Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chicken Crescent Squares

When I was a kid, Saturday night dinners in our house were always fun, quick, kid-friendly food events. Stuff that you would brag about to your friends who were stuck eating boring, home-cooked foods, just to make them jealous. Hot dogs, burgers, sloppy joes, tacos, or the almighty Swanson TV dinner (pizza was the Friday night staple). I still remember the first time my mom raised the bar and bought me a Hungry Man-sized TV dinner. It was a proud moment, one that was only equaled at the time by my first bike ride sans training wheels, or being allowed to stay out past 8:30. I wasn't just a young man…I was a HUNGRY young man!

In the past years, frozen entrees have taken on a whole new life: hot pockets, lean cuisines, bagel bites, frozen paninis…it's as if the frozen food aisle is endless.

Well, thanks to this recipe, our trips to the frozen food aisle have been slashed. It's a fun recipe that is easy to make, and is not only a quick meal solution, but also works well as an appetizer for dinner parties. Below is the original version, followed by a couple of variations that I have tried. Feel free to add your own mixture or favorite hot pocket filling!

1 (3 oz) package light cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast (I suggest the Perdue pre-cooked strips)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped pimento
1 (8 oz) can crescent rolls
¾ cups seasoned bread crumbs, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. In a bowl, blend cream cheese and 1-1/2 tablespoons melted butter. Add the chicken, salt, pepper, chives and pimento. Mix well. Separate the crescent rolls. Pull and flatten slightly. Spoon ¼ cup mixture into center of each. Pull cornets to top center and twist slightly. Seal edges. Brush tops with remaining butter, dip into crushed crumbs and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes.

Alternate fillings:

3 oz cheddar cheese spread (I use WisPride Sharp Cheddar), softened
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted
(omit chives and pimentos, season w/ salt & pepper to taste)

3 oz cheddar cheese spread, softened
2 cups cooked ham, sliced into small pieces
(omit chives and pimentos, season w/ salt & pepper to taste)

1 (3 oz) package light cream cheese, softened
2 small cans crab meat
¼ cup slivered almonds
(omit chives and pimentos, season w/ salt & pepper to taste)

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