The Super Bowl is all about the food! And the advertisements, of course. I like to have a balanced offering of finger foods to snack on at parties: something sweet, something savory, and something satisfying. These shredded chicken and ranch pinwheels cover both savory and satisfying, and they’re really easy to make!
I’m sure you’ve seen the turkey tortilla wraps in stores, usually in the “oh-crap-I-forgot-the-potluck” section of the deli. Some are great. Others, not so much. These pinwheels will trump those wraps every. single. time. Guaranteed.
I remember first having the idea for these pinwheels years ago, long before I was even a remotely acceptable cook. My sister and I saw a recipe promotion during the Super Bowl for some sort of ranch pinwheel made with a crescent roll dough. We knew we had to try it. Of course, we never did and now it’s a joke anytime we can’t think of what to make for dinner.
I haven’t forgotten though! At least, not completely. I’m pretty sure the recipe we saw was just ranch, bacon bits and scallions spread over crescent dough, rolled up, and cut into pinwheels. I wanted to make something more substantial though. What goes better with ranch and bacon than chicken?
Oh That Creamy Filling
My goal is to keep as many of my recipes as simple as possible. That means no unnecessary ingredients or extra steps. Plus, I like to cut corners when I can (because who has time to make a four hour meal anymore?). I originally wanted the filling for the pinwheels to be just four ingredients: ranch, bacon, shredded chicken, scallions. When I mixed it all together, the filling seemed “weak” to me. I wanted a creamier, more solid texture that I just wasn’t getting with these ingredients. Five is usually my max allowed number of ingredients for “easy” or “simple” recipes, so I didn’t mind adding something else. But what?
Helloooo? Cream cheese!
I added just enough cream cheese to make the filling more substantial, but still easy to spread over the dough. This gave me solid pinwheels without compromising the flavor. Score for texture and taste! If cream cheese isn’t your thing, or if you’re trying to keep things light, I think it’s acceptable to omit this ingredient. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it won’t end the world.
Confession. I had never made pinwheels before this. But guess what? They’re not hard to make at all!
I used Pillsbury crescent dough as the base (and later found out that Pillsbury has a dough with NO CREASES. WHAT!). Pat down the creases so the dough wouldn’t split, and then lightly roll the dough out so it is just a little bit thinner, and makes a bigger rectangle. Then spread a generous layer of the filling across the dough. The hardest part is rolling everything together, but it’s easier with a thicker filling. I start from the center of the long side of the dough rectangle, working my way toward the edges. Once the first roll is done, the rest is easy. Try and roll the dough as tightly as you can so the filling can’t spill out.
Once you’ve got a nice roll, it’s time to cut the individual pinwheels. Each pinwheel should be about 1/4 of an inch thick, but you can probably make them 1/2 an inch without having to worry about adjusting cooking time.
Place the pinwheels on a greased baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. That’s it!