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Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Recipe

A bowl of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.

Have you ever had an upcoming health crisis that you knew was going to occur? Perhaps you were undergoing treatment for a health problem, you had surgery planned, or you had a baby coming.

When people have these kinds of things in the future, they try to plan ahead to make sure that the medical issue has the least possible effect on the life of the family. Often, this preparation includes packing the fridge with fresh groceries and stuffing the freezer with make-ahead meals like casseroles. 

A bowl of Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

April Freeman
Our recipe for Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole is the definition of comfort food. Yes, it does include premade, manufactured ingredients, like cream of chicken soup and cracker crumbs. However, sometimes, this is the kind of food that you crave. This casserole can be whipped up in no time flat, or if you need to plan ahead, it freezes well.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 6 Servings

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Saucepan
  • Cooking spray
  • Baking Pan
  • Rolling pin/meat mallet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Cooked chicken 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 to 6 chicken tenders
  • 1 can Cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup Sour cream
  • 1 tbsp Poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup Ritz style crackers
  • 2 cups Cooked rice (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • If you are not using precooked chicken, put the chicken into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover the chicken with water by a few inches. Put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid, turn off the heat on the stove eye, and let the chicken breast sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, put it on a plate and let it cool. Shred the chicken.
  • Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 inch square pan with cooking spray. In the bottom of the baking pan, place your chicken. Add the cream of chicken soup and the sour cream. Stir in the poppyseeds. If you want to add rice to the mixture, stir the rice into it. Mix all of these together until the chicken and the poppy seeds are evenly distributed into the mixture. Smooth the filling of the casserole into an even layer.
  • Use a rolling pin or a meat mallet to crush the crackers. You can also use a food processor or blender to crush them if you want them to be crushed finely. You can leave some larger chunks of crackers in the mixture. Scatter the cracker crumbs over the top of the filling of the casserole.
  • In a small microwave-safe dish, microwave the butter until it is melted, about 30 seconds. Stir the butter until it is smooth. Sprinkle the melted butter over the cracker crumbs in the pan.
  • Slide the casserole into the preheated oven and bake it for 20 to 25 minutes. Spoon the casserole onto plates and serve.
    Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole on a baking pan.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator in the pan with a lid on it or covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Reheat the leftovers in the microwave, or you can put the whole pan, uncovered, back into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to keep the cracker topping crisp. Use the leftover casserole within three days.
    Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole on a baking pan with spoon.

Notes

Even if you don’t have a medical issue coming up on the calendar, this recipe is a great one to make in a double batch. Simply double everything that you would put in this casserole and make two casseroles. Put one in the oven and the other in the freezer. In the future, when you have a busy week ahead, you will be glad to be able to eat out of the freezer instead of having to cook from scratch.
To freeze our recipe for Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole, put it all together up to the point of baking. Then, wrap the whole pan in a double layer of aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for up to three months. To bake a frozen casserole, put it still wrapped in the fridge overnight before you plan to eat it. Then, the next day, bake it the same way that you would if you hadn’t frozen it.
We include instructions in our recipe to make this from raw chicken. However, you do not have to use raw chicken if you do not want to. If you want to use a rotisserie chicken breast, that is one easy shortcut to prepare this recipe. Just pick the meat off of the bones and shred it. You will need about 2 cups of chicken for the casserole.
We included an optional ingredient of rice in this casserole. Rice is a good “filler” option if you are trying to pinch pennies and feed a crowd. You do not have to use the rice if you do not care to include it. The casserole is still delicious without it.
If you are feeding a crowd, this recipe doubles easily. When it is doubled, you will make a large 9 by 13 inch baking pan of the casserole and it will feed about 8 to 10 people.

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