May 23, 2012

Oatmeal Fudge Crumble Bars

oatmeal fudge crumble bars

I *love* having an excuse to bake – I really do not need much convincing.  So when my husband requests treats to bring to a group he is working with – I am more than happy to oblige.  The hard part for me is picking out what to make.  These beauties have been on my pinterest dessert board for a while now – so they seemed like the perfect treat to make for a group.   The crunch oatmeal crust and topping and the gooey, chocolaty centers were a perfect dessert treat.   Enjoy! 

oatmeal fudge crumble bars 2


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups oats

fudge layer:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan.

2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.

4. Add the sifted flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.

5. Gently spread 2/3 crust into bottom of prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.

6. To make the fudge layer: Over medium-Low heat, melt together chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla.

7. Evenly pour filling mixture onto crust but keeping filling about a 1/4 inch away from side of pan so it does not stick to side while baking.  Evenly dollup top of filling with remaining oat mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until topping is light brown and fudge layer set but not solid.

8. Cool in pan on rack until set before cutting.  Keep stored in airtight container.

Source: Erin’s Food Files

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May 16, 2012

Greek Pizza

greek pizza 1

This was one of those meals that I kept moving around on my menu plan for one reason or another.   And then when I finally made it I regretted every second that I didn’t make it sooner. 

greek pizza 2

Even though it looks complex – this pizza was actually a really easy dinner.  I had a ball of pizza dough already in the freezer to use – or you could use store bought.  The base is a simple olive oil and some spices.  The toppings included some diced artichoke hearts, katamala olives, sliced red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked chicken (plan ahead and have this already cooked!), feta and mozzarella cheeses.  Just a bit of rough chopping and the prep was complete and this pizza was ready to be baked. 

greek pizza 3

The combination was as close to perfection as you can get.   I don’t know if they even eat pizza like this in Greece – but it doesn’t even matter – it is delicious just the way it is. 


greek pizza 5


  • 1 batch pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
  • ~2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • ~1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
  • ~1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz. grilled chicken breast strips, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ~1 tsp. dried parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Roll dough out to form a large round. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and oregano.

3. Spread half of the mozzarella evenly over the top, then add the rest of the toppings, ending with the other half of the mozzarella, then the feta cheese and parsley.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is baked through and golden brown.

Source: adapted from Pennies on a Platter

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May 14, 2012

Rocky Road Ice Cream

rocky road ice cream 3

I hope everyone had a great week – I had an amazing vacation in Seattle – with lots of great food and dessert.  I had a few amazing ice creams as well – a honey flavored from an ice cream truck (not at all like the ones that drive around my neighborhood!) and an amazing vanilla with shaved chocolate from a local shop.   I am now completely spoiled when it comes to artisanal, small-batch ice creams – good thing I know how to make my own too! 

I made this rocky road a few weeks before we went on vacation – I had some marshmallow left from when I made marshmallow eggs.  So I thought this would be a fun way to use it up.   I’m not sure you can do better than this ice cream – the chocolate is so rich and smoothly and the marshmallow and peanuts give this a perfect texture.

Have a happy, happy start to summer-time: Enjoy!!!   

rocky road ice cream 1


  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder.  Warm over medium-high heat, whisking to dissolve the cocoa.   Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. 

2. Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the chocolate chips and whisk until melted and smooth.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup of cream.  Transfer this mixture to a medium-large mixing bowl.  Set a fine mesh sieve over the top.

3. In the same saucepan, combine the milk, sugar and salt and warm the mixture over medium heat.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  When the milk mixture is warm, gradually whisk into the egg yolks, beating constantly.  Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and continue heating over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until the mixture is slightly thickened and reads 170-175° F on an instant-read thermometer. 

4. Remove from the heat and pour through the mesh sieve into the chocolate-cream mixture and stir to blend.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

5. Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator or using an ice bath.  Once the mixture is completely chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Fold in the marshmallows and peanuts when the ice cream is completely churned.  Store in an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats from David Lebovitz

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May 2, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

chicken parm bake pasta 1

I tend to gravitate towards any meal that is called “chicken parmesan”. Something about the combination of breaded chicken, pasta, tomato sauce and lots of cheese gets me every time.   The combination is usually a multi-step process involving at least two or three pots or pans and lots of time.  But this dish is one pot (as long as your skillet if oven-proof) and way easier than it looks. 

chicken parm bake pasta 3

The end result tastes so good you would hardly know how easy this really was to make! 


p.s. I’ll be on vacation to the great foodie city of Seattle all next week – so have a great week! 

chicken parm bake pasta 2


  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano 
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 oz. pasta shapes (ziti, penne, fusilli etc.)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken tenders, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


1. Cook the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

2. Stir in the tomatoes, water, 1 cup of the broth, and the pasta.  Bring to a vigorous simmer, cover, and cook until pasta is tender, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring often.

3. Stir in 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the chopped chicken. If the pasta seems dry, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of broth.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.

4. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Source: Pink Parsley, originally from America's Test Kitchen, Pasta Revolution

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