According to my advanced scientific polls, I’m assuming that about 28% of you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “Chicken Pillows, baby!” and the other 72% have no earthly idea what a chicken pillow is. Am I right or am I right?
Regardless of the stats, I’m encouraging whatever percentage of you that have not come into contact with chicken pillows to do so immediately. In short, tender, cooked chicken is mixed together with cream cheese and simple seasonings and dolloped in the center of buttery crescent dough, coated in crunchy, buttery deliciousness and baked. Then, THEN!, they are smothered in a delicious, creamy sauce.
Recipes for these pillows abound and nearly 99% (see? I’m all about stats) of the recipes already out there are comprised of tubed crescent roll dough and cream of chicken soup sauce. I’ve nothing against those two ingredients (cream of chicken soup lovers, please do not send me hate mail!) except for the fact that a) I don’t keep them on hand and b) I had a gut feeling these little beauties would taste 100% better with homemade components (just like my Hawaiian Haystack experiment among other things).
I have to say that although making my own buttery crescent roll dough made the process approximately 33% longer than using tubed crescent dough, they were one-million-percent tastier – so much so that we were even snatching them cold, out of the refrigerator, for the next couple of days as little snacks here and there. Honestly, delicious. And talk about kid-friendly! My kids loved these so much they slathered me with about 76% more hugs and kisses than normal because I made them. I’ll take that.
(Please note that the percentages contained in this post may or may not be 100% accurate.)
Steamed vegetable or this Fresh Green Bean Salad
Note: read through the recipe completely before making these as there are a couple of advance steps (cooking the chicken, making the rolls). Much of it can be done in advance. I often make the filling a day or so ahead of time. Lately when I've made them, I've used a bit less dough for each little pillow; I weighed it tonight and it's about 2 ounces of dough flattened. Doing that, I got about 28 per batch - which means I can freeze half for another meal.
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 – 3 pounds)
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 batch buttery crescent rolls
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 chicken bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup sour cream, light or regular
- To begin, cook the chicken (or use already cooked, shredded chicken). My preferred method is to put the chicken breasts in 2 cups chicken broth seasoned with salt and pepper in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. When the chicken is cooked and cooled slightly, shred or cut into small pieces. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, cream cheese, garlic powder and salt and mix until well combined. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the buttery crescent rolls according to the recipe but after the first rise, deflate the dough and separate into two pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 13X20-inch rectangle and cut each rectangle into 12 pieces (cutting lengthwise in half and then each half into six pieces). One by one, flatten each dough piece slightly and spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken/cream cheese mixture into the center. Fold up all the sides and pinch them together to seal well.
- When all the chicken pillows have been formed, combine the panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl or flat dish (like a pie plate). One by one, dip each chicken pillow in the melted butter and roll in the panko/Parmesan mixture. Place seam side down about 2 inches apart on baking trays lined with parchment paper, a silpat liner or lightly greased.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, until the chicken pillows are lightly golden brown and the dough is baked through.
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, cooking over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden and bubbly. Slowly whisk in the milk, stirring in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper once the milk has been completely added. Stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce thickens and bubbles, about 5-10 minutes, taking care to adjust the heat accordingly so the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Thin the sauce with a little milk if needed.
- Serve the rolls warm from the oven with Parmesan cream sauce drizzled over the top.
Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe