Mexican Lasagna



Last week I posted about Mexican Lasagna. I started with a recipe from All Recipes.com but then turned it into my own creation with what I had on hand to use up. What we ended up with was super good. Best meal of the week. This recipe is nice because you can tweak it to use up whatever you have on hand.

Mexican Lasagna
These measurements are what I used but like I said this is really an anything goes type of dish.

1/2 Lb. Ground Beef, browned
1 Can Corn
1 Can Re-fried Beans
2 Green Onions, sliced
Cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
1 Can Enchilada Sauce
Tortillas (I used corn but I think you could use any kind)

Using a 2 quart casserole dish start with a base of meat then layer corn, beans, green onions, tortillas, and enchilada sauce. I did these layers twice and ended with a layer of cheese on top. I baked it at 375 degrees for 35 minutes until it was nice and hot. Served with sour cream and shredded lettuce...MMM!

One note about the ground beef. Mine was leftover from the week I made Enchilada Meatballs so they were seasoned. If you were starting from scratch I would add some taco seasoning to the ground beef and maybe some diced onions.

Now For The Rest of the Night....



I made a stop at the library on my way home from work tonight. I got a little carried away in the cookbook aisle so for the rest of the night you know what I will be doing. Enjoy your evening!

Dessert: New Take on Double Layer Chocolate Pie



A while back I posted a recipe for Double Layer Chocolate pie. I wanted to follow up on that recipe and show you what I made last weekend. Using the same recipe and pumpkin pudding instead of chocolate I had a whole new dessert. It was spectacular and like I said earlier super easy. I actually made it before I even went to work on Friday. That is how easy it was. Now that you know feel free to experiment...you could use butterscotch, lemon, banana, etc.

Five Minute Double Layer Chocolate Pie
1 1/4 Cups Cold Milk
2 Packages Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 Tub Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust

In a large bowl beat milk and pudding with wire whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in half of whipped topping. Carefully spread in crust. Spread remaining Cool Whip over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Comfort Food



This week has been very stressful so tonight on the dinner menu was some of my Grandmother's home cooking. She makes the most amazing spaghetti and it was famous when I was a kid. What's the trick to this pasta? You guessed it...lots of bad for you stuff that tastes really yummy. Her two secrets are #1, use butter when you brown the ground beef and also add butter to the noodles so that they won't stick. Take a jar of premade spaghetti sauce and add to your browned meat. If you can, add onions and garlic at this point if you wish. Secret ingredient #2, add to the sauce...plain white SUGAR. It sounds weird but it makes it really good. And don't be afraid to add a lot but make sure you taste it along the way.

Lastly, make sure you have a lot of leftovers. For some reason this recipe is so much better the second day and heated up on the stove. Enjoy!

Glorious Pancakes



Our family goes to the beach every summer for a one week getaway. It is all my aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandparents, parents, etc. Every year my Grandma makes pancakes one morning for breakfast. They are the best pancakes ever! They are flatter than pancakes made with a mix and she puts a little butter in the pan so the edges are crispy. Served with warm maple syrup....MMMM! What could be better??

Grandma's Pancakes
1 Cup Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg Beaten
1 Cup Milk
2 Teaspoon Unsalted Butter

Mix all the ingredients together. Melt a small portion of butter in a warm frying pan to lightly coat the surface area. Pour in pancakes to desired size. Cook as usual. Serve warm with syrup. You will not be disappointed.

Menu Plan Monday



This week is going to be a bit different from normal because my husband is having surgery on Thursday and I need to eat vegetarian for three days. With that in mind, this is my plan but I think I will be playing this week by ear.

Monday: Dinner at Mom and Dad's House

Tuesday: Pesto with noodles, peas, garlic bread, fruit. This could be a green meal!

Wednesday: Creamy Black Bean Quesadillas (using homemade tortillas..YUM!), cornbread, fruit

Thursday: Surgery Day Crockpot Beans and Rice, fruit, broccoli?

Friday: French Dip Sandwiches that I never got to make last week since we ended up going to a friends for dinner on Friday, fruit, vegetable TBD

Saturday: I don't know how many times I can put this on my list before I actually make it but here it goes again. Chicken Noodle Soup, homemade bread.

Sunday: Corn Dog Mini Muffins, homemade fries, salad

Christmas Cookies: Spritz



These little Christmas cookies are so easy to make and I have to say it is the best dough to eat ever (well second to Chocolate Chip Cookie dough but I don't make that for Christmas)! I used this same recipe when I made the cookie bouquet a few weeks ago. I also love these cookies because I don't have to decorate them. I add some sprinkles before they go into the oven and they come out looking so festive! I don't have a great cookie press though. That is something else to add to my ever growing wish list!

1 1/2 Cups Butter, softened
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 1/2 Cups Flour

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and baking powder. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour.

2. Force unchilled dough through a cookie press onto an ungreased cookie sheet (this is important because if the sheet is greased they will not stick to the pan when coming out of the press. Also important to wipe down the sheets between batches for the same reason.) Add sprinkles before putting in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

And ta-da you are done. Eat and enjoy.

Banana Upside Down Cake



Let me just start out by saying YUM! This was so good and light tasting. I know that may seem weird because the recipe sounds anything but light but it was. I made it for my husband because I needed to use up some bananas we had and then sent the rest to his office. Usually I send everything to my office but they are all competing to lose weight right now so I didn't think that was a good idea. The recipe came from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. She has so many wonderful recipes on her site. If you haven't checked her out yet you need to do so soon. You will not be disappointed.

Time to Bare it All



For the people who know me this will not come as a big surprise but for everyone else I have to admit I am a hard core couponer. I decided I had to share this when my Grandma gave me this comic strip. I am the one you probably hate to be in line behind because I whip out a stack of coupons instead of money when it is time to pay. If I happen to ever be in front of you at the grocery store I apologize in advance. Like the comic strip says it is all for the thrill of a good chase.

Christmas Cookies: Linzer Cookies



It is time for another one of my Christmas Cookie Recipes! At the rate I am going, it will be next Christmas before I get through this list. The cookies are from Taste of Home December/January 2010. They turned out so beautiful! They were simple too so the fact that they were easy and beautiful makes them a keeper.

Linzer Cookies
1 1/4 Cups Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
2 Cups Ground Almonds
Raspberry Jam and Confectioners' Sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt and spices; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in almonds. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a floured 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. I used my Demarle set and it worked great! From the center half of the cookies, cut out a 1 1 /2 inch shape.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Spread the bottom of each solid cookies with 1/2 teaspoon jam. Sprinkle cutout cookies with confectioners sugar; carefully place over jam.

My MAN in the Kitchen?!?



Over the weekend we found out that my fiance is an excellent french toast maker. He made it for dinner on Thursday night and I think he has made it about 4 more times since then. He is so proud of this discovery that when I brought up the blog he wanted his food to be posted! When we went to the store last night he even bought cinnamon swirl bread for future french toast. I think it is so sweet of him to be so excited and want to cook for me. I am so thankful.

The recipe is just your traditional french toast. You have your white bread, eggs, milk and finally what he said was his secret ingredient...lots of cinnamon : )

Menu Plan Monday



I am starting this week actually feeling organized which doesn't happen to me all that often. Usually I try to pack too many things into too little time. I probably shouldn't say I feel organized because I will jinx it. So knock on wood I guess. This week I am still working on getting though food in our freezer and pantry. I didn't realize how much stuff we had until I actually started going through it and writing meal ideas. I hope everyone had a refreshing weekend and you are now ready to tackle a new week with enthusiasm.

Happy Eating!

Monday: Dinner at Mom and Dad's

Tuesday: Mexican Lasagna, corn bread, salad, jello

Wednesday: Spaghetti with red sauce, garlic bread, green beans and salad

Thursday: Potato Pizza Pie, salad, fruit,

Friday: French Dip Sandwiches (one of our favorite meals I will post the recipe this week), homemade fries, fruit, and since it is Friday a dessert....TBD

Saturday: Dinner Out?

Sunday: Chicken Noodle Soup, homemade bread (Yes this has been on my menu plan for 2 weeks and keeps getting bumped!)

Not sure when but sometime this week I plan to make: Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake to use up cinnamon rolls and apples. I would also like to make Triple Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie to use up two boxes of pudding. We will see if I can find time to do those two treats!

Great Meal-Chili Con Queso



Do you ever have one of those nights when everything you make turns out good? I know you were expecting me to say bad and lets just say I have had many of those nights when everything I make isn't even worth eating but tonight was different, tonight was amazing!

I had two goals today with my plan for dinner 1) use stuff out of our freezer to help clear out older stuff 2) use up sour cream in our fridge which was on the verge of going bad. I ended up making Chili Con Queso Mac from an old Rachel Ray episode (I printed the recipe in 2007 so it has been a while) to use up Chili in my freezer. I also made Easy Homemade Cheese Bread from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures to use up the sour cream. I am always happy with the recipes I take from her site. She is a great cook/chef!

If you want a guaranteed success whip both of these dishes up ASAP!

Chili Con Queso Mac

1 Pound Corkscrew Pasta, cooked until al dente
1 Tablespoon Vegetable or Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 1/2 Cups Whole or 2% Milk (I used 2%)
3 Cups Yellow Cheddar Cheese, divided
1-2 Cups Leftover Chili

1) Preheat broiler on high or oven at 400 degrees.

2) Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the flour and combine. Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 1 minutes. Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk.

3) Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently. Allow the milk to thicken a bit then stir in 2 cups of cheese, a handful at a time.

4) Add 1-2 Cups of leftover chili, stir to combine thoroughly.

5) Taste and add a little salt, if you like. Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce.

6) Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the cheddar cheese on top or place in the oven for a few minutes.

Pasta Creations!


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Sheena has been posting so much on here while I have been...oh so busy! Side note, if anyone visits the site and it doesn't quite look right, it is because I am doing a little behind the scenes work on our page. So please ignore it, the content will still be up and running. I am trying to find a new template for us. Anyways, today, I'm back at the cooking!

So whenever I am hungry but don't feel like really cooking I always end up making some sort of pasta. I saute a few cloves of garlic with olive oil for a couple minutes. Then I add red pepper flakes because I like a little bit of spice. And finally I mix in the pasta (today it was penne pasta) and add a little chopped basil on top. Sometimes, if I have it, I add a little lemon and Parmesan cheese shavings. What I have learned the most is that pasta can be great even without sauce!

I was wondering if there are any actual recipes that are out there like my little creation. So far, this link with Food Network is what I found. I know a lot of people like to stick to the recipes, but with pasta, almost anything goes. Have fun! If you are feeling really adventurous, add some leftovers. It's always a good time. What are some of your own pasta creations? I would love to hear them!!

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole



Well this just doesn't photograph well but it taste delicious and it is super easy. This is another meal I make when I am pressed for time. Today it was a doctors appointment after work so I had very little time to make dinner. Give it a try next time you are in a hurry.

Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
1 Pouch Stove Top Chicken Stuffing (6oz)
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
1 Can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 Cup Milk

Mix contents of stuffing mix pouch and 1 2/3 cups water; set aside.

Place chicken in 9x13 baking dish or 2 quart casserole dish. Mix soup and milk; pour over chicken. Spoon stuffing evenly over top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Easy easy!

Christmas Cookies: Simple Fudge Tarts



Back to Christmas Cookies for me in my quest to get all of the recipes posted to this blog. These cookies were so easy to make and look impressive. The people I was making these with sure seemed to love them. The recipe calls for store bought peanut butter cookie dough. I didn't see any at Winco so I just made a batch of dough. It would be even easier if you had the pre-made dough however. This recipe comes from a Better Homes and Garden's Special Interest Publication that I purchased just after I got married in 2006. What a great investment! I have used it every year since. I think they publish the same recipes with different covers from year to year. If you see something like it at the store next holiday season I highly recommend you pick up a copy and keep it on file.

Simple Fudge Tarts

Refrigerated Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
1/2 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cups Sweetened Condensed Milk

(that is it-3 ingredients! I told you this was going to be easy!)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick spray. Cut dough into six equal pieces. Cut each piece into four equal slices. Place each slice of dough into prepared cup.

2) Bake in preheated oven for 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and dough is slightly firm but not set. Remove from oven. Gently press a shallow indentation in each tart shell with the back of a measuring spoon.

3) Bake 2 minutes or more until edges of tart shells are firm and light golden brown. Let tart shells cool in cups on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove tart shells from cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

4) For filling, in a saucepan combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until chocolate melts. Spoon a generous teaspoon of filling into each cooled tart shell. Cool until filling is set.

Makes 24

Menu Plan Monday



Can you believe it is time to start another week? The weekends just go so fast. I wish they could slow down so that I could truly have time to enjoy them. Last week's meals were all great with one exception we didn't really like the Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti. It was really rich and way too spicy for me. I actually couldn't eat it at all. My husband ate it but refused to eat any of the leftovers because of how spicy they were. If I was to ever make this again I would have to tone the spices back a bit to fit our preferences.

This week I started making my menu plan on Saturday night. I was quite proud of myself for being so organized.

Monday: Dinner at Mom and Dad's House

Tuesday: Chicken and Stuffing Casserole, salad, green beans

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner-Turkey Sausage Breakfast, Toast, fruit

Thursday: Chili Con Queso Mac, salad, fruit, jumbo chocolate banana muffins

Friday: Possibly friends for dinner or going out to eat

Saturday: Curried Beef Pies, salad, fruit, jello

Sunday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Italian breadsticks, salad (We never got around to having this last week.)

That's all for tonight! Have a super Monday!

Just Call Me Crazy



This afternoon turned into a cooking/baking one even though is wasn't planned. I wanted to make the quiche which had been on my meal plan for the last two weeks and nothing was going to stop me. I also noticed yesterday as I was sorting through the contents of our fridge that we had buttermilk which had to be used ASAP. I decided a nice coffee cake to end our evening would be perfect.

So right when I walked in the door from work I went to another type of work in the kitchen. I started with the coffee cake which was quick and easy. I will post the recipe for it as long as my mom says it is OK because it is handed down from my Great Grandma. I always think of her when I make it especially now since we are living in her old house.

Next was the quiche. The directions said it would take 1 hour start to finish including baking time.....WRONG! That is assuming you already have pie crust made, bacon cooked and crumbled, onions chopped, and cheese grated. To start I made a pie crust using my mom's recipe. She makes amazing pies that melt in your mouth. The recipe makes enough for a top crust and a bottom crust though so I ended up with an extra crust.....what to do??? Yes I decided I should probably make an apple pie. That is what any reasonable person would do, right??

Anyway back to the quiche. While the crust was baking I cooked the bacon, chopped the onion, grated the cheese, and defrosted spinach. Once all the pieces were together for the quiche I assembled it and put it in the oven.

While the quiche was baking I searched for a crumb topping recipe for my apple pie since I didn't have enough for a top crust. Once that was found I assembled the pie and set it aside to go in the oven once the quiche was finished.

Then, 2 hours after starting, we sat down to dinner. The quiche was amazing! MMM good. Worth all the effort it took to make and put together. I left for the gym while the pie was still in the oven leaving my husband in charge. When I came home I was delightfully surprised at how good it looked. I took a picture, cut myself a piece of coffee cake and settled in for the night.

Now what am I going to do with all that food!?!?

Easy Romantic Dinner for Two


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Tonight I decided to surprise my fiance by having a fancy dinner ready when he got home from work. It was even better that it was so easy and took only about 30 minutes to make. I really thought about what types of food he would like so yes, I even made steak (way out of the ordinary for the almost vegetarian!). Here was the menu:

- Baked Brie with a Raspberry Glaze
- Ribeye Steak with melted Blue Cheese Sauce, Mixed Green Salad, and a French Baguette
- Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Baked Brie with a Raspberry Glaze Recipe
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 package of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 wheel brie cheese (8-12 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients together and let sit for about five minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Cut off the top of the brie and spread the mixture over the top. Cook for 10-12 minutes and serve with crackers or bread.

Ribeye Steak with Melted Blue Cheese Sauce
2 ribeye, or any type, steak
1/4 cup blue cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp chives

Mix in a small pan and cook over low heat. Make sure not to boil it. Takes about 5 minutes to melt. Salt and pepper your steak and place on the George Forman Grill. It takes about 6 minutes to cook to medium rare. Spread the melted blue cheese over top and serve immediately.

The chocolate cake was from Safeway. The best kind is the one with frosting lines through it. Add Ice Cream!

Hope you have a great night if you decide to make this. Let me know how it turns out!

- Seanna




Keepin' it real...we don't cook everyday!!

This was at Buffalo Wild Wings with our men. When we got done we laughed that it looked so bad. But we have to say that it WAS good. Hope you all enjoy a night like this every now and then!!

Best Chocolate Ever



I just have to make your mouth water by seeing pictures of this amazing chocolate that my Sister in Law gave me for Christmas. It is from a place in Seattle called Theo Chocolates. When we went to visit her last summer we took a tour of Theo and sampled many different chocolates. My favorite is the BIG DADDY. It is the perfect little chocolate with a layer of graham cracker, caramel, and marshmallow all dipped in chocolate. Oooooh my mouth waters just thinking about it.

Cookie Bouquet



Well I am no Bakerella but here is my attempt at a cookie bouquet for my boss who just had surgery. I got the idea when I saw the 40% off coupon in the Sunday paper for Micheal's. I promptly drove in and purchased this fun flower pan and sticks to make the cookies. I am sure I will get better with time but I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself when I took pictures of the finished bouquet.

I made a simple spritz dough to fill the mold and then buttercream frosting. Obviously I need to work on my decorating skills but it is a start.

Hopefully her and her family enjoyed them!

Christmas Cookies: Chocolate-Caramel Cookie Bars



There are not many cookies I make which I am tempted to eat. I know it is weird that I would spend all this time making Christmas cookies and not really eat any of them but there is something magical to me about making cookies at Christmas. I almost feel like I could never make enough.

Now back to these cookies...like I said there are very few cookies I am tempted to eat but this was one of them. When the chocolate caramel was coming off the stove top all warm and gooey I couldn't resist! They are VERY rich so I suggest cutting them small. I cut them much smaller than the picture I was going from. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart Magazine but I don't remember which issue.

For the Crust
4 1/2 Ounces (9 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Table Salt

For the Chocolate Caramel
10 1/2 Ounces Milk Chocolate, Chopped (2 Cups)
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
3 Ounces (6 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt
1 Tablesppon Sea Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides: butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined.

2. Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

3. Make the chocolate caramel: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pasty brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt (Mine looked really weird at this point because the butter and cream were so cold the sugar mixture froze in place. I didn't think it would work but I continued anyway and it turned out beautifully). Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

4. Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Menu Plan Monday



UPDATE: Well it is only 10:15 so about an hour after I made this plan and it has already changed....not looking hopeful for the week to stay on track at this rate. We will be eating Tuesday's dinner tomorrow and eating at Mom and Dad's on Tuesday.

Well last week didn't go according to my Menu Plan almost at all. We ended up eating out more with friends and family and having people over. So most of this week is a carry over from what I never got to last week. We will be having a lot of salad this week because of the great deal at Fred Meyer. We absolutely love the Taco Salad in the bag so when it is this cheap we eat it a lot!

Monday: Mom and Dad's

Tuesday: Either Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings or Hoisin Chicken Wings from my favorite new cookbook Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. This will be with salad of course and most likely rice.

Wednesday: Gouda Spinach Quiche because it sounded good last week and we never got to it. I know this is going to sound boring but more salad and fruit.

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti, Salad, and Bread

Friday: I think we will be having a friend for dinner so something special but I am not sure what yet.

Saturday: Macaroni and Cheese (keeping it simple)

Sunday: Chicken Noodle Soup, homemade bread, fruit and another bagged salad.

So this is my plan for the week. Crossing my fingers I get to actually follow it. Have a great week everyone!

Caramel Apple Bars II



I made these Caramel Apple Bars to take to a family party and they were a big hit. We served them with ice cream which made them almost like a cobbler. It was super easy to put together and something I would definitely make again.

Caramel Apple Bars II
From All Recipes.com

2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar (don't know why but I LOVE brown sugar)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/4 Cups Butter, Melted
2 Cups Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used a cool Pampered Chef tool)
1/2 Cups Chopped Walnuts (yes I hate nuts so I left these out)

1 1/2 Cups Caramel Ice Cream Topping
1/2 Cup Flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, quick cooking oats, brown sugar, and baking soda. Stir in the melted butter. Mix until crumbly. This is the crust. Press 1/2 of this mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven.

3. In a small pan, over medium heat combine the caramel topping and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. This is the caramel filling.

4. Spread apple slices evenly over the baked crust. Sprinkle on the nuts (if using). Then pour the caramel filling over the apple layer. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top of everything. Bake again for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before cutting into bars.

5. Prepare for all who eat to be impressed.