The Baker Upstairs: September 2017

9.22.2017

Halloween Mini Pizzas

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These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

Confession: my family has had our Halloween decorations up for over a week already! Halloween is our favorite holiday to celebrate as a family, and we go all out with decorations, scary movies, way too much candy, and fun Halloween food. My kids think about their Halloween costumes all year long, and love trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. My husband (who somehow always manages to be scheduled to work on Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, my birthday, etc.) is adamant about having the night off so we can enjoy the holiday as a family. As soon as those Halloween decorations appear in the stores, we decorate the house and get started celebrating!

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

These Halloween mini pizzas are always a favorite with my kids! They love being able to choose their own designs and help me roll out the dough, spread the sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and add the decorations. They come out of the oven super cute and tasty too!

This spider pizza is definitely my favorite! I'm not a big fan of real spiders, but these olive ones are pretty darn cute. :)

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

My girls loved the jack o'lantern pizza (mostly because they love pepperoni!).

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

The mummy didn't look quite as adorable after it was baked, but it was my kids' favorite one to make, because they loved tearing the strips from the string cheese. It was a great activity for my incredibly energetic six year old (although I think she ate as much string cheese as she put on the pizza).

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

These Halloween mini pizzas would be perfect for a Halloween party! You could easy double or triple the recipe and let each of the kids make their own pizza, or assemble them all in advance so they're ready to go. They would also be perfect for a fun dinner just before trick-or-treating!

These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!
Halloween Mini Pizzas

for the crust:
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

for topping:
1/2 cup pizza sauce
pepperoni slices
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
string cheese
black olives

In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit five minutes, or until bubbly. Add the flour and salt, and mix until a dough forms. Knead gently, adding more flour as needed, to form a soft dough. Cover and let rest 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500. Divide the dough into six even pieces and let rest five minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner and sprinkle with cornmeal.

To make the spider pizza, pat the dough into a circle that is approximately five inches in diameter. Spread with pizza sauce, then top with mozzarella cheese. Cut a black olive in half lengthwise and place one half cut side down to form the body. Cut the end off an olive to form the head. Slice the remaining olive pieces into thin slices to form the legs and arrange on the sides of the body.

To make the jack o'lantern pizza, pinch a small piece of dough off of the ball and set aside. Shape the remaining dough into an oval pumpkin shape. Roll the small piece of dough into a stem shape and press to the top of the pumpkin shape. Spread with pizza sauce and top with mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. Cut slices of pepperoni into a jack o'lantern face shape and arrange on pizza.

To make the mummy pizza, tear the string cheese into thin strips. Pat the dough into a five inch circle and spread with pizza sauce. Place two olive slices near the top for the eyes. Layer the string cheese strips over the top of the pizza to look like a mummy's wrappings.

Place the pizzas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes, or until the crust is starting to brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
These Halloween mini pizzas are adorable and so easy to make! A fun and delicious Halloween dinner the whole family will love!

9.20.2017

Instant Pot Cinnamon Applesauce

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This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!

This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!

Homemade applesauce is where it's at! My kids absolutely love applesauce, and we go through it like crazy. I buy two big Costco-sized boxes of applesauce pouches every month for their lunches, and they never seem to get tired of it. There's something even more delicious about homemade applesauce, though! It has such a nice flavor, and I love that you can adjust the sugar level, depending on the sweetness of your apples. I've been canning applesauce every fall for the last few years, and it's a fun way to celebrate the season. We usually go pick around 50 pounds of apples at a local orchard, slice and boil them, and then process them using my KitchenAid grinder attachment. It's a ton of work, but so worth it!

This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!

This week, though, I found myself with around a dozen extra apples that needed to be used up. It wasn't enough to pull out the canner and do the whole complicated process, so I started doing research online and found this awesome recipe for Instant Pot applesauce. I'm sure you know by now how much I love my Instant Pot, so it was a no-brainer! 

This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!

This applesauce could not be simpler to make, and it tastes amazing! I used a variety of apples (some gala, some golden delicious, and some jazz apples), and I definitely think the flavor is better if you use more than one variety. I served our applesauce on the side with some roasted pork chops and potatoes for dinner, and it was delicious! 

This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!
Instant Pot Cinnamon Applesauce

10 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and toss to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Let naturally release for 10-15 minutes, then pull the valve to release the pressure completely. Mash the apples with a potato masher, or blend using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Don't forget to pin this recipe for later!

This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!

For more delicious apple recipes that are perfect for fall, check out some of my favorites below:



9.18.2017

Cheeseburger Pasta + 19 Juicy Cheeseburger Recipes

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This delicious and savory cheeseburger pasta is quick and easy to make, and sure to be a favorite with the whole family!

This delicious and savory cheeseburger pasta is quick and easy to make, and sure to be a favorite with the whole family!

Hey friends! Did you know it's National Cheeseburger Day? What better way to celebrate than with some delicious cheeseburger pasta? I took my favorite homemade mac and cheese recipe, stirred in some ground beef and diced tomatoes, and topped the skillet with some fresh chopped tomatoes and green onions. The result is a tasty meal that the whole family will love!

This delicious and savory cheeseburger pasta is quick and easy to make, and sure to be a favorite with the whole family!

This cheeseburger pasta is almost like those boxed pasta mixes that I loved as a child, but so much better because it's homemade! It's so flavorful and delicious, and I love the combination of savory meat, gooey and cheesy sauce, and tender pasta. It's perfect for a busy night when you don't have a lot of time to cook, but still want something delicious!

This delicious and savory cheeseburger pasta is quick and easy to make, and sure to be a favorite with the whole family!
Cheeseburger Pasta

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1/2 pound shell pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
for topping: fresh chopped tomatoes, green onions

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste. Let cook 2-3 minutes until golden. Gradually add the milk, whisking so there are no lumps. Let cook for a few minutes until thickened, then gradually add the chicken broth, continuing to whisk constantly. Whisk in the salt and pepper, then let the mixture cook for a few minutes, until thickened to desired consistency. Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard and cheese until melted. Add the drained pasta, ground beef, and diced tomatoes. Return to heat and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. Sprinkle with fresh tomatoes and green onions, and serve hot.
This delicious and savory cheeseburger pasta is quick and easy to make, and sure to be a favorite with the whole family!

For more delicious cheeseburger recipes, check out the posts below!

19 Delicious Cheeseburger Recipes!

Fantastic cheeseburger recipes from my Celebrating Food blogging friends:

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie from Creations by Kara
Cheeseburger Cobb Salad from Real Mom Kitchen
Tri-Tip Chili Cheeseburger from Hey Grill Hey
Instant Pot Cheeseburger Soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Easy Cheeseburger Dip from Gather for Bread

and even more fantastic cheeseburger recipes from around the web:

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza from Somewhat Simple
Cheeseburger Soup from Lil' Luna
Bacon and Egg Cheeseburger from Like Mother Like Daughter
Cheeseburger Egg Rolls from The 36th Avenue
In-N-Out Burger Copycat from Your Homebased Mom
Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs from Spend with Pennies
Cheeseburger Lettuce Wraps from Life in the Lofthouse
Baked Cheeseburger Bacon Sliders from Noshing with the Nolands
Old Fashioned Cheeseburgers from Martha Stewart
Rodeo Cheeseburgers from Center Cut Cook
All American Bacon Cheeseburger Dip from The Cookie Rookie
Cheeseburger Quesadillas from Culinary Hill

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9.13.2017

21 Delicious Instant Pot Recipes

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21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Okay, friends, what is your favorite kitchen appliance? For me, it's a toss up between my KitchenAid mixer and my Instant Pot. I use both of them almost daily, and I seriously don't know how I would cook without them! I've only owned my Instant Pot for about a year now, but it has totally changed the way I cook. I think that in the year since I bought it, I have only pulled out my slow cooker maybe twice. The Instant Pot is just so much faster to use! I'm pretty terrible at planning ahead and remembering to plug in the crock pot in the morning, so it's a lifesaver to be able to throw things in the Instant Pot and have them ready in under an hour. I'm amazed at the variety of things you can make in the Instant Pot! I've rounded up some of my favorites below, and I hope you'll find a new recipe to try!

Barbacoa Tacos from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Baked Potato Soup from Living Locurto

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Honey Sesame Chicken from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Baby Back Pork Ribs from I Wash You Dry

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Pork Carnitas from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Beef Stew from Budget Bytes

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Refried Beans from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Chocolate Lava Cake from Paint the Kitchen Red

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Easy Mac and Cheese from Center Cut Cook

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Boiled Eggs from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

15 Minute Orange Chicken from A Fork's Tale

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Chicken Tortilla Soup from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Instant Pot Pho from Lexi's Clean Kitchen

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Chicken Noodle Soup from Number 2 Pencil

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Chicken Breast from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

French Dip Sandwiches from Number 2 Pencil

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Brown Rice from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Salsa Chicken Tacos from Cooking Classy

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Mashed Potatoes from The Baker Upstairs

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

Baked Beans from The Typical Mom

21 delicious and easy Instant Pot recipes - everything from main dishes to sides to dessert!

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9.11.2017

Instant Pot Barbacoa Tacos

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These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!

These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!

Oh, tacos. I love tacos! I shared these pork carnitas tacos a few weeks ago, and now I'm excited to share their sister tacos, these lovely beef barbacoa tacos. They're made using a similar method, and they're both deliciously flavorful and savory. One of my favorite things about using the Instant Pot is that it cooks everything very quickly, but the food tastes like it was cooked low and slow. It's a win-win!

I don't have a lot of experience with cooking beef, and I'm always a little nervous about cooking a roast, because it feels like a lot of money to waste if it doesn't turn out well. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy these tacos were to make, and how awesome they turned out! The beef is tender and juicy, and the combination of flavors is excellent! 

These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!

I found that two teaspoons of minced chipotles in adobo was perfect for my spice preference, but you can add more or less to taste. If you haven't cooked with them before, you can usually find them on the Mexican aisle at the grocery store, near the enchilada sauce and salsa. They add a nice flavor boost, but they're definitely on the spicy side. (I think my kids would have been happier if I had left them out, but they said their tacos were yummy, even if it they were "too hot!") These tacos taste as good as any I've had from a restaurant, but they were so easy to make at home! 

These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!
Instant Pot Barbacoa Tacos

2 pounds chuck roast
1 tablespoon oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
for serving: flour tortillas, cilantro, red onions, pico de gallo, etc.

Heat the Instant Pot in sauté mode. Trim the excess fat from the roast and cut into large chunks. Add the oil to the instant pot and add half of the beef, turning to brown all sides. Remove to a clean plate and repeat with remaining beef. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until slightly translucent, 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the beef broth, lime juice, chilies, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and cloves. Return the beef to the Instant Pot, and pour the sauce over the top. Place the cover on the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 60 minutes, then let naturally release for 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot using a slotted spoon and shred. Return the meat to the cooking liquid. Serve hot with warm flour tortillas, cilantro, and red onion.

adapted from Taste and Tell
These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!

For the perfect side dishes for your barbacoa tacos, check out these delicious recipes below:



9.08.2017

Savory Meat Pies

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These delicious and savory meat pies are so easy to make, and taste amazing!

These delicious and savory meat pies are so easy to make, and taste amazing!

Now that it's September, it's finally time to break out the comfort food! Portland hasn't quite gotten the memo yet about lowering the temperatures, but I'm pushing ahead with all of my favorite fall foods regardless. These savory meat pies are incredibly delicious and so easy to make, too! I saw the recipe on my friend Cort's blog ages ago, and I've been wanting to make them ever since. With my newfound skills in making homemade pie crust, the time was finally ripe to try them. They definitely did not disappoint! The filling is incredibly flavorful, and I love the fun little boost of flavor from the dijon mustard and cheddar cheese. My kids are not big fans of cabbage, but they both ate their pies with no complaints. The cabbage is really tender and mellow in these pies, and not overpowering at all. My husband and I loved these pies too, and we will definitely make them many times over the fall and winter months!

These delicious and savory meat pies are so easy to make, and taste amazing!
Savory Meat Pies

2 pie crusts (I made my own using this recipe)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 450. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef with the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper, until cooked through. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring regularly, until wilted, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mustard and cheese. Cut the pie crusts into six inch circles (I used a bowl to cut mine). Scoop about 1/2 cup of filling onto one side of each circle. Fold the top of the crust over and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Poke holes in the top with a fork, or make slashes on the top with a sharp knife to release steam. Place on a lightly greased or lined baking sheet, and repeat with remaining pie crust (you may need to re-roll the dough). In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water, then brush the egg mixture over the pies. Bake 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.

adapted slightly from Little Red Hen
Don't forget to pin this recipe for later!

These delicious and savory meat pies are so easy to make, and taste amazing!

For more delicious beef main dishes, check out some of my favorites below:



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