joyeux cuisine

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

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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