The Baker Upstairs: 2022

1.28.2022

Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yum
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!
One of the trends I have really missed out on since we moved away from Utah in 2016 is the rise of gourmet cookie shops. It seems like every time I visit there's a new favorite shop that everyone is visiting, and I'm so jealous! We finally got a Crumbl Cookies in Portland a while ago, but that's it so far. I need more cookies! When we visited Boise over the summer I finally got to try cookies from Chip, which I've been hearing about from friends for years but hadn't had the chance to try yet. We got big, thick, warm chocolate chip cookies, and they were totally amazing. Like, ridiculously big, and way too much for one person, but over-the-top delicious. We bought a bag of cookie dough to bring home and bake, and I have definitely longed for those thick cookies ever since then.

The great thing about having so many food blogging friends in Utah, though, is that they're all on trend with all the new Utah restaurants and make copycat recipes that I can then make at home! I saw these cookies on my friend Mandy's instagram, and they reminded me so much of the Chip cookies that I just had to make them right away. They turned out absolutely delicious! Just as thick, luscious, and rich as I was hoping. The dough makes eight ginormous cookies (way bigger than any cookies I've baked before) and they have the perfect texture!
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!
I used a combination of full size and mini size semi-sweet chocolate chips, to get more chocolate into each bite, but you can definitely substitute whatever type of chocolate you like. Dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, mini Reese's peanut butter cups - they would all be totally delicious in these cookies! The ingredient list is pretty standard for chocolate chip cookies, but with a few little tweaks. The teaspoon of cornstarch in these cookies is what gives them their unique soft texture, so definitely don't leave it out!
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!
One of the things that makes these cookies extra delicious is that they're still a little soft and gooey on the inside, so be careful not to overbake them. They're done when they are just golden brown around the bottoms, but still soft in the middle. I definitely prefer my cookies just slightly underbaked (yum!) but I like the edges to be a little crisp too. These cookies are perfect!
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!
Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus additional chocolate chips for topping
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon maldon salt (or another flaky sea salt)

Preheat the oven to 410 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add hte brown sugar and sugar, and mix until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then mix in the vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place four balls of dough on each baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top of each cookie, and press them down gently into the dough. Sprinkle each cookie with flaky sea salt. Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown around the bottom but still gooey in the center. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

adapted slightly from Baking with Blondie
These jumbo chocolate chip cookies taste just as amazing as the ones from the gourmet cookie shops, but they're so easy to make at home!

1.26.2022

Cheesy Chicken and Bean Chimichangas

Yum
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!
We eat Mexican food at least once a week around here, but I can't believe I've never made homemade chimichangas until now! They are always a family favorite when we go out to restaurants, but they just seemed like too much work and too messy to make at home. I'm still pretty inexperienced with deep frying, but my husband is excited to pull out the deep fryer any chance he gets, so I made him a deal. I would cook the filling and assemble all of the chimichangas if he would do the messy frying part. It all worked out fabulously, and these cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas were a huge hit at our house!

These delicious chimichangas are stuffed with a combination of refried beans, cheese, and a rotisserie chicken filling. All of that tasty filling is wrapped up in a warm flour tortilla, and then fried until crisp. (If you prefer to skip the deep frying, you could definitely just brush them with a little oil and bake them in the oven until they are crisp instead. I've made them both ways now, and they are both totally delicious!) We like to serve them with sour cream, salsa, and shredded lettuce on top, but you can top them with whatever you like (or just eat them plain!). 
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!
I made these chimichangas for the first time a few months ago, and they were such a big hit that I've made them multiple times since then. They are one of my family's most requested meals! I've started just making a double batch every time, and putting the extras in the freezer so we can pull them out for lunches or on lazy days when I don't feel like cooking dinner. I just wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag, and then when I'm ready to cook them I put them on a paper towel and microwave for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes on high, or until they are warmed through. 
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!
I used my favorite homemade refried beans for these chimichangas (since I like to make a big batch at once and always have them on hand in the freezer), but canned refried beans will work well too. You can really just adapt this recipe to whatever you have on hand. Add sautéed vegetables, like peppers and onions, use ground beef or shredded beef instead of rotisserie chicken, or make them totally meatless. The possibilities are endless. These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are a delicious and flavorful restaurant favorite that you can easily make at home!
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!
Cheesy Chicken and Bean Chimichangas

for the filling:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup sour cream

for assembling and frying:
oil for frying
2 cups refried beans (or 1 15 ounce can)
6 10 inch flour tortillas, warmed
2 cups shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
1 egg

for serving:
sour cream
salsa
fresh lettuce
additional shredded cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and tomatoes. Cook 2-3 minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Add the rotisserie chicken and cook until warmed through. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot to 375. While the oil is heating, assemble the chimichangas. Spread a few tablespoons of refried beans down the center of each tortilla. Top with 1/6 of the chicken mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Fold the sides in, and roll up to make a burrito shape. Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush the egg over the edges of the chimichanga to hold it in place. (You can also secure it with toothpicks if desired.) Fry each chimichanga for 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels. Serve hot with the toppings of your choice.
These cheesy chicken and bean chimichangas are so full of delicious flavors, and easy to make!

1.24.2022

Easy Steak Tacos

Yum
These easy steak tacos are so delicious and so easy to make! They're the perfect way to take your taco night up a notch!
I've probably mentioned this before, but I haven't set foot in a grocery store since the pandemic started. My husband and I made the decision early on that we would order every possible thing online instead of shopping in person, but if we have to go to a store in person, my husband is the point person. It's crazy to think that it has been almost two years since I walked the aisles at the grocery store! I'm very grateful for the opportunity to order groceries online and have them loaded in my trunk, and I have so much respect and admiration for all of the people who work at my grocery store and carefully pick my order for me every week.

All of that being said, sometimes I get home and unpack the groceries, and just laugh a little at what I unpack. Like the time I ordered 3 (normal size) lemons and ended up with 10 lemons, each the size of a grapefruit. Or the time I ordered nutritional yeast (used as a flavoring) and they substituted active dry yeast (used for bread making) instead. On one of my recent trips I ordered a one pound package of sirloin steak to make stroganoff, and ended up with 4 giant packages of steak. (Don't worry, they charged me for all of them!) I put most of the steak in my freezer in meal-sized portions, and we've been pulling it out whenever we want a little something special for dinner. These easy steak tacos are our new favorite thing to make!
The steak is marinated to give it extra flavor and juiciness, and it comes out super tender and delicious. You can make these tacos as simple or as over-the-top as you like! The meat is so flavorful that I think these tacos are delicious with just the meat and a freshly made tortilla, but feel free to pile on the sour cream, red onion, cheese, cilantro, and hot sauce if you like. We also really like these tacos in combination with our favorite Mexican street corn salad. They are so good!
Easy Steak Tacos

for the marinade:
2 tablespooons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-2 pounds sirloin steak, cut into one inch pieces

for serving:
sour cream
corn salad
warm flour tortillas
cilantro
red onions

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the steak to a zipper bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. When you're ready to cook the steak, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the steak and cook until the meat is browned and cooked to the desired doneness (about 5-6 minutes). Serve hot in warm tortillas with the toppings of your choice.

adapted from I Heart Naptime

1.21.2022

Cheesy Baked Rigatoni

Yum
This baked rigatoni is so easy to make, and so full of delicious flavors! It's full of cheesy goodness!
This baked rigatoni is so easy to make, and so full of delicious flavors! It's full of cheesy goodness!
I have definitely been in a bit of a dinner rut lately, and we've mostly been eating out of the freezer for the last few weeks. It's great that we are using up all of the meals I've prepared (and I'm excited to re-stock the freezer with lots of good stuff!) but I've gotten out of the habit of planning meals and usually end up just pulling odds and ends out of the freezer at dinner time. 

This week I actually felt like cooking for the first time in a long while, and all I could think about was how delicious a big plate of cheesy pasta sounded. Yum! I've made this baked spaghetti recipe lots of times, and it's always a family favorite, but I decided to mix things up a little this time and try it with rigatoni. It turned out totally delicious! This baked rigatoni has layers of tender pasta, cheesy ricotta, savory meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. It's a delicious combination of flavors and textures, and comfort food at its best! 
This baked rigatoni is so easy to make, and so full of delicious flavors! It's full of cheesy goodness!
You could definitely use a different shape of pasta with this, like penne or macaroni (or whatever you like!). And if you'd like to make a meatless version, you could sauté some peppers and mushrooms with the onions, then add the spaghetti sauce to it. This recipe is pretty adaptable to whatever you have on hand, so feel free to mix and match with whatever you like. Don't skimp on the cheese, though!
This baked rigatoni is so easy to make, and so full of delicious flavors! It's full of cheesy goodness!
Baked Rigatoni

1 pound rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
1 pound ground turkey or ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 24 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
30 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large skillet, cook the ground meat, onions, and garlic until the meat is browned and the onions are translucent. Add the spaghetti sauce and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, salt, pepper, and parmesan. Toss the rigatoni with the ricotta mixture. Spread half of the rigatoni in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the meat sauce mixture over the top of the rigatoni. Sprinkle two cups of mozzarella over the top. Repeat with the remaining rigatoni and meat sauce, then top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake an additional ten minutes.
This baked rigatoni is so easy to make, and so full of delicious flavors! It's full of cheesy goodness!

1.19.2022

Lactation Cookies

Yum
These lactation cookies taste absolutely delicious, and are great for boosting milk supply! They're totally addicting.
These lactation cookies taste absolutely delicious, and are great for boosting milk supply! They're totally addicting.
I know I don't share a ton about my family here, but one of the things I am really proud of is that I've been able to breastfeed all three of my girls for at least a year each. My baby Bee is almost fifteen months old now, and we are still going strong! I recognize that many women are not able to breastfeed (or just don't want to) and I have no judgment or shade at all about other moms' feeding choices, but this is what has worked well for my family. It has definitely been tough at times, and it has required some sacrifices, but it has been a huge benefit to us. I said it before in my post about our spica cast, but I think it really helped to soothe Bee (and me) as she was going through all of the ups and downs of hip dysplasia. Having that special one on one time together throughout the day to cuddle and nurse has been so important to me, and we both love it. 

All of that being said, maintaining my milk supply has been pretty challenging this month as I've struggled with first a respiratory infection (not Covid!) and then pretty severe food poisoning. I got very dehydrated and wasn't able to keep anything down for several days, and my milk supply dropped dramatically. I reached out to friends for help, and several people recommended Mother's Milk tea (with fenugreek and fennel) and lactation cookies. I looked at Target and found a box of lactation cookies for $22 (what?!?) and knew immediately that I could make some myself for less money. I ordered some brewer's yeast from Amazon and got to work. The result were these totally delicious, totally addicting lactation cookies!
These lactation cookies taste absolutely delicious, and are great for boosting milk supply! They're totally addicting.
These cookies have a ton of oatmeal and brewer's yeast to promote lactation, but they're also just a really good snack for when you're hangry (and let's face it, I'm often hangry). They're loaded with lots of other good stuff too! Since I was making them for myself (instead of the whole family) I added all of the things I like, like toasted almonds, coconut, and dark chocolate chunks, and they are just so good! I don't know if it's the cookies or the tea, or the fact that I've been drinking as much water as possible, but my milk definitely seems to be returning to normal. (Obviously none of this is meant to be medical advice, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you have concerns!)

The recipe makes about three dozen cookies, so I baked a batch, and froze the rest of the dough for another day when I need cookies. These cookies are perfectly soft and chewy, and just slightly crisp around the edges. They have the perfect texture! 
These lactation cookies taste absolutely delicious, and are great for boosting milk supply! They're totally addicting.
Lactation Cookies

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons brewer's yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together hte butter and coconut oil. Add the brown sugar and sugar, and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. Gently fold in the dark chocolate chunks, toasted almonds, and shredded coconut. Scoop the dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes, until light golden brown on the bottom. To freeze the dough, scoop the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet. Freeze 20 minutes, then place in an airtight container or zipper bag until ready to bake.

adapted from How Sweet Eats
These lactation cookies taste absolutely delicious, and are great for boosting milk supply! They're totally addicting.

1.16.2022

15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes

Yum
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!If there's one machine in my kitchen I couldn't live without, it's my Instant Pot! I use it several days a week, and it is a total lifesaver. It makes so many things easier to cook. I'm sharing fifteen of my favorite easy Instant Pot recipes for you below, in the hopes that you'll find some recipe inspiration!

 This instant pot apple butter tastes fantastic and is so quick and easy to make!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
This simple and flavorful Instant Pot honey sesame chicken is ready in under an hour, and so delicious!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
 These juicy and flavorful Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are so delicious and easy to make, too!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
These instant pot barbecue chicken sandwiches are so juicy and flavorful, and so easy to make!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Brown Rice
This Instant Pot brown rice cooks in just 22 minutes and is so light and fluffy!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Carnitas
These instant pot carnitas are so savory and flavorful, and take just a few minutes of active time to make!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Chicken Breast
This instant pot chicken breast is so juicy and tender, and ready in only 25 minutes!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This Instant Pot chicken tortilla soup is incredibly flavorful, and has just a thirty minute cook time! A savory and delicious dinner that's perfect for a busy night.
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Cinnamon Applesauce
This smooth and sweet Instant Pot cinnamon applesauce is a cinch to make and has only four ingredients!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Dulce de Leche
This sweet and delicious dulce de leche is so easy to make in the instant pot. It's almost zero effort, and ready in less than an hour!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
These delicious instant pot garlic mashed potatoes are a quick and easy side dish that goes with everything!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Ground Beef
Forgot to thaw ground beef for dinner? No worries - just throw it in the Instant Pot! It's so quick and easy, and makes perfect ground beef!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Lemon Rice
This zesty and flavorful lemon rice is so quick and easy to make in the Instant Pot. It's the perfect side dish!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
These delicious Instant Pot pinto beans are so easy to make, and make amazing refried beans too!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!
Instant Pot Sous Vide Egg Bites
These savory and delicious Instant Pot sous vide egg bites are so easy to make. They're perfect for school lunches, or easy breakfasts on the go!
15 Easy Instant Pot Recipes - These instant pot recipes are quick to make and absolutely delicious!

1.07.2022

Strawberry Streusel Muffins

Yum
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
I've said it lots of times before, but muffins are one of my favorite foods! I make them at least once a week, because I love that they're perfect for easy breakfasts, school lunches, or snacks. All of my kids love them, and I have made just about every flavor imaginable. These strawberry streusel muffins are one of our favorites. If you haven't baked with fresh strawberries before, you are in for a treat! They give these muffins a sweet and delicious flavor, and a texture that is totally irresistible!
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
The streusel on top of these muffins is technically optional, but it's so tasty that I would definitely not recommend leaving it out! It adds the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch, and is the perfect compliment to the light and fluffy muffins. Sometimes when I'm in a hurry, I leave it out, but I always regret it because it takes these muffins over the top!
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
These muffins are the very best when they're made with freshly picked, sun-ripened strawberries, but since those aren't available year round, store-bought strawberries also work just fine. If your strawberries aren't particularly sweet, you may want to toss them with a teaspoon of sugar before folding them into the batter.  These muffins are so pretty and sweet that they'd be perfect for a Valentine's Day breakfast or for sharing with your sweetheart. 
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
The muffin base for these strawberry streusel muffins has the very best texture, and is so light and fluffy. I really have never had a better muffin! (And trust me, I have tried a loooooooot of muffin recipes.) It's the same base I used for these blueberry streusel muffins, these apple cinnamon streusel muffins, these huckleberry muffins, and these cranberry orange muffins. It really is the best! These strawberry streusel muffins are another delicious recipe, and a must make!
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!
Strawberry Streusel Muffins

for the muffins:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk, warmed
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups finely chopped strawberries

for the streusel:
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 425. Add 18 paper liners to two muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just barely combined. Gently fold the strawberries into the muffin batter.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. To make the streusel, whisk the flour, sugar, and brown sugar together with a fork in a small bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter and whisk until the butter is blended in and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel over the tops of the muffins. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden brown on top and cooked through.
These sweet and tender strawberry streusel muffins are incredibly delicious! They're the perfect way to start the day!