Chicken in a Basket was served at Kappa Alpha Theta on the final day of sorority rush at WSU back in the 1980’s. Very retro – even back then – Chicken in a Basket is two Pillsbury crescent rolls wrapped around a creamy chicken filling, topped with butter and crushed croutons and baked to a golden brown.
I remember sitting at a formal table in the Theta’s dining room on the last day of rush – talking nervously and trying to eat this surprisingly yummy lunch slowly. I ended up pledging Theta, which is how I met several of my closest life-long friends, including Joy, and how I got my first experience cooking in a commercial kitchen as the weekend cook at the sorority.
Our house just celebrated 100 years on the WSU campus with a centennial celebration last weekend and Joy and I both had so much fun seeing old friends and re-living old memories.
Going back to the house made me think of how much we all looked forward to nights when Chicken in a Basket showed up on the menu. So, when we got home from the reunion I decided to make this long-lost recipe and share it with you and all of our friends who lived at the WSU Theta house in the 1980’s. Mmmmm….
I’ve made a few adaptions to Mrs. Smith’s original recipe, but it tastes very much the same. Here is a copy of the original from a house cookbook published in the 1980’s…
You can make the chicken filling up to two days in advance. This is a very easy recipe that everyone seems to love.
- 1 and ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
- 12 oz. cream cheese
- ¼ cup butter (half a stick), plus extra for brushing on tops
- ¼ tsp. garlic salt
- 2 packages Pillsbury crescent rolls
- ½ cup crushed seasoned croutons
- Place the chicken in a deep pot and cover completely with water.
- Bring the pot to a simmer and gently poach the chicken until it is cooked through (20 to 30 minutes depending on thickness).
- Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into small dice.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in a medium sauce pan.
- Add the onion and cook until limp, about three minutes.
- Add the remaining butter, cream cheese and garlic salt.
- Cook over medium heat until the cream cheese is melted.
- Whisk together until smooth.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chicken and stir to combine.
- Lay out the crescent roll dough, leaving two triangles attached (each package will make four biscuits - recipe makes 8 total).
- Place a scoop of chicken mixture in the middle of each piece of dough.
- Bring the corners up to the center and pinch gently together, forming each into a square.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with croutons.
- Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.