Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

Over the past year or so, Artie and I attended a couple dozen potluck events – Supper Clubs, work events, parties, etc. And pretty much every single time, I brought Rice Krispie Treats. It is my go-to potluck item. Easy to prepare, easy to transport, sort-of homemade, relatively low-cost, enjoyed by all. All the wins.

Recently I was wondering how I became the Rice Krispie Treat lady at every function, and I remembered that while I was writing my dissertation, I had to make a dessert for a fundraiser bake-off at work. What could be easier than Rice Krispies? Nothing. And so the obsession began dessert niche was formed.

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Rice Krispie Treats are made with cereal, so they are a part of a balanced breakfast, right?

Given how many Rice Krispies I’ve made, I’ve taken to experimenting with flavors and mix-ins. Some were winners (sprinkles!) while others were not so good (candy corn). But one recipe that consistently receives rave reviews is Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats. So by popular request, I give you the recipe (it is so easy, I almost hesitate to call it a recipe!).

Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats – adapted from the recipe on the Rice Krispies cereal box + many Pinterest finds

Ingredients:

  • Stick of unsalted butter
  • Large box of Rice Krispies (generic cereal works just fine)
  • 10-ounce bag of marshmallows (Publix brand are my favorite)
  • 2/3 bag of caramel candies (I prefer the Kraft caramels pictured below)
  • Salt (sea salt or fancy salt is great, but regular salt works, too)

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Directions:

  • Rice Krispie Treats come together quickly, so start by getting all the ingredients and dishes prepped.
  • Remove the caramel candies from the bag and their individual wrappers. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the candies into quarters. Do NOT put these in a bowl – they will end up stuck together (#learnedthehardway). Instead, lay the chopped up candies on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
  • Use one tablespoon of butter to grease a 9×13 baking dish. Hold onto the rest of that little pat of butter for later.
  • In a large pot, melt 7 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add the entire bag of marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are completely melted.
  • Add about 10 cups of Rice Krispies cereal and a pinch of salt.
  • Stir until everything is combined.
  • Pour about half the mixture into the 9×13 pan, pushing into an even layer with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped caramel candies. Top with the remaining Rice Krispies mixture.
  • Use the little pat of butter left over from earlier to grease a sheet of wax paper. With the greased side down, use the wax paper to gently press the Rice Krispies into the pan.
  • Sprinkle the top with just a little bit of salt. Press down to make sure the salt adheres.
  • Then comes the hardest part- allow the mixture to cool for at least an hour. The Rice Krispies will be much easier to cut if you let them sit for a while, but let’s be clear that I usually dig in right away.
  • Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Enjoy!
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Salted caramel Rice Krispie treats x 2 minus quality control bites.

This “recipe” is pretty flexible – you can experiment with less or more butter, marshmallows, or cereal to get the flavor and texture you like best. You can also experiment with other mix-ins like chocolate chips, crushed cookies, sprinkles, etc.

I have found these will keep in an airtight container on the counter for a few days (if they last that long!). I’ve also been known to freeze individually wrapped leftovers for a sweet weeknight treat. Enjoy!

Rice and Bean Casserole with Guacamole

Over the summer while we were on vacation at the beach, we made a recipe from Eat Live Run for Rice and Bean Casserole with Guacamole.

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This recipe stood out for a few reasons. The ingredients were cheap and easy to transport (nothing has to be refrigerated). It looked easy to adapt, easy to prepare, and easy to clean up. I was nervous to try a new recipe while traveling, but it turned out to be an excellent meal.

We followed the basic casserole directions (omitting the cumin and the garlic powder because we didn’t have any on hand). We added a few fresh veggies to the casserole for texture and flavor. I minced four cloves of garlic, diced a whole onion, and sliced two cups of baby bell peppers. I sautéed the garlic, onion, and peppers in olive oil until they were softened and began to caramelize and we added these to the casserole before baking. When the casserole was done, we sprinkled cheddar cheese on top and popped it back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

For the guacamole, I omitted the jalapeño and cumin because we didn’t have any on hand. Instead, I added a clove of minced garlic, a few minced baby bell peppers, and some chili powder. I also chopped tomatoes to serve alongside the casserole.

The best part of the casserole was that Artie prepared the casserole while I made the peppers and the guacamole. Then, the casserole baked for 90 minutes while we went to the beach to watch the sunset and dinner was ready when we got back to the house.

My family gave the casserole rave reviews. They did serve it alongside grilled brats and burgers (because, let’s face it, my brothers have a hard time imagining a meal that doesn’t include meat) but they liked it nonetheless.

We’ve made this casserole several times since vacation – probably at least twice a month. We really like it because we can pop it in the oven and then clean the house or work on other projects while dinner is cooking. If you are looking for an easy, affordable meal that pleases a crowd, I would recommend giving this casserole a try.

Food Day 2011 – Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice

October 24th is Food Day. According to www.FoodDay.org, “Food Day seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.”

In honor of Food Day, I made the Whole Foods Market recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice using nutritious and organic ingredients. The recipe is available on the Whole Foods Market website here: Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice.

Based on the comments for the recipe, I made a few minor changes to the recipe. I minced and added three cloves of garlic along with the onion, I reduced the amount of broth to four cups, and I added a little cumin, chili power, and freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/8 of a teaspoon each).

The result was a creamy, fall flavored dinner reminiscent of risotto. Because I used organic pumpkin, domestically grown wild bayou rice, and organic low-sodium chicken broth, this dinner was healthy, affordable, and comprised of ingredients grown in a sustainable way.

Toasting the brown rice with onions and garlic
Toasting the brown rice with onions and garlic
Mixing in the pumpkin and chicken broth
Mixing in the pumpkin and chicken broth
Serving the Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice
Serving the Creamy Pumpkin Brown Rice