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Deceptively Delicious Chicken Cannelloni

Steve gets off work earlier than me and he came over the other night be help with garbage, then he challenged himself to make this dish from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious. He was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t read the direction for cauliflower puree closely enough. He didn’t steam the veg first and ended up having a difficult time pureeing it in the blender. In his defense, its not well laid out in the book. You have to go back and forth between pages for directions on how to steam, and then directions on how to purée, which is a little cumbersome if you haven’t made purées before. Anyway, when I got home I tried microwaving the puree but gave up because I couldn’t really tell if it was doing anything. We went on with the recipe as directed and it turned out pretty well I think. In the first couple of bites I could taste the cauliflower but got used to it. It may have been because it wasn’t cooked first, I’m not sure. Other than that, it’s a pretty basic dish but once Miss M. finally starts eating foods that are mixed together, I will give it a try again. (Sorry about posting such a mess of a dish but we nearly forgot to take a pic.)


Chicken Cannelloni

8 whole wheat lasagna sheets ( 4×4 or 3×6 inches)

cooking spray

1 lb chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3/4 cup cauliflower puree

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups jarred tomato sauce

1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Ahead of time: cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and steam for about 10 minutes. Whir in a blender or food processor for about a minute or two, with a teaspoon or two of water, until smooth.

Boil and salt the water for the lasagna sheets. Cook, drain and then place the lasagna in a bowl of cool water.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, ricotta, cauliflower puree, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt until the chicken is well coated.

Place 1 lasagna sheet on the cutting board. On the edge closest to you, spread out 1/4 cup of the filling so that it covers 1/3 of the sheet. With your fingertips, roll the lasagna into a tube (lift the edge of the pasta with the filling and roll). Transfer seam-side down to the baking sheet. Pour the sauce around the cannelloni but not on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella and bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes.


Chicken and Leek Pie

Chicken and Leek Pie

This is the second recipe I’ve made from my Donna Hay New Classics cookbook and I am definitely impressed. As I’ve mentioned, I do not enjoy making pie crust. This one is all butter with the addition of parmesan cheese and yet again, it came out too crumbly and difficult to roll out. Maybe I don’t cut the butter in to the flour enough? Taste wise it was almost cracker-like and delectable! We used 6 cups of cubed, leftover turkey instead of chicken thighs in order to make use of the Christmas turkey (made this on Boxing Day). I am beginning to suspect that we converted from grams to pounds incorrectly because we were measuring cooked vs. raw poultry. The filling seemed a little too thick. We added a couple of sliced carrots as well. And I didn’t have a large pie plate so I used a casserole dish instead. I don’t think it makes any difference really except the crust was a little sunken in the middle and took longer to brown, but the flavour was fabulous! I did have some crust leftover which I used to make crackers, but I burned them. 😦 We were so busy stuffing our faces that I didn’t hear the timer and then I totally forgot about them until I went to the kitchen for something else and wondered why the oven was still on! lol Oh well. Next time Gadget. Oh and the recipe states this is 4 servings but I don’t believe it. Must be a typo. I cut it into 6 pieces and one of those serving will leave you stuffed, so keep this in mind. These would probably make really good little tarts for New Years Eve! Looking through a couple of other tart recipes it looks like 20-30 minutes baking time would work.

The pie is going in the all-star folder as well 🙂

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Chicken and Leek Pie


1 tablespoon olive oil
6 x 150g chicken thigh fillets, chopped (about 1.5lbs)
40g butter (about 1.5-2 Tbsp)
2 small leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
¼ cup (35g) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 cups (500ml) milk
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 x quantities shortcrust parmesan pastry (see below)
1 x quantity eggwash (see below)

shortcrust parmesan pastry
2 cups (300g) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup (80g) finely grated parmesan
150g cold butter, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 egg
1 tablespoon cold milk

1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons single (pouring) cream

1 To make the eggwash, place the egg and cream in a bowl and mix to combine.
2 To make the shortcrust parmesan pastry, place the flour, cheese, butter and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1–2 minutes or until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and process for 2 minutes or until a smooth dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3 Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, in batches, for 4–5 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan, set aside and keep warm.
4 Add the butter, leeks, garlic and thyme to the pan and cook for 7–8 minutes or until softened. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the milk, salt and pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes or until thickened. Return the chicken to the sauce and refrigerate until cooled completely.
5 Roll half the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Line a 31cm-round lightly greased pie tin with the pastry. Fill with the chicken mixture. Roll the remaining pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Place on top of the pie and trim the excess pastry. Brush with the eggwash and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serves 4.


Chicken and Cheese Tortellini with Pesto

I tried a second recipe by Rose Reisman which I was hoping my daughter would also enjoy but no dice, yet again. She will not eat any green specks apparently, which rules out pesto. I, on the other hand, really liked this. It’s super simple to make and doesn’t look like much but it’s surprisingly tasty. The pesto is a nice change from tomato or cream based sauces. This recipe is destined to become a go-to lunch around here. (I used spinach and cheese ravioli by Olivieri)


Chicken and Cheese Tortellini with Pesto

4 oz boneless chicken breast (about 1 breast)
12 oz tortellini
1/3 cup pesto (store-bought, or see Pesto recipe)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a small, nonstick skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, add the chicken and sauté for 4 minutes per side or just until no longer pink. Let cool, then dice.

2. Meanwhile, boil the tortellini for 8 minutes or until just tender. Drain and place in a serving bowl. Add the chicken, pesto and Parmesan cheese and toss well.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories 354
Protein 20 g
Fat 12 g
Saturated Fat 4.9 g
Carbohydrates 41 g
Cholesterol 56 mg
Sodium 548 mg
Fiber 1.8 g

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Make Ahead: Sauté the chicken up to a day in advance and keep refrigerated. Serves 4
Nutrition Watch: Pesto sauce is high in calcium and very high in vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps fight cancer.

Baked Garlic Home Fries / Hash Browns

Saturday I invited Mr. M. over for brunch and served breakfast sandwiches, sausages, and home fries. Truthfully, I was inspired by the new Tim Horton’s cheddar biscuits. After watching those darn commercials I couldn’t stop thinking about biscuits! Instead of going to Timmy’s I made Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits. The home fries recipe is adapted from the garlic fries recipe in “The New Way to Cook Light”, which I reviewed in the last post. I simply cut the potatoes into small cubes before baking. The result was nothing short of miraculous! Although they are baked, you finish them by tossing them in melted garlic butter and topping with parmesan cheese. Absolutely delish! Probably one of the best potato recipes EVER. Just looking at this picture again is giving me a craving.

I think I need to create a special folder for all the recipes that have totally blown my mind. Hmmmm….what should I call it?


Garlic Fries

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine potatoes and oil in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal bag, and toss well to coat.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.

4. Heat a large – skillet over low heat. Add butter and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes and parsley to butter mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.


Lasagne Formaggio

I was going through my old food magazines a few days ago and stumbled upon this recipe in one of the Kraft Whats Cooking magazines. I rarely make anything from them because they rely so much on pre-made Kraft products, but the only products this one calls for their brand of cheese products. The recipe says it only takes a little over an hour to make but I don’t know if it’s misleading or if I’m just super slow. It took me close to an hour just to prepare all the parts and throw it in the oven.  I forgot to drain my tomatoes so I let it simmer a little longer to boil off some of the liquid. It doesn’t say when to cook the noodles, but I prepared mine just after making the cheese mixture, and I think I cooked the meat a little longer because ground beef makes me paranoid about germs. I also used fresh parmesan so I need to factor in time to grate the cheese. That being said, I think it was worth the effort. The cheese layer so so rich and creamy and I love the change from ricotta. I would definitely make this again.

lasagne formaggio

I am so not a food stylist!

Lasagne Formaggio

1 lb. (450 g) extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Light Brick Cream Cheese Spread, softened
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2 cups Kraft 4 Cheese Italiano Light Shredded Cheese, divided
1/2 cup Kraft 100% Parmesan Light Grated Cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
1 jar (700 mL) pasta sauce
1-1/2 cups no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
12 lasagne noodles, cooked

HEAT oven to 350°F.

BROWN meat with onions in large skillet. Meanwhile, mix cream cheese spread, cottage cheese, 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg until well blended.

DRAIN meat; return to skillet. Stir in pasta sauce, tomatoes and oregano; simmer 5 min. Remove from heat. Spoon 1 cup meat sauce onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish; top with layers of 3 lasagne noodles, 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup meat sauce. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining noodles, meat sauce, shredded cheese and Parmesan; cover.

BAKE 50 min. or until heated through, uncovering after 40 min. Let stand 10 min. before cutting to serve.

Kraft kitchens tips: Spray the foil with cooking spray before using to cover the lasagne to help prevent the foil from sticking to the melted cheese on the baked lasagne.

Italian Parmesan Corn Cakes

My little one is officially a toddler, which comes with a few little “challenges” such as the beginnings of temper tantrums and the picky eater stage, which I hope does not get much worse than what it is right now. She no longer wants to eat anything that has lumps of any shape or form. I made some fruit puree and she wont’ eat that either. She rarely eats bananas anymore, and I have no idea why. I tried making her rice pudding but that was a definite no go. Little Graduates mac and cheese was also wholeheartedly rejected. A while back I discovered and thought the recipes looked simple and yummy so I saved a bunch to try later, including this one for Italian Parmesan Corn Cakes. To be safe, I only added 1/2 tsp of herbs and the rest I made as directed. These little cakes turned out perfectly, and best of all, my 19 month old loves them! She even stole a bit off of mine when I wasn’t looking! lol This recipe makes a lot – about 16, 1 tbsp sized cakes. Miss M is a nibbler so she only eats 2 at a time for now. I ate 4 and they were filling.

Update: Baby will only eat them, fresh out of the pan, she won’t eat leftovers! lol


Italian Parmesan Corn Cakes

(Serves 4) Prep Time:12 minutes, Cook Time: 8 minutes, Total Time: 20 minutes

1 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
additional oil for cooking
1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil.
3. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet and allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes.
4. After resting, pour 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
5. Place 1 tbsp of the cornmeal batter in the skillet (making as many corncakes as possible) and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden.
6. Continue to make the rest of the cakes.
Serve with marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

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