{entertaining with style} A Favorite Recipe Modified for Entertaining

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm mixing things up on the blog today and doing something I've never done before. I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes which I have modified to make it perfect for entertaining. I served this at a baby shower just this last weekend and received a lot of requests for the recipe. So here you are, ladies!

Years ago, while flipping through a Pampered Chef cookbook, I came across a recipe that I just had to try. It includes a handful of my favorite ingredients, including chicken, broccoli, cheese, and garlic, but in reality, the recipe had me at "crescent rolls." Please tell me I am not the only one who thinks they must put crack in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls because they are so darn addictive? Anyone? Well, anyway, I LOVE them so I had to try making the Chicken Broccoli Bread Braid! It was every bit as good as I hoped, and it quickly became one of my go-to meals! Over time I've made a few minor tweaks to the recipe. Then about a year ago I made one big change, or should I say one small change - I realized this would be perfect for serving at parties if made in individual serving sizes.

The original recipe uses two cans of refrigerated crescent rolls (I like the Pillsbury the best, but other brands work just fine). The crescent rolls (unseparated) are laid out on a cookie sheet, creating one large rectangle (pressed together to seal the perforations down the center). The filling is placed in the middle, and the outter corners of the crescent rolls are wrapped up over the filling to create a long thin bread braid that is served in approximately 2 inch slices. I've never taken a photo when I've prepared it in this traditional way, but here's a photo from AllRecipes.com.

Photo from AllRecipes.com
The change I made to the recipe is not Earth-shattering by any means, but it's perfect for serving large groups, and it always gets rave reviews, so that's a winner in my book. Rather than creating one long, braided crust around all of the filling, I simply make the same filling and wrap up individual crescent rolls to create single serving sized "pockets."

So let's start with the basic recipe:

1 cup chopped broccoli florets
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (or 2 large cans of canned white meat chicken)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed (or more for garlic lovers, like me)
2 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp salt
2 pkgs refrigerated crescent roll dough (8 per pkg)

With this recipe, you can make either one long braid or 16 individual serving pockets. However, when I prepare this for entertaining, I typically end up making two dozen pockets, requiring that I buy one more can of crescent rolls and make one and half times as much of the "filling." So to spare you the math, here's the modified recipe that makes 24 single servings.

1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (or 3 large cans of canned white meat chicken)
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic clove, pressed (or more for garlic lovers, like me)
3 tsp dried dill weed
1/3 tsp salt
3 pkgs refrigerated crescent roll dough (8 per pkg)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and cover two cookie sheets in foil (my preferred method for quick, easy cleanup). Combine all of the ingredients in one large bowl. Open the cans of crescent rolls and separate the dough into the individual triangles. Start with one triangle, stretching it gently to make the triangle larger without tearing the dough.  Lay the dough triangle on the cookie sheet and place a heaping spoonful of the filling in the widest part of the triangle. While there is no right way to wrap it up from here, I have come up with my own preferred method that minimizes the amount of filling spillage. Since a picture is always worth a thousand words, let me show you how I wrap them rather than describing it.

After you wrap the crescent roll around your chicken filling, tuck the loose triangle point under the sandwich pocket.  Finally, press down gently on the top of the pocket with your palm to make it just a bit flatter and wider, and, if necessary, pinch the dough together a bit at the openings to prevent any filling from spilling out.

Now your Chicken Broccoli Sandwich Pockets are ready to be baked. I cook mine for between 12-15 minutes, but keep in mind that I live in the Mile High City, so cooking times may vary at lower altitudes. Remove from the oven when the crescent rolls are golden brown.  If you decide to instead prepare the traditional braided version of this recipe (rather than the individual servings), it will need longer to cook (between 25-28 minutes).

These reheat very well, so leftovers make a wonderful lunch for the next day. In fact, next time I make them I plan to cook extra for this very purpose. I've even thought about making extra and freezing them later - but I haven't tried that yet, so if I do, I'll let you know how it goes.  These Chicken Broccoli Sandwich Pockets are always a big hit, and they are popular among adults and kids alike! Bon appetit!

Are you looking for more entertaining ideas? You might be interested in these posts!

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