Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chicken and Spinach Manicotti with 4 cheeses and GARLIC BREAD

Tomato sauce and cheese is a sure winner in my house. also i bought a Costco bag of spinach and need to use it. So yum, or as Kader says "CHEEEESE". i cheat in this one, i know i am all about from scratch, but this is a weeknight meal. also, i love spaghetti sauce from the jar, i cant help it. i will follow up with the recipe for fresh sauce if you prefer.

1 box no boil lasagna sheets
3/4 cups ricotta
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 two cup packet Italian mix shredded cheese
a little shredded cheddar
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or fresh tomato sauce, recipe to follow)
the breast meat of one chicken, boned and skinned (or two pre-prepared)
2 heaping handfuls of fresh spinach
about 10 fresh basil leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil

Garlic bread
1 baguette (i prefer sourdough)
1 stick butter
fresh crushed garlic cloves, as many as you like, my dad says the more the merrier

First the marinade
chop the chicken into very small pieces. sprinkle evenly either salt and pepper. chop the basil into small pieces. add the thyme and oil. mix well and refrigerate 1 hour or longer.

next prepare the noodles. boil some water, lay the noodles in your 13x9 baking pan. pour the water over to soften while you make the filling.

for the filling, use a frying pan. add the chicken to the pan and saute until just done. add the shredded spinach and cook until very wilted. move to a clean mixing bowl. (drain any green spinach water, most of it anyway). add ricotta, cottage cheese, and 1 1 1/2 cups of the Italian cheese. taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

now for the assembly.
drain the water from the noodles. carefully so carefully peel off one of the noodles. place about 2 tbsp filling across the short end. roll up. place on a plate. repeat until all are done. add a little sauce to the bottom of the casserole and spread evenly. add the rolls in a row (make sure the seam side is down) and cover with sauce. sprinkle the rest of the Italian cheese on the top, and a little cheddar.

now bake. in a 350 degree oven until bubbly. cover if the cheese cooks too fast.

serve with garlic bread.

melt butter in a small saucepan, crush garlic into the butter. cook until fragrant. brush on the bread evenly. place under the broiler until toasty, watching constantly.

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