joyeux cuisine

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

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.

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an award?! and celebration cookies.

I’m new to the blogging world, but I’ve gotten so much encouragement from people all over that it makes my heart happy. One such event occurred a couple days ago after Terri, from Terri’s Kitchen gave me (or nominated me for) The Very Inspiring Blog Award! I don’t even know what that means and I’m super grateful and encouraged by it! Thank you so much, Terri!

By receiving this award I am supposed to do a few things:

  • Display the award logo somewhere in the post
  • Link back to the blog of the person who nominated me
  • State seven things about myself
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award (so…I’m only doing 4 because I don’t know 15…I tried, I really did)
  • Notify those bloggers of their nomination and let them know the award requirement

So those who I am nominating for this:

And now for seven fun facts about myself:

  • I’ve been knitting for almost 11 years and love it.
  • I’m secretly a super nerd and love all things Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.
  • I have no idea what I want to do with my life and that scares me a little bit.
  • I find that the beach is a lovely place to be.
  • I’m a super bookworm and am always in search of awesome books
  • I love my cat. Her name is Coda (see right)
  • I made cookies for this occasion because everything is better with cookies. Fact. See recipe below.

I’ve had a Funfetti cookie mix in my pantry for forever and didn’t know what to do with it until now. Sandwich cookies!! Why didn’t I think of this before?! This is a super easy recipe and these are perfect for birthdays, random get-togethers among friends, or just to celebrate life. Those are the best times.

I have one rule. Do not use canned frosting. Seriously. Just don’t do it. It isn’t worth it and there are better things in life. Making your own frosting is simple and way better tasting. I guarantee it! I’m going to share with you my secret frosting recipe. If frosting is needed, this what I make. All my friends know if they get cupcakes for their birthday, they will have this frosting on top. They seem to be okay with it. I will eat this with a spoon it is so good. And it’s really simple too. Just a few ingredients and it’s complete. And you will have all of these in your pantry, so it’s a win-win.

You need an even number of cookies for this, so if you end up with an odd number and have to eat one I won’t tell anyone. These cookies are out of a box, so they are super easy to make. Just try to make every one the same size when you put them on the cookie sheet so that you won’t have to mix and match to find two that are the same size. It’s quite a time saver.

I thought I could mix this all together with a wooden spoon, but apparently I haven’t been to the fitness center quite enough and had to use my electric mixer. Things worked out in the end though. And these cookies turned out wonderfully. Underbaked just enough so they’re chewy and the frosting ties it all together. Oh my, oh my. Kids will love these as well because what kid doesn’t like a sandwich cookie? It’s like a birthday cake in a cookie! Perfect! So, I encourage you to make these cookies, share them, and then then listen to Mozart’s oboe concerto in C. Or just try and memorize it…because that’s normal.

Confetti Celebration Cookie Sandwiches

makes approx. 16 cookie sandwiches

for the cookies:

1 box Funfetti cookie mix

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

for the frosting:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg white

2 cups powdered sugar

flavoring of your choice (the amount will vary depending on what flavoring you choose)

food coloring of choice (I attempted a turquoise, so I used blue and green)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine cookie mix, butter, and egg in a medium sized bowl and mix until the dough forms. Scoop 2 inch balls onto the cookie sheet, being careful to make them the same size. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are browned. When cookies are baked, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 3 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Continue baking until all the cookie dough is used up. While the cookies are cooling mix the frosting. In a medium sized bowl combine butter, egg white, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar and mix with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all the powdered sugar is used up. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the flavoring and mix. Add food coloring and mix well. When cookies are cooled, spread frosting on the bottom of one cookie as thick or thin as you prefer. Place another cookie on top with the bottom on the frosting. Repeat until all the cookies are used up.

 

If you have extra frosting, store it an airtight container in the fridge. Loosen it up with a little bit of hot water when you want to use it again.

These cookies will last in an airtight container for 3-4 days. I suggest storing them in the fridge, but they’ll be okay at room temperature too.

Thank you again Terri!!

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A Beginning. With Brownies.

So here we are. The summer of 2012. I’ve finally done what I’ve been saying I’ve been going to do for awhile: starting a food blog. But there’s so many food blogs on the internet that I am determined to make this one different.

I want this to be a blog about how food brings people together and how no matter how far you are from where you call home or who you call your family, food can always take you back there.

There will be recipes here. There will be stories here. There will be lots of emotions here (just can’t help it sometimes). There will successes and failures here. But mostly there will be food and happiness.

Let’s start with brownies. A very good place to start.

Allow me to introduce you to two of my favorite foods: chocolate and peanut butter. These are probably your old friends too, but put these two ingredients together in these brownies, and you will be in heaven. Or at least, pretty dang close. These are an old family recipe from my Great Aunt Cathy. She’s legit Dutch, and anything that comes from the Dutch has to be good, right? Right. (that’s the excuse I always use anyway…) We call them Batter Up Brownies, and to be perfectly honest, when I was younger these are what I considered brownies. Not chocolate brownies. I know, I know. A travesty. But seriously, make these and you will understand. I promise.

This is a normal recipe. It starts with flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine that with canola oil, eggs, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla.

Before chocolate chips.

All those things are good, but then you add chocolate. Now I understand the different kinds of chocolate like semi-sweet, bittersweet, and the fancy ones that say 70% coco or something like that. These brownies need plain old milk chocolate though. The point of these is not to be fancy, its to be delicious and carefree. Don’t go too crazy here.

After chocolate chips. So good, friends.

Bake these delicious friends up and consume. Warning: these do not last long! My brothers and I can eat a pan in about a day and a half. My roommates and I have a good 3/4 of this pan gone and it hasn’t even been a day yet. Just be aware. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but this batter is ridiculously delicious. Don’t be afraid to lick the beaters or spatula or bowl. You have total permission.

Perfect with a glass of milk. Seriously. Perfect.

Batter Up Brownies

Makes 1 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

3 large eggs

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup peanut smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (give or take a 1/4 cup) milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan with oil/cooking spray

Measure flour, baking powder, and salt and combine in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixture with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with an electric hand mixer combine oil, eggs, and sugar until well mixed, or about 2 minutes. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into greased pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the brownies are set. Cool in the pan and consume quickly. With milk.

These brownies will last, in an airtight container, for about a week. But they probably won’t last that long. Just saying.

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