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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Caramel Apple Crepes

Tonight, as we continue Apple Week we head in for breakfast with some crepes. Crepes are a thin pancake stuffed with a filling and simply delicious. Here is my recipe for Caramel Apple Crepes.


  • Caramel Apple Sauce
  •      1 1/2 cups Thinly Sliced, Peeled Apples
  •      1 Teaspoon Butter
  •      1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  •      2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •      1/2 cup whipping cream
  •      1 Tablespoon Apple Brandy or Apple Juice or Apple Cider
  • 4 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
Crepe Directions
  • Combine flour, water, milk, eggs, sugar and oil
  • Stir until smooth
  • Preheat and lightly grease a skillet over medium heat
  • Remove skillet prior to adding crepe mixture
  • Spoon 2T batter into hot skillet
  • Tilt skillet around to get a nice even spread of the batter along the bottom of the skillet
  • Return skillet to the heat
  • Brown on one side only
  • Invert pan and remove crepe unto paper towels
  • Repeat process for all remaining crepe batter (makes aprox 12)
  • To serve: fold the crepe in half, browned side out
  • Fold in half again to form a triangle
  • Pour warm caramel apple sauce over the top of the crepe
  • Serve with whip cream or vanilla ice cream and garnish with slivered almonds

Caramel Apple Sauce Directions
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan 
  • Add apples
  • Cook until tender, about 5 minutes
  • Add in brown sugar and cornstarch
  • Stir in whipping cream and apple brandy/juice/cider
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly
  • Then cook for 2 minutes more
Total estimated cost of the meal using coupons and purchasing on sale: $5.50

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hot Wassail

As apple week continues tonight's recipe is a drink that is made often throughout the fall months and through the Holidays at our house, Wassail. This recipe uses apple cider and can be made in your crock-pot to simmer and stay warm all day long


  • 2 qts Apple Cider
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 orange with some whole cloves stuffed into it


Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker
Cook on low for 2-3 hours, stir occasionally
Serve in mugs and enjoy

Advice: I have found the lest expensive apple cider is found at Sams Wholesale Clubs and Costco Clubs where a gallon of cider is around $3.50

Total cost of this recipe based on purchasing on sale and using coupons where available: $4.00

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cooking with Apples: Tips, Tricks and Buying Guide

Apples are definitively the in thing when it comes to Autumn and they add a great additional flavor to many meals and are simply delicious in deserts. Here are some tips on how to get the best apples for your recipes and some tricks, too.

Buying Guide
When you purchase or pick your apples look for  ones that are firm to the touch and are bright and shiny. A duller apple is traditionally not as crisp. Make sure to also watch out for soft spots or bruises, worm holes and bird pecks.

Keep those Apples Crisp
To keep apples as crisp as they were when they were picked off the tree make sure to refrigerate them. Store them in a ziploc back and in your refrigerator's crisper drawer. The ziploc bag helps the apple to retain its moisture and not wrinkle. Also, beware not to mix in already soft or bruised apples as they can cause other apples to begin to spoil.

Keep those Apples White, Not Brown
While your slicing your apples some may have to a wait a bit before being used further and while they sit they can become brown. To avoid them from browning dip them into a bowl with a 3:1 mixture water and lemon juice.

The Right Apple for Your Recipe
Each variety of apple has a different sweetness, tartness and firmness or texture and this will have an influence on your recipe. When making many deserts requiring apples it is best to mix tart and sweet ones to obtain the perfect blended taste; however, some recipes call for specific types or flavors of apples. For example, pies should use a firmer apple like a Granny Smith. If you plan on making apple sauce or apple butter red delicious and McIntosh varieties are great choices, although any softer, sweet apple works well. Here is a guide, obtained from the U.S. Apple Association, on the different types of apples and specifics related to each:

This apple originated in New Zealand in the early 1950s, as a chance seedling with Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith as possible parents. Now grown in the United States, Braeburn is a multipurpose apple good for all types of apple uses. Its color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. This crisp, juicy apple has a rich, spicy-sweet flavor. U.S. Braeburns are available beginning in October through July.

This variety originated in the late 1890s in New York state, a cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Sweeter than its McIntosh parent, with only a hint of tartness. Cortland has tender, snow white flesh that resists browning, making it an excellent choice for salads, kabobs and garnishes. The Cortland is available September through April.

Empires premiered in 1966 in the Empire State of New York, a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This crisp, juicy apple has a delightful sweet-tart flavor and creamy white flesh, making it a good all-purpose apple. Stake out your Empire between September and July.

Originally developed in Japan in the late 1930s and named after the famous Mt. Fuji, U.S.-grown Fujis began appearing in markets in the 1980s. Fuji is a cross between Ralls Janet and Red Delicious. This variety´s popularity is skyrocketing, thanks to its sweet flavor and firmness. Fuji apples are bi-colored, typically striped with yellow and red. They are available year round, beginning in September.

This variety originated in New Zealand, a cross between Kidd´s Orange Red and Golden Delicious. The Royal Gala strain was named in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who deemed it her favorite during a visit to New Zealand. It was brought to the United States in the early 1970s, and is now one of the country´s most popular apples. This crispy, juicy, very sweet apple is ideal for snacking. Galas can vary in color, from cream to red- and yellow-striped. U.S.-grown Galas are harvested beginning in mid-July, and are typically available year-round.

Ginger Gold
A Virginia grower discovered this apple sprouting amid the ruins of a hurricane-devastated orchard in the late 1960s, and named this greenish-gold, sweet-tart apple after his sweetheart. Its parentage includes Albemarle Pippin, a favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson. This early-season Eastern apple is great for salads, and cooks well too. Available in limited but growing supplies starting in mid-October.

Golden Delicious
This old favorite was discovered as a chance seedling in 1890 in Clay County, W.Va., and was originally named Mullin´s Yellow Seedling. Renamed in 1916, its parents are thought to be Golden Reinette and Grimes Golden. Goldens have a pale yellow skin, sometimes with a red blush. Mellow and sweet, all-purpose Goldens are great for eating out of hand, baking and salads. Golden´s crisp, pale yellow flesh resists browning, making it a good choice for salads and other dishes. Goldens appear on the market in September, and are available year-round. Cooks, note that you can reduce the amount of added sugar when making pies with Goldens.

Granny Smith
This Australian native was discovered in 1868 as a chance seedling by “Granny” Anne Smith of Ryde, New South Wales. One parent might have been a French Crab Apple. Grannys are known for their distinctive green flesh, which sometimes bears a red blush, and their very tart flavor. An all-purpose apple, Grannys work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce. U.S. Grannys are harvested beginning in August, and are available year-round.

This honey of an apple has a honeyed, mild flavor and a crispness deemed explosive. Crispy, juicy and sweet, this popular newcomer is a cross between a Macoun and a Honeygold. Honeycrisp´s skin is a distinctive mottled red over a yellow background, with coarse flesh. This apple is good for snacking, salads and sauce-making, and stores well. Honeycrisp is college educated, developed by the University of Minnesota. Harvested beginning in September, supplies are limited but growing.

Introduced in 1942, this Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station product is a cross between the Jonathan and Wagener apples. It has a tangy flavor like the Jonathan, but is much larger. It has a bright red skin, and firm texture. This apple is good for snacking and holds its shape ideally for baking. Available from September through June.

A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, New York native Jonagold offers a unique honey-tart flavor, and crispy, juicy nearly yellow flesh. It debuted in 1968, a product of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. With a yellow-green base skin color and a red-orange blush, it is excellent both for eating fresh and for cooking. Jonagold is typically available October through July.

This variety of apples was discovered in Woodstock, N.Y., in the 1920s and is known for its use in pies and applesauce. This crimson apple with occasional touches of green has a spicy tang that blends well with other varieties in sauces and cider. Jonathan is typically available from September through April.

This is old, well-known variety, was discovered as a chance seedling by John McIntosh in 1811. Its deep red finish sometimes carries a green blush. Juicy, tangy tart McIntosh has a tender, white flesh. It is best used for snacking and applesauce, but some people enjoy its tart flavor in pies as well. (Cook´s hints: McIntosh´s flesh cooks down easily; if pie making, cut your slices thick or add a thickener). This apple is typically available from September through May.

Red Delicious
This most widely recognized of all U.S. apple varieties originated in Iowa in the 1870s. This sweet, crispy, juicy apple varies in color from striped red to solid midnight red. Western Red Delicious are elongated in shape, with pronounced “feet”; Eastern-grown Delicious are more round. This apple is best eaten fresh or in salads. Red Delicious apples are available year round, starting in September.

Rome Beauty
Referred to as the “baker´s buddy,” this apple was discovered as a chance seedling in the early 1800s on a farm near Rome Township, Ohio. Famed for its storage qualities, this mildly tart apple is primarily used for cooking and is especially good baked or sautéed. The Rome apple is typically available beginning in September.

Additionally, here is a great chart to use to help determine the right apple for your recipe. This chart was obtained form

Variety of AppleFreshSaladBakeCookPieDriedOther
Baldwin  XX  Cider
BraeburnXXXXX Sauce
Connell RedX   XXSauce
CortlandXXXXX Sauce
Crab Apples      Jelly &
CriterionXXX X Sauce
ElstarXXX X Sauce
FiresideXXXX X 
FujiXXX X Sauce
GalaXXX XXSauce
Ginger GoldXXX   Sauce
Golden DeliciousXXXXX Sauce
Golden RussetX X  XCider
Golden Supreme  X  XCider
Granny SmithXXXXX  
GravensteinX XXX Sauce
HaralsonX XXXXSauce
HoneygoldXXX X Sauce
IdaredX XXXXSauce
JonagoldXXXXX Sauce
JonamacX XX   
KeepsakeX X    
LadyX     Sauce
MacounX   X  
McIntoshXX XX* Sauce
MelroseXXX X  
MutsuX XXX Sauce
Newton PippinXXX X Sauce
Northern Spy  X X Sauce
Northwest Greening  XXX Sauce
Pacific QueenXX     
Pacific RoseXX     
Paula RedXXXXX Sauce**
Pink Fir X X   
Pink LadyXXX X  
Prairie SpyXXX X  
Red DeliciousXX     
RedfreeX   XX 
RegentXXXXX Sauce
Rhode Island GreeningX XXX Sauce
RomeXXXXX Sauce
Sierra BeautyX  X   
Southern RoseXX     
SpartanXXX XXSauce
SplendorX     Dessert
SunriseX X X  
Sweet 16X X   Sauce
WealthyX XXX Sauce
WinesapXXX X Sauce
Wolf RiverX XX XSauce
York Imperial  XXX Sauce
ZestarX X   Sauce

Crock-Pot Apple Glazed Pork Chops

I know its Tuesday but beginning today and continuing through the remainder of the week we will honor the fruit of the month, the apple. As orchards begin winding down their harvest, fresh apples are easily found across much of the nation and lets use them in several different ways from breakfast to dinner and also those important deserts. Tonight we begin with a dinner entree that can be made before you leave for work in your crock-pot and be ready for you when you get home, Apple Glazed Pork Chops


  • 4-6 Pork Chops (I prefer boneless or loin chops)
  • 6 Granny Smith (or other baking/cooking apple), cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c Apple Cider (or Apple Juice) 
  • 3 Tablespoons Quick Cook Tapioca
  • 3 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon All-Spice
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


  • In your crock-pot, layer the apple slices
  • Place pork chops on top of the apples
  • Mix tapioca, salt and pepper and sprinkle over pork chops
  • Mix together cider, brown sugar, all-spice and cinnamon and pour over chops
  • Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours

Total cost of the meal based on sale pricing and coupons: $6.00

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dinner Tonight: Hillshire Farms Sausage, Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Itaian Herb Spaghetti Squash

Tonight, we had an awesome dinner! Check out how we made a tasty meal frugal for our family.  After coupons, this meal cost our family $5.75 for a family of 5~

Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage: Looking for a coupon? Head over to Shop at and print a $1 off coupon for Smoked Sausage Links:

Mashed Potatoes
(For quick and easy preparation we really enjoy the Idahoan Instant Potatoes, Save $0.75)

Frozen Corn: FREE

Saurkraut: $2

Spaghetti Squash (Roasted Italian Herb): $1.50
Spaghetti Squash Recipe:
1.5 pound Spaghetti Squash to feed a couple
3-4 pounds will serve a family of 4
Olive Oil
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan/Romano Cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
2 Tablespoon parsley
1/2 Tablespoon Basil
Teaspoon of Dill
Teaspoon of Italian mixed seasoning
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Directions: Cut Squash in half along the vertical. Scrape out the seeds and discard.
Next, brush the cut sides with olive oil. Then, sprinkle with brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, remove and let sit for 5 minutes.
While squash is sitting, mix the cheese and remaining seasonings. Next, with a fork, shred the squash into the fine threads and place into mixing bowl. Add just a hint of olive oil to moisten. Finally, mix in cheese and seasoning blend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Captain D's FREE Butterfly Shrimp Coupon

If you are like me and enjoy shrimp you wont want to pass this up, FREE Butterfly Shrimp at Captain D's. Click here and click "Shop Now" and the coupon is on the main page.

Thanks CouponCentsation

BBQ Macaroni and Cheese

Here is something I have been craving for a while and last night my wife was kind enough to make it. Now, it is not hard and yes I could have made it anytime but for some reason she has this one down and she was the first to make it several years ago so I enjoy when she makes it. What I am referring to is BBQ Mac and Cheese using Kraft's Shells and Cheese. Its creamy and tangy and just plain good. It is easy to make and through the 24th of September there is an active coupon out there to help reduce the cost.


  • 1 Box Shells and Cheese (Save $0.50 off 1 Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinners or Velveeta Shells and Cheese, SS 8/28/2011)
  • 1 lb Hamburger
  • 1/2 cup Barbeque Sauce (I enjoy using a sweet and smokey one)

Brown Hamburger and Drain
Prepare Shells and Cheese per box instructions
Add Hamburger and Barbeque Sauce and Mix

That is it! We enjoy this so much as a family that we double this recipe to serve the hungry five of us.

Total cost of this meal when purchasing products on sale and using coupons $3.50

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Tastes A Lot Like the Same From Olive Garden

Made this last evening and wow was it good and very easy! Made a ton, too. I have enough left-over for two more meals so I used my food saver and froze to meals worth.


  • 2 lbs Ground Hamburger
  • 1 Medium Onion (chopped)
  • 3 Carrots (chopped)
  • 2 Celery Stalks (chopped)
  • 56 oz Diced Tomatoes (undrained) (Save $100 on 4 Red Gold Tomatoes) (Save $0.75 off 2 Red Pack Tomatoes)
  • 16 oz Red Kidney Beans (drained) (Save $0.60 on 2 Goya Beans)
  • 16 oz White Kidney Beans (drained) (Save $0.50 on 2 S & W Beans, RP 9/11/2011)
  • 30 oz Beef Stock
  • 3 teaspoons Oregano
  • 6 teaspoons Parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Pepper
  • 20 oz Spaghetti Sauce
  • 8 oz uncooked pasta (mini shells, wheels or pipette)

Brown and drain the hamburger
In your crock pot, add all ingredients, except pasta.
Cook on low 7 to 8 hours (high 4 to 5 hours)
If cooking on low during the last hour of cooking add the uncooked pasta (cooking on high add in last 30 minutes)

Serves 12+

Total estimated cost of the meal using coupons and purchasing items on sale: $12.00

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Steak 'N Shake Chili Mac

A Great Way to Use those Chili Left-Overs 

 My wife has mastered the art of mimicking the taste of Steak 'N Shake's famous Chili Mac and I thought it would be great for me to share her recipe. This is perfect for the fall and winter when you are making chili and end up with left overs. This is what just happened  to us as we made our first large pot of chili last week and had chili mac last night. Since we used the left-overs the cost of the meal was FREE! This included the pasta, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce!

To make this all you need is some chili, whether it be from a can or homemade is your choice, and three additional ingredients.This recipe is based on our left-overs from last night where we had about 2 quarts of chili left from earlier. You will have to tweak the recipe to fit the amount of chili and taste you are striving for.


  • Chili (Make sure it is good and meaty. If it is more beans then make sure to brown and add additional hamburger) 
  • 2 cups Ketchup 
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 
  • Pasta of your Choice, cooked and drained (we like to use cork-screw as it catches all of the chili and sauce)

Reheat chili, if using left-overs
Mix in the ketchup and Worcestershire sauce
Ladle over cooked pasta

 That is it and it is yummy and FREE when using coupons and sales for Ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce and Pasta and left-over chili.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Soup Week!, We Begin with Taco Soup

With the unofficial beginning of Fall taking place today, I figured it would be a good idea to get you ready for those cool, crisp Autumn days with some warming soups. For this reason, I am dedicating the remainder of this week as "Soup Week". All of these recipes will be inexpensive and crockpot friendly. I hope you enjoy!

Today's we begin this week dedicated to soups with a taste of the Southwest with Taco Soup. This is a great soup to serve with tortilla chips and topped with cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

1 1/2 lbs Ground Beef
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1 package Taco Seasoning
1 package Ranch Dressing
2 cans Pinto Beans
1 can Kidney Beans
1 cam Black Beams
1 can Corn
1 can Stewed Tomatoes ($1 off 4 Red Gold Tomatoes)
1 can Rotel
1 cup Water

Brown Ground Beef and Onion
Drain Fat
Add to Crockpot
Combine remaining ingredients
Cook on Low 6 to 8 hours

Total Cost of Meal based on purchasing on sale and using coupons: $6.50

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hooters: Buy 10 wings Get 10 FREE on Labor Day

While we all LOVE to find great deals for dining out, I have tried to share EVERY deal that I find.
Last time that we shared FREEBIES from Hooters, we had quite the discussion on the Dine on a Dollar Facebook page. For those of you that do enjoy eating at Hooters and do not have plans on Labor Day, they are having a Buy 10 Wings get 10 FREE special. This means that you can get 20 wings for around $7.49, which is a GREAT DEAL!