Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal Bars and Oatmeal Strawberry Jam Bars in one pan

I made two different types of Oatmeal Bars in one pan to take to my son's house, before Scott's surgery.  One is Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal for my PB loving DIL, Cherise, and the other Oatmeal Strawberry Jam for my son, Todd, that doesn't like chocolate. I know that they don't eat a lot sweets, so I didn't want to make a pan of each kind  for them, so I made both kinds in one pan.  I made doubly sure that none of the Reese's PB cups, would melt int the jam side of the pan.

Reese's PB cups on the left, and Strawberry jam on the right. I even made a subtle line down the middle, so the PB cups and jam wouldn't run together.

 I used the Strawberry Lime Cardamon Jam, that Gina, SP Cookie Queen had sent to me for the Jam in the Oatmeal bars.The jam was outstanding.  My son loved them. and ate two of them in one sitting, and he really doesn't eat that many sweets. Thank you, Gina, so much for the jam.

 My DIl, Cherise, loved her Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oatmeal Bars, as well, and they weren't over the top too sweet. Success! A chocolate lover and non-chocolate liker can exist in one pan, and one household.

To make these yummy bars, I put 2/3 of the oatmeal cookie dough base in the bottom of a  9x9 pan made a subtle line down the middle. On one side I placed  about 1 cup of Reese's PB Cups, chopped, and on the other side I spread 1/2 -3/4 cup of Strawberry Lime Cardamon Jam. I put a little extra cookie dough between the jam and the PB cups to ensure that the chocolate and jam didn't run together.  Then I crumbled the remaining cookie dough over the tops of the PB cups and Strawberry Jam.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Jam Oatmeal Bars Inspired by Joy of Baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. . Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch pan

1/2 c. butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt  I didn’t add
2 c. old fashioned rolled oats, divided

1 cup strawberry jam ( homemade or store bought)
1 c. chopped mini Reese’s Peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x9 pan with cooking spray

Combine oats, flour, and baking soda; mix well.  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Beat until well mixed.

Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of the oats. Press 1 3/4 cups of the cookie dough in prepared pan.

Spread jam over half of the pan, and spread chopped, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over the other half of the cookie dough in the pan. Add the remaining 1/4cup oats to the remaining dough. Crumble the oat mixture over the top of the jam and PB cups.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes until browned.  Remove to rack to cool.

l inked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #73
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemonade is one of my favorite summertime drinks. I like the tart sweet lemonade with the sweet raspberry flavors. I  like those same flavors in these cupcakes, too. I had made these cupcakes with leftover batter from our Anniversary Triple Lemon Mini Bundt Cakes,   I put the cupcakes, unfrosted, in the freezer, for a later occasion. One of my Bunco friend's birthday is in June, and we are getting together tonight at an outdoor concert to celebrate. All I had to do was pull them out of the freezer, make the Raspberry Butter Cream  frosting, and frost the cupcakes. Voila, a perfect summertime treat,  I try to keep unfrosted cupcakes, and some cookies in the freezer at all times.  this stash is off limits to my Hubby, who loves to eat frozen cookies.  Do you have a stash of baked goods in your freezer? 

I wanted to post these cupcakes earlier, but last night we numerous tornado warnings. watches, severe thuderstorm warnings. starting at about 5 pm.  I had taken the cupcakes out of the freezer to defrost, and I got as far as pureeing the fresh fresh raspberries, and then it got very dark annd windy with rolling thunder.  I didn't want to be in the middle of frosting the cupcakes, and have to go to the basement, so I stopped.  There was also a "litttle" hockey game in Chicago with the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. because we have a dish, we kept loosing the transmission, due to the storms.  Eventually, we turned on the radio. The Hawks prevailed in a 4-3 Triple overtime win.  Go Blackhawks!!!  I didn't make it until the end of the game.  Can't wait for Game 2!!!! (You know, that in a former life, I was a Sportscaster:)

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Adapted from Crazy about Cupcakes by Krystina Castella
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 c lemon zest-about 3 lemons
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk I used almond milk
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. I nsert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating 1 minute after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Mix until completely integrated. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice. . Mix the batter for 30 seconds.
5. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lemon Glaze

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1/4 C sugar, or add to taste
1 Tbsp melted butter 

Bring ingredients to boil over med. heat.  Spoon over cupcakes.  Frost cupcakes when completely cooled.

Raspberry Butter Cream frosting Ingredients
1/2 cup raspberries (blended into a puree and pushed through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds)
1 stick salted butter – room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons very cold milk (add until you reach desired consistency)

1. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add raspberry puree and combine well.
2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

l inked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #71
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 



Monday, June 10, 2013

Mini Strawberry Brownie Trifle

I love brownies, strawberries, and whipped cream, or whipped topping.  Layer them together in a bowl and you have one amazing dessert. I have this small crystal bowl  that was my Mom's that would make a perfect trifle for four. Actually there was enough for eight. This trifle has layers of brownies, custard, strawberries, and whipped topping, repeating the layers. Heaven in a bowl! I opted for whipped topping to cut down on the fat.  You can make your brownies from a mix, or use your favorite brownie recipe.  I had some Fight Back Brownies, minus the frosting, in the freezer, just begging to be eaten. I used Instant Vanilla Pudding mixed with whipped topping for the custard layer, and fresh, sliced strawberries  If you have time you can make you own custard and whipped cream  from scratch, but I was crunched for time.

Trifles are so good, and simple to put together, and perfect for a party, if you have the large trifle bowl.  Even my small crystal held enough for eight. Now we have leftovers. trifle for Breakfast anyone? Trifles are so versatile because you can change up the ingredients, if you want. You can sub cake or lady fingers for the brownies, change custard flavors, and change the fruit.  Oh my, decisions, decisions!  Whatever  way you make the trifle, you will have a wonderful mix of flavors, colors, and textures. Enjoy!

Mini Strawberry Brownie Trifle*

1 (8oz) container of regular or lite Whipped Topping
1 3.4 oz box of Vanilla Pudding mix
1 box of box brownie mix (prepared to  instructions or your favorite recipe
1 lbs of strawberries sliced  Also leave a few whole for garnishing

 1.  Bake box brownies or favorite scratch brownies Allow brownies to cool and cut into squares. 

 2. Prepare pudding per package instructions, using 1 1/2 cups milk.  Then fold in 3/4 tub of Whipped Topping to the prepared pudding mix to make the custard layer.

3 Slice strawberries.
4.  Layer a trifle bowl or glass bowl with the cut brownies squares. Then follow with half of the custard mixture.  Next layer with half of the sliced strawberries and repeat with the brownies, custard and strawberries. Finish with a layer of plain Whipped Topping and the whole strawberries to garnish. Refrigerate until serving time.

*** This recipe is for a small bowl.  If you have a regular size trifle bowl, you would need to double this recipe.

l inked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #71
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies with Raisins

If you want a little, healthy treat, and still look good in your swimsuit, then you need to make these cookies. These Oatmeal Peanut Butter cookies have Oatmeal, Coconut flakes, Chunky Peanut Butter, mashed bananas, and Greek Yogurt, besides being egg free,  oil free, and gluten free. These cute little babies bake up crisp on the outside, and soft in the middle, and aren't overly sweet. I made mine smaller, for just the perfect bite of chewy from the oatmeal and coconut as well as sweetness from the raisins and bananas.You also get ramped up protein from the peanut butter and Greek yogurt.  You could also use mini chocolate chips, in place of the raisins.  Mmmm, I 'll have to do that in the next batch.

I'm already thinking ahead to when Scott has his Pituitary tumor surgery June 18th, and I'll be spending long days at the hospital. I'm going to need lots of snacks, and these little  cookies will be perfect for my snacking attacks, when I'm stressed.  If I'm going to have snacks, I want healthy ones. I do have a huge sweet tooth.  What kind of foods do you reach for, when you are stressed?  Feeling stressed, eat one of these wonderful cookies..  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Raisin Cookies Adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny
  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice I didn’t add this
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped (I used pecans, walnuts and almonds)  I subbed  1/2  c peanut butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In one bowl, combine rolled oats, coconut flakes, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.   Stir in raisins and set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth and all lumps are gone.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Using a round cookie scoop (or shape with your hands), spoon mixture onto cookie sheet, and flatten slightly. I made mine on the smaller size.  I got about 2 doz. cookies.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes and cool on rack

l inked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #70
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala makes any occasion special.  We made this incredible dish last week for our 12th Wedding Anniversary. Perhaps this dish is so good because it's the tender chicken, or the Essence spices, or the Marsala wine sauce that caramelizes the mushrooms. This recipe had the addition of the Essence spice, which gives the dish a little kick.  My husband had made the Essence previously for another recipe, so we had it on hand.  If you like a little "kick" in your food, add the spice mixture, but personally, I would leave it out next time, but my husband would add it. We had made this recipe 3 years ago, but redid this recipe with our newer camera.

We served the chicken over Linguine, Scott's favorite pasta, but you could use rice or noodles as well.  Whatever pasta or rice you use, you won't be disappointed.  This dish comes together quickly, but tastes like it has been cooking for hours.  The Marsala wine makes this dish in my opinion with it's rich flavor, without being sweet.  Here is the recipe that I promised to you last week. Enjoy!

Chicken Marsala-adapted from Emeril Lagasse-FoodNetwork


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Essence (  recipe to follow)
  • 2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
  • 3/4 cup Marsala
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped chives, for garnish, we used Italian Parsley

***TIP** You can use a heavy bottomed pan to pound the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper. This pan method works well if you don't have a tool for that.


1. On a plate. or on a bowl, mix flour and Essence. Dredge the pounded thin chicken breasts in flour.
2 .Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Add 1 Tbsp. of butter and sauté the breasts until they are a golden brown, which is about 3 min, per side.
3. Put the chicken breasts on a plate and set aside.
4. Add 1 Tbsp of the butter to pan and add the mushrooms.  Cook the mushrooms until they are brown   around the edges, and have given off their liquid.
5. Add the Marsala wine and de-glaze the pan, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, and  add chicken stock, and cook until the sauce is partially thickened.
6. Lower heat to medium and return chicken breasts to pan, and cook until they are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.  Add additional butter and stir. (Optional if you want lower fat. ) Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Garnish with chopped chives, but we used Italian Parsley.
8. Serve over pasta, noodles or rice.

Essence Recipe from Emeril 

  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Paprika-(We used Smokey Sweet)
  • 2 Tbsp. salt- You can use less, if you want lower sodium
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1tbsp. onion powder
  • 1tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1tbsp dried thyme

Combine all ingredients until well mixed and place in an airtight jar or container.  Makes 2/3 cup

  I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #70
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie! 


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