Sunday, June 21, 2009
This recipe gained my attention for a couple of reasons. First, because my husband loves manicotti, but I get bored of making the same recipe over and over again. I thought this might be a fun twist on the traditional favorite. The second reason I wanted to make manicotti, any manicotti, is because I wanted to make my own shells this time around. I first saw these crepe-type manicotti shells prepared by Donna at My Tasty Treasures. Then, a week or so ago I saw the manicotti crepes again, this time made by Katy at Food for a Hungry Soul. It was a sign. Time to make manicotti and try out the crepe v. store bought shell method. Before we get to the shells, lets make the filling.
I began by slicing up a couple of large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I cooked them with a few cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper until they were done. I removed the cooked chicken breast to a bowl and left the cooking juices in the pan.
Then I mixed in a couple of tubs of reduced-fat chive and onion cream cheese into the skillet and stirred until the cheese was melted. I added an additional 2/3 cups of milk and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to make the cream sauce.
While the cream cheese melted I added a 10 oz. bag of thawed broccoli, a small can of pimentos, and salt and pepper to the cooked chicken.
Next, I stirred in 3/4 cup of the sauce. Then I decided that it was all too chunky for manicotti filling.
So I plugged in my food processor and pulsed away until the filling was sufficiently chopped.
And then I spread 1/3 cup of the filling on each homemade manicotti crepe and rolled it up. This is much easier than stuffing the manicotti tubes!
My manicotti shells were like fingerprints. No two were alike. I placed all of the stuffed manicotti in a casserole dish, sprayed with a little non-stick spray.
And then I topped with the sauce which had gotten a little too thick. I should've thinned it, but by now, dinner needed to be in the oven and I needed to be getting dressed for my daughter's dance recital. So, I hastily smeared on the too-thick sauce, sprinkled the dish with a little paprika, slid it all into the oven, and dashed up the stairs, two at a time, to get ready for the recital.
Here is the finished product. My parents were visiting for the recital, so I had extra taste-testers. Everyone liked it. But I didn't love it. This recipe definitely has potential, but for me, it lacked that "wow" factor when it came to flavor. I'll make it again, however, next time I will use artichokes instead of broccoli. And there will be more garlic. Maybe a little basil. Oh, and more cheese in the filling. It needed to be cheesier. But all in all it was good. Oh, and I will definitely stick with the homemade manicotti crepes. Those were awesome!
Chicken Manicotti with Chive Cream Sauce adapted from Just Peachy Cooking Up a Cure Cookbook
12 manicotti shells
2-8 oz. packages cream cheese with chives and onions
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1- 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
4 oz. jar diced pimento
fresh ground pepper
1. Prepare manicotti crepes or boil a package of manicotti shells 2.Heat olive oil in a skillet. Cook chicken in the skillet with garlic cloves until done. Salt and pepper. Remove chicken to a large bowl. Leave juices in the skillet 3.To make the sauce, add cream cheese to the skillet. Cook and stir until melted. Add in milk and Parmesan, stir until combined. 4. Add 3/4 cup sauce to the chicken mixture 5.Put filling in a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped 6.Stuff each manicotti shell with 1/3 cup of filling. Place stuffed manicotti in a 13 X 9 in. baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with paprika 6.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6.