March 9, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 82  

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Comfort foods made easy

Do you have some aging apples on your counter? Crave a refreshing, fruity beverage? Tired of eating packaged granola bars? Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book offers tasty recipes for a comforting dish of apple crisp, refreshing banana-berry smoothies and delicious fruit-filled oatmeal bars.

Banana-Berry Smoothies
Start to Finish: 10 minutes Makes: 3 to 4 servings

2 cups plain fat-free yogurt
2 ripe medium bananas
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or unsweetened frozen strawberries
1 cup mixed fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries, or unsweetened frozen mixed berries

In a blender combine yogurt and fruit. Cover and blend until pureed. If desired, top with a few fresh berries.

Apple Crisp
Preparation: 30 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Oven: 375 F
Makes: 6 Servings

5 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples
2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped nuts or coconut
vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Place apples in a 2-quart square baking dish. Stir in the granulated sugar.
2. For topping, in a medium bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, flour and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle topping over fruit.
3. Bake in a 375 F over for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden. If desired, serve with warm ice cream.
Microwave directions: Prepare apple filling. Microwave fruit, covered with vented plastic wrap, on high 4 to 6 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring twice. Prepare toppings as in step 2, above.

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars
Preparation: 20 minutes Bake: 30 minutes
Oven: 350 F
Makes: 25 bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 recipe Apple-Cranberry Filling

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture.
2. Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of an ungreased 9x9x2-inch or 11x7x1.5-inch baking pan. Spread with filling. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Apple-Cranberry Filling: Combine 1 cup chunky applesauce, 2/3 cup dried cranberries or blueberries, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and dash ground cloves.



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