Whew! We reached the end of our 3 weeks of travel last night when we rolled into Lincoln after a 9 hour drive. You guys – in the past month we’ve traveled from the West Coast of California to the East Coast of Virginia and met in the middle to enjoy the deep heart of Texas. I don’t think I ever lived out of a suitcase that long! While it’s been such a fun and exciting adventure and my heart is full of good times and even better memories, I’m anxious to settle into “real life” again. Mostly because I’ve been able to do a lot of reflection, dreaming, planning, and goal setting for the year during our travel and I can’t wait to get started with 2015 (obviously I’m a little late to the party)! I’ve got lots of motivational, inspirational, and fun things to share with you on the blog this year and I hope you will join me and share lots of comments, feedback, and ideas of your own.
While I get unpacked, organized, and settled back into “real life,” I wanted to share another one of the fabulous freezer-friendly meals that greeted Ryan and I during the few days we had at home between travels. Have you ever had/heard of Poppy Seed Chicken? Chances are, if you’re from the states of TX, AR, TN, GA, MS, or AL, this is a staple for you at potlucks, large gatherings, ladies luncheons, and your go-to dish when you need to take a meal to family with celebrating a new baby or struggling with illness or a family death. Truth: it’s Southern comfort food at it’s finest. Think hot creamy chicken filling topped with buttery cracker crumbs and crunchy poppy seeds. It literally warms you from the inside out!
I actually made Poppy Seed Chicken for my best friend and her kids when I was in Dallas last week. It’s a dish I took to her when she came home from the hospital with her first child, and we’ve eaten it together on weekend nights “in” with the kiddos several nights since because she loves it so much! I’ve done a few things to lighten it up over the years, and usually serve it with a fresh green salad or a pan of roasted green beans or broccoli with a squeeze of lemon juice. From the youngest of children to the eldest of grandparents, this dish has always been loved and cherished in my circle of family and friends – I hope you enjoy it!
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken from about 1.5 pounds of chicken breast
- 1 16 ounce container reduced fat sour cream
- 2 10 ounce cans reduced sodium, low fat cream of mushroom soup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed whole wheat Ritz cracker crumbs about 1 1/2 cracker sleeves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons poppyseeds
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a shallow 2 quart baking dish or 6 (8 ounce) ramekins with cooking spray.
Combine chicken, sour cream, mushroom soup, mustard and spices in a large bowl. Stir until well incorporated. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dishes.
Add the melted butter to crushed crackers and stir to combine. Evenly sprinkle this mixture over the top of baking dish. Sprinkle poppy seeds evenly on top of cracker mixture.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly.
To make this casserole for the freezer, simply assemble according to directions but leave off the cracker crumbs and poppy seeds until you are ready to bake. Sometimes I make this with a rotisserie chicken, which doesn't seem to yield a full 4 cups of chicken, Simple use the chicken from a whole roasted chicken and reduce the sour cream to 8 ounces and only use one can of mushroom soup. You want the chicken mixture to resemble that of chicken salad before you bake it so it doesn't turn out soupy.
Calories: 301, Fat: 15.1g, Sat Fat: 7.4g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 369mg, Total carb: 17.2g, Dietary fiber: 1.4g, Protein: 23.4g