Saturday, November 28, 2009

Peanutty Buckeye Bars

Let me just tell it to you straight. I'm 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Two days past my due date. My back aches, my feet hurt, I'm tired of trying to keep my house clean for when the baby (and therefore company) comes, and I'm frazzled. I thought I'd either be in the hospital right now or home with my new baby. But instead I'm sitting around the house trying to keep my mind occupied with something other than this baby not coming!

This is where the Peanutty Buckeye Bars come into play. I had the urge to bake. Just to get my mind off things. But I wanted something easy that wouldn't require me to be on my feet too long. And seeing as how I love chocolate and peanut butter together, these Buckeye Bars were just the thing I needed. Now I can calm my frazzled nerves with chocolate. And don't forget the scoop of ice cream on top. These are GOOD - chewy and fudgy and peanut butter-y!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to praying that I go into labor rightthisminute so the misery stops!

Peanutty Buckeye Bars
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

19.5-ounce package brownie mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined (batter will be dry - you can add a Tbsp. or two of water if it's too dry). Stir in peanuts. Spread half of the brownie mixture evenly into prepared pan. Set the other half of mixture aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth. Spread evenly over brownie mixture in pan. Separate the remaining brownie mixture into pieces, flatten them with your fingers, and place them on top of the brownie mixture in pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 32 bars.

To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

I'm now in my 38th week of pregnancy - which means I'm in the home stretch. It's that very exciting last couple of weeks where all you can think is, "when will I go into labor and have this baby?!?" But it's also the most uncomfortable time period - it's hard to be on your feet for long, your back hurts, and you just can't put much effort into anything. Which is why my baking and posting has been very few and far between. And I fear that it won't get much better once I have a newborn to handle and a 2-year-old running around the house.

BUT, the good news is that I always seem to get that itch for baking after it's been a while. So I'm sure the mood will continue to strike me after the baby's born (though my baking may be a bit on the healthy side, as I will surely have some weight to lose!).

Lately I've been dying for something homemade that would celebrate the season. I bookmarked this apple streusel cheesecake bar recipe quite a while back, and it was calling to me. It's really delicious, and was completely worth the time on my feet in the kitchen.

The bars start with a cookie mix and also use an apple pie filling, though no one would ever guess it was only semi-homemade. They came together easily and tasted great. I particularly enjoyed eating these with vanilla ice cream, though they were completely addictive all by themselves too!

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix (I used oatmeal chocolate chip - the chocolate chips were a nice addition!)
½ cup firm butter or margarine
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. Place cookie mix in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 ½ cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top.

5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Makes about 24 bars.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

BLT Pasta

I came across a great dinner recipe over at Alwayz Bakin' - this BLT Pasta. It's everything you love about a BLT sandwich, but with pasta instead of the bread. What a genius idea! We loved it!

The recipe made a ton - enough for dinner, and then heaping servings for lunch the next day for my hubby and I. It was easy to make and on the table in a jiffy. And my son even enjoyed it also. It's a really fantastic meal!

BLT Pasta
(adapted from Alwayz Bakin')

1 package (1 lb.) spiral pasta
1 package (1 lb.) bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
4 ripe plum tomatoes
3 cups sliced romaine lettuce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse, drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Add bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss mayonnaise mixture with pasta and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.