the baker upstairs

8.18.2017

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

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This delicious and zesty chicken caesar pasta salad is quick and easy to make, and perfect for a light summer meal!

This delicious and zesty chicken caesar pasta salad is quick and easy to make, and perfect for a light summer meal!

I mentioned earlier this week how excited I am for fall, but really I'm just stuck in the in-between, where half the time I want the summer to last forever, and half the time I can't wait for fall. I took the kids school shopping this week and bought them new jeans and t-shirts, sparkly notebooks, and squeaky clean shoes. And I spent the whole time thinking, "Wait! Slow down! Can't we just keep hitting up the splash pad and stopping by Sonic for a slush every day? Can't we just continue to sleep in and eat lazy meals, and soak up all the sun?" All too soon, the infamous nine-month-long rainy season will be here, and I'll be remembering (with longing) all these warm summer days. With that in mind, here's a tasty and summery meal for you, even though the summer is nearly over.

This chicken caesar pasta salad is simple and quick to make, and so delicious that you'll want to eat it all year round! If you use a rotisserie chicken, it can be ready in just fifteen minutes or so. It's the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or potluck, or makes for a great main course with some crusty bread on the side. This salad is a huge favorite with my kids (who ordinarily are not great fans of salad), and I love that it's so easy to make! 

This delicious and zesty chicken caesar pasta salad is quick and easy to make, and perfect for a light summer meal!

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

1/2 pound bowtie pasta
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cups garlic croutons
1/2 cup caesar dressing (I used Brianna’s Asiago Caesar)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, romaine, tomato, and croutons. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. If you’re making the salad in advance, add the dressing just before serving.
This delicious and zesty chicken caesar pasta salad is quick and easy to make, and perfect for a light summer meal!

For more delicious salad recipes, check out some of my favorites below:



originally published on Somewhat Simple

This delicious and zesty chicken caesar pasta salad is quick and easy to make, and perfect for a light summer meal!

8.16.2017

Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast

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This deliciously sweet apple cinnamon baked french toast is the perfect breakfast for fall!

This deliciously sweet apple cinnamon baked french toast is the perfect breakfast for fall!

Who else is excited for fall? The weather around here has finally cooled down after some crazy high temperatures in the last few weeks, and I am totally looking forward to crisp fall days. My kids start school two weeks from today, and as much as I have enjoyed having them home over the summer (and I really have!), I'm excited to get back into our normal schedule. We spent the last school year kind of over-scheduled and stressed, and I am planning to scale back on some of our commitments this school year, and hoping that will leave more time for relaxing and having fun.

Fall is my favorite season, and I can't wait for rainy days, warm hot chocolate, and cozy sweaters. This apple cinnamon baked french toast is the perfect breakfast for fall! It's simple and easy to make, and it can be prepped the night before, so you can just pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat in the morning. It also holds up really well in the fridge, so it's easy to make a batch at the beginning of the week, and have a delicious breakfast on hand all week long. If you're making it for a crowd, you can use a full loaf of french bread and increase the other ingredients by half, then bake it in a 9 x 13 baking dish. This is definitely one to make this fall!
Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast

2/3 loaf of french bread, cut into cubes (about 4 cups)
1 large apple, peeled and diced
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

Place the bread cubes and apple pieces in a 8 x 8 baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives. Stir in the pecan pieces, and sprinkle the streusel mixture over the french toast.
Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the french toast is golden brown on top and only jiggles slightly when shaken. Remove and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with maple syrup, if desired.
This deliciously sweet apple cinnamon baked french toast is the perfect breakfast for fall!

For more fantastic make-ahead breakfast recipes, check out some of my favorites below:



originally published on Somewhat Simple

This deliciously sweet apple cinnamon baked french toast is the perfect breakfast for fall!

8.14.2017

Honey Buttermilk Biscuits

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These light and flaky honey buttermilk biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

These light and flaky honey buttermilk biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

I remember when I first discovered the joy of biscuits. I found a recipe in my mom's ancient bread cookbook when I was about twelve, and started whipping up biscuits weekly. I always over-mixed them (and overcooked them), and they were basically just hard little doorstops, but I loved them! At this point in my life, though, I have become a total biscuit snob. They have to be just right - crisp on the outside, and fluffy and flaky on the inside. The baking powder flavor can't be overpowering, and they have to be buttery and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I've developed what I consider to be the perfect biscuit recipe, and I make them all the time (at least twice a month, but sometimes twice a week!). These honey buttermilk biscuits are a fun twist on my favorite biscuits, made even more delicious with the addition of some sweet honey. They are so delicious that they will win over even the pickiest of eaters!

Honey Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and toss to combine. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and honey. Add the buttermilk mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. (Be careful not to over-mix!) Pat the dough out to an even layer, about one inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough into thirds, as though you are folding a letter. Pat the dough out again until it is about one inch thick. Turn the dough 90 degrees and fold it in thirds again. Pat it out into a rectangle that is approximately one inch thick. Cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or small cup. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
These light and flaky honey buttermilk biscuits are melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

For more melt-in-your-mouth biscuit recipes, check out some of my favorites below:



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