joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

slow cooker chili.

It really feels like fall today (until later when it’ll be really hot…of course). There’s a chill in the air and apparently there is football now? Fall makes me think of comfort foods like chicken and dumplings, hot chocolate, apple cider, and soup. I guess chili isn’t exactly a soup, but it’s close enough. Zack loves chili…well he loves cornbread chili, which is chili with so much cornbread in it so a spoon can stand up in it. I like him. Thanks to him, I like chili too.

I’ve never been a chili fan. I’m still not the type of person to order chili in a restaurant or anything like that. But I will eat this chili. With a whole lot of cheese. Naturally. I just don’t really like beans. Or tomatoes. Or spicy things. So…yeah. I was totally against chili for a lot of my life. Now I’m a little less against it. This recipe makes great leftovers which is great for Zack since I work all day. He gets to eat chili for weeks after I make it. Lucky guy.

I never realized how easy chili could be until I found this recipe. All you have to do is open up some cans, drain the beans, throw everything in the slow cooker, measure some spices, and let it all go. It’s perfect to put in the slow cooker in the morning and come home from work to a whole bunch of chili. Make some cornbread and call it good. That’s my kind of meal. I hope it’s yours too! Let’s hope fall comes really quickly!

Happy cooking, friends!

Crockpot Chili
recipe adapted from lovely life
makes 10-12 servings

1 15 ounce can each black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (or 2 14.5 ounce cans)
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
1 to 1 1/2 cups water

Put the ground beef in the bottom of your slow cooker. Drain and rinse the beans and add to slow cooker. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Add 1 cup of water. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours, stirring every few hours. Add more water if chili is too thick.
Serve with your favorite toppings; cheese, corn bread, sour cream, etc.
Store chili in the fridge in airtight containers for up to two weeks.
Chili can also be frozen. Thaw in the fridge before reheating in microwave or stovetop.

Leave a comment »

mini corn dogs.

Summer is winding down and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I didn’t actually have a summer break. College seems so far gone, but it was only a few years ago! This year was the first year I actually had to work through the summer. The year after college I was unemployed until July, and last year I didn’t work from May until October with the wedding and moving about 3 times. Therefore, I’m not super used to being an adult.

Which brings us to corn dogs! I love corn dogs. Who doesn’t love corn dogs? Okay…I do know of a few people who do not love corn dogs. They don’t even like corn dogs. Let’s not talk about it. Corn dogs are great. And surprisingly easy to make! I am a big fan of this recipe.

I bought some cornmeal awhile back for some reason that I cannot remember. Probably cornbread to go with chili or some sort of reason like that. Anyway, this was the perfect thing to introduce me to using cornmeal. Perfect.

Usually we only get all beef hot dogs, but the first time we made these they did not taste right. We decided that corn dogs should be made with regular-who-knows-what’s-in-them-hotdogs. I cut them in half to make them mini. The first time I made these I used wooden skewers. They were a little long, but after I used lollipop sticks I decided that skewers are better. That way the sticks don’t get coated in oil and you have more control over the whole frying part. That makes me feel better about being around hot oil.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Enjoy summer while it’s here for a little while longer. To be honest, I’m really ready for fall. I cannot wait until the weather cools down a little and the leaves turn. But summer is still here and I’ll enjoy it while it is! And that will definitely include corn dogs.

Happy cooking, friends!

Mini Corn Dogs
recipe from damndelicious
feeds 2-4 people

6 hot dogs, cut in half
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
12 skewers or lollipop sticks
oil for frying, I used canola

Fill a medium sized pot about 2/3 of the way with oil. Heat over medium-high heat while prepping the corn dogs.
In a small bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In a large measuring bowl mix together the milk and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fairly smooth. Set aside.
Dry the hot dogs off with a paper towel so the batter will stick better. Insert a skewer about halfway into the hot dog. Dip in batter, insuring that the hot dogs are completely covered.
Fry 4 corn dogs at one time for about 5-6 minutes or until the batter is golden brown on all around. Remove from oil onto a plate lined with paper towels to help drain some of the oil. Sprinkle with salt after frying. Repeat with remaining hot dogs.
Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

2 Comments »

chicken and noodle casserole.

Ever since I got married I’ve been trying to figure out good recipes for two people. Most of the recipes out there are for families of four or more. So we usually have leftovers forever. And I have never been a big fan of leftovers. Sorry, Mom.

That’s where casseroles come in. I’ve found that it’s nice to not have leftovers, but also to make a freezer meal at the same time. Almost every recipe calling for a 9×13 pan can be put into two 9×9 square pans instead. I like to make two pans and freeze one. It makes life a lot easier. I like easy life, even if it’s only for a night.


This casserole is perfect for anytime you’re wishing for cold winter months. That would be today for me, but I know I’ll be dreaming of summer months in December. It’s a trade off in the Midwest. We deal with it.

I love pasta and I love chicken. So this is a good casserole to serve that love. You know what else I love? Crushed buttery round crackers mixed with more butter and browned to perfection on top of…well…anything really.


This casserole calls for cooked chicken cut into pieces. I like to boil a chicken breast in chicken stock with a few seasonings, but to make it even easier you can buy a rotisserie chicken and cut that into pieces. Whatever you please will be wonderful. Cook some egg noodles, throw everything into a bowl, stir it all together, call it a day.


Happy cooking, friends!

Chicken and Noodle Casserole
makes 1 9×9 pan

1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
8 ounces egg noodles, cooked according to directions
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tube crushed buttery-round crackers
1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a 9×9 square pan and set aside. Combine the chicken, noodles, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and cheese in a large bowl. Mix until everything is coated in soup and sour cream. Pour into the 9×9 pan. Mix the crushed crackers and melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Cover the top of the chicken and noodles with crackers.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
This can also be frozen: Do all the steps until baking. Cover well with a lid or plastic wrap and foil. Freeze. Thaw completely before baking.
Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

2 Comments »

chicken cordon bleu casserole.

Now that I can no longer call myself a poor-college student I’ve come to the realization that I have to support myself. That means food. That means spending money. Which I sometimes have an aversion to. Especially because rent is expensive. Real life, huh? That’s pretty scary.

Fortunately I was brought up by a woman who knows a lot about freezing meals for later. She’s a pro at casseroles. I learned it all from her.

This recipe comes from my Aunt Donna, who is also awesome. It runs in our family. It’s super simple to make and it is so delicious. This is definitely a crowd pleaser. You know all about chicken cordon bleu right? It’s just chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese. This takes that and combines it all.

This easily makes a large 13×9 casserole or you can split it into two. I made two 8×8 casseroles and I’ll eat one and freeze the other one. We used to make these a lot and give them to people for meals. You can bake it halfway and then cool it completely and freeze it. When you’re ready to bake it, thaw it out and bake it the rest of the way. Easy as pie.

I ate half a pan of this by myself. No shame. At all. It was worth it.

Enjoy your last few weeks of school. Don’t freak out. Go outside, it’s nice out there.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
makes 1 13×9 pan or 2 8×9 pans

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed1 8-ounce package diced ham
10 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken
1 tube Ritz crackers (crushed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease pan.
In the pan layer the cubed chicken, diced ham, cheese, and cream of chicken. Top with crushed crackers. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and everything is cooked through. Serve right away.
If you are making 2, bake one halfway (25 minutes) and let cool completely before wrapping with foil. When ready to use, thaw completely and bake 20 more minutes.

Keep leftovers wrapped in the fridge.

2 Comments »

lasagna soup.

Soup. Day 2.
(aka: I realized I haven’t made anything with pasta in it in a couple days…)

We had a snow storm yesterday. We’re on Spring Break. Spring. Break. Nature is super weird sometimes. My dad’s school had a snow day. Those lucky kids. Apparently they closed all the offices at my college as well. Of course we would have a snow day over a break. Of course.

I’ve never really been a big soup person, which sounds crazy after two soup posts in a row, but it’s true. Also, I don’t know if I’ve every posted 3 days in a row. That’s what happens on a break where super cool parents buy all your ingredients. (Word.) But this year has been a big soup year for me. It started last summer when I was living at school and my boss at the time and her husband had all their student workers over to watch the Marvel superhero movies and eat food. The night I went we had soup and watched Thor. We had delicious soup and fantastic company. What more do you really need?

DSCN0522

Creamy soups are my favorite. Broccoli cheddar is a big favorite. Preferably from Panera, but I won’t (usually) be picky. We used to have this restaurant in my town called the Dollar Diner where you could get anything for $1. It was great. Not a super awesome date place though. Trust me on that one. They had all these different soups and lasagna soup was one of them. That was my first experience with this kind of soup and unfortunately it wasn’t a super great one. Oh well, live and learn.

DSCN0523

I’ve been wanting to recreate this for awhile and finally found a really good recipe. I halved and changed it a little bit because I made it for my parents and I (little brother hates soup). But it is amazingly delicious. You can use any kind of pasta you want, I used ditalini and it was the perfect soup pasta. There’s so much flavor in this broth and the noodles soak it all up and become extra delicious. And there’s a cheesy surprise in the middle. It can’t get any better than that. Unless you add garlic bread. Yeah. Now it’s better.

DSCN0524

Make some soup. Play in the snow. Knit some stuff. Have family time.

Lasagna Souprecipe adapted from a farm girl’s dabbles
serves 3-4 people

for the soup:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups pasta

for the cheese:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sausage, break it up into bite sized pieces, and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste and stir well. Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and vegetable stock. Cover soup and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook 3 minutes under the time the box says.
While the soup is cooking, make the cheesy center. Mix ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
Place a dollop of the cheese mixture into each bowl. Ladle soup over/around cheese and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.

If you have extra, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat.

Leave a comment »

baked potato soup.

Cheese. Bacon. Potatoes. Butter. Sour cream.

That’s a list of delicious things. I don’t know if you knew or not.

I’ve been looking for a baked potato soup recipe forever. Eventually I figure out the basics of the soup and then I found a recipe to inspire me the rest of the way. The internet is great for that.

DSCN0517

I love baked potatoes. Making it into soup on a snowy day just makes sense. There’s just something about standing over a pot on the stove stirring a concoction of cheese, cream, and potatoes. It just makes everything feel a little more okay.

Make some soup. Curl up on the couch. Watch a movie. Eat some cookies.

DSCN0515

Baked Potato Soup
adapted from seeded at the table
serves about 6 people

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
1 package bacon
1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 8-ounce jar sour cream
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Clean and poke potatoes with a sharp knife. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool (seriously don’t burn yourself). Peel with a paring knife and cut into small cubes. Set aside.
While potatoes are baking, fry bacon in a large skillet. Allow to cool and crumble into chunks. Set aside.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined well with butter. Add milk and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes, over medium heat. Increase heat by a little bit and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the sour cream, crumbled bacon, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and potatoes are slightly broken down. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with extra cheese and bacon.

If you have extra, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat.

1 Comment »

creamy pasta chicken bake.

I’m still trying to figure out good ways to make meals for one or two people. Sometimes that ends with me getting a pizza from somewhere and just keeping it in the fridge for two or three meals. This is not good. Sometimes I forget about eating until late in the evening and by that time it’s too late to thaw chicken or something so I just eat cereal. That’s normal, right?

This meal came out of my brain last night after 5 hours of pep band because I wanted pasta but didn’t have any spaghetti sauce or anything like that. But I had a package of Italian blend cheese and that makes everything okay! I’ve also had boneless chicken tenders in my freezer for awhile (which, by the way, are the perfect size for a meal for one or two people) so I had protein. (This is really how my brain works, I don’t get it…)

I’m not much of a cook; I’m more of a baker (and usually when I make something it involves pasta), but I decided to attempt making cream sauce for the first time. What do you know, it was way super easy and pretty delicious. SO. All you have to do is make each thing and then throw it all together and bake it until everything is all melty and delicious. (I love the word melty.) I baked mine in a 8 by 4 1/2 casserole dish and it worked out really well. But this is one of those things that you can adjust all the quantities and make for a few people or a bunch of people. How good is that?

Gosh. Melted cheese is one of my most favorite things ever. Seriously. Right up at the top of the list with yarn, my cat, and cookies.

Make some pasta. Watch too much Psych. Eat too many Girl Scout Cookies. Save the world.

Creamy Pasta Chicken Bake
serves 1-2 (adjust as needed)

for the cream sauce:

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano leaves), to taste

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When completely melted, whisk in the flour until smooth. Stir in the milk and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in desired spices. I used about a half teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of crushed oregano leaves. Use what you want and what you like.

for the chicken:

2-3 bonesless chicken tenders

salt, pepper, garlic powder

Slice chicken into strips. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and toss to coat. Saute over medium heat until opaque and cooked through.

for the pasta:

about 1 cup of your favorite pasta (I used penne rigatoni)

Cook according to the package directions.

for the pasta bake:

cooked chicken

cooked pasta

cream sauce

1 cup of Italian cheeses (mozzarella by itself will also work)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the pasta and cream sauce. Add chicken and stir until coated. Pour half the mixture into a casserole dish (either an 8×8 or 8×4 1/2). Sprinkle on half the cheese. Pour the remaining pasta mixture over that and cover with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and golden brown.

Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.

3 Comments »

Lasagna Rolls

This summer, I decided to stay at school in Illinois instead of going home to Iowa where I hail from. I am totally okay with this because I have a sweet job here and love having this independence (sorry, Mom!). This comes with one large drawback: no home cooked food. This recipe is here to remedy that!

I love lasagna. Heck, I love Italian food in general. There is definitely something delicious about pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce. I don’t know what it is, but combine all those things together and you get some pretty nice dinner. This is also a really good meal to have friends and neighbors over and make good memories with old friends and make new friends. People seem to be more in the mood to chat over garlic bread and lasagna.

I found the idea for this recipe on Pinterest but decided to change it up and make it a little different. If you haven’t checked out Pinterest, it is probably one of the best ideas ever. I mostly like to browse on it while watching Netflix and eating handfuls of white chocolate chips. Yeah, that’s real life.

The original recipe called for chicken in the rolls, but I have decided that chicken and lasagna go better when there is Alfredo sauce involved. So I decided to use ground beef instead. You can also use no meat for your vegetarian friends, which also happened tonight. Half and half. I’m a fan. We start with sauteing garlic and beef. Pretty simple. But wait until the cheese happens.

Check out that cheesy goodness, friends.

Three kinds of cheese: Ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. So good. (If you’re adding meat, this is where it goes) This mixture gets spread on cooked lasagna noodles and rolled up. Super fun. This should happen while you listen to sweet music, say Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. It’s pretty chill.

As much as you can fit. So worth it.

Let’s be real, these are pretty adorable.

These get placed into a baking dish to sit in some sauce and soak up some of those flavors. This means that you have to pick a really good sauce. Not necessarily expensive or fancy, just choose a sauce that you like and that you are comfortable with and it’ll all work out. What else could we put on top of these? More cheese? Yes. I like the way you think.

This gets more delicious as we go.

This will get baked for a little bit to warm them up and melt all that cheese. This is a really good time to break out the garlic bread and heat that up too. This recipe makes 12 rolls, and you could put all of those in one 9×13 casserole dish to bake, or if your kitchen isn’t quite as well stocked with casserole dishes as you would hope, 2 8×8 dishes also work well.

Ready to be devoured.

This is also an easy recipe to half or multiply, so don’t be afraid to do so for fewer or more people.

Lasagna Rolls

(adapted from ivillage.com)

Makes 12 rolls

1 lb ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup Ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained, cooled slightly so you can handle them

2 cups favorite spaghetti sauce

In a medium sized skillet saute garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil for 1 minute or so. Add in ground beef and and cook until brown.  Add oregano when beef is almost all the way cooked. Drain the meet and set aside to cool. In a medium sized bowl combine milk, cheeses, and pepper. Add the cooled meat to the cheese mixture and mix together. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce in to the bottom of the pan (divide among pans if using two). Take one noodle and spread the cheese mixture along the length of the noodle, leaving a half inch on each end to make rolling easier. Roll up the noodle and put seam side down in the sauce in the pan. Repeat that for all the other noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the tops of the rolls and top with extra mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with garlic bread.

If you have leftovers, keep them well wrapped in the fridge for up to 7 days. But you should eat them before that. Don’t let that cheese go to waste.

Leave a comment »

With All My Affection

A Montreal Lifestyle Blog

CreativeWhimsy

A blog about one person's creative attempts

"Give a girl an education..."

The random musings of a traveler turned grad student.

Katina's Adventures Abroad

Follow my journey in Oxford, England.

The Ramblings of a Knitting Goddess

I knit. I laugh. I dream.

Captain Awkward

Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.

Learning to Speak

An Expression of Faith

Modern Day Matthew

A 21st Century Disciple

Inside the PH

Learning to Live Inside the Pastor's House

Peace, Love & Fashion

I am Anne & I Blog Fashion

Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story