The Baker Upstairs: June 2016

6.18.2016

Turkey Club Picnic Sandwiches

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These turkey club picnic sandwiches are the perfect savory lunch for a fun outing!

These turkey club picnic sandwiches are the perfect savory lunch for a fun outing!

Today is national picnic day! I bet you didn't even know that was a thing, did you? It's pretty awesome that there's a day set aside to celebrate one of my favorite summer activities - eating delicious food outside. I've teamed up with my Celebrating Food blogger friends to share our favorite picnic recipes today, and these turkey club picnic sandwiches are fantastic! Crusty sandwich rolls spread with homemade pesto mayo, then stuffed with turkey, provolone, bacon, avocado, tomato, and lettuce. Pretty much just the perfect sandwich!

These turkey club picnic sandwiches are the perfect savory lunch for a fun outing!

I know I'm not exactly reinventing the wheel here, but let me tell you - that pesto mayo takes these sandwiches from ordinary to awesome. Plus you know anything with bacon's going to be fantastic, right? I made these sandwiches the other day for lunch, and my husband took a bite and then said, "Wow, these are good." I agreed with him, and then he reiterated, "No, I mean these are GOOD. They might be your best sandwiches ever!" I can't help but agree. Make them for your next picnic, and you won't regret it!

These turkey club picnic sandwiches are the perfect savory lunch for a fun outing!
Turkey Club Picnic Sandwiches

4 crusty sandwich rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh pesto
1 pound thinly sliced deli turkey
1/2 pound thinly sliced provolone
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and cooled
1 large ripe avocado
1 large ripe tomato
2 cups lettuce, roughly chopped

Slice the sandwich rolls in half lengthwise. Mix together the mayonnaise and pesto, and spread both side of each roll with the pesto mayo. Assemble each sandwich by layering turkey, provolone, bacon, avocado, tomato, and lettuce. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
These turkey club picnic sandwiches are the perfect savory lunch for a fun outing!

For more delicious picnic recipes, check out some of these favorites from my blogging friends!

21 Perfect Picnic Recipes from your favorite food bloggers!

S'more Truffle pops from Ashlee Marie 
Macaroni Salad from Like Mother Like Daughter
Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad from Kara's Creations
Italian Orzo Pasta Salad from The Stay at Home Chef
Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad from Life Made Simple
Slow Cooker Savory Baked Beans from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches from Real Mom Kitchen
BBQ Chicken Salad Wraps from Summer Scraps
Cheese and Sausage Kolache from Ashlee Marie
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork from Like Mother Like Daughter
Secret Ingredient Potato Salad from Kara's Creations
Pressed Italian Picnic Sandwiches from The Stay at Home Chef
Graham Cracker S'mores Bars from Life Made Simple
Wheat Berry Salad from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Ham and Havarti Sub Sandwiches from Real Mom Kitchen
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad from Summer Scraps
Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Wraps from The Baker Upstairs
Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps from The Baker Upstairs
Basic Potato Salad from The Baker Upstairs
Strawberry Lemonade from The Baker Upstairs

6.17.2016

9 Fantastic Father's Day Menus

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20+ Father's Day meal ideas for your favorite guy!

Father's Day dinner and brunch ideas that any guy will love!

So hey, gentle readers! It's Cort again from Little Red Hen and I've got a Father's Day roundup with recipes ready for all the guys you love. I like Father's Day because Father's Day means really good food. Growing up, my dad worked a lot.When he happened to be home on a Sunday, he always spent the evening experimenting in the kitchen, creating delicious and memorable dinners for our family. Consequently, our family spent a lot of time just hanging out in the kitchen. Now that we are all grown and married, we still congregate there!

Once my dad and mom put together a restaurant called MoDas for us, creating a menu which featured all our favorite foods in three courses. That is impressive considering there are four kids in our family! My parents blocked the entry to the kitchen with tablecloths so we couldn't guess what was going on, marked the entrance to the "restaurant" with block-letter signs drawn with red magic marker, and my dad was our waiter. Even though that was 25 years ago, I still remember the stuffed shells I "ordered." -sigh-

While my mom taught me how to bake, my dad taught me to experiment boldly and with confidence in the kitchen. Watching him toss things into the frying pan without a recipe taught me that sometimes it is fine to just eyeball ingredients and throw the recipes out the window... as long as you use lots of olive oil and garlic!

But, if you are a follow-the-recipe person, or need some Father's Day menu ideas, here you go! I've put together 9 menus based on different dad taste-buds. Fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, mentors- we've all been influenced by amazing men and what better way to celebrate them than with food, right!?!

Bake the bread. Share the slices.

Burger Dad
Carolina Style Burgers from Sugardish



Easy German Potato Salad from Yellow Bliss Road 


No Bake Strawberry Shortcake from Lil' Luna 



Brunch Dad
Liege Waffles from The Baker Upstairs


Million Dollar Bacon the Sweetest Occasion



Bacon-Lover Dad
Brown Sugar Baked Beans from the Chunky Chef


Monterey Chicken from the Baker Upstairs



Vegetarian Dad


Homemade Naan Bread from Clever Housewife


Toasted Coconut No Churn Ice Cream from Yellow Bliss Road



Meat and Potatoes Dad
Barbecue Pot Roast from The Gunny Sack


Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Steamy Kitchen




Brick Street Chocolate Cake from Through Her Looking Glass


Grill Master Dad
Best Grilled Chicken from Noble Pig


Grilled Vegetable Salad from Proud Italian Cook


Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Whipped Cream from Spicy Southern Kitchen



Tex-Mex Dad
Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Tacos from The Spice Kit Recipes



Mexican Corn on the Cob from Pinch and Swirl


Honey Lime Berry Salad from Somewhat Simple



Deep Fried Dad
The Best Oven Fried Chicken from The Baker Upstairs


Boardwalk Fries from Tide and Thyme 


Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw from Lil' Luna


Churro Cupcakes from The Baker Upstairs

6.10.2016

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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This chocolate zucchini cake is so rich and delicious, you would never guess there is over two cups of zucchini inside. The perfect way to use up all that summer zucchini!

This chocolate zucchini cake is so rich and delicious, you would never guess there is over two cups of zucchini inside. The perfect way to use up all that summer zucchini!

Oh, boy, this cake. You wouldn't think that chocolate zucchini cake could be life-changingly good, but here we are. I know I say a lot of cakes are my favorite, but I think this one might actually be my favorite. I like chocolate cake, but it has to satisfy a lot of requirements... it has to be rich (but not so rich that I can't make it through a piece), it has to be moist but not soggy, it has to hold together well and not crumble. This chocolate zucchini cake passes all my requirements with flying colors! I'm prepared to say that it is the best chocolate cake I make, better than the cakes that use butter and aren't full of vegetables. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true! If you didn't know, you honestly would never guess that this cake has zucchini in it. There's no zucchini taste, and no change to the texture, except that the cake is extra tender and moist because of it. This really is chocolate cake perfection!

This chocolate zucchini cake is so rich and delicious, you would never guess there is over two cups of zucchini inside. The perfect way to use up all that summer zucchini!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 heaping cups peeled, shredded zucchini
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together oil, sugar, vanilla, egg, and milk. Fold in zucchini. In a small bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 25-28 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before frosting.

To frost, I used the chocolate frosting from this recipe, which went great with the cake!

adapted from Lulu the Baker
This chocolate zucchini cake is so rich and delicious, you would never guess there is over two cups of zucchini inside. The perfect way to use up all that summer zucchini!

6.08.2016

One Pot Chicken Cacciatore

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This one pot chicken cacciatore is so savory and delicious! Full of summer vegetables and tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken, it's an easy dinner the whole family will love!

This one pot chicken cacciatore is so savory and delicious! Full of summer vegetables and tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken, it's an easy dinner the whole family will love!

We've got big news at our house... we found out a few weeks ago that we are moving to Oregon! My husband got a really great job at a hospital in Portland, and we'll be moving up at the end of July. As excited as I am about moving (and I really am) I'm already stressing about everything that needs to be done before we go! One of the big things on my list is clearing out our fridge, freezer, and pantry. I'm trying really hard not to spend more than about $20/week on groceries in the time before we move, and instead trying to use up all that good food I've stockpiled. So far I've planned out the next two weeks without needing to go to the store for anything except milk, and I'm hoping that I can keep the good momentum going!

The first meal I planned was this delicious one pot chicken cacciatore. I haven't had chicken cacciatore since I was a kid, and wasn't sure how it would turn out. It was completely delicious! I was kind of amazed by how flavorful and tender the chicken ended up, especially since I was using chicken legs I've had in the freezer for months. I didn't have any mushrooms on hand (which are pretty traditional in cacciatore), but some of my stockpiled zucchini subbed in nicely and made it a little more summery. I wasn't sure how well my kids would like it, knowing how much they hate onions, but they both (surprisingly) cleaned their plates. It got a thumbs up from the whole family, and it's definitely one I'd make again!
One Pot Chicken Cacciatore

2 pounds bone in, skin on chicken pieces (I used chicken legs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat (I used a dutch oven). Add the chicken and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from heat and cover with foil. Add the onions and garlic to the pot, and stir until fragrant. Add the carrots and zucchini, and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and gently scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken to the pot and add the diced tomatoes, worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and falls off the bone. Serve hot over rice or pasta.
This one pot chicken cacciatore is so savory and delicious! Full of summer vegetables and tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken, it's an easy dinner the whole family will love!

6.06.2016

Watermelon Lemonade

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This watermelon lemonade is incredibly refreshing and only four ingredients. The perfect way to keep cool all summer long!

This watermelon lemonade is incredibly refreshing and only four ingredients. The perfect way to keep cool all summer long!

It has been SO HOT around here this week. We were lucky enough to have a pretty mild spring, and it's been in the 70's and 80's up until this week, when it has suddenly been in the 90's every day. We've hit up the splash pad and gone through the drive through at Sonic for some cold drinks a few times, but it's getting hard to keep cool! I think part of the problem is that our bodies haven't acclimated to the warmer weather yet (so hopefully it will get better as the summer goes on), but the kiddos and I seem to be dying of thirst all day long. This watermelon lemonade is the epitome of refreshing! It's made with fresh lemon juice and fresh watermelon, and sure to quench your thirst all summer long. I was a little skeptical about the combination of lemon and watermelon, but the flavors blend really well and make for the perfect sweet and tangy lemonade. I love that this recipe is only four ingredients, and super quick to make. We will definitely be making it all summer long!

This watermelon lemonade is incredibly refreshing and only four ingredients. The perfect way to keep cool all summer long!

Watermelon Lemonade

8 cups watermelon, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used eight small-ish lemons)
1 cup sugar
3 cups cold water
2 cups ice

Add the watermelon cubes to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the watermelon through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher, using a rubber spatula to press out the juice. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and water, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ice and chill until serving.

It definitely passed the kiddo approval test! :)

This watermelon lemonade is incredibly refreshing and only four ingredients. The perfect way to keep cool all summer long!
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