The Baker Upstairs: March 2021

3.30.2021

Birthday Cake Waffles

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These birthday cake waffles are so delicious, easy to make, and perfect for a special birthday breakfast!
These birthday cake waffles are so delicious, easy to make, and perfect for a birthday breakfast!
My daughter Lizzy celebrated her tenth birthday earlier this month, and was pretty dismayed to realize that she would have to have a second pandemic-style birthday. Last year everything shut down for us on her actual birthday, and this year we are still being extra cautious about exposure to germs since we have a new baby in the house. She had really hoped for a birthday party with friends this year, but it just wasn't in the cards. I'm hoping we can do an outdoor celebration this summer and she can finally have the party she deserves, but for now I just gave her a list of options for the day and let her decide what she wanted to do. Since she has a somewhat bossy older sister who likes to make decisions for her, she was pretty excited to be the one in charge for the whole day! 

Lizzy chose homemade birthday cake waffles for breakfast, take-out burritos and ice cream for lunch, and homemade bacon breakfast pizza for dinner, with a raspberry lemon cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. We played at the park in the afternoon, per her request, and watched her favorite movie after dinner as a family. It was probably not the most exciting birthday she has ever had, but I think she had a great time anyway. I'm excited to share some of the recipes I made for her over the next little while, since everything turned out totally delicious!
These birthday cake waffles are so delicious, easy to make, and perfect for a birthday breakfast!
Lizzy absolutely loves anything with sprinkles, so these birthday cake waffles were the perfect special birthday breakfast for her! They taste just like cake batter, with light and fluffy middles and crisp edges. I used my mini waffle maker so she could have a tall stack of waffles on her plate, but you could easily make these in a regular size waffle maker if you prefer. This recipe makes about 4 cups of batter, which is enough for 16 mini waffles or 4 large Belgian waffles. (Since every waffle maker is different, use the recommendations for your own brand of waffle maker.)  To keep the waffles more crisp, I like to preheat the oven to 200 while the waffle maker is heating. I put the cooked waffles on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, and keep them in the warm oven while the other waffles are cooking. 
These birthday cake waffles are so delicious, easy to make, and perfect for a birthday breakfast!
I served our waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream on top (plus a few extra sprinkles!) and the birthday girl was totally thrilled. They were the perfect breakfast for celebrating our newly minted ten year old!
Birthday Cake Waffles

1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dry white or yellow cake mix
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sprinkles (I like to use multi-color jimmies)

Add the butter and buttermilk to a small bowl or measuring cup, and heat in the microwave for one minute and thirty seconds, or until the butter is melted. Whisk in the vanilla and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy. Add the milk mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour, cake mix, baking powder, salt, and sugar, and mix until just combined (small lumps are ok). Let sit five minutes. While the batter is resting, preheat your waffle iron. Stir in the sprinkles just before cooking. Add the batter and cook according to your waffle maker's directions. For my mini waffle maker, 1/4 cup of batter cooked for 2-3 minutes was perfect.
These birthday cake waffles are so delicious, easy to make, and perfect for a birthday breakfast!

3.26.2021

Easter Dinner Menu Plan

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This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!
Is it just me, or has Easter really crept up on us this year? I don't know if it's just because of the pandemic, or the sleep deprivation that comes with having a new baby, but this winter has felt totally endless. I can't believe it is officially spring now! I have done exactly nothing to get ready for Easter, which is especially bad now that I have three Easter baskets to fill and three cute girls to find Easter dresses for. If you are in the same boat and looking for some Easter inspiration, I've got you covered food-wise at least! I'm sharing my own Easter dinner menu plan below, full of my favorite (easy!) recipes to make your Easter dinner extra special. I have everything you need to put together a great meal, from appetizers to side dishes to dessert. I'm hoping I can get my act together enough to pull those Easter baskets together by next week, but if not at least we'll have some delicious food to eat!
 

These deviled eggs are one of my favorite appetizers year-round, and they are perfect for using up those eggs from your Easter egg hunt. The everything bagel seasoning makes them over the top delicious!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

This bacon cheddar cheeseball is a favorite with my whole family. I think my kids would eat it for every meal if I let them! One of the best things about it is that you can make it the day before and then put it out to snack on while you're getting the rest of the meal ready. 
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

This slow cooker brown sugar ham is super duper easy to make, with only a few minutes of hands-on time. The leftovers also freeze wonderfully!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

These rolls are so soft and fluffy, with the best flavor! They are also perfect for making sandwiches with the leftover ham... so delicious!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

This cheesy potato casserole is made from totally from scratch, and I think it's even more delicious than the more traditional condensed soup version. It's a big pan of cheesy goodness!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

These hazelnut green beans are one of my favorite vegetable sides. The combination of green beans and hazelnuts is so delicious, and they're so easy to make, too!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

These simple roasted carrots are perfect for Easter dinner, and take almost no time to put together. The carrots get so mellow and sweet as they roast!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

This coconut layer cake is so light and fluffy, with the perfect amount of coconut flavor. It's beautiful and festive, and perfect for celebrating spring!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!

This fresh strawberry lemonade is so easy to make, and tastes even better than restaurant lemonade. The juicy sweet berries and tart lemonade are the perfect combination!
This simple and delicious Easter dinner menu plan has everything you need to make an unforgettable holiday meal!
Happy Easter!

3.24.2021

Pull-Apart Rolls

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These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!
These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!
I really thought that I had reached absolute roll perfection with my perfect crescent rolls. I've been making them for years, and they turn out consistently perfect. They're beautiful, light and fluffy, and they taste amazing. Why in the world would I need another roll recipe? I mean, sure, there are my one hour rolls (which are by far the most popular post on my blog) and they're great for when I need rolls quickly. And there are the Lion House rolls that remind me of my wedding luncheon, and are totally delicious. But really, how many roll recipes does a girl need? I've been really content with the recipes I already have. And then I saw these rolls on my friend Melissa's blog, and couldn't stop thinking about them. And then I made them and my family basically inhaled them, and now we have another favorite roll recipe! I've made them three or four times in the last couple of months, and they are just so good!
These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!
These rolls are a little quicker to make than my crescent rolls, and I like that they are easier to shape. I'm a little neurotic about all of my rolls being exactly the same size, so I always use a kitchen scale, but if you are less of a perfectionist than I am, the process will go even faster. As with all yeast doughs, the key is to use the right amount of flour. Too much flour, and your rolls will be dense and heavy, too little and the dough will be hard to work with and your rolls won't hold their shape. I've found that my dough has the perfect amount of flour when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and I can tap it quickly with my finger and it doesn't stick. Be sure to add the flour little by little, so you don't accidentally add too much.
These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!
These pull-apart rolls have the perfect light and fluffy texture, with beautiful round golden brown tops. They smell totally amazing while they're baking! I love that they are simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner when you have a little extra time on your hands, but delicious enough to make for a holiday or special occasion dinner. The leftovers (if there are any) still taste great the next day, and we like to use them to make sandwiches with leftover turkey or ham. These rolls are so good!
These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!
Pull-Apart Rolls

2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Add the milk and butter to a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and heat until the butter is melted, about 1-2 minutes. Pour the milk and butter into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast, warm water, and sugar, and stir to combine. Let rest five minutes. Add the salt, eggs, and 3 cups of flour, and mix to combine. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky to the touch when tapped lightly. Knead five minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.

After the dough has risen, gently punch the dough down and divide into 32 even pieces (I like to use my kitchen scale so they are all the same size). Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 400. Bake the rolls for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the rolls with the melted butter immediately after baking.

adapted slightly from Bless this Mess
These light and soft pull-apart rolls are so delicious, and easy to make, too! They're the perfect dinner roll!

3.18.2021

Cranberry Orange Muffins

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These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!
These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!
It's finally starting to feel like spring these days and I'm so excited for the change! It has been a very long, very difficult winter for me, and I'm happy to have warmer days and sunshine on the horizon. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am still really into baking muffins right now, and these cranberry orange muffins have such a bright and delicious flavor. I know it's not typical to think of cranberry as being a spring flavor, but these muffins are so sweet and tart, and the flavor is just like sunshine!
These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!
I recently discovered the base recipe for these muffins, and it is my new absolute favorite. I've been experimenting with adding different flavors (blueberry muffins coming soon to the blog!) and the combination of cranberry and orange is absolutely fabulous. These muffins have such a light and tender texture, with the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors. They keep well for several days in an airtight container, so I can make a big batch early in the week and we can have them on hand for easy breakfasts on school mornings. 
These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!
The recipe for these muffins can easily be halved or doubled, depending on how many muffins you need. They also freeze well, so they're a great make-ahead breakfast. I used frozen cranberries because I had several bags of them in my freezer already, but you can use fresh cranberries instead if they're available. If you decide to use dried cranberries, I would suggest reducing the amount to about 3/4 cup. These muffins have such a delicious combination of flavors, and I love that they're so easy to make!
These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!
Cranberry Orange Muffins

1 cup sugar
zest of one orange
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, cut in half
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 425. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Toss the cranberries with the flour mixture until coated. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, eggs, and orange juice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin, filling 2/3 full. Bake 15-28 minutes, until golden on top.
These soft and tender cranberry orange muffins are the perfect blend of tart and sweet!

3.16.2021

Butternut Squash Soup

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This delicious and flavorful butternut squash soup has a silky smooth texture, and is so easy to make!
 
This delicious and flavorful butternut squash soup has a silky smooth texture, and is so easy to make!

I know we're getting to the tail end of soup season and it's starting to be warm and sunny out, but I'm just going to keep making my beloved soup for dinner at least once a week. There really is nothing more comforting to me than a warm bowl of soup! This butternut squash soup recipe is one that I discovered about a year ago, and it has been on repeat on my dinner menu ever since. It's super healthy (as long as you don't count the topping...), incredibly flavorful, and has the most delicious texture. My kids are always a little wary of new foods, but they loved this soup from the very first spoonful and they request it regularly. It's simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but fancy enough for company (assuming it ever happens that we can have friends over for dinner). 

The topping for the soup is a little unique, but it adds so much delicious flavor! I found already diced prosciutto at Fred Meyer (my local Kroger store) in the deli section, which makes the topping quick and easy to make. The prosciutto gets crisp and delicious, and tastes almost like bacon on top of the soup. The crispy sage leaves are to die for! A splash of cream makes it even more delicious (and you really can't go wrong with adding cream to anything, right?). This soup makes enough for two meals for my family, and it freezes beautifully. We love it so much that I try to always have some on hand in the freezer for when the craving strikes!

This delicious and flavorful butternut squash soup has a silky smooth texture, and is so easy to make!

Butternut Squash Soup

for the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

for the topping:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces diced prosciutto
1 bunch of fresh sage leaves
salt
fresh cream

Heat the olive oil in a heavy stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the butternut squash, potato, chicken broth, brown sugar, and salt to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Remove the soup from the heat and puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender (be sure to remove the center cap from the blender to allow steam to vent).

To make the topping, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the prosciutto and cook until crispy, then remove to paper towels to drain. Add the sage to the skillet and cook until crisp, then sprinkle with salt. Serve the soup with prosciutto and sage sprinkled on top, and a drizzle of fresh cream.

adapted slightly from Our Best Bites

This delicious and flavorful butternut squash soup has a silky smooth texture, and is so easy to make!

3.11.2021

The Best Lasagna

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This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
When we welcomed our baby girl in October, we were so blessed to have multiple friends drop off dinner for us over the next few weeks. I had a tough go of it postpartum, and those meals were a lifesaver for me when I was exhausted and having a hard time keeping everything together. I had stocked the freezer before she was born with some easy to prepare meals for my husband to make, but it meant so much to me that people around us brought us food. Having food prepared for me makes me feel so loved and taken care of. Now that I'm feeling a little better, I'm on the lookout for friends or neighbors who might need a meal so I can pay it forward!

One of my favorite meals that was brought to us (although they were all incredibly delicious!) was a lasagna from one of my husband's co-workers, Stephanie. She piled it high with a delicious meaty sauce, loads of cheese, and tender noodles. She brought over a giant pan for us, and I ate it for pretty much every lunch and dinner until it was finally gone. (I think I cried when my husband told me the pan was empty, though that may have just been the postpartum hormones...) As soon as I felt like cooking again, I asked her for the recipe, and she was happy to share!
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
My version of the lasagna isn't exactly the same as Stephanie's recipe, but it has all of the things I loved about it... a rich and flavorful meaty sauce and loads of gooey cheese! I used my trusty meat sauce recipe, and it worked fantastically in this lasagna. Since the meat sauce recipe makes a ton, I decided to make a giant batch of lasagna so I could store the extra in the freezer. This recipe will make enough for four 9 x 9 dishes, or two 9 x 13 dishes. One 9 x 9 dish of lasagna will serve my family of four for dinner, with enough left over for two adult lunches the next day. 
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
I used no-bake lasagna noodles (I like Barilla brand) to eliminate a step and make things easier. I love the tender texture they give to the finished product! It's important to use whole milk ricotta, because reduced fat ricotta has more water in it and will make your lasagna a soupy mess. For the sauce, I like to use a mix of mild Italian sausage and ground beef, but you can use all sausage or all beef. Stephanie told me she sometimes makes it with ground lamb, and it's extra delicious that way!
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
The recipe looks like a lot of steps, but it's really simple once you get started. To make things even easier, you could definitely make the sauce and ricotta mixture one day, and assemble the lasagnas the next day. To store the extra lasagna in the freezer, I assemble it in a disposable foil container, wrap the top tightly in plastic wrap, then cover it with foil. When I'm ready to bake, I just remove the plastic wrap, replace the foil, and put it in the oven. The frozen lasagna takes usually takes about 10-15 minutes longer to cook than a fresh lasagna. I always write the instructions on the foil so if someone else (like my husband) is baking it, they'll know what to do (and not accidentally bake it with the plastic wrap on - ugh!). 
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
This lasagna is completely delicious! Every single layer is flavorful and delightful, and all together it is just comfort food at its best. I can't imagine making lasagna any other way from here on out!
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!
The Best Lasagna

for the sauce:
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound mild Italian sausage
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 cups beef broth
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

for the ricotta layer:
2 large containers (30 ounces each) whole milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano

to assemble:
2 pounds mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
2 boxes (9 ounces each) oven ready lasagna noodles

To make the sauce, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage in a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat, breaking them into smaller pieces as they cook. When all of the meat is browned, add the garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant. Add the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, basil, and Worcestershire sauce to the pot, and stir well to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before assembling the lasagna. To make the ricotta layer, in a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, salt, basil, and oregano until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagnas.

To make two 9 x 13 pans of lasagna:

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of each baking dish. Add a layer of four noodles to the bottom of each pan (it's okay if they overlap a little). Spread about 2 1/2 cups of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles in each pan. Spread about 2 cups of the remaining sauce on top of each layer of ricotta, then sprinkle each pan with 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles to each pan, followed by the remaining ricotta. Add a third layer of noodles to each pan, top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until hot and bubbling.

To make four 9 x 9 pans of lasagna:

Preheat the oven to 350. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of each baking dish. Add a layer of two noodles to the bottom of each pan. Spread about 1 1/4 cups of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles in each pan. Spread about one cup of the sauce on top of each layer of ricotta, then sprinkle each pan with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles to each pan, followed by the remaining ricotta. Add a third layer of noodles to each pan, top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 60 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until hot and bubbling.
This delicious lasagna is truly the best! The recipe makes two pans, so it's easy to bake one and put another in the freezer for later!

3.09.2021

Cinnamon Banana Waffles

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These cinnamon banana waffles have the perfect banana flavor. They're easy to make, and totally delicious!
These cinnamon banana waffles have the perfect banana flavor. They're easy to make, and totally delicious!
One of the most fun gifts that I got for Christmas this year was a mini waffle maker from my daughter Lizzy. It's my favorite color (aqua) and makes the most adorable little waffles! Since we are all big fans of waffles at our house, we have been putting it to good use lately making our favorite waffle recipes. The only problem with it is that it just makes one little waffle at a time, so making enough waffles for the whole family takes 30 minutes or so. I solved the problem by buying two more identical waffle makers! (Yes, I know that's crazy, but the extra waffle makers are a lifesaver when everyone is hungry in the morning and I can't crank out the waffles fast enough.) My girls love eating store-bought frozen waffles for breakfast in the morning, so I had the brilliant idea of making a huge batch of homemade waffles for the freezer instead. These cinnamon banana waffles were our first attempt, and they were a total hit!
These cinnamon banana waffles have the perfect banana flavor. They're easy to make, and totally delicious!
You don't have to have a mini waffle maker to make these delicious waffles (although if you do want one, these are the ones that I have). However, there is just something extra adorable about mini food! The recipe makes a ton (around 4 dozen mini waffles) so if you don't need quite so many, you could easily cut the recipe in half. The combination of cinnamon and banana in these waffles is totally delicious, and they're even better with butter and syrup on top. My favorite part is that my girls can have a homemade breakfast every day with no additional effort on my part. They just pull their own waffles out of the freezer, pop them in the toaster, and they're all set. That's a mom win!
These cinnamon banana waffles have the perfect banana flavor. They're easy to make, and totally delicious!
For some of our other favorite waffle recipes, be sure to check out these golden butter waffles, blueberry buttermilk waffles, cheddar and scallion waffles, and cinnamon waffles!
Cinnamon Banana Waffles

3 medium ripe bananas
1/4 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 2/3 cups buttermilk

Preheat a waffle maker. In a large bowl, mashed the bananas well. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon, and mix until combined. Add the buttermilk and mix until the batter comes together. Scoop the batter into the waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer's directions, until golden brown. (My mini waffle maker uses 1/4 cup of batter, cooked for about 3 minutes.) Place on a cooling rack to allow air to circulate and prevent sogginess.
These cinnamon banana waffles have the perfect banana flavor. They're easy to make, and totally delicious!

3.01.2021

Mexican Street Corn Salad

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This Mexican street corn salad has the most delicious combination of flavors! It's the perfect accompaniment to taco night!

This Mexican street corn salad has the most delicious combination of flavors! It's the perfect accompaniment to taco night!

Do you have a go-to meal for lazy nights when you don't feel like cooking? For years ours was tacos. I would make big batches of shredded chicken or ground turkey and store them in the freezer, and it was super quick and easy to pull out a packet of meat, grab a bag of tortillas, and make some quick tacos for everyone. These days my family has decided that only my homemade tortillas will do and they are too much of tortilla snobs to eat store-bought, so taco night takes a little more effort. 

Since I have to plan ahead a little more for taco night now, I love adding some variety to our typical shredded chicken or ground turkey tacos. These carnitas tacos are always a favorite, as are these barbacoa tacos, or even fish tacos. This Mexican street corn salad is one of my favorites to serve with any kind of tacos. It's quick and easy to make, and so flavorful and delicious! It's great on the tacos themselves, or delicious as a dip with chips. I'll even just eat it with a spoon!

This Mexican street corn salad has the most delicious combination of flavors! It's the perfect accompaniment to taco night!

Every fall I buy a ton of fresh sweet corn at the farmers market and freeze enough to last all winter, and it is totally delicious in this corn salad. I would definitely say that fresh corn is the best to use, but the salad will still taste great with frozen or even canned corn. (If I had to state a preference, it would probably be fresh corn > frozen corn > canned corn > no street corn salad.)

This Mexican street corn salad has the most delicious combination of flavors! It's the perfect accompaniment to taco night!

I love using Cotija cheese in this salad because it's salty and delicious and flavorful, but if you prefer a milder cheese I've also made it with queso fresco with good results. You can experiment a little with the flavorings to make it exactly the way you like it. My husband loves the kick of lime juice in it, so he always adds a full lime's worth, but if you don't want it to pack as much of a punch, half a lime will do nicely. (And then you can have some lime leftover to squeeze into your Diet Coke. Or is that just me?) This Mexican street corn salad is one of my favorite side dishes!
Mexican Street Corn Salad

3 ears of corn, shucked and cut from the cob
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic
juice from 1/2 - 1 lime
1/3 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn kernels to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chili powder, garlic, and lime juice. Add the corn to the bowl and toss to coat. Add the cotija, red onion, and cilantro and toss to combine.

This Mexican street corn salad has the most delicious combination of flavors! It's the perfect accompaniment to taco night!