Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic–and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.
Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole wasn’t something I grew up with. In fact, I had already graduated from college the first time I remember eating it! My husband made it for me when we were dating. 🙂 What a guy, I know. In my recent quest for simplifying the dinner routine, I’ve been putting some easy meals on our menu plan that I can prep on the weekend and stick in the oven after getting home from work. Casseroles are an easy choice for this–but so many have tons of butter, weird gloppy cans of soup, and other things I prefer not to eat (regularly).
SO I decided to make-over this lovely little dish, healthify it per se. There are tons of recipes online–I didn’t use one in particular, just my memory and the plethora of versions on Allrecipes. Usually they call for some cooked chicken, sour cream, a can of condensed cream of chicken soup, poppy seeds, Ritz crackers, and butter. Good and all, but lots of sodium, MSG, and fat. Okay once in awhile but not all the time, please. Especially since I’ll be serving this to my cute little boy (and his daddy)! I know this isn’t the healthiest dinner–but it’s better than the original! And still pretty easy: I made a quick homemade condensed cream of chicken soup using simple pantry ingredients: butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, and seasoning… then I subbed some of the sour cream for greek yogurt, added herbs for color and flavor, and a bed of rice to bulk it up. We eat so many dinners with rice that this addition was only natural! I think quinoa, farro, or some other grain would be equally tasty.
Since this casserole doesn’t include any veggies, be sure to add some on the side. I steamed some frozen broccoli in the microwave, tbh. Part of me didn’t want to take pictures of this dish with my frozen broccoli since it’s pretty obvious (and do you see my leftover naan too? Had to fill up the plate somehow, ha!). BUT guys… this is #reallife. And there’s nothing wrong with frozen veggies! 🙂 Better frozen, than none at all, I say. Green beans, broccoli, carrots… all would be great here! Salad–whether fresh or bagged–would be great too. These days, making a salad from scratch is the last thing I want to do after work. I can’t tell you how many heads of lettuce I’ve tossed (and I hate that). I didn’t mean to digress into this–and this is for ME TOO–get your veggies as you can… frozen, fresh, canned. Enjoy! 🙂
one year ago: Kale and Brown Rice Gratin
two years ago: Crockpot Barbacoa
three years ago: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts
four years ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
five years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
six years ago: Pumpkin Spread
seven years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
for homemade condensed cream of chicken soup from A Pinch of Healthy
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk, slightly warmed or at room temperature if possible (I’ve used anything from whole to skim – it thickens best with whole but anything is fine, really!)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- dried herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, etc. if desired
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 3 cups liquid – I used half chicken broth and half water
- 2 cups chopped or shredded chicken – use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or just bake/poach/cook some chicken
- 10 ounces greek yogurt
- 6 ounces sour cream
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- fresh or dried herbs, like rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. if desired
- 1 sleeve buttery crackers – like Ritz, approximately 32 crackers
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Begin by preparing rice according to package directions. I like to make rice with half chicken broth and half water for extra flavor.
Then, start making the homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute, stirring continually. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, cooking until mixture begins to thicken – about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, pepper, and herbs. Remove from heat and set aside.
Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, or any similar size casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, sour cream, greek yogurt, and prepared homemade cream of chicken soup. Stir together then mix in poppy seeds and herbs, if desired. I like to use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some oregano.
When rice is cooked, spread in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with chicken mixture.
In a small bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Enjoy!
Casserole can be prepared in advance. Just wait until you’re ready to bake to add the cracker topping.