Poppy Seed Chicken

Have you ever been to the Grassland Foodland grocery store on Hillsboro Road?  In the front left corner is Miss Daisy’s Kitchen, a treasure trove of prepared comfort foods and delicious sweets.  When I was on maternity leave, a friend brought us some of Miss Daisy’s Poppy Seed Chicken, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  As I was looking through my cookbooks this week, I came across this recipe and immediately wondered if it could be as good as Miss Daisy’s.

The recipe comes from Homecoming: Special Foods, Special Memories compiled by the Baylor University Alumni Association.  I’m a Trinity girl myself, but my grandmother and great-grandfather graduated from Baylor, and their Christmas Lemon Pecan Cake recipe is featured on the back cover!  Of course, Mimi sent me a copy of the book for my collection, and after my latest perusal, I know I’ll be back to try some more recipes.

While there were too many poppy seeds, Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish and I’ll happily make it again.  It’s a step below Miss Daisy’s, but that could be because (1) I’m not Miss Daisy and (2) I made a slightly healthier version.  My smaller recipe made about 5 servings, and it was delicious served over rice (the first night) and over noodles (the second night).

Substitutions: Since chicken breasts come in a pack of three (which annoys me to no end… I feel like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride ranting about hot dog buns), I adjusted everything to match this amount of chicken and to lower the fat content a bit, and I baked the casserole in an 8″ x 8″ dish.  I used 1 can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup, 12 oz. light sour cream, 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1/3 cup sherry… and all the Ritz crackers and butter, because that’s the best part!

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture… but has there ever been an appetizing picture of a casserole?

Poppy Seed Chicken

4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
4 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup sherry wine
1 sleeve buttery round crackers, crushed
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation Instructions
For best results, start the night before by combining the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, mixing until blended.  Allow to sit in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread chicken mixture evenly in dish.  Sprinkle the crushed crackers evenly on top.  Drizzle the melted butter over the crackers.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and top is golden brown.

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