The Baker Upstairs: 2019

5.20.2019

Bacon Breakfast Pizza

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This bacon breakfast pizza is perfect for any meal of the day! It's so flavorful and delicious, and easy to make too!

This bacon breakfast pizza is perfect for any meal of the day! It's so flavorful and delicious, and easy to make too!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we've been trying to get back into the swing of weekly pizza nights lately, and this bacon breakfast pizza is one of our favorites! I've made it nearly every week for the last month, and we never get tired of it. Even my picky kids love it! It has all the flavors of our favorite breakfast foods, but in pizza form. It just doesn't get better than that! 

I'm not a fan of super runny eggs, so I like to cook the pizza until the whites are completely set and the yolks are soft but not runny. I try to be really careful not to break the yolks when I crack the eggs onto the pizza, but if you do happen to break one (as I did when I took these pictures) it's not a huge deal. The pizza will still be delicious! If you're very opposed to the idea of soft yolks on your eggs, you could scramble the eggs instead, and cook the pizza until the eggs are completely set. The recipe is pretty versatile and easy to tailor to your own tastes. We've tried it with both cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, and it's delicious both ways. I'm excited to try it with sausage or ham instead of the bacon, too! 

This bacon breakfast pizza is perfect for any meal of the day! It's so flavorful and delicious, and easy to make too!
Bacon Breakfast Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough
1/2 teaspoon corn meal
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 500 with a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet inside. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper or a pizza peel with corn meal. Spread the pizza dough into a 12 inch circle, using your fingers to make an indented border around the outside edge. Brush the pizza dough generously with the olive oil. Sprinkle the cheese and Oscar Mayer Bacon on top of the pizza dough, leaving four open spaces for the eggs. Crack an egg into each space, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully transfer the pizza to the pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet using a pizza peel or large cutting board. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until the egg whites are set and the crust is golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven, and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve hot.
This bacon breakfast pizza is perfect for any meal of the day! It's so flavorful and delicious, and easy to make too!

4.30.2019

Everything Deviled Eggs

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These everything deviled eggs are just as delicious as classic deviled eggs, but with a fun pop of flavor from everything bagel seasoning!

These everything deviled eggs are just as delicious as classic deviled eggs, but with a fun pop of flavor from everything bagel seasoning!

Eggs are definitely one of the staples of my family's diet. We go through at least two dozen eggs per week, and I love that they're a versatile and inexpensive source of protein. We use them for quiche, omelettes, breakfast tacos, and (my favorite) eggs and tortillas. I was never a huge fan of eggs as a kid, but now I can't get enough of them! A few months ago, I discovered the amazing combination of everything bagel seasoning with eggs (in pretty much any form) and now it's hard to eat them any other way. If you haven't tried everything bagel seasoning before, it's available at Trader Joe's (and I've also found it at Walmart), and it's a mix of things like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and salt. It adds a ton of flavor to whatever you sprinkle it on, but it's especially amazing with eggs. We like to sprinkle it on scrambled eggs, omelettes, or egg salad. It's so good! 

When I was trying to think of a fun appetizer for our Easter dinner, I decided to upgrade my basic deviled eggs by sprinkling them with some everything bagel seasoning. They turned out so delicious, and they were so easy to make, too! They only took about 10 minutes of hands-on time to make, which worked perfectly for me as I was trying to get all the other components of dinner finished. These eggs are so easy that they don't need to just be relegated to special occasions or holidays. I think they'd be perfect for a light lunch with a side salad, or for a quick snack. You definitely need to try these eggs!

These everything deviled eggs are just as delicious as classic deviled eggs, but with a fun pop of flavor from everything bagel seasoning!
Everything Deviled Eggs

8 large eggs, boiled and cooled (I made mine in the Instant Pot)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon milk (optional)
1 tablespoon everything bagel seasoning

Cut the eggs in half and gently scoop out the yolks, being careful not to break the egg whites. Add the yolks to a small bowl and mash with a fork until they are broken apart. Stir in the mayonnaise and dijon mustard, and mix until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk to thin it out. Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture back into the whites, then sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
These everything deviled eggs are just as delicious as classic deviled eggs, but with a fun pop of flavor from everything bagel seasoning!

4.26.2019

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

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This flavorful and savory barbecue chicken pizza is the perfect way to jazz up your pizza night at home!

This flavorful and savory barbecue chicken pizza is the perfect way to jazz up your pizza night at home!

Once upon a time, when my kids were very little and life was much simpler and less busy, we used to have pizza night every week. My husband was working full time and going to school part time, and our schedule was very stable from week to week, so it was easy to plan a fun pizza night every Friday as a reward for getting through the week. I developed a great easy pizza dough recipe, and got so quick at making it that I could have a hot cheese pizza on the table in less than 30 minutes. It was something fun for our whole family to look forward to, and we did it religiously for about two years, from when my youngest was a baby until she was well into toddlerhood. 

As time went on, however, I started working outside of the home as a nurse, my husband started nursing school, our kids started elementary school and extracurricular activities, and life just got busier and busier. These days my husband's schedule at the hospital changes from week to week, my pre-teen has what seems like an endless social calendar, and my youngest is busy with gymnastics and school activities. I've been missing those simple pizza nights from years ago, though, and I decided it was high time we brought them back. They won't always be on the same night each week, since we have such varied schedules, but I think we can make it work. We've successfully had pizza night for the last three weeks in a row, and everyone in my family is pretty excited about it. It's fun to experiment with different toppings and flavor combinations, and we've had so much fun talking and laughing together over hot slices of pizza. 

This barbecue chicken pizza is a copycat of a pizza my husband and I had on our first date, from a little local pizza place called Gepetto's. I've been making it for years, and it is one of my favorite pizzas! It has a barbecue/marina sauce blend, and it's topped with chicken, mozzarella and feta cheeses, and red onions. After it's baked, it's drizzled with a little more barbecue sauce and sprinkled with some chopped fresh cilantro. It's so delicious and flavorful, and a favorite with both kids and adults! My nearly 12 year old is absolutely nuts for this pizza, and could probably eat a whole pizza herself if I let her. :) I'm looking forward to sharing more fun pizza recipes with you as week make them, so follow along to keep up with our pizza night adventures!
Barbecue Chicken Pizza

1 ball of pizza dough (make your own or use store-bought)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat the oven to 500 with a pizza stone or overturned cookie sheet inside for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with cornmeal. Gently stretch the pizza dough out into a circle that is 12-14 inches in diameter. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a one inch margin around the edges. Drizzle the barbecue sauce over the pizza sauce. Sprinkle the chicken over the top of the sauce, then spread the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle the feta and red onion over the top of the pizza. Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone or cookie sheet using a pizza peel or a large cutting board. Bake the pizza for 8-9 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned. Drizzle with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
This flavorful and savory barbecue chicken pizza is the perfect way to jazz up your pizza night at home!

4.22.2019

How To Freeze Cookie Dough

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Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

Is there anything better than a warm, freshly-baked cookie? They are one of my greatest joys in life, and life just feels sadder when there are no cookies to be had. Since I definitely need a warm cookie several nights a week, the best solution that I've come up with is to freeze big batches of cookie dough, so I can pull out a few balls of dough and bake some cookies whenever the cravings strike. Through lots of trial and error, over years of cookie baking, I've developed a foolproof method for making perfect cookies using frozen dough. They're just as delicious as freshly made cookies (or maybe even more so!), but they're so quick and convenient to make. I keep cookie dough on hand in the freezer at all times, and it makes life sweeter!

5 Tips for the Best Frozen Cookie Dough

1. Start with a great recipe

I may be a little biased, but I do think my chocolate chip cookie recipe (listed below) makes the best cookies I've ever had! Of all the recipes I make, I think it's the one that I have made the most times. I made them about twice a week when I was in nursing school (as a way to process all of that nursing school stress), and they never disappoint. I don't even need to check the recipe any more, and I could probably make it in my sleep. It produces consistent, delicious results every time. As great as the recipe is when you make it and bake it, something magical happens to it in the freezer. The texture gets even better, the flavors meld a little more, and the resulting cookies are just fantastic!

Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

2. Use a cookie scoop for uniformly-sized cookies

It's important to make sure all of your cookies are the same size, so they will cook evenly. I am totally addicted to using scoops for measuring cookies and cupcakes! They keep everything neat and tidy and make it really easy to measure out portions. For these cookies, I like to use a 1.5 tablespoon (#40) scoop. I have this one from Oxo and it has held up well over several years and thousands of cookies scooped. The finished cookies are about 2 inches in diameter, which is the perfect size for me!

Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

3. Flash-freeze the cookie dough

Flash-freezing the cookie dough after it's scooped prevents the dough balls from sticking to each other, so it's easy to portion out just the amount of cookie dough you need when you're ready to bake. I like to scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, then freeze for about 30 minutes. Since you're not baking on it, you can reuse the parchment sheet after you move the cookies to an airtight storage container.

* Bonus tip: Did you know that after you use a sheet or parchment paper, you can turn it over and use the other side to bake with? I learned that tip from Orson Gygi on Instagram a while ago, and it has blown my mind. I don't reuse my parchment sheets if I've cooked something super messy on them, like roasted vegetables or breaded chicken, but I always reuse them after baking cookies. It's a great money saving tip!

Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

4. Store the cookie dough in an airtight container

This one's a no-brainer, since the cookie dough is going in the freezer and you definitely don't want it to be freezer burned. I've always used zipper top bags to store cookie dough in the past (labeled with the type and date), but I'm trying to reduce my plastic waste lately, so I bought these freezer-safe containers from Ikea, and I love them so far!  

Want freshly baked, perfectly delicious cookies whenever the craving strikes? Follow these simple step by step instructions to freeze cookie dough, for the best results every time!

5. Don't preheat the oven before baking

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I've tried it both ways, and the cookies turn out much better if you start them in a cold oven. If you're putting them into a hot oven, the outsides burn before the insides cook all the way through, and the cookies stay in their little domed shapes and don't spread nicely. It does take a little longer to bake them, but I always just set the timer on my watch or phone, and go watch a movie (or an episode of The Office) until they're done. They come out of the oven perfectly crisp on the edges, soft and gooey on the inside, and totally delicious! 

Best Cookie Dough Recipes to Freeze

The recipe below is my very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the same techniques will work for other types of cookie dough too. Here are some of my other favorite cookies to freeze:


Happy Baking!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. 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 mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to form a soft dough. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the cookie dough into golf ball sized balls. Using your fingers, pinch each ball of dough into two halves. Place one half, rough side down, on the prepared baking sheet, then place the other half, rough side up, on top, to form a double stack. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown.

*To freeze the cookie dough for later, roll or scoop the dough into one inch balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and freeze 30-60 minutes, or until firm. Place in a zipper bag or airtight container and freeze up to 6 months. When ready to bake, place the cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 325. Bake 25 minutes.

4.20.2019

Beecher's Mac and Cheese

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This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!

This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!

A few weeks ago we decided to try something new for spring break, and we took a road trip up to Seattle for a few days. We're only about 3 1/2 hours away here in Portland, but somehow in the nearly three years we've lived here, we hadn't made it up there yet. I was a little intimidated by the idea of exploring a new city, but we totally had a blast! I think we will plan lots more weekend trips in the future, and enjoy everything Seattle has to offer. Like all good tourists, we of course needed to visit Pike Place, and it definitely did not disappoint! We went to the original Starbucks store, browsed all the beautiful fresh tulips in the market, marveled at all of the fresh seafood and fruits and vegetables, bought some prints from a local artist, and enjoyed the busker playing his saxophone outside. 


Of course the most important part of any vacation is the food, and there was SO MUCH GOOD FOOD at (and around) Pike Place. We started the day with biscuits and gravy from Biscuit Bitch, devoured garlic and cheese piroshki from Piroshky Piroshky, enjoyed macarons from Le Panier, and got a handcrafted soda from Shug's Soda Fountain. It's hard to choose a favorite, but the one food I keep dreaming about is the absolutely amazing mac and cheese from Beecher's Handmade Cheese.


I had heard of their cheese before, and of course the free samples they have in the store were a huge draw, but I had no idea about the mac and cheese wonderfulness that was waiting for me! The sauce was thick and creamy and silky smooth, with the perfect cheddar flavor, and unbelievably delicious. I shared a cup of it with my husband and two kids, and none of us could get enough! We bought some Flagship cheese to take home with us, but I couldn't get the mac and cheese out of my mind. Luckily, Beecher's has kindly shared the recipe online, so I was able to make it at home (and now share it with you!). 

This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!

The at-home version is just as delicious as the version in the store, and I love that I made it myself! The recipe is a little unusual in that it uses penne pasta instead of a traditional macaroni noodle, but it's a really fun change, and it means each noodle holds onto more sauce. The cheese sauce is so decadent and flavorful, and I love those gooey strings of cheese whenever you scoop up a spoonful of tender noodles and sauce.

This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!

I changed the Beecher's recipe just a tiny bit, to add a few more noodles so it would stretch a bit further for my family. (Don't worry, there's still an excellent cheese sauce to noodle ratio!) I got six side dish-sized servings from it, but if you are serving it as a main dish, I would guess it would serve about 4. We ate it with some grilled garlic chicken sausage and sautéed vegetables on the side, and it was all delightful together. I think this is definitely our new go-to mac and cheese! 

This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!
Beecher's Mac and Cheese

8 ounces penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
8 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese*, grated (about 2 cups)
2 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Cook the penne for two minutes less than the package directions indicate, then drain and rinse with cool water. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir to make a paste. Cook 2-3 minutes, until golden. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook 5-7 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Flagship cheese and 1/4 cup of the monterey jack cheese. Add the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, and the garlic powder, and whisk until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce and toss to coat evenly. Pour the pasta into a 9 x 9 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese, then sprinkle with the remaining chili powder. Bake 20 minutes, then let sit 5 minutes before serving.

* If you don't happen to live near Seattle, Beecher's cheese is available at various grocery stores (I have found it at Kroger and Albertsons stores near me) and also available online. This recipe would also work great with any extra sharp white cheddar (I really like Tillamook and Darigold brands).
This Beecher's Mac and Cheese recipe is truly the world's best! It's so thick and creamy and has an amazing cheesy flavor!

4.16.2019

Mexican Rice

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This easy and delicious Mexican rice recipe is the perfect side dish for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos!

This easy and delicious Mexican rice recipe is the perfect side dish for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos!

If there's one type of cuisine I cook for dinner more than any other, it's definitely Mexican food. My mom made it frequently when I was growing up, and to me it is total comfort food. My husband didn't eat any Mexican food when he was growing up, even at restaurants, so when we were dating and I started cooking dinner for him occasionally, it was like a whole new world of flavors opened up for him. He absolutely loves enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tamales - you name it!

As side dishes for all of our Mexican-inspired meals, I love to serve refried beans and this delicious Mexican rice recipe. I actually had a different Mexican rice recipe that I made for years and years, but my husband is not a big fan of tomatoes, and said it was a little too tomato-ey for him. We found this recipe on Lil' Luna about a year ago, and now it's the only recipe we use! I've made a few little tweaks to the recipe after making it several times, and it is absolutely delicious. It's so flavorful, and it has the perfect texture. The recipe makes a ton of rice, so I usually divide it into fourths and freeze the other three portions for future meals. This Mexican rice tastes just like the rice from our favorite Mexican restaurant, and I love that it's so easy and inexpensive to make at home!
Mexican Rice

2 cups rice
1/4 cup oil
8 ounces tomato sauce
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin

Add the rice and oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly browned. Add the tomato sauce and stir until blended. Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and let stand five minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.
This easy and delicious Mexican rice recipe is the perfect side dish for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos!

4.10.2019

Hazelnut Green Beans

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These flavorful and delicious hazelnut green beans are the perfect side dish!

These flavorful and delicious hazelnut green beans are the perfect side dish!

I've never been a huge fan of green beans. I remember eating home-canned green beans at a friend's house as a child, and thinking they were the mushiest, grossest thing I had ever tasted. As an adult, I have tried canned green beans multiple times and always found them to be very lacking. A few years ago, we were out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, and my meal came with a side of green beans. I ate one hesitantly, and discovered that they were actually delicious. It turns out that while I hate canned green beans, I really love fresh green beans! (Shocking, right?)

Usually I just roast my green beans in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, but I was inspired to try something new after eating some absolutely amazing green beans at a local restaurant for my birthday. They were cooked in browned butter, with some toasted hazelnuts on top, and they were totally divine! I replicated the dish at home, with a few minor tweaks, and they turned out absolutely amazing. The flavors in the hazelnuts and the green beans complement each other perfectly. These green beans are so tender and flavorful, and incredibly delicious. Best of all, they only take about 15 minutes to make, which makes them perfect for a busy night!
Hazelnut Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

Add the green beans and water to a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook the beans for 8-10 minutes, until bright green and softened. Take the lid off the skillet and add the butter and olive oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until all of the water has evaporated and the green beans are starting to iron. Add the hazelnuts to the skillet and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until toasted. Serve hot.
These flavorful and delicious hazelnut green beans are the perfect side dish!

4.08.2019

Classic Baguettes

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These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

Okay, as much as I love to bake, I would definitely say that artisan breads are not really my forte. I mean, dinner rolls? Check. Sandwich bread? I'm all over it. Biscuits? French bread? Homemade tortillas? I've got it all down pat. But breads that take 12+ hours, that use a biga or a poolish and have an extra long fermentation time? Yeah, they're still a work in progress for me. They always feel intimidating to me, and I feel like I don't have all of the equipment or skills I need. I bought Flour Water Salt Yeast for myself for my birthday last year, and as much as I'm excited to start baking from it, it feels a little intimidating. It's a lot of time and energy to invest into a bread recipe if it doesn't turn out well. I've opened up the book and looked through the recipes at least a dozen times, and then shut it without making anything. I have the feeling that if I just get started, everything will work out just fine, but I can't get over that initial hurdle.

As I've been trying to get myself pumped up to make artisan bread, I remembered that I made this baguette recipe forever ago (way back in 2012) and that it was pretty amazing. I gave it another try, and the results were just as delicious as I remembered! These classic baguettes have a crisp, chewy crust, a light and tender middle, and they taste so good! It's definitely not a quick recipe (it takes a minimum of 19 hours or so) but the end result is definitely worth it! Making these baguettes gave me a nice little confidence boost, and I'm excited to try out some other artisan bread recipes soon! 

These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!
Classic Baguettes

for the starter:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast (a good pinch works fine)
1 cup flour

for the bread:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt

To make the starter, add the water to a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. When the yeast has dissolved, stir in the flour. Cover and let sit at least twelve hours (leaving it overnight works great). When it has finished resting, it will be bubbly and should have risen noticeably.

To make the bread, add the starter to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, water, flour, and salt, and stir to form a soft and slightly sticky dough. Knead for about five minutes, until smooth and pliable. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, gently deflate the dough by folding the edges of the dough into the center, turn the dough ball over, and cover again. Let rise for 45 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a light greased surface and divide into three equal sized balls. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten the dough slightly with your hand, then fold it over on itself. Turn the dough around so that the seam is facing you, and fold it over agin. Repeat the process one more time, then place seam side down. Roll out the dough using your hands to form a long cylinder. Place on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.

Toward the end of the rise time, place a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven, and heat the oven to 450. When the dough has finished rising, place the baking sheet on the shelf above the water and bake 24-28 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
These homemade classic baguettes have the perfect crisp exterior and soft inside. They taste just like they came from a fancy bakery!

4.05.2019

Skillet Fish Tacos

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These flavorful skillet fish tacos are a delicious and easy to make thirty minute meal!

These flavorful skillet fish tacos are a delicious and easy to make thirty minute meal!

If your family is anything like my family, then you can never get enough tacos! They're on the menu at our house at least once a week, and we all love them. I have some other great taco recipes already on the blog (like these fabulous carnitas tacos and these flavorful barbacoa tacos), and these skillet fish tacos are just as delicious! They're so quick and easy to make, and perfect for a busy night. My kids absolutely love them and ask me to make them again and again. They are so good!

These flavorful skillet fish tacos are a delicious and easy to make thirty minute meal!

I usually make these fish tacos with tilapia, because I nearly always have it on hand in the freezer, but they work well with other types of fish too. If you want to be an overachiever, you can make your own delicious soft corn tortillas, but they're great with store-bought tortillas too. I like to top them with sour cream, fresh salsa, and a squeeze of lime, and serve them with a side of Mexican rice. It's a perfect easy dinner!

These flavorful skillet fish tacos are a delicious and easy to make thirty minute meal!
Skillet Fish Tacos

for the slaw:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded cabbage

for the fish:
1 pound fresh tilapia fillets
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon oil

for serving:
corn tortillas
sour cream and salsa

To make the slaw, in a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lime juice, sour cream, honey, vinegar, and salt. Add the cabbage and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate the slaw while the fish cooks. To make the fish, stir together the garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture on both sides of the tilapia fillets. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fillets to the skillet and cook 6-8 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through. Break the fish apart into bite sized pieces. To serve, warm the corn tortillas in a damp towel for 1 minute in the microwave. Add a scoop of fish to the middle of the tortilla, and top with slaw, sour cream, and salsa.
These flavorful skillet fish tacos are a delicious and easy to make thirty minute meal!

3.18.2019

No-Knead Cheddar Artisan Bread

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This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and an amazing cheddar flavor!

This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and a fantastic cheddar flavor!

One of the games my kids love to play is to ask each person in our family about their favorites. Favorite song, favorite movie, favorite color, favorite food, etc. It's always fun to listen to my kids' favorites change over time (for example, my older daughter LOVED pink and purple when she was six, and now as a nearly 12 year old, she wouldn't be caught dead in pink). I always seem to get stumped when they ask me what my favorite food is, though! There are just too many delicious foods out there to choose only one to be my favorite. After much reflection, I've narrowed it down to two main categories that encompass most of my favorite foods: bread and cheese. This cheddar artisan bread is the perfect combination of both categories! It has a great cheddar flavor, but is still tender and chewy. The best part is that it's really easy to make, and requires almost no effort on your part!

This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and a fantastic cheddar flavor!

If you haven't made no-knead artisan bread before, you are definitely in for a treat! It's as simple as stirring a few simple ingredients together, letting it sit for a long period of time (12-18 hours) and then baking it into a delicious crusty loaf. It really could not be simpler to make, and it tastes like bread from a fancy bakery! I've made the basic version of this bread many times, and it's always delicious, but adding the cheddar to the bread really boosts the flavor. It's perfect for sandwiches (I made a turkey BLT with it that was to die for!) and makes an amazing grilled cheese. It's also great as an accompaniment for tomato soup or broccoli cheddar soup

This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and a fantastic cheddar flavor!

This bread is definitely best on the day that it's baked, but you can stretch it for another few days if you're making it into a grilled cheese or panini. It also makes fantastic homemade croutons! This is a great recipe for beginning bread makers because it's so simple and easy, but it's still totally delicious!

This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and a fantastic cheddar flavor!
No-Knead Cheddar Artisan Bread

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir until a soft and sticky dough forms. Stir in the cheddar cheese. Cover and let rest 12-18 hours. After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 450 with a dutch oven inside. When the oven has heated, heavily flour your hands and your work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball of dough into the preheated dutch oven, cover, and return it to the oven. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Enjoy!
This no-knead cheddar artisan bread is perfect for beginners, and tastes amazing! It has a chewy crust, a tender middle, and a fantastic cheddar flavor!

3.12.2019

Mini Pretzel Dogs

Yum
These adorable and easy to make mini pretzel dogs are the perfect appetizer!

These adorable and easy to make mini pretzel dogs are the perfect appetizer!

Okay, friends, who else is struggling with the time change? It's one of my least favorite times of year, and I am totally exhausted. I'm a terrible sleeper at the best of times, and any little thing that throws off my rhythm just exacerbates all of the problems I had in the first place. Every year it seems to take me several miserable weeks to adjust to the time change, and I turn into an irritable, exhausted zombie. Ugh! I do love that there's more daylight in the evenings now, and that it's starting to feel like spring. I just wish I didn't have to be so tired for several weeks in order to have more light!

One of the positive things about this time of year is that I'm starting to plan out our yard and garden for this year, and I'm so excited! We bought our house last summer, and we were so focused on fixing up the interior of the house that we did basically nothing to our outdoor spaces last year. This year, I'm excited to plant a garden in our raised garden beds, and I've even got big plans to paint our deck and pergola to make the space brighter and happier. It has been a long dreary winter, and it makes me feel much more hopeful now that the days are getting longer and spring is coming!

Since we're still in that in-between period where half of the days are rainy and cold and dark, and half of the days are sunny and warm, how about a delicious appetizer to cheer everyone up? These mini pretzel dogs are so fun and adorable, and they taste amazing. They remind me of warm summer days at the ballpark, but they're easy to make at home in the oven. They work great as an appetizer or snack, and my kids love it when I add them to their school lunches. They're totally delicious!

These adorable and easy to make mini pretzel dogs are the perfect appetizer!
Mini Pretzel Dogs

3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 package Lil' Smokies sausages
1 large egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together
coarse salt (I used Jacobsen salt because it's my favorite)

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let stand five minutes, until foamy. Add the flour, salt, and butter, and mix until combined. Knead 5-10 minutes, until smooth and pliable. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and spray with cooking spray. Heat the water and baking soda to boiling. While waiting for the water to boil, gently punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal-sized balls. Roll each ball out into a circle that is approximately 12 inches in diameter. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each circle into twelve wedges. Place a sausage at the wide end of each wedge, and roll the dough around it, pressing with your fingers to seal the end. Place the wrapped dogs a few at a time into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then remove to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top of each dog with the egg wash, then sprinkle with salt. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.
These adorable and easy to make mini pretzel dogs are the perfect appetizer!
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