Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

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.

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.

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. ūüôā 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).

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.

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.

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.

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! ūüôā 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! ūüôā

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.

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

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients:

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

for casserole

  • 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

Directions:

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 Рabout 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!

Note:

Casserole can be prepared in advance. Just wait until you’re ready to bake to add the cracker topping.

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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros–baked in the oven–are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

Back to school is here! At my house, it has come and gone. This week marks my husband’s¬†second full week teaching at his new school and things are going well. His schedule is a little more flexible than last year, which has been so nice. Ben gets home earlier–even when he picks up our little guy at daycare. This means dinner isn’t quite as rushed and we have a little more family time in the evening. I’m sure things will ebb and flow a little as the year goes along, but so far, I’m just trying to enjoy the reprieve while it lasts! Especially since it’s still summertime, technically.

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

One way I’ve been trying to make the most of these longer late summer nights is by keeping dinner simple. I’ve probably talked about that a gazillion times since I went back to work after baby was born, but it’s still true. I can’t tell you how many meal planning and prep schedules, systems, and calendars I’ve tried to get my life in order. I haven’t¬†paid for any yet (and don’t think I will). At some point, I’d love to write a post detailing my meal planning system, as it is… because I ***think*** I finally have something down that works for us. YAY! But I don’t know if anyone is really interested in that sort of thing–are you?

Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

But anyways, the meal I’m sharing today… Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt is completely a by-product of my simple weeknight dinner theme. I know these aren’t¬†true chicken gyros BUT they are truly delicious! Slicing the chicken before baking allows for quicker cooking… and seasoning the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, and plenty of herbs makes sure your chicken is moist (sorry) and not a gross dried out mess. To dress up the chicken, be sure to serve it with some fresh pita, chopped veggies, and a super delicious (and EASY) lemony yogurt sauce. Sometimes I’m tempted to skip sauces when making recipes… “oh, I’ll just use hummus instead.” But seriously guys… please don’t! This lemony yogurt sauce is just THREE ingredients–plain greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper. That’s it. Whisk together and enjoyyyy! This dinner is the best.

one year ago: Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans and Kale
two years ago: Zucchini Apple Walnut Muffins
three years ago: Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce
four years ago: Churro Cheesecake Bars
five years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
six years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
seven years ago: Summer Mexican Soup

Sheet Pan Chicken Gyros with Lemony Yogurt Sauce

  • Servings: 6
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Chicken gyros--baked in the oven--are a wonderful weeknight dinner option! Lemony yogurt sauce makes these tender herbed chicken strips even more amazing. These gyros are great served with pita, rice, and lots of fresh veggies.

inspired by my sheet pan chicken fajitas

Ingredients:

for gyros

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • juice of 2 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

for lemon yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (full fat!)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

for serving: pita, romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil, parchment, or a silpat for easy clean up. Alternatively, you could just spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread sliced onion and chicken on the baking sheet. Season with oregano, dill, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, then toss everything together with your hands. This could all be done in a bowl if you prefer… but I prefer fewer dishes! Spread in an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

While chicken is cooking, prepare lemon yogurt sauce by whisking together greek yogurt with lemon juice. Season with pepper as desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve chicken in a pita with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions, feta, lemon yogurt sauce, hummus, greek lemon rice, or any other desired toppings. Enjoy!

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

A copycat version of a Trader Joe’s fave… chicken burgers spiced up with chili, lime,¬†cilantro, and garlic. This is an epic burger you don’t wanna miss!

A copycat version of a Trader Joe's fave... chicken burgers spiced up with chili, lime, cilantro, and garlic. This is an epic burger you don't wanna miss!

If you’ve ever stepped foot into Trader Joe’s, you have probably seen tons of delicious-looking treats.¬†At Trader Joe’s, I’m always tempted to buy so many more convenience foods than I ever would in a regular grocery store. I don’t know what it is about that insanely crowded grocery store with a death trap parking lot, but everything inside sounds SO FREAKING GOOD. I mean, seriouslyyyy. Is it just me? I sure hope not.

A copycat version of a Trader Joe's fave... chicken burgers spiced up with chili, lime, cilantro, and garlic. This is an epic burger you don't wanna miss!

One of my favorite things to get at TJ’s is their Chili Lime Chicken Burgers. Alright, I know they’re probably¬†everyone’s favorite. Maybe that’s not true but I literally know SO many people who love them. After buying them one too many times, it’s no surprise that I sought out a homemade copycat version. Because… why not? These burgers are just as good (if not better) than their counterpart, and come together in a flash in your kitchen! Be sure to dress them up with all your favorite burger toppings–avocado is a must for me! Oh, and p.s. I suggest using non-smashed buns (don’t be like me–but I hate food waste so…yeah). ENJOY!

A copycat version of a Trader Joe's fave... chicken burgers spiced up with chili, lime, cilantro, and garlic. This is an epic burger you don't wanna miss!

one year ago: Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
two years ago: French Toast Casserole
three years ago: Tasty Mexican Lentils
four years ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
five years ago: Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola
six years ago: Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

Trader Joe's Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

  • Servings: 4
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from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest and juice of half a lime
  • hamburger buns
  • avocado, tomato, lettuce, cheese, etc. for topping as desired

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, green onions, red bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime zest and juice. Use your hands to mix together, then divide into four equal portions. Press into patties and coat each side with nonstick spray or brush with olive oil.

Cook in a skillet, set over medium-high heat, for approximately 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Alternatively, you can use a George Foreman-type grill.

Serve on a bun with desired toppings.

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Annette’s Layered Chicken Enchiladas

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas–so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist’s¬†Bread and Wine!

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

I’m not usually one to make recipes I find in books (unless they’re cookbooks, that is) but when I read¬†Shauna¬†Niequist’s¬†Bread¬†and Wine a couple years ago, I knew I HAD to make her friend Annette’s awesome enchilada recipe one day. And one day is here! These enchiladas were gifted to the author as a new baby meal–and having a little one myself, let me just say that I would have LOVED to receive this meal when #BabyVolde was small. What can be better then layered enchiladas and all that ooey, gooey cheese and that creamy verde sauce? Not much! I will say that we weren’t too deprived in our new parenthood exhaustion–we were the lucky recipients of many tasty meals from family and friends, and I also made a ton of freezer meals too. So we were set. But if YOU know someone having a baby soon, consider making this dish!

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

Normal enchiladas are great, but all that rolling can be sorta fussy sometimes. Though the presentation here is a little messier thanks to a few layers of sauce, cheese, chicken, and tortillas instead of neatly rolled tortillas, the taste is ALL there! One neat trick that makes¬†this version of enchiladas different from others I’ve tried is that Annette (whoever she is) came up with GENIUS idea to dip the tortillas in warm chicken broth before layering them. This extra step helps the enchiladas get super soft but also adds a little extra flava! And can’t we all use that? ūüôā

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

These enchiladas are filling and delicious… a great dish to make with love for your family or others in your life!¬†Shauna¬†Niequist’s whole point in her book is to embrace hospitality for the sake of love, community, and friendship–a messy hospitality of sorts. In my opinion, this recipe is the epitome of that! Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
two years ago: Cheesy Molasses Chicken with Mushrooms and Homemade Rice a Roni Mix
three years ago: Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding]
four years ago: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
five years ago: Hunter Fieri’s Chicken Salad
six years ago: Monkey Bars

Annette's Layered Chicken Enchiladas

  • Servings: 6
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from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 28 ounce can green enchilada sauce
  • 2 – 4 ounce cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 12-15 small corn tortillas
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium pot, simmer chicken broth until just warm, then remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, enchilada sauce, and green chilies to make the sauce. Spread about 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking pan. Dip tortillas in broth and layer over sauce, to completely fill the bottom of the pan. Tear tortillas if necessary. Top with half of the chicken and a third of the cheese, then repeat: sauce, tortillas in broth, chicken, cheese, sauce. Finish with tortillas in broth, sauce, and cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbly. You can broil for a minute or two at the end to make the cheese extra brown if desired. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving with cilantro and lime wedges.

Recipe can be made up to 24 hours before baking. It’s also a great meal to freeze and bake when ready to eat!

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Simple Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas РI think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Yup, hopping on the sheet pan meal train. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Because seriously… they are a #weeknightdinner savior.

My oven died a few weeks ago, and I was utterly devastated. Fortunately, it was just the heating element–a pretty inexpensive repair–but I did freak out quite just a bit, especially since this happened after I¬†prepped English muffin bread dough AND lasagna¬†so I couldn’t bake either. Bummer. But on the bright side (if there is a bright side to a non-functional oven), I salvaged the dough by making individual English muffins on the stovetop. Phew! But back to sheet pan dinners. They are the best cause they are eeeeeeeasy!¬†I mean, seriously. Chop, cut, slice a few things, throw it on a pan with some seasonings… bake bake bake, and presto! Dinner. Kinda like a casserole, except without the weird cream ‘o soup sauce. And now I can make ALL THE sheet pan meals and casseroles I want ’cause my oven is back in action! Hooooray!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

My sister introduced me to this fabulous recipe over the summer, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it. The fajita seasoning is absolutely mouthwatering and is full of simple seasonings you probably already have in your spice rack. The veggies come out perfectly crisp-tender, and the chicken is sizzling hot. I like to dress my fajitas with plenty of lime juice and cilantro, and not much else–maybe a little bit of sour cream or avocado if I’m feeling it. But like with most Tex-Mex recipes, everyone can customize their plate as desired. #WIN!¬†This recipe makes great leftovers–enjoy it the first night in tortillas, the second day for lunch over Mexican rice or lettuce, and the third day in a quesadilla! Don’t be frightened by the one hour time mentioned in the recipe below. Most of it is cooking, promise! If I can make this after work with a baby in tow, so can you! ūüôā

one year ago: White Bean Sriracha Dip
two years ago: Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties
three year ago: Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies
four years ago: Buffalo Pretzels
five year ago: Chicken Noodle Soup
six years ago: Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Sheet Pan Fajitas

  • Servings: 8
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slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Ingredients:

fajita seasoning

  • 2¬†tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne powder – omit if you don’t want a lot of spice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste – I’m pretty liberal with black pepper ūüôā
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

fajitas

  • 1 large¬†onion – I like sweet onions or red onions
  • 4¬†bell peppers – I like to use a combination of colors
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • tortillas, rice, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc. – for serving, as desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for the fajita seasoning and set aside.

Slice the onion and bell peppers into 1/4-1/2 inch wide strips. Place on a large sheet pan [or divide between 2 9×13 baking dishes]. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips and add to sheet pan with the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and vegetables, then drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss together [your hands are great for this!] and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, then stir everything and return to oven, baking for another 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle lime juice over fajitas, then serve in tortillas or over rice with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and pico de gallo. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Make your life easier by making this ahead! Make the seasoning, then cut chicken and veggies and put everything in a ziptop bag. Then pour the olive oil into the bag and shake. Let it marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking.