Oh, Expensive Chicken, How I’ve Missed You

You know what happens when you write about loving simple recipes?  Old friends suddenly start e-mailing them to you!   And suddenly your in-box is aflood with all these fantastic recipes that your friends have always known about and never shared with you, and you’re, like, seriously, you’ve been holding out on me all this time?

My friend Lori sent me a casserole recipe that is so good I can almost forgive her for waiting this long to share it.  The good news is that this casserole is SO simple and delicious.  The bad news is that it uses a giant batch of chicken, which is so expensive right now you might need a second mortgage to afford it.  But it’s still a good special-occasion recipe.  Also, you could use less chicken and plump it up with pasta, I suppose, but sadly, the full-chickeny taste would be a little lost. 

Anyway, here it goes, from my friend Lori, who got it from Southern Living (and, incidentally, I doctored it up a little beyond that, so who knows what it is anymore):


3 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
2 cups chopped celery
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
onion powder
2-3 cups crushed Ritz crackers

Mix together first four ingredients.  Season to taste with onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper.  Spread mixture in greased casserole dish; cover completely with crushed Ritz crackers.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

63 thoughts on “Oh, Expensive Chicken, How I’ve Missed You

  1. Robin ~ PENSIEVE says:

    Oh, my…how can a chicken casserole possibly sound good to me before breakfast??? Maybe because I’ve had a version of this before and I KNOW intimately that of which you speak :). The difference? It has poppy seeds in it! Something about those little black dots peppered through makes it look some kind of fancy (without altering taste much…texture, yes, but taste, no).
    I stock up on chicken when it’s half price…EVERYthing seems over-priced these days!
    Happy Tuesday! πŸ™‚

  2. beachmom says:

    this is my only saving grace on chicken for recipes – if I go to the grocery store at 11 pm, and the deli manager is “on” (Tuesday and Thursday nights for my case), he will usually hand over any leftover rotisserie chickens for $1 apiece.
    If I am really feeling adventurous, I will get 4 … bring them home and de-meat them immediately – refrigerate one and freeze the others. This is only good for chicken I am putting in casseroles (we have a ton of those!!), but it is a great savings over buying regular chicken which is currently as valuable as gold!

  3. Kim says:

    This is one of our all-time favorites! This is my standard when bringing dinner to someone.
    I have to tell you with my best Paula Deen accent. “We add a WHOLE stick of butter melted on top of those crackers, ya’ll.” Then we bake.
    And mercy. It is divine.

  4. Sarah @ Short Stop says:

    I have had that recipe and it is “cry for your Momma” good – as my friend, Emily would say.
    I don’t think I’ve ever made a Southern Living recipe that I didn’t love. This one is just fantastic!

  5. Carol says:

    This sounds great, but seems like it is missing something (noodles, or rice, or something :)….what do you guys who have made it before serve with it?? Thanks!

  6. prasti says:

    i got a similar recipe from a southern friend called “poppyseed chicken.” have you heard of that one? so easy, so good, and now a popular dish in our home. thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. Karen says:

    OK, I wasn’t convinced, but after reading all those comments in favor, I’ll try it. I am very blessed to have commissary privileges here in Virginia. I am amazed at how much “civilians” pay for things like meat and dairy. I routinely get boneless chicken breasts for $1.69 a pound, and milk is @2.25 a gallon. Seriously, I don’t know how y’all do it.

  8. Nikki says:

    I have a similar recipe, but I put some rice in it so there is a little more substance to it. My sister uses pasta. It also has poppy seeds mixed with the Ritz crackers on top.

  9. Melanie says:

    This is similar to my favorite recipe, only a little different. The recipe our family uses is the chicken, a can of cream of celery soup, a can of cream of mushroom, and the sour cream. Never have put the extra seasonings in it, but that sounds good! Then the crushed crackers, and a couple tablespoons of poppy seeds on top of the crackers. DELISH!

  10. Dawn W says:

    Try this version…
    Make the “filling” exactly as your recipe. Then, instead of bread crumbs, use chicken stuffing (Stove Top or whatever brand you like) prepared according to the directions of the package.
    I think I just make this tonight!

  11. Kelly says:

    Oh yes. Serve it over rice, and it’ll feed a small army.
    If anybody else hates stewing chicken for recipes like this, I’ll share my newly-discovered secret: pop fresh or frozen chicken breasts in the Crock Pot in the morning. Cover with water. Turn on low. When you get home in the evening, they’re fall-apart tender and just aching to be put in a tasty casserole.
    Oh, and then use the broth to cook the rice. It is a blessing from God to eat the resulting heavenly goodness.

  12. Cheryl says:

    My family loves this casserole! I use cream of whatever I have in the pantry!!! If I don’t have sour cream, mayo works just as well!
    It’s so easy and delicious!

  13. Lori says:

    wow… a recipe from me made the blog?! my mom would be so proud! The recipe initially had poppy seeds and butter, but I’m not a fan of poppy seeds and I am too lazy to add the butter to the crackers. sad, I know. I also use the fully cooked rotisserie chickens to add just one more layer of laziness. This is one of our favorites and it is lovingly referred to as ‘chicken smush’ in our household.
    btw… this recipe is from Southern Living Easy Weeknight Favorites cookbook.

  14. Teri from Indiana says:

    I made Paula Deen’s Hurry Up Chicken Casserole last night. It’s to die for! I go to her website for most of my recipes. I have a Southern Living Cookbook that’s just about worn out. Nothing like a little South in your mouth when you live in the Midwest.

  15. MommaBlogger says:

    I have a very similar one that calls for rice to help fill it out, if you’re interested. It’s very, very good, and even my picky kids wolf it down. The original recipe called for ritz crackers, but we like the crunchy corn flakes much better. Hopefully my post isn’t too long πŸ™‚
    Delicious Chicken Casserole
    4 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    3 cups cooked rice
    6 ounces sour cream
    2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of celery soup
    1/4 teaspoon celery salt
    1/8 teaspoon onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes
    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Bring to a boil the chicken breasts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover. Cover, reduce heat to medium low; simmer for 35 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Cool chicken, remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces.
    In a large bowl, stir together sour cream, soup, broth, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cooked rice and chicken. Spoon mixture into a 9×13 inch casserole dish. In a resealable bag, shake together crushed corn flakes and melted butter. Sprinkle corn flakes over the top.
    Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

  16. Stephanie says:

    You are right about chicken and hamburger. Hamburger actually costs more than chicken right now in my area. For whatever reason pork is really cheap right now. I just paid $1.78/lb for pork roasts that cook up beautifully and easily in the crock pot. My family of 6 wolfs it down. If you like chicken casseroles, try Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti. Oh my – love love love it!

  17. Kim says:

    yummmm. i LOVE chicken casserole! a friend of mine introduced me to a recipe similar to this a couple of years ago and i couldn’t believe i’d gone my entire life without it! we mix cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soup together and we usually eat the casserole over rice. it bulks it up a bit and you don’t lose this chicken flavor. also, we mix in a bit of chicken stock to the casserole mixture to add flavor. man, i’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

  18. Lisa says:

    Oh, is there any chance I could get you to shoot me an e-mail on your weight loss?? I saw your twitter today that you hit goal! Congratulations! I would love to know how much you have lost (if you don’t mind) and how you did it??? Thanks!

  19. Stockton says:

    oh that is so true about the chicken … my sister and I found a good deal on chicken breasts in the grocery store a few weeks ago and were so excited – you’d think we found gold or something ^_^

  20. Tam says:

    CHEAP CHICKEN: Just go to Walmart and buy their lg. bag of chicken breast. (8-9 dollars) These breast are huge…2 lg breast is all you would need and you are still left with about 4 breast for another meal. I slice these breast in half, which would been 2 normal sized servings.

  21. erica m says:

    I was already planning to make a chicken casserole this week and now I’m going to try yours!!! BTW, Kroger has chicken thighs and legs on sale for 99 cents/lb. I think today is the last day for the sale… I got a BIG package for $5!!!

  22. Melanie says:

    I make a casserole really close to this, except that I put in about 2 pounds of chicken, no celery, Family size cream soup(however many oz that is) 16oz of sour cream and large bag of egg noodles(cooked). I also add the butter to the crackers and put 1/2 on the bottom of the baking pan.

  23. tammy Thomas says:

    this sounds yummy! I was so lucky this week and found out about an awesome sale on boneless, skinless chicken breasts at Macy’s get this! 1.19 a lb!!!! I bought 2 cases (80 lbs) I’m gonna bottle a bunch for casseroles and soups etc.

  24. Erin says:

    My mom makes a similar recipe that I love. We add a can of cream of mushroom and a few pats of butter on top. It is truly delicious on a bed of egg noodles!

  25. Alisa Young says:

    so funny! We actually had this for dinner last night. I don’t use celery and I add 1 Tbsp of poppy seeds (from Southern Living cookbook). So very yummy, but it is mostly chicken so it takes quite a lot to feed all 5 of us. I usually make sure to have fruit, veggie and salad to go with it so it goes farther. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Holli Seitz says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and thought you might be interested in an upcoming invitation-only webinar for bloggers being held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will focus on ways you and your family can protect yourself against the flu, and will be held on December 2 from 2-3 p.m. EST. Please save the date and watch for your official invitation e-mail from hseitz at cdc dot gov.

  27. Andrea says:

    Yes, chicken is expensive, but if you buy in bulk it’s cheap! I get it at Sam’s club for $1.97 per pound. One chicken breast feeds my husband and I for a meal, because they are so big. I just portion out the chicken into freezer bags and it lasts a while. I’ve also bought chicken tenderloins at Sam’s because the strips are smaller, but it’s still $1.97 per pound. It makes it worth the membership fee!

  28. Rhonda T says:

    If I am low on “fresh” chicken, I have used the canned white chicken meat and just put in extra seasonings- now my kids will only eat it that way because there aren’t chunks of chicken in it. We love this recipe. I just made it Sat b/c it was cold here!

  29. kelli says:

    John and I sucked it up and went grocery shopping yesterday. (Thank you to friends who sent gift card to store)…
    While there, they announced a sale on boneless, skinless chicken breasts – $2.00 for 3 lbs.
    I swear I hit my knees and screamed “Hallelujah”.
    Did I mention just. how. much John hates shopping with me?
    I then promptly attacked the man in the meat coat and stripped him of several 3lb. packages of chicken.
    Hello freezer!

  30. Faith says:

    This is one of our favorites – although we skip the celery – and I use 2 cups of stuffing mix instead of the ritz crackers – it has fantastic flavor!! I can’t wait to make this again now!

  31. Wanda says:

    Girl you’re speaking my love language…..chicken in a casserole form…those are sweet whispers of happiness.
    Can’t wait to try this out. It’s almost exact to my Poppy Seed Chicken casserole.

  32. judy says:

    I just took this recipe yesterday to a family in our church who had a death in the family (what good Baptist people do)!
    The only difference is add poppy seeds on top of the cracker crumbs and add real butter (yes, mam, real butter) to the cracker crumbs before you sprinkle them on top! DELISH!

  33. Gego says:

    How to streeeeeeech a chicken:
    Buy a nice fat fryer.
    Clean and remove all things in paper from the insides. If heart, gizzard, liver and neck are not in paper, take them out anyway. Save them for another use.
    Place chicken in a Large stock pot. Bring seasoned water to a boil. Place whole chicken in water, reduce heat and simmer until skin easily pulls away from meat on legs and thighs.Simmer for about two hours (slow cookers also work but it takes longer than on top of the stove. Let chicken and broth cool until the pot is cool to the touch. Place soup pot in the frige. The next day, skim off the fat that has solidifies on the top.
    Remove chicken from the stock. Pick (remove skin and grissle, and bones) the chicken.
    Quick Chicken and Dumplings
    Take 1 cup shredded or diced chicken and add 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Taste for necessary seasonings. Slice a small package of flour tortillas and add boiling broth and chicken. Reduce heat. Cook until tortillas are the consistency of dumplings. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
    Serve with a veggie salad.
    Quick Chicken Pot Pie
    Buy two 9″ pie crusts. In a skillet saute onions, Carrots, frozen peas, frozen carrots, and any other of your families fav veggies. I use a 2 qt pyrex casserole for this. Add 1 cup diced chicken and about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the veggie saute. Arrange bottom crust on the casserole. Add the cooled veggie and chicken and broth. Cover the dish with the extra pie crust and seal the edges. Pierce the top crust with a fork to let the steam escape. Cook on 350 until the top crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Let rest. Serve with salad. This should serve 4 hearty eaters or six regular eaters.
    The rest of the broth and chicken can be frozen for future uses or to make chicken noodle soup, chicken divan, chicken and rice.
    Little time, little prep, and if you get creative, a whole week’s menus.
    This takes some of the “sting” out of the cost of chicken!

  34. Megan says:

    Around here chicken is cheap, free in fact if you don’t mind processing it yourself.
    There are people out there who are giving away extra roosters all the time (what you buy at the store is mostly rooster anyway). Also, just yesterday a woman was giving away laying hens who no longer were laying.
    Right now is a prime time for this. If a hen is no longer laying, or a rooster is unnecessary, People don’t want to feed them through the winter.
    No, this isn’t for everyone. But if you have the ability to do this (most hunters know how to process an animal) all it takes is time.
    If you have a problem with it, and think its cruel, then don’t do it.
    But check out youtube for videos of the cramped conditions that factory chickens live in. That is cruel.
    Most of the birds that you would get free or cheap have lived either free ranging outside lives with lots of room, or they were kept in large coops with space and room to socialize and do other chicken-y things. They’ve had better lives that the chicken you buy from the store.
    Something to think about…

  35. Erica says:

    Just a suggestion from another Southern Living at Home recipe…add in a box of already prepared Wild Rice Mix (cooked according to pkg instructions)…or even Aldi’s chicken rice mix (again, prepared) and you can cut your chicken in half….and it’s fabulous! (you may have to cut down on salt due to the seasonings in the mix).

  36. Lina says:

    With prices going up I am trying to avoid any meat to stay to the budget (by the way it works well for my weight loss:), but when I read such recipes I feel my mouth watering… it is unfair!!! every time I try to cut down my expenses, i find something THAT irresistible:)))

  37. Lorie says:

    That’s very similar to one of my favorite recipes. I can be expensive & it’s such a rich dish that I only make it occasionally. But it’s SO yummy! I may have to make it now. It’s been a while.
    Printed from COOKS.COM
    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    container of sour cream
    2 cans of cream of chicken soup
    1 pack of ritz crackers
    poppy seeds
    casserole dish
    Boil chicken breasts until fully done. Mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup together into mixture. Crumble package of crackers into small pieces. Melt half a stick of butter in the microwave.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Chop chicken into large chunks into the casserole dish. Spread sour cream and soup mixuture over chicken, completely covering it. Sprinkle cracker pieces all over the top.
    Pour melted butter evenly over crackers. Sprinkle poppy seeds all over.
    Bake 30 minutes, until crackers are golden brown.

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