September 9, 2009, 6:14 pm
Filed under: Food and Recipes, Main Dishes | Tags: , ,

I can remember when I was a little girl, I used to love makeovers. I would have a slumber party, all the girls would attend with their caboodles (remember those?) in hand, filled with nail polish and cheap makeup, and we would proceed to “makeover” oursevles. It was fun. We laughed and giggled, stayed up late, and it made ourselves feel good, feel pretty.

Here I am, 25, and I can’t deny that I still love that feeling. I love the evenings where I feel like I treat myself, and do a “makeover” – exercise, take a bath, paint my nails, treat my skin. It still leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy and like I’ve done something good for myself – I feel pretty afterwards.

On nights that I treat myself, I like to treat myself with food also. I want to make something that appeals to no one else but me, and I would like it to be comforting, but not loaded with calories. In the August/September 2009 issue of Taste of Home: Healthy Cooking, a recipe was featured in the “Makeover Recipe” section of the magazine that I just adore. The dish is called poppy seed chicken, and it fits in perfectly with my evenings where I treat myself. Traditionally, this casserole is loaded with calories and sodium, but here it recieves its makeover and is now sensible enough to eat any day of the week.

The thing I love about poppy seed chicken: it’s delicious, of course, but is also fancy enough to serve to guests, and quick enough to make a weeknight meal for your family. About 20 minutes prep is all you need, and you, too, can “makeover” your meals with this dish.

Makeover Poppy Seed Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home: Healthy Cooking, August/September 2009 Issue

I used leftover rotisserie chicken here, it reduces prep time, and buying rotisserie chicken is extremely economical. I also used regular reduced fat saltine crackers. It was the only thing that I had in my pantry at the time, with no noted difference in taste. I slightly adapted prep to reduce prep time, too.

3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
2 cans reduced-fat low-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 cup crushed reduced-fat butter-flavored crackers (slightly less than 1/2 sleeve of crackers)
3 tbsp reduced-fat butter, melted
1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese (I used the pre-grated stuff, but I’m sure fresh would be much better)
Cooking spray, butter flavored
Fresh ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Spray an 8×8 cooking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread chicken evenly over the bottom of the dish. In a bowl, combine soup, sour cream, and poppy seeds, and season with a few grinds of black pepper (you need no salt here, the soup is salty enough). Whisk until smooth and well combined. Pour soup mixture evenly over chicken in dish.



3. In a seperate bowl, combine parmesean cheese, crackers, and butter and mix until well combined. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the top of the soup mixture in the baking dish. (Here, I like to sprinkle a few additional poppy seeds, just so they can be seen)

4. Bake uncovered. at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. I suggest serving with your favorite side salad.


Some recipes for this dish (including the original of this one) call for mixing some of the cracker mixture into the soup mixture and only reserving a small amount for the topping. I did this once, but found out that the soup mixture surrounding the chicken became drier, not to mention soggy cracker pieces. I like all mine on top so they stay crunchy. However, this does cause the dish to not stay together when dipped out because it is slightly runny and very, very moist. The decision is yours, you can mix crackers in the soup mixture if so desired.


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