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Quick, Easy Peanut Butter Pie

We haven’t had a homemade dessert around here for, well… at least 24 hours, and today I just happened to be researching the Skippy Peanut Butter deal at Giant Eagle that starts this Thursday and one thing led to another and, well…

I just had to dig out my Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Pie recipe and head into the kitchen.

The littlest mini-couponer says, “We’re so lucky to have a baking-grandma on hand!” Ahhh…out of the mouths of babes!

Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 – 9-inch prepared graham cracker pie crust
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed

$.50/1 any Skippy Peanut Butter or Spread products 15 oz. or larger (12/29/2014)

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
  • 1 Peanut Butter M&M’S 1.63 oz.

 

Directions:

  • In a large bowl combine powdered sugar and cream cheese and mix until creamy.
  • Add peanut butter and mix until well blended.
  • Stir in Cool Whip and mix until light and fluffy.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust and smooth to edges.
  • Melt Hershey’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread in microwave for approximately 20 seconds.
  • Drizzle chocolate over top of pie and sprinkle with Peanut Butter M&M’S.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

 

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Our Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs

I never thought I’d fall under the Harry Potter spell, being a huge fan of Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell and Bentley Little and all, but that’s exactly where I’ve found myself.  And now I’m trying to concoct Harry Potter-ish treats for the mini-couponers.  What do you think of my Chocolate Frogs?!

The 8-year old mini-couponer is an avid reader.  He even takes Red Bull magazines into the bathtub!  So for Christmas I decided to stop by the local thrift store and fill a big box with books. They happened to have the first two Harry Potter books.  I almost didn’t pick ’em up because he’s into science and technology and history and trivia, but I thought he could use a little magic and make-believe in his life (the kid is sooooo serious!) so into the cart they went.

When he opened the package on Christmas you coulda knocked me over with a feather! “Cool!  Harry Potter books!  These are awesome!  Thanks, Grandma!”

And then, he gave me perhaps one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received… “Hey, Grandma – We should read these together!” And so we are 🙂

Every night at 6:45 the TV goes off and everyone gathers ’round for the next chapter of Harry Potter.

Friday night I got the brilliant idea to try to come up with some Harry Potter-themed snacks to have while we’re reading, and that’s how the Chocolate Frogs came to be.  They’re made out of modeling chocolate, which is sooooo easy to make and so easy to work with, and they taste like Tootsie Rolls.

You only need two ingredients to make modeling chocolate – Karo Corn Syrup (the clear one) and chocolate chips (I prefer Hershey’s but as long as it’s a good brand you’ll be fine.) I only made small batch and I had enough for two Chocolate Frogs.  I’ll give you the measurements I used and the original measurements are in parenthesis.

Modeling Chocolate Recipe

1 cup chocolate chips (2 cups) 1/4 Karo syrup (1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons)  

Directions

In the top of a double boiler or in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips being careful not to scorch or burn the chocolate.

Stir until completely smooth. In a separate, microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, warm the Karo syrup just until it’s warm to the touch.  Do not overheat and definitely don’t let it come to a boil.

Using a wooden spoon, stir the warm Karo syrup into the melted chocolate.  The mixture will be stiff so you’ll want to make sure you don’t use a flimsy rubber spatula.

Mix well. Pour mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and spread it out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick.  Cover with more plastic wrap.

Allow the modeling chocolate to rest for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until it’s completely cool. At this point, if you’re not going to use it right away, seal it up in a ziploc bag and store it in a cool, dry location.  No need to refrigerate.  And it lasts forever.  

How to Use Modeling Chocolate

I’m no sculptor so I’m not even going to try to give you directions to make these frogs.  I used these directions at Polyform.com. To work with your modeling chocolate, just break off a piece and start kneading it in your hands.  The warmth of your hands will soften it up and then you just work with it like you would Play-Do or Sculpy – only it tastes a heck of a lot better 🙂

Good luck with your Chocolate Frogs.  I hope you and your kids have as much fun with them as we did 🙂

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Chocolate Gravy recipe – serve over warm Pillsbury Grands! biscuits for a special breakfast treat

Most everyone is familiar with sausage gravy and a lot of people have even heard of hamburger gravy or coffee gravy or even flour gravy. But you have to have a little bit of Appalachia in you to have heard of Chocolate Gravy and those who have will tell you – it’s about as close to Heaven as you can get.

Sound a little… unusual? Well, a good recipe for Chocolate Gravy is a must for any cook living in Appalachia or the Deep South and here in Berea you’ll find several variations. Prized recipes have been passed down from grandmothers to mothers to daughters for generations and those secrets are hard to come by unless you have connections.

So it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of this wonderful breakfast gravy. What IS surprising though is that you’re still sitting here reading this when you COULD be in the kitchen whipping up your own batch of this heavenly treat!

Chocolate Gravy Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In small, heavy saucepan combine cocoa, flour and sugar and mix well
  • Add ¼ cup of milk to saucepan and whisk until all lumps are removed
  • Stir in remaining milk
  • Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching
  • Serve immediately over crumbled biscuits
  • Yields approximately 2 ½ cups of chocolate gravy
  • Can be store, refrigerated, and served cold, too

Biscuits For easy preparation on those mornings when everyone is in a hurry, use canned bicuits. Just pop them in the oven and they’ll bake while you’re preparing the gravy.  Get a coupon for Pillsbury Homestyle Buttermilk Grands! here.

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Piping Hot Doughnuts made from Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits

If you’re a donut lover then you know if you want a fresh, hot, melt-in-your-mouth donut for breakfast you’re gonna have to haul your butt outta bed, get yourself dressed, hop in the car and drive somewhere.

You can stop by the local Speedway and get Krispy Kreme donuts that were made sometime within the last 48 hours or so, or you can run into Walmart and get donuts that come in frozen.

But the local selection is nothing compared to a REAL donut, made out of real dough, piping hot out of the fryer and dripping with sugar or glaze.

Since everybody loves donuts – especially when they’re hot and dripping with sugar – and since everybody has a few cans of Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits in their stockpile, we thought we’d give you our favorite recipe for Homemade Doughnuts.  You’ll never get dressed before breakfast again!

 

Homemade Biscuit Dough Donuts

What you’ll need:

Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits

Vegetable oil Large cooking pot

Directions:

While oil is heating, lay out biscuits on counter or cutting board and use a 1 ½ inch cutter to cut out a hole in the middle of each biscuit.

Set “holes” aside to fry for donut holes.

Let donuts rest for about 30 minutes before you start frying. If you fry them as soon as you open the can they’ll be too wet and they’ll absorb oil while they’re frying.

Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in your cooking pot over medium heat until it’s 350 degrees.

Fry donuts in oil until golden brown then turn. Remove when both sides are golden and place on paper towel to drain oil. Don’t forget to fry the donut holes, too.

Toppings: Granulated sugar or Cinnamon and sugar – Toss donuts while they’re still warm in sugar or a cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Powdered sugar – Toss donuts in powdered sugar while they’re still warm and then toss again after they cool.

Vanilla icing – Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk and ½ teaspoon of vanilla. Ice donuts warm for a glaze or wait until they cool if you want more of a frosting texture to the icing.

Chocolate icing – Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup cocoa powder and 3 Tablespoons milk. Ice donuts warm for a glaze or wait until they cool if you want more of a frosting texture to the icing. Decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, coconut – if you can get to it before they’re all gone!

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Devil Dogs with Betty Crocker Cake Mix and Hershey’s Spreads

It’s no secret that The Happy Couponers like their chocolate and cookies and candy and, well, why even bother going on? Let’s just say “sweets” and call it a day, shall we?

We’ve also made no secret of the fact that we have a stockpile of Betty Crocker Cake Mixes (that we got for 25 cents each!) and we’re always looking for fun things to do with ’em.

And let’s not forget about the fact that one of our favorite recipes of all times is our Betty Crocker Cake Mix Donuts recipe. Booya!

Put that all together and whaddya got?

Our world-famous Devil Dogs recipe using… what else? Betty Crocker Cake Mix! (and Hershey’s Chocolate Spread) (Two of our favorite things in the whole wide world, topped only by Miller Lite and Bloody Mary Mix!)

We’re gonna share our recipe with you but first we need to tell you about the pan we used…

We make a lot of donuts here at The Happy Couponer Household and our donut pans weren’t the best quality and if there’s one thing we certain of it’s this:

If you’re gonna make a lot of donuts you need a good pan! Otherwise they stick and they fall apart and they’re all icky-looking.

For this recipe we used the Wilton Donut Twist Pan we picked up at Amazon. Even though it says it’s non-stick we didn’t believe it. Until, that is, we tried it. Voila! Perfect twist donuts every time!

OK. Here’s the recipe: 

Devil Dogs Recipe

The Donuts – Ingredients

  • One Betty Crocker Cake Mix (We used the SuperMoist German Chocolate mix for this recipe)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted butter or margarine (slightly cooled)

Directions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray donut pans with non-stick pan spray.
  • Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix until smooth. (We just mixed by hand but you could use a mixer set on medium speed.)
  • Fill cavities 2/3 full
  • Bake approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and cake is firm to the touch
  • Remove from pans and let cool

Filling Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons hot water

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the Crisco until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar, salt, and 3 tablespoons of water and mix slowly until moist.
  • Mix at high speed until light and fluffy, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time until filling reaches desired consistency.

Assembly Directions 

After they’ve cooled, slice each twist in half lengthwise and apply a generous layer of filling and put the tops back on.

Heat Hershey’s Chocolate Spread in microwave for about 30 seconds until melted. Stir well and pour over tops of Devil Dogs, allowing to drip down the sides.

Top with sprinkles for a bit of color.

Yield: 9 Devil Dogs

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Prego Quick and Easy Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

We keep our crockpot within easy reach all year long. There’s nothing like coming home after a long day’s work and having dinner waiting in the crockpot, already cooked and ready to serve, it’s delectable aroma drifting through your house. But sometimes it can take more time to prep a crockpot meal than it does to just cook it on the stove. Not so with this recipe. It’s quick and easy, and it’s one of our favorites!

There are really only three key ingredients to this recipe. The rest of it is all improvisation. 

The first key ingredient is chicken. Cacciatore is a just a catch-all term to mean “throw whatever you have in the pot.” You can use assorted chicken pieces. You can use all legs or all thighs or all breasts. You can use shredded chicken or cubed if you have leftovers you want to use up. You can even make this recipe with chicken tenders, chicken fingers, or chicken wings. Heck, use Chicken McNuggets if you want to. Whatever floats your boat.

The next key ingredient is potatoes and the third is, of course, any flavor of Prego Pasta Sauce.

Get a coupon for $.40 off TWO (2) jars of Prego Pasta Sauce HERE

There are no set measurements for anything. It really just depends on how many people you’re serving and what you’re throwing in the crockpot. See? You really can’t mess up this recipe because the Prego Pasta Sauce does all the work!

As for the rest of the ingredients, anything goes. Diced tomatoes, chopped onions, green peppers, corn, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, carrots – whatever you have on hand.

Directions

Don’t worry about deboning or cutting up the chicken, just throw it in the pot. You’ll see. It turns out so juicy and tender it just falls off the bone.

Cut your potatoes into 1-inch cubes and toss them in, too.

Now, throw in everything else, including the Prego Pasta Sauce, and mix it all up until everything’s coated with the sauce.

Now for the hard part: Turn on your crockpot and walk away for a few hours. It’s easier said than done. Once this starts heating up you’re going to start smelling the most wonderful aroma coming from your kitchen and you’re going to want to rip off a big chunk of Italian bread and start dipping away!

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Thinking Outside the Box: How to make your own homemade fabric softener

If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times: You can always save money when you use coupons, but you can save so much more when you start thinking outside the box. If you come across a deal where you can use 12 coupons to get a 12 bottles of conditioner free, why not use 24 coupons and get 24 bottles free – and use the extra bottles to make fabric softener!

Here’s all you need: 

  • 2 cups any cheap  hair conditioner
  • 3 cups any cheap white vinegar
  • 6 cups warm water

Directions

  • Place the 2 cups of hair conditioner into a large mixing bowl.
  • Gradually stir in the vinegar, a little at a time.
  • Add the water and mix well.
  • Store in any bottle, jug, pitcher or spray bottle

(Browse our clipping service for conditioner coupons)

Note: Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to stir. Don’t use a wisk and don’t shake. You don’t want any foam to form because the foam won’t dissipate.

Directions for use 

You can use this the same way you use regular liquid fabric softener – put it in one of those Downy balls or put it in the dispenser in your washing machine. We use about half the amount we’d normally use if we were using store-bought fabric softener.

If you prefer dryer sheets you can put your homemade fabric softener in a spray bottle, spray it on a washcloth and toss it in the dryer with your clothes.

If you have hard water

We have hard water in our area and believe it or not our towels actually come out fluffier when we use our homemade softener and we never have to worry about static cling.

Thinking outside the box 

If you really want to amp up your coupon savings, start thinking outside the box.   

Our family thought we were crazy when we picked up 30 or so Betty Crocker Cake mixes one week but they were on sale and, with a coupon, we got them for 25 cents each. And we knew we could use them to make something other than cakes. For example, we used them to make donuts and German chocolate bars – and that’s just the beginning. Now, for just 25 cents, we’re able to replace a more expensive dessert and save even more money.

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Ring in the New Year with Spinach Dip and King’s Hawaiian Bread

I’m old enough to remember when King’s Hawaiian Bread was only available during the holidays at our local Kroger store. Now, it’s a regularly featured item that has it’s own prominent, permanent display. You’ve come a long way, baby!

Mix up a batch of this dip (in fact, you’ll probably want to mix up a couple of batches) and give this King’s Hawaiian Bread and Spinach dip a prominent position on your holiday snack table. It’ll be the star of the show.

Ingredients  2 round loaves King’s Hawaiian Bread

  • 1 10-oz package frozen spinach – thawed, thoroughly drained and chopped
  • 1 16-oz container sour cream
  • 1 8-oz can water chestnuts – drained and chopped
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dips mix
  • (Get a coupon for $.50 off 1 Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix here)

Directions 

  • Combine spinach, sour cream, water chestnuts and Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix in large bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Cut top off of King’s Hawaiian Bread and remove bread from center. Reserve the bread you remove to use as dippers. Fill center of hollowed-out loaf with dip
  • Cube second loaf of King’s Hawaiian Bread to use for dippers

Tip: We like to place a small bowl into hollowed-out loaf first, and then place the dip in the bowl. These helps keep the surrounding bread from getting soggy, and when you run out of bread (which you WILL because it’s sooooo yummy!) you can still cube that bread bowl.