Poppy Seed Chicken...Comfort Food At It's Best!

 
 
Poppy seed chicken is one of those 'best dishes' I said I was going to cover in the first post of this blog.  It has definitely always been one of my son's and all of his friend's favorites through the years.  My son had one friend who was sort of a picky eater and he stayed for dinner one night when I made this and he told my son "That's the best thing I ever ate".  After that night he kept showing up every night for dinner like clockwork which was fine because I always cook too much.  I finally asked my son, after about two weeks of him doing this, why he was suddenly eating with us every day.  He said, he thinks you are going to make poppy seed chicken again and he doesn't want to miss it...lol.  It is just one of those dishes that makes you happy when you eat it.  It's also not hard to make and you usually have all of the ingredients on hand for it. I am not sure where I got the recipe to begin with and I have modified it a little (of course).   One warning, make plenty because you probably won't have leftovers.
Here is what you will need:
Chicken breasts (I used frozen ones I got at GFS), sour cream, 2 cans cream of chicken soup, butter, cheddar cheese, poppy seeds, Ritz crackers. 
The recipes calls for boiling the chicken, but I roast mine in the oven for better flavor.  I cooked 5 of these frozen chicken breasts (they are fairly large ones).  I sprinkled them with Lawry's poultry and chicken rub, pepper and dotted them with butter.  Cook until they are done but not too dry, let them cool and then chop them in small pieces.
Mix chicken, sour cream and 2 cans of soup until combined. Add 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp seasoned salt.  Pour this into a 9"x13" baking dish or a deeper 2 quart casserole dish sprayed well with nonstick baking spray.

 

Place 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers in a zip lock bag, seal it well and crush them with a rolling pin or you can just use the bottom of a heavy mug.  Melt the rest of the stick of butter you had left after dotting the chicken with it (about 3/4 of a stick) and when it is cool enough put into the bag with the crumbs.  Don't pour the butter into the bag when it's real hot, because it will melt your zip lock bag.  Add 1 Tbs. of poppy seeds and mix it around well. 
 
Cover the top of your chicken mixture with 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, then cover with your Ritz cracker, poppy seed mixture.   This is where I modified the recipe.  Most of the recipes I have ever seen do not call for the cheese layer and I think it makes a world of difference in the taste of the dish. 
Place it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until it is bubbly around the edges.  This can be served over mashed potatoes, rice or hot buttered egg noodles, but I usually just serve it with a vegetable, salad and bread and it makes a complete meal.  If you have a lot of people to feed, serving it over a carb of some sort will stretch the servings.

It's yummy!  We had it last night and there was not a bite leftover!

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