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Monday, January 25, 2016

Vege-Chicken Broccoli Braid

Vege-Chicken Broccoli Braid fresh out of the oven.

Sheila and I learned this dish from the second greatest potluck hosters in the world after Adventists - the Lutherans.  We worked for several years running a Lutheran intergenerational day care center and were invited to some really nice potlucks with these lovely people. They introduced us to some very interesting Nordic and Teutonic dishes over the years and the Chicken Broccoli Braid was one of our favorites.  Here's Sheila's vegetarian version of the vege-chicken broccoli braid.

  •  2 cans of Loma Linda Chik'n Chunks, Loma Linda Fried Chik'n, Worthington Diced Chik, Worthington Fri-Chik diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or finely diced Velveeta
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 8 oz. tubes of refrigerated crescent roll dough
  1. In a mixing bowl stir together diced vege-chicken, chopped broccoli, chopped peppers, garlic powder and cheese.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup mayo, dill weed, salt and onions. Set chicken/broccoli mixture aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°
  4. On a baking sheet or baking stone, lay out the dough as shown in the photo below. This arrangement uses 1/2 of the chicken/broccoli mixture and one tube of crescent roll dough.  By adding the second tube laid out on a longer baking sheet and using all the mixture you can make one big broccoli braid.
  5. Spread the vege-chicken/broccoli/cheese mixture down the length of the dough as shown and fold the triangles over the mixture as shown in the series of pictures below and press the edges together.
  6. Bake until brown on top and bubbling a bit. To get a crispy brown top, brush the top with butter or olive oil just before the top turns brown (optional), then bake until golden brown.
Serving Suggestions:

Serve piping hot on a long serving tray or wooded cutting board with a sharp knife. Cut the braid into slices or let everyone slice it themselves. This thing is amazingly delicious. You will utterly impress everyone with this beautiful potluck dish. Of course, people will expect you to bring it to all the potlucks. And that's not a bad thing. You can make it on Friday, wrap it up in plastic wrap and reheat it in the morning before church. 

© 2016 by Tom King

 Lay out the dough like so.
Add the chicken/broccoli mixture down the center.
Fold the "wings" over the dough mixture
Fold to the bottom and press the edges together
Ready for the oven!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Vege-Chicken Pot Pies

Homemade Vege-Chicken Pot Pie

I'm kind of a fan of those little pot pies, so I decided to see if I could figure out how to make a vegetarian version. Turns out I could and they are pretty tasty if I do say so myself. The ingredients are pretty simple and prep isn't bad either. You'll just need a lot of large muffin pans.  Here's how it works:


Pie Crust
    1 cup                                All-purpose white flour
    1/2  tsp                             Salt
    1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp           Shortening
    2 to 3 tablespoons            Cold water
    1 can                                Canola Spray

    1/8 cup                            White flour
    2 tbsp                               Oil
    1/4 cup                             Milk
    2 tbsp                               McKay's Chicken Seasoning
    1 pkg                                Frozen Mixed Vegetables
    1 tbsp                               Cajun or New Orleans Style seasoning
    1 can (diced)                    Loma Linda Chik'n Chunks, Loma Linda
                                             Fried Chik'n, Worthington Diced Chik,
                                             Worthington FriChik

  1. Make up the pie crust. I use my trusty Kitchen-Aid to cut together the ingredients. Cut it all together, adding the water last till it's forms little balls somewhere between b-b's and small marbles. Then press it all together into a dough ball, then roll it our thin to make the pie crusts.I made a double batch. You might even have to triple it.
  2. In a large skillet add oil and heat on medium.  Once it's hot, sprinkle in a couple of spoons of flour and stir it in. Add a little flour at a time until it begins to thicken. Then slowly add milk and seasoning and then put in water as the mixture thickens. 
  3. Pour mixed vegetables and diced canned vege-chicken into the sauce mixture. Heat until it bubbles and everything is thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375ยบ.
  5.  Spray the muffin pans with canola oil. 
  6.  Find a glass about as big around as the bottom of the muffin compartments. Cut little disks from the pie dough and place them in the bottom of each muffin compartment. Then cut strips as wide as the depth of the muffin compartments and wrapped them around the inside of the compartment.  Press the dough together at the bottom edge to make a little dough cup.
  7. Fill each cup with chicken and vegetable filling. 
  8. Find a larger glass or biscuit cutter that's larger than top of the muffin compartment.  Cut pie dough into disks and lay them atop the muffin compartments.  Pinch the edges of the sides together with the top to make a mini-pie.  With a very sharp knife, cut 3 small slits in the pie covers to vent as the pies bake. 
  9. Bake on a baking sheet until crust begins to brown around the edges. 
Serving Suggestion:

Hot from the oven after I swiped two of them....
I serve them in a bowl as the insides can be a bit juicy. It's kind of difficult to get them out of the muffin tins intact, but as you can see in the picture at the top, it can be done. With the mixed veges it makes a pretty complete meal all by itself. If you plan to take pictures for your foody website, have your camera handy when you pull it out of the oven or by the time you get back from fishing your trusty digital out of your camera bag, you may have a rather incomplete picture. This time, I'm afraid it was me that raided the pot pies. I'm sorry but I was very hungry. Anyway, you get the idea of what they looked like. The spray oil keeps them relatively loose in the tins. I slipped a table knife around the edges and the lifted them out with two tablespoons. The last two (which came out intact and one of which is pictured above), I removed by placing a plate upside down over the tin, holding the tin and plate together and then flipping them over so they came out upside down onto the plate. I gingerly turned the pies over with a spatula and took a picture of one for evidence for the blog (see above).

You could easily make up a bunch of these for a potluck and take them arranged nicely on a plate. I'd probably cook them in cupcake papers, though, just to make sure they hold together.

© 2016 - Tom King
(photos by me)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Easy Vege-Chicken & Mac Casserole

Here's another vege-chicken casserole you can throw together from miscellaneous stuff you have in your cabinet. I added a box of spiral twist mac & cheese and a cup of fusilli or corkscrew pasta and onions and mushrooms. It can be made up and then baked at the church or baked ahead of time and heated in the microwave. As with most casseroles, it actually tastes a little better after it sits overnight in the fridge. There are several options you can try if you are missing an ingredient or have something extra you might want to pitch in. The recipe's flexible.

  • 1 can Loma Linda Chik'n Chunks, Worthington Fri-Chik, Worthington Diced Chik, Loma Linda Fried Chik'n
  • 1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
  • 1 box spiral mac and cheese (or any variety mac & cheese kit)
  • 1 cup fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (to prepare mac & cheese mix)
  • 1/4 cup milk (to prepare mac & cheese mix)
  • 1 tbsp Tony's Cajun seasoning or New Orleans Style seasoning
  • 1/2 onion chopped and/or green pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs, crushed tortilla chips or crackers
  • Sliced or chopped olives

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Boil water and add macaroni from mac & cheese box and a cup of fusilli (twisted) pasta 
  3. In a small frying panSautee the onions, mushrooms and other veggies lightly, then add diced vege-chicken and cook thoroughly. Once cooked, drain off excess fluid
  4. Mixed up macaroni, butter, milk and cheese sauce mix from mac & cheese kit in a bowl.
  5. Fold in the onion/mushroom/vegechicken mix.
  6. Add can of mushroom or celery soup and stir into the mix.
  7. Spread mixture over the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  8. Cover the top of the mixture with bread crumbs, crushed tortilla chips or crackers
  9. Top with diced or sliced olives
  10. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Serving Suggestion:

This is another one that's easy to make on Friday and take to potluck on Sabbath. Proportions of ingredients are not critical and since you already cook all the ingredients before putting it in the casserole, you don't have to worry about it being done. It reheats really well Cover it with aluminum foil for storage and transport. For the sample dish I used seasoned bread crumbs, but you can also use unseasoned ones and adjust the seasoning to taste. It's easy to prepare and hard to mess up.

© 2016 by Tom King