The Baker Upstairs: February 2018

2.28.2018

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Yum
Making your favorite restaurant soup at home is easy and delicious with this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup!

Making your favorite restaurant soup at home is easy and delicious with this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup!

That's right, it's another delicious soup recipe! It has been so cold around here lately that we've been having soup for dinner a few nights a week. I've been using up my giant stash of soup in the freezer, and picking up fresh bread from a bakery that we discovered recently and can't get enough of. (And if I pick up a brownie or a macaron while I'm there, and eat it in the car on the way home, who's the wiser?) This Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup is one of our favorite soups, and it's equally delicious freshly cooked or reheated from the freezer. It's one that I make sure to always have on hand, because my kids will always eat it, no matter how picky they are feeling at the moment. It's the best!

Making your favorite restaurant soup at home is easy and delicious with this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup!

This soup also tastes fantastic with the homemade bread bowls I posted a few weeks ago. I know they're totally 80's chic, but there's nothing better than a bowl of hot soup in a bread bowl. If you love broccoli and cheese as much as I do, this soup is a must-make!

Making your favorite restaurant soup at home is easy and delicious with this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup!
Panera-Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
4 cups broccoli florets
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1 - 2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)
pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, and sautee until softened and fragrant. Slowly add the cream, milk, and chicken stock, and stir well. Add the corn starch to a bowl and add enough water to cover. Whisk with a fork until the corn starch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth, then add it to the pot. Add the nutmeg and cook until slightly thickened. Stir in the carrot and broccoli and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Add 1 teaspoon salt, taste, and add more as needed. Serve warm sprinkled with additional cheese.

adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Making your favorite restaurant soup at home is easy and delicious with this Panera-copycat broccoli cheddar soup!
SaveSave

2.23.2018

Pork Verde Chili + 29 Hearty Chili Recipes!

Yum
This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

When it's National Chili Day, the only thing for it is to whip up some delicious chili! I have to confess, I love chili, but I don't make it very often. It's not something I've had a lot of experience with, and I've never felt very confident in my chili-making abilities. I don't have any family favorite chili recipes that have been passed down through the years, and I've been on the hunt for a great recipe that my family will love. This, my friends, is it! I was inspired by this delicious recipe on Favorite Family Recipes, but changed things up to suit my tastes, and adapted it for the Instant Pot. This pork verde chili has so many of my favorite flavors, and it's easy to make, too!

This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

I made mine in my beloved Instant Pot, but I've included directions for both the Instant Pot and the slow cooker below. I actually made mine with a frozen pork roast that needed to be used, so I cooked mine for 60 minutes at high pressure, and the pork came out tender and cooked through. If you're starting with fresh pork, 30 minutes should be sufficient. If you're not a fan of pork, you could definitely substitute chicken breast, and I'm sure it would be equally delicious.

This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

The green enchilada sauce and green chilies give it so much flavor! I used mild sauce and chilies because my kids are wimps, but you can definitely adjust the spiciness to your taste by using spicier sauce or even adding some sriracha or cholula. We ate ours piping hot with shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, and chopped cilantro on top. I also served it with the sweet corn muffins that I shared earlier in the week, and they were perfect together! 

This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

Pork Verde Chili

2 pounds pork loin, cut into chunks
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 ounces) green enchilada sauce
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon green Tabasco sauce
2 cans (14 ounces total) diced green chilies
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 cup water
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed

To an Instant Pot or slow cooker, add the pork, jalapeño, onion, enchilada sauce, chicken broth, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and green chilies. Stir to combine, cover and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure (in the Instant Pot) or on low heat for 3 hours (in the slow cooker). In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water. Add the corn starch mixture and the beans to the pot and cook (using the slow cooker function on the Instant Pot) for 30-60 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

This savory pork verde chili is full of flavor and so hearty and delicious!

For more delicious chili recipes, perfect for celebrating National Chili Day, check out these fabulous posts from my Celebrating Food blogger friends:

29 hearty and delicious chili recipes, perfect for a cold night!

Homemade 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili from An Italian in My Kitchen
Taco Chili from Simply Stacie
Easy Chicken Enchilada Chili from Creations by Kara
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili from Real Mom Kitchen
Slow Cooker Chili from Pretty Providence
Instant Pot Chili from Savory Experiments
Sweet Potato Chili from Namely Marly
Instant Pot Turkey Lentil Chili from 365 Days of Slow Cooking + Pressure Cooking
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili from My Mommy Style
Instant Pot Lentil and Bean Chili from Supergolden Bakes
Jalapeño Popper Turkey Chili from Premeditated Leftovers
Award Winning Crockpot Chili from Heather Likes Food

and here are some more tasty chili recipes from The Baker Upstairs:


and even more chili recipes from around the blogging world:

Healthy Turkey Chili from I Heart Naptime
Steak Chili from Like Mother Like Daughter
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Chili from Yellow Bliss Road
Chili Pasta Bake from High Heels & Grills
Black Bean Chili from Gimme Some Oven
Quinoa Chili from Little Red Hen
Cowboy Chili from Chef in Training
Super Simple and Easy Chili from My Name is Snickerdoodle
Turkey Pumpkin Chili from Life Made Simple

2.21.2018

Sweet Corn Muffins

Yum
These sweet corn muffins are made with simple ingredients from the pantry, and are the perfect side dish for soup or chili!

These sweet corn muffins are made with simple ingredients from the pantry, and are the perfect side dish for soup or chili!

Hey friends! How's the weather where you are? We got hit with some snow here in Portland over the weekend, and we're expected to have snow on and off for the rest of the week. My kids had the day off school on Monday for President's Day, and then snow days yesterday and today. Thankfully, we're a little more prepared this year than we were last year, so we've been having fun watching movies together, drinking cocoa, and building fires in the fireplace. It's so nice to have the extra time together, and it has been a fun little family break!

Of course, if it's snowing outside, then soup is required for dinner. I have a ton of soup stored in the freezer from earlier in the winter, so dinner has been pretty quick and easy to whip together. Soup is one of my favorite things to freeze, and most soup recipes make enough for two dinners for my family, so it's easy to immediately put half of it in the freezer for later. Even if I'm just reheating some soup, fresh bread is a must! I've already made a batch of french bread this week, but I always love a good quick bread recipe. Depending on the type of soup we're having, we alternate between buttermilk biscuits and these sweet corn muffins. They're light and fluffy on the inside, crisp on the outside, and have the perfect sweet corn flavor!

These sweet corn muffins are made with simple ingredients from the pantry, and are the perfect side dish for soup or chili!

I love that I always have the ingredients for these muffins on hand, so they're quick and easy to make. My kids love them and would happily eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. We usually have a few leftover muffins, and the kids are always delighted to find one in their lunch the next day. I like them with butter and honey, but my kids and husband eat them plain or dipped in their soup. No matter how you eat them, they're always delicious!

These sweet corn muffins are made with simple ingredients from the pantry, and are the perfect side dish for soup or chili!
Sweet Corn Muffins

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the oil, eggs, and milk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk together until just moistened and no dry spots remain. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm.
These sweet corn muffins are made with simple ingredients from the pantry, and are the perfect side dish for soup or chili!

2.14.2018

Valentine's Day Cookie Party

Yum
This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! My favorite day of the year is finally here! Ever since I was little, I have been totally obsessed with Valentine's Day, and today (at almost 35) I still get giddy over all things pink and heart shaped. Usually we celebrate with a fun family breakfast (you can see last year's breakfast and get a tasty muffin recipe here), and I leave little surprises on each person's plate. This year, we'll have to wait until Sunday for our traditional breakfast, due to my husband's work schedule, but I thought it would be fun to have a cookie decorating party with my kids and their friends to get us all in the Valentine's Day spirit. The kids had a blast!

I'm always a little surprised at how little it takes to blow their minds. I bought a cute valentine table runner from Target, added some fresh flowers, and baked up a double batch of my famous sugar cookies (recipe below). My kids were so excited to see the cute table spread!

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

I finally wised up and used disposable bowls for the frosting this time, and it was definitely the way to go! I liked that I could just toss them when we were done decorating, instead of trying to scrape out all the extra frosting. We also used plastic utensils and paper plates to keep things easy peasy.

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

I pulled out my favorite cookie decorating trick again, and added all the sprinkles to a muffin tin to make them easy for little hands to grab. It cuts way down on the mess, and ensures that my six year old doesn't dump an entire bottle of sprinkles on one cookie (which has unfortunately happened countless times in the past). It's a bit of a pain to put the sprinkles back into their bottles (I usually just use a small funnel, or make a funnel out of a small piece of paper), but it makes the overall clean up way faster! I got all of my sprinkles from Target, except the purple jimmies in the bottom left corner, which are from Gygi.

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

How fun does this table look? My kids and their friends were excited to get started!

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

Everyone had such a great time, and it was so fun to watch each of them being creative and trying new ideas. I thought I would see a lot more furtive stealing (and eating) of sprinkles and frosting, but they really had their eyes on the prize and were concentrating on making cookie masterpieces.

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

I decorated some cookies of my own with the kids, and they turned out so cute. Valentine's colors are definitely the best! 

This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

We used my very favorite never-fail sugar cookie recipe (the same one I've been using since I was a child and first learned to bake cookies), and it was perfect as always. These cookies are always a hit!
Decorated Sugar Cookies

for the cookies:
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

for decorating:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1-2 tablespoons half and half
food coloring
sprinkles and candies, as desired

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and almond extract, and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour. After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a flour-dusted surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined or greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just slightly golden around the bottom. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the almond extract, and enough half and half to make the frosting come together. Beat the frosting on high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Separate into bowls and add food coloring to make different frosting colors. Decorate as desired.
This simple and fun Valentine's Day cookie party is the perfect way to make some sweet memories with your little ones!

Happy Valentine's Day!

SaveSave

2.07.2018

Easy Homemade Bread Bowls

Yum
Homemade bread bowls are surprisingly easy to make, and so delicious. Perfect for soup night or for serving dips!

Homemade bread bowls are surprisingly easy to make, and so delicious. Perfect for soup night or for serving dips!

We've had such a mild winter in Portland this year (for which I am thanking my lucky stars daily), but soup season is still going strong at my house! Even when the weather is in the 50s, and we spend the day playing outside and riding scooters at the park, there's still nothing better than a warm bowl of soup at dinnertime. If you're going to have soup, though, you definitely need some fantastic bread to go with it! While I often whip up a loaf of french bread, or some tasty buttermilk biscuits, there's something really fun about serving soup in a bread bowl! These easy homemade bread bowls are quick to make, and are the perfect complement to a delicious bowl of soup.

Homemade bread bowls are surprisingly easy to make, and so delicious. Perfect for soup night or for serving dips!

I've been making these bread bowls for several years now, but I only recently started making them with bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. They'll still turn out great with the all-purpose flour, but the bread flour makes them extra chewy and crisp on the outside, which I totally love! I usually divide my dough into sixths, to make smaller bread bowls that are a better serving size for my kids, but I would recommend dividing them into fourths if you're serving adults. The smaller bread bowls will hold around 3/4 cup of soup, and the larger bowls will hold about 1 1/2 cups of soup. These homemade bread bowls are the perfect way to make your soup night extra special!

Homemade bread bowls are surprisingly easy to make, and so delicious. Perfect for soup night or for serving dips!
Easy Homemade Bread Bowls

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour, more as needed
2 teaspoons salt
spray bottle with warm water

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let sit 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly and foamy. Add 3 cups of flour and the salt, and mix well. Add remaining 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. Knead until smooth, 5-10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 500. Punch the dough down and divide into 4 - 6 equal sized pieces (depending on the size of bread bowl you desire). Shape each piece into a ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Score the top of each piece and sprinkle with salt, then spray with warm water and let rise 15 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 2 minutes, then spray again with water and reduce the heat to 425. Bake 16-18 more minutes, or until golden brown.

adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Homemade bread bowls are surprisingly easy to make, and so delicious. Perfect for soup night or for serving dips!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...