The Baker Upstairs: 2016

12.24.2016

Rosemary Sage Turkey Breast

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This rosemary sage turkey breast is incredibly moist and flavorful, and so simple to make. Perfect for holiday dinners, or any time!

This rosemary sage turkey breast is incredibly moist and flavorful, and so simple to make. Perfect for holiday dinners, or any time!

Merry Christmas Eve! My little family just got back from a week in Utah visiting friends and family, and it was just what I needed. I didn't even realize how homesick I had been, until we landed and I realized that all my people were just a few minutes away! We packed in as many of our Utah Christmas traditions as we could, and had a fantastic time. I'm looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with my little family tomorrow, and this rosemary sage turkey breast is on the menu. I made it for Thanksgiving this year, and it was the best turkey I've ever eaten! The meat comes out super tender and flavorful, and so juicy. The sage, rosemary, and hint of orange are perfect with the savory turkey. This is definitely the only way that we'll eat turkey from here on out!

Rosemary Sage Turkey Breast

1 5-7 pound bone-in turkey breast, thawed
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, softened
zest of one orange

Preheat the oven to 325. Pat the turkey breast dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan, skin side up. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, sage, rosemary, and orange zest. Rub the butter mixture over the outside of the turkey breast and under the skin. Roast 60-90 minutes, or until the temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 165. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
This rosemary sage turkey breast is incredibly moist and flavorful, and so simple to make. Perfect for holiday dinners, or any time!

12.15.2016

Churro Cupcakes + 13 Amazing Cupcake Recipes

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These delicious and decadent churro cupcakes are amazing! They're easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.

Of all the food holidays, I think today is my favorite. It's National Cupcake Day today! If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you'll know that I have a mild obsession with cupcakes. I just love that they're teeny, individual serving sized cakes, and they're so fun to decorate! We could all use more cake in our life, right? These churro cupcakes are some of my favorites! I learned to make them a few years ago from my darling friend (and baker extraordinaire) Emma, and it was love at first bite. I've made them several times since, and they are always delicious!

These delicious and decadent churro cupcakes are amazing! They're easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.

They start with a tender and sweet cinnamon cupcake, which is then topped by a to-die-for cinnamon cream cheese frosting. The finishing touch is a delicious drizzle of dulce de leche. Yum!

These delicious and decadent churro cupcakes are amazing! They're easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.

My husband took these cupcakes to work, to share with the nurses and aides on his unit, and he said they were gone in minutes! I'm getting to have quite the reputation among his coworkers... he says when he gets to work, they ask him immediately if I've been baking that day. If you, too, would like to be popular with people you've never met, these cupcakes are a great way to go! :) (I'm pretty sure they also work on people you do know.)

These delicious and decadent churro cupcakes are amazing! They're easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.
Churro Cupcakes

for the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

for the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon half and half
1/4 cup dulce de leche or caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Grate the butter into the flour mixture, and mix until the pieces of butter or no bigger than pea sized. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, oil, and milk. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Scoop into prepared muffin tin, filling 1/2 full. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until the center of the cupcake does not indent when touched lightly. Remove and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, and mix until combined. Add the half and half, and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and drizzle with dulce de leche.
These delicious and decadent churro cupcakes are amazing! They're easy to make and perfect for any special occasion.

For more delicious cupcake recipes, check out these amazing cupcakes from my Celebrating Food blogging friends! 

13 amazing cupcake recipes, perfect for celebrating National Cupcake Day!

Chocolate Christmas Tree Cupcakes from Real Mom Kitchen
Santa Hat and Holly Wreath Cupcakes from Jamie Cooks It Up!
2 Ingredient Lemon Cupcakes from Yummy Healthy Easy
S'more Cupcakes from Ashlee Marie
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes from Butter with a Side of Bread
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes from Life Made Simple
Coconut Cream Cupcakes from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Red Velvet Cupcakes from Yummy Healthy Easy
Rootbeer Float Cupcakes from Butter with a Side of Bread
Pistachio Cupcakes from Real Mom Kitchen
Gingerbread Cupcakes from Life Made Simple
Maple Bacon Cupcakes from Ashlee Marie

and for more amazing cupcake recipes from The Baker Upstairs, click here!

12.07.2016

Coconut Curry Soup

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This savory and flavorful coconut curry soup is ready in less than 30 minutes and so easy to make!

I have to confess, I have fallen off the wagon (yet again) when it comes to cooking meals at home. It's not that I don't want to cook at home... I like that we eat healthier food and we save money when I cook at home. But right now I have two (seemingly insurmountable) obstacles: I'm exhausted all the time, and there are just too many fantastic restaurants nearby. :) The first I could definitely improve on if I could make myself go to bed at a reasonable hour, but the second just gets worse by the day. Portland is such an amazing foodie city, and my list of restaurants to try is already a mile long. I mean, how can I be excited about cooking at home when Boxer Ramen, Grassa, and Lardo are all within a few miles of my house?

Right now I'm working hard on limiting myself to only one restaurant per week (although it's hard!) and I've realized for the millionth time that if I don't make my meal plan simple and easy, I won't stick to it. This coconut curry soup is the perfect quick and easy meal! It also tastes fantastic, which means I'll actually look forward to making it, instead of veering off into a restaurant parking lot on the way home. :) I used a rotisserie chicken, and it was ready in less than thirty minutes. My kids (who are generally not fans of curry) absolutely LOVED this soup and licked their bowls clean. You could definitely make it a little spicier with some sriracha, but I left it mild to make it a little more kid-friendly.
Coconut Curry Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce (optional *)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3-4 cups hot cooked rice (for serving)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper, and cook until softened. Add the chicken and cook until warmed through. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, pepper, salt, and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer 10-15 minutes. Serve hot over a scoop of rice.

adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
* A note on the fish sauce: It smells absolutely terrible, and I go through it so slowly that I can't use a whole bottle (or even a quarter of a bottle) before it goes bad, so I made it optional for this recipe. If you do have it, though, it adds a really great flavor to the soup! I wasn't convinced until I tried it for the first time, and now I'm a believer. :)

This savory and flavorful coconut curry soup is ready in less than 30 minutes and so easy to make!

11.21.2016

Homemade White Hot Chocolate

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This homemade white hot chocolate is velvety smooth and so rich and delicious!

It's Thanksgiving week! Are you ready for the big day? To be honest, this Thanksgiving is going to be a weird one for my family. Usually we do a 5k with my family in the morning, have brunch at my parents' house, and then do dinner with my husband's family. This year, though, we are 700+ miles away from both sides of our family, and my husband will be working the night before. So I'll be cooking dinner for just the four of us and trying to wrangle the kiddos while he sleeps in the morning. It turns out that making new traditions is a little harder than I had thought! I've never made a whole Thanksgiving dinner before, so I'm kind of looking forward to the challenge, but I'll definitely miss joking around with my siblings and eating my sister-in-law's fabulous pie this year.

Thanksgiving always feels a little like the calm before the storm to me. Things are still pretty laid back, everyone is enjoying their time together, and we haven't slipped into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season yet. I'm looking forward to a fun, leisurely meal with my little family this week before we start getting excited about Christmas. This homemade white hot chocolate is the perfect after dinner treat to start that transition! It's fun and festive, and warm and flavorful. It's beautifully rich and smooth, and so delicious! We'll be enjoying ours with a slice of marionberry pie on the side, and (with any luck) a fire in the hearth. Hope your Thanksgiving is full of joy and laughter (and a little hot chocolate on the side, too!).

This homemade white hot chocolate is velvety smooth and so rich and delicious!
White Hot Chocolate

for the hot chocolate:
3 cups milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
8 ounces good quality white chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

for serving (optional):
whipped cream, marshmallows, sprinkles

Add all ingredients to a medium pot over medium heat. Heat, whisking frequently, until the chocolate chips have melted and the hot chocolate is smooth. Do not allow the hot chocolate to boil. Serve warm with whipped cream or marshmallows and enjoy!

This homemade white hot chocolate is velvety smooth and so rich and delicious!

11.18.2016

S'mores Brownies

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These luscious and decadent s'mores brownies are out of this world amazing!

These luscious and decadent s'mores brownies are out of this world amazing!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my husband's new job is all night shifts. We've both done plenty of night shifts since becoming nurses, but neither of us has ever had a job that was exclusively nights. There are definitely some benefits to working night shifts - higher pay, more flexibility in his schedule, and some good friends he's made who work the same shift. At the same time, though, it is rough having him on a different schedule than the rest of the family for half of the week. He generally schedules all his shifts together so that we can have a better work-life balance as a family, and that really helps. By the time that third shift rolls around, though, he's usually pretty tired, so I try to send him with a treat to share to give him and his co-workers a little boost. I sent these amazing s'mores brownies to work with him last week, and they were a huge hit! They're so rich and decadent, so ooey-gooey and super flavorful!

These luscious and decadent s'mores brownies are out of this world amazing!

It's well known that I love anything s'mores flavored, but these brownies are probably my favorite s'mores creation ever. You could obviously make them with a boxed mix instead of my homemade rich and fudgy brownie base, but the extra effort is definitely worth it.

These luscious and decadent s'mores brownies are out of this world amazing!

Just a note - I think it's much easier to cut them if you let them cool completely, then chill them in the fridge for about thirty minutes. The marshmallows end up pretty sticky, so it's hard to cut through them when they're warm. I chilled them and then used a pizza cutter to cut them, and it worked perfectly. Happy baking!
S'mores Brownies

for the brownies:
1 cup butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 extra-large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups all-purpose flour

for topping:
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped graham crackers
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Hershey bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil or parchment and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in chocolate chips, and melt, stirring frequently. When there are no more lumps, remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Fold in cocoa powder, salt, and flour, and mix until barely combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted one inch from the side of the pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and sprinkle with marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate chips, and Hershey's pieces. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes, or until the marshmallows are browned and the chocolate is melty. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
These luscious and decadent s'mores brownies are out of this world amazing!

11.17.2016

Braided Sweet Bread

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This soft and sweet braided bread is simple and easy to make, and so delicious!

This soft and sweet braided bread is simple and easy to make, and so delicious!

A few weeks ago my husband and I were doing our weekly trip to Trader Joe's to stock up on lunchbox favorites like apples, string cheese, and cat crackers. While perusing the bakery section, I happened on a loaf of apple cinnamon swirl bread and of course had to try it (it was delicious, by the way). When we went to check out, the checker looked at the loaf, sighed, and said, "I'd love to buy this, but we just don't eat enough bread at my house to make it worth the money."

Wait - what?!? I was honestly shocked. I mean, I can't imagine a world without bread! As far as I'm concerned, bread is what makes the world go round. I think I have more bread recipes on the blog than any other category of food (except possibly cookies?), and today is National Homemade Bread Day! What better day to share this deliciously soft and sweet braided bread recipe with you?

This soft and sweet braided bread is simple and easy to make, and so delicious!

This bread is so simple and tastes amazing! It's a little sweeter than a normal loaf of bread, and we love using it to make french toast, or just smothering it in butter and jam. If you're intimidated by braiding the bread, don't be! It's totally easy and much less complicated than, say, braiding a squirming five year old's hair (not that I would know from experience or anything). This recipe makes two loaves, but don't expect them to stick around very long... they're so delicious that they'll disappear in no time!

This soft and sweet braided bread is simple and easy to make, and so delicious!
Braided Sweet Bread

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 - 5 cups flour

for the egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar. Let sit 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 3 cups flour. Mix until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a soft ball that is just slightly sticky to the touch. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for one hour.

When the dough has risen, gently punch it down and divide in half. Divide each half into three equal pieces, then roll each piece into a rope, about 16 inches long. Braid the three strands together, tuck the ends under, and place the braid on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let rise 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Whisk together the egg and water. Brush the egg mixture over the top of each braid. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and jam.
This soft and sweet braided bread is simple and easy to make, and so delicious!

For more delicious homemade bread recipes, check out these favorites from my food blogger friends!

21 fantastic and delicious homemade bread recipes from your favorite food bloggers!

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls from Real Mom Kitchen
Dutch Apple Bread from Butter with a Side of Bread
100% Whole Wheat Rolls from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
One Hour Cinnamon Rolls from Creations by Kara
Potato Rolls from Like Mother Like Daughter
Make Ahead Potato Crescent Rolls from Yummy Healthy Easy
15 Minute Cream Biscuits from Real Mom Kitchen
Easy Cheesy Breadsticks from Butter with a Side of Bread
Homemade Croissants from Ashlee Marie
Lime Sweet Rolls from Creations by Kara
Sky High Buttermilk Biscuits from Life Made Simple
Honey Wheat Bread from Like Mother Like Daughter

and these homemade bread recipes from The Baker Upstairs:


10.24.2016

Soft Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and tender cookies are full of fall flavor and so delicious!

Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!

Two cookie recipes in a row? I know, how indulgent of me! Normally I try to space the desserts out at least a little, but this one was too good to wait. I've mentioned before that snickerdoodles are some of my very favorite cookies, and considering the season, it was high time I came up with a pumpkin spice version. These soft pumpkin snickerdoodles are a delicious cross between those fat pumpkin cookies you can buy at the grocery store this time of year, and my favorite snickerdoodle recipe. They're just slightly crisp around the edges, have a lovely sprinkle of pumpkin pie spiced sugar on top, and are just the thing for cold nights with a warm cup of cocoa. I should warn you, though, they are totally addicting!

Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!
Soft Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

for the cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

for rolling:
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar, and mix until combined. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Toward the end of the chilling time, preheat the oven to 300. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll each ball in the spiced sugar. Place one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until just golden on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
Soft pumpkin snickerdoodles - these soft and delicious cookies are full of fall flavor!
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10.21.2016

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

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Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

I know, right? These cookies are ridiculous. Ridiculously delicious, that is! Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors to eat all through the fall, and it really could not be put to better use than in these cookies. I started with my favorite sugar cookie recipe, added a little cinnamon to the dough, and topped them with a luscious cream cheese frosting. They taste just like a cinnamon roll, but in cookie form!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

I love that the dough stays so moist and tender, and the cookies are so thick and rich. The cream cheese frosting complements the cinnamon in the dough so well. They are incredibly flavorful and delicious. Perfect for enjoying with a glass of milk or a cup of warm cocoa!

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

for the cookies:
1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons milk or cream (as needed)
additional cinnamon, for sprinkling

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and mix until a firm dough forms. Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400. Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment or sprayed with cooking spray. Flatten each ball slightly with your hand or with a drinking glass to be about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottom edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Beat until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cookies in a spiral shape and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cinnamon roll sugar cookies - buttery cinnamon sugar cookies topped with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of cinnamon. So amazingly delicious!

originally published on I Heart Naptime, May 2015

10.17.2016

One Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta + 23 Amazing Pasta Recipes!

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This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!

This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!

Today is national pasta day! Let's take a moment and remember all of the things pasta has given us... thicker thighs, rounder tummies, non-bikini bodies, and many a delicious dinner! With the weather getting colder, it's all I can do to not make a big pot of pasta every night. It's hearty and filling, and the whole family loves it! This one pot chicken florentine pasta has so many things going for it: it's savory and delicious, with chunks of juicy chicken and noodles cooked to tender perfection, and (best of all) there's only one pot to clean! My husband and kids loved it (although my little Lizzy was adamant about picking out every last piece of "salad" out of it) and it was a great meal for a cold night. As I've said many times before, I really can't bring myself to spend more than about 30 minutes cooking dinner, so this dish was perfect!

This one pot chicken florentine pasta is so quick and easy to make, and so delicious!
One Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
8 ounces linguine, broken in half
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and chicken, and cook the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Add the olive oil, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes, and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth and half and half, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the linguine and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the linguine is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan and baby spinach, until the spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese, if desired.

For more delicious pasta recipes, check out these posts from some of my favorite food bloggers!

23 amazing pasta recipes from your favorite food bloggers!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta from Creations by Kara
Lemon Tarragon Pasta Salad from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells from Like Mother Like Daughter
Creamy Pumpkin Pasta from Yummy Healthy Easy
Slow Cooker Taco Lasagna from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Chicken Cordon Bleu Lasagna from Butter with a Side of Bread
Homemade Alfredo Sauce from Ashlee Marie
Chicken Pasta with Bacon from Creations by Kara
Brown Butter Alfredo Pasta from Real Mom Kitchen
Luscious Italian Lasagna from Jamie Cooks It Up!
Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups from Like Mother Like Daughter
Outrageous Macaroni and Cheese from Life Made Simple
One-Pot Lasagna Soup from Yummy Healthy Easy
Slow Cooker Mushroom Tortellini Soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Creamy Baked Tortellini from Butter with a Side of Bread

and check out these pasta favorites from The Baker Upstairs:


10.14.2016

Instant Pot Chicken Breast

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Who knew it was so easy to make chicken breast in an Instant Pot? Cook chicken from frozen in just 25 minutes!

That's right, another Instant Pot recipe! I know I sound like a salesman for Instant Pot, but it really is the most amazing machine. Here's the deal: I make a menu plan almost every week. And the number one reason that my menu plans fail (as they do sometimes) is because I forgot to thaw chicken in the fridge overnight, and I need it for a recipe RIGHT NOW. I don't have the time (or energy) to thaw my chicken, so we end up eating fast food, or macaroni and cheese, or quesadillas, and all my plans go out the window.

Not anymore, friends! The Instant Pot is perfect for making delicious, perfect chicken breast in only 25 minutes. The chicken comes out tender and juicy, and shreds perfectly. I've used this method to make chicken salad, burritos, pasta dishes, you name it! The best part is that you can cook the chicken from frozen without worrying about thawing first. I will say, I haven't tried it with bone-in chicken, and I'm sure the time would have to be adjusted. But 25 minutes works perfectly for frozen boneless skinless chicken. Menu plan crises averted!
Instant Pot Chicken Breast

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen works fine)
1 cup water or chicken broth
salt and pepper

Place the trivet in the pot, and place the chicken breasts on top of the trivet. Pour the water or broth over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the steam to release for five minutes, then quick release the remaining steam. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred.

10.13.2016

Hearty Corn Chowder

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This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

Yay! Another soup recipe! We're heading into a series of cold and rainy days here in Portland, and I'm totally in the mood to stay in my jammies all day and eat nothing but soup and fresh bread for every meal. Who's with me? This hearty corn chowder is a new favorite, and it's one I've already made multiple times since discovering the recipe about a month ago. We always seem to end up with an abundance of fresh corn from the farmers market (mostly because I can't stop buying it), and this soup is the perfect way to use them. It has a touch of bacon to add some great flavor, but the sweet corn is definitely the star of the show. Even though this is one of my newest soup recipes, it's among my top 5 that I've ever made (yes, it's that good). If you need me, I'll just be over here face planting into a bowl of this deliciousness.

This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

Hearty Corn Chowder

4 ears fresh corn
3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half and half
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and set aside. In a large pot, fry the bacon pieces over medium heat until crisp. Add the butter and onion, and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and half and half, a little at a time. Add the corn kernels and bring the soup to a simmer. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Serve hot with fresh bread on the side.

adapted from The Pioneer Woman
This savory and hearty corn chowder is so delicious and perfect for a chilly evening!

10.11.2016

Caramel Apple Cider

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This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.
This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.

For someone who doesn't drink coffee, I sure seem to spend a lot of time (and money) at Starbucks. I can't get enough of their chai (especially with a shot of cinnamon dolce syrup), and every fall their caramel apple spice cider is my guilty pleasure. It has an obscene amount of sugar, and the whipped cream on top is probably not doing my waistline any favors, but it is just so good! It's my favorite drink to get on a cold and rainy fall day (preferably while wearing a warm sweater) and it tastes like all the good things about fall.

Like everything else I love, I decided to find a way to make it at home, and this caramel apple cider was the result. I think I may like it more than the original! The salted caramel syrup contrasted with the sweet cider is flavor perfection. I used a farmers market apple cider for my base, and it was absolutely fantastic. If you don't have any local orchards that make cider, I think Simply Apple or another good quality cider would work too. This is definitely going to be in my mug all fall long!

This caramel apple cider is full of delicious fall flavors! The perfect drink to cozy up with this season.

Caramel Apple Cider

4 cups good quality apple cider (I got mine at the farmers market, but Simply Apple would work well too)
4 pumps Torani salted caramel syrup (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
whipped cream
4 teaspoons caramel sauce (I used Torani brand)

In a medium pot, whisk together the apple cider, salted caramel syrup, and cinnamon, and heat to desired temperature. Divide the mixture between four mugs. Top each mug with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
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