The Baker Upstairs: 2018

12.08.2018

Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

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These fudgy chocolate gingerbread brownies are so delicious! The combination of dark chocolate with a hint of spice makes these brownies unforgettable!

These fudgy chocolate gingerbread brownies are so delicious! The combination of dark chocolate with a hint of spice makes these brownies unforgettable!

It's National Chocolate Brownie Day today! And you know what that means... I'm sharing another tasty brownie recipe with you. This chocolate gingerbread brownie recipe is perfect for this time of year, and tastes amazing. I really think these are some of the best brownies I've ever made! The chocolate and gingerbread flavors are the perfect combination in these luscious brownies. They have the most amazing chewy and fudgy texture, just the right touch of spice, and are decadent without being too sweet. They're perfect with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot cocoa on the side. My whole family absolutely loved these brownies!

These fudgy chocolate gingerbread brownies are so delicious! The combination of dark chocolate with a hint of spice makes these brownies unforgettable!
Chocolate Gingerbread Brownies

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat the oven to 325. Line an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, and molasses. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and mix until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted 1 1/2 inches from the side of the pan comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let cool 20-30 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
These fudgy chocolate gingerbread brownies are so delicious! The combination of dark chocolate with a hint of spice makes these brownies unforgettable!

For more decadent chocolate brownie recipes, be sure to check out these fabulous posts from my Celebrating Food blogging friends!


Easy Homemade Brownies from Pretty Providence
Black Bean Brownies from Savory Experiments
Brownie Peppermint Ice Cream Pie from Real Mom Kitchen
Healthy Brownies from Namely Marly
Simple Chocolate Orange Brownies from An Italian in My Kitchen
Reese's Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies from Creations by Kara
Christmas Tree Brownies from Supergolden Bakes

and even more fantastic brownie recipes from The Baker Upstairs:


11.06.2018

Chicken Fajita Nachos

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These chicken fajita nachos are so flavorful and delicious! They're perfect for game day or parties!

These chicken fajita nachos are so flavorful and delicious! They're perfect for game day or parties!

It's National Nacho Day today! (It's also Election Day in the US, so if you haven't voted yet, go and vote post haste!) Nachos are actually one of my favorite foods, so it's a little surprising to me that I don't already have any nacho recipes on the blog. They're one of my go-to super easy dinners for nights when I don't feel like doing anything. I love that they are so customizable, and I can top them with whatever I happen to have on hand. Leftover sautéed vegetables from last night? Throw them on! Leftover taco meat in the fridge? Throw it on! Half a can of olives sitting randomly in the fridge from pizza night last week? Throw them on! Sometimes we make them with just plain cheese and a little salsa on top, and they're still delicious.

These chicken fajita nachos are so flavorful and delicious! They're perfect for game day or parties!

These chicken fajita nachos are one of my favorite nacho variations! They start with a flavorful chicken fajita mixture, then are smothered with colby jack cheese, then baked in the oven until they are crispy and melty and delicious. They're festive enough to serve for a party or game day get-together, but easy enough to make for a lazy weeknight dinner. They are nacho perfection!

These chicken fajita nachos are so flavorful and delicious! They're perfect for game day or parties!
Chicken Fajita Nachos

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large chicken breast, trimmed and sliced thinly
1/2 medium red pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 medium green pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons water
4-6 cups tortilla chips
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
additional garnishes as desired (sour cream, salsa, guacamole, fresh cilantro, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add the red pepper, green pepper, and onion to the skillet, and cook until softened. Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt, lime juice, and water, and stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Spread the tortilla chips in an even layer over a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the fajita chicken mixture over the top of the chips, then top with colby jack cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and crisp. Remove from the oven and top with garnishes as desired. Serve immediately.
Be sure to check out these other fabulous nacho recipes from my Celebrating Food blogging friends!

10 mouthwatering nacho recipes, perfect for celebrating National Nacho Day!
Cheesecake Dessert Nachos from Ashlee Marie
Nacho Soup from Creations by Kara
Buffalo Chicken Nachos from Savory Experiments
Easy Dessert Nachos from Real Mom Kitchen
Vegan Nacho Cheese from Namely Marly
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Nachos from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Spicy Pulled Pork Nachos from Supergolden Bakes
Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce from My Mommy Style

11.02.2018

Asiago Cheese Bagels

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These quick asiago cheese bagels take way less time than traditional bagels, but they are every bit as delicious. They're packed with cheese, and so tender and chewy!

These quick asiago cheese bagels take way less time than traditional bagels, but they are every bit as delicious. They're packed with cheese, and so tender and chewy!

Are you more of a sweet or savory breakfast person? My husband could eat cinnamon rolls, danishes, and sugary cereal for breakfast every day of the week, but I am totally a savory girl at heart. When we lived in Utah, my favorite place to go for a quick breakfast was Rich's Bagels. I always ordered an asiago cheese bagel, sometimes in a bagel sandwich, and they were always heavenly. I don't know what it is about their bagels, but they are transcendently delicious! Every time we go back to visit Utah, I buy a dozen asiago cheese bagels, bring them home, and freeze them for those days when I am especially homesick. They actually reheat pretty well, and I love getting my asiago cheese fix whenever I need it. They are just so good!

Since the closest Rich's Bagels location is about 800 miles away, I decided it was definitely necessary to make my own version of their bagels at home. They're not exactly the same, but they are equally delicious. The best part (of course) is the huge mound of asiago cheese on top of the bagel, but the bagel itself is pretty fantastic too. They're chewy on the outside, but still light and tender on the inside. The recipe itself is fairly quick too (only about 2 hours, as compared to 24+ hours for traditional bagel recipes), so if you wake up craving bagels, you can have hot bagels on the table by lunchtime. When I posted pictures of these bagels on instagram, a friend commented that she wished she could make homemade bagels too. Well, have no fear - these bagels are totally doable! They have just a handful of ingredients, and they're simple and straightforward to make. Plus they're so good that you won't believe you made them yourself!

These quick asiago cheese bagels take way less time than traditional bagels, but they are every bit as delicious. They're packed with cheese, and so tender and chewy!
Asiago Cheese Bagels

8 ounces asiago cheese
2 cups warm water
2 packets active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Let sit until bubbled and foamy. Add the salt and 4 cups of flour, and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a smooth and non-sticky dough forms (I used about 5 cups total). Knead until elastic, then place in a lightly greased bowl to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

After one hour, punch down the dough and divide into 15 equal sized pieces (about 3 ounces each). Roll each into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, grate the cheese into a shallow dish and set aside. After thirty minutes, push your finger through the middle of each bagel to make a bagel shape and return to the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the brown sugar. Add bagels to the water, 3-4 at a time, and cook for two minutes, then flip and let cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the bagels one at a time and place them in the grated cheese, lightly pressing to coat with cheese. Return the bagels to the baking sheet and continue with the remaining bagels (you will most likely need another baking sheet). Bake 28-35 minutes, or until the cheese is golden. Remove and let cool before slicing and serving.
These quick asiago cheese bagels take way less time than traditional bagels, but they are every bit as delicious. They're packed with cheese, and so tender and chewy!

10.28.2018

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

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This homemade chocolate syrup is way better than store-bought, and perfect for everything from making chocolate milk to drizzling on waffles!

This homemade chocolate syrup is way better than store-bought, and perfect for everything from making chocolate milk to drizzling on waffles!

Hey friends! It's National Chocolate Day today, and I am so excited to share this homemade chocolate syrup recipe with you! It is a staple at our house, and the perfect way to add chocolate flavor to pretty much anything. We use it to make the most amazing chocolate milk (bonus points if you use whole milk and add a tiny pinch of salt!) and as a topping for pretty much everything, from pancakes to waffles to ice cream. It has a rich chocolate flavor, and is silky smooth and the perfect consistency for drizzling.

This chocolate syrup will keep for several weeks in the fridge, so it's easy to make a big batch and then use it for EVERYTHING. Because if you can add chocolate to something, why wouldn't you? :) I store mine in a pint sized mason jar with a pour lid, and it works great. I love that it's made with simple ingredients from the pantry that I pretty much always have on hand. I'm a sucker for pantry staples I can make at home, and simple recipes always seem to be my favorites. This homemade chocolate syrup is definitely a winner!

This homemade chocolate syrup is way better than store-bought, and perfect for everything from making chocolate milk to drizzling on waffles!
Homemade Chocolate Syrup

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except vanilla. Heat over medium heat until boiling, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened (about five minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour into a mason jar and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Use 1-2 teaspoons in milk to make awesome chocolate milk, or drizzle over ice cream (or waffles). Enjoy!
This homemade chocolate syrup is way better than store-bought, and perfect for everything from making chocolate milk to drizzling on waffles!

For more delicious chocolate recipes, be sure to check out these recipes from my super talented Celebrating Food blogging friends!


Hot Fudge Sauce from Pretty Providence
Chocolate Pudding from Creations by Kara
Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes from Savory Experiments
Mexican Hot Chocolate from Real Mom Kitchen
Instant Pot Chocolate Bundt Cake from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Fudge Cookies from Simply Stacie

and even more fabulous chocolate recipes from The Baker Upstairs:


10.08.2018

One Hour Crescent Rolls

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These one hour crescent rolls are so light and fluffy, and so easy to make, too!

These one hour crescent rolls are so light and fluffy, and so easy to make, too!

We've had a nice long stretch of cold and rainy weather here in Portland this week, and it is finally feeling like fall! I've already busted out my fleece jackets and fur-lined slippers, and I'm ready for all things cozy and warm. Of course, that means plenty of soup (my favorite food!) and plenty of fresh baked bread to go with it. When I have time to plan ahead, these crescent rolls are my absolute favorite. They're light and tender and heavenly, and have an amazingly soft texture. But on those nights when there's an hour until dinner time and I haven't planned anything out, one hour roll recipes are a lifesaver!

I've been making these one hour rolls for several years now (after getting the recipe from my very bestest of all friends Cortney) and they are truly fabulous. Just for fun, this time I decided to experiment with making the dough into crescent rolls. To my delight, it totally worked! The rolls came out light and fluffy on the inside, and crisp on the outside. Because they are one hour rolls, they will always come out a little heavier and denser than roll recipes with a longer rise time, but these crescent rolls are pretty darn close in texture to traditional rolls. We ate ours with our favorite cinnamon vanilla honey butter, and they were absolutely divine!

These one hour crescent rolls are so light and fluffy, and so easy to make, too!

If you're looking for some fabulous soup recipes to go with these rolls, this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup, this instant pot chicken tortilla soup, and this tomato basil parmesan soup are my top three favorite soups! I make each of them at least once a month, and they are consistently delicious. Happy soup season!
One Hour Crescent Rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour, more or less as needed
3 tablespoons melted butter, separated

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let stand for five minutes, or until foamy. Add the butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour, and mix until combined. Add additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky to the touch (be careful not to add too much flour!). Knead 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. Gently punch the dough down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a large circle, then spread with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cut each circle into twelve wedges, then roll each wedge up, starting with the wide end, to form a crescent shape. Repeat with remaining dough. Let rise for an additional 15-20 minutes. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

adapted from The Little Red Hen
These one hour crescent rolls are so light and fluffy, and so easy to make, too!

10.01.2018

Gourmet Caramel Apples

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These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

Can you believe it's October 1st already? Between buying a house, moving, and chipping away at the endless list of house projects that need to be done, I feel like the summer flew by for my family. It feels like I haven't been able to really catch my breath since we put in our offer way back in early June, and now months have passed in the blink of an eye. We're now firmly into fall, and it feels strange and sudden to me. October is always one of my favorite months, and I love doing all of our family traditions, like visiting the pumpkin patch, picking apples, trick or treating in the neighborhood, and making all of our favorite fall treats. 

These gourmet caramel apples are a tradition my girls look forward to every year. They're made with the most luscious homemade caramel, and made even more delicious by adding chopped candy bars, nuts, and crushed cookies. I got the recipe from Ella Claire several years ago, and they never disappoint. In the last few years, we've started inviting friends over to decorate apples with us, and that has definitely added another layer of fun to our tradition! Over the years, we have each developed our own favorite combination of flavors for our apples, and the apple below is my favorite. I've heard them called apple pie caramel apples before, and I would say that's a pretty apt name. They are covered in creamy white chocolate, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. So delicious, and such a great combination of flavors!

These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

My girls' favorite apples are the Snickers caramel apples below. They're covered in semi-sweet chocolate, then topped with chopped peanuts, and chopped Snicker's candies. They're the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and so tasty!

These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

My husband's favorite apples are the cookies and cream apples below. They're spread with melted white chocolate, then drizzled with melted semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled with crushed Oreo cookies. So, so good!

These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

The sky is the limit with these apples, and you can really add anything you like to them! We've added M&M's, crushed butterfingers, toffee bits, crushed Nutter Butter cookies, chopped Reese's candies, walnuts, pecans, shredded coconut - you name it! They're always delicious. If you're making them in advance (like we do for our caramel apple parties), I would suggest dipping all of the apples in the caramel and letting them cool, then setting out the toppings and melting the chocolate when you're ready to start decorating. If you happen to have a fondue pot, it will help to keep the chocolate melted and easy to work with, but if not, you can just reheat it periodically when it starts to harden. You most definitely need to give these gourmet caramel apples a try!
Gourmet Caramel Apples

for the homemade caramel:
1 cup salted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

to make the gourmet caramel apples:
12 small to medium size green apples
12 popsicle sticks or caramel apple sticks
melting chocolate or candy melts
toppings of your choice (chopped candy bars, nuts, crushed cookies, cinnamon sugar, etc.)

Prepare the apples by scrubbing them clean and drying well. Insert a stick into each apple and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate at least one hour.

To make the caramel, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt, and stir using a rubber spatula. Add the sweetened condensed milk slowly, stirring well to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Dip each apple into the caramel, turning the apple around to coat all side. Let the excess caramel drip off the apple, and scrape a knife across the bottom of each apple to remove the excess. Place the apples back onto the baking sheet and let cool to room temperature.

To decorate the apples, start by melting the chocolate. Microwave at 50% power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. To decorate, use a knife or offset spatula to spread chocolate around the outside of the apple, leaving a small amount of caramel showing at the top. Sprinkle with desired toppings.
These gourmet caramel apples are made with the best homemade caramel, and taste just like the ones from the candy shop!

9.04.2018

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

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These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

Hi friends! I know I don't usually get very personal on this blog, but I was thinking of a story as I was making these delightful mini chicken pot pies, and I thought it was worth sharing. Seven years ago, I was a stay at home mom with a newborn and a four year old. I had graduated from a challenging nursing school program the year before, and I suddenly found myself at home alone all day with nothing to keep my brain stimulated. I had plenty of tasks to do, like changing diapers, washing dishes, nursing the baby, reading to the preschooler, etc., but at times I was starving for contact with adults and the outside world. To make things even more challenging, our finances were very tight at the time, so I didn't have really any budget for luxuries or socializing.

Out of boredom and frustration (and thanks in part to the launch of Pinterest right at the same time) I just started making things. I relearned how to knit and started making baby hats and sweaters for my friends who were expecting. I learned how to cook all of the fancy foods that I couldn't afford to buy at the store, like baguettes and ricotta cheese. I planted a garden and made homemade salsa and pesto from produce that I grew myself. I started hand lettering again (one of my favorite things to do in high school) and made art for my girls' room. I repurposed old clothing into fun new outfits for the kids. I designed Harry Potter t-shirts for the premiere of the last movie. I rekindled my love of photography and took beautiful pictures of my kids (and started taking pictures of my food, which eventually led to this here blog!). I found so much joy in creating, in using my talents, and in finding ways to live a great life even on a shoestring budget. 

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

I discovered instagram right around the same time, and I had so much fun posting all of my creations and projects and being able to share them with friends and family. Unexpectedly, though, the reaction I often got was, "You have WAY too much time on your hands," usually said with a snide tone and an eye roll. It really stung, and it made me feel like all of the things I was doing were a waste of time. Objectively, I didn't actually have all that much free time, between a newborn and a very challenging preschooler and a husband who worked 50-60 hour weeks. I was making the choice to spend the time I did have available making my life more beautiful and delicious, and the feedback I was getting was hurtful.

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

I was thinking about all of that in the context of these mini chicken pot pies, because this is totally one of those recipes that will make people say, "You have way too much time on your hands!" These babies take a long time to make! They're made completely from scratch, from the pie crust to the filling. It's somewhat tedious to roll out the pie crust and assemble the lattice, and it's definitely more work to make six tiny pies than it is to make one normal size pie. If you're looking for a dinner recipe that can be finished in 30 minutes or less, this is definitely not your dinner! And yet... they are totally delicious, and totally beautiful. Each mini pie is like a work of art. I worked on them on and off all afternoon (between attending my seven year old's doll's birthday party, and helping my eleven year old edit the book she's writing), and I took my time and enjoyed every step of the process. 

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

I think that with some time and perspective, I've come to the conclusion that it's okay to be that person who has "too much time on her hands." It's okay to be the one who designs custom labels for her daughter's school supplies, or spends 30 minutes constructing a tiny birthday card for a doll's birthday party. It's okay to plan ahead for back to school pictures and not just take them as we're rushing out the door in the morning. And just as important, it's also okay NOT TO DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS. When I was working full time as a nurse and my husband was in nursing school and I was stretched so, so thin and exhausted all of the time, I didn't have time for anything like that. And now I do! And neither of those situations make me a bad mom or make my life a waste of time.

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

I'm sharing these mini pot pies because I love them, and they're completely delicious, and I think it's fun to be able to make things completely from scratch, without using processed foods. And I just happened to have several hours yesterday afternoon with nothing super pressing to do, and thus had time to create something beautiful for dinner. However, you do you! If you're looking for an equally delicious but much less time consuming pot pie recipe, this biscuit pot pie is quick and easy and always tastes delicious. (Just sub in a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for the uncooked vegetables, and it will be in the oven in no time!) I definitely think the world would be a better place if we could find more occasions to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. So if you're a from-scratch homemade pot pie person like me, more power to you! And if you're a "pull the pot pie out of the box and microwave on high for 6 minutes" person, well, I've been there too (and it was delicious). I think we can all agree that no matter how much time you have on your hands, at least some of it should be spent eating pot pie. :)

These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!
Mini Chicken Pot Pies

for the crust:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vinegar

for the filling:
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound chicken breast, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

To make the pie crust, in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the flour and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture, and cut in using a pastry blender or the paddle attachment, until the pieces of butter are no larger than pea sized. Add the buttermilk, and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently work into a ball, handling as little as possible. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least twenty minutes, or until ready to use.

Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery to a small pot, and add water to cover. Bring the water to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside. While the vegetables are cooking, heat one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the second tablespoon of butter, then stir in the flour and cook until golden. Slowly add the chicken broth, followed by the milk, whisking constantly and adding a little at a time to form a smooth sauce. Stir in salt, pepper, and frozen peas and cook until heated through. Stir the cooked vegetables into the chicken mixture and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out half of the pie crust into a large rectangle, then cut into six large circles using a bowl. Press each circle into the well of a jumbo muffin tin. Scoop the filling into each well of the muffin tin, filling to the top. Roll out the remaining pie crust into a large rectangle, and cut into thin strips. Weave the strips into a lattice (this is an excellent tutorial, if you haven't done a lattice crust before). Press down on the lattice gently to stick the pieces to each other. Using a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut 6 circles out of the lattice. Place a lattice top on each mini pie, and fold or crimp the edges together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the egg mixture over the top of the crust, spreading evenly. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling and thick. Let cool before serving.
These savory mini chicken pot pies are so incredibly delicious, and adorable to boot!

9.01.2018

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Yum
This savory bacon mac and cheese is super cheesy and packed with crisp bacon pieces. It's a delicious and hearty dinner!

This savory bacon mac and cheese is super cheesy and packed with crisp bacon pieces. It's a delicious and hearty dinner!

Hey everyone! It's International Bacon Day today, which means it's time to celebrate! It's hard to think of a food that isn't improved by adding bacon. Burgers? Check! Pasta? Check! Salad? Check! Donuts? Check! Bacon just makes everything better. One of my favorite ways to eat bacon is in this glorious and luxurious bacon mac and cheese. It's full of tender macaroni noodles, crisp bacon, and a silky smooth cheese sauce that is worth every calorie. It's topped with a buttery cracker topping, then baked to perfection. My whole family loves this mac and cheese and requests it constantly!

I think the secret to the perfectly smooth cheese sauce is the addition of processed cheese. I normally don't cook with American cheese or Velveeta (okay, maybe I did once), but I happened to have a few slices left over in the fridge from my kids' grilled cheese sandwiches earlier in the week, and I decided to throw them into the cheese sauce on a whim. Once all three cheeses melted together, it was perfectly smooth and thick and lovely. You can definitely substitute other cheeses for the cheddar and colby jack (I usually just use whatever I have on hand) but the combination of sharp cheddar and creamy colby jack was pretty fantastic! 

This savory bacon mac and cheese is super cheesy and packed with crisp bacon pieces. It's a delicious and hearty dinner!
Bacon Mac and Cheese

for the mac and cheese:
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 pound macaroni noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded colby jack cheese
4 slices American cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

for the topping:
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the noodles according to the package directions, then drain. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together to form a paste. Cook 3-4 minutes, until golden. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the cooked noodles and about 2/3 of the chopped bacon. Pour the macaroni mixture into a 9 x 9 baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed crackers, butter, and parmesan. Sprinkle the cracker mixture over the macaroni, then top with the remaining chopped bacon. Bake 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
This savory bacon mac and cheese is super cheesy and packed with crisp bacon pieces. It's a delicious and hearty dinner!

For more bacon deliciousness, be sure to check out the posts below from my Celebrating Food blogging friends:


Cheesy Bacon Meatball Bites from Ashlee Marie
Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Savory Experiments
Bacon Egg Salad Sandwiches from Real Mom Kitchen
Instant Pot Bacon Cheddar Egg Casserole from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Bacon Breakfast Casserole from Creations by Kara
Bacon and Spinach Egg Muffins from My Mommy Style

and even more delicious bacon recipes from The Baker Upstairs:

8.22.2018

Peach Buttermilk Cake

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This sweet and delicious peach buttermilk cake is the perfect way to showcase that gorgeous fresh summer fruit!

This sweet and delicious peach buttermilk cake is the perfect way to showcase that gorgeous fresh summer fruit!

Hello friends! It's Eat a Peach Day today, so of course the only logical thing to do is to eat your peaches in cake form. This peach buttermilk cake is one of my favorite desserts, and it's perfect for this time of year, when fresh peaches are abundant and delicious. The cake itself is light and tender, and perfectly sweetened, and the fresh peaches on top add delicious flavor and keep the cake moist. This is one of those desserts that is super easy to make, but so pretty that it's perfect for entertaining, or bringing to a baby shower or potluck. 

This sweet and delicious peach buttermilk cake is the perfect way to showcase that gorgeous fresh summer fruit!

I make another version of this cake using fresh strawberries, and I can never decide which is my favorite. They're both so delicious! This is totally my go-to dessert when I have friends coming over for dinner and can't think of anything to make. It's super easy, always gets rave reviews, and it's popular with both kids and adults. I like to serve it with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream on the side, and it's so, so good!

This sweet and delicious peach buttermilk cake is the perfect way to showcase that gorgeous fresh summer fruit!
Peach Buttermilk Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup plus two tablespoons sugar, separated
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 peaches, peeled and pitted, sliced thinly

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 or 10 inch pie pan or cake pan, and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and one cup of sugar until creamy. Stir in the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla, until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange the sliced peaches on top of the cake batter, and sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons of sugar. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325 and bake for another 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
This sweet and delicious peach buttermilk cake is the perfect way to showcase that gorgeous fresh summer fruit!

For more peach-related awesomeness, be sure to check out these fantastic recipes from my Celebrating Food blogging friends:

23 juicy peach recipes, perfect for celebrating National Eat a Peach Day!

Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats from Pretty Providence
Southern Peach Pie from Savory Experiments
Peach Lemonade from Real Mom Kitchen
Easiest Way to Peel Peaches from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Mason Jar Peach and Raspberry Cobbler from Premeditated Leftovers
Peach Muffins from My Mommy Style
Almond Peach Bread from An Italian in My Kitchen
Peach Coffee Cake from Simply Stacie

and even more delicious peach recipes from The Baker Upstairs:

8.04.2018

Baked Meatball Penne

Yum
This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!

This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!

Can I just say that moving is kind of the worst? I mean, it's very exciting that we own a home now, and we're in a great location, close to my husband's work and my kids' schools. And it has been really fun to work on projects to make our house the way we want it. But this nonsense of unpacking, and living in chaos, and not knowing where anything is - it totally sucks! I've been unpacking and organizing one room at a time, but I'm coming rapidly to the conclusion that we own WAY too much stuff! I'm thinking that we need to have a major purge shortly, and donate or sell a lot of stuff. With all the chaos from moving, cooking has not been at the top of my priority list, so we've mostly been living off Trader Joe's frozen meals and whatever else I can throw together at dinner time. This baked meatball penne is the perfect easy dinner if you, like me, have very little time, energy, or willpower to cook dinner. 

This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!

Since my food options are fairly limited right now, I've been forced to get a little more creative with recipes. I had a bag of meatballs in the freezer, and rummaged around in a few boxes until I found some penne pasta and a jar of marinara sauce. This pasta took maybe 15 minutes of hands-on time, then baked into a big pan of cheesy goodness in about 20 minutes. Easy peasy, and super delicious!

This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!

This baked meatball penne seriously could not be easier to make, and everyone in my family loved it!

This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!
Baked Meatball Penne

1/2 pound penne pasta
8 ounces frozen meatballs (half of 16 ounce package)
1 16 ounce jar marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, add the meatballs and marinara sauce to a large skillet and heat until the meatballs are warmed through. Stir in the cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Pour the pasta into a 9 x 9 baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Serve hot.
This cheesy and savory baked meatball penne is quick and easy to make, and the perfect hearty dinner for a busy night!
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