Personalized Nachos plus a Food Lion Giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am a Food Lion blogger, and I joined their blogger program because we share the same mission–to help you feed your family for less. 

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

Food Lion has another awesome Dish it Up promo running this week, so take advantage of it! Through Tuesday, March 24th, when you buy both Food Lion Tortilla Chips and Kraft Velveeta, you get Chi-Chi’s Salsa, Chi-Chi’s Tortillas, and McCormick Seasoning for FREE. Then click over to Food Lion to get their Cowboy Quesadillas and Amazing Nachos recipes. While you’re there, you’ll find more Dish it Up recipes to help you get dinner done quickly and easily. Both recipes are just perfect for a March Madness game-watching night! I adapted one to create these Personalized Nachos for an easy weeknight family dinner.

Dish It Up Promo | Amazing Nachos | Food Lion Giveaway

I picked up all the fixings for our Personalized Nachos (including my three FREE items), plus some extras– green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans and green onions for some healthy toppings.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

 

Wash and chop your veggies (did you watch that free knife skills video yet–I learned a lot!). Or, use this opportunity to get the kids involved. Mine are so proud to announce when they help prep dinner, and they’ve gotten pretty good at chopping vegetables with practice. It was also easy for them to cube the Velveeta, since it’s so soft.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

For a family meal, I suggest letting each person pile a plate with chips and add some Velveeta cubes. Then just microwave each plate for 1 minute on high, and let everyone do their own toppings (the kids and hubby love that!). If you’re prepping for a party, add 1 pound of cubed Velveeta to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. You can even add seasonings right to the melted cheese.

Personalized Nachos | Food Lion Dish it Up and Giveaway | MoneywiseMoms

My family loved having a bunch of toppings to choose from: cooked chicken, black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, green peppers, onions and black olives. Don’t forget the salsa and sour cream! With Personalized Nachos, everyone gets to make their own choices and enjoy.

 

Food Lion Giveaway

Food Lion wants to help you Dish it Up with easy, frugal meals (my favorite!). Two lucky MoneywiseMoms readers will each win a $50 Food Lion Gift Card. If you’re reading in an email subscription or feed, please click over to the post so you can use the Rafflecopter entry form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends at 11:59pm ET on Friday, March 27th. Each winner will have 48 hours to reply back to their prize email from me, otherwise, I will have to choose alternate winners.

 

Moneywise Menu Plan 3/15: Eating from the Freezer

While it was a bit of work getting the freezer stocked with casseroles and bags for the slow cooker, I’m reminded this week why it’s worth the extra trouble. Instead of a week of hectic evenings with me standing at the stove, we’re eating from the freezer, which allows us to eat healthy and save money. It also made my weekly shopping trip fast and cheap–just milk and produce! We are going out on Friday night–for a big birthday dinner–but three of our meals are free thanks to birthday coupons and a rewards program. That’s the best way to do it!

Moneywise Menu Plan 3-15 Eating from the Freezer | MoneywiseMoms

 

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/15

Sunday: Grilling burgers and veggies with our neighbors (yay for nice weather!)
Monday: Green Chile Chicken Casserole (from the freezer) with salad
Tuesday: Sausage, Zucchini & Mushrooms with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and pasta
Wednesday: Chicken Caesar Casserole (from the freezer) and broccoli
Thursday: Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and cornbread
Friday: Eating out for the twins’ birthday
Saturday: Broccoli Rice Casserole with added chicken (from the freezer) and salad

Eating from the freezer, even when it’s just dumping a bag of pre-cut veggies and meat into the slow cooker, makes our weeknights go so much smoother. All three kids are working on research projects right now on top of regular nightly homework, and I’m able to help with this instead of standing at the stove.

Menu Plan Resources

Free Cooking Classes for Better Home Cooking

No question, cooking at home is a major way to save money every month. Rather than bust the budget eating out, why not learn some new skills to make you more comfortable in the kitchen? Whether you’re new to home cooking or just stuck in a rut, these FREE Cooking Classes can teach you some new skills and make cooking easier and more fun. You don’t even need to leave the house (see option three)!

Free Cooking Classes for better home cooking | MoneywiseMoms

Williams-Sonoma Stores

Williams-Sonoma stores hold in-store events, including FREE cooking classes on topics like knife skills, holiday baking, and entertaining. Each class is an hour long and includes tastings of prepared dishes. You do need to register ahead of time (via phone) since class size is limited.

Local Grocery Stores

Some regional grocery store chains offer cooking classes. For example, the Giant chain in Pennsylvania has two locations for The Cooking School, offering classes for kids, adults and seniors. Some Wegmans stores also offer cooking classes, though not all are free. Our local Whole Foods offers both free and paid cooking classes; check your local store’s “events” tab for the calendar and how to register.

Online at Craftsy

Try one of Craftsy’s FREE mini courses to better your home cooking skills. Right now, they’re offering some great options:

  • Cooking Mistakes: What Can Go Wrong and How To Make it Right: I really liked this instructor, and I found the chapters on knife safety and seasoning the most useful for my home cooking. There’s also some tips & tricks for saving time while entertaining, how to properly cook chicken and steak, and the class materials include some great recipes.
  • Perfect Pizza at Home:  This includes recipes for five types of dough (including a gluten-free option) and more to make your family’s pizza night delicious.
  • Creative Ways With Whole Grains (w/ Anna Bullett): Learn how to get past white rice, learning methods and recipes for cooking quinoa, farro, and pilafs.
  • Complete Knife Skills: This is next on my list to watch. I liked the short section in the Cooking Mistakes class and know I have more to learn. Getting faster will help me prep more healthy freezer meals!

 What are some ways you learn new skills for home cooking?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend what I love. Thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you.

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Do you have company coming or another reason to feed a crowd (or is your family the crowd)? This Mexican Breakfast Casserole is easy to pull together with whole foods and bakes up to a delicious breakfast, brunch, or even breakfast-for-dinner. My family likes it with salsa and Tabasco on the side. We love having breakfast for dinner, and this is a nice, hearty casserole that fills us up.

 

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole | easy whole foods recipe | MoneywiseMoms

Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and finely diced (or a bag of frozen hash browns)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 12 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup skim milk
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add potatoes to bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle the onion and red pepper over the potatoes. Add half the green chiles and about half of the cheese to the top.
  4. In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk and remaining green chiles.
  5. Pour over the potato and vegetable mixture, then top with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the center.

 

If you have leftovers, they’re easy to reheat and serve in a tortilla for a morning breakfast burrito. That’s also a way to stretch out the main casserole if you’re feeding more than 8 people. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole | easy whole foods recipe | MoneywiseMoms

For more easy, family-friendly casserole recipes, follow my Capitivating Casseroles board on Pinterest.

 

Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at JoLynneShane, Tasty Tuesdays at Creative K Kids, Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, DIY Craft and Recipe Linkup at The SITS Girls, Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now, and On Display Thursday at Average But Inspired.

Moneywise Menu Plan 3-8: More Freezer Meals

Last week, between the sick days (both my daughter and me) and three snow/ice days off school, I managed to fill the freezer with a several casseroles and bags of slow cooker meals. It felt great! Going into this week, we’re expecting better weather and hopefully we’ll all be healthy. I’ll cook when I can but it’s good to know those meals are in the freezer to pull out and make dinner prep easy. A good goals is to add one or two more freezer meals to storage each week so we don’t run out.

Moneywise Menu Plan - easy frugal meals that are family friendly including more freezer meals

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/8

Sunday: Turkey Parmesan Pasta and salad
Monday: Vegetarian Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with tortillas, black beans, brown rice & toppings
Wednesday: One Pot Chicken Lo Mein
Thursday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with carrots/celery/cucumbers & ranch
Friday: Chicken Soup and homemade breadsticks
Saturday: Burgers and homemade fries with salad

If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with freezer cooking, take a look at the meal plans at $5DollarDinners. Erin has created packs that include recipes, shopping lists, and all the directions you need. With her instructions, you can prep 20 meals for $150 or less! She even has packs with gluten-free freezer meals and those based on your favorite stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.). Thanks for using my affiliate link (which helps support MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you).

20 Meals from Any Grocery Store for Less Than $150 - Slow Cooker Freezer Packs, 2nd Edition
 

This week, Erin is releasing her 7th plan, this time with 85 recipes for breakfasts and snacks, all for less than $150. I’m excited to see this one and give it a try. I’ll be sure and write up a review as soon as I’ve tried the recipes.

Menu Plan Resources

3 Little Things: Origami, Science and Tax Refunds

3 little things making me happy - MoneywiseMoms

Wow–only two days of school this week. We’re buried again under ice and snow, and with winter illnesses going through the kids and I and no routines to speak of, I really appreciated the things that made me smile this week. Hope they make you smile, too!

Dancing Paper

This fun video takes origami to another level, and the kids and watched it several times with huge grins on our faces:

Outrageous Acts of Science

Between the sick days and snow days, our screen time has increased. But we’re learning a lot with the show Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel. It takes viral videos off YouTube and explains their scientific merit. We’ve seen some really cool things and some people being complete idiots (which makes for great teachable moments with the kids). As a mom, I love that they have a cadre of international scientists (and lots of women) who explain everything in very easy-to-understand language. Each shares their point of view as an engineer, materials scientist, biologist, astrophysicist, etc. It’s a great combo of entertainment with accessible education.

Outrageous Acts of Science

Tax Refunds

We received our tax refunds via direct deposit this week–yippee! I’ve used TurboTax online for 8 years now, and even with my multiple side-gigs (blogging, babysitting, mystery shopping, etc.) it’s always easy to use just by filling out the prompts. You may be able to file for FREE if you have a simple tax return (versus the Home + Business version I use), and state returns cost extra (but check my Free State Tax Filing post for yours).

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend what I love. Thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you.

Free Theme Park Admission: CA, FL, TX and VA

FREE theme park admission for kids 3-5 to Busch Gardens and Sea World

Virginia

Get your FREE Busch Gardens Preschool Pass for children ages 3-5* when you register via email. Your child will get unlimited FREE admission to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA through September 7, 2015. A regular children’s one-day pass is $65, so this is a significant savings. You’ll need to print out and redeem your pass at the park by May 31st to be able to use it all summer.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg opens for the season on Friday, March 27th. For parents accompanying your little ones to the park, you can purchase a Fun Card for $75 (same price as a one-day ticket) that gives the named passholder unlimited admission all season.

*As long as your child is 5 when you register for the pass, it’s okay if their 6th birthday occurs during the park season. The FREE pass will still work!

 

Texas

This same offer is available for the Texas parks, too. Online registration runs through May 31, and you must redeem the pass at the park by July 31:
Free Preschool Pass to Sea World San Antonio and Aquatica San Antonio

 FREE Theme Park Admission for kids 3-5 at Sea World

California

Hurry and register for a Free Preschool Pass to Sea World San Diego by March 13th if you are an Orange County or San Diego County resident. This gives your child(ren) their own Preschool Pass for FREE theme park admission through the end of the year, saving you $80!

 

Florida

Florida residents can register for a Free Preschool Pass to Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World Orlando for free theme park admission through December 31, 2015.

 

Free State Tax Filing 2015

You may be eligible for FREE State Tax Filing through your state’s website. For some states, all residents are eligible. For others, you may need to meet a requirement, so read carefully when you reach your state’s tax website. This is a great way to save a little money during this stressful time of year–tax season! Even if you’re using an online program for your federal filing, you can stop at the federal filing, print out your return, then use that information to complete your FREE state tax filing through your state website below.

You may be eligible for FREE State Tax Filing through your state's website | MoneywiseMoms

States with FREE state income tax e-filing for for ALL filers:

States offering FREE state tax filing with income, age or other requirements:

And finally, states that do not require individual income tax filing (like Tennessee) do offer free e-filing of interest income and other taxable income.

 

Original image from normanbleventhalmapcenter at Flickr.

Disclosure: I am not a financial advisor or CPA and am not offering advice as such. My tax posts are informational and contain links for reference and verification.

Moneywise Menu Plan 3/1: Freezer Cooking to the Rescue!

What a winter! Are you snowed/iced in and sick of school snow days like we are here? It’s been very hard to get out and buy groceries, so I made a big push around icy roads, a rescheduled swim meet, and a very sick kiddo to hit three stores and get everything I needed to do two small freezer cooking sessions. To stick with my goal of cooking 6 of 7 days of the week without having to actually cook that often, I planned out some similar meals and a few hours to get all the work done. Now my freezer is stocked with healthy and frugal meals, and I have lots of options for both the slow cooker and oven.

Moneywise Menu Plan - easy frugal meals that are family friendly

Moneywise Menu Plan – 3/1

Sunday: Slow Cooker Pork Ragu & Fettuccine and green beans
Monday: Leftovers (they scrounged the fridge while I was out food shopping)
Tuesday: Broccoli Rice Casserole (I added cooked chicken)
Wednesday: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with pasta and vegetables, plus Caesar salad
Thursday: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork, broccoli and brown rice
Friday: Pizza and salad for family movie night (we just got Big Hero 6!)
Saturday: Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and cornbread

I prepped zipper bags of slow cooker meals, plus some casseroles either in zipper bags or Pyrex dishes (affiliate link). Now my freezer is full, and feeding the family is a whole lot easier.

Menu Plan Resources