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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two bite cookie dough pretzels.

Well. Hello there. It’s been awhile huh. Allow me to re-introduce myself.
My name is Joy. I like food and music and knitting and cats. And I used to write on this blog. And now I’m back! With exciting news and a recipe. Because I owe you that much.

Let’s start with what has happened since the last post in July. (Again…sorry it’s been so long.)
I spent a lot of the last couple months working my two jobs. One at the grocery store and one with the marching band at my alma mater. They both took up quite a bit of time, but they are both great. I love that I have a both of them.
I GOT ENGAGED! Pretty exciting stuff. My fiance, Zack, is really awesome. He’s in medical school right now so we’re doing the long distance thing. I thought a long distance relationship was hard but long distance wedding planning is even worse. We’re getting married on June 7 so I’ll try to keep you updated with everything that happens.

One of our wonderful engagement pictures.

One of our wonderful engagement pictures.

Well. That’s really all the exciting things that happened. I’ve been pretty boring recently, but also trying not to spend a lot of money so recipe making isn’t going so well. But I am going to do my best to blog more. Because I miss all of you. So here we go!

Last night I decided I was going to make something. So of course I went to Pinterest and picked one of the things on my food board to make, bought the ingredients after work, and created these. Chocolate chip cookie dough bites sandwiched between two pretzels and dipped in chocolate. A pretty spectacular salty and sweet combination.

I’ve been wanting to make these for awhile. I love cookie dough (obviously) and salty and sweet is one of my favorite combinations. The cookie dough is egg-less so it’s safe to eat, but when did that stop us really? These are really simple to make and were pretty stinking delicious. I enjoyed these in the company of one of my good friends while playing Mario Kart on the N64. It’s not required, but it’s suggested.

It’s been really cold here recently. You know it’s cold when 20 degrees feels like a heat wave. So while being stuck inside for the last couple weeks I’ve been brainstorming about new recipes to make. So stay tuned. I’ll also give you some news about my wedding, whenever I get around to planning everything. (It’s pretty overwhelming, guys.)

Make some cookie dough. Call your best friends. Make someone smile.

Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites
recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about 20 bites

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/4 cups flour
dash of salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
40-50 pretzels
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate for melting

Line a small cookie sheet with a layer of wax paper. Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer. When the butter and sugars are light and creamy add the milk and vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined. The dough will be similar to wet sand and slightly clumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Form dough into balls, a little less than 2 Tablespoons per ball. I used my cookie scoop and just rounded them out from there. Sandwich balls between two pretzels being careful not to squish the pretzels and smash them. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a small bowl according to the directions on the package. If you desire you can add a teaspoon of shortening to the chocolate to thin it out a little bit.
When the chocolate is melted dip the bites halfway into the chocolate and place back on the cookie sheet. Refrigerate until set. Eat joyfully.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

(engagement pictures taken by my good friend Cymone of Simon and Moose Creative)

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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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