the baker upstairs: March 2016

3.31.2016

Monterey Chicken

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This flavorful Monterey chicken is smothered in barbecue sauce, gooey cheese, fresh green onions and tomatoes, and crispy bacon. An easy and delicious main dish the whole family will love!

This flavorful Monterey chicken is smothered in barbecue sauce, gooey cheese, fresh green onions and tomatoes, and crispy bacon. An easy and delicious main dish the whole family will love!

Are you ready for some of the most flavorful and delicious chicken you've ever had in your life? This Monterey chicken has a lot of things going for it: it's super easy and quick to prepare, it's full of delicious flavors, and it's tasty enough to win over even the pickiest of eaters. I've seen it going around on Pinterest for a while, but decided to finally try it after seeing it on my friend Cort's blog. (She has great instructions for making it into a freezer meal, too, so definitely go check out her post!) I've mentioned before that I really don't like to spend more than about 30 minutes on dinner, and this recipe is perfect for that!

This flavorful Monterey chicken is smothered in barbecue sauce, gooey cheese, fresh green onions and tomatoes, and crispy bacon. An easy and delicious main dish the whole family will love!

I'll warn you that the recipe does make a bit of a mess, so I think it's really helpful to line your baking sheet with parchment or foil (otherwise you'll have a sticky barbecue sauce mess to clean up). This recipe is definitely a keeper and is going to be added to our meal rotation on a regular basis!

This flavorful Monterey chicken is smothered in barbecue sauce, gooey cheese, fresh green onions and tomatoes, and crispy bacon. An easy and delicious main dish the whole family will love!
Monterey Chicken

3 large chicken breasts, trimmed
2/3 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray with cooking spray. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to form two thin fillets from each breast. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet and brush with half of the barbecue sauce. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and brush with remaining barbecue sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon, green onions, and tomato. Return to oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot with mashed potatoes or rice on the side.

This flavorful Monterey chicken is smothered in barbecue sauce, gooey cheese, fresh green onions and tomatoes, and crispy bacon. An easy and delicious main dish the whole family will love!

3.29.2016

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

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Perfect peanut butter cookies - crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and incredibly delicious!

Perfect peanut butter cookies - crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and incredibly delicious!

For weeks now, I've been craving a good peanut butter cookie. I started by searching the blog, sure I must have figured out a great peanut butter cookie in the past and just forgotten about it (as I am prone to do). I soon discovered that the only peanut butter cookie recipe on here is this vegan one that I posted a million years ago. Now, don't get me wrong, those cookies are good, but a cookie made with olive oil just isn't going to have the same crumbly texture and melt-in-your-mouth quality as a cookie made with butter. I knew I needed a really good recipe, so I figured it was time to finally pull out the amazing cookbook I bought on our trip to Portland last summer. I was wandering around Powell's (which, by the way, is pretty much just a national treasure) and stumbled across the most adorable cookbook from Back in the Day Bakery. It's gorgeous, with beautiful photos and easy to follow recipes. They had a recipe for PB&J sandwich cookies that looked promising, so I gave it a try (sans the jam because I was feeling lazy). The cookies turned out amazing! I don't think I've ever tasted a better peanut butter cookie.  They have the perfect texture, somehow managing to be crumbly, chewy, and crisp all at the same time. I love that they have just the right amount of peanut butter flavor, too. These are definitely my go-to peanut butter cookies from here on out!

Perfect peanut butter cookies - crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and incredibly delicious!

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter, until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt, to form a thick dough. Scoop the dough into one inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches in between to allow for spreading. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand, then make a criss-cross on top with a fork. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown.

adapted slightly from Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love

Perfect peanut butter cookies - crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and incredibly delicious!

3.21.2016

Irish Soda Bread

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This sweet Irish soda bread is crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and super delicious!

This sweet Irish soda bread is crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and super delicious!

I'm not going to lie, I'm really excited it is finally spring! This winter has seriously been the toughest one I can remember. The whole winter is just a blur of gray days and snow and gloominess in my memory. I'm so ready for warmer days and sunshine and spending all our time outside. St. Patrick's Day is always the gateway to spring for me, and this year I went all out (for me, anyway). I bought the kiddos cute green shamrock shirts, I bought shamrock stickers to decorate my husband's ID tag for work (he was worried about being pinched), I made Guinness beef stew in the slow cooker for dinner, and I whipped up a batch of this delicious Irish soda bread as a side. I've been making soda bread for years, but this was the first time I've tried a sweet variation instead of a savory one, and it was fantastic! It was a favorite with the whole family. My girls ate it toasted the next morning with butter and cinnamon sugar, and loved it. Yum!

This sweet Irish soda bread is crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and super delicious!

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup raisins
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, orange zest, and raisins. Grate the butter into the bowl and toss to mix. Whisk together the buttermilk and egg, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until a soft shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a ball and score an X on the top of the dough ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 45-55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

adapted from Life is but a Dish

This sweet Irish soda bread is crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and super delicious!

3.17.2016

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

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This baked teriyaki salmon is super simple to make and incredibly flavorful and delicious!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm celebrating by, um, apparently not sharing a St. Patrick's Day recipe. There's a lot of green in the picture, so that counts, right? We will be eating guinness beef stew and Irish lemon pudding for dinner tonight, but I wanted to share this baked teriyaki salmon today because it's too good not to share immediately! Tender salmon fillets covered in a savory and delicious homemade sesame teriyaki sauce, and baked to perfection. What could be better? It's delicious enough to win over any fish hater. My five year old, who has decided that pretty much all food is yucky lately, cleaned her plate. Major win!

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 pound salmon fillets

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking dish with parchment or foil. Place the salmon fillets in the baking dish and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the corn starch, water, sugar, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat. Simmer 3-5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and pour over the salmon. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. Serve over rice.

This baked teriyaki salmon is super simple to make and incredibly flavorful and delicious!

3.14.2016

Baked Cheddar Chicken

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This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

This recipe combines two of my very favorite things: cheese and chicken. Does it get any better than that? We eat chicken for dinner 3-4 days a week, and it's always a favorite at our house. I'm always on the lookout for fun new ways to prepare chicken, to change things up a little, and I was super excited when I came across this recipe from Or Whatever You Do. If you haven't visited Nicole's site before, it's a great mix of delicious recipes, blogging tips, and fun life snippets (her post on the school drop off line cracks me up to no end!). Nicole's baked cheddar chicken looked amazing and I couldn't wait to try it! The only change I made to her recipe was to leave out the wine in the sauce because I didn't have any on hand (I'm sure it would have been delicious with the wine, though!).

This chicken is super tender and flavorful, and the crunchy cheese coating is to die for. This chicken was a huge hit with the whole family, and it's pretty simple to prepare, too! You'll start with some chicken breast strips, and egg and milk mixture, grated cheddar cheese, and a mixture of crushed saltines, Cheez-Its, and panko.

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

Dip the chicken into each dish, pressing the cheese and the cracker mixture to the chicken to coat, then place in a baking dish.

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

While the chicken is baking, you'll whip together a lovely creamy sauce to go on top. The sauce bumps up the flavor even more and makes it super delicious!

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

The chicken comes out of the oven golden and crispy and perfect.

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

Top it with the sauce and serve alongside some mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies, and it's a delicious and easy dinner!

This baked cheddar chicken is so flavorful and delicious. A quick and easy recipe that will be a new family favorite!

For the full recipe and directions, go visit Or Whatever You Do!

3.06.2016

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies + 24 more delicious Oreo recipes

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These Oreo chocolate chip cookies are super delicious and easy to make!

Hi friends! I know I don't normally post on Sundays, but today I'm making an exception, because it's National Oreo Day! I've teamed up with my fellow #celebratingfood bloggers to share some delicious Oreo treats with you. I have to admit, I was kind of stumped this month trying to think of a delicious Oreo recipe. My favorite way to eat Oreos is pretty much just straight out of the package (milk optional). I don't usually even make Oreo pie crusts. Finally it hit me - put them in my favorite chocolate chip cookies!

These Oreo chocolate chip cookies are super delicious and easy to make!

These Oreo chocolate chip cookies are delicious! The Oreos add a fun flavor to the cookies that totally complements the chocolate chip cookie vibe. I also really love the mix of semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. They're fun to look at and delicious to eat!

These Oreo chocolate chip cookies are super delicious and easy to make!

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Oreo cookies, crushed
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir to combine. Fold in the Oreo cookies, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. Roll the dough into one inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

These Oreo chocolate chip cookies are super delicious and easy to make!

And because those aren't enough, here are 24 more delicious recipes with OREO cookies! ENJOY.

3.04.2016

Instax and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

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Who’s up for a FUN GIVEAWAY!!

With Spring Break and warm weather approaching, we thought it would be fun to host a great giveaway for you guys!

Today, we will be giving away TWO FUJI Instax Cameras along with TWO $100 Amazon Gift Cards - a camera and gift card for YOU and a camera and gift card for a FRIEND. Pretty sweet, right? There's nothing better than winning an awesome prize as well as being able to give a prize to friend or family member. :)

The cameras will help you capture your family fun in the coming week and the gift cards can help with those last-minute spring break items you need.

Don’t forget to click over to all the talented bloggers that are helping make this giveaway possible! You’ll love them!


You have 16 opportunities to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below! The giveaway will run from MARCH 4TH, 2016 at 12:00 am through MARCH 10TH, 2016 at 11:59pm. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond, before a new winner is chosen!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
GOOD LUCK FRIENDS!

This giveaway is open everyone, not just US residents. The winner must be 18 or older and will be chosen via the Rafflecopter form at random.

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