Tastefully Frugal

Tastefully Frugal: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cheeseburger Casserole

My almost two year old loves to eat pretty much anything and everything! He does have his favorites though... and pasta tops that list! He always wants "Noooooodddds" as he calls them. So any chance I get to cook with pasta or noodles I try to take. This casserole tastes just like a cheeseburger (which is another one of his tops 5 favorite foods) and can be made in no time at all! 


1 pound ground beef
8 oz. (1/2 a bag) of egg noodles
1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
2 cups grated cheese (I use the 3 Cheese Mexican Blend from Costco but you can use whatever you have on hand)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper for seasoning


Preheat oven to 350°.

Brown ground beef and drain fat. Return to heat and add chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, oregano and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Cook egg noodles until Al dente (about 6 mintues after you bring water to a rolling boil).

Drain noodles and pour into large bowl. Combine noodles and meat mixture and pour into 9x13 casserole dish.

Top with cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes.


Served here with green beans... from the can. Super quick and easy dinner that everyone loved!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

For some reason Saturdays are always my lazy day when it comes to cooking dinner. I don't know if it's because I'm usually not on the same schedule as I am during the week or if it's because we just get busy running errands and playing. But without fail 5:30 or 6 o'clock Saturday night rolls around and suddenly everyone is hungry and dinner hasn't even been started. This black bean casserole is perfect for those last minute Saturday night dinners or for a night you just don't feel like cooking. Bonus... it's vegetarian so it won't break the bank either! Original recipe can be found on Six Sisters' Stuff.


10 corn tortillas
2 cans black beans
1 small (4 oz.) can green chilies
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Costco's Three Cheese Mexican Blend)
Any toppings you'd like for your enchiladas (I used sour cream and home made salsa)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Drain the beans and mix in chilies.

Grease a 9x13 dish and pour 3 tablespoons of enchilada sauce into dish.

Cut, or tear, up corn tortillas and place half on top of sauce.

Add 1/2 of the bean/chili mix.

Add 1/2 the cheese.

Repeat with remaining tortillas, bean/chili mix, remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Cook for 30 minutes.

This was really yummy and super filling!

Parmesan Crusted Mayo Chicken with Rice and Green Beans

I love this recipe because it is so quick and easy to make and it's prefect for when the kids are driving me nuts. Start to dinner table you're under 30 minutes. Plus the mayo makes the chicken so juicy! Found this recipe on Hellmann's website and added a few things to it. 


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use Costco's Three Cheese Mexican Blend)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 425°.

In a bowl mix mayo, both cheeses and garlic powder.

Grease a cookie sheet and place chicken breasts on sheet.

Using a spoon smother tops of chicken breasts with mayo/cheese mix.

Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Served here with rice and green beans.

Seriously this recipe is so good and so easy we usually have it at least once a month; sometimes two or three times.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta with Parmesan Zucchini

Here in the Andersen house there are two things we that we LOVE to have for dinner, chicken and pasta. Oh yeah, and CHEESE! One night last week I had ran out of dinner ideas before I had the chance to go to the store so I was flipping through some of my cookbooks and found this recipe from Martha Stewart. I changed a few things (like diced tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes and took out the mushrooms because I didn't have any on hand). All in all it was very budget friendly and tasty too!


8 oz. macaroni pasta (or any macaroni like pasta will do, penne, rigatoni etc.)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cloves minced garlic
3 cups milk
1 cup diced tomatoes
2 cups cheese (***Frugal tip: I always use Costco's Mexican Three Cheese Blend no matter what the recipe calls for. It is super affordable and my boys love it!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (The stuff you put on spaghetti)


Preheat oven to 400°

Boil about 5 cups of water, add a pinch of salt, and cook pasta to 3 minutes short of Al dente (only cook for 3-5 minutes).

Cut chicken into bite size pieces and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook chicken thoroughly.

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat then add flour and garlic, whisking for 1 minute. 

While still whisking add milk slowly.

Bring to a simmer and then whisk for about 1 more minute until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and add tomatoes, cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Stir in chicken and pasta.

Pour in a greased casserole dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Served here with Parmesan zucchini.

Hubby and kids approved :)

Fast, Easy Parmesan Zucchini

We LOVE zucchini at our house! In fact, we usually have it 3-4 times a week with our dinners. I've tried several different ways of cooking it but this seems to be the family favorite.


1 medium-large zucchini
1 tablespoon oil
4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese


Cut off ends of zucchini and cut into 1/4"-1/2" slices.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Place zucchini in skillet and top with 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese.

Cook for 6-7 minutes.

Flip zucchini and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on cooked side. 

Cook for an additional 6-7 minutes.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Copy Cat Chili's Honey Chipotle Chicken

When Jeremy and I first started dating I was working at Chili's part time and since we got a 50% discount we went there to eat quite a bit... like 3 or 4 times a week! It's a miracle I didn't gain 50 pounds in the first few months. Every time we went I ALWAYS got the same thing... Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers. They are the perfect mix of sweet and spicy and so darn delicious! Now that we have 2 boys that don't like sitting still for very long, going out to eat is not really an option. That's why when I saw these on my Instagram feed I knew I had to make them! The recipe is from Creme de La Crumb and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to get recipes. These are just as good, if not better than Chili's and take less than half an hour to make. Enjoy!


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs and they turned out just fine. After looking online at the difference between the two is panko bread crumbs are more for frying food and give the food that crunchy texture. The Italian bread crumbs still give it a breaded taste just not as crunchy. I prefer the less crunchy but if you like the crunch I would use the panko bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs 


1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons chiptole adobe sauce (it's the sauce that's in the canned chipotle peppers. After opening the can I had a hard time getting 2 teaspoons out so I just added 3 peppers to the sauce and removed them before dipping the chicken)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup cold water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch


Preheat oven to 400°.

Use a mallet or rolling pin and beat chicken to 1/2 inch thick.

Cut chicken into strips.

Whisk flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl. In a separate bowl lightly whisk the eggs. In a third bowl pour the breadcrumbs.

Dip chicken into flour mixture. Then eggs. Then into the bread crumbs. Make sure the chicken is completely coated in bread crumbs.

Place chicken on greased baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes.


Add all ingredients except water and corn starch into a saucepan an bring to a slow boil. Add water and cornstarch once sauce is boiling. Reduce heat to low.

Dip chicken in sauce using tongs to make sure they are fully coated.

Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.

We had these with my Imitation SmashBurger Fries and green beans.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Best Brownies... EVER!!

The title here says it all... these are the best brownies you will ever eat!! They are moist, fudge-y and everything a brownie should be. I found the recipe on Saltbox House about a year ago and have made these bad boys at least once a month since then. Let me warn you though... they are not very healthy. But if you're like me and have little ones to chase after you have to indulge yourself every now and again. (Or every other week!)


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt (I usually use salted butter so I skip the salt)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix butter and cocoa together until smooth.

Add flour and sugar and mix until combined.

Add eggs and vanilla (and nuts if you're using them) and mix until just combined... don't over mix.

Pour into greased 9x13 baking pan. **The original recipe says to flour the pan also but the first two times I made these and floured the pan I just ended up with excess flour on the brownies so I skip this step now and they still come out easy**

The mix will be thick so you will probably need to use a spatula to evenly spread it inside the pan.

Bake for 20-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. **I always set my timer for 20 minutes at first and check it every 5 minutes after that. I live in Utah and it usually takes me anywhere between 28 and 34 minutes to completely bake**

Only wait about 10 minutes to frost brownies. 
**I have skipped frosting them several times and they still taste amazing...just not as fudge-y**


Mix all ingredients and spread over brownies.

I'm sorry there aren't any individual pictures of the brownies... we ate them up in one night and I completely spaced taking a picture!

Soft and Moist Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was pregnant with both my boys there was one thing I was ALWAYS craving... chocolate chip cookies. There were several nights I would start a batch at 10 or 11 o'clock just because I knew I'd want them in the middle of the night. After trying several recipes I found this one via Pinterest from Apple A Day and fell in love! This is my go to recipe now and the only chocolate chip recipe I will ever make (unless of course something better comes along ;) )


3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use salted butter so I don't use salt here)
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix together butter and sugars.

Stir in egg and vanilla.

Mix in cornstarch, baking soda and flour.

Cut in chocolate chips. (I usually use full size chocolate chips but grabbed the wrong bag at the store this last time.)

Place by the teaspoonful on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Don't over bake these... when you take them out they won't look done but they are. If you wait too long you will lose the moisture.

Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes and then move to cooling rack.

This batch usually makes 4 dozen cookies for me; you may make more or less, depending on the size of your teaspoon.

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Cheesy Fries and Zucchini

I am so excited that is finally starting to warm up here in Utah! (Even though yesterday it was 70° and today I woke up to snow) Not only does that mean the boys and I get to play outside more it also means we get to use our grill we got for Christmas. I don't know why but everything always seems to taste better grilled! I think the aroma has something to do with it. I can't wait for summer to come so we can start cooking daily on it! I found this recipe on Six Sisters' Stuff when I was meal planning last week and knew I had to try it. I'm sure I've said it before but I LOVE their website... I get a majority of my recipe ideas from there and love their crafts too! They have a new book coming out the end of this month and I can't wait to add it to my collection. I chose to make these sandwiches because I already had burgers on the list and needed to make something I could use the remaining buns for. We will definitely be having these again... soon!


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half to make 4 sandwiches. If you are cooking for more the best measurement is 2 sandwiches:1 breast)

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 hamburger buns
*Optional toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, ranch or any other condiment you like on sandwiches


Mix oil, honey, lime juice, chili powder and cumin in a bowl or ziplock bag. 

Place chicken in mix and make sure each breast is entirely covered.

Marinate in fridge for at least 30 minutes. (I marinated mine for about an hour and they were great! Will probably try over night next time and see if it makes them even better!)

Heat grill to medium heat. (On their website it says medium high but I was worried about burning the chicken so I lowered the temp. I usually bake chicken at 400° so that's what temp I warmed the grill to)

Grill on each side 10-15 minutes or until inside is no longer pink.

If you want cheese on your sandwiches its best to melt the last 2 minutes of grill time.

For the zucchini, I cut one zucchini into quarters lengthwise and dipped the pieces in the remaining marinade. Grill for about 15 minutes.

Served here with cheesy fries and zucchini.