The Simplest Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Truly these Chocolate Peanut Clusters can’t get any easier.

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I make some with semi-sweet chocolate and some with white chocolate and when it’s all said and done, I’ve spent about 10 total minutes making amazing Christmas treats.

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You don’t have to scoop these treats into muffin cups, but they sure do a lot to dress up the plate, don’t you think? (Read more ideas here for ways to serve festive food without using food coloring.)

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The effort it takes to make these Chocolate Peanut Clusters involves pouring chocolate chips into a saucepan with peanuts, then stirring them both together until they melt. Two-ish minutes later your mission has been accomplished. Scoop the melty mixture into muffin-lined cups. Refrigerate. Serve or package up to give as gifts.

If only all of our Christmas preparations would be this easy!

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Simple Chocolate Peanut Clusters

The Simplest Chocolate Peanut Clusters
 
Author:
Serves: 9-18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or white chocolate*)
  • 1 shake of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Pour peanuts and chocolate chips into a sauce pan.
  2. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and coats the peanuts.
  3. Scoop coated peanuts into regular or mini-sized muffin paper liners.
  4. Allow the clusters to cool until set, about 20 minutes.

*I get my White Chocolate Chips from Olive Nation. They offer some with a little bit cleaner ingredients and I love their quality.

By the way, Olive Nation loves Heavenly Homemakers readers so much that they give us a 20% discount on our orders! Shipping is free when your order is $50 or more. Use the code home for the discount!

Simple Chocolate Peanut Clusters

If you’re into more time consuming treats (ha!), try these Truffles. I prefer simpler recipes, but of course the effort it worth the prize when you make truffles. They also make amazing Christmas gifts!

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Also great for gift giving: Homemade Peppernuts. My grandma always made these at Christmastime!

Peppernuts
What kinds of Christmas treats do you enjoy making to share?

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The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

Who would like another recipe that only takes an effortless 5 minutes to prepare? What about a recipe that allows you to forget to thaw your meat ahead of time? A recipe that tastes amazing and is a crowd pleaser? Okeedokee! Let the excitement over this Crock Pot White Chicken Chili commence!

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This is one of those recipes in which you quickly place ingredients into a pot then walk away and let it make dinner for you. Is this a perfect recipe for a busy holiday season? Oh yes. Let’s enjoy our holiday season while our crock pot cooks dinner for us, shall we?

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Call this White Chicken Chili, or actually, let’s just call it A Night Off. This is one of those rare times we can simply open cans of prepared food and dump them into a pot. We can feel great knowing that it’s all still real food and it’s still healthy and nourishing for our families!

The Simplest White Chicken Chili

The Simplest White Chicken Chili
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1-2 pounds boneless Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans (drained)
  • 2 10-ounce cans Rotel (Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles)
  • 2 cups Frozen Corn
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 8-ounce packages Cream Cheese
Instructions
  1. Place chicken (frozen or thawed) in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Add beans, Rotel, corn, and seasonings over the chicken and stir.
  3. Place cream cheese on top of the mixture.
  4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Remove chicken and shred, then stir it back into the soup.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Complete this meal by pulling salad fixin’s out of the fridge and washing some fresh fruit.

The Simplest Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

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Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

Today I must begin by apologizing to all the chicken legs. I have underestimated how amazing these gems could taste. I truly had no idea these humble pieces could possibly be so spectacular. Now that I’ve discovered this Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs recipe, the leg of a chicken will forever rise to the top of my meat choices. Move over Prime Rib. The Chicken Leg is where it’s at.

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See, we all know that Prime Rib is delicious because its price tag tells us so. But Chicken Legs? They are so budget friendly. In fact, I watch for mark-downs and get them for less than a buck per pound. Incredible! So obviously I almost always leave behind the rib and go for the leg. There is no other way.

But now we will all learn that this very inexpensive meat selection has turned out to be one of the most delicious items on the menu. Perhaps it is the garlic and the Parmesan we use in this recipe. It likely has something to do with the butter, because obviously, chicken and all of life is better with butter.

Mix all these wonders together and pour them over the infamous chicken leg, and you may just pass out on your plate at first taste. You have been warned. I am not responsible for your medical bills if you fail to brace yourself for this. I have done my part by providing your joy in the form of a leg of a chicken slathered in the most delicious sauce you’ve ever eaten.

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Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken legs
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves minced garlic (or 1 heaping Tablespoon garlic powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Place chicken legs in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large skillet, saute garlic in the butter for 2 minutes at medium heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour or cornstarch.
  4. Add chicken broth, continuing to whisk until mixture thickens and is smooth.
  5. Continue to whisk while pouring in cream and sprinkling in cheese.
  6. Allow the sauce to thicken for 1-2 minutes, stirring continually.
  7. Remove sauce from heat and pour it over the chicken legs.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Simple Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Legs

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Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Go bunless or go home. Wait. That’s just weird. Yes, that’s my weird way of saying that with this Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Roll there is no bun needed.

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Would you look at that bacon-wrapped meat, just waiting to be put into the oven to make everyone come and ask you forty times when dinner will be ready? This is the worst and the best thing about this recipe. All the smells. And the waiting. Because of the bacon and the cheese and the spices and the meat – everyone will be so eager to eat this delicious-smelling dish. It’s the best! And the worst. Life is very hard because of the good smells and the waiting.

Note how simple this is to make. It is also worth a big mention that this can be made ahead of time (up to two days), then slid into the oven in time to bake for dinner (and to frustrate all the people with the smells).

First, lay your bacon in a pan.

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Then press your hamburger meat over the top and sprinkle on everything that makes it smell better and taste better.

bacon meat44Next, sprinkle on the shredded cheese.

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Then roll it up. Do you see how easy this is?

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You will bake this and smell this and try to be nice while you have to smell it but still wait eat it. We pray for strength to make it through these hard times.

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Then slice it and try to remember to throw out some form of fruit and vegetable because really? We’ve forgotten this nutritional need because today we’re all just in it for the bacon and the smells.

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Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Roll
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • ½ pound bacon
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion salt
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Lay bacon slices in single file into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Pat hamburger meat evenly over the top of the bacon.
  3. Sprinkle garlic powder and onion salt over the meat.
  4. Top with shredded cheese.
  5. Roll it up.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your liking.

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Roll

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Bonus: Now through November 15, get $10 off your first year’s subscription! No coupon code needed. Simply click through to order and the $10 discount will be automatically applied! Offer expires Wednesday, November 15.

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Price: $52.00

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The BEST Creamy Mac and Cheese, Made Simpler and Faster

Back in the olden days of blogging, I shared what became one of my most popular recipes: Creamy Mac and Cheese. What makes this Creamy Mac and Cheese different? It’s made with whole grain pasta and it’s made with a completely different method which gives it the ultimate chance of creaminess. This happens because…

We cook the pasta directly in milk.

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Yes. We dump dry pasta into a pot and we pour in a generous amount of milk (whole milk, because creaminess). We salt it to taste, then we cook and stir until the pasta is tender and the creaminess becomes perfection. We remove it from the heat because we are people who read directions! Then we stir in the cheese and we cry tears of joy as we serve the delicious Creamy Mac and Cheese to our families.

So now, eight years after I first shared this recipe online, I will tell you a fun little tip so you can make this wonderful recipe in an even simpler, faster way. It’s this:

The smaller the noodle, the faster your Creamy Mac and Cheese hits the table.

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It’s kind of a no-brainer. However, I had always used penne or fusilli shaped pasta for this recipe, both of which are similar in size and take about 15 minutes to cook. Fifteen minutes is not a long time to get dinner on the table. But…

One day recently, I used small elbow noodles to make this Creamy Mac and Cheese and boom. The pasta was tender before I’d even cooked the peas or washed the grapes to go with our meal. Sweet! Not only can we make this meal without having to think ahead to thaw meat, we can throw it together even faster if we use a smaller noodle.

I’d say that taking advantage of this tip is really “using our noodle” but then I’d sound like Elmo and I’m not sure that’s how I want you to remember me.

Creamy Mac and Cheese Made Simpler and Faster

5.0 from 1 reviews
The BEST Creamy Mac and Cheese, Made Simpler and Faster
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups whole grain pasta
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix pasta, milk, and salt in a large sauce pan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat stirring almost constantly until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat. (IMPORTANT!)
  4. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  5. Serve immediately.

Keep this recipe in your hip pocket for days you need to get a meal on the table quickly. Use small sized pasta so this will cook more quickly. Serve it with a salad and/or veggies and fresh fruit and you’ve just put a super simple meal on the table in record time.

The BEST Creamy Mac and Cheese

My favorite whole grain pasta to use in this recipe:

I have successfully made this recipe with Tinkyada Rice Pasta, so gluten-free friends, you get to enjoy this recipe too!

NOTE: It is quite important that you remove the cooked pasta from the heat BEFORE you add the cheese. If the pasta is still cooking when the cheese is added, this may cause the cheese to curdle. In addition, I’ve found that using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe doesn’t work as well because of the added ingredients in the packaging. I use cheese we shred at home for best results.

Creamy Mac and Cheese Varieties

Have you tried this method for making Mac and Cheese? What’s your favorite pasta shape?

Psssssst!

Seeing as this recipe is definitely a Heavenly Homemaker Favorite, you can bet that it’s included in my Best of Heavenly Homemakers book!! (There are only a few recipes included, but this had to be one of them!)

I just peeked and the book is up already on Amazon! Be the first to grab it!!

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Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies – Prepare To Be Amazed!

When you no longer eat much sugar, but you want to enjoy your childhood favorite No-Bake Cookies…you make the cookies with a little bit of honey to see if you can pull it off. They turn out so delicious you start dancing in the living room.

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What? Of course you can dance about cookies. Delicious No-Bake Cookies made with honey are worth dancing over.

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For the record, I don’t dance in public. There is good reason for this as my feet and my head don’t always play nice together. My head knows where my feet should go and gives directions accordingly. But then my feet are like, “Are you kidding me right now?” then my head is like, “That is not at all what I told you to do; what are you actually thinking?” and my feet say, “You aren’t the boss of me, I’ll do what I want.” So then my brain gives up and says, “Forget it. At least I’m good at making cookies.”

My friend Kim sent me this recipe idea, then I tweaked it just a bit to make it my own. I guess we could say that it’s Kim’s fault that I was dancing in the living room. She can be glad I didn’t invite her over to watch. Though I probably should thank her with a cookie sometime.

Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies

2.0 from 1 reviews
Honey Sweetened No-Bake Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 18-20
Ingredients
  • ½ - ¾ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter or coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, stir together honey, peanut butter, butter, and cocoa powder.
  2. Melt and stir ingredients over medium heat until well combined and slightly bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add oats and stir until coated.
  5. Scoop 1-2 Tablespoons of mixture onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Chill No-Bake Cookies in the refrigerator until they are set, about 1 hour.

Honey Sweetened No Bake Cookies

Want some more Low Sugar Cookie recipes?

With all these recipes making us so very happy, we will all be dancing in our living rooms. What will the neighbors think?

Are you a No-Bake Cookie fan? Did you grow up eating these? Can you dance? (I mean, any of us can. But are you good at it?)

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

Let’s make a long story short, shall we? When you put the words “bacon” and “cheeseburger” in the same title, everyone gets excited. When you add the word “simple” to its name, you know everyone wins. So without even seeing the recipe, you can bet that Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole needs to hit your table very soon!

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Save yourself some effort and make two or three of these at once. Bake one for your dinner, then freeze the others (unbaked) to use another time. Then you’ve got “simple,” “bacon,” “cheeseburger,” and “freezer friendly” all in the same sentence. All the busy mothers everywhere cried with joy over this news.

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I recommend making Bacon Bits like this. I cut the bacon with kitchen shears to make it simple.

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Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound hamburger meat
  • 1 pound bacon, uncooked, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons dry minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-ounces tomato paste
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (divided)
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, brown hamburger, bacon pieces, and minced onion together until meat is no longer pink.
  2. Drain excess grease if necessary.
  3. Stir in garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper, tomato paste, eggs, cream, and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  4. Spread mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  5. Top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

Simple Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

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Make Your Own Real Food Pudding Cups (and Save Money!)

Perhaps you are excited as I am about the Easy Peanut Butter Pudding recipe I shared a few days ago. If so, you can get even more excited about how you can make different varieties of homemade pudding to create your own transportable Real Food Pudding Cups! Not only are these Pudding Cups made with real food, you will be amazed at the low cost for such a wholesome treat!

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Take note that some people (who shall remain nameless) tried to overfill their cute little cups and then the lids wouldn’t go on. Correction: The lids did go on, but pudding pushed up and over the top through the lid and squished down the sides of the cup, ruining the cuteness and creating a mess. I don’t know who would do this, but some people did this, so don’t be one of these people.

The nameless people who overfilled their cups had to scoop out pudding into an extra cup before placing lids on top. But then look:

Homemade Pudding Cups

Transportable pudding cups!

A couple years ago I discovered these awesome BPA Free Cups with Lids at Amazon and have used them over and over. We’ve used them for applesauce cups and for transporting berries or veggie dip. They come in super handy! And now, we learn that we can use them to make these Easy Homemade Pudding Cups.

Let’s talk Pudding Cup Ingredients and Cost

I recently checked the price and ingredients for pudding cups at the store. First of all, the store-bought pudding cups sit on a shelf instead of in a fridge, so we can be sure there are many preservatives included. The biggest reason to avoid these is that they include two kinds of hydrogenated oils plus vegetable oil, none of which can our bodies digest well or utilize for nourishment. Cost for store-bought is roughly $0.25 for a 3.25 ounce cup.

How much do Homemade Real Food Pudding Cups Cost?

I used all real food, organic ingredients and my cost break down was still surprisingly low! So if you use non-organic ingredients you might find yourself saving even more!

I estimated that one batch of pudding cost me about $1.75. This made six 5-ounce cups of pudding, which breaks down to $0.29 per pudding cup! But since the cups I’m using are slightly bigger than store-bought pudding cups, the price per ounce of homemade pudding is actually less expensive than purchased pudding cups!

How about that? Making Real Food Pudding Cups saves us money and ensures that we’re getting a wholesome, filling snack or dessert!

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You can have fun making pudding varieties and mixing and matching fun flavors! Reuse the disposable cups (they wash up easily!) to save even more.

Easy Recipes for Pudding Cups

Two Great Pudding Cup Tips

  1. Adjust the sugar amount in each of these recipes to your liking. Take note also that you can use any sweetener you choose, from maple syrup to honey, brown sugar, or sucanat.
  2. These Pudding Cups freeze well! Make a bunch ahead of time, then pull out a few at a time to thaw as needed.

What can you do with extra egg whites after making homemade pudding? 

These pudding recipes call for egg yolks as the egg whites tend to create a funny texture as the pudding cooks. I set the egg whites aside, store them in a jar in the fridge, then often add them to our scrambled eggs to use them up. Or you can make Coconut Macaroon Cookies.

Make Your Own Real Food Pudding Cups

What’s your favorite variety of pudding? Do you have any other great ideas for utilizing these reusable plastic cups with lids?

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Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

This one was Justus’ idea. He’s my 17-year old, my senior in high school. These are my last few months with him at home so when he said, “Mom, do you think you could figure out how to make Peanut Butter Pudding?” of course I immediately dropped whatever I was doing to work on his request.

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I kid. I mean, I would never drop whatever I’m doing to go with a whim of one of my children. Never would I attempt to spoil any of my kids. Especially when it comes to food. They must be taught patience, that the world doesn’t revolve around them, even if it is their senior year and the mother can’t breathe at the thought of missing out on the delightful morning conversations she enjoys with her second born every morning before the others wake up. Even if.

Okay fine. I dropped what I was doing and I made the kid some Peanut Butter Pudding. It sounded like an amazing treat, and I agreed with Justus that the protein mixed in with the sweetness would be a fabulous combination.

Justus Senior4600

As an aside, it is worth a mention that I learned with our first born that the world doesn’t end when you graduate a child and send him from home. Life with your adult child does, indeed, grow in richness (this is ironic because of the college bills). But this doesn’t stop me from feeling all of the many feelings associated with launching another child from our nest. I will enjoy this time with him to the full. I will cry tears of joy and pride frequently. And I will make him pudding with peanut butter in it, just because he mentions that it sounds good.

The recipe is simple (you would expect nothing less, right?). It is creamy and rich and delightful. It tastes even better served with Chocolate Pudding.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

5.0 from 1 reviews
Easy Peanut Butter Pudding
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup real maple syrup, honey, sucanat, or brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except butter and vanilla.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until pudding begins to thicken.
  3. Stir over the heat for about 15 more seconds or until pudding has reached desired thickness. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy.
  4. (I use my whisk the whole time for stirring and find this works great!)
  5. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.
  6. Pour into serving dishes and serve warm, or chill for two hours and serve cold.

Easy Peanut Butter Pudding

It’s possible you can look forward to me sharing other great food ideas Justus has this year. Not that I’ll drop everything and make them on a whim. We would never, ever want to spoil our children. Especially with food. Even if it’s their senior year.

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“Hey Mom. Think you could make my favorite Italian Cream Cheese Chicken soon?” Absolutely, Justus. Absolutely.

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice, Potatoes, or Pasta)

Did you know that life is terribly unfair? It’s not fair that we let our youngest son go to camp by himself at age 11 but we made his brothers wait until they were 12. It’s not fair that one boy got more ice cream than his brothers. And it’s not fair that our entire family had to smell this Stew Meat cooking all day but couldn’t eat it until the evening came.

Torture. Smelling this meat cooking all day is torture, I tell you.

Slow cooker stew meat

Honestly, it doesn’t look like much in the picture. But the flavor of this meat is incredible because of the simple seasonings you sprinkle on. The crock pot does the work of cooking this slow and low so that the meat becomes tender and juicy. Then you add cream at the end to finish it off to perfection.

Having Ranch Dressing Mix and Onion Soup Mix on hand makes putting this meal into the crock pot very quick. As you probably expected, I didn’t thaw my stew meat ahead of time. I just pulled it from the freezer and put it directly into the crock pot. Easy, easy, easy!

Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice or Pasta)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. In a crock pot, stir together stew meat, seasoning mixes, and water.
  2. Put a stick of butter on top.
  3. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. Add cream and heat for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

We really loved this stew meat over steamed brown rice. But it would be equally wonderful served over mashed or baked potatoes, or even whole grain pasta!

Keep in mind that if you do make mashed potatoes to go with this meat, you must make them in the simplest way possible! (I suppose this would require that you have two crock pots though. Hmm…)

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