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Poppy seed chicken casserole has been one of our family favorites for years. It’s chicken with a creamy sauce (made of sour cream and cream of mushroom soup) baked in a casserole dish and topped with crumbs made of Ritz crackers, butter, and poppy seeds. Very easy, yummy comfort food. Comfort food with serious issues, like all the junk in that canned soup, not to mention the blood-sugar-spiking crackers and a tremendous fuel collision between the copious amounts of butter and the carbs from said crackers. But it sure was good, and I missed it.
So I healthified it. The recipe you see here has brown rice in it because for some reason I thought our traditional recipe had rice in it. I had my brown rice on to boil an hour early, and then I decided to look at the recipe I was revamping. No rice. “Oh well,” I thought, “we Trim Healthy Mamas always need more (E)nergizing meal options.” Someday I might do a (S)atisfying version of this casserole without the rice – and add puddles of butter and all that good stuff. ‘Cause we can do that. (Not to say that this version isn’t satisfying, because it totally is, even without the fat).
This creamy casserole is very easy to make, especially if you keep cooked brown rice and cubed chicken breast on hand. I bet you could even freeze this casserole for later use. I would just reserve the crumbs separately and put them on right before baking so they don’t get soggy.
There are trace amounts of fat in this from the low-fat dairy and the tablespoon of butter in the crumbs, but spread out among so many servings (this feeds 8-10 or more people), this stays well within Trim Healthy Mama E guidelines (less than 5 grams of fat per serving).
I served this casserole with some cooked beans and roasted butternut squash (you can see how I did this in the “Notes” section of the recipe below). Need E dessert ideas? Check out this page! Please note that if you decide to pair this casserole, which already contains some rice, with an E dessert that’s fairly heavy in carbs, you’ll want to keep your side dishes to non-starchy vegetables so you don’t give your body more carbs than it can handle at once.
Question of the day (comment below): what’s your family’s favorite traditional casserole? Have you healthified it?
PS – have you liked my Facebook page yet? That’s a great way to keep up with my recipes as well as other random stuff I post!
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 5 cups cooked cubed chicken breast
- 1 cup homemade low-fat/fat-free Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream (I do not recommend store-bought Greek yogurt because it will add a tang)
- 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup plain unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 tsp. crushed garlic (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. dill weed
- 2 tsp. chicken bouillon
- ½ tsp. glucomannan
- ½ T Worcestershire sauce
- Dash of red pepper
- 1 T salted butter, melted
- 2 tsp. poppy seeds
- 2 T low-fat parmesan cheese (out of the green shake container)
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats
- 3 Light Rye Wasa Crackers, crumbled (you could probably substitute a few extra tablespoons of oats, or some Joseph's lavash bread crumbs)
- Place the cooked rice in the bottom of a casserole dish (mine measured approx. 10½" x 8½" x 4").
- Blend together all the sauce ingredients except for the Greek yogurt/sour cream and chopped mushrooms until smooth. Mix together the blended mixture, Greek yogurt/sour cream, mushrooms, and chicken. Spread over rice.
- Stir the crumb ingredients together with a fork until combined. Spread over the top of the casserole.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until warmed through. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven, no problem (cover with tinfoil).
The trace amounts of fat from the low-fat dairy and butter in this recipe stay well within THM:E guidelines (<5 g/serving).
- I used my Ninja single-serve blender cup to make the sauce for this recipe. I use that cup for everything.
- Wasa Light Rye Crackers