Cheesy Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Tired of the same old same old for Thanksgiving? Wisconsin cheese makers have some ideas for your Thanksgiving gathering that are sure to please and definitely aren’t boring.


Harvest Rind Cheeseboard: Greet your guests with a beautiful Thanksgiving cheeseboard, featuring the best of the best Wisconsin Cheeses, assorted meats and nuts – the splashes of fall colors and mix of flavors are sure to be a crowd pleaser this holiday.

Make the Most of Your Leftovers

Black Friday Breakfast CasseroleFeaturing Wisconsin’s delicious Maple Leaf Fontina Cheese, this Black Friday dish will have your whole family rushing to the breakfast table, even after last night’s dinner! Make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers with this quick meal that will leave you ready for shopping in no time.


Kid-Friendly Holiday Recipes

Mini Pumpkin Cheese BallsMade with only a few ingredients, including Wisconsin Bucky Badger Creamy Garlic Cold Pack cheese and rolled in crushed cheese puffs… these holiday treats will be not only be a crowd favorite, they are easy to prepare and will make cooking exciting for the little ones!

The Best Host/Hostess Gifts

Wisconsin’s Fromagination’s The Cheesemonger’s Gift Set ($60.00 – $140.00)

This Wisconsin Cheese gift set contains three fine cheeses: Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar, Red Rock – a Cheddar/Blue mix, and Hook’s Eight-Year Aged Cheddar. With Potter’s Wisconsin Rye Crackers and a small jar of Fromagination’s Signature Cranberry Relish, this is a truly fine Wisconsin gift set for your host or hostess to ensure you’re invited to next year’s holiday get-together!

Cheesy Halloween Recipe Ideas Sure to Please All the Muensters

During Halloween there are an abundance of sweet treats.  Give your Halloween party guests an alternative to the sweets with these fun cheesy Halloween appetizer ideas.


Mini Pumpkin Cheese Balls: Made with Wisconsin Bucky Badger Creamy Garlic Cold Pack cheese with a cream cheese base and rolled in crushed cheese puffs… these festive treats will be a crowd favorite!

Jalapeno Mummy Poppers: Featuring bacon, jalapeno peppers and Wisconsin’s Kindred Creamery Ghost Pepper Colby Jack cheese, these poppers will appeal to the spice-lovers who won’t be satisfied with just a box of Red Hots


Asiago Bat Crackers: Combine Wisconsin’s BelGioioso® Asiago cheese with the kick of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper to create a cute and crispy addition to your party table – they’ll fly off the table!

I love cheese.  I’m trying hard to stick to a keto-diet right now.  Cheese is definitely allowed.  While the above recipes don’t quite fit into the Keto category (thought with some changes definitely could) here is one that will work for all the ketogenic and gluten-free ghouls out there.

Candy Corn Cheese Picks super cute and easy idea.  Great for your keto and gluten-free party guests.


Find even more cheese recipes from Wisconsin Cheese makers.

PlateJoy is the meal planning service I never knew I needed until now

This post is sponsored by Platejoy. any opinions expressed are my own

I’m a mom of 4 busy kids and I also happen to work outside my home as well.  The idea of having a home cooked meal ready everyday was almost alien to me.  My typical day starts at 7 am and doesn’t end until about 10 pm.  There are days where it’s not quite as hectic so I do make a good home cooked meal.  Other days it was usually spaghetti, pizza, chicken nuggets, whatever I could throw together quickly.

Then Platejoy fell in my lap.  Honestly, I didn’t expect much.  I figured, if nothing else, maybe I’d get a few new meal ideas.  I didn’t know that I would use it consistently. Then I registered and got started and my mind changed about meal planning services.

Platejoy customizes your meal plan to you and your family.  You can customize by family size and it gives you the right ingredient amount, you can exclude ingredients you know you don’t use, you can choose a specific diet such as gluten-free, diabetic, keto, kosher, etc.  You can exclude allergen ingredients, you can even choose how many meals you want Platejoy to plan for a week. Maybe you only want 2 meals because you have the rest covered.  Maybe you want a new recipe every day.

Another thing I liked was that you can purposely choose to have a recipe that will make extra for leftovers.  I totally chose this option. Because on those crazy days I NEED this option.   The recipes are not difficult at all.  The first one I made was a batch recipe: Cheesy chicken broccoli quinoa casserole.  No it didn’t look exactly like the picture but it was good. And the recipe made A LOT. It made plenty for my family of 6 and a bunch more for leftovers.

There was easy lunch recipes like the avocado, black bean, and rice burrito. So simple but so good. I ended up having it for lunch 2 days in a row.  Tonight’s dinner was Greek beef skillet with roasted cauliflower.  So good and I can’t wait until my hubby gets home from work to try it.

Not only was I able to customize the amount of portions for my family but I was able to put in there that my  hubby and I are trying to lose weight so it gave us healthier recipes.  I’m also able to track the recipes I make to my Fitbit which definitely helps with staying accountable.  Perfect for those with New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier or lose weight.

To sum up, here are my Top 10 reasons I love Platejoy:

  1.  customize my meal plan to my family size
  2.  exclude ingredients we don’t/won’t use
  3.  printable grocery list to make shopping for your meal plan a breeze
  4.   Update your “virtual pantry” so Platejoy knows what ingredients you already have
  5.   Search for recipe by ingredient
  6.   Can track your meals to your Fitbit to stay on track
  7.   Choose recipes portions so you purposely have left overs for those busy days
  8.   New recipe ideas every week
  9.    Exclude allergens in recipes such as peanuts
  10.    Platejoy app makes it easy to look up recipes, change meals at the last minute, and more


If you’d like to try Platejoy there are tons of Platejoy coupons and deals available for Platejoy on Dealpotr including a 10 day free trial!


Chicken and Dumplings with Chicken Soup for the Soul and Zaycon

Chicken Soup for the Soul and Zaycon Foods provided me with complimentary products. The opinions I have expressed are my own

I’ve been wanting to make a homemade chicken and dumplings for a while now.  For whatever reason it seemed like it would be difficult to me. With a family of 6 I’m always looking for ways to make meals to feed everyone and still stay on budget.  I also want to make things my kids will actually eat.  I picked up my recent order of Zaycon Foods natural chicken breasts and Chicken Soup for the Soul sent me some of their new grocery products.  So, I figured, stop procrastinating Angie and just do it. My kids love to help me cook and bake so 2 of  my boys were in the kitchen with bells on when I told them I need product models and cooking helpers.

Zaycon chicken soup boys


I adapted a family recipe I had for chicken paprikas.  I figured, everyone like the chicken paprikas it’s basically the Hungarian version of Chicken and Dumplings so …here it goes.

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

For dumplings:

  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 Tblsp salt
  • water

For chicken:

I got a big pot of water boiling first for the dumpling and a smaller pot of water boiling for the chicken.  I cut my Zaycon Foods Chicken breasts up into bite size pieces (easier for my 5 yr old and 2 yr old to eat) I filled my 2 quart sauce pan about 3/4 of the way with water and got it boiling.  I added the chicken pieces to the water and cooked my chicken this way.  This made for a tender chicken. I left it cook on medium/high in the pot for a while while I made the dumplings.

Next we mixed up the dough for the dumplings.  Mix the first three ingredients of the dumplings together in a mixing bowl.  Slowly add water.  You want it to be a sticky consistency.

dumpling dough
You want a sticky consistency for the dumpling dough that you can drop by spoonful into the boiling water


You will be dropping it by spoonfuls into that big pot of boiling water you started.  Once it’s the right consistency, take a teaspoon and drop the dough by spoonful into the boiling water and cook until it floats.  You don’t want to put too many in at a time.  If they stick to the bottom just take a slotted spoon and scoop them out.


Drop dumpling dough by spoonful into boiling water.
Drop dumpling dough by spoonful into boiling water.
cooked dumplings
Boil until dumplings float. It will only take a minute or two. Scoop out the floating dumplings with a slotted spoon


Use the slotted spoon to scoop out the dumplings and put them into a strainer in the sink while you’re cooking the rest so the water can drain off.  Continue until you’ve used all the dough.

Go back to your chicken cooking in the pot now and add some of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken Broth for more flavor.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken broth going in
Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken broth going in

Get it boiling again. Drain the water/chicken stock/chicken broth liquid into a smaller saucepan and get it boiling in the smaller saucepan.  Remove the chicken from the heat. We’re now going to make a gravy out of the broth.  I used about a 1/4 cup of cold water and add a heaping tablespoon of flour to the cold water in the measuring cup.  Mix well in the measuring cup. Then slowly add the cold water and flour mixture to the boiling chicken broth mixture.  Stir and continue cooking on high until the broth starts to thicken to a gravy consistency.  Just a note: I really liked the Chicken Soup for the Soul broth.  It had just the right flavor.  I’ve had other broths that tasted really fatty or really salty but this was just the perfect flavor for making my gravy or for making chicken soup.

Once you got your gravy left the only thing left to do is fix your plate. Put some dumplings on your plate, add some chicken, and ladle some chicken gravy over top.  Yum!  Very filling.

Homemade chicken and dumplings

Some Thoughts After The Cooking and Eating Are done

Cooking with my kids is a good way for me to share with my kids.  I love explaining where the recipes come from. I think it’s important for my boys to learn to cook from me, I mean, they aren’t going to be under my roof forever.  I think cooking is an important life skill but also can be fun and expressive.  While we cooked my oldest son likes to take on more and more of the duties.  He’s only 12 but I think cooking makes him feel a little bit more grown up.  We talk about school, we through in some math lessons (if we’re doubling the recipe how much flour do we need?) My son talked to me about how he’s excited for the first day of trout fishing with his dad.  My youngest son likes to feel like he has a part.  He’s so happy to mix ingredients and dump in the ingredients.  He’s so proud to tell daddy he helped make supper. Of course they hammed it up as my product models too.  I thought I’d throw one or two more pictures in here just for them.  For us it wasn’t just about the time around the table but the time cooking together as a family.

chicken soup bbq saucechicken soup meal builder

In making this chicken and dumplings, I accomplished something I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  So what does one do after making a meal they’ve been wanting to make for a while, have it be successful in that everyone loved it, and everyone has a full belly?  Why sit down and read some of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book From Lemons to Lemonade!  Truly inspiring by the way.  One of those books that give you a warm feeling inside.

When I picked up my Zaycon Foods Chicken the drivers, who I later found out was named Ty, was super friendly and made my experience very pleasant.  The chicken is natural chicken breasts and they’re big.  I definitely recommend Zaycon Foods chicken breasts if you have the opportunity.

As far as my Chicken Soup for the Soul kit goes I received a few items. Besides the Chicken Soup for the Soul chicken broth I also Chicken Soup for the Soul Meal Builders cooking sauce in Sesame Ginger flavor and Chicken Soup for the Soul Barbecue Sauce.  We’ve been itching to fire up our new grill and we still have plenty of Zaycon chicken left so I’ll be testing the Classic barbecue sauce very soon.

You can find Zaycon Foods chicken and Chicken Soup for the Soul cooking products here.


1 Luv Saving Money reader will win

Chicken Soup for the Soul broth and Chicken Soup for the Soul “From Lemons to Lemonade” book

US only

NuNaturals Review — tasty Stevia products

I want to try eating better I really do. I try to have my family eat better too. It’s a tough job. We like sweets. What can I say? I’ve considered trying alternative sweetener but, they just don’t taste the same to me. I had heard about Stevia products but have never tried any of them.

NuNaturals offers a variety of Stevia products from white stevia packets, liquid Stevia, baking blends, liquid cinnamon, health supplements, and a whole lot more.

I received a very generous package to sample the NuNaturals products. I tried some myself and also gave some to one of my friends who is dieting and one of my coworkers who is Diabetic to get their take on it as well.  You can use the NuNaturals products to cut down on or eliminate the sugar in recipes or adding to your favorite food or drink. 

One product I really found myself using a lot was the Pure Liquid Cocoa Bean Extract. First of all, the flavor was pleasant. I could put a drop on my finger and taste it.  It really did have a sugar taste in my opinion (and I am not normally a fan of the flavor of alternative sweeteners). This product also has other benefits though.  10 milliliters of this extract has the same amount of the beneficial polyphenols that a chocolate bar has.   What are polyphenols?  Well they are the an anti-oxidant that reduces free radicals (reactions that can cause damage to cells).  Chocolate contains some polyphenols but the NuNaturals Pure Cocoa Bean Extract gives it to you with no fat and no sugar.  I added this to my coffee almost daily since I received it (instead of sugar). 

The Baking mix and many of the white Stevia products work on a 1:1 ratio.  In other words, if the recipe calls for a cup of sugar you substitute a cup of the NuNaturals Baking Mix instead. 

You can use this in any of your own recipes to cut down or eliminate on sugar.  Or, you can check out a few of the 150 recipes on like Sour Cream Bundt cake, Raw vegan soft serve ice cream, Natalia Rose’s Green Lemonade, and lots more. 

I had given my coworker who has Diabetes the Pure liquid Stevia in a plastic bottle, some of the baking mix, and some of the NuStevia white stevia powder packets.  She told me she thought it was similar to some of the other Stevia type products she tried in flavor but it was a pleasant flavor. 

In my personal opinion, it seemed the liquid versions tasted more like sugar to me than the powder version.  It could be all in my head but like i said, it’s my opinion.  The Baking Blend was another favorite.  Very good flavor when I tried it in an apple cinnamon muffin recipe I tried.  The texture and flavor was not much different from when I’ve made the recipe with sugar, the kids didn’t even notice. 

I received such a generous package, I really could go on and on with each product.  The last one I’ll highlight is the Pure Liquid Vanilla Stevia Alcohol free.  This was another product I enjoyed putting in my drinks to add a little flavor.  It has a very smooth and pleasantly sweet Vanilla flavor.  I think this would also be great for some added flavor in a candy or frosting recipe.


There are so many products that NuNaturals offers.  Stop by their website and check them out.  Also is offering FFCM readers a special discount of 15% when you enter code: BLG228 
 at checkout.  You can also get free shipping on their site on order of $35 or over (after discount). This discount code is good until Feb. 28, 2011. 

Review Summary:  NuNaturals products are similar in cost to other sugar alternatives on the market.  I love that  NuNaturals offers such a wide variety of products.  Small products you can stick in your purse to use wherever you go and items to help you bake/cook healthier.  The customer service is friendly and quick to get back to you if you have questions or comments. 

PS:  Be on the look out for a NuNaturals giveaway coming soon!

Can’t wait to try it?  That’s cool, you can request some free samples from NuNaturals by sending a self addressed, stamped #10 envelope to:

NuNaturals , Inc.
2220 West 2nd. Ave. # 1
Eugene, OR 97402

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