Monday, June 28, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Enchiladas


I was lucky enough to spend this past Father's Day with two amazing dads - stepdad Chris Vittles, and father-in-law Douggy Vittles.

And let me tell you - what a day it was.  It involved milkshakes and go karts and arcade games and mechanical bull riding.... just to name a few.

But my own dad was on a trip to Las Vegas, as Candi Vittles was participating in her second annual World Series of Poker event (yay!).

So while I know it's a little late for a Father's Day post, I figure I should get a pass since my celebration with Pappy Vittles will be a bit late as well.

Not to mention the fact that my internet has been broken at home since Friday morning, and I am actually posting this at work.  (Shhh...)

So... let's just pretend it's last Sunday.  Isn't time travel fun?

So now that it's Father's Day again, my first order of business is to wish my dad a very happy day - he is truly one in a million, and I'd hardly be the person I am today if it wasn't for him.

Like... I might gamble, or forget to be careful, or not take my vitamins. 

I might be bashful at the dinner table and starve.

I might forget to "do the right thing," or "go easy" (whatever that means.)

Heck, I might not even sleep tight, or worse - let The Zipperumpazoos bite!


Me, Pappy Vittles, and Chocolate The Bunny in 1986

Flexing his Dad Muscles for Mr. Vittles in 2008

Now as I've already explained, my father does the cooking at his house - and what usually comes with that territory is the grocery shopping.

(Like, as much as I would love to pass on the dreaded grocery duties to Mr. Vittles, it would be silly to have him buying the food when I'm the one planning and executing the meals.)

But before grocery shopping became the chore it is today, I used to love accompanying my dad to the store.

This was for a couple of reasons.

One was the obvious: father-daughter bonding time.  Yep, always was Daddy's Little Girl!

And there was a ritual - first, the reading of circular flyers, as well as the clipping and organizing of coupons before departure.  Then the excursion itself, followed by the post-trip celebration of how much money we saved. 

But to be honest, the "bonding" during shop time was few & far between, leading to my second reason for taking these trips with him - to get a laugh.

My dad was so focused on the products and the prices- on getting not only the right thing but the best deal - that I could literally tell him I was abducted by aliens the night before and his only response would be "Uh huh."

Not to mention, we always had a running joke that you could look in his cabinet at any given time and find at least 5-6 cans of baked beans.  Random, but I guess this was an item frequently on sale- and Lord knows the Vittles family cannot resist a good sale!

So he would buy a can or two, and before you knew it, he had enough baked beans stockpiled to survive for a week in a blizzard.

Well.  You know what they say.

The nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

First of all, the Celebration of Savings is alive & well in my household and can take one of two forms - either "Guess How Much I Saved On The Bill" (most grocery stores are kind enough to print this on the receipt for your enjoyment):

....or the equally popular "Guess How Little I Paid For This Normally Expensive Item".

(I'm not sure which game Mr. Vittles likes more.  Probably neither.)

Secondly, as I am pretty jam-packed into our apartment kitchen, I tend to have things stored in odd places.  Well, between three different cabinets, I recently discovered my own stockpiling of 7 cans of diced tomatoes.


Which would have actually been nine cans, if I hadn't just made a double batch of black bean enchiladas for Mr. Vittles and my brothers-in-law.

Yikes.  Apparently... Pappy V's baked bean is my diced tomato.

Just goes to show that we all forget to "go easy" every now and again!

And FYI - your parents' OCD is not quite as funny when you're looking in the mirror.
 
But oh well.  The more diced tomatoes I have on hand the more black bean enchiladas I can make!


Love you, Dad :)

Spicy Black Bean Enchiladas
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 t. garlic
  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans, undrained
  • 1 10.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles (Rotel)
  • 1 t. chili powder (I like to use chipotle chili powder to give them a smokey flavor, but regular is fine)
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 t. dried oregano
  • 1 C. cooked rice
  • 1/2 C. enchilada sauce or your favorite salsa
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 3/4 C. cheddar, jack or any kind of Mexican shredded cheese
In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions until tender.  Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds until fragrant. Add black beans, diced tomatoes/chiles, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, and oregano.  Stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to med-low and simmer gently until thickened, about 7-8 minutes.  Add rice and stir until heated through, 1-2 minutes more.  Remove skillet from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and coat a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In 10-15 second increments, heat flour tortillas in microwave (this makes them more pliable).  Spoon 1/3 C. of bean & rice mixture down the center of each tortilla, then fold in the sides and roll to form an enchilada.

Place each enchilada in baking dish, seam side down, and spoon sauce/enchilada over the top.  Cover pan tightly with foil and bake 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, uncover, and top with cheese.  Bake an additional 7 minutes, or until cheese is melted to your liking.

Recipe Source Unknown
**I remember finding a recipe somewhere online, and I adapted it into the above - but I never wrote the source down.  If you recognize this recipe, leave me a comment or email me and I will be happy to give credit!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spinach & Feta Rigatoni


I don't know if I was having a craving for vitamins or what, but one random day at the grocery store I was drawn to a bag of spinach leaves.

Sadly, this was probably the first bag of spinach I had purchased in my entire life.

I told you, we're not big on too many veggies in the Vittles household, particularly those of the cooked variety. 

But Mr. V actually has a worse vegetable aversion than me.  And wouldn't you know, when I pulled that spinach out, the look on his face said it all. 

Perhaps in an attempt to downplay this look of panic, he pointed out that while he is "ok" with spinach in things, strictly spinach is a no-go.

Popeye he is not.

Nonetheless, I forged on with my intended meal - which is loosely based on one of Giada's recipes I saw on Food Network for Penne with Spinach Sauce.

Now I even left out the parmesan cheese (also a no-go for the V Man) in favor of adding BACON (always a go) in hopes it might make up for the spinach.

But on first bite, he only gave it a "tolerable" rating. 

I, on the other hand, enjoyed it... while it lasted, anyway, because I figured I would not be making it again.  It would go off into the black hole of my recipe box, somewhere between my grandma's famous Potato Salad and Cavatelli & Broccoli (one of my faves, which Mr. V finds un-tolerable without picking around the broccoli.) 

Then - when we were almost done - he said to me, "This is growing on me.  You can make this again, it's actually pretty good."

Well whaddya know.  Maybe he's got a little Popeye in him after all.

Spinach & Feta Rigatoni
  • 8 oz. rigatoni
  • 1 C. packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 oz. cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel cheese, which is like cream cheese but a little lower in fat)
  • 2 T. crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2-3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2-3 T. reserved cooking liquid from rigatoni
Cook rigatoni al dente per package directions.  Reserve 1/4 C. of cooking liquid, and drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic & cook about 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add spinach and saute briefly until wilted.

Add contents of pan to food processor, along with pepper, cream cheese, and Feta cheese.  Pulse until smooth.  Place mixture into a bowl and add cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is sauce-like.  Stir to combine.

Add bacon and drained rigatoni, and toss to coat.  Season with salt & more pepper as needed, or parmesan cheese.

*Note: For you vegetarians out there, leaving out the bacon is perfectly fine.  If you are NOT Mr. Vittles and actually enjoy parmesan like most people, you can even add a tablespoon or two of cheese in its place.

Recipe Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network

Friday, June 18, 2010

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars


Alright people, enough with this Facebook stuff.   Let's get back down to business, here.

I realized that I forgot to post the other special recipe from Momma Vittles' brunch, which was actually the most requested recipe of the day - Butter Pecan Turtle Bars.

I know I said I made 5 desserts which includes these bars, the mini cupcakes, and the lemon sables...

...but in case you were wondering, the other two desserts were brownie bites and chocolate chip cookies.

Someday I will share the chocolate chip cookie recipe with you, because it is pretty awesome.  But since there are already so many good CCC recipes out there, we will save that for a rainy day.

As for the brownies, those were from a box.

Eww, don't judge, ok?  They were lovingly mixed, spooned into mini muffin cups, and sprinkled with coarse sugar by my very dutiful helper (and BFF) Lauren Vittles.

(She is preggers, at the moment almost 18 weeks, but her hubby Tyler Vittles let me borrow her for the weekend to help prepare for and attend the brunch in Momma Vittles' honor.  And... I loved every second!)

Now, as for the butter pecan turtle cookies, this is actually a recipe that Momma Vittles used to make at Christmas time.

Why, I have no clue.  Really, they are delicious any time of year.

But unfortunately I lost the recipe, so I had to go searching for one on the internet that sounded similar.  I found one on About.com that seemed to do the trick.

Now I will admit, I am not a big fan of nuts (especially the dreaded walnut - yucky!!) but I really like this dessert.  So if nuts aren't your thing, don't be scared - I promise, the big, bad pecan won't hurt you.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Crust
  • 2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C. butter (1 stick), softened
Topping
  • 1 1/2 C. pecan halves
  • 1/2 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 C. butter
  • 1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet, but you can do milk if you prefer)
Combine flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle hot the caramel mixture over pecans and crust.

Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Use a small spatula or butter knife to spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Recipe from About.com, by Diana Rattray

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

V&B is now on FACEBOOK!


So this weekend I entered a giveaway on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet It Is - and one of the ways to get an extra entry was to become a fan of How Sweet on Facebook or Twitter.

This got my gears turning.

I'm not a tweeter, but I do frequent Facebook.

Ok.  Between you, me, and the lamppost- 'frequent' may be an understatement?

But that's neither here nor there.  

Anyhoo, as I was saying - I have been posting links to new recipes on V&B to my personal Facebook page, but it suddenly occurred to me that maybe it was a better idea to let the blog have its very own page.

This way, people that I don't personally know can still get updates & become a fan.

And ... the "friends" from my personal page who could give a hoot about cooking or my blog can be spared from the annoying posts.

Goodness.  Look at you, Vittles and Bits!  Growing up before my very eyes! 

Hopefully my thinking proves correct.

So, if you're a fan of the blog, I encourage you to become a fan of V&B on Facebook.  Here are some reasons why:
  • You can get immediate updates about new recipes I post
  • I have the recipes broken down by section (ie 'Delectable Desserts') in photos with a link to each post.
  • I also have a section for you to view pictures of people I talk about in my blog (as well as some people close to me who I haven't had the pleasure of featuring yet!)
Oh boy! Who knew blogging could be this much fun???  :)

~ Maggie ~

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fresh Guacamole


If you don't already know, I won't bother telling you what I do for a living.

It's not a popular profession and you probably won't like me anymore.  It gets a reaction that's similar to that of "I'm a cop."

Not that I have anything against cops, but for whatever reason its one of those things that people usually react negatively to?

Like one time, in a Spanish class I took with my work partner and very good friend Joe Vittles, we were learning how to say different professions.  We had to go around the room and say what we do for a living, and the teacher would translate it into Spanish.

Joe V went first, and lied about our job.  I went next and, feeling bold, I told the teacher what I really do.

The entire class booed me. 

And... I shall leave it at that.

However, I will say that I usually spend more time out of the office than in it...which is good since, as I already mentioned to you, my cubicle at our new office is practically inside the Men's Restroom.

I will also say that I have seen more of the state of New Jersey in the past 3 years than I have my entire life.

And, with that much time on the road, I have also seen more idiotic driving than I have my entire life.

But one good thing about driving all over the place is that we get to see fun destinations that are far from home without wasting our free time or gas.  And we can even make a stop here & there.

On our lunch break, of course.

For instance, the closest Rosa Mexicano is almost an hour and a half away from where I live.  But since Joe V and I were not 5 minutes from there for work, we were able to stop there for lunch. 

Now if you've never eaten at Rosa Mexicano, they are famous for making guacamole fresh right next to your table.

They literally peel the avocado and add all the chopped up ingredients, mixing everything in an authentic molcajete.

And let me tell you - it is heavenly.

Joe V and I were talking about how, even though they were making it right in front of our very eyes, we could probably never make it as good.

Which I figured was probably true... but that didn't stop me from trying.

I did a Google search to see if I could find the recipe anywhere and, lo and behold, I found it on none other than the Rosa Mexicano website!

I guess since they make it right in front of you, they figure there's no use in keeping it under lock & key?  Especially since they have a whole cookbook now of their recipes they are selling.

So I did give it a try, and while I don't have a molcajete and it probably will never be as good anyway (maybe it's just the fact that someone is preparing it for you?) its one of the best home-made guacamole recipes I've ever tried.

Let me know if you agree!

Fresh Guacamole 

Chile Paste Ingredients

  • 1 T finely chopped white onion
  • 1 firmly packed T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 t. finely chopped jalapeño, or more to taste
  • 1 t. salt, or as needed
Additional Ingredients

  • 3 medium, ripe but firm, Hass avocados (about 8 ounces each)
  • 3 T. diced tomato
  • 2 firmly packed T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. finely chopped white onion
Make the chile paste: Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a molcajete until all the ingredients are very finely ground.  Alternatively, use the back of a spoon to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide hardwood bowl.

Cut each avocado in half, working the knife blade around the pit. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit with the tip of the knife. Fold a kitchen towel in quarters and hold it in the palm of your “non-knife” hand. Rest an avocado half cut side up in your palm and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the molcajete. Repeat with the remaining avocado halves.

Using a spatula, gently fold all ingredients together and season with additional salt if necessary.  Serve with fresh tortillas or tortilla chips.


Recipe from Rosa Mexicano

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Warm Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette


When I started this blog, I knew I would have fun trying the recipes and writing about them.

But I couldn't help but wonder- would anyone bother to read it?

Or, perhaps more importantly- would anyone like it?

And after writing for over 2 months now, I can proudly say 'yes' to both of those questions.

So thank YOU for reading my blog.

And if you are one of the ones that also likes it, thank you for that too :)  I could not be more flattered than when people tell me they are enjoying the blog.

But one pleasant surprise to me was that friends and family members started requesting that I post their favorite recipes I've made for them in the past.

Or, equally as exciting & fun, people have started offering their own favorite recipes for me to make and write about (such as the rice recipe from Aunt Michelle Vittles).

This is also one of those recipes :)

A friend of mine, Kristen Vittles, was reading V&B and noticed that (much like her own husband) Mr. V loves anything with bacon.  So she passed on this recipe, originally from Food Network.

Which was actually even more appropriate for Mr. V than she probably intended, because for as much as he loves bacon he HATES mayonnaise - typically a main ingredient in potato salad.

So I was excited to try this recipe out as an alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salad - and we both enjoyed it!

Well, perhaps me more so than Mr. Vittles, though.  While he conceded that this was better than ones with mayo, he was a bit of a pain in the patootie about the vinegar.

He hates that, too.

Ugh. I guess I can't win with the potato salads.

Although I found one from America's Test Kitchen recently that has a ranch dressing-type coating, which is another favorite of his ... so maybe I won't give up on them just yet?

I mean, we're going in the right direction.  He liked this one more than ones I've made in the past. 

Baby steps, people.

Warm Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
  • 2 1/2 pounds red new potatoes
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into lardons and cooked until golden brown and crisp, 2 tablespoons drippings reserved
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain, let cool for a few minutes and quarter.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the drippings, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and then stir in the chopped basil and parsley.

Add the warm potatoes and the bacon to the vinaigrette and gently fold to combine.


Recipe from Food Network, by Bobby Flay

Friday, June 4, 2010

Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken


My husband is a very humble man.

Let me give you an example of his humility.

We sat down for dinner to try this chicken and, after each taking a bite, noted how awesome it came out.

Then Mr. Vittles said to me, "You better tell your blog readers that I'm the one that grilled that chicken."

I responded that I would, and said that I should have taken a picture of him at the grill as proof.

"Oh no," he protested, "there doesn't need to be photographic evidence.  I just want to make sure you spread the word that The V Man dominated the grill."

So there you have it, folks.  "The V Man" dominated the grill, and "the word" is officially spread.

But grill domination is only half the battle. The making of the marinade was all me.  

This recipe from Food and Wine caught my eye because this past winter three of my best girls and I ate a fabulous dinner out at a Korean restaurant in Manhattan.  We were able to cook our own meat on a charcoal grill in the middle of the table (like the picture below from their website) which was pretty fun:

Copyright 2004 - Wonjo Korean Restaurant

But I will admit, I was a little hesitant going there. I literally had to drag myself onto the train that Saturday, not yet fully recuperated from a serious hangover due to overconsumption of Absinthe (given to me by Mr. V a couple birthdays ago) the night before.

PS- Absinthe, even in it's legalized watered-down form, is not a drink for the faint of heart.  In my drinking heyday (which, I assure you, is long over) I got some nasty hangovers, but too much of this drink catapulted me from sober to drunk to severely ill in a matter of about an hour.

So in my condition, I was not even sure I'd be able to eat - and Korean food was never high on my list of favorites anyway.

BUT the freezing walk from the train station to the restaurant helped my head a little, and my girlfriend Janine Vittles assured us all how amazing the bulgogi beef was.

So we ordered that, as well as some chicken, and when it was done grilling we wrapped the meat in big lettuce leaves with rice and vegetables and all sorts of other goodies.

As promised, it was delicious.  Instant hangover cure.

And I have to say, this marinade (not to mention my husband's expert grilling of the meat) came commendably close to capturing the flavors of that night.  

It probably would have been great wrapped in lettuce leaves with rice, but a) I didn't have any big lettuce leaves and b) I wouldn't even know where to begin with all the fun trimmings that accompanied our meal at the Korean restaurant.  So, we just ate this with some leftover chili lime basmati rice I had made earlier in the week. 

Maybe you know more about Korean food than I (which wouldn't be hard to do) and will think of some better side dishes or ways to serve this.  But either way, I'm sure you will enjoy this as much as we did.

Just make sure you or someone you know is prepared to Dominate the Grill.

Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken
  • 1/3 C. soy sauce
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 t. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger*
  • 1 T. sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 lbs. thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets (or regular breasts pounded 1/3 inch thick)
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Seal the bag, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours.

Light a grill (or preheat a grill pan) and oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brush lightly with oil.  Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds if desired and serve.  (If using regular pounded chicken breasts, first slice thinly and then serve).

*Note: The original recipe calls for 1 T. freshly grated ginger, which does give a different taste than ground ginger.  I just didn't have any fresh ginger, so I used a (somewhat poor) substitute.  If you have it already, or want to be more authentic, feel free to use fresh.


Recipe Adapted from Food and Wine (by Nick Fauchald)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Fudge Bars


Much unlike me, Mr. Vittles could take or leave desserts.  He usually eats sweets more as a snack than a dessert, and for the most part, seems strangely indifferent to their sugary goodness.

But on the rare occasion he latches on to something, he doesn't let go.

Like... the ricotta cookies, and now these.


I made these chocolate oatmeal fudge bars for the first time a few weeks ago, as a dessert to bring to a friend's birthday dinner party.  Mr V. was supposed to accompany me to said party, but at the last minute he couldn't go because there was a fire at the golf course where he manages.

!!

Which would be a really insane excuse not to go a dinner party (I'm sure people have used it) but I did see pictures and can confirm their storage shed really did get reduced to rubble.

Anyhoo... since he was not going to be able to try this new recipe at the party (AND I was having a very small gathering of my own a couple nights later) I saved about a third of the batch to keep at home.  Which is actually a lot, because these are very rich and I cut them into small pieces.

But apparently...that was not enough.

Between the night after the birthday party and the next day, I could not pry these things from his grubby little paws.

In fact, I had to explicitly tell him NOT to touch any more of the oatmeal cookie bars until after our party.  Which I thought would be fine since a) he's not a big sweets guy and b) there were still some cookies and cupcakes left over from Momma Vittles' brunch.

But alas, this was not the case.  I was told that the oatmeal bars were "dominant" and that he could see no other desserts in their presence.

Then yesterday, I was told it was "time to make more of those oatmeal things", and he again used the term "dominant" to describe them.

Kind of a strange choice of words... must be a powerful attraction.

So even though its currently 81 degrees in our home (our AC is not so great so we don't even bother unless its super hot), I fired up the oven and made the Dominant Oatmeal Bars.

Which are, by the way, a layer of oatmeal cookie, topped with a soft, chocolately fudge, and then more droplets of oatmeal cookie.

Yes.  What a good wifey I am.

And after they had cooled and I went to go cut them into squares ... I found that a little mouse had already taken a sample:

 

 A 6'4" mouse that knows how to use a knife.

Chocolate Oatmeal Fudge Bars

For the oatmeal layer:
  • 2½ C all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 C. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 C. light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 C. old-fashioned oats
For the chocolate layer:
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T. butter
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line the a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil (preferably nonstick) that overlaps the edges, and grease with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the oatmeal cookie layer:  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is soft and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients you set aside just until incorporated.  Mix in the oats on low or with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.

Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture.  Place the remaining dough in the prepared pan and press over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Make the chocolate layer: combine the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring after each, until mixture is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the oatmeal cookie layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula.  (Tip: Spray one side of spatula with nonstick cooking spray to spread more easily, if desired)  Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture and scatter evenly over the top of the chocolate.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Lift foil out of pan, and cut into bars as desired. (I would recommend cutting them fairly small, as they are pretty rich).

Recipe Adapted from Annie's Eats
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