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. 🙂 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! 🙂 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! 🙂

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
  • Print

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 – 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!

Note:

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

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Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout… even if you aren’t a vegetarian. (And let me say… your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!)

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

I’m not vegetarian, but I still love me some black bean burgers! I have been making this recipe for many years now and they’re always a huge success. My meat lover husband (and carnivore son… seriously, that kid enjoys his protein. Usually. Except last night when he threw his turkey sloppy joes all over the floor until we let him feed himself with a fork. Yup.) enjoys these burgers every time I make them, much to his surprise.

Back in my grad school days we got into eating more vegetarian food as a way to save money, save the earth (Meatless Monday and all), and to experiment in the kitchen. I made various bean burgers. Most were edible, some were good, some were complicated, some were dry, some fell apart, and some went in the trash (when I didn’t use my husband’s lunch to finish them *ahem sweet potato burgers ahem*). But these… these black bean burgers have stuck around. They’re made with quinoa, sauteed carrots and onions, and a few standard pantry spices/seasonings like paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Even though you won’t find any meat in them, they still have a hearty, burger-like texture with a ton of flavor that you are sure to love. You can top these burgers with all your fave burger toppings–cheese, avocado, tomato… the possibilities are endless!

The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

One of my favorite aspects of these burgers is that they freeze SO WELL. I’m not just saying that; they really do. I love making a double batch of these burgers on the weekend. After eating one fresh, I like to freeze the rest on a baking sheet for a few hours, then transfer them to a zip-top bag. They can last up to two months in the freezer and still taste great, but I usually find that we’ve eaten them much faster than that! They’re wonderful to pull out of the freezer for a quick weekday lunch. Even if I don’t have burger buns on hand, they’re great with a lettuce wrap, on a salad, or even just eaten alone. Plus, if you have a bag of these in the freezer, you’ll be set when vegetarian friends and family come over for a cookout. There’s nothing worse than realizing you don’t have anything on hand for them to eat… and these black bean burgers taste way better than the frozen kind you can buy at the grocery store. Your vegetarian friends are sure to appreciate you after that… and your meat-eating pals may even be swayed with how tasty these burgers are! 🙂 Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Tell me: what’s your favorite vegetarian dish for a cookout?

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

one year ago: Avalanche Cookies
two years ago: Peach Cobbler Scones

three years ago: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
four years ago: Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
five years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
six years ago: Rhubarb Muffins

Black Bean Burgers

  • Servings: 6
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The BEST black bean burgers you will ever have! Promise. These burgers are a great addition to your next cookout... even if you aren't a vegetarian. (And let me say... your vegetarian friends will love you for having these on hand too!) #CookoutWeek 2017

from Bake Your Day

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (sometimes I use chicken broth instead)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups black beans)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Worcestershire sauce works in a pinch too)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1/2-1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • to serve as desired: buns, lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, avocado, mayonnaise, etc.

Directions:

Prepare quinoa as directed on package, using broth instead of water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, another minute. Remove from heat and stir in spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne. Season to taste with black pepper and salt.

In a food processor or large bowl, combine black beans and cooked carrot mixture. Pulse together a few times to break down the black beans. A potato masher is a great tool for this if you don’t have or don’t want to use a food processor. Beans still should have some substance to them, so don’t obliterate them completely.

Stir in ketchup, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Fold in quinoa, 1/2 cup panko, and egg. Mix well to combine. Shape into 1/2 cup patties. If the patties don’t hold together well, gradually add up to another 1/2 cup panko until they do. Place on a plate or baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 48 hours before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook patties for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and heated through.

Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

These burgers freeze so well! Make a batch or two to keep on hand for busy nights, quick lunches, or vegetarian guests at your next cookout.

If you’re spice averse, you may be wary of the cayenne and the Sriracha. You can omit, of course, but they really aren’t spicy at all! Just FYI. 🙂

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? 🙂

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
  • Print

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!

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!
Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Curried Lentil Soup

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup…this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

I already showed you the soup along with this fabulous hearty Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread… and now here’s the recipe! This Curried Lentil Soup is also fabulous. Why would I share anything less than fabulous? Ha! Lentil soup is always a go-to vegetarian soup because it’s filling and flavorful without meat. This time, we’ve taken a regular ‘ole lentil soup and added red lentils and a south Asian flavor profile to  make something extra special.

Easy and flavorful red lentil soup...this curried red lentil soup is simply the best!

If you’re a fan of dal, you’ll like the soup. The flavors are incredible–garlic, ginger, onion…and of course, curry! There’s nothing better on a cold night, especially when served with some hearty bread. Mmm! The fact that this soup is made in about 30 minutes, thanks to the magic of the microwave [Iiiiiiii know–I never use the microwave in cooking, but it’s magic here], is an added bonus. Perfect for busy weeknights! Hope you guys enjoy!

two years ago: Honey Cornbread
three years ago: Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw
four years ago: Peach Raspberry Clafouti
five years ago: Peach Shortbread
six years ago: Tropical Granola

Curried Lentil Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 – 15 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cilantro, chopped
  • plain yogurt

Directions:

In a large bowl, microwave lentils and half of the broth for 10-12 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed

In a stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Season with pepper to taste, then add garlic, ginger, and curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the microwaved lentil mixture to the pot, then add the remaining broth and tomatoes. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, seasoning with pepper as desired.

Serve with cilantro and plain yogurt.

 

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes

Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans + Kale

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You’ll be sure to love them–a great family meal!

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

Are you ready for a knock-your-socks off vegetarian burrito recipe? If so, you’ve come to the right place! And if not–or if vegetarian fare isn’t your thing–please stay, because I know you’ll enjoy it anyway! 🙂 Or you can just add some shredded chicken to the burrito filling. Don’t worry, I’ll be none the wiser. Haha. Now onto the good stuff! These burritos! Mmmm… they are your classic vegetarian burrito–rich and hearty beans and rice… but with a twist! This veggie burrito adds some flavorful and fresh kale to the mix, along with an awesome blend of savory seasonings [garlic, onion, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin] for a fabulous burrito like none other. You will simply be amazed by how good this burrito filling is! Divine! 🙂

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

Now, I won’t lie. There are quite a few ingredients and steps below for this recipe, and it takes about an hour from start to finish. Obviously I made this pre-baby. Gah. But, it’s still totally doable for a family meal because this is the sort of meal you can make in steps and keep in the fridge [or freezer] to eat all week long. Basically, you begin by making some rice–with garlic and broth instead of water for added yumminess. Then you saute up some onion, add your seasonings and kale, and let that cook down a bit. Then you mix everything together and add cheese and tortillas… bake, and voila! Dinner is served. Yum.

These fabulous savory bean and rice burritos are made even more delicious by the addition of hearty kale and gooey Monterey Jack cheese. You'll be sure to love them--a great family meal!

I mention this in the recipe notes below, but what I wanna emphasize is that this makes a TON of burrito filling, so YAY! Lots of work=lots of meals. Hooray. When I made this for us, we ate burritos a few times during the week, adding the filling to tortillas as desired. Then we froze the rest for another time. America’s Test Kitchen, the author of this recipe in their amazing vegetarian cookbook [go check it out! I borrowed it from my library but I want a copy for home now.] suggests that this serves six. Well, maybe our tortillas were wayyyy smaller, but we got at least 10 burritos, if not MORE out of the recipe as written below. Your mileage may vary, but that’s how it went for us. I definitely loved this dish and so did Ben. I think I’m going to make a batch before I go back to work after Labor Day [tear] for quick weeknight dinners in my new working mama life. Hope y’all enjoy!

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

Baked Burritos with Pinto Beans + Kale

  • Servings: 6+
  • Print

from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt + freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced + more for topping if desired
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bunch kale or swiss chard, stemmed and leaves chopped into thin ribbons
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 6 burrito sized flour tortillas
  • 10 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • sour cream, salsa, etc. – for serving as desired

Directions:

In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine 1 1/4 cups broth, rice, half of the garlic, and some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is tender and broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cilantro and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in tomato paste, chipotle chile pepper, cumin, oregano, remaining garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir everything together for a minute, then add kale and 1/2 cup broth. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, until kale has softened.

In a bowl, combine half of the beans and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Mash with a potato masher until coarse, then fold into kale mixture along with remaining beans and lime juice. Cook, stirring continually, for a few minutes until liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in rice.

Turn oven on to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Next, assemble burritos. Warm tortillas in the microwave, then divide mixture between tortillas, adding a little cheese inside of each tortilla before rolling into burritos. Place seam-side down on prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with a little more cheese. Broil until cheese melts and begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, etc. as desired.

Notes:

The prepared burrito filling also freezes well, on its own or in pre-made burritos ready for the oven. To heat later, microwave defrosted burrito filling until hot then prepare burritos with cheese and broil as directed above. Pre-made and frozen burritos can be heated from frozen in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until hot.

The cookbook suggests this recipe serves 6. However, we got at least 10 burritos out of this amount of filling. Our tortillas may have been smaller and/or filled less, so your mileage may vary.