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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.)

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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.

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Ultimate Lasagna

Canadian Living Magazine has a new cookbook out called “Canadian Living: The Ultimate Cookbook” and I’m so tempted to buy it because it’s geared towards Canadians of course and includes some classics like Nanaimo bars and butter tarts. It has more Asian inspired recipes rather than Mexican which are more common in cookbooks from the States. I love Mexican and Tex-Mex but the ingredients are harder to find and I’m so intimidated by trying to buy fresh peppers. I’m just so clueless and I’m not a fan of spicy food. Anyway, instead of making an impulse buy I collected some of the recipes from the cookbook that are available online in order to try them beforehand. If they’re great then I can justify buying the whole book. I had a craving for lasagna so Steve was nice enough to make it while I took Miss M. on her very first play date. The play date and the lasagna both went very well! It takes a lot of work to make a lasagna from scratch but everything came together simply and it was very yummy! I would definitely make this again.

I think the next recipe we’ll try is Kung Pao Chicken (cooled down a bit). 🙂

ultimatelasagna

Ultimate Lasagna

Prep time 45 minutes Total time 3 hours Portion size 12 servings

Ingredients:
12 lasagna noodles
1 tub (475 g) extra-smooth ricotta cheese
1 cup (250 mL) grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
4-1/2 cups (1.125 L) shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato Meat Sauce:
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (each 156 mL) tomato paste
675 g lean ground beef
2 cans (each 796 mL) diced tomatoes
1 cup (250 mL) red or white wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 tsp (4 mL) pepper

Preparation
Tomato Meat Sauce: In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, celery, carrot and garlic, stirring occasionally,until softened, about 5 minutes.Stir in tomato paste. Add beef; cook,breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes,wine, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles for 2 minutes less than package directions for al dente. Drain; lay noodles, without touching, in single layer on tea towel. Stir together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce. In 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish, spread one-third of the remaining meat sauce. Arrange 3 noodles over top; sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese. Top with half of the remaining meat sauce, 3 noodles, ricotta mixture, 3 noodles, remaining meat sauce, then 3 noodles. Top with reserved meat sauce, then remaining mozzarella cheese.

Make-ahead: Cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Unwrap before baking.
Cover with foil. Bake in 375F (190 C) oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Loosely cover with foil; let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: about cal 551, pro 35g, total fat 30g sat. fat 16g, carb 36g, dietary fibre 5g, sugar 10g, chol 92mg, sodium 1,065mg, potassium 868mg, %RDI: calcium 47, iron 36, vit A 36, vit C 43, folate 33

Lentil and Ricotta Meatballs

I’ve been m.i.a. for the last few weeks because we had a death in the family. I was back in Labrador for 2 weeks so I wasn’t really cooking much at that time. Looking on the brighter side, I did have some really yummy food. I collected two new recipes: Mars Bar Squares and Partridge Berry (Lingonberry) Cake. I’ll post those a little later on. In  the meantime, here’s a recipe I tried before I left for my trip. Mr. M was over again so I took the opportunity to try another vegetarian meal. These “meatballs” were surprisingly filling and had a soft, fluffy texture. They cooked after only about 10 minutes so I would recommend turning after 5 minutes and watching them carefully. I  finely minced onion and mushrooms together, browned them, and added it to some tomato sauce to sneak in more veggie power.  I mixed it all together with some pasta shells and I think it turned out quite nice. Even my daughter liked this!

Finely minced mushrooms and onions

Finely minced mushrooms and onions

Veggie and tomato sauce

Veggie and tomato sauce

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You can see the inside of the meatball at the centre of this photo.

Lentil and Ricotta Meatballs

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen and from The Starved Writer

2 cups of cooked green or brown lentils
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of finely chopped parsley
1 tsp of salt
2/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tsp of black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F

2. In a blender, blend the lentils until they are mush.
3. Put the lentil mash in a large bowl and stir in the eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Then stir in the breadcrumbs and let it all stand for about half an hour.
4. Now you can roll the lentil and ricotta mash into small balls, brush them with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Then gently turn the lentil balls over halfway through baking and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes.

Ricotta Pancakes

I’m always on the lookout for healthier versions of classic meals, especially my favourite meal of the day – breakfast! I came across this recipe at www.eatingwell.com. I compared these pancakes to classic pancakes from my Betty Crocker cookbook and they have 2 grams less fat, and twice the protein and fiber. I found they were much more filling than regular pancakes and I was satisfied with two pancakes.

This recipe didn’t need much tweaking . I didn’t have blueberries so I omitted them and didn’t have fresh lemon for the zest so I left that out as well. I also didn’t have any whole wheat pastry flour so I used regular and replaced the all-purpose flour with cake flour, hoping it would even everything out.  1 teaspoon of nutmeg seemed like a lot so I used only 1/8 of a teaspoon and could still taste it, so I think the original measurement would have been way too much.  Cheese pancake batter is delicate and can burn easily so I kept my range on about 3 and that seemed to be the sweet spot. They turned out thick and fluffy. This recipe goes in the keep file. 🙂

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Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes

From EatingWell:  August/September 2006

Sprinkling the berries on top of the cooking pancakes ensures even distribution. Keep finished pancakes warm in a 200°F oven, if desired, while cooking the rest.

4 servings, 2 pancakes each | Active Time: 40 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Source)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries

1. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in a small bowl. Whisk ricotta, egg, egg white, buttermilk, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl until smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.

2. Brush a large nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil and place over medium heat until hot. Using a generous 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake, pour the batter for 2 pancakes into the pan, sprinkle blueberries on each pancake and cook until the edges are dry and bubbles begin to form, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil, batter and berries, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Nutrition
Per serving : 238 Calories; 8 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 68 mg Cholesterol; 30 g Carbohydrates; 12 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 334 mg Sodium; 128 mg Potassium
2 Carbohydrate Serving, Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat

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