Tuscan Chicken Soup {Slow Cooker}

I’m so glad we’re heading into fall. While I use my slow cooker all year round, I do avoid soups and stews during most of the year. With some cooler temps, it’s a great time to try some new soup recipes. This Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Soup has become a new favorite at my house–filled with my family’s favorite vegetables like red peppers, mushrooms and spinach. It’s a very easy recipe that makes a great healthy dinner!

Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Soup

5.0 from 2 reviews
Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Soup
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken, cubed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 7oz jar roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach, chopped
  1. Add all ingredients except spinach to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  3. Add spinach, stir, and cover. Cook for 10 more minutes or until spinach is wilted.

I usually serve soups with carbs on the side (like one of these 10 Sensations Sides for Soups & Stews). That way, the kids can carb-load while the adults take it easily. Alternately, you could add cubed potatoes for a more stew-like broth, or serve this soup with cooked rice or pasta.

Looking for more easy Slow Cooker Meals? Follow my Slow Cooker & Crockpot Pinterest Board.

Linked up to Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now, Wow Me Wednesday at Ginger Snap Crafts, Whimsy Wednesday at Smart School House, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Too Cute Tuesday at Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond, Real Food Recipes Roundup at Musings of a Housewife and Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou.

Tortellini Chickpea Pasta Salad {Cookbook Giveaway}

Tortellini Chickpea Pasta Salad

Easy, healthy meals on a budget–it’s a goal for many of us. I’m excited to share a great new cookbook with you–GoodCheapEats by Jessica Fisher–to help you meet this goal around your busy family. You may already be familiar with Jessica Fisher from the blogs Good Cheap Eats and Life As Mom. She’s all about making the most of what you have, whether that’s time with family, money in the bank, or food on hand. She has six kids and is passionate about budget-friendly meals that taste good. I received a copy of GoodCheapEats for review and have been working my way through the recipes, to my family’s delight.

Good Cheap Eats - budget friendly meals |MoneywiseMoms
GoodCheapEats is filled with strategies and tips alongside the great recipes, all focusing on how to shop smart and eat well on a budget. My family just loved this Tortellini Chickpea Pasta Salad, found on page 268 (or print it below). It’s the kind of pasta salad that’s tasty either warm or chilled. It will store in the fridge for up to four days.


4.4 from 5 reviews
Tortellini-Chickpea Pasta Salad
Serves: 4 servings
  • 12oz. cheese tortellini (fresh, dried or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (rinsed & drained if canned)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 (10oz) package grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped peeled carrots
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the tortellini according tot he package directions. Drain and let cool slightly.
  2. In a small jar or bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the lid on the jar and shake well or whisk until smooth. Add the olive oil and shake or whisk again to emulsify.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tortellini, chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, and carrots. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

The GoodCheapEats Cookbook is out right now! Find it at Amazon, and purchase a copy in paperback or for Kindle.

Win the GoodCheapEats Cookbook
One lucky MoneywiseMoms reader will get a copy of the brand new GoodCheapEats cookbook. For a chance to win, just check out this preview PDF of the book, and pick one of the recipes you’l like to try:

To enter, take a look at GoodCheapEats’ Table of Contents and tell me one recipe you’d like to try.

If you’re reading this in an email subscription, you’ll need to click over to the blog to enter. One entry per person, please. This giveaway ends Wednesday, September 17th, at midnight EST. Good luck!


Linked up to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, Thrifty Thursday at The Thrifty Couple, Show & Tell at Gingerly Made, Inspire Me Wednesday at seventhirtythree, the Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City and Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review. The publisher is providing the prize for this giveaway. I’ve also used an affiliate link to Amazon; thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no additional cost to you!

7 Homemade Muffin Recipes – Lunchbox & Afterschool Snacks

Homemade Muffin Recipes | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
Thinking about all the snacks and treats your kids will go through this school year? Rather than spend a lot on pre-packaged snacks, consider these homemade muffin recipes. We take a little time on the weekend to bake up a batch of muffins, then put some aside for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks. The rest go in the freezer to use another week. Each of these recipes uses real foods and include fruit and fiber, so they’re healthier than what you’re seeing advertised right now for back to school season. Plus, by making them at home, you’re saving a lot of money.

For our lunchboxes, I like to use a standard mini muffin pan, since the smaller muffins fit nicely. As a rule of thumb, if a recipe doesn’t have directions for mini muffins, cut the time to 2/3 of the regular-sized, then check it for doneness with a toothpick.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
These Whole Wheat Cinnamon Muffins have a crispy, sweet edge and a wonderful flavor.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins are easily made with either fresh blueberries (still in season now!) or a bag of frozen ones (the rest of the year).

Chocolate Banana Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
These Chocolate Banana Muffins look rich and indulgent, but they’re still made with whole wheat.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipe for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
My kids love these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. They’re a fall favorite!

Banana Blueberry Breakfast Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
These Banana Blueberry Breakfast Muffins have the protein of Greek yogurt and fiber from oatmeal and whole wheat flour. They make a great on-the-go breakfast if you make them full-sized.

Brown Sugar Maple Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
Brown Sugar & Maple Muffins are delicate and just the right amount of sweet.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffin Recipe | Easy #realfood #recipes for lunchboxes and afterschool snacks | MoneywiseMoms
This Whole Wheat Banana Muffins recipe is so simple, it’s a great way to get started with making your own.

What are your favorite homemade muffins recipes?


 Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City, Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts, and Inspire Me Wednesday at Seven Thirty-Three.

Microwave Creamy Tortellini {Deep Covered Baker}

I’m always on the lookout for easy weeknight dinners, like this Microwave Creamy Tortellini that is ready in less than 30 minutes thanks to the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. If you like my Chicken Tomato Pasta, give this one a try. It’s another pasta-with-veggies-in-sauce recipe, which is a great formula for success at my house. Yours, too?

Microwave Creamy Tortellini
Microwave Creamy Tortellini with Ham & Peas
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8oz ham, diced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 16oz frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. In a microwave-safe container (I use a large glass bowl), combine butter and flour and whisk until smooth. Add garlic and milk and whisk well.
  2. Microwave, covered, on high 3-4 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 60 seconds.
  3. Add cheese; whisk until smooth.
  4. Add ham and pepper to sauce. Mix well, then set aside.
  5. Combine tortellini and broth in Deep Covered Baker. Microwave on high 12-15 minutes or until tortellini are tender, stirring every 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add cheese sauce to Baker, mix well. Stir in peas.
  7. Microwave, covered, on high 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
  8. Cover and let stand 2-3 minutes.


While this isn’t a one-dish recipe (it’s only two!), it’s still weeknight-easy and a new take on mac-and-cheese (which my kids never tire of, but I do). Serve it with a side salad for a great dinner. You can also replace the peas with another vegetable if your family prefers (like cut green beans or fresh baby spinach).

Looking for more Deep Covered Baker microwave recipes? See my DCB Recipes Pinterest Board, where all the recipes I’ve pinned are microwave-only and use whole/real foods:

Follow Gina Lincicum (MoneywiseMoms)’s board Deep Covered Baker Recipes on Pinterest.

Microwave Creamy Tortellini is linked up to TypeAParentFluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Real Food Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife and Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou.

Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches

Feeding the kids in the summer is a little easier than packing all those lunchboxes. This summer, I’ve put a different child in charge of choosing and preparing lunch each weekday. My son (10 years old) likes to make these Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches because the prep is easy (just a can opener), and they’re a zesty take on an old standby. What a great way to liven up the a lunch sandwich rut! If you don’t have fresh basil (love that summer garden!), just used the dried spice.

Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches - easy way to jazz up your #lunchbox - MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches
  • 2 cans tuna in water, drained and chunked
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • Bread/rolls of choice
  1. In a bowl, stir together tuna, mayonnaise, cheese, basil, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve on sandwich bread or roll.


This recipe makes 4 regular sandwiches or 2 giant ones (the way my son and husband like to eat it). I had mine on boring whole wheat bread, but this Parmesan Tuna would also be great in a pita bread or on top of a green salad.


This Parmesan Tuna Sandwiches recipe is linked up to Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond, Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City, Monday Funday at Uncommon Designs, Inspiration Monday at i should be mopping the floor, and Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou. 

Tropical Green Smoothies with Almond Milk

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #SilkAlmondBlends #CollectiveBias

Tropical Green Smoothies with Almond Milk #SilkAlmondBlends #shop | MoneywiseMoms
Once school gets out this week (finally), the afternoon swim team practice that has caused me so much dinner stress will switch to early morning. Time to switch gears! Now I need a morning kickstart to help us get out to the pool on time. Smoothies with almond milk are just the ticket–lots of fruit, protein and fiber–and I can take them to go.

I picked up some of the new Silk Almond Blends at Safeway last week so I could try them out in my morning smoothies. You’ll find both Silk Almond Coconut Blend and Silk Almondmilk Protein + Fiber in the dairy case. I made a delicious Tropical Green Smoothie with the Almond Coconut Blend, which has 50% more calcium than dairy milk in just 35 calories. It’s also a great option if you are working around allergies, since it’s dairy, lactose, casein, egg and gluten-free.

Silk Almondmilk Products at Safeway #SilkAlmondBlends #shop | MoneywiseMoms
Cutting a mango can be really tricky. This tutorial from SimplyRecipes has great pictures if you need a little help. By keeping the mango cubes and crushed pineapple in the freezer, you can avoid needing to add ice to the smoothie. The frozen fruit gives it just the right texture. Of course, you can always pick up frozen mango in the freezer section if you don’t want to deal with a fresh one.

Cutting a Mango for Tropical Green Smoothies with Almond Milk #SilkAlmondBlends #shop | MoneywiseMoms
Along with the benefits of almond milk, the spinach and mango provide Vitamins A and K. The two fruits add sweetness to the almond milk as well (I always buy the unsweetened version so there’s no extra sugar). I use a single-serve smoothie maker to mix my smoothies. It’s so much easier than a large blender.

Ingredients for Tropical Green Smoothies with Almond Milk #SilkAlmondBlends #shop | MoneywiseMoms
Tropical Green Smoothies with Almond Milk
  • 1 cup Silk Almond Coconut Blend
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  1. Add Almond Coconut Milk, pineapple and mango to blender and blend to break up icy chunks.
  2. Add spinach and blend again.

I’ve been enjoying this simple smoothie a few mornings a week, and it helps feel full as well as get some calcium, fruit and fiber in my day.

Head to the Silk website for a great Pina Colada Smoothie recipe, among others. It sounds delicious! You can also connect with Silk on Facebook to print money-saving coupons.

Do you make smoothies with almond milk? What’s your favorite recipe?

Linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City, Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond and Made by You Mondays at Skip to my Lou.

Super Summer Salads {Cold Dinners for Busy Weeknights}

Super Summer Salads - roundup of easy, cold salad dinners for busy families - MoneywiseMoms
Summer swim team has started, which means lots of eating on the run–either out at away meets or spending hours at the home pool. Rather than spend lots of money at snack bars and overdo it on unhealthy foods, the kids and I searched on Pinterest for some new-to-us cold salad recipes that we can prep in the morning and pack to take for dinner. We love our old standby, the Spinach & Feta Pasta Salad, but we’re eager to try something new. These Super Summer Salads look great!

Summer Broccoli Salad from That's So Michelle | Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
Summer Broccoli Salad from That’s So Michelle

The sweet & sour dressing soaks in when you chill this salad ahead of time, so make it the night before or early in the morning for a crunchy, delicious dinner by the pool.

Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad from Hungry Couple | Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad from Hungry Couple

This has all the flavors my kids love–chickpeas, cucumbers and salty feta cheese, with a light homemade dressing to pull it all together. Yum!

Summer Orzo Salad from Oh My Veggies | Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
Summer Orzo Salad from Oh My Veggies

So simple, and with kid-favorite green beans plus garden tomatoes and orzo pasta. This would be good both warm and cold. Can’t wait to try it!

Creamy Asian Slaw from Mommy Moment | Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
Creamy Asian Slaw from Mommy Moment

Love the pizzazz of the dressing, made with almond milk and apple cider vinegar. If you have leftover grilled chicken, put a few slices on top for protein.

BLT Chopped Salad from How Sweet It Is| Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
BLT Chopped Salad from How Sweet It Is

You had me at bacon. This chop salad also includes lettuce, arugula, corn and avocado–a fabulous medley of flavors–with a simple olive oil & lime dressing.

Summer Pasta Salad: Potluck Style from The Messy Baker| Super Summer Salads | MoneywiseMoms
Summer Pasta Salad: Potluck Style from The Messy Baker

I love this pasta salad recipe because it sets you up for many successful salads this summer. “Potluck style” means using whatever leftovers you have in the fridge–bits of meat, cheese, beans, veggies, etc.–and tossed with some salad dressing. If you need to, follow the recipe, but teach yourself to let go and experiment a bit.


For more easy family meals, read Get Dinner on the Table FAST. I also have more delicious salad recipes pinned to my Salads & Veggie Sides Pinterest Board.


Super Summer Salads is linked up to Pinterest Foodie at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou.

Super Easy 5-Ingredient Red Potato Salad

Need a super easy recipe for your next barbeque or potluck? How about this 5-Ingredient Red Potato Salad–with favorite flavors like bacon and ranch. It’s the summer version of a loaded baked potato, and it’s the perfect side dish for grilled chicken, fish, or even burgers.

Super Easy Red Potato Salad #recipe that has just 5 ingredients | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Super Easy 5-Ingredient Red Potato Salad
Serves: 6-8
  • 3 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 3/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until cooked, about 15 minutes.
  2. Drain potatoes and move to serving bowl.
  3. Add ranch and toss gently.
  4. Add bacon, green onions, and grated cheese and toss again.
  5. Serve either warm or chilled.

I find the potatoes cook faster if I cube them first (large-sized chunks), then boil. If you’re not a fan of bottled ranch dressing, you can make your own with buttermilk and mayonnaise. Try this homemade ranch dressing recipe from Daily Rebecca.

These flavors go so well together. I’d love to know if you give this recipe a try. Just leave a comment below!


This 5-Ingredient Potato Salad is linked up to Inspire Me Wednesday at Mama Buzz, Pinterest Foodie Linky Party at A Life in Balance, Hearth & Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, Too Cute Tuesday at Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster and Real Food Recipe Roundup at Sassy Moms in the City. 

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (and Giveaway)

Homemade salad dressing?! Are you nuts?! I don’t have time for that. 

I said that for years. Now I make it all the time and don’t think twice about it. Homemade dressing tastes SO much better. Plus there’s no chemical additives, no corn syrup, no MSG, no 20+ ingredients on the label. Just 8 real food ingredients I keep in my kitchen anyway. My family loves this Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, and I think yours will, too. With summer veggies coming into season, backyard gardens prepping for harvest, and lots of potlucks in your future, now is a great time to add this deliciously easy recipe to your repertoire. This vinaigrette is also great drizzled over grilled or roasted veggies like asparagus or zucchini, and it makes a great marinade for grilled chicken or pork.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette #realfood #recipe | MoneywiseMoms

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I use Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in plastic or glass container.
  2. Shake or stir to combine, especially just before pouring.

You can make this dressing in any plastic or glass container, even a mason jar. After years of saying “I should make my own dressing,” it was a simple tool that finally got me to do it: the Pampered Chef Measure, Mix & Pour, with four different dressing recipes printed right on the container. Seriously easy. Now I have absolutely no excuse! Even my kids can follow the directions on the side and be proud of their dressing at the table. I love that it’s dishwasher-safe, so after storing it in the fridge door till we run out, I just run it through the dishwasher and we make a new batch.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette #realfood #recipe | MoneywiseMoms
I love it so much that I bought two–so there’s one to give away! One lucky MoneywiseMoms reader will win a PC Measure, Mix & Pour, courtesy of me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you’re reading this in an email or RSS feed, you may need to click over to MoneywiseMoms to use the Rafflecopter entry form (which you should see above–if not, click on “a Rafflecopter giveaway.” This giveaway ends Monday, June 16th,  when I’ll email the winner, who has 48 hours to respond with their mailing address to claim the prize. Thank you for reading MoneywiseMoms, and good luck!


Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is linked up to Real Food Recipe Roundup at Musings of a Housewife, Fluster’s Creative Muster Party at Fluster Buster, Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, The Party Bunch Linky Party at The Idea Room and Pinterest Foodie Linkup at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond.


Disclosure: I am providing the prize for this giveaway myself, as a big fan of Pampered Chef products.