired crispness. I like mine fairly crisp, so that means an extra minute or two. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon onto paper towels. I decided to fry up my veggies in some of the bacon grease (yum!), so I left some of that in the pan, ready to go!

What to Do with 10 Pounds of Potatoes

Potatoes are frugal eats at their finest. They are cheap, filling, and can be cooked in so many different ways. Sometimes I’ll find 5 or 10 pound bags of potatoes go on sale. But, what to do with that entire bag besides plain old baked potatoes?

Back in 2010, fellow blogger Audrey from Tight Wad in Utah shared three recipes to use up an entire bag. To date, her recipes post has been one of the most successful ever published here at The Coupon Project. (And that’s saying a lot as I have over 15,000 published posts as of August 2019!)

I recently decided to go back and give her post some new love with some fresh food photographs and “bump” it for readers who may have missed it. It’s definitely worth pinning or hanging onto for the next time you find yourself with a glut of potatoes!

Recipe #1: Scalloped Potatoes

This recipe which uses 8 potatoes (found at AllRecipes) freezes well, so I hear. I can’t manage to have any left to freeze. The section that is gone was my “test” piece to make sure they were done.

The recipe is pretty straight forward and uses ingredients you probably already have. If you’re not going to eat it all at once like me, divide it into meal portions after it’s cooled from baking, seal in a freezer container or bag, label it with the name and date, freeze!

Starbucks Cinnamon Scone Hack

Do you ever have mornings where you wake up and a bowl of cold cereal just won’t do?

Today was such a morning for me. I felt like making something extra special. My kids and I love the scones at Starbucks (guilty pleasure, I know), so I decided to make our own using items from our pantry. If you’ve never made scones before, they are incredibly easy to make and require only a few ingredients. I decided on cinnamon scones, and was able to find and adapt a recipe from a cooking forum.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

* I didn’t have this on hand, but easily made do with 1/3 cup milk and a squeeze of lemon juice for acid.

How to Freeze Your Greens {and a couple ideas for how to use them!}

What do you do if you end up finding a tremendous deal on leafy greens or end up with a surplus from your garden? Well, one simple thing you can do is freeze them! Yes, that’s right – greens such as kale, collards, and spinach can be frozen.

I found several nice bunches of greens at my local grocery store recently – they had a few varieties of organic kale, plus rainbow chard, and spinach, all at very good prices, and I couldn’t resist.

Now there are two schools of thought when it comes to freezing greens. First, you can freeze them as-is, raw. This is going to be the easiest, quickest way to achieve your goal. The second way involves blanching them. This helps the greens last a bit longer in the freezer. As you’ll soon see, this method also helps reduce the space in the freezer your greens will take up.

Simple Custard Recipe

It seems that dessert recipes keep getting fancier and fancier. But I think some of the simplest desserts are the best. Today I’d like to take a look at the humble custard. It requires very few ingredients and very little prep.

With Easter right around the corner, we’re seeing lots of deals on eggs. So if you have a few extra laying around and are tired of omelets or hard-boiled eggs, today’s recipe is going to be right up your alley!

I stopped by my local grocery store and do they ever have an awesome selection of eggs – they’ve got an entire case devoted to all the varieties including pasture raised and locally farmed options! Since I was in the dairy section of the store, I decided to pick up some milk for my recipe. Now you can use whichever milk you’d like, but I decided to go with whole milk for a creamier, richer result. My store carried a lactose-free variety that I opted for, since it’s gentler on my family’s stomachs.

Best Ever Tamale Pie Recipe

A few weeks ago, I wanted to make some sort of tamale casserole. I perused a number of well-rated recipes on, but didn’t find anything exactly that I had in mind. So I used this one for some basic inspiration and then made a number of modifications to it. The result was so delicious that my husband declared it to be one of the best meals I’d ever made. I figure that made it worth sharing with you!

While there is quite a little list of ingredients in this recipe, have no fear. I promise it’s easy to put together and I bet you’d have most of these items in your pantry right now.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive or canola oil, for cooking
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 2 boxes cornbread mix, such as Jiffy
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican Cheese blend (or Monterey Jack or Cheddar, any combination)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Overnight Oatmeal Recipe {Easy, Healthy & Delicious!}

I tend to pour myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I think I gravitate to this choice because it’s easy and I don’t generally feel like cooking as soon as I wake up in the morning. But I’ve been looking for more nutritious options to start my day right. I’ve been intrigued by a number of recipes I’ve seen floating around for overnight oatmeal and I decided to give it a try and put my own spin on it.

I hit up my local grocery store for everything I needed. I ended up with a huge bag of rolled oats for under $1! (Bulk foods is seriously the way to go!)

I found a few other ingredients in the bulk foods section that would work well – chia seeds, granola, dried fruit, and nuts.

Poblano Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Poblano Macaroni & Cheese

I recently shared how I have teamed with a fellow blogger Neyssa, who runs the site Latina Misfit on a Mission to run a series of Hispanic-inspired Thanksgiving and holiday recipes here at The Coupon Project! Make sure to check out the Chorizo Rice and Turkey & Cheese Empanadas recipes in case you missed them.

Today, Neyssa’s back at it! She writes, “poblano macaroni and cheese is the twisted version of macaroni and cheese. There should be an “approach with caution” sign. Definitely for those that love spice. My neighbor raved about it, and to him it was not spicy at all. But to me, wow, yeah, I’d use half a poblano next time. So this is totally a spicy lovers’ dish!”

Peppers for Poblano Peppers

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-2 poblano peppers*
  • 12 oz elbow pasta, cooked & drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups of white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Cilantro to garnish (optional)

* Poblano peppers carry a kick. Make sure seeds are removed. (Seeds add extra heat.) Do not use water to remove the skin from the peppers, it will take away the smoked flavor.

Chorizo Rice Recipe

This year, I knew I wanted to share some delicious holiday-inspired recipes on the blog. But could I share besides how to roast a turkey or prep mashed potatoes? So, I brought in some enforcements!

I reached out to fellow blogger Neyssa, who runs the site Latina Misfit on a Mission. Not only did she agree to help – she had an awesome idea: Thanksgiving dinner, with a Hispanic twist!

Chorizo Rice Recipe

Today, we’re kicking off this series with the first recipe, Chorizo Rice. Rice and beans is a staple in every Latin household, but there’s only so much rice a certain way you can take. Chorizo is a great way to elevate Spanish rice, as the smoked sausage flavors wrap around each grain of rice. It’s a fiesta in your mouth!  

Goya Chorizo

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole Recipe

The holiday season is upon us, and that means big meals, crowded ovens, and many mouths to feed in our home.  I don’t know about you, but Christmas morning shouldn’t be chaotic in my book.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the noise and craziness of kids and presents, but I want to enjoy that chaos…the chaos I would rather avoid is the one where I’m stuck in the kitchen whipping up breakfast or brunch for everyone while they are out there enjoying their gifts and hot chocolate.

One way to cut down my time in the kitchen is with a slow cooker breakfast.  Instead of scrambled eggs, with a side of sausage, bacon and hash browns (all cooked individually) why not throw it all in a slow cooker, add some cheese and bell pepper and there you go!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 – 30 oz. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled
  • 1 lb. ground pork sausage (I use Jimmy Dean), cooked and drained
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (sharp, cheddar, colby jack, pepper jack)
  • 1 dozen large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (2% or whole)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste
Slow Cooker Breakfast Ingredients

The first thing you will want to do is cook up your meat.  Before I cook my bacon I cut it up into small pieces, makes it a little easier to work with.  Make sure to place your meat on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any excess grease.  If you aren’t preparing your casserole right away, simply put your meat in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator until your’re ready.

Chicken Tortilla Soup {Freezer-to-Slow Cooker Recipe}

I LOVE Chicken Tortilla soup. I love the flavors, I love the colors, I love how it smells when it’s cooking…I love everything about it! I especially love how easy it is to make. I am finding more and more that “meal prepping” is the way to go these days.

It cuts down on eating out and saves so much time during the week. Plus, you get to control the ingredients and that’s always a plus!

This is an incredibly easy recipe that you basically layer in your Ziploc bag and freeze with minimal work. Then, when you are ready to make it, simply take it out of the freezer the night before, dump it in your slow cooker, add water and let it go!

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Freezer to Slow Cooker Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded (Costco’s rotisserie chicken is awesome in this soup!)
  • 10 oz frozen corn kernels
  • 1 – 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 – 14.5 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 – 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 – 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (black pepper works well too!)
  • 1 T fresh cilantro (plus additional for topping)
  • 2 cups of water (to be added to slow cooker)


  • shredded pepper jack cheese
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • lime
  • hot sauce

Tortilla Strips:

  • white corn tortillas (or flour, or corn)
  • vegetable oil

Can we stop and just admire those fresh ingredients and vibrant colors? How can you not smile at the anticipation of those yummy flavors dancing in your belly?

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels – Freezer Friendly Recipe

Ham & Cheese Pinwheels - Perfect for making in batch, freezing, and then popping in your child's lunchbox!

I can’t believe it…we are already entering into our last month of summer!  I think I spend one month planning and enjoying summer activities, and one month planning for school to begin!  Seriously, where has the time gone??

With school approaching, I find myself beginning to mentally plan ahead for the school year…I begin thinking about our nights before school and our crazy school mornings (sigh)…and as always I try to plan for ways to give us more time.

One thing I LOVE having on hand, and just so happens to be a HUGE time saver, is meals in the freezer (for breakfast and lunch) ready to go.

The brilliant thing about freezer meals is that they can be made in bulk at the beginning of the week and pretty much get you through the entire week.  I have found having a couple different “main courses” ready to go for breakfast and lunch gives enough variety during the week for the kids.

All you need to do is add your “sides” and you’re good to go.  Not to mention, it makes it possible for even your younger ones to help pack their own lunch.  Packing a lunch from home absolutely saves money and you, as a parent, also have the opportunity to make it healthier than their school lunch choices. Win – win!

Here is a super easy recipe that you can make ahead and freeze.

Ham & Cheese Pinwheel Ingredients


  • 4 burrito size tortillas or wraps (I used spinach herb wraps – yum)
  • 6 oz deli meat (my kiddos love ham and turkey, so I have some of each)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • spreadable or whipped – cream cheese
  • gallon size freezer bags

Italian Sausage with Bell Peppers and Onions (Freezer Friendly Recipe)

Italian Sausage with Bell Peppers & Onions (Freezer Friendly Recipe!)

I’m a huge fan of dinners you can prepare in advance, freeze, then throw in the slow cooker when you know you’re going to have a busy day. This recipe is one of those easy to freeze / yummy to eat meals. As a side note, if you have a Costco membership I highly recommend picking up your bell peppers from them.  A bag of six for $6 is way more affordable then the local store where the colorful ones are usually 2 for $5.


Here’s what you’ll need:

White Chicken Chili Recipe (Made with $5 Costco Chicken!)

White Chicken Chili Recipe: Made with $5 Costco Chicken!

White Chicken Chili – with $5 Costco Chicken!

I love simple recipes that taste like you spent all day in the kitchen, slaving over the stove, when really you spent more time perusing Pinterest while the stove did all the hard work! White Chicken Chili is definitely one of those recipes that will “wow” your family and friends.

I have a little secret that saves time and adds flavor to almost any recipe that calls for shredded chicken…I grab a rotisserie chicken from Costco! The price ($4.99) and convenience are well worth a trip to the store. Not to mention the texture of the shredded rotisserie chicken is perfect in this chili.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T vegetable oil (canola or avocado oil can be substituted)
  • 2 – 15 ½ oz cans great northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 – 14 ½ oz can chicken broth
  • 2 – 4 oz cans diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp white pepper (black can be substituted)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

To start, I shred my rotisserie chicken, measure out my spices, broth, dice my onions and open up all my cans. Now the fun can begin…

White Chicken Chili Ingredients

Start by adding oil to a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat (the onions will become translucent; this is what you want).

Easy Alphabet Soup Recipe (Nutritious School Lunch Idea)

Easy Alphabet Soup Recipe

Easy Alphabet Soup Recipe

My friends at Fred Meyer recently challenged me to come up with a few budget-friendly and healthy kid lunch recipes for back to school. At first I told them, “You know, I’ve done this idea before…and I think I’m out of ideas!” After all, I’ve talked about bento, putting quinoa in muffins, putting a spin on peanut butter sandwiches, and making cheeseburger muffins. That should be about good, right?

After further consideration, I realized maybe *I’d* gotten in a rut of sending my kids to school with the same ol’, same ol’ things. So after some real soul searching, Googling, and serious brainstorming, I came up with three kid-friendly recipes perfect for back to school. Each of the three recipes I’ll be sharing has the following in common:

  • Simple, inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients. No gooseberry leaf rice flour or rosebud-infused vinegars.
  • Easy and quick to assemble. It’s important to me that these recipes
  • Freezer friendly. I wanted to create recipes you could easily create in batch and throw in the freezer once a month.
  • Kid-friendly. I tested each of these recipes on my kids and they passed the test. And I have picky kids!
  • Healthy (or nearly so) recipes. I understand everyone’s version of healthy is different, and I don’t care to split hairs. My goal is to make delicious, portable lunch items that offer good nutrition for your little ones. If there are ingredients you deem “unhealthy,” switch them.

How to Make Dandelion Root Tea

How to make Dandelion Root Tea - it's so good for you, and it couldn't be easier!

I recently shared how I foraged for dandelion roots and greens and turned them into food and medicine (make sure to check it out if you haven’t!). One of the ways I’ve used the roots is to turn it into a healthful tea. I wanted to share this with you today as dandelions are in abundance and this tea couldn’t be easier to make.

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Before I dive into making the tea, I want to speak a moment on where to get your dandelions! Of course, your yard may be a great source if you have not used chemicals (such as fertilizer or weed killer) in the last three years. Also take care to not forage food from protected or private lands. I stumbled on this most helpful post about rules for foraging in the Pacific Northwest that may be of help!

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As I described in the dandelion foraging post, dandelions have a long taproot – so take care when pulling them up to get as much of that goodness as possible! Use a shovel, or even better, a garden fork to gently loosen up from the soil.

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Make sure to properly clean your roots! At the dandelion intensive course I took over the weekend at Cedar Mountain Herb School, we soaked the roots in water, agitated, drained, and repeated a couple times. Then we laid the roots out on shallow trays and blasted with a hose.