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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

a few things....

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1. I'm a lazy poop. I've cooked, but I didn't take any pictures, so I haven't posted.

2. I am now even more in love with my kitchenaid. I just made my first batch of French bread with it. OMG. SO EASY. SO yummy. Granted, my loaves were more than a little mutant looking, but the taste and texture were fabulous and the fact that I didn't have to spend 10 minutes cursing and swearing at the dough made it all the better. If you have a kitchenaid, you must make bread with it. I am going to be HUGE.

The recipe is in this PDF, on page 61 - It's freaking good. You could halve it though, and still get two tasty loaves.

3. I ate way too much this weekend. From home-smoked ribs to ultra-tasty homemade PB ice cream (not mine, sadly! I SO need an ice cream maker!), I think (actually, correct that, I KNOW) that I gained a few pounds this weekend. Meh.

4. I don't often make the same recipe twice, but there is one manicotti recipe that is just so tasty, I keep coming back to it. I never take pictures because manicotti is one of those dishes that, in theory, is beautifully stuffed pasta, awash with a zesty sauce....but in practice, I usually make a big mess when I take it out of the pan. Not so pretty.

But it's REALLY good and worth the labour. So you should make this. It freezes wel land makes enough to feed 6 hungry people. Also, it's tasty. And an excellent accompaniment to bread.

Chicken Vegetable Manicotti
This recipe is stolen and modified from one of the Looneyspoons books. Can't remember which one, but you should buy all of them anyway.

1 clove garlic, minced (I usually use 3-4)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into small pieces (I use my food processor - I cut each breast into 3-4 pieces, and then pulse 2-3 times. It's finely chopped and a lot easier than cutting up icky raw chicken by hand...the one time I tried it, it took nearly an hour. So I recommend the food processor route).
1 cup each grated carrots, grated zucchini, and finely chopped mushrooms (*if* the grater attachment of my FP still worked, I would have used it.....I did chop the mushrooms in the FP though)
3 tbsp minced, fresh basil, or 1-1/2 tsp dried (go with fresh!)
1 tbsp minced, fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried (I usually just dump in some italian seasoning)
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 ounces light cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 manicotti shells, uncooked (I find it fills more like 14)
3 cups of your favorite low-fat, tomato-based pasta sauce (that would be one can....I usually use nearly two, because I like lots of sauce!)
1/2 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)

To make filling:

1. Spray a large, non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Add garlic and onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.

2. Add chicken, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until no longer pink. Add carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and pepper. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Transfer filling to a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
While filling is chilling, cook manicotti according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. (do yourself a favour and undercook the manicotti - as soon as they start getting soft, take 'em out. If you fully cook them, good luck stuffing them!)

3. Using a small fork, stuff shells equally with filling. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce over bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti (it's a tight squeeze). Pour remaining sauce over manicotti and sprinkle with mozzarella.

4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 404 calories, 10.9 grams fat, 6.1 grams saturated fat, 33.3 grams protein, 43.6 grams carbohydrates, 1.4 grams fiber, 65.6 mg cholesterol, 586.8 mg sodium, percent of calories from fat: 24

Notes: Chicken is easier to cut into small pieces if it's partially frozen. It's easier to stuff manicotti shells if they're slightly undercooked. This also makes them less likely to tear. Drain the cooked shells and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep them from sticking together. Use a teaspoon to stuff them. If you prefer, you can substitute lasagna noodles in this recipe and make lasagna roll-ups, or you can use 24 jumbo pasta shells.

So, no pictures, but you've all seen manicotti before...this looks pretty much the same, but tastes REALLLLLY good. I love this stuff. Can't enough, actually.

Thanks for reading! Hope you didn't eat as much on the long weekend as I did!


Anonymous said...

I think this is from Crazyplates. Sounds like the 6 Million Dollar Manicotti to me. I LOVE that recipe- I make triple batches, then wrap the tubes in pairs in plastic wrap and freeze them for quick lunches or suppers when I've been negiligent in my cooking (or when I haven't done dishes in 6 days, and all we have left are bowls and a couple of spoons!) I've also been known to use the manicotti filling as the meat layer in a lasagna.

Janet said...

....and #5. I have a lot in common with Janet.

Only difference is, I don't have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer... but I WANT one really bad!!

Deborah said...

I've used my kitchenaid for bread once in the short time that I've had it, and it was super easy. My only problem was that the recipe I used made 2 loaves of bread, and we didn't even make it through 1 before it went bad. But I do love my kitchenaid!!

doctor T said...

I've been making bread with my Kitchenaid for a few years now, and it's always grand. You should invest in a baguette pan -- the loaves come out all pretty-like.

As for manicotti, yum. But I've ditched the dried stuff since I got the pasta maker attachments for the Kitchenaid. Now I just make sheets of pasta, cut them into squares, quickly parboil, throw on some filling and roll up. Works like a charm and tastes so much better than dried pasta.

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