Mandarin Pie #CookoutWeek

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips… this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. 

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

I’ve always been a fan of fruit and chocolate. Separately or together, this combination is pretty great. I can hardly think of a single fruit that doesn’t taste good with a bit of chocolate. Can you? Oranges and chocolate is one of my favorite combos. I love it in these cookies and these muffins, so it should come as no surprise that I also love it in pie form!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The first time I tried this pie was a pretty bad night. Maybe “pretty bad” is a bit of an exaggeration, but over Christmas, both Ben and I got pinkeye. It was pretty much the worst. We were visiting my parents in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina when the dreaded infection struck. My eyes looked awful and vacation went from relaxing to constant laundry, handwashing, and disinfecting. I blame the baby. Haha. 🙂 Maybe I’m still exaggerating about how bad it was, but I wouldn’t wish pinkeye on anyone! The only highlight of the evening I spent at urgent care was this dessert that I got to enjoy afterwards. This pie was graciously shared with our family by my parents’ friends. We each got a slice and I was so sad it was all gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Eventually I got the recipe and the rest is history! I forsee a LOT of mandarin pie in my future!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The goodness of this pie starts off with an Oreo crust. The original recipe suggested a chocolate crust, but I amped it up a bit with some Oreos (or fauxreos, as Ben calls them because in baking, I tend to use the store brand). The crust is then filled with a glorious mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. It’s light and sweet and almost cheesecake-y in texture. Utterly amazing! Fold in some mandarin oranges, spoon into crust, and top with mini chocolate chips and a few decorative mandarin oranges and there you have it! Every bite is filled with chocolatey orange goodness. Since this pie doesn’t require any baking, it’s perfect for summer. This would be a great pie to bring to a cookout, as long as it could be kept cold until serving. Wherever you enjoy this pie, be sure to share it with those you love. 🙂 ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared for #CookoutWeek. Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

Tell me: what’s your favorite no-bake dessert for cookouts?

two years ago: Iced Coconut Mocha
three years ago: Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars
four years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
five years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
six years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Mandarin Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 30 minutes plus time to chill
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from my mom’s friend Karen – addition of the Oreo crust by yours truly

Ingredients:

for Oreo crust (can also substitute your favorite chocolate crust or a storebought one)

  • 25 Oreos
  • 5 tablespoons butter

for pie

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, divided
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate OR a handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Begin by preparing crust. Crush Oreos in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Then melt butter and drizzle into Oreo crumbs. Use a fork to combine, then press into a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

To prepare pie filling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Transfer half of the pie filling to crust, then top with most of the mandarin oranges. Reserve eight oranges for the pie topping. Cover with remaining filling. Depending on how deep the pie pan is, you may have a little leftover. Top pie with mandarin oranges and mini chocolate chips.

Instead of mini chocolate chips, you can also melt 1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate (a baking square if possible) and drizzle over the pie. Either way tastes great!

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing. Best enjoyed the same day, especially for presentation, but leftovers are also good for ~48 hours.

I haven’t made this, but I think this pie filling would also be amazing as parfaits: Oreo crumbs, pie filling, mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, and repeat. Yum!

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Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you’ll enjoy all summer long! They’re also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

I LOVE cookie bars. I love cookies too, but making them can be a huge pain. So I usually choose to make cookie bars. This recipe intrigued me because they looked ooey gooey (especially the center pieces!) AND they’re baked in a half size sheet pan so the recipe makes a ton! They’re perfect for every social event of the summer, from cookouts to pool parties and everything in between. Of course, they can also be made year-round. 🙂

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

As with any other Monster Cookie, these bars are full of oats, peanut butter deliciousness, M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. As the recipe is written, it calls for both old-fashioned and quick oats. It’s a texture thing I guess, and I’ve always followed the recipe in that way everytime I’ve made them. I usually just pulse some old-fashioned oats in the food processor to achieve a finer texture. If you only have one kind of oats or the other, that’s fine too… the recipe should turn out.

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

One reason I was excited to make these cookie bars (aside from their simplicity and fabulous, addictive taste) is that they are so easy to make gluten free! Our family isn’t gluten free (and I’m not an expert) BUT I do have some friends who are, so I like to have some tried and true recipes on hand that they can enjoy as well. For this recipe, you just need to make sure to use gluten free oats. In my experience, most of the other ingredients should be gluten free naturally–but check labels if this is an issue for you, particularly for the peanut butter, vanilla, and M&Ms. If you are gluten free and I missed anything, please feel free to share in the comments! I hope you love these bars as much as we do!

These monster cookie bars are an easy, chewy dessert that you'll enjoy all summer long! They're also a great gluten-free dessert when made with gluten-free oats so everyone will enjoy them!

P.S. They free wonderfully and taste great at room temperature or heated up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–so don’t be afraid of the large batch… I’m sure you’ll find a use for them. 🙂

one year ago: Honey Banana Muffins
two years ago: Ricotta Pancakes
three years ago: Italian Tortilla Rollups
four years ago: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese
five years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
six years ago: Sweet Potato Waffles

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 45 small bars
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I use regular/not natural peanut butter for baking)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick oats (I usually just pulse old-fashioned oats a couple times in the food processor to break them down a bit)
  • 3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
  • 1-2 cups mini M&Ms (pssst: at my grocery story, mini M&Ms found in the candy aisle are cheaper than the “baking bits” M&Ms found in the baking aisle and seem to be the same)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×18 inch rimmed baking sheet (half size sheet pan) with parchment or a silpat.

With a stand mixer, beat together brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in baking soda.

Add oats and beat on low to just combine, then use a wooden spoon to mix in most of the M&Ms and mini chocolate chips until well incorporated. You can save a little of each to press on top of the bars if desired.

Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough out–it is a little tricky, but i found that greasing my hands or a spatula were the best ways to spread out the dough. Top with reserved M&Ms and mini chocolate chips, pressing them in gently.

Bake for about 17-20 minutes–do not overbake! The edges should be just browned and the middle will look underdone but it will finish baking as it cools. Cool for at least an hour so the bars can set.

Once cool, slice and enjoy! These bars also freeze well.

Note: I am not an expert, but I THINK if you use gluten free oats, this would be a great gluten free dessert recipe. From what I’ve read, most M&Ms (including mini M&Ms) are gluten free. You may need to check labels of other ingredients like the vanilla and peanut butter–the brands I use at home are gluten free but all are not. If you’re gluten free and I’ve overlooked anything, please chime in!

S’mores Oatmeal

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert… S’mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

looove oatmeal for breakfast. No matter the weather, I could eat oatmeal almost everyday (and sometimes I do!). Sometimes I like them cold (yay overnight oats!), and sometimes I like them hot (made with milk and topped with berries and almonds)… and sometimes I like them baked (but not in the pot nine days old #thankyouverymuch).

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Flahavan’s recently sent me a fun little oat-licious care package that included a box of their famed Irish Oatmeal and some packets of quick-cooking steel cut oats. Both were DELICIOUS! There’s something to be said about enjoying oats from Ireland made by a family who has been in the oat business for over 200 years. I think these people know oats! And what Flahavan’s is known for is their flaked oats that cook up fast (only three minutes on the stovetop!) and creamy as can be. Thank you, Flahavan’s, for letting me try your amazing oatmeal! Now I know what all the hype with Irish oats is… and I’ll be seeking them out. If you’re curious, you can find out where to buy them yourself here.

Creamy oats topped with your favorite campfire dessert... S'mores! What could be a better way to wake up?

Naturally, I had to fancy up my first bowl of Flahavan’s oats. Since Ben was out when I made my morning oatmeal, I decided to top my oats with a combo that only I would enjoy… S’MORES! Ben does like s’mores, but s’morifying other recipes isn’t really his jam… oh well, more for me! So I wasn’t basically eating dessert for breakfast, I chose to be intentional about the amounts of marshmallows and chocolate chips I added to my oatmeal. That way I didn’t go overboard! Is this is a bowl of oatmeal I’d eat everyday? No, probably not. But it’s a fun treat! The best part is that these oats cook up in just a few minutes and are the absolute creamiest oats I’ve ever tasted! I think some of that is the marshmallows stirred into the hot oats, but it is also the Irish oats doing their thing. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!!

one year ago: Bacon, Potato, and Egg Casserole
two years ago: Cheesy Taco Muffins
three years ago: Coconut Curry Popcorn
four years ago: Guacamole Salsa
five years ago: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing
six years ago: Sausage Egg Apple Strata

S'mores Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1 but can be easily scaled up
  • Time: 7 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal (or other old-fashioned oatmeal)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • 15 mini marshmallows, divided
  • 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine milk, water, Flahavan’s Oats, and cinnamon in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until liquid has absorbed, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and half of the marshmallows and half of the graham cracker crumbs. Stir until melted, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with remaining marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, almonds, and chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately!

Disclosure: I received samples of Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal to try. However, I was not required to blog about them or provide positive feedback. I was not compensated in any other way. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Flahavan’s for some great oats! 

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies #FoodBloggerLove

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with some delicious, chewy mocha oatmeal cookies and a dose of food blogger love?

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

We don’t do very much for Valentine’s Day at our house… we usually make a special meal, but we don’t do extravagant gifts or anything like that. I think our tradition of a special dinner dates back to our first Valentine’s Day together in 2008. It was our third date, but we weren’t “official” yet. Ben actually cooked for me, one of his favorite meals using a mom recipe… and dessert was cookies that his mom had mailed to him. Aww! So since that time, I’ve always associated Valentine’s Day with cookies and a special meal. Therefore, it was only natural that when I signed up for #FoodBloggerLove, a day to celebrate other bloggers, that I would choose to make COOKIES for her! My #FoodBloggerLove assignment this year is Heather at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. And fortunately, Heather likes cookies. 🙂

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For #FoodBloggerLove, our only “rule” was to celebrate our assigned blogger. You could make one of their recipes, Secret Recipe Club-style (for longtime readers who remember the SRC!), make a Valentine’s Day dish/treat, or make a recipe in the style of your assigned blogger. As you can see, I chose the latter. Heather has tons of great recipes on her blog. I’ve made a few in the past, including this Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad (yum!). There were quite a few recipes I considered this time, like these Cranberry Orange Muffins, Valentine’s Day Popcorn, or Peanut Butter & Jelly Pretzel Bars. But when I realized that Heather probably has more cookie and cookie bar recipes than anything else on her blog, I realized I HAD to make cookies. I thought about Cranberry Vanilla Shortbread, Dark Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies, S’mores Cookies, or Peanut Butter Nutella Swirled Cookies… but ultimately decided to give Heather the gift of a new cookie recipe she just has to try… Mocha Oatmeal Cookies!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

These cookies are just as delicious as they look: deep, dark chocolate (with a little Nutella thrown in for good measure!), a hint of coffee flavor, hearty oats, and the perfect combination of crisp, soft, and chewy to make an addictive cookie that you’ll want to make over and over again for the ones you love! I hope you love them, Heather. You have so many delicious chocolate and cookie recipes on your blog that I thought these would be perfect for you! Even though they are mocha cookies, the flavor isn’t too intense so I think kids would be a-okay with them. Enjoy!

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies.. rich chocolate, hearty oats, a little coffee flavor... everyone will love these!

For more delicious recipes, please check out Heather’s blog at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

one year ago: Tangy Sweet Potato Hash
two years ago: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf
three years ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
four years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
five years ago: Caramel S’mores Cups
six years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Mocha Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 5 dozen cookies
  • Time: 1 hour
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from Sunday Supper

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 ounces Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together melted chocolate, Nutella, and instant coffee. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in the chocolate mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
Use a small cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) to scoop out the dough onto cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes on the pans before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Please check out all the #FoodBloggerLove recipes at the link below!

Interested in joining us next year, or in one of the other blogging events hosted throughout the year? Join our Facebook group!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch… no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice…or two…or three of!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

On Halloween, a Dairy Queen opened about five minutes from our house. Dangerous! Before that, we had to drive a decent distance to reach one. Some of the folks in our area were upset, saying the DQ would “ruin” the area with another fast food area. Ruin the area? Ummm, no! Ruin people’s diets, more likely! Haha. Is there anything more delicious than a Blizzard or a dipped cone? I don’t think so… unless it’s this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now I realize that Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake and Dairy Queen don’t really relate to many of you. But for longterm DQ lovers like me, do you remember the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard? I used to get them all the time in college and then they took them off the menu. It was a very sad day. Some stores would make them, and others wouldn’t, which made NO sense to me because it’s just strawberries [that they already have from the sundaes!] and chocolate [like chips/shavings OR that dipped cone topping…yum!]. Yum and yum. It’s so basic, but so good, ya know?

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now, I haven’t been to my local DQ [I just got chills typing that, you guys…yay!] yet to see if they’ll make me my favorite Blizzard, but right now I have this cake and the world is a-okay. You can make this fresh strawberry cake with fresh or frozen strawberries, making it a great year-round treat. There’s absolutely nothing fake or artificial in this cake, just lots of pure strawberry goodness! If you want more of a pink/red color, you’ll have to use a little food coloring but I was happy with the color of my cake without that. The strawberry cake is light and fluffy, and when combined with the rich chocolate frosting is absolutely heavenly! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did!

one year ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
two years ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
three years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
four years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro {A Family Farm in Tuscany}
five years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
six years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Print

for Fresh Strawberry Cake

for Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 24 ounces very ripe strawberries, hulled – or frozen strawberries work too!
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 1/4 milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • red or pink food coloring, if desired

for frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar [plus up to an extra 1/2 cup as needed]
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 8 ounces sour cream

Directions:

If using frozen strawberries [I did!], set in a fine strainer placed over a bowl. Let rest until thawed, tossing occasionally to remove excess juices. Reserve liquid for another use or discard as desired.

If using fresh strawberries, hull and toss with 1-2 teaspoons sugar. Let rest at room temperature for an hour or two, until juicy.

Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use the rest for something else–I stirred mine into plain yogurt. Yum!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans. Mine are 9 inches. If desired, you can also grease pan, line with parchment circles, then grease and flour again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup strawberry puree, 1/4 cup milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While mixer is running on low, add butter. Mix until moist crumbs form.

Add strawberry puree mixture to bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about a minute, then turn off mixture. Scrape sides and stir together by hand for about 30 seconds. Add a drop or two of food coloring if desired–original recipe said that batter won’t get pinker so add food coloring if you want more of a pink/red color!

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops with a rubber spatula, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I usually start checking around 18 minutes and cover with foil if top is browning too much.

When finished, let cake rest in pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting!

In a small bowl, mix 3 cups powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is running on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as necessary. If desired, add additional powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Frost the cake once cooled–first between the two layers, then on top and sides. Some people use the extra strawberry puree in between the layers but I didn’t do that. Check out original recipe for more details! Enjoy!

P.S. I stored the leftovers in the fridge due to the frosting. It’s great cold!