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I am a retired nurse and currently enjoying being a stay-at-home Mom and Wife.  I am the blessed mother of two and the proud grandmother of two. Cooking for me has always been a Love/Hate relationship.  I used to HATE to cook and anything to do with the kitchen yet I LOVED to eat good food.  A few years ago I got hooked on the Food Network channel.  The only thing that was wrong with that was, that I'd see all this amazing food and I can't cook like that.  My repertoire consisted of stuff like Sloppy Joe's and Hamburger Helper.  Well, one day, I had a crazy moment and decided I'd try one of the easy recipes from that Southern Queen of the kitchen, Paula Deen.  Now, to be honest, my first few forays into the unexplored territory of completely homemade recipes didn't always turn out as planned but most of them tasted pretty good.  As time went on, I got a little braver and started tweaking recipes to make them my own.  Sometimes they turned out beautifully and well, sometimes they didn't.  Sometimes I just had to shake my head and laugh...it was either that or cry (as a nurse, I can attest to the fact that laughter is the best medicine.)  Anyway, my Momma didn't raise a quitter so I keep trying and I even amaze myself sometimes when whatever I've cooked comes out amazing (like my Skillet Apple Pie).  Since my kitchen is not like the Food Network where you can have multiple "do overs" (and yours probably isn't either) I decided to share the fun on this blog.  I hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me, in the beauties that turn out, the blunders that don't and the bloopers that are just funny.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Cheesy Chicken Braid

Do you ever have a time where you want to impress people with your culinary skills but are either too tired or (in my case) just feeling too lazy to make a big mess in the kitchen?  If so, this recipe is for you.  It never fails to impress and it tastes amazing, and the best part.....it's EASY!  I love recipes that make me look like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen and this is one of them.  **For shortcut tip, see below.  Hope you enjoy this recipe and enjoy being awesome in the kitchen!
Easy Cheesy Chicken Braid
Serves:  8-10
1              cup (250 mL) chopped broccoli florets defrosted                       
2              cups (500 mL) shredded cooked chicken breasts
1/2          cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
1              cup (250 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2          cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1              tsp garlic powder
1/4          tsp (1 mL) salt
2              pkg (8 oz or 235 g) refrigerated crescent dough

Smaller Version - Serves:  4-5
1/2          cup (250 mL) chopped broccoli florets defrosted                       
1              cup (500 mL) shredded cooked chicken breasts
1/4          cup (125 mL) diced red bell pepper
1/2          cup (250 mL) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4          cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1/2          tsp garlic powder
1/8          tsp (1 mL) salt
1              pkg (8 oz or 235 g) refrigerated crescent dough

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Combine broccoli, chicken, bell pepper, cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder and salt in bowl and mix well.
Unroll one package of the crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of Baking sheet.   Repeat with remaining package of dough.  Pinch seams together to seal perforations.  Spread filling evenly down the middle of dough (long ways).  On longest sides of dough, cut dough into strips.  To braid, lift dough strips across filling to meet in center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Bake 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 1 - Mix ingredients together
in bowl
Step 2 - Unroll crescents and
 pinch seams together
Step 3 - Place mixture down middle of dough and cut strips on sides

Step 4 - Sprinkle shredded cheese over top of mixture

Step 5 -  Bring ends together, pinch and flip over
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes until golden brown
 **Shortcut Tip:  This recipe can also be made using Rotisserie Chicken that you buy from the grocery store.  Another one of my shortcuts is that I boil chicken breasts and shred them up into quart size ziploc bags (equals about 1 1/2 - 2 cups) and then freeze them.  It makes casseroles even easier.  I also do this with ground beef/ground chuck.  I brown about 10 pounds at a time, divide it into 1 lb bags and freeze them.  Makes life so much easier when you want to make Sloppy Joes, Spaghetti, Chili, etc.  Anything that requires cooked hamburger, just pull a bag out of the freezer, defrost and you're ready to go.