Frugal Living


Over the past three weeks we have been sharing various recipes to use pantry staples in new ways for main dishes, appetizers, and desserts. To culminate the recipe series, the following recipes encompass ideas for all meals of the day and are all made using muffin tins (mini muffin tins, regular muffin cups, and tins flipped upside down for an even bigger size of “cup”). They allow you to use leftovers in innovative ways or to create portion-perfect deliciousness!

I hope you have enjoyed some fresh ideas for using what you most likely already have on hand over the past several weeks. Some of the recipes below were shared by a fellow Bargain Blessings reader. Thanks, Hazel. Feel free to share your favorite pantry staple and leftover re-mix recipes with us, too. We can all use a recipe re-fresh from time-to-
time! Bon appétit!

Egg Biscuit Muffins (use regular muffin tins)


1 package refrigerated biscuits (8-10 biscuits)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup shredded cheddar

4 slices bacon (or turkey bacon)

salt and pepper


1. Cook the bacon in a pan or in the oven until it’s almost done. Chop into small bits and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk together eggs and milk, a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper to taste and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, using a rolling pin, roll out each biscuit until it’s slightly bigger than the circumference of your regular muffin tin. Grease the muffin tin with cooking spray and push one biscuit into each muffin cup being sure to push it all the way down and to the sides. Leave the ridge hanging over the edge.

4. Divide the cheese evenly in each of the biscuit cups and then pour egg in, filling each cup only 1/2 way. They will look empty, but you must account for the biscuits puffing up! Sprinkle bacon atop of the egg.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden and eggs are set. Use a butter knife to loosen each muffin and serve warm.

Note: If your egg does overflow, just let it bake the rest of the way and then remove the extra egg when you are loosening the muffins. Also, add chopped vegetables such as green peppers before baking or in place of the bacon for a vegetarian variety.

Breakfast Cupcakes (use regular muffin tins)


½ lb. sausage

12 eggs

½ cup chopped onion

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

¼ tsp. garlic powder

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in sausage; cook and stir until sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink (about 10 to 15 minutes); drain.

3. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in onion, black pepper, salt and garlic powder. Mix in sausage and cheese.

4. Spoon 1/3 cup of mixture into each muffin cup.

5. Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Note: Vary the recipe by adding a variety of other vegetables or other cooked meat. These freeze easily for grab and go breakfasts!

Muffin Tin Mini-Meal Tartlets (use mini muffin tins)


Refrigerated Pie Crust Sheets

Cooked leftovers (meats, cheeses, etc.)


1. Unroll the pie crust, use a drinking glass, and cut circles out of it. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray, and press one pie crust circle into each.

2. Fill them up with whatever you would like, and bake at 450°F for 9-12 minutes.

Some ideas include:

Thanksgiving Mini-Meals – cooked turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and gravy. Dollop cranberry sauce on each after baking.

Pizza Mini-Meals – sausage or pepperoni, pizza sauce, cheese

Italian Mini-Meals – meatball slices, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese

Tartlet Treats (use back side of regular muffin tins)


Refrigerated pie crust sheets, softened

Fresh or frozen fruit (sliced and thawed as needed)

Fruit glaze (if desired)

Whipped topping


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll pie crust sheets, and place them on a flat work surface. With a 5-inch round cutter or an inverted bowl, cut out circles from each crust.

2. Fit each circle over the back of an ungreased muffin cup. Pinch equally spaced pleats around the side of each cup. Prick throughout the dough with a fork to prevent bubbles.

3. Bake cups for 9-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Remove pie crust bowls from the muffin cups.

4. Add fruit to each bowl and top with whipped topping just before serving. To make the tartlets more like traditional tarts, mix fruit and fruit glaze together and refrigerate until chilled before adding them to the pie crust bowls and topping with whipped topping.


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How to Make Colorful Deviled Eggs

April 13, 2014 · 1 comment

by Katie


Isn't it a bummer how we go to all of the hard work of dying Easter eggs only to have to throw the beautiful shells away in order to eat them? This year, make the edible part beautiful, and add some color to the Easter meal. Here’s how:

egg-1 Prepare eggs as you normally would for deviled eggs (hard boil, peel, etc.).

egg-2 When the egg whites are cut in half and the yolks have been placed in a separate bowl to be mixed with your favorite deviled egg ingredients (mayonnaise, mustard, etc.), place the egg white halves in small bowls or cups filled with a mixture of water and food coloring (more coloring= darker shades of the color). Unlike dying the shells, using vinegar in the mixture will affect the taste of the cooked egg whites so it is not used.

egg-3When the whites have turned the color you want, remove them from the water mixture. Let them dry on a paper towel.

egg-4 Fill each half with some of the prepared deviled egg mixture. Top with paprika and serve

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No matter what season in life you may find yourself in, we are never too young or too old for some good old fashioned fun! This Easter, consider incorporating an egg hunt into the festivities no matter who is around to do it-- young kids, older kids, children of all ages, or just all of us kids at heart (yes, that means us adults, too). Using the following ideas, your egg hunt will take on a fresh and new spin will keeping the tradition alive.

Egg Hunts for “Older” Kids

I vividly remember the time when my cousins and I thought we were too cool to do the Easter egg hunt anymore. At the same time, it was a fond memory for all of us. So, my dad added a new twist that we all loved. He filled the eggs with cash instead of candy, and one egg had a dollar instead of coins. He went to extra heights to make the hiding spots better than ever. It was a challenge not only to get as many eggs as possible (so we could make more money!) but to be the one to score the “big” cash of the dollar egg.

If you’re looking for a way to keep older kids into the festivities, consider adding cash into the egg hunt. Don’t just limit it to the teenagers as this could also be a fun way to earn money above and beyond allowance for younger kids. Besides, who says adults can’t have an Easter egg hunt, too?!?!


Egg Hunts for Small Children

Give younger children the opportunity to actually enjoy “hunting” for eggs and not just be disappointed that the older, faster kids got them all first. Create a separate space either inside or outside for each young child to follow their own jelly bean trail leading to each of their eggs (several jelly beans laid out in a line then one egg, repeat).

The colors and candy will motivate them to actually stay on track, and the Easter egg hunt will be much more than just setting out eggs on the grass for the little ones to try to.

Happy hunting to you and yours this Easter!


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Six Easter Craft and Baking Ideas!

April 10, 2014 · 3 comments

by Jennie

Looking for Easter craft and baking ideas that are not going to break the bank? Over the next week I'm going to be bringing you some of my favorite Easter craft and baking ideas from around the web. 

If you see something in the pictures above that you would like to know more about just click on the link that is listed after the corresponding number below.

1. Jelly Bean Easter Bark  by Very Best Baking
2. Rice Krispies Easter Eggs  by Rice Krispies
3. Birds Nest Cookies  by A Few Shortcuts
4. Easter Garden  by All Things Mom
5. Bunny Mix  by About a Mom
6. Bunny Tails  by Babyology


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resurrection eggs

If you’ve been to the store recently, you can’t help but be reminded that the Easter season is upon us. The pastels and candy have overtaken the shelves! If you’re looking to get back to the heart behind Easter this year and teach (or remind) your family what it is all about, Resurrection Eggs are a great way to do it. The wonderful thing about the items in each egg is that they can be explained simply or with greater complexity so they work for all ages.

All you need is 13 plastic eggs, a basket, a permanent marker, and an item to go in each (see below for what those are). Simply fill each egg with the item, label the outside with the corresponding number using a permanent marker, and place them in an Easter basket. The story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection unfolds by opening the eggs (something the kids will probably fight over doing!) and using the Bible verses provided as an explanation of the items. Warning: This activity may be so popular that the kids will be begging to repeat it year after year!!


Resurrection Eggs

Egg #1- Lamb/Sheep

John 1:29- The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Egg #2- 30 Dimes (representing 30 pieces of silver)

Matthew 26:14-16- Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Egg #3- Purple Cloth Robe

Matthew 27:28- They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him...

Egg #4- Thorns (a piece of a rose bush works well)

Matthew 27:29- and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.

Egg #5- Wooden Cross (make one using popsicle sticks)

John 19:17- Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).

Egg #6- Three Nails

John 19:18- There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Egg #7- A Sign saying “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”

John 19:19- Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

Egg #8- Sponge with Vinegar

Mark 15:36- Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

Egg #9- Sword or Spear (you can make one by cutting out the shape with cardboard and covering it with aluminum foil!)

John 19:34-36- Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

Egg #10- White Linen Fabric

John 19:40- Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Egg #11- Rock (to represent the tomb)

Matthew 27:60- and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

Egg #12- Spices

Mark 16:1- When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Egg #13- Special Decorated Egg (that is empty when opened to represent the empty tomb)

Matthew 28:6- He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.


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Over the past couple of weeks we have shared several recipes for using foods that you likely already have on hand to create yummy main dishes and appetizers. This week, the recipes focus on using pantry staples for sweet treats and desserts. They are adaptable to personal preference and offer a variety of possibilities. The recipes can be used for anything from everyday dessert at home to entertaining company or even serving up delightful treats for kids and adults alike at gatherings.

Some of the recipes that I've included are perfect for helping with portion control or just creating a fun spin on traditional desserts that affords the opportunity to try multiple varieties without too much guilt! Hopefully the recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth and add creativity to your dessert repertoire!


Quick Fruit Crisp

Pantry Staples Needed- Granola Cereal

Ingredients (to make 1 fruit crisp serving- repeat same ingredients for each additional serving desired).

¾ cup fresh or frozen fruit such as blackberries or peaches (sliced or prepared as needed)

½ cup of your favorite granola cereal variety 1-2 scoops of vanilla ice cream


Place the desired fruit in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30-45 seconds if frozen or 15-20 seconds if fresh. Add granola and microwave an additional 15-20 seconds. Add ice cream and serve. Repeat all steps if making multiple servings. This is a very flexible recipe so feel free to experiment based on your fruit and food temperature preferences.



Rainbow Jello Cups

Pantry Staples Needed- Fruit Gelatin in a Variety of Flavors


Several packages of Jell-o in a variety of flavors/colors


1. Choose the number of layers/colors you would like, and remember that more layers require more time.

2. Pour half of the powder package of Jell-o of the first color you want into one bowl and the other half of the powder into another. Prepare the first bowl of Jell-o as directed for the speed set method (halving the amount of water and ice required since the bowl only contains half of the package). Pour a small layer of this mixture into the bottom of each 2 oz. plastic shot glass (available at many party stores) until you have the number of cups you desire or the Jell-o is used up. Refrigerate to set.

3. Prepare the second half of the Jell-o powder using the speed set method, but this time substitute the cold water called for with vanilla ice cream instead to make a pastel version of the color. Remember that the amount of each ingredient needed will be half of what is called for on the box since it is only half of the package. Pour a small layer of this mixture into each shot glass on top of the last set layer of Jell-o. Refrigerate to set.

4. Repeat steps one and two to alternate the bold color and then the creamy pastel color for the rest of the layers desired. Refrigerate the filled cups until they are served.


Mini Pie Desserts

Pantry Staples Needed- Pudding cups, Graham Crackers


1 ½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons butter

Pudding cups in a variety of flavors (esp. pie flavored varieties)

1 can spray whipped cream

Toppings, if desired, to match the pudding flavor (such as Oreo crumbles for chocolate, banana slices for banana cream, etc.)


1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter together until well mixed. Press a spoonful of the mixture into the bottom of each 2 oz. plastic shot glass (available at many party stores) until you have the number of cups you desire to make (freeze any extra mixture for later use).

2. Add a few spoonfuls of pudding to each cup. Use a variety of puddings to provide a variety of “pie” options.

3. Store cups in the refrigerator. Top with whipped cream and any toppings just before serving.

Note: You can vary this recipe by preparing No Bake Dessert kits (made by Jell-o) instead of pudding cups to offer other varieties of dessert beyond pie (such as cheesecake). Just place a small amount of the prepared mixture into each cup!


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A few weeks ago we shared some quick and easy main dish recipes to help use pantry staples in new ways. This week, we are taking the same concept of using items we have on hand in new recipes, but we are applying it to appetizers and dips. These recipes not only use pantry staples but also use items you are likely to already have in your refrigerator, too. Whether you need something quick to take to a gathering/ party or you are just looking for a way to start meal-time off in a different way, these recipes are for you! Not only will they allow you to use items you likely already have at home, but the best part is that they are virtually effortless and each require only 5 ingredients or less.

Next week, look for part three of our pantry staple recipe round-up with ideas for desserts and treats. Enjoy!


Easy Peasy Guacamole

Pantry Staples Needed- Rotel


1 can of your favorite variety of Rotel (Original, Mild, Mexican with lime and cilantro, etc.)- drained

2-3 avocados


Mash avocados halves in a medium-size bowl until they are small chunks. Mix in the contents of a drained can of Rotel. Serve immediately or refrigerate if chilled guacamole is preferred.


Chile Cheese Tart

Pantry Staple Needed- Canned Green Chiles, Refrigerator Staple Needed- Shredded Cheese


1 package refrigerated pre-made pie pastry (2 sheets)

1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles- drained

2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar and Monterey Jack blend)

¼ tsp. chili powder

Salsa and/or sour cream


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Place one sheet of pie pastry on an ungreased pizza pan or baking stone. Sprinkle chilies and cheese over the pastry to within ½ inch of the edge. Top with remaining pastry.

3. Seal pastry edges together with the tines of a fork and prick the pastry throughout with a fork to prevent bubbles. Sprinkle pastry with chili powder.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into pizza-style wedges. Serve with salsa and/or sour cream.


Mexican Pie Dip

Pantry Staples Needed- Jar of Salsa and Canned Chili, Refrigerator Staples Needed- Cream Cheese and Shredded Cheese


1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

1 (16 oz.) jar of salsa

1 (15 oz.) can of chili (with or without beans depending on preference)

2 cups shredded cheese (any variety)

Tortilla Chips or Veggie Slices


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium glass pie dish, spread the cream cheese evenly across the bottom. Pour in the salsa and spread it evenly over the cream cheese. Pour in and evenly spread chili over the salsa. Top with shredded cheese.

3. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve with tortilla chips or veggies as dippers.


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Tired of always making the same thing with your pantry staples? Do you need new ideas for ways to use the items in your stock pile? Maybe you are just in need of some simple meals for the coming week. Here are some ideas to help you use the items you probably already have on hand in new and exciting ways.

This week, we will focus on main dishes for lunch and dinner in addition to a kid-friendly meal choice (adults will love it too!). Next week, look for part two of our pantry staple recipe round-up to give you ideas on quick and easy appetizers. Happy cooking!


Lunch Dish: Quick Pasta Salad

Pantry Staples Needed- Pasta, Italian Salad Dressing, Black Olives


1 (12 oz.) box tricolor rotini pasta (or substitute a different type of pasta depending on preference)

1 (16 oz.) bottle Italian dressing

Desired Toppings: 1 (2.25 oz.) can of sliced olives, diced red or green peppers, sliced salami or pepperoni, shredded cheese, grape tomatoes, etc.


1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta al dente, rinse with cold water, and drain.

2. In a large bowl, combine pasta with desired toppings. Add dressing and toss until all ingredients are coated.

3. Refrigerate the salad for a couple of hours or overnight before serving.


Dinner Dish: Cheesy Chili with Chicken or Beef

Pantry Staples Needed- Canned Corn, Kidney Beans, Chili Beans, Rotel, Diced Tomatoes, Velveeta


3 cups cooked chicken (cubed or shredded) or beef

1 can of corn, drained

1 can of kidney beans, drained

1 can of chili beans, drained

1 can of Rotel, including liquid

1 large can of diced tomatoes, including liquid

1 lb. Original Velveeta cheese (cut up into chunks so it melts faster)

Desired Toppings: Fritos corn chips, sour cream, avocado


Heat all of the following in a large pot on the stove until cheese is melted and chili is heated through.

Serve with desired toppings.


Kid-Friendly Dish: Chili Tortilla Bites

Pantry Staples Needed- Canned Chili, Black Olives, Jar of Salsa


3 flour tortillas (each will make approx. 7 bites)

Cooking spray

1 can chili (any variety)

½ cup shredded cheese

Desired Toppings: Salsa, sour cream, green onions, chopped black olives


1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Use a round cookie cutter, biscuit pastry cutter or an inverted drinking glass to cut circles out of the tortillas.

2. Spray two mini-muffin pans with cooking spray and press a mini tortilla circle into each cup.

3. Add a spoonful of chili to each tortilla cup. Top with shredded cheese.

4. Place the trays in the oven for 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the shell is light brown.

5. Top with desired toppings and serve warm.


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The results are in! Tide with Febreeze took on the stinkiest item in my laundry and it passed with flying colors!

The blanket now smells wonderful and I'm hoping that some of that wonderfulness might even rub off on my dogs. ;) I've tried several different types of detergent on my dog's blankets in the past and nothing has done as well as this. I'll definitely be using Tide with Febreeze on all my smelly laundry going forward. It's such a relief to finally have found something that works!

Thanks for following along with me for "laundry week"! I'm glad to have my laundry done, and hopefully I helped to introduce you to some great products in the process. ;) Don't forget to check out the Tide Caption Contest!

Tide Caption Contest

How would you like to win a brand new HE washer/dryer and a year supply of Tide? Head on over here to check out Tide's Caption & Win contest to enter!

*Full Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tide. All opinions, as always, are my own.



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It's time for my first "laundry week" update! Do you remember these dirty white snow pants that I showed you earlier this week? Well they took on Tide Ultra in my washing machine yesterday. Which do you think won the battle?

There is nothing worse than having to wash something twice in order for it to really be clean and I'm happy to report that Tide Ultra succeeded in removing ALL of the dirt stains from my white ski pants during the very first wash! Check them out...

Squeaky clean and sparkling white! Yep, you could say that I'm an instant fan of Tide Ultra. :)

Want to see how Tide plus Febreeze fared against my dog's stinky blanket? Check back later today and I'll let you know! Also, don't forget to check out the Tide Caption Contest!

Tide Caption Contest

How would you like to win a brand new HE washer/dryer and a year supply of Tide? Head on over here to check out Tide's Captin & Win contest to enter!

*Full Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tide. All opinions, as always, are my own.


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