You had me at Bacon, Beer, and Cheddar Dip!

There is nothing better than a good dip.  I am always on the search for easy and impressive dips to bring to parties and gatherings with family and friends.  This easy dip only takes four ingredients, and less than 10 minutes to prepare.  It was a big hit at a friend’s 30th birthday party today, and I will definitely be making this one again.

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip

Ingredients:
• 2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup creamy ranch dressing
• 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup beer (I used Miller Lite)*
• 3/4 cup cooked & chopped bacon

Method:
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and ranch dressing using an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
Mix in your favorite beer until combined.
Add in shredded cheese.
Add chopped bacon and mix until combined.
Place dip in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with additional shredded cheese and chopped bacon. Serve with crackers, pretzels, and potato chips.
* You can use any beer you like.

Whip 2 blocks of cream cheese until fluffy.

Mix in Ranch dressing.

Mix in beer.

Mix in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Crumble up crisp cooked bacon.

Mix in the bacon.

Mix everything evenly.

Put in a serving bowl and chill for at least an hour.

Obviously I had to run some quality control…it passed the test. OMG it was delicious.

Garnish with more cheese and bacon before serving.

Serve with crackers, pretzels and chips!

Serve with crackers, pretzels and chips!

Copycat Starbucks Oat Fudge Bars

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I love Starbucks.  It’s my favourite.  Everything about it feels just a little bit decadent, like I’m treating myself…EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Darren hates my Starbucks habit, and really, with good reason.  A Oprah chai tea and an oat fudge bar will set you back about $8.  That’s CRAZY expensive.  I had seen copycat recipes all over the internet, but none of them tasted just right, so I played around a little bit, and came up with this recipe.  I think it’s spot on.  I’m even thinking about buying one from Starbucks, and getting someone to do a blind taste test for me!  Try it, and let me know what you think!

So here goes…sorry about the lack of step by step pictures.  I didn’t really think I would hit it so close last night, and so I didn’t properly document.  Its pretty straightforward, however.

Oat Fudge Bars

Ingredients:
• 1 c. butter
• 2 eggs
• 2 c. brown sugar
• 1/3 c. milk
• 2 tsp. vanilla
• 2 ½ c. flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3 c. oatmeal
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt together:
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used the low fat Eagle Brand version)
• 1/3 c. butter
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the PC decadent chips)

Method:
• Mix the butter, eggs and brown sugar.
• Add vanilla and milk.
• Slowly incorporate the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well. I used my hand mixer, but it is quite a thick mixture.
• Spread 3/4 of the oat mixture on the bottom of a greased 13×9 pan.
• Pour chocolate mixture over top and spread.

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• Then spread the rest of the oat mixture on top in spoonfuls (won’t cover completely, but leaves cool designs).
• Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. The top can get done before it’s completely cooked, so you can put aluminum foil over it for the last five or so minutes of baking if it looks like it is browning too much.
• Let cool, otherwise it won’t set and will just run when you cut into it.

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Let’s be honest, we couldn’t wait for it to cool last night, and ate it when it was set enough, but still warm and gooey.  DELICIOUS.