Tag Archives: oats

Deep Dish Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars – A Pinterest Win

4 May

Ahhh…Pinterest. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. I love that I can find inspiration and recipes and ideas on pretty much any topic in the world – but I hate that my boards basically consist of a huge bunch of things I will never have the time/money/energy to actually DO. I know I’m not alone here, right? Well – ok – even if you’re one of those freakishly crafty/energetic/go-getter people who manage to recreate the amazing things on Pinterest, don’t worry – I still love you, and don’t totally hate you (not too much anyway…)

Either way, Pinterest is a great place to find new recipes – especially desserts – I could search and click away for hours just drooling over all the amazing looking pictures of cakes, cookies, and pies that are on there. When it comes to what recipes I will actually make, I tend to gravitate towards chocolate, and oats too – they are two of my favorite things, and any chance I get to combine them into one delicious dessert – I’m in!

I have had these deep dish oatmeal chocolate cookie bars on my “Must try desserts” Pinterest board for a few years now – and I don’t know why I waited so long to make them!

Deep Dish Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars (Recipe Courtesy of Love, Life, Lavins)

Ingredients
2 sticks margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine)
2 eggs
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk
3 cups oatmeal

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup margarine (I’ve used butter and it’s worked fine too)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (typically one bag)

Directions
Mix the butter, eggs and brown sugar. Add vanilla and milk. Slowly incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well. I prefer using a stand mixer since it’s quite thick

20150502_110655Is there anything more beautiful than sugar and butter? Well – maybe sugar and butter with OATS in it!

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat melt together the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1/3 cup margarine/butter, and 1 tsp vanilla

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The chocolate mix gets ready to be spread on top of the cookie base

Spread 3/4 of the oat mixture on the bottom of a greased 13×9 pan, then pour on the chocolate mixture and spread evenly over the oats. Then, spread rest of cookie mixture on tops in spoonfuls (it won’t cover the chocolate completely)

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Various stages of assembly

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. *Note – the top can tend to get done before it’s completely cooked, so you can cover the bars with foil for the last ten minutes or so if it looks like it’s browning too much

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Dough – before and after baking

Let the bars cool for a while, otherwise it won’t set up and will just run when you cut into it

A few small alterations I made to the original recipe: I used real butter (not margarine), and I melted it first – the recipe didn’t say to do that, but I figured it would help with the mixing process (which it did – I didn’t need to get out my mixer at all!). I also did not use the stove to melt the chocolate mix – just whipped it up in the microwave instead. I also read some of the comments to see if people used quick or regular oats – the author said she used quick oats so that’s what I went with as well (although – I should think regular oats would give a nice texture so I might try that next time!)

This recipe was easy – I had most of the ingredients on hand already, and assembling it was fast and painless, plus it was super tasty. Based on the original picture from the blog, I thought it would be a super dense, rich dessert – but it wasn’t at all, it was more cake-y and almost fluffy (if oats/butter/sugar can be fluffy?), and the chocolate was not as thick as I was thinking it would be either, it was almost more like a ganache-y type consistency. I would definitely make this again, it would be perfect to bring to one of the picnics/parties/BBQ’s/family reunions that are coming up this Spring/Summer

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My husband enjoyed them (a lot!)

Thank you Pinterest for the awesome recipe, and for always inspiring me to try new things!

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Bananas, Blueberries, And Oats – A Delicious Breakfast Combo

11 Aug

I can’t help but shout my love for oats from the rooftops – whether its breakfast made in the Crock Pot or in the oven, or in cookie form with craisins and white chocolate chips or pumpkin, or in an always delicious apple crisp – I can’t get enough of this pantry staple. I eat it daily for breakfast, and am always trying to find new recipes to try starring oats too! So when I came across this Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal, I was instantly intrigued – as I love bananas and blueberries but had never thought of putting them together with my beloved oats, until now…

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Total time 1 hour

Ingredients

• 1½ cups (3 med) mashed bananas
• 2 large eggs
• ¼ cup white sugar
• ¾ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp salt
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• 2 cups milk
• 2½ cups old fashioned oats
• 8 ounces frozen blueberries

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mash the bananas in a measuring cup, starting with two or three and adding more until you have 1.5 cups of banana mash.
2. Combine the banana mash in the large bowl with the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk again until smooth.
3. Stir in the dry old-fashioned oats. Lastly, stir in the frozen blueberries (keeping them frozen and stirring them in last helps prevent the entire mix from turning purple). Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and then pour in the oat mixture.
4. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is no longer wet to the touch.

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This was really a cinch to put together, and all the ingredients were items I had on hand (except the blueberries)

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I have to admit – I was rather skeptical of the unbaked version – it seemed really soupy and I had little faith that it would solidify in the oven. Luckily, I was wrong – and it set up really well in the oven

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I really enjoyed this – the texture of the baked oats mixed perfectly with the banana and blueberry flavors – and if I could change just one thing I think it would be to add some cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe next time – but it was delicious as is too! What an easy thing to whip up on Sunday and then divide up to bring to work each day – easy, good for you, and delicious!

Battle Of The Oatmeals – Crock Pot Vs Oven

16 Nov

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I LOVE OATS – especially oatmeal, but put them in bread, cookies, meatballs, a shoe – doesn’t matter where they are, I will eat them. And like it.

So naturally, I am always on the lookout for more oat recipes – and I found two different ones I could not WAIT to try. Cranberry Apple baked oatmeal seemed right up my alley – using ingredients I already had at home, and it would be perfect to share with company. Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal appealed right away to my “crockpot obsessed pumpkin loving” side, plus the chance to work with a new ingredient (steel cut oats) is always fun

So up first, the baked version:

Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal (Recipe Courtesy Of Budget Bytes)
Serves: 6

Ingredients
1½ cups unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (dairy or soy)
6 oz. (about 1¼ cups) fresh cranberries
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the apple sauce, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until smooth again.
2. Rinse the cranberries in a colander. Slice or roughly chop the cranberries in half (they don’t have to be perfect). Stir the cranberries and oats into the applesauce mixture.
3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 casserole dish (coated with non-stick spray). Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown and it is no longer sticky in the center. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to eat.

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I whipped up a double batch of this – and I am glad I did! The leftovers were great! The only thing I changed about the recipe is that I didn’t cut the cranberries in half – I tried, but they are slippery and kept rolling around – so that was really just a personal preference (and a time saver!), and I don’t think it really affected the finished product.

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It was nice and thick, almost a bread pudding consistency, it tasted great – just a hint of apple, tartness of the cranberries, and slight sweetness of the warm middle. I added a bit of brown sugar to the top of mine and it was the perfect addition!

Ok. One down, one to go. My Crock Pot Is Ready, so let’s do this…

Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal (Recipe courtesy of Sweet Anna’s)
Yield: 6+ large servings

Ingredients
6 cups water
1 cup half & half or milk
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2-1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (my family likes things sweet, so we use one cup)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Stir all the ingredients together in the slow cooker, cook on LOW overnight, about 8 hours.
When it is done, it will still look liquidy. Give it a good stir and it will all come together.
Serve immediately. Save any leftovers in the fridge or freezer… this stuff reheats beautifully!

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So like I said, I had never worked with steel cut oats before, they are definitely different than any oat I had ever seen! They are much more “grain-y” looking, and need to be cooked much longer than traditional oats

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One SUPER IMPORTANT CHANGE I will be making to this recipe for next time – I will be heavily spraying the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray before adding the ingredients to it. It stuck to the sides without the spray, which wasn’t a huge issue, but it can be avoided next time for sure!

Also, when I woke up (to the gorgeous smell of pumpkin wafting through the house!), I turned the crock pot to “warm” and left the lid off for about an hour – it let the oatmeal cool off a little and thicken up a LOT – made all the difference in the world!

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The taste of this is great – it definitely has the essence of pumpkin pie, but a much healthier version (I used skim milk in mine, and you can control the amount of sugar you add too!), and I love the texture of the steel cut oats. This was a winner – even my husband (who is not a big pumpkin fan) had two helpings!

If you don’t have time or want to mess around with the oven or crock pot to make your oatmeal, you can always stick with a delicious breakfast of plain old oatmeal. The great thing about it is that it’s like a blank canvas – you can add TONS of different toppings/mix-ins to it and create some delicious custom flavors. Here are some ideas for Oatmeal Mix-ins: Raisins (or any fried fruit!), cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin puree, apples (or peaches, or bananas, or any other fresh fruit!), milk, butter, fruit jelly/jam…really the list is endless!

These two recipes are great because they allow me to take a cherished pantry item (oats!) and use it in new, different ways. These flavors are perfect for fall, so you can whip these up before you go out to rake leaves, or on Thanksgiving morning! Plus, the leftovers from both are delicious, and I love leftovers, so I will definitely be making both of these again

So In the battle of “oven oatmeal” vs “crock pot oatmeal” I would say it’s a draw – they are both great for different reasons, and will both warm you and fill you up on a chilly fall day!

For The Love Of OATS

27 Sep

I eat plain oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day – and people always ask me “don’t you get tired of it?” and I really don’t – it is nice and warm, and filling, and can be changed to suit your mood with different toppings and mix ins (craisins, maple syrup, apples, applesauce, pumpkin puree, cinnamon – to name just a few of my faves!). Oats are great – they are good for you, and they can be used in lots of different ways

I like to use this breakfast food when I bake, and there are TONS of amazing recipes out there, so to help you narrow down what you can use delicious, heart healthy oats for, here are my faves:

My Top 3 Oat Recipes

Oats ChocCookies 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – These are my husband’s favorite, and what’s funny about that is that he HATES oatmeal raisin cookies, and will only eat an oatmeal cookie if he is sure there are chocolate chips in them! I like them because you can pretend you are being healthy by eating a chocolate chip cookie with oats in it

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Directions
1 Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
2 2 Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
3 3 Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

OatsCrisp

Apple Crisp – This is a fall favorite, I like to eat it warm, with or without ice cream, and sometimes with a drizzle of caramel on it too if I’m feeling naughty!

INGREDIENTS:

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup quick-cooking oats

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).
2. Place the sliced apples in a 9×13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 45 minutes

Oats CraisinCookie

Oatmeal White Chocolate Craisin Cookies – I made a ton of these two years ago for Christmas – and they were a hit! Packed full of fruit, chocolate, and oats to give them a great texture – these are a winner for sure

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 5-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

 

If you aren’t sure about oatmeal, or oats in general, then I suggest you try one of the above recipes to ease yourself into it, and hopefully you will discover just how delicious and versatile oats really are!

C Is For Cookie – MONSTER!

22 Mar

cookiemonster

Out of anything in the baking world, I would have to say that my favorite thing to make is COOKIES! And I think Cookie Monster agrees with me on that, as there are so many reasons they are my fave – most kinds freeze well, and they are hand held (no fork required!), and they’re easy to divide up, no fights over who got the bigger piece etc, plus there are just SO MANY KINDS out there to make!

Monsters

When I saw Ree Drummond make these Monster Cookies on The Pioneer Woman, I knew I just had to make them myself

The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite Food Network shows, and I love her blog too, she has tons of amazing stuff on there, including all her recipes from the show. I have successfully made her Best Lasagna Ever, and her Garlic Cheese Bread, and those were both amazing, and since I’ve never tried one of her desserts, why not start with something amazing like these Monsters that incorporate so many delicious treats all in one – M&M’s, nuts, chocolate chips, plus the taste of oats and the crunch of Rice Krispies – sign me up!!

         IMG_3087Naked dough ready for it’s delicious additions!IMG_3091

Dough + M&M’s + Rice Krispies + Pecans + Chocolate Chips

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My helpers – adorable husband and Walter!

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Ready for the oven!

Monster Cookies
Ingredients:
2 sticks (1/2 Pound) Butter (salted) Softened
1/2 cup White Sugar
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
2 whole Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cup Oats (either Quick Or Regular)
1/2 cup M & M’s (more To Taste)
1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped (more To Taste)
3/4 cups Chocolate Chips (milk Or Semi-sweet)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
2-1/4 cups Rice Krispies
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add to mixing bowl and mix till combined. After that, add in remaining ingredients in whatever quantity you prefer. Add more nuts if you’d like, or more M & M’s, more peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.

Add Rice Krispies at the very end, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!

Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown (about 10-12 minutes), then allow to cool on a rack.

Serve with glasses of cold milk.

**The only substitution I made to the recipe was that I didn’t use any peanut butter chips – I just used all chocolate chips instead (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE peanut butter, but I wanted to share these with one of my best friends who gave up peanut butter for Lent – so I was nice and left those out, but I would definitely put them in next time!)

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….I admit, I turn into a cookie monster for these. They are amazing, a different texture in every bite, crunchy yet still soft and delicious! So far, the Pioneer Woman has yet to steer me wrong…now if you’ll excuse me I need to go to the store for more milk, as mine seems to have disappeared…hmm…

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