I’ve visited 26 of the 50 states.  Since that’s a majority, it makes me an expert on the American people.  I can easily say that the nicest people in this fine country are in Minnesota, hence the well-deserved nickname “Minnesota Nice”. I had quite a fun time visiting friends in Minnesota years ago and kept asking them when we were going to eat some hot dish.  I had no idea what hot dish was, I just heard it was what people in Minnesota ate, kinda like pineapples in Hawaii or salmon in Alaska. Sadly (or maybe not so sadly), my friends’ thought too highly of me to feed me hot dish.  After reading Wikipedia’s description of it, you can see why.  But, as I started to make this casserole the other night, it dawned on me – this is hot dish! And it is darn right delicious! My Fiance was ready to pack up and move to Minnesota after just a few bites (okay maybe that’s an exagerration, no cuisine could convince us to trade in our 70 degree San Diego winters).  But, this really is very good. It’s not exactly a low-fat dish, but it has broccoli in it so it can’t be that bad right? Go make it now and after you’re done eating, plan a trip to Minnesota so you too can meet the nicest people in the U.S!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, chopped and steamed for 2 minutes
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Ritz (or similar) Crackers
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, divided
  • 1 TB poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Cups Milk

Directions:

1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees. Spran a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Spread the cooked chicken in an even layer in the baking dish and top with an even layer of the steamed broccoli.

3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/3 cups of the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce begins to simmer and thickens. Turn the heat down to low, and add 1- 1/2 cups of the grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.

4. Pour the cheese sauce over the chicken and broccoli. Top with the remaining 1- 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining melted butter and ad poppy seeds, Crush the Ritz crackers in large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add the cracker crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.

6. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly.

ENJOY!

Source: Adapted from Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake

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