Side Dish Recipes

This sponsored post was written by me on behalf of Indiana Family of Farmers. Regardless of compensation, all opinions are 100% my own.

Summer is a great time to get out of the house and explore your town, but it can get expensive if you spending a lot of time away from home. One way we save money on our adventures is to pack a picnic. That way when the little ones get hungry, instead of hitting McDonald’s, we have less expensive healthier options within reach.

Packing the perfect picnic can be a form of art, since there are so many things to keep in mind. Will there be a picnic table or will you be balancing your meal on your lap? Is there a good chance the kids will have grubby little hands by the time your food is ready? And those are just a few.

Picnics (1 of 1)-5

Tips for Packing Picnics for Families

  • Keep it Clean! Kids get dirty easily. That’s part of the fun of adventures. Make sure to pack hand sanitizer and/or baby wipes if there won’t be somewhere nearby to clean up before eating. Don’t forget napkins or paper towels.
  • Don’t invite the bugs. Bugs can quickly ruin any picnic. The Indiana Family of Farmers recommends filling a spray bottle with 1/4-1/3 peroxide and filling the rest with plain tap water. Spraying this along your picnic surface will discourage bugs from joining in on your meal.
  • Pitch-In: If you are going with a group, instead of each family packing a picnic, work together. Assign each family something to bring to help divvy up the costs of food. This works even when it’s just two of you meeting at the park.
  • Keep it cool. Keeping your food cold is always a struggle. Did you know that cold food should be stored at 40°F or below? On hot days, I often freeze our drinks when heading out on hot days to help keep our food cold and ensure we have cold drinks when we’re hot. I also freeze any foods that don’t do well in heat or might melt, like chocolate, fruit snacks, and meats, so they’ll say good longer. Insulated picnic baskets or totes are always a great idea!
  • Avoid Spills. I can’t count the number of times my kids didn’t finish something and threw it back in the picnic basket, leaving it to spill and create a gross mess that isn’t easy to clean. When packing foods, think about what will happen after the meal is done. You may need to throw in a container with a lid or some Ziploc bags to make the after-meal mess less messy.
  • Keep it Simple. Do as much of the work as you can before you leave the home, because prepping meals outdoors is never easy. Plus, try to pack multi-use utensils and containers. Finger foods are always a great, simple picnic item!
  • Pack Backwards. Place your ice on the bottom of your picnic basket, then put your items that need to stay cool in next. The last thing you should pack is your tableware, which you’ll need before passing out your food.

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Frugal Recipes


Easy Potatoes Au Gratin
Recipe Type: Vegetable
So easy to make
  • 2 pkgs frozen shredded potatoes
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup Half and Half
  • 1 stick butter
  1. Put milk, Half and Half, butter and salt in sauce pan and cook over medium heat until it boils.
  2. Add thawed potatoes and let come to a boil again. (should be thick)
  3. Add Parmesan cheese to taste.
  4. Put mixture into 9×13 pan and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until browned.


Craving more? Browse the recipe index for more easy recipes.

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holiday recipes and crafts



Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
Recipe Type: Side dish, Vegetable
Tasty easy Casserole
  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs – well beaten
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sweet milk
  • 1/2 stick margarine
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Mix together first 6 ingredients.
  2. Pour into large baking dish.
  3. In separate bowl mix together remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour over potato mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

This will keep in refrigerator for 3-4 days before baking. One dish you can make ahead then just cook for the big meal.
You can also mix this together and freeze before baking.

Craving more? Browse the recipe index for more easy recipes and check out the 25 Days of Christmas series on In Good Cents for more recipes and craft ideas for the holiday season!

Make sure to check out the In Good Cents Holiday Gift Guide for exclusive coupons, unique gift ideas, and chances to win!

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Deals for your home

Here’s a few deals for your home from Ann-Marie of Chaos Is Bliss.

Happy Easter! Our family will celebrate by attending the early service at church, followed by the annual Easter Egg Hunt, then head home where we’ll welcome my family over for a feast!   I’m bringing out the china, cloth napkins, the works!   I hope you all enjoy this day and are able to relax with loved ones.

Since we’ll be up early at church, I needed to make a few side dishes that would either cook quickly when we get home, or slowly while we’re away. One I chose is a crock pot Macaroni & Cheese, from Southern Living: Slow-Cooker Cookbook. I’ve never tried cooking pasta in a slow cooker, I’m a little worried about the shells being overcooked or pasty, but we’ll see. I like that this recipe uses uncooked pasta, so you really can get everything together in the crock pot, and let it be for a few hours.

I’ll share the recipe in case you might like to try it Easter Sunday as well, and next week I’ll post over at Chaos Is Bliss my results with photos! Wish me luck!

Extra-Cheesy Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Italian three-cheese blend
  • 1 (8-oz) package shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp ground red pepper
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz small shell pasta (about 2 ¼ cups), uncooked

Combine the cheeses in a bowl and set aside.   In a large bowl, whisk eggs, then add next 6 ingredients and whisk until combined.   Stir in pasta and 3 cups of the cheese mixture.   Lightly grease your slow cooker.   Pour in mixture and stop with 3/4 cup cheese mixture.   Cook on low for 4 hours.   Serve sprinked with remaining cheese.   Makes 6-8 servings.

Ann-Marie is a SAHM of 3 fun-loving kiddos. Her passion for sharing tips & deals with everyone (literally ” therapists, technicians, random strangers in line… ) inspired her to begin her own blogging journey. Chaos Is Bliss was launched in October 2010 to share ideas on all things home & family.

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Frugal Recipes

A little something to whip up for a SuperBowl Party!!


  • 4 Quarts diced cooked potatoes
  • 3 cups of chopped celery
  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced radishes
  • 1 cup red or yellow onion diced
  • 4 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups Salad dressing   (like Miracle Whip)   May need a little more


1.   Mix all ingredients together and chill until ready to serve.

Craving more?   Browse the recipe index to find more frugal, quick, and kid-friendly recipes.

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