No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

This is the first recipe I learned to make from the Rookie Cookie recipe insert in the news paper when I was a 12 yr old 38 years ago, WOW 38!  It is a simple healthy no bake cookie treat.  Especially nice for an after school snacks for the kids or a special surprise in a lunch box.

No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars
Makes 16 to 20 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup butter
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup chunky peanut butter

No-Bake-Chocolate-Oat-Bars
Directions
Line a 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Heat over low-heat, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Add the oats, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes.
Pour half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread out the mixture evenly, pressing down.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and the peanut butter. Heat on high in the microwave, in increments of 40 seconds, stirring in between each increment, until melted and fully combined.
Pour ⅘ of the chocolate mixture into the pan over the pressed oats, reserving about ¼ cup for drizzling. Top with the remaining oats and drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set.

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Instant Pot – Pork Carnitas Mexican Pulled Pork

I just love using my Insta Pot.  This has made my life so much easier being a busy mom.  You can take a frozen roast or  whole chicken to completely cooked in 90 minutes.

One of my go to recipes is Pork Carnitas. This recipe will make several meals and is freezer friendly.  You will have shredded pork in the freezer ready to thaw for tacos or burritos at a moments noticed.  Great for moms on the go..makes really quick meals your family will love…and who doesn’t love tacos?  Right?

Enjoy!

Mexican Pork Carnitas –  Delicious Mexican pork made in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker) for tacos, burritos, taco salads etc. 

Total Time: 60 minutes * This is freezer-friendly


2 1/2 pounds trimmed, boneless pork shoulder blade roast, cut into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, cut into sliver
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dry adobo seasoning (I used Goya)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Directions:
Season pork with salt and pepper.
Press sauté on the instant pot, spray with oil and brown the pork on all sides for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork about 1-inch deep, and insert the garlic slivers, you’ll want to do this all over.
Season pork with cumin, oregano, adobo and garlic powder all over.
Pour chicken broth, add chipotle peppers and stir, and place pork in the Instant Pot, cover and cook using the pressure cooker setting on high pressure for 80 minutes.
When the pressure releases, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumalated at the bottom.
Adjust cumin and add adobo and mix well.

porkcarnitas-6-550x825

 

Calling all Reese’s fans…..

Are you a Fan of Peanut Butter?  Do you have a family that’s crazy for it.  Reese’s are everywhere in this house.  My son comes home from wrestling practice and first thing he does is get a big spoonful of Peanut butter to eat while doing his chores.  I cannot keep enough peanut butter and Nutella in my house.

I have found the best recipe that is similar in flavor like a Reese’s peanut butter cups. With my family they are a big hit.  Very easy to make. You will be a hit at the next bake sale or potluck!

Enjoy!

 

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mini Reese’s pieces

Chocolate Layer
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup mini Reese’s pieces

no-bake-reeses-pieces-peanut-butter-bars-11
Instructions
Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lining with tin foil. Set aside.
Combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Mix together until combined.
Add in the Reese’s Pieces and stir together.
Dump into baking pan lined with foil and evenly press into the pan. Use your hands or a spatula to do this.
To make chocolate topping: combine chocolate chips and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring after 1 minute (mine took 2 minutes).
Pour on top of the peanut butter bars and smooth out. Sprinkle with some Reese’s Pieces.
Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Lift bars out of the pan by the tin foil and cut into squares.

Notes
This recipe can easily be halved. Use a 8×8 baking pan.
The longer the bars sit out at room temperature the softer they become. Store in fridge for best results. Leave out on the counter for a few minutes to soften if wanted or eat straight from the fridge.
You can find the mini Reese’s Pieces in the baking aisle by the chocolate chips.

no-bake-reeses-pieces-peanut-butter-bars-5

Farmhouse Design Bringing Joy to You life…..

Knotty Wood Designs 4

Knotty Pine Designs creates beautiful custom-made rustic wall mounted beer bottle openers, wood signs, and farmhouse decor for any occasion.

If your into Farmhouse decor or looking for that special wedding gift,  I would like to introduce Jessica.   Jessica is the owner and designer of Knotty Pines Designs. Jessica is also a Proud military wife and momma of 2 funny girls.  Knotty Pines Designs came to life after realizing that by creating beautiful personalized gifts, she can help uplift others and bring joy to their lives. There’s no better feeling than to see someone love something you created, and Jessica is dedicated to creating pieces that you’ll be proud to display in your home for many years to come! Have questions or want custom designs? She loves to help you create the design you want.

If you like Knotty Pines Designs items and enjoy beautiful customizable frames, please check out her other Esty shop dedicated to offering unique one of kind frames for any occasion.
http://www.MiFrameOfMind.Etsy.com

You can shop Knotty Pines Designs at https://www.KnottyPinesDesigns.etsy.com

You can follow Knotty Pines Designs to keep up to date on their latest projects and new designs at https://www.facebook.com/KnottyPinesDesigns

 

Casseroles, a Family Favorite

My family is a huge fan of casserole.  I love them because they can be made up ahead of time and even some can be frozen for a quick meal.  We often reminisce about grandmas cooking and the different casseroles we have shared.

Here is one of our favorite casserole.  Made with chicken and bacon. WHAT? BACON!! who doesn’t love the taste combo of that.  This creamy ranch flavored pasta with chicken and bacon is sure to be a hit with your family too!

Enjoy!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
Yield: 4 servings *Prep Time: 15 minutes * Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
4 slices bacon, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning or more to taste
8 ounces rotini
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
How to make alfredo sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream, or more, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×9 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
To make the alfredo sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in heavy cream. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a gallon size Ziploc bag, add chicken, 1 tablespoon olive oil and Ranch Seasoning, shaking to coat thoroughly. Add chicken to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
Add pasta to the prepared baking dish and layer with chicken and alfredo sauce; sprinkle with cheeses and bacon. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole