Time marched on, as it tends to do. Two little boys transformed into two big boys, and they decided that chicken pot pies were not so yummy after all. Perhaps, ahem, I fixed it a little too often....
Back during the "Chicken Popeyes" years, I also created a recipe which Michael and my parents LOVED. Mom and Dad would request it every time they would come to my house for dinner. I prepared a homemade loaf of Italian bread, only I did not bake it as loaf. Instead, I rolled it out, spread a chicken-spinach mixture along the middle, and sliced and braided the edges before baking. Yummy-rific! For some odd reason, I stopped making it, too.
A few months ago, I decided to bring back the braid but I didn't have time to prepare from-scratch bread. However, thinking about the spinach filling brought Popeye to mind which caused me to recall "chicken Popeyes" which made me think-- maybe, just maybe, I could get the boys to eat pot pie again AND eat spinach if I took the braid recipe and tweaked it a bit.
And that my friends is how I came up with this recipe:
8 oz precooked, shredded chicken (great way to use leftovers)
1 pack frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out all the liquid
1/2 can chopped blacked olives
4 oz. shredded pepper jack or mozzarella cheese
2 packages of puff pastry shells
- Preheat oven according to puff pastry package directions.
- Place pastries on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the pastries bake, combine chicken, spinach, and olives. Use a fork to separate the strands of spinach and chicken to get it mixed together well.
- Remove pastries from oven and remove tops. Fill each crevice with some of the chicken-spinach mixture.
- Sprinkle a pinch of cheese shreds over the spinach, replace the pastry tops, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. I highly recommend the pepper jack!
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Fruit salad makes a great side.
|Bake the pastries.|
|Mix spinach, chicken & olives.|
|Fill the mostly-baked puffs.|
|Sprinkle with cheese, close, and bake for 5 more minutes.|
|Serve fresh from the oven!|
You could also include mushrooms, chopped onions, or any thing you like with spinach! If you want to make the braided version, roll your bread dough out to the length of a typical cookie sheet. It should be about twice as wide as the baking sheet. You will need about twice as much filling and cheese as in the Popeyes recipe. Spread it along the center of the dough, leaving about an inch of uncovered dough at the top and bottom and 2-3 inches on each side. Using a pizza cutter, slice the sides horizontally into half-3/4" strips that stop just before the filling. Pull the top left strip over the filling and then the top right. Continue to alternate sides until all the strips are "braided" over the filling. Tuck in the top and bottom excess, brush with egg whites, and bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown.