Easy Weeknight Meal: The Chicken Braid
Pin now, read later!
No, just make this right now. Thank me later.
I don't remember when or where or how the chicken braid was introduced to my life--and I don't care. All I know is that on nights when I need something delicious and simple that uses ingredients I more than likely have on hand, Jordan and I look at each other and know we're both thinking the same thing: chicken braid (also known in the Bumgarner household as the "chicken & broccoli braid"). I got my mom hooked on the chicken braid as well. That's how you know it really is good.
My favorite things about this recipe is that the more you cook it, the easier it gets. I don't even measure out anything anymore. It's all about eyeballing. I have an ingredient list below, but the options of what you can do with this are endless.
For example: sometimes I don't have any onion, so I leave that out. Sometimes I only have a red pepper or a green or even no pepper at all. No garlic? No problem! The picture above was when I made it most recently, and we were all out of dill. That didn't stop me. Each time I make this it tastes slightly different. A friend of mine adds chopped nuts to hers and uses turkey instead of chicken. You could leave out the broccoli if you don't like it and use cranberries. It's up to you!
Here's what we normally use:
2 cups cooked chicken (frozen chicken strips or 2 fresh chicken breasts)
1 cup cooked broccoli
1/2-1 cup green or red pepper
1/2 cup onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayo **don't let this freak you out. Jordan hates mayo, but he loves the braid
2 teaspoons dill
2 (8oz) crescent roll packages (or 1 large & flaky crescent roll package)
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Start by chopping the veggies and chicken. You can chop it as small or large as you want.
3. Combine the chicken, broccoli, pepper, garlic, and cheese in a large bowl.
4. Fold in the mayo, dill, and salt.
At this point you can decide if you want more or less mayo, cheese, etc. The more cheese, the cheesier it will be (obviously). The mayo will combine with the cheese to create a kind of sauce, but be careful not to add too much mayo or it won't be cheesy enough. If you want more chicken, more pepper, now is the time to add it.
5. On a large bar pan or cookie sheet, unroll 1 crescent roll. DO NOT separate the dough. Instead, push together all the edges so you have one large, rectangular dough area.
6. Using a knife or kitchen scissors, cut both sides of the dough on each side of the rectangle, approximately 1.5 inches apart. You want the cuts to be directly across from each other, so if you make 6 on one side, make 6 on the other. Here's a really terrible picture of what I mean:
7. Spread the filling evenly down the middle.
8. Take the opposite pieces of dough and twist together on top of the filling, forming a braid down the center. Seal the ends of the braid. It doesn't have to be perfect. The point is just to get a seal around the filling so it doesn't spill out everywhere.
9. Repeat with the second crescent roll.
**optional: brush the top of the crescent with whipped egg white and sprinkle with almonds** (we rarely do that part because I'm lazy and also because I hate almonds)
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
This usually makes enough for Jordan and I to both eat our fill for dinner and have an entire braid leftover for dinner or lunch the next day. The more fillings you add (chicken, pepper, whathaveyou), the larger the braid will be.
And there you have it! It's seriously so good and has become a go-to meal that's easy enough to change up depending on your own food preferences. Plus, it's pretty good for you if you get light mayo and fat-free crescent rolls.