I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and Velveeta. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own, and based on my personal experience with the product. The recipe is my own original creation. #cbias #SocialFabric #VelveetaRecipes
It’s been one of those crazy weeks, at out house, that no one can ever really be prepared for. Last Friday night my mother was taken to the hospital in her hometown and then transferred to the hospital in the city, about 35 miles from us, on Saturday morning. Over the course of the week, she has had several surgeries and given us a scare or two, but God in His sovereign power protected her and guided and comforted us, as events played out. Through several miraculous interventions He provided the correct doctors, the correct diagnosis of conditions that had previously gone unnoticed and the skilled care to correct all the issues. Her husband, my brothers and sisters, and I have been overwhelmed with the blessings packed down and overflowing into our lives, and yet, for most of us, it has meant spending many tense and exhausting days and nights, away from our families. On Thursday evening, things were calm enough that I decided I could spend a night at home and just drive back in the morning. I was looking forward to a quiet evening of “normal” and wanted to cook something delicious, that my family would enjoy. As it turned out, I was so exhausted when I got home that night, that I fell fast asleep on the couch and no one had the heart to wake me. 🙂 They tossed a blanket over the top of me and just let me rest.
I woke, the next morning, rested and energized and prepared a tasty lunch for my crew, before I headed back to the hospital. Since I had already been challenged to create a new recipe using Velveeta, I decided now was the time to get creative and make something special. I found several different varieties of the 2 lb loaves, when I shopped, but when I saw the Sharp Cheddar, I knew it was definitely the one for my hungry bunch. Check out my Google album to see the other varieties, and the rest of my shop. My new recipe was a fabulous success and was requested to be kept in our family’s regular meal rotation. I hope you enjoy this simple dish as much as we did!
- 2 cans (8 count) crescent roll dough
- 2 - 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 20 - 25 stalks fresh asparagus, diced
- ⅓ cup onion, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup basil pesto
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2" to 3" chunk of Sharp Cheddar Velveeta (about ½ cup) from a 2 lb. loaf
- Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Unroll both rolls of crescent dough, seal perforations and shape into a 10 x 14 rectangle. (I just rolled it all in a ball and rolled it out with a rolling pin. : ) ( Also, I know my picture, shows 3 cans, but as with all recipe creation, it is somewhat trial and error, in the beginning, and I wasn't sure how much dough I would want. Two cans was, actually, perfect!)
- Place the dough rectangle onto the foil covered sheet.
- Mix the cream cheese, pesto and butter in a small bowl, until thoroughly blended.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture in a thin layer over your rolled out crescent dough rectangle. (I cut the braid strips before spreading mine, but it will be much easier next time to spread it first.)
- Once the dough is evenly covered with the pesto cream cheese mixture, cut ¾" slices down the length of each side of the rectangle, about ⅓ of the way in, toward the center. The unsliced, center ⅓ will be where you place the filling for your braid.
- Dice the chicken, pepper, onions and asparagus and add to a large bowl.
- Mix the diced chicken, asparagus, onions and pepper to get an even distribution of the ingredients.
- Scoop the chicken and asparagus mixture into a long hill down the unsliced center of the dough.
- Cut your 2-3 inch piece of Velveeta into thin slices. Because the cheese is so soft and perfect for melting, it will not make beautiful thin slices, but you can press out any parts that seem too thick. Drape them over the top of the chicken filling, until the entire length of the filling is covered in a thin layer of cheese. It won't be beautiful at this point, but just wait! As it bakes, the cheese will create a melty, gooey, liquid gold sauce for your chicken and veggie filling as it mingles with the cream cheese and pesto!
- Begin your braid by folding the end slices up and across, overlapping them, and sealing them tightly, to hold the filling in. Once you've dont this at both ends, you can start your "braid".
- Bring a cut strip, from one side of your braid, up and across the filling, stretching it to reach the center. Grab the corresponding strip on the opposite side and stretch it to just overlap the first. Then go back to the first side and repeat the process until the entire "loaf" has been braided.
- You will have some open spaces between the strips your braid, and that's good! Those vents will allow steam from your fresh veggies to escape and prevent the bread from being soggy, as it bakes.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before slicing.
- I served our Pesto Chicken and Asparagus Braid with thick, sliced tomatoes and Asian Coleslaw. It was an excellent combination and a truly delicious meal!
What’s your favorite recipe to use Velveeta? Do you stick with the original or have you tried the other delicious varieties like Queso Blanco, 2% Milk, Sharp Cheddar, and Mexican Mild? Find out more about them on Velveeta’s Facebook page!