This recipe is impossible to eat in small quantities. Trusty Sidekick and I made it one time and I thought, “Awesome! We can eat it for dinner tonight and then have some for lunch tomorrow too. Good thinking Catherine, save yourself some time.”
We ate the whole thing. An entire casserole. Two people. It really happened.
But I am not ashamed. Judge me if you will, but once you take a bite of this stuff, you will understand so well and feel really bad for judging me and my gluttony. I will say it is totally possible to double up and make two casseroles with hardly any more effort than making one. This way you could just refrigerate the other until the next day when you remember how happy your tummy was and get the craving for more. Trusty Sidekick also just saw me writing this post and wouldn’t stop bothering me until I promised to make this again in the next few days. THE CRAVING.
Anyway, this is one of Trusty Sidekick’s mom’s recipes. He requested I make it about a year ago and she sent along the recipe to me. I can’t count how many times I have made it since. It really is wonderful and doesn’t leave you sitting on the couch afterwards wondering what you did to yourself or what could have possessed you to eat so much food. You just kind of sit back, close your eyes, and pray for a belly rub because you literally are so content with your life. You also will not be hungry for approximately 12 hours.
Keeping this in mind, this dish is perfect to make on a sad rainy day, after a bad test, or to have waiting for you when you come back from your horrible job. It makes everything better. I know you are doubting me. Stop it. And go make this. It is almost impossible to screw up unless you can’t cook rice, or can’t cook chicken. I know it looks like there a lot of steps, but most of it occurs simultaneously so don’t feel like it is daunting.
In case you can’t tell, I’m probably more excited about this recipe than any normal human (who hasn’t eaten Poppyseed Chicken) should be. Partly because this will be my first time actually writing this down. It has been saved as a note on my phone ever since I got it from Trusty Sidekick’s mom. Also, let that be a clue as to how simple it is. I made it from a note on my phone. Admittedly, part of that was that I am too lazy to actually write it out…but whatever.
This is also one of those recipes that can add up if you don’t have some of the basic ingredients on hand that you will use in small amounts. Don’t let this discourage you. Once you make this one time, it will be much cheaper the next time you make it. Poppyseeds are also kind of expensive (I was really surprised when I saw that it was about $4.00 per bottle) and so if you don’t want to spring for them, rest assured the recipe turns out just fine. Which sounds weird since the dish is called Poppyseed Chicken. Just let it happen guys. Trusty Sidekick also points out that they get stuck in your teeth, but do look pretty. So keep that it mind.
So, the price breakdown.
- 1 lb. chicken: somewhere around $3.00
- 2 sticks butter: $1.50-ish (margarine is also fine and will be cheaper and healthier)
- Ritz crackers: $2.50 for a box (you only use a sleeve)
- 1 C. rice: $0.50? We just buy a huge bag so it may be even cheaper than that.
- Chicken boullion cube: $0.20 This is one of those things where you buy a jar for $2.00 with 10 cubes inside.
- Can of cream of chicken soup: $1.00 (on average)
- 8 oz. sour cream: $1.00
- Poppyseeds: $.50 (about what you use from the jar)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 8 oz. fat-free sour cream
- 2 sticks butter (or 1 1/2)
- 1 chicken boullion cube
- 1 sleeve ritz crackers
- 1 1/2 tsp. poppyseeds
- 1 C. rice (makes 2 C. cooked)
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish. The dish can either be a 9×12 nonstick pan or a glass casserole dish of about the same size. I use a 8×8 glass casserole dish. This just means that the dish is more full than if I had used a larger pan.
2.Start cooking the chicken in a nonstick pan. This is the longest step so just put them in on medium heat and flip them when they are halfway done after about 10 minutes. Do other stuff in the meantime. When it is cooked take it out of the pan to cool and shred it with your hands to make bite-sized strips. It is also ok if they are slightly pink, they will get fully baked in the oven.
3. Start making the rice. Boil 2 C. of water in a saucepan with the chicken boullion cube. Add 1 C. rice and re-cover until cooked, about 10 min. Make sure the heat is not up past medium or the rice boils over and makes a huge mess. When rice is done, place it in the bottom of your dish to make the bottom layer of the casserole.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the soup, fat-free sour cream, 1 stick of butter (softened), and poppyseeds (if using) until it is well blended. When the chicken is done and shredded, add it to this mixture. Add this on top of the rice for the next layer.
5. Mash up 1 sleeve of crackers while still in the sleeve (this is the least messy way). Put into a bowl with the other stick of softened butter. I tend to use more like a 1/2 stick and the same effect is achieved. And less fat, which is a bonus.
6. Sprinkle the crackers and butter on top of the casserole evenly.
7. Put the casserole in the oven for 20-30 mins. Keep an eye on it for the last few minutes and when it starts bubbling and the crackers look toasted, it’s done!
8. Take it out and just separate it into two big bowls. Don’t try and fool yourself into thinking you will just “have a normal portion”. Ha. You are funny.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! Comments and questions always welcome 🙂