Friday, September 23, 2011

Janice & Joni's BFF Caramel Bars

Let's end the week with these chocolaty caramel bars from Keeping Up Cookbook.  

They are simple to make and the kids can help.  My girls stirred together the oat crust/topping mixture and unwrapped all the caramels.  They love getting in the kitchen and helping out Mommy.  I have little chefs in the making.  Make up a batch of these caramel bars to share with your neighbors and friends, or make some new friends!  They are sure to check in with you weekly to see what you're baking next.

I hope you have enjoyed the recipes featuring Keeping Up Cookbook this week!  Check out this post to read more about this awesome cookbook.  I made the Lemon-garlic spaghettini with grilled lemon shrimp, Blueberry cream cheese muffins, Sjoblom's slow cooker french dips, Bonnie's Cheerio snacks, and these delicious caramel bars.  

Oat Crust/Topping:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper leaving a 1/4 inch overhang.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.  Save the remaining mixture for the topping.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Caramel/Chocolate Filling:

1 (14 oz) package Kraft caramels, unwrapped
3 T heavy cream or half n half
3 T butter
2 cups milk chocolate chips

While crust is baking, melt the caramels, cream, and butter over low heat or in a double boiler.  Pour melted mixture over baked crust.  Sprinkle with milk chocolate chips and crumble remaining oat mixture over top.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Lift out of pan using parchment paper and cut into bars.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bonnie's Cheerio Snack

Here's a sweet snack recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook.  

These are great to pack up in ziploc bags and take with you on the go.  I have made these a couple of times already and can't even wait for them to cool before snacking.  They are so yummy! 


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
7 cups Multi Grain Cheerios

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add brown sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, no longer.  Take off the heat, add baking soda, and stir until foamy.  Add Cheerios and stir well to coat evenly.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely in pan, then break into pieces.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sjoblom's French Dips~Slow Cooker Recipe

Who doesn't love a great go-to slow cooker recipe?  Especially on a day full of after school activities.  You just throw all the ingredients into your Crock Pot, put the lid on, turn it on, and go about your busy day.  When you get home, the delicious smell hits you as you walk through the door and your dinner is ready.  This is another amazing recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook, by Grace Ivory Rock and Amy Henriksen Foulger.

The story behind this recipe is that when Grace had a new baby, her friend Amy Sjoblom brought these French Dips over...what a sweet friend.  These sandwiches have been a go-to dinner in Grace's home ever since.  They are now a go-to meal in our home too!  My family absolutely loved them.  

Don't forget to come back tomorrow and Friday because I have two more recipes featured from Keeping Up Cookbook.

Crockpot Ingredients:

1 (3-lb) rump or eye of round beef roast
1 (10 3/4 oz) can beef consomme
1 1/2 cups water
1 Good Seasons Italian dressing packet
1 au jus gravy packet

For Sandwiches:

Sliced swiss cheese
Hoagie buns (or your favorite...I used croissants)

Add all ingredients to the crockpot except for the roast and whisk well. Add the roast and turn over to coat all sides. Turn crockpot on high and cook for 8 hours, or until you can easily shred with a fork. Remove roast and shred. Strain crockpot juices for au jus dipping sauce and set aside. 

Turn on oven broiler. Place shredded meat on buns and top with swiss cheese slices. Broil open faced until cheese melts. Assemble and serve with au jus. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Are you ready for a breakfast muffin recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook?  

OK, I thought so.  Just look at the picture...juicy blueberries nestled into moist muffins with tangy smooth cream cheese surprises throughout with a crunchy crumb topping.  These muffins are simply divine!

Muffin Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk or milk
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese, cut into small cube
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin tins with paper liners, or spray well with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large stand mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Turn mixer on low and slowly add buttermilk until batter just comes together.  Use a spatula to fold in cream cheese cubes, breaking up any large pieces.  Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest.  Spoon batter into 16-18 muffin cups.  Prepare the crumb topping.

Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 T cold butter, cut into small cubes

In a bowl, stir together sugar and flour.  Cut butter into mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until it reaches a crumb-like consistency.  Sprinkle generously onto muffins.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until muffin centers spring back when touched.  Serve warm.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Lemon-Garlic Spaghettini~With Grilled Lemon Shrimp

If you missed Friday's post, you can see it here.  This first recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook is a satisfying lemony garlicy pasta dish that I topped with grilled lemon shrimp.  It's great served up family style with lemon slices and sprinkled with lots of parmesan cheese.  My girls had fun piling the pasta up high on their plates, twirling it up even higher on their forks, and grabbing the shrimp by their tails to eat.

Lemon-Garlic Spaghettini:

1 pound spaghettini or angel hair pasta
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 2 lemons
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup pasta cooking water
lemon slices
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Boil pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions until al dente.  Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.  Drain pasta and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, add oil to a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until garlic begins to brown.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.  Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.  Add the pasta to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding more cooking liquid if desired. Salt as needed.

Grilled Lemon Shrimp: 

1 lb large shrimp (26-30), deveined and peeled, tails left on
2 tsp blackening spice rub (optional)
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
juice from 1 lemon

Heat up a grill pan or outdoor grill.  Add cleaned shrimp to a large bowl, add spices, and toss well to coat.  Grill shrimp on both sides until cooked through, then squeeze fresh lemon juice over top. 

Serve up family style with lemon-garlic spaghettini topped with grilled shrimp and lemon slices.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Keeping Up Cookbook~Featured all next week

I have an exciting week full of recipes featured from Keeping Up Cookbook, written by Grace Ivory Rock and Amy Henricksen Foulger.  I first told you about this cookbook when I made their Cinnamon Apple Crumb Pie. Oh my sweet apple was so GOOD!

This coming week, I will be sharing Lemon-garlic spaghettini~with grilled shrimp, Blueberry cream cheese muffins, Sjoblom's french dips (slow cooker), Bonnie's cheerio snack, and Janice and Joni's BFF caramel bars.  My family loved them all!

They have an entire category filled with warm, comforting Soups for the upcoming Fall months.  I can't wait for it to finally get cooler in Texas. Soups are my favorite since they are one pot meals and very satisfying.

Here are some of the recipes that jumped off the page for me:

Soy ginger potstickers
Thai meatballs with apricot-chili sauce
Hot caramel apple cider
Artichoke cheese bread

Southwestern breakfast casserole
Eggs benedict with shortcut hollandaise
Fluffy buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and maple cream
German apple pancake
French toast casserole
Overnight crepes
Banana oatmeal bread with peanut butter frosting

Coconut mini loaves
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Cooley-caramel pull-aparts
Amy's molten chocolate cakes
Kevin's mint chocolate cheesecake
Pumpkin streusel
Peppermint ice cream cake
Lemon-iced sugar cookies
Saintly cream cheese brownies
Maple pecan bars
Creamy lemon bars

Creamy tomato basil soup
Potato soup
Tortellini soup
Mexican tortilla soup
Soup bar
Crockpot beef stew
Classic corn chowder
Slow-burn chipotle chili
Roasted vegetable soup
California roll salad
Honey-lime chicken enchiladas
Creamy lemon chicken
Asian flank steak
"Good Mom" mac
Baked macaroni and gouda
White lasagna
Alyse's bbq roast beef sandwiches

Wow, this is making me really hungry!  Keeping Up Cookbook has over 250 tried and true recipes, so I hope you will enjoy this week's posts and add it to your collection.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting

This basic blondie recipe from Smitten Kitchen is dressed up with the addition of butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate chips, then they are topped with brown sugar frosting.  This frosting tastes like the caramel topping on pineapple upside down cake.  Let me warn you...they are addictive, so cut them into small squares and share with your friends.

Blondie Ingredients:

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper with a 1/2 inch overhang on each end.  Spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix to incorporate.  Add the flour and salt and mix just until combined.  Stir in the butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until set around the edges.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack while you prepare the brown sugar frosting.

Brown Sugar (Penuche) Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the brown sugar.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (it will bubble up).  Turn off the heat and let cool to lukewarm.  Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and whisk until combined.  

Pour frosting over the blondies and let cool completely.  When cool, lift blondies out of pan and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

This recipe is from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook.  I have made several great dishes and desserts from this cookbook.

These bars are like eating a peanut butter and jelly without the bread.  The bottom layer is a peanut butter shortbread with a gooey jelly middle layer and a peanut buttery topping with roasted peanuts.  I made half with strawberry jelly and the other with grape jelly.  You can use your favorite jelly or jam.


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups creamy peanut butter (18 ounces)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups jelly or jam
1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang on each end.  Spray parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.  This will help you lift it out of the pan before cutting into bars.

In a large stand mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until well combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and mix just until combined.  

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan and use your hands to spread it out evenly. Spread the jelly or jam evenly over the dough.  Drop small clumps of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  The dough will spread when it bakes.  Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Lift out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into bars.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Espresso Ice Cream

Here is a frozen sweet treat to end your work week and help start up your weekend.  My parents were coming over to play with my girls and give me a little break.  I made this Espresso Ice Cream for my MIL and The Country Cook's Chocolate Frostys for my FIL and kiddos.  Neither frozen treat lasted very long around here! 


5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk (I used 2% reduced fat)
1 T instant espresso (I used Medaglia d'Oro)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the heavy cream and milk.  Bring to a simmer, then whisk in the instant espresso until it is dissolved.  

While whisking the egg yolks/sugar mixture, slowly pour in 1 cup of the hot cream mixture.  This will temper the eggs.  Pour the eggs into the sauce pan and reduce heat to low. Whisk constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Do not let the mixture boil.

Rinse out the bowl from earlier.  Place in a larger bowl filled 1/4 of the way full with ice and water (ice bath).  Pour the thickened custard through a fine mesh strainer into the cleaned bowl.  Whisk until cooled to room temperature.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Place in the refrigerator until well chilled.  When ready to make, pour into your frozen ice cream canister and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  It took about 25 minutes in my ice cream maker. 

This would be really good served with chocolate covered espresso beans or shaved dark chocolate.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo ~ Guy Fieri

Continuing on with recipes from Guy Fieri Food~Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It cookbook, this is the second recipe I just had to make.  Remember the Blackening Spice Rub from yesterday?  It is the spice that takes this fettuccine alfredo "over the top".  You can ask my hubby...whenever we eat at an Italian restaurant, I order chicken fettuccine alfredo.  This is by far my favorite!  It has so much flavor, as Guy is known to spice things up.  Don't get me wrong, it's not spicy, just has a great kick.  My kids loved this dish, and they are not spicy food lovers like me.  So we were all happy and cleaned our plates.  I really hope you give this recipe a try, and let me know how you liked it.


1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken  (about 5 pieces)
2 T Blackening Spice Rub
2 T olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 lb fettuccine noodles
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cup)
sliced green onion, for garnish (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat, and add 1 T olive oil.  Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the blackening spice rub.  Cook the chicken 3 minutes per side, until blackened.  Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook through, about 10 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the oven and cut into thin strips on the bias.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 T olive oil.  Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Stir in the wine (or chicken stock).  Pour in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half. 

When the sauce is at the desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan.  Add the sundried tomatoes and half of the sliced chicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  (I added 1 tsp of the spice rub for extra flavor.)

Add the cooked fettuccine into the sauce mixture and toss well.  Let cook together for 2 minutes.  Serve up by placing some on a large plate, top with additional blackened chicken, and sprinkle with more grated parmesan cheese . Garnish with green onions, if using.  Enjoy!

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