Poppy seed chicken is a recipe my aunt brought back with her from her time in Alabama.

chickenI am sure it was a Southern dish to begin with, probably born in the kitchen of a mother who needed to cook for a household of growing kids.

This hearty meal is best suited for the winter months, but it also makes for a quick leftover lunch in small portions.

As a bonus, if your kids don’t like green veggies, it’s easy to sneak a can of peas or green beans into this casserole.

To begin, cook four to six chicken breasts. You can boil or bake them, but season them only with salt and pepper.

Also, boil one package of wide egg noodles to al dente — the noodles will finish cooking in the oven.

While this is cooking, smash three packages of Ritz crackers into small crumbs.

Melt half a stick of butter in a pan and fry the crumbs with 1 1/4 ounces poppy seed.

You can adjust the amount of poppy seed for your individual taste.

Set the Ritz cracker mixture aside.

When the chicken and noodles are done, shred the chicken into small bite-sized pieces and combine them with the noodles.

Add to this mixture a 12-ounce container of sour cream and three cans of cream-of-chicken soup.

If you want to add vegetables, do so at this point and stir them in until well mixed.

Transfer the entire mixture into a baking dish and top with the Ritz cracker crumbs.

Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

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