Nothing, but nothing can beat hand-held comfort food when it is made at home with love. You can use homemade dough, or grab a shortcut and take advantage of frozen roll dough to wrap around a flavorful Chicken Parmesan inspired filling of chicken cooked and shredded in a fragrant sun-dried tomato sauce with a generous amount of Cabot Alpine Cheddar mixed into it. It’s baked to tender perfection for a finger-food that is second to none. Serve these upscale versions of the commercially available frozen convenience food with a salad and you’ve got a dinner calculated to soothe the soul AND body.
1½ to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1½ cup prepared marinara sauce (1 cup for recipe, and ½ cup for serving)
½ cup sundried tomato spread or tomato paste with herbs and garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 ounces Cabot Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar Cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
18 frozen roll dough rounds thawed according to package instructions, or 1½ pounds of bread dough, divided into 18 equally sized pieces.
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water until frothy
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ADD chicken, marinara sauce, sundried tomato spread or tomato paste, kosher salt, and garlic to an instant pot or slow-cooker. If using the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then release the pressure quickly, or cook in a slow-cooker on HIGH for 3 hours, or until chicken falls apart easily with a fork.
USE 2 forks to shred the chicken in the cooking sauces. Stir in the Alpine Cheddar and ¼ cup of the grated parmesan until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator.
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
ROLL out one piece of dough at a time on a well-floured surface into an approximately 5-inch circle. Scoop about 3 tablespoons to ¼ cup of the cooled chicken filling to the right of the center of the round. Fold the left side over the filling and crimp the dough shut. Take care not to let the chicken stick out. Arrange on the prepared sheet pan, leaving at least 3-inches between them to allow for expansion as they bake. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces and chicken filling.
BRUSH the dough pockets with the beaten egg. Bake for 16 minutes, removing the pan from the oven and sprinkling with the remaining grated parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 10-14 minutes, or until the pockets are a deep brown.
Note: You may find that sometimes you have particularly ‘juicy’ filling and the bottoms of the hot pockets are a little wet after baking. To fix this issue, line another half sheet pan with fresh parchment, transfer the hot pockets onto the clean parchment upside down, and return to the oven for 4 minutes. Transfer right side up to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining ½ cup of marinara.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Rebecca Lindamood.
Amazing food. You got to try it out!!