The Baker Upstairs

11.14.2019

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

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This cheesy and delicious chicken cordon bleu pasta is so flavorful, and so easy to make!

This cheesy and delicious chicken cordon bleu pasta is so flavorful, and so easy to make!

Are you more of a menu planner or a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type cook? I aspire to be a great menu planner, but usually only end up planning a menu and grocery shopping about every other week. On the off week, we usually just cobble together odds and ends from the pantry and cupboard, catch up on meals I didn't make from the week before, and/or eat out. As much as I would love to be organized enough to plan a menu every single week, I like having a little more flexibility than that, and we tend to have so much food in the fridge and pantry anyway that it's a good way to rotate through our stash. This chicken cordon bleu pasta is one that I make frequently in those in-between weeks. I almost always have cooked chicken and ham in the freezer, pasta in the pantry, and cheese and milk in the fridge, so it's a no brainer to throw everything together into a cheesy and filling pasta dish!

This cheesy and delicious chicken cordon bleu pasta is so flavorful, and so easy to make!

My kids always ask for seconds when I make this pasta, and I love that it's so simple and delicious! The combination of tender chicken and ham with a creamy swiss cheese sauce is fantastic. It's ready in less than 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a busy night (as all of my weeknights seem to be lately). It's one of our go-to meals!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

8 ounces rotini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pepper (to taste)
1 cup grated swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
3/4 cup chopped ham

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste. Let cook 2-3 minutes, until golden. Gradually add the milk, whisking so there are no lumps. Let cook for a few minutes until thickened, then gradually add the chicken broth, continuing to whisk constantly. Whisk in the salt and pepper, then let the mixture cook for a few minutes, until thickened to desired consistency. Remove from heat and whisk in the swiss cheese until melted. Return to heat and stir in the chicken, ham, and cooked pasta, until warmed through. 
This cheesy and delicious chicken cordon bleu pasta is so flavorful, and so easy to make!

11.12.2019

Cranberry Orange Scones

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These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!

These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!

Do you love a good scone as much as I do? I grew up in Utah, where "scones" are pieces of fried bread dough, usually topped with honey butter. I had never even tried a traditional scone until I was fully grown up, and it was a little strange to me that these crumbly little biscuit-like scones shared the same name as the fried bread of my childhood. I've developed a deep appreciation for real scones since then, and I try to make some variety of scone at least once or twice a month. They are such a joy with a cup of warm hot chocolate or tea, especially when it's cold out. I've made a wide variety of scone flavors, from lemon poppyseed to peaches and cream, and I love them all. These cranberry orange scones are a new variation that I tried recently, now that fresh cranberries are in season, and they have quickly become a new favorite!

These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!

Cranberries are a great choice for scones because they add a lot of flavor, but don't add a ton of moisture. I bumped up the sweetness in the scones a little to compensate for the tartness of the cranberries, and the flavors are so good together. There's some citrusy sweetness from the orange, the bright and tart cranberry flavor, and the underlying sweet and tender scone dough. I like to brush them with cream before baking so they brown a little bit in the oven, and they're crisp on top but still soft and tender in the middle.

These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!

To make these scones even more delicious, I drizzled a sweet orange glaze over the top to finish them. It's not strictly necessary, but it does add a nice little boost of orange flavor! These scones are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or snacking any time. They're the perfect blend of sweet and tart, and the texture is perfect!

These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!
Cranberry Orange Scones

for the scones:
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one orange
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup half and half
1 egg
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half
2 tablespoons cream
sparkling sugar

for the glaze:
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoons half and half

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment. In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together until fragrant. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and toss to combine. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the half and half, eggs, and orange extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until the dough just starts to come together. Gently fold in the cranberries, being careful not to crush them.

Pat the dough out into a 8 inch square, being careful not to overwork it. Cut 9 circles out of the dough using a biscuit cutter, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with the cream and sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. To make the glaze, whisk the orange juice and powdered sugar together. Add the half and half as needed to make a glaze that's easy to drizzle, but not too runny. Drizzle the glaze over the scones.
These cranberry orange scones are so light and tender, and perfectly sweetened!

11.10.2019

Thanksgiving Menu Plan

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This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away! Since we moved to Portland a few years ago, my family has had a tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving with my nephew Alex and his wife Suzie. They're foodies like we are, so they always bring something delicious to share, and we have enjoyed several glorious feasts together. I had never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner on my own before we moved, but I quickly built up a collection of delicious and easy recipes that got rave reviews from everyone at the table.

This summer Alex and Suzie moved to New York for graduate school, and we are missing them so much with the holidays approaching! Since we'll be spending Thanksgiving on our own with no family close by, we decided to change things up and rent a beach house at the coast for the week. I've let myself off the hook for cooking anything this Thanksgiving (I think we'll pick up a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner at the grocery store, or go out to a restaurant for dinner), but I still wanted to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you. These are my favorite tried and true recipes for Thanksgiving, and I love that they all coordinate well together. I hope you'll find some inspiration for your own holiday table!


This cheesy spinach and artichoke dip has the most delicious combination of flavors, and is so easy to make. It's my family's favorite appetizer!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


This rosemary sage turkey breast is incredibly moist and flavorful, and so simple to make. The meat is so tender and delicious!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


These delicious crescent rolls turn out perfect every single time, and are so easy to make! I have a lot of roll recipes on my site, but these ones are my very favorite. 

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


This bacon apple stovetop stuffing is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table! It's so flavorful, and so easy to make!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


These delicious instant pot garlic mashed potatoes are a quick and easy side dish that goes with everything! They are so easy to make, and have the perfect consistency every time.

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


These flavorful and delicious hazelnut green beans are the perfect side dish! The flavors in the hazelnuts and the green beans complement each other perfectly.

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


These roasted brussels sprouts with bacon are so deliciously flavorful, and quick and easy to make. They're delicious enough to convert even brussels sprout haters!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


This homemade cranberry sauce is way better than the canned stuff! It has a delicious combination of cranberry, orange, and cinnamon flavors, and so delicious!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!


This simple and delicious caramel apple galette is so easy to make. It has all of the deliciousness of apple pie, but with way less work!

This easy and delicious Thanksgiving menu plan has all the best recipes for a tasty holiday!

Hope your Thanksgiving holiday is warm and happy, and your feast is delicious!

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