The Baker Upstairs: 2019

12.31.2019

Top 10 Recipes of 2019

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The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs

Happy New Year's Eve! I decided the best way to wrap up the year was with a list of the top 10 recipes that I posted on the blog this year. They're all favorites of mine (although that's true of pretty much everything I post), and I'm glad to see that you all like them too!


These Swedish meatballs are a homage to one of my favorite meals from childhood, and the sauce is so savory and flavorful. They're even more delicious with homemade meatballs!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


Snickerdoodles were my favorite cookies as a child, and these snickerdoodle blondies have all the cinnamon sugar taste I love, in a chewy and soft blondie. They are so good!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


Blueberry muffins are a classic, for good reason! These blueberry buttermilk muffins are my perfected recipe, and I make them almost every weekend. 

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


Ever since I started making pizza regularly again this year, this bacon breakfast pizza has been a favorite at our house. My girls request it for every single pizza night!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


These homemade Nilla wafers are better than store-bought, and surprisingly easy to make! My homemade versions of store-bought treats (like these homemade nutter butter cookies and homemade cheez-it crackers) are always popular on the blog, and these Nilla wafers are just as delicious!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs

5. Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This is one of my top go-to meals when nothing else sounds good and I'm low on groceries. My kids prefer it to the boxed mix, and it takes about the same amount of time to make!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs

4. No-Knead Cheddar Artisan Bread

I've been working on developing my artisan bread skills this year, and this no-knead cheddar artisan bread was so easy to make, and incredibly delicious! 

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs

3. Beecher's Mac and Cheese

I made this mac and cheese after our first trip to Seattle for spring break, and it totally exceeded my expectations with its deliciousness! It's only a little more work than my stovetop mac and cheese (but not much), and has amazing blend of flavors.

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


This Mexican rice is a staple at our house! I make some kind of Mexican food at least once a week, and this rice goes with everything. It's so simple to make, and so flavorful!

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs


These mini pretzel dogs were the most popular recipe that I posted on my site this year, and for good reason! Who doesn't love homemade pretzels? They're adorable, delicious, and easy to make. 

The Top 10 Recipes of 2019 - The Baker Upstairs

It has been a great year for this little blog, and I just want to say thank you for reading, commenting, following, and (most of all) for making my recipes! I love hearing from you about recipes you love. If there's anything you'd like to see more of in 2020, please leave a comment and let me know!

12.29.2019

12 Refreshing Smoothies

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These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!

I can't believe the year 2020 is just around the corner! I still remember so clearly celebrating the year 2000, and now it has been two whole decades since I was that dorky teenager banging on pots outside with my best friend. :) If you, like me, are pressing forward with the perennial New Year's goal of eating better, I've got this awesome list of smoothies to share with you. They range from quite healthy to mostly dessert-ish, but they're all completely delicious. Whether you're trying to eat healthier or not, I think we can all agree that the new year needs more smoothies in it!


This three ingredient peanut butter banana smoothie is so easy to make and tastes like dessert, but is way better for you!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This refreshing and healthy mango raspberry smoothie is the perfect easy breakfast!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This sweet peach cobbler smoothie is a healthy and delicious way to start the day!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This blueberry pomegranate smoothie is so sweet, tangy, and flavorful!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This green breakfast smoothie takes only a few minutes to make, is packed full of vitamins, and is super delicious to boot!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This strawberry sunrise breakfast smoothie is super delicious and full of fruit flavor. It takes only a few minutes to make and tastes great!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This tropical green smoothie is super easy to make and super delicious as well. It's a great way to pack in those fruits and veggies!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This strawberry banana smoothie is so simple and kid-friendly, and everyone loves it!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This mango pineapple smoothie is like a tropical vacation in a glass!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This skinny strawberry smoothie has just two ingredients, and is so refreshing!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This creamy orange smoothie tastes just like an orange creamsicle, and is so delicious!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!


This copycat orange julius is so creamy, sweet and delicious!

These 12 refreshing smoothie recipes are simple to make, and totally delicious!

Happy smoothie making!

12.23.2019

Soft and Thick Gingerbread Cookies

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These soft and thick gingerbread cookies have the perfect lightly spiced gingerbread flavor, and are so delicious!

These soft and thick gingerbread cookies have the perfect lightly spiced gingerbread flavor, and are so delicious!

Okay, I know it's a little late in the game to be sharing a Christmas cookie recipe, but these soft and thick gingerbread cookies are too delicious to wait until next year! I have to confess, I've had a hard time getting in the holiday spirit this year. The Christmas season is so short this time around, and I have so many other things on my plate right now that are occupying my attention. We haven't done the majority of our Christmas traditions, like watching our favorite Christmas movies, going to look at the Zoo Lights, or even our Christmas baking. I'm always pretty homesick this time of year, and a few days ago I was feeling pretty bummed about missing Christmas with my family. I decided to ignore my endless to-do list, and got right to baking some delicious cookies!

These gingerbread cookies smelled heavenly while they were baking, and by the time they were out of the oven, my mood had significantly improved. I whipped up some quick frosting, turned on a cheesy Christmas movie (Let it Snow on Netflix), and started decorating. The finished cookies were so adorable, and totally delicious! I have a trusty gingerbread recipe that I've been using for years now, but this recipe may just have edged it out for my favorite. The key is to roll them out pretty thick, so the finished cookies will stay soft. These cookies have the most delicious gingerbread flavor, and the perfect cookie texture! I made a slightly non-traditional choice and iced them with buttercream frosting instead of royal icing, because I don't like the way royal icing tastes, and I think the buttercream adds a little something special. These cookies are so delicious!

These soft and thick gingerbread cookies have the perfect lightly spiced gingerbread flavor, and are so delicious!
Soft and Thick Gingerbread Cookies

for the cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white vinegar
5 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

for the frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 - 2 tablespoons milk or half and half

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and white vinegar, and beat until well blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350. Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, and cut it out into shapes. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 9-11 minutes, then let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk, and blend until smooth. Add additional milk as needed to make a smooth frosting. Beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cookies and enjoy!

adapted from Bless This Mess

These soft and thick gingerbread cookies have the perfect lightly spiced gingerbread flavor, and are so delicious!

12.21.2019

15 Amazing Appetizers

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These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!

One of my family's favorite New Year's Eve traditions every year is that we eat appetizers for dinner. Appetizers are always one of my favorite parts of the meal, so why not combine a bunch of them into an indulgent and delicious meal? It feels like a special treat for all of us, and I usually let each person in my family choose some of their favorites to add to the spread. 

Sometimes we do all homemade appetizers, sometimes it's a mix of frozen and store-bought, and occasionally (when I'm extra exhausted) I just buy all of the things in the freezer section and go to town. We don't have many other New Year's Eve or New Year's Day traditions, but it's something that my kids look forward to after all of the Christmas excitement has died down. If you'd like to give it a try (or just need a fun and delicious appetizer for a party), I'm sharing all of my favorite homemade appetizers for you below!


These spicy and savory jalapeƱo popper pinwheels have just three ingredients, and are so easy to make!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These salty, chewy, buttery pretzel bites are like little bites of heaven! They're simple to make, and perfect for dipping in cheese sauce. 

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


This buffalo chicken dip is spicy and creamy and cheesy, and so delicious! It's perfect with celery sticks and crackers on the side for dipping.

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These baked honey lime chicken taquitos are so flavorful and delicious!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These simple and delicious chicken empanadas have a flavorful and savory chicken filling, surrounded by flaky pastry. They're irresistible!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


This guacamole white bean dip has such a fantastic combination of flavors, and takes just a  few minutes to make. It's so delicious!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These crispy baked chicken wings are amazingly delicious and quick and easy to make! Perfect for game day, parties, or snacking!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These simple and delicious baked creamy chicken taquitos take just a few minutes to make, and are the perfect quick lunch or snack!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


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

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


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

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


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

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


This cheesy spinach and artichoke dip has the most delicious combination of flavors, and is so easy to make!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


This savory and flavorful bacon cheddar cheeseball is so easy to make, and so delicious. It's the perfect party appetizer!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


This gooey and melty cranberry baked brie is the perfect party appetizer, and so easy to make!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!


These homemade soft pretzels are just as delicious as the pretzels from the mall, and so fun to make at home!

These 15 delicious appetizer recipes are perfect for parties, entertaining, or snacking!

12.18.2019

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Bowls

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These cheesy broccoli potato bowls are a delicious meatless meal that's easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight!

These cheesy broccoli potato bowls are a delicious meatless meal that's easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight!

Who else loves a good thirty minute meal? Life is so busy these days that I rarely spend more than thirty minutes of hands-on time cooking dinner at night. When dinner time rolls around, I'm tired and hungry and just want my food now! I really love meals like these cheesy broccoli potato bowls that are delicious, filling, kid-friendly, budget-friendly, and easy to make. They're sort of like a riff on a broccoli cheese baked potato, but with extra delicious flavor and texture from using roasted red potatoes instead of baked russet potatoes. They are so good!

If you haven't made your own homemade cheese sauce before, be prepared to have your life changed! It's way easier than you might think to make, and it tastes so good you'll want to eat it with a spoon. You can drizzle this cheese sauce over just about anything and it will make it extra delicious! These potato bowls are simple and delicious, and my kids will always eat them without complaining. They're perfect for those nights between grocery trips when I don't have much in the house, but still want a filling and reasonably healthy meal. The recipe below will serve 4-6, depending on how big your appetites are, and the leftovers actually taste great too. I usually make these bowls for dinner one night, then package up the two extra portions for my husband to take to work later in the week. They are one of our favorite simple meals!

These cheesy broccoli potato bowls are a delicious meatless meal that's easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight!

Cheesy Broccoli Potato Bowls

6 medium red potatoes, cut into one inch chunks
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup water
sour cream (for serving)

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil on a sheet pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Test with a fork for doneness, and cook for an additional 5 minutes if needed.

During the last 10 minutes of cooking time, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese and the salt and pepper.

Add the broccoli and water to a medium skillet over medium heat. Cover and steam 3-4 minutes, until bright green and tender. To assemble the bowls, layer crispy roasted potatoes in the bottom of the bowl, then top with steamed broccoli. Drizzle the homemade cheese sauce over the top, and finish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with grated cheese.

These cheesy broccoli potato bowls are a delicious meatless meal that's easy to make and perfect for a busy weeknight!

12.16.2019

Dutch Baby Puff Pancake

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This dutch baby puff pancake is a delicious and easy to make breakfast that's perfect for special occasions!

This dutch baby puff pancake is a delicious and easy to make breakfast that's perfect for special occasions!

Now that we're in the single digits until Christmas (what?!?) I've been thinking about what we're going to eat for Christmas breakfast this year. Last year I made our favorite aebleskiver for Christmas morning, and as much as I love them, it was a lot of time spent in the kitchen when I really just wanted to be hanging out on the couch watching my kids play with their toys. This year I'm thinking we'll make this dutch baby puff pancake! It's surprisingly easy to make, and completely delicious. We make it pretty regularly for weekend breakfasts, and it's magical to watch it puffing up in the oven, from a thin batter to a huge puffy delicious pancake. My kids pretty much just camp out in front of the oven door the whole time it's baking so they don't miss a minute! :)

The dutch baby is delicious on its own with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top, but it's also fantastic topped with strawberry sauce, blueberry sauce, fresh cut fruit, buttermilk syrup, and/or whipped cream on top. Really, the sky is the limit! It's best when it's eaten fresh out of the oven, but I have saved the leftovers and microwaved them for breakfast the next day, and they were still pretty delicious. If you don't happen to own a cast iron skillet, you could split the batter between two 8-inch pie tins, or pour it in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Just melt the butter in the pan in the oven first, so you can pour the batter into the hot melty butter before baking.

This dutch baby puff pancake is a delicious and easy to make breakfast that's perfect for special occasions!

This dutch baby puff pancake is special enough for birthdays and holidays, but easy enough for lazy weekend mornings. You definitely need to try this one!

Dutch Baby Puff Pancake

4 tablespoons soft butter, divided
4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour, sifted
2/3 cup milk
powdered sugar
syrup and fresh fruit for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400. Add two tablespoons of butter to a cast iron skillet and place in the oven during the last ten minutes of preheating. To make the pancakes, add the eggs to a blender and blend until light yellow. Add the sugar, salt, flour, milk, and remaining two tablespoons of butter, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the hot pan (be careful not to burn yourself!). Bake 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the pancake is deep golden brown and puffed up and the center only jiggles slightly when gently shaken. Serve warm with desired toppings.

This dutch baby puff pancake is a delicious and easy to make breakfast that's perfect for special occasions!