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Poppy Seed Chicken

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Several years ago my son's wife shared this delicious casserole recipe with me. It is one of my Ryan's favorites and quickly became a favorite here at Holly Hill too. I prepare it often for large groups and have served it many times for 30 people. It's one that doubles or triples well and customers often ask for the recipe. Hope that you enjoy it also. (Serves 8-10)

2 c. lite sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 1/2 T. poppy seed
1 c. rice cooked as usual in 2 c. water
4 c. cooked and cubed chicken breast
Salt and pepper to taste
*1 onion, 2 sticks of celery and 1 red pepper sautéed in a little olive oil

Mix together in or all of the ingredients, add chicken last so it doesn’t break up too much. (I often use a whole chicken that I have cooked overnight in the crock pot. Cool in the morning and remove bones, cube meat and measure the 4 cups.) Pour mixture into a 9 X 13 casserole that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray.
Top with: 1 1/2 packages of crushed buttery crackers (you know the ones) mixed with 2/3 stick of melted butter.
Bake at 350* for 30 min. until crackers start to turn golden and filling is bubbly around the edges.

*These ingredients are optional, I add them to jazz it up a little, you can substitute a small jar of pimento for the red pepper.

To double this recipe I use 1 whole chicken and 4 breasts and double the other ingredients. If the mixture seems a little dry I moisten it with some buttermilk, which blends with the sour cream flavor well.