"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

Monday, August 31, 2009

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole and Italian Chicken Salad

I love when I can take one item and make two different meals out of it. It's always good when you can spend some time at the beginning of the week cooking so that you won't have to do as much later. To make these two recipes you will need one "family sized" package of chicken breasts (they go on sale pretty frequently so we usually buy two and freeze one.) Take a large pot of boiling water and put in all of the chicken breast. They will need to cook for 20-30 minutes. When they turn completely white take them out with tongs and cut them in half to make sure they are done all the way through! Once they cool, shred all of the chicken by hand. I usually use half of the chicken for each recipe.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole:
Using a large casserole dish, cover the bottom with half of the chicken from above.
Then add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sour cream and 1 or 2 cans of either cream of mushroom/chicken/celery soup stirring together - you can use whichever soup you like best. (I usually add lesser amounts of sour cream and soup because I like mine to be firm, but some people prefer it to be creamier.) Mix in half of a sleeve of Ritz crackers.

Cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Then pull it out of the oven to cover the top with half of a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. This usually lasts for at least 2 dinners for 2 adults.

Italian Chicken Salad:
This is great to take for lunch at work, but it's great for dinner too! It's different than southern chicken salad because it doesn't have the signature ingredient of mayonnaise!

The ingredients are harder on this one because I usually do it by sight and it's really about what you like to add in it. So these are some suggestions...
In a large bowl, combine the chicken and any of the following:
red/yellow/green bell peppers, chopped coarsely
red onion, chopped
slivered almonds
drained capers
grated Parmesan
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (my favorite ingredient!)
salt and pepper

Then top with a vinaigrette dressing.
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
3/4 cup of good olive oil
(Stir vigorously - you may also add finely chopped herbs)
You may not need all of the dressing.

*Another great option for chicken salad is to purchase it from Costco. My friend, Caroline, brought some over this weekend - it was so good and had an amazing flavor because of the way they roast the chicken. Chicken salad makes a wonderful snack on crackers and is great for any meal!

1 comment:

  1. Poppy Seed Chicken casserole was THE favorite meal back at the Theta house. When they served it for our 30th Anniversary lunch last spring, the alumni (even from 30 years back) literally SQUEALED with delight.

    I'd have to suggest corn flakes instead of ritz crackers though. The soups (whichever you use) tend to make the chicken salty, so you the salt from the ritz crackers isn't exactly necessary. Plus Corn flakes are crunchier!



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