The Baker Upstairs: 2020

7.15.2020

Simple and Delicious Roast Chicken

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This simple and delicious roast chicken is so easy to make, and so tender and flavorful!

This simple and delicious roast chicken is so easy to make, and so tender and flavorful!

Okay, I know I posted before about how I haven't had the energy for cooking elaborate meals lately, but sometimes a girl just needs a delicious roast chicken, you know? Luckily, this roast chicken is super simple and easy to make, with almost no hands on time. I've always been intimidated by the thought of roasting a chicken before, but it really is much simpler and more straightforward than I had previously thought. It's actually pretty doable, even on a busy night. It does take a little time to cook, but it couldn't be simpler to make. Just rub the chicken with a spice rub, sprinkle a little butter on top, and throw it in the oven until it's golden brown and delicious. It doesn't get easier than that!

This simple and delicious roast chicken is so easy to make, and so tender and flavorful!

This chicken is super delicious by itself, but it's also great to use in any recipe calling for rotisserie chicken. The spice rub gives the chicken a delicious but still subtle flavor, which makes it great for adding to other recipes. We ate about half of this chicken the first night with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots on the side, and then I used the remaining chicken to make this delicious cheesy chicken and broccoli pasta later in the week. I love a meal that does double duty!

This simple and delicious roast chicken is so easy to make, and so tender and flavorful!
 
Simple and Delicious Roast Chicken

1 whole chicken, neck and giblets removed
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 375. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, salt, pepper, garic powder, and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the skin of the chicken, rubbing gently to work it into the skin. Place the chicken in a heavy dutch oven. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top of the chicken. Place the lid on the pot and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid from the pot and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the skin is crispy and brown and the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

This simple and delicious roast chicken is so easy to make, and so tender and flavorful!

7.13.2020

Simple Roasted Carrots

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These simple and delicious roasted carrots are the perfect easy to make side dish!
   
These simple and delicious roasted carrots are the perfect easy to make side dish!

With all of the craziness going on in the world lately, I have totally been relying on grocery pickup for the last several months. I generally hate grocery shopping, so I've been using grocery pickup on and off for several years now, but it has been a lifeline for me over the past few months. I actually haven't stepped foot in a grocery store since the beginning of March, which is pretty nuts! Most of the time it's a great experience, I get everything I ordered, and it's easy and low stress. One problem I've noticed, though, is that somehow my mental inventory of how much food we have in the house keeps getting off track, and I therefore end up with seven packages of tortilla strips in my pantry, or six containers of strawberries in my fridge. Right now I've got fresh carrots coming out of my ears! Last week I ordered three packages of baby carrots, then totally blanked on them and ordered two large packages of whole carrots this week. We do really like carrots, but I've been struggling to come up with fun ways to use them up instead of just eating them cold with ranch dressing. 

These simple roasted carrots are an easy and delicious side dish that's quick enough for a busy weeknight meal. They are so easy to make that you can toss them together in just a few minutes, and let them cook while you prepare the rest of your dinner. I've never really liked the flavor of steamed carrots, but roasted carrots are totally delicious! They get just slightly caramelized around the edges, and they're soft and tender in the middle. The olive oil and salt and pepper enhance the flavor and make them extra delicious!

These simple and delicious roasted carrots are the perfect easy to make side dish!

If you don't have whole carrots on hand, you can easily make these roasted carrots with baby carrots instead. They're just as delicious, and even easier to make because you can skip the peeling and cutting. These roasted carrots are always a favorite with my family!
Simple Roasted Carrots

4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Place the carrot sticks on the baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until soft and just slightly caramelized around the edges. Remove from oven and sprinkle with thyme. Serve hot.
 
These simple and delicious roasted carrots are the perfect easy to make side dish!

7.08.2020

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

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This quick chicken noodle soup has all the flavor of traditional chicken noodle soup, but is so much faster to make!
 
This quick chicken noodle soup has all the flavor of traditional chicken noodle soup, but is so much faster to make!

As I've mentioned before, I have been so sick during this pregnancy that it's hard sometimes to come up with meals I can tolerate. I mostly stick with relatively bland, small meals, and I'm usually so tired that I don't have the energy to put together an elaborate meal anyway. Some of my meals lately have gotten very depressing, like the piece of toast with a string cheese on the side I had for dinner last night. :) I haven't had many cravings with this pregnancy, but last week I was craving this amazing chicken noodle soup I had at my friend Alicia's house a few years ago. By the way, if you're not already a fan of her blog, you absolutely must check it out! She is one of the most talented people I've ever met, and everything she touches is gorgeous. Anyway, we had dinner at her house one night, and she and her husband made the glorious soup, and it has been cemented in my mind as the pinnacle of all chicken noodle soup deliciousness. 

Since I didn't have a whole chicken on hand, and the craving hit around 5:00 in the afternoon, it was imperative that I come up with a viable solution using what I already had in the house. My homemade version turned out totally fantastic, and only took around 30 minutes to make. It's not quite the same, obviously, but it was a really great substitute that satisfied my cravings without making me exhausted. That is a total dinner win!

This quick chicken noodle soup has all the flavor of traditional chicken noodle soup, but is so much faster to make!

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!)
2 cups shell pasta

Heat the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, parsley, and cooked chicken. Bring the soup to a simmer, then add the shell pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
This quick chicken noodle soup has all the flavor of traditional chicken noodle soup, but is so much faster to make!

 

7.06.2020

Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread

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This easy no-knead artisan bread is so simple to make, and tastes just like it came from the bakery!
   
This easy no-knead artisan bread is so simple to make, and tastes just like it came from the bakery!

After months of not feeling well enough to bake, I am finally getting back into the swing of things and having a great time baking some of my favorite recipes. Lately nothing sounds better to me than freshly baked bread, and this easy no-knead artisan bread is perfect! It takes almost no hands-on time to make, is so simple my nine year old can mix it up herself, and it tastes like it came from the bakery. It's the perfect easy bread recipe!

This easy no-knead artisan bread is so simple to make, and tastes just like it came from the bakery!

I made this bread for dinner with soup a few nights ago, and when my husband came home from work, he was a little confused and asked if I had made a trip to the bakery for the bread (knowing I rarely leave the house these days). He couldn't believe I had made it myself! I'm choosing to take that as a sign that the bread was fantastic, and not a complete lack of confidence in my baking skills. :)

This easy no-knead artisan bread is so simple to make, and tastes just like it came from the bakery!

This bread does take a little time to make, but it's super easy to mix up in the evening before bed, and then bake the next day. It's best on the day it's made, but it does make really excellent toast the next day if you happen to have any leftovers. I love that you can take just four simple ingredients and make something so completely delicious! 
No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir until a soft and sticky dough forms. 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!

adapted slightly from Jo Cooks

This easy no-knead artisan bread is so simple to make, and tastes just like it came from the bakery!

7.01.2020

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

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This tender and sweet strawberry cream cheese bread is so delicious, and so easy to make!
 
This tender and sweet strawberry cream cheese bread is so delicious, and so easy to make!

I hope you're not sick of strawberry recipes yet, because I still have some great ones coming your way!  This strawberry cream cheese bread is a classic recipe at my house, and one I love to make whenever we have fresh strawberries on hand. It's perfect for brunch or dessert, and has the best light and tender texture. It's another one of those simple recipes that's completely delicious and easy to make!  

This tender and sweet strawberry cream cheese bread is so delicious, and so easy to make!

This strawberry cream cheese bread can easily made in four mini loaf pans instead of a large loaf pan, or even made in a muffin tin instead for adorable individual servings. The baking time will change depending on the size of the mini loaf pans, but I would suggest starting with a time of 30 minutes, and checking about every five minutes after that to see if they're done. If you're making muffins, 18-20 minutes should do the trick (but again, test for doneness before pulling them out). 

This tender and sweet strawberry cream cheese bread is so delicious, and so easy to make!

This bread is perfectly sweetened, and the strawberries studded throughout are delicious little pockets of joy. The cream cheese makes the texture even more tender, almost like pound cake, and adds some richness to the batter as well. This is one of my favorite sweet breads!
Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix just until combined. Add the buttermilk and stir gently until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Carefully fold in strawberries with a spatula, trying to break them up as little as possible (the batter will be thick). Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
This tender and sweet strawberry cream cheese bread is so delicious, and so easy to make!

 

6.29.2020

Strawberry Crumb Cake

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This strawberry crumb cake is so simple and delicious, and has the best sweet strawberry flavor!
 
This strawberry crumb cake is so simple and delicious, and has the best sweet strawberry flavor!

Hooray! I'm back with another delicious strawberry recipe to share with you today. (In case you missed my exciting news last week and why I've been MIA lately, you can check out that post here!) This strawberry crumb cake may be my favorite new dessert of the summer. It's simple to make, using mostly pantry staples, but fancy enough to serve for company (not that we have much of that these days). It's equal parts elegant and delicious, which is the best kind of dessert!

I've been making a slightly different version of this cake for years and years now, but it occurred me this time that the cake would be even more delicious if I added a layer of streusel on top. You really can't go wrong with streusel, right? It took what was already a fantastic cake, and made it even more decadent and over the top delicious! The cake itself is tender and not overly sweet, and the strawberry layer is so flavorful and sweet, and just a little tangy. The crumbly and buttery streusel on top is the perfect finishing touch! I usually bake the cake in a pie dish or regular cake pan, but because of the extra streusel layer, I've found that a springform pan works best to keep all of the deliciousness contained. 

This strawberry crumb cake is so simple and delicious, and has the best sweet strawberry flavor!

This cake actually keeps really well overnight with a loose layer of foil or plastic wrap on top, and makes for a totally delicious breakfast, if you are so inclined. :) If you want it to last for longer than overnight, I would suggest refrigerating it, or the strawberries can turn a little iffy. We will definitely be making this one on repeat all through the summer!
Strawberry Crumb Cake

for the cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound strawberries, sliced

for the streusel:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch springform pan and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until just combined. Spread the cake batter in the prepared pan. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on top of the cake batter (it's okay to overlap a little if you run out of room).

To make the topping, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt with a fork. Cut in the butter using a fork or your fingers to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the cake. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325. Bake an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
This strawberry crumb cake is so simple and delicious, and has the best sweet strawberry flavor!


 

6.25.2020

Strawberry Crumb Bars

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These delicious and easy to make strawberry crumb bars are the perfect summer dessert!

These delicious and easy to make strawberry crumb bars are the perfect summer dessert!

Hello friends! It has been so long since I posted here! I've gotten several emails and messages asking if everything is okay, and I'm sorry I've been terrible at returning them. The truth is, we found out in February that I'm expecting baby number three! We are so incredibly excited to add another little girl to our family at the end of October, but pregnancy is always really hard on me, and I've spent the last four months feeling absolutely miserable and sick. I've finally reached the five month mark in my pregnancy, and my symptoms have improved (although I'm still not feeling 100%). I'm hoping that means I can start posting regularly here again, now that I actually have the ability to cook (and enjoy) food again. :) It has definitely not been easy navigating this pregnancy and all of the medical care I've needed during the pandemic, especially with the kids home full time and my husband working as a front line healthcare worker, but I'm really proud of all of us for pushing through. We can do hard things!

Even though we've missed out on some of our favorite family traditions this spring and summer because of the pandemic, I was thrilled that we were still able to go strawberry picking at our favorite berry farm (Smith Berry Barn, for you Portland locals). Things looked a little different this year, with masks and frequent hand washing and no sampling allowed, but we still had a really great time, and ended up picking 13 pounds of strawberries in less than thirty minutes. And not just any old strawberries, but the sweetest and most beautiful strawberries I've ever seen. I've been baking and cooking like crazy, and I'm really excited to share with you all of the recipes I've made with them!

These delicious and easy to make strawberry crumb bars are the perfect summer dessert!

These strawberry crumb bars are an old favorite recipe that was definitely in need of some new pictures to show off how delicious they are. They have a delicious buttery cookie crust, topped with a layer of sweet strawberries, then another layer of crust crumbled on top. They're baked until they're just golden brown on top, and the strawberry layer turns into sweet jammy goodness. They are the perfect way to enjoy that strawberry flavor that is just the essence of summer!
Strawberry Crumb Bars

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons corn starch

Preheat oven to 375. Grease (or line with foil) a 9 x 13 pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry blender, until pieces are no bigger than pea sized. Stir in the egg to form a crumbly dough. Pat half of the dough in an even layer in the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the 1/2 cup sugar and corn starch, then spread the strawberry mixture on top of the dough in the pan. Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the strawberry layer. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool before slicing and serving.
  
These delicious and easy to make strawberry crumb bars are the perfect summer dessert!

4.03.2020

Soft Homemade Flour Tortillas

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These soft homemade flour tortillas are perfect for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and more! They're so delicious and so easy to make!


Oh, wow, it has been a minute since I posted here last! Somehow the whole month of March just completely evaporated for me. My whole family had the flu for the first two weeks of the month, and then with all of the changes happening so fast through the rest of the month, I really just couldn't keep up with everything. I'm still trying to find a balance between working and having the kids home all day, and encouraging them with their distance learning at school. My husband is a front line healthcare worker, so we're doing everything we can to keep the germs out of our house and stay healthy and safe. So basically, March was a roller coaster for me, like I'm sure it was for many of you, and I'm still trying to catch my breath!

Now that everyone is having a little more time at home, I love seeing that you all are baking my bread recipes! I'm trying to limit my grocery trips to once every two weeks, which means a lot of improvising and making things from scratch at home. These soft homemade flour tortillas are one of my favorite recipes, and we've been making them at least a couple of times a week this month. They're perfect with this chicken tortilla soup, or for making tacos or burritos. They are perfectly soft and way more delicious than anything you can buy at the store. If you're looking for a quick and easy bread recipe that doesn't require yeast, these tortillas are a great choice!


Soft Homemade Flour Tortillas

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup warm water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender or two knives. Add the warm water and mix to form a thick dough. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a damp towel, and let rest 10-15 minutes. Preheat a large skillet or a griddle over medium heat. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces for soft taco-sized tortillas, or 12 equal pieces for fajita-sized tortillas. Roll each piece of dough into a circle. Transfer each tortilla to the griddle and cook 2-3 minutes, until the tortilla puffs up and bubbles, then flip and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes on the other side. Place the cooked tortillas in a tortilla warmer or towel to keep them flexible and warm until ready to serve.

2.23.2020

26 Delightful Lemon Recipes

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26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!

This time of year, I am totally in love with all things lemon! When the weather is gloomy outside, that bright citrus flavor just cheers me up, and livens up whatever I'm cooking. I've posted quite a few lemon recipes on the blog over the years, so I thought it would be fun to round them all up for you, so you can find a new favorite recipe too!


These lemon poppy seed scones are so light and tender, with a totally delicious flavor combination!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon and garlic tuna burgers are a fun twist on traditional burgers. They're ready in under 30 minutes, and so delicious!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon and chocolate cupcakes are a fun and unique flavor combination!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These strawberry lemonade scones taste just like summer time! They're so delicious and easy to make.

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These greek lemon chicken skewers are an easy and delicious weeknight meal that's full of flavor!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon blueberry cupcakes are topped with a luscious lemon cream cheese frosting, and loaded with juicy blueberries!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


Making your own homemade lemon curd is simple and easy, and totally delicious!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon blueberry sweet rolls are a fun twist on traditional cinnamon rolls, and perfect for breakfast or brunch.

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon sugar cookie bars have all the taste of sugar cookies, but without all the rolling and cutting!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This delicious and flavorful lemon rice cooks in the Instant Pot, and couldn't be easier to make! 

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!

Lemon Garlic Drumsticks

These lemon garlic chicken drumsticks are an easy and flavorful main dish that's simple to prepare, and always a crowd pleaser!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!

Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This lemon cream cheese coffee cake is so tender and flavorful, and perfect for breakfast, dessert, or entertaining!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon poppy seed muffins are so light and tender, and easy to make!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This lemon meringue pie has a deliciously tart and sweet lemon layer, topped with a cloud of fluffy and sweet meringue!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon curd cupcakes are filled with fresh lemon curd, with a light and sweet lemon curd buttercream on top!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This blackberry lemonade is made with fresh blackberry sauce, and so refreshing and sweet!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This lemon and garlic chicken skillet is another easy and quick thirty minute meal, and full of flavor!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These lemon poppy seed cupcakes are topped with a heavenly light cream cheese frosting, and have the perfect tender crumb!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This flavorful homemade chicken piccata is so easy to make, and tastes just as delicious as a dish from a fancy restaurant!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This fresh strawberry lemonade is the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and so summery and delicious.

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This watermelon lemonade is so fruity and refreshing, and so easy to make!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These strawberry lemonade muffins are so easy and delicious, and perfect for breakfast or snacking!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


This Irish lemon pudding is so decadent and delicious, and has just a handful of simple ingredients. It's wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These strawberry lemonade bars are absolute perfection when they're served chilled, with the perfect tart and sweet flavor and a buttery crust.

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These glazed lemon sugar cookies are chewy and crisp around the edges, and soft in the middle, with a sweet lemon glaze drizzled over the top.

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!


These glazed lemon blueberry muffins have a classic flavor combination, with a sweet and delicious lemon glaze on top. They are so good!

26 delightful lemon recipes - from drinks and desserts to main dishes and sides!