Granola bars are the perfect back-to-school treat—but skip the store-bought version and try this simple recipe instead! These bars taste better and are much healthier than their prepackaged counterparts.

Chewy Granola Bars

2 cups quick cooking oats – $1.20
1 cup crispy rice cereal – $0.41
4 Tbsp butter – $0.25
1/4 cup honey – $0.32
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar – $0.40
1/2 tsp vanilla – $0.01
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips – $0.40

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put oats in a 9″x13″ pan and bake 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.

2. Spray an 8″x12″ or 9″x13″ (the 8″x12″ will fit best, but a 9″x13″ will do) with cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl, mix oats and crispy rice cereal. Set aside.

4. Heat butter, honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture begins to boil, turn to low heat and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

5. Add butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into pan and pat down firmly—if you don’t, the bars will be crumbly (I’ve found that wetting my hand with a little cold water before pressing down helps keep the granola from sticking to it). Let the granola cool for 10 minutes and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Press the chips down slightly so they stick.

6. Let the bars cool for 2 hours at room temperature. Cut into rectangles and store in an airtight container.

Makes 10–12 bars.

Total Cost: $2.99