Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicken Braid Extraordinaire

 
 
The Chicken braid is one of the easiest "go to meals" in my house. Its one of those meals that you can literally make out of anything you have in your refrigerator. I usually make mine using chicken, but I have used beef, steak and have even made a veggie version for the nights we pretended to be vegetarians.
 
 
 
The picture above is the Easy Way. But by all means, feel free to do it the SHW if you so desire (and the SHW is making your own dough).
 
Ingredients for this particular braid:
 
  • 2 cans of crescent rolls (Any kind works, but the Butter Flavor is particularly tasty!)
  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked and either chopped or shredded
  • 1c. shredded motz cheese or cheddar (or whatever you have in your fridge - you can even use sliced)
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic (I cook mine in with the chicken)
  • 1 bag of double washed spinach (I keep mine raw and just mix it in before filling - the hot cooked chicken will be enough to wilt it down and it will be cooked additionally in the oven)
  • 1 microwaved bag of broccoli florets
  • 1/4c. mayo (or you could ranch if you wanted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I usually throw in 1 or 2 other seasonings - whatever I happen to reach first in my spice cabinet)
 
Optional fillers and tasty additions:
  • Broccoli
  • onion
  • sausage
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • Bacon (cause, everyone loves bacon!)
  • Cranberries
  • almonds
  • asparagus (Make sure this is fully cooked and soft before chopping and using)
 
  • Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees (this is my usual go-to temperature). While heating, cook chicken breast with your garlic until pieces are JUST cooked and no longer pink.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, spinach, mayo and cheese until everything comes together. Set aside.
  • Open your cans of crescent rolls and "unroll" the pieces. Place the long flat end (the bottom of the triangle) on a lightly greased tray with the point going to the side. With your next piece, place it slightly overlapping the long side of the previous piece, so that the point is facing in the other direction.
  • Do the same thing directly below, slightly overlapping the upper piece. Do this with all the pieces of crescent roll dough.
  • Press gently down the middle, slightly flattening the dough (this is where your yummy filling is going), so that when baked, the braid wont fall apart when you cut it.
  • Scoop the filling and put it along the center of the dough, trying to keep stray pieces from falling onto the pan.
  • Starting at the top, begin "braiding" the tail ends of the dough, cris-crossing or twisting the dough and pressing it lightly into the other side. I find that slightly folding the top up and over before starting the braid, helps keep in some of the filling.
  • Continue braiding all the way down, tucking the end in.
  • Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until the crescent rolls puff and get golden brown.
  • Pull out, let cool for a few minutes and cut and serve. I usually pair my braid with a past salad, green salad or whatever vegetable I have on hand.
 
 
 
You can also make this a breakfast braid, by scrambling up some eggs, adding in some onions and peppers, sausage etc and do the same way. Try it with the Honey flavored rolls - gives it a nice sweet and savory combo!!