I love the process of cooking and baking. It is a relaxing escape for me when I cook. I love that you can start out with separate individual ingredients, follow a certain set of steps, combine the ingredients together in a particular way, and you end up with a wonderful, new creation. As long as you follow the steps the same way each time, you know you can count on the same end result. Cooking is very predicable that way, and I like that I can count on it's certainty. I think that most people have a deep need to create something. Some create through writing, some through music, some through visual arts, some through decorating, and some through cooking. I went through a phase in high school where I would bake several days a week. I usually just baked cupcakes and brought them to school to share with my friends. I enjoyed the element of creating something new and pretty from a bunch of separate parts.
When I married my husband, I realized that I needed to include a few new recipes into my cookbook. His childhood favorite is Poppyseed Chicken Casserole and he just loves it! The first time I went with him to visit his family in Georgia his mom gave me the recipe. Although we were just dating, she gave it to me, and I quickly realized the importance of the recipe. Cooking is not just about fulfilling a need to create something. Cooking can be a gift that you give someone in the form of a favorite childhood meal. The first time I had this recipe, it quickly became a favorite indulgence of mine. It is so rich and yummy... the true definition of southern comfort food.
For those interested in creating something new, try out this amazing Poppyseed Chicken Casserole.
1 pound of chicken breast tenders; boiled and shredded
2 tubes of Ritz Crackers crushed
2 sticks of margarine melted
2 tablespoons of poppyseeds
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 ounces sour cream
The key ingredients: poppyseeds and cream of chicken soup
Start by boiling the chicken breast tenders and shredding it once it's done cooking. While the chicken is cooking, crush the crackers in a ziplock bag.
Mix together the shredded chicken, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup in a bowl and set to the side.
Melt the margarine in a pan and add the poppyseeds to the melted margarine. Once it's mixed thoroughly, add the crushed Ritz crackers to soak up the melted margarine. Turn off the stove and set pan to the side.
Take half of the cracker mixture and spread it over the bottom of a 9x13 glass plan. Create another layer using all of the cream of chicken mixture.
Add the second half of the cracker mixture to top it off. Spread it around evenly.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. It's done when the middle layer is bubbling up on the edges and the cracker crumbs are golden brown and look crispy.
Scoop a serving onto a plate and enjoy! You must go back for seconds... it's the rule with this recipe. Enjoy!