Save Room for Dessert…Strawberry Shortbread Bars

The busy season is upon us, well, us, as in my family, that is.  Gardening, festivals, crawfish boils, you name it, and we’re either in the midst of it, heading out to it, or recuperating from from it.  So, my cooking style is either a put it in the oven/slow cooker and forget it meal, or something that comes together with minimum fuss and ingredients.  Today’s recipe is one of the latter.  You likely have everything in your pantry and/or fridge, and it takes absolutely no time to toss it together.  Oh, and the most important thing?  It’s super yummy, so be sure and Save Room for Dessert!

Strawberry Shortbread Bars
3 cups flour
1/2 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional, but yummy)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups strawberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, oats, coconut, vanilla, and baking soda in a large bowl, cut in softened butter, until mixture clumps between your fingers. 
Reserve two cups of the mixture, and press the remaining crumbs into an ungreased 13×9 baking dish.
Bake crust for 18 minutes at 350 degrees; remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. 
Do not turn off oven.
Spread preserves over crust, then sprinkle on reserved crumb mixture onto preserves.
Return to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars; store any remaining bars in the refrigerator.