I’m having a seriously difficult time believing that my Christmas break is almost over. What?
It’s true. Tomorrow I’m driving back to Philly and it’s back to work (yes, on NYE) for this girl Monday. Oh yeah, back to reality it is.
You see when I’m at home, I live with absolutely no sense of reality. For example, I pack a giant suitcase full of clothes but then I just rotate 3 pairs of pants all week long: baggy sweatpants, yoga pants, and a pair of grey leggings (for when I need to look presentable). I eat at all times of the day, even though I’m not hungry. I play a game called home many days can I go without washing my hair. I like to enjoy cocktail hour (every day) insisting that we all need a little more “holiday spirit.” I spend hours and hours on end lounging by the fire and watching reruns of “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.” We had about a foot and a half of lake effect snow dumped on my town so I also took a lot of iPhone photos out the window and annoyingly texted them to all my friends. And this Christmas… Oh this Christmas… This Christmas I elevated the I’m-at-home-and-can-be-as-weird-as-I-want attitude to a whole new level and took to dragging the mattress from my parent’s spare bedroom, to their living room, so I could sleep by the Christmas tree every night. That might qualify me as having the maturity level of a 9 year old. Seriously, you can’t make that stuff up.
Speaking of home and 9 year olds (very loose connection here so bare with me), my mom used to make my brother and I Hot Pockets for afternoon snacks when we were in grade school. I used to love them. Especially the chicken cordon bleu flavor. This year I decided to take that old after school snack and give it a grown up twist so I could serve it as an appetizer at Christmas parties. It turned out to be the perfect party food because it can be assembled ahead of time and popped in the oven when guests arrive. The gooey filling and the crispy crust make this an excellent finger food that your friends will love. I think the dijon mustard gives it the extra kick of flavor it needs, but if you aren’t a dijon fan, try honey mustard instead.
- 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed
- 1 cup pre-cooked chicken
- 1/4 lb sliced deli ham
- 1/4 lb sliced swiss cheese
- 2 Tbs dijon mustard
- 1 egg white
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Once the puff pastry has thawed completely, lay the 2 sheets out on the counter and gently use a rolling pin to thin them out a bit. Transfer one of the sheets to the parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread it with about 2 Tbs of dijon mustard. Be sure to leave at least a half inch border at the edges of the pastry. Layer half of the cheese over the mustard and top it with a layer of ham and a layer of chicken. I recommend using the Purdue Short Cut chicken (or another brand’s equivalent) found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, but you could just as easily substitute shredded chicken from a rotisserie bird. Top the chicken with the remaining swiss cheese. Gently lay the other sheet of puff pastry over the fillings.
Use your fingers to gently seal the edges of the puff pastry together. I find that it helps to dip my finger in some water and run it between the layers to get a better seal. Then, I just pinch, pinch, pinch the whole way around the edges. Go back over the edges with the tongs of a fork to ensure a really good seal. Use a sharp knife to thinly cut some slits in the top of the pastry to let out the steam while she bakes. Finally use a pastry brush to egg wash the top of of the dough to help her turn nice and golden brown while baking. (Suddenly this recipe become female…. hmmmmmm)
Bake the “hot pocket” for 20-25 minutes. The finished product will be super puffy, golden on top, and lightly browned around the edges. Let it cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to let it cool for another 5-10. The time on the wire rack is very important because it helps the bottom crisp back up after baking. I know it is hard, but just be patient and wait the extra few minutes : )
Cut into squares with a sharp knife or a pizza roller and serve immediately.
**Note: This is another recipe where you definitely don’t want to skip on the parchment paper. I tried to bake without it once and the results were definitely on the messy side!
Barefoot Contessa puffed pastry recipe that I made last Christmas.
Ahhhhh cheesey, gooey, crispy layers. I want, I want, I want.