It's an oldie but a goodie.

 

When was the last time you had poppy seeds in a casserole? If the answer is never, you’re in for a surprise. This Turkey-Noodle-Poppy Seed Casserole from our November 1990 issue, is an old-school favorite (poppy seed casseroles date way back beyond the ‘90s) that deserves a comeback. Originally created as a way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, this homey casserole tastes just as great with shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken, which makes it ideal for busy weeknights.

Made with hearty egg noodles, diced green bell pepper, a rich Parmesan cream sauce, and a pinch of ground red pepper (we suggest bumping up the heat with a few dashes of Tabasco), this recipe checks off all of our casserole boxes: it’s quick to throw together, ultra comforting, and feeds a crowd. At first glance, it might seem ordinary, like one of the hundreds of casseroles we’ve published over the years. Until you get to the poppy seeds.

This oft-overlooked spice is usually relegated to bagels or lemony quick breads, but it adds an unexpected crunchy texture and subtle nutty flavor to this dish. You’ve also got to admit they look pretty cute. Chances are, you already have a jar of poppy seeds in your spice cabinet that you have only used once or twice. (If that’s the case, give the jar the sniff test before using to make sure it’s still fresh.) Keep them in the recipe to spice up your usual casserole routine and prompt the whole family to say, “Ooh, what’s in that?” Or, if your crew isn’t into unexpected surprises at the dinner table, feel free to omit the poppy seeds. Either way, this dish will be a new favorite.