Cake Mix Cookies {Perfect for Potlucks}

We attended our first summer potluck this weekend, and there are many more to come! With busy schedules, school still in session (four more weeks–ugh!), and too much to do, you need an easy-peasy recipe like these Cake Mix Cookies to bring and enjoy. There’s just three ingredients–unless you want to add some sprinkles to the top, then it’s four.

Cake Mix Cookies | MoneywiseMoms


Cake Mix Cookies

  • 1 package cake mix, any flavor (we love devil’s food)
  • ½ cup oil or butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all three ingredients in a large bowl and stir until dough forms. Either scoop onto cookie sheet or shape into 1-inch balls (it’s easier if you chill it first). Bake 8-10 minutes or until center is set. Let cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.

This is one of those “base” recipes that you can take in any direction. Try a different flavor of cake mix, or add some mini chocolate chips, crushed Oreos, or chopped almonds to the tops.

Do you have any favorite baking supplies? I do! I love my Wilton 3-Tier Cooling Rack Set (that’s my Amazon link–thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no cost to you!). For less than $10, you get three racks that stack and give you plenty of room to work.


Cake Mix Cookies is linked up to Inspire Me Wednesday at Adventures of Mel, Tasty Tuesday at Creative K Kids, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple, Do Tell Tuesday at Mabey She Made It, and Too Cute Tuesday at Funky Polkadot Giraffe.

Moneywise Menu Plan 5-17 thru 5-30

Is it crazy at your house, too? What is about the spring?! Seems like every mom I know is overextended, over-volunteering, stressed at work, tired of kids’ schoolwork and frustrated with the standardized test season. I’m getting through it by keeping my systems in place that make life easier–like meal planning. I set up another two-week menu plan, so that instead of spending brain power I can just look at the list, see which ingredients I already have on hand, and make a quick grocery trip. My kids are really enjoying all the cold salads we’ve been eating, and I like that I can prep them the night before or early in the morning (with their help chopping veggies) to keep our evenings less stressful.

Moneywise Menu Plan | frugal famly meals from MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 5/17 thru 5/30

Sunday: My son & I were at a swim banquet, everyone else had salad with chicken on top.
Monday: Greek Quinoa Salad from Back to Her Roots
Tuesday: Spinach Stuffed Shells and salad
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with leftover salad and corn
Thursday: Tortellini Chickpea Pasta Salad
Friday: Leftovers from the week–there should be plenty.
Saturday: We have company! Slow Cooker Tacos will feed the crowd.

Sunday: Ordering Chinese food with our friends visiting from Florida.
Monday: Baked Potato Bar with toppings
Tuesday: Grilled Garlic Lime Chicken, brown rice and broccoli
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner–scrambled eggs, Rosemary Potatoes and fruit
Thursday: Leftover chicken over Ramen Broccoli Slaw from My Catholic Kitchen
Friday: We’re eating at the pool tonight, so some version of cold pasta salad I can make ahead.
Saturday: Slow Cooker Pork Ragu & Fettuccine and broccoli

Menu Plan Resources

Tuna, Green Bean & Potato Salad

It’s spring! You want green, you want lemon, you want salad–right? You’ll love this one. I’ve served this Tuna, Green Bean & Potato Salad to my family twice now and they just loved it. It’s easy to put together and will be the perfect recipe to use fresh green beans and parsley from your garden this summer. The homemade dressing adds a light lemon flavor that brightens the whole meal.

Tuna Green Bean Potato Salad | light refreshing spring salad | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tuna, Green Bean & Potato Salad
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 2 lbs small gold or red potatoes
  • 2 cans (each 4oz) tuna in water, drained and broken into chunks
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Cook green beans in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, until tender-crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. Add potatoes to the same pot of water and return to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain, then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Then add garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. In a large bowl, gently combine basil and parsley with the potatoes, green beans, tuna, celery, olives and dressing.
  5. Set salad aside at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving, so flavors meld.

If you can prep this ahead of time, it gives a chance for the flavors to meld and for the potatoes to soak up the delicious dressing. It’s fabulous served warm, but we also liked it as lunch the next day, very chilled.


Tuna, Green Bean & Potato Salad is linked up to Craft & Recipe Link up at The SITS Girls, Funtastic Friday at Olives n’ Okra, Creative Inspirations Linky Party at Embracing Change, Pin-Me Linky Party at Diana Rambles, Pin Party at The Pin Junkie, Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now, Inspire Me Wednesday at Adventures of Mel, Tasty Tuesday at Creative K Kids, Real Food Recipe Roundup at JoLynneShane, Monday Funday Linky Party at The Bewitchin’ Kitchen, and Made by you Monday at Skip to my Lou.

20 Savory Popcorn Recipes

Family movie night? Family game night? Just a house full of kids for the summer? I’m raising my hand for all three! I’m always on the lookout for frugal snacks, and making our own popcorn is an easy one. For a little variety, we like trying new seasoning recipes. These 20 Savory Popcorn Recipes are a great way to try out different flavors and see what’s popular with your crowd. I stuck with savory recipes because there’s no shortage of sweets in our life, especially in the summer. Give some of these a try!

Savory Popcorn Recipes | frugal snacks made with #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

As you click through these popcorn recipes, you’ll notice that everyone makes their popcorn differently. Many mention the WhirlyPop (which I had never heard of before). I use a simple air popper that’s easy and frugal. Some just put kernels in a brown paper bag into the microwave or cook it right on the stovetop.

BBQ Popcorn from Mix It Up

Buffalo Popcorn from Wonky Wonderful

Cajun Corn from a la carte kitchen

Cilantro Lime Popcorn from Bake Your Day

Cilantro Lime Popcorn from Bake Your Day | Savory Popcorn Recipes | frugal snacks made with #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

Chili Cheese Popcorn from The Suburban Soapbox

Dill Pickle Popcorn from Sarcastic Cooking

Dorito-Flavored Popcorn (dairy free) at Whole New Mom

Garlic Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn from Two Peas & Their Pod

Garlic Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn from Two Peas and Their Pod | Savory Popcorn Recipes | frugal snacks made with #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

Honey Sea Salt Popcorn from A Side of Sweet

Lemon, Parmesan & Black Pepper Popcorn from Cookie & Kate

Lemon Thyme Popcorn from Recipe Runner

Old Bay Stovetop Popcorn from Blogging Over Thyme

Old Bay Stovetop Popcorn from Blogging Over Thyme | Savory Popcorn Recipes | frugal snacks made with #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

Pizza Popcorn from Chocolate with Grace

Ranch Popcorn from Budget Savvy Diva

Rosemary Popcorn from Basil and Bubbly

Salty Spicy Popcorn from Give Recipe

Sour Cream Onion Popcorn from Shutterbean | Savory Popcorn Recipes | frugal snacks made with #realfood | MoneywiseMoms

Sour Cream & Onion Popcorn from Shutterbean

Sriracha Popcorn from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

Sweet & Spicy Wasabi Popcorn from Kitchen Confidante

Taco Popcorn from Gimme Some Oven


20 Savory Popcorn Recipes is linked up to Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings, The SITS Girls DIY Craft & Recipe Linkup and Tasty Tuesdays at Creative K Kids.

Moneywise Menu Plan 5-3 thru 5-16

This month and next looks so hectic, I’m doing myself a favor and switching to two-week menu plans to get me through. I did one big shopping trip to pick up all my proteins and pantry goods for the whole month, so each week I just need to stop at the store for produce and dairy. One of the ways I accomplish my goal of serving frugal family meals is by sticking with a meal plan. We eat meatless meals a couple of times each week, and I buy bulk protein (like an 8-pound pork loin) at its lowest price and split it up into meals over the course of the month.

Moneywise Menu Plan | frugal famly meals from MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 5/3 thru 5/16

Sunday: Leftovers (I was out of town so hubby raided the fridge)
Monday: Mini Broccoli Quiches and salad
Tuesday: One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein from The Wholesome Dish
Wednesday: Oriental Chicken Salad from Chef in Training
Thursday: Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna from Pinch of Yum and salad
Friday: Turkey Spinach Burgers with wheat buns and corn
Saturday: The kids are at sleepovers, so we’re going out to eat to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary

Sunday: Grilled chicken on top of Creamy Asian Slaw from Mommy Moment
Monday: Spinach Feta Pasta Salad
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with black beans and brown rice (and all the toppings)
Wednesday: Crustless Bacon Asparagus Quiche and Rosemary Potatoes
Thursday: Spaghetti with meat sauce (ground turkey) and green beans
Friday: Chicken Caesar Salad and garlic bread
Saturday: Chicken Fajitas with leftover beans and rice


Menu Plan Resources


Moneywise Menu Plan 4-26

It’s the end of the month, which means the end of my grocery budget. I try to cook as much as I can from the pantry and freezer this time of the month to stick with my goal of feeding my family healthy and frugal meals. I’m keeping it simple this week because I’m waiting for my new niece to be born. If she’s on time, I’ll head out of town for some newborn cuddling and toddler wrangling over the weekend. I’m so excited! Here’s the plan for the week:

Moneywise Menu Plan 4-26 | frugal family meals | MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 4/26

Sunday: Grilled burgers, veggies and corn with our neighbors
Monday: Baked potatoes with broccoli & cheese
Tuesday: Mushroom chicken with rice and green beans
Wednesday: Avocado Basil Pasta from Dear Crissy (my son picked this out as a new-to-us recipe to try)
Thursday: Green Chile Chicken Casserole from the freezer
Friday: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches and salad
Saturday: Leftovers night (there should be plenty from the past two dinners)


Menu Plan Resources


Moneywise Menu Plan 4-12: More Spring Salads

Another lovely spring week is ahead! I’m finding that prepping a cold salad early in the day (or even the night before) is a great way to save time & stress on nights when we have sports practices. Since I’m all over Pinterest looking for new salad recipes, I’ll have plenty that we’ve tried and loved by the time summer swim team rolls around. Then, it’s great to make those ahead for nighttime meets, saving us a TON of money by bringing our own dinner instead of eating out. My kids are enjoying the hunt and test of new spring salads.

Moneywise Menu Plan - More Spring Salads - MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 4/12

Sunday: Mini Broccoli Quiches (making extra for lunches this week) and 30-Minute Dinner Rolls
Monday: Spinach & Feta Pasta Salad
Tuesday: Oriental Chicken Salad from Chef in Training
Wednesday: Chicken sausage sauteed with mushrooms, onions, spinach and tomatoes, served over pasta
Thursday: Chopped Cobb Salad from Yellow Bliss Road
Friday: Homemade French bread pizzas with lots of veggies on top
Saturday: Daddy’s in charge of dinner, so something like Pigs in a Blanket, probably

I’m heading out of town over the weekend for my annual Moms of Multiples Club’s regional convention. It’s a great way to connect with other moms of multiples and get a little away-from-the-kids relaxation time). Can’t wait!

Would love to hear your favorite spring salads. Please share in the comments below.

Menu Plan Resources

Moneywise Menu Plan 4-5: Salads for Spring

The weather is going to finally be spring-like this week: 60s and 70s with plenty of rain. I’m so excited to be outside walking again, and the whole family is in the mood for lighter food (you’ll notice the word “salad” shows up a lot on this week’s menu plan). A great benefit of cold salads is that I can prepare them ahead of time, and they’re ready to go on a busy weeknight. We have one night this week where we’re all eating at different times and going in different directions, so a big bowl of salad will make sure we get fed well. It’s a great time to try out some new salad recipes I’ve added to my Salad & Veggie Sides Pinterest board.

Moneywise Menu Plan 4-5 | Frugal family meals and salads from MoneywiseMoms

Moneywise Menu Plan – 4/5

Monday: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork (my last freezer meal) with brown rice and broccoli
Tuesday: Quesadillas made with leftover pork, corn and black beans, plus salad
Wednesday: Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna from Pinch of Yum
Thursday: Greek Quinoa Salad from Back to Her Roots
Friday: Crustless Bacon Asparagus Quiche and Rosemary Potatoes
Saturday: Tuna, Green Bean and Potato Salad

Coming off of that month of freezer meals–wow, that was worth the time and trouble. While I’m not in the mood for casseroles right now, it was a reminder that having a system in place (in this case, meal planning and prepping food ahead of time) makes everything run smoother. I need to find a way to apply this system to the spring and summer using different meals than we typically eat in the fall and winter.

What are some ways you adjust for the warmer seasons?


Menu Plan Resources

Homemade Taco Seasoning (and 25 ways to use it)

Making your own versions of processed foods isn’t just a way to save money, it also helps you control ingredients. Whether you’re eating low sodium, gluten-free or just want to avoid the chemicals and preservatives found in the packets, take a few minutes to mix up a batch of Homemade Taco Seasoning, and you’ll have it on hand for your next taco night. It tastes a lot better, too! Here’s my go-to recipe and 25 great ways to use it.

Homemade Taco Seasoning and 25 ways to use it | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  1. Mix all spices together. Store in an airtight container.
  2. For standard ground beef/turkey tacos: After you brown the meat, drain the fat, and replace the seasoning packet with 2+ Tbsp of this homemade taco seasoning (depending on how strong you like the flavor) and 1/3 cup of water. Stir and simmer until thickened.
  3. For slow cooker tacos (chicken or pork): Sprinkle 2-3 pounds of chicken breasts/thighs or pork roast with 4-5 Tbsp of homemade taco seasoning. You can also add a jar of salsa or a cup of chicken broth for extra moisture. Cook on low 6-10 hours, then shred.

This recipe makes almost 5 Tbsp of seasoning, which is enough for 2-3 batches of ground beef tacos (a packet is typically 2 Tbsp) or one batch in the slow cooker. I usually scale this up by doubling or tripling it so I don’t have to make it as often (we do Taco Tuesday every week!). There are lots of other ways to use it:

Appetizers and Snacks

Taco Snack Mix from Shugary Sweets

Easy Taco Dip from Julie’s Eats and Treats

Taco Pizza Rolls from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas from Hungry Food Love

Cheesy Taco Popcorn from Three Different Directions

Light & Creamy Taco Salad Dressing from Lady Behind the Curtain

Taco Snack Mix from Shugary Sweets | Homemade Taco Seasoning



Fiesta Pork Chop and Rice Bake from Six Sisters’ Stuff

Taco Stuffed Peppers from Everyday Made Fresh

Taco Cornbread Casserole from MoneywiseMoms (figure out amount to sub)

Southwestern Chicken Taco Casserole from Pint-sized Treasures

Lawnmower Taco from Life as Mom

Fiesta Pork Chops and Rice Bake from Six Sisters Stuff | Homemade Taco Seasoning

Soups and Chilis

Creamy Black Bean Chicken Soup from Pass the Fresh

8 Can Taco Soup from High Heels & Grills

Crockpot Taco Chili from First Home Love Life

Taco Stew from Oh Sweet Basil

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili from Table for Two

Easy Crockpot Taco Chili from First Home Love Life | Homemade Taco Seasoning

Tacos & More

Baja Tilapia Fish Tacos from Redomestication

Traveling Tacos from MoneywiseMoms

Mexican Meatloaf from Pepper Scraps

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta from Catz in the Kitchen

One Pan Enchilada Bake from Damn Delicious

Chicken Fajitas in the Deep Covered Baker from MoneywiseMoms

Easy Spanish Rice from Grandma Bee’s Recipes

Tex-Mex Taco Pasta from Catz in the Kitchen | Homemade Taco Seasoning


Homemade Taco Seasoning (and 25 ways to use it) is linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at JoLynne Shane, On Display Thursdays at Average But Inspired and Tasty Tuesdays at Creative K Kids.