One of my favorite after school treats growing up was Hot Pockets. (Remember those?!) There’s just something irresistible about melty, cheesy ingredients packed into a flaky crust. But, oh man, the ingredients list. These days, I keep it healthier with this DIY Hot Pockets recipe packed with broccoli and cheddar.
I make these super easy by using my favorite store-bought shortcut (say it with me): puff pastry. But as you may already know, some brands of puff pastry have ingredients that aren’t much better than actual Hot Pockets, so be sure to look out for an all natural brand. (They exists for sure: I know because I included some in the Supermarket Guide of my book, Make It Easy.) If you can’t find one you feel comfortable using, just swap in pizza dough.
You can, of course, fill these DIY Hot Pockets with other fillings too. Maybe take inspiration from these 3-Ingredient Pepperoni Pizza Sticks and go with classic pizza flavors, or throw in leftover chicken to give these an extra boost of protein. You really can’t go wrong.
Related: Make-Ahead Ham & Cheese Muffins for school lunch.
Oh, and these aren’t just for the lunch box! These make a great dinner that comes together in about 45 minutes (mostly unattended cooking time; the prep for these can be done in advance if you need to have dinner on the table faster), a nutritious afternoon snack, or a great finger food if you’re feeding a toddler.
2 cups fresh broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
Scant 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt, to taste
Onion powder, to taste (optional)
1 1 /2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
If neccessary, thaw your dough. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unfold puff pastry to lay flat on a lightly floured work surface and cut in half. Gently roll each half.
In the meantime, lightly steam the broccoli. (You can do this in a microwave to keep things easy! Place veg in a bowl and add enough water to come up about 1/4 inch. Cover with microwave-safe wrap and cook on high for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is. Keep in mind that the broccoli will cook more in the oven.) While the broccoli is still hot, toss with garlic powder, salt, and onion powder to taste.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on one of the halves of dough, leaving about a 3/4" border around the edges. Place seasoned broccoli on top and then lay the other half of the dough over the broccoli. Fold and crimp the edges to seal all the way around. Using a sharp knife, cut small slits down the middle of the "Hot Pocket."
Make an egg wash by lightly whisking one egg with about 1 teaspoon water, and brush egg wash over the top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or according to the puff pastry package instructions, until the dough is deep golden brown and the cheese all melted and bubbly. Cut into portions and serve or allow to cool completely before storing the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
This makes a wonderful finger food meal for toddlers!
Stacie Billis is a food editor, recipe developer, and cookbook author with a Master’s degree in child development who is absolutely as geeky and hungry as that makes her sound. Stacie is always ready to eat delicious food and loves sharing her healthy eats with her family—most of the time.