Chicken Kimberlloni’s, I mean, Cannelloni

Let’s play confession time early this round.

Love me some Italian. Love me some anything Italian. People, food, lifestyle, the country, attitude…everything, love it. I feel like I was born in the wrong…everything. 1986 in Omaha, NE a little Kimberbean came along. Something must have gotten mixed up because I missed my calling, in 1951 in Italy. Clearly there is some discrepancy between the two. Ughh, whatever, guess I just have to deal. 

I have to say right off the bat I didn’t make my own noodles this go around. I love doing so when I have the time, but rolling out dough is really only possible on the weekends. The ol’ steady Barilla showed face for dinner, Manitcotti style. I always have a terrible time finding these in the stores. For whatever reason around here many places dont always carry Manicotti. If you can’t find it just substitute the Giant Shells, they work just as good.

Quick Tips: The hardest part about this recipe is probably cooking the pasta right, and actually assembling the whole thing. But…even if it doesn’t work very well and turns into a mess, throw it all in a pan and put it in the oven anyway. It’ll still taste great, promise! I did a taste test this round, half with spinach and half without to see if there was a significant difference….no surprise here….spinach is a must have!

(if you’re short time and want to cheat…don’t forget the rotisserrie chicken at the store and shred it at home!)

My Original Recipe: Chicken Kimberlloni’s

6 Manicotti

Handful of Spinach

Splash of lemon

2 Medium-Large Chicken Breast

2 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup parmesan

1 tsp parsley

1/4 tsp paprika and chili powder

1 tsp minced garlic

3 sprigs of green onion diced

1/2 jar of pasta sauce

s/p to taste

1. If you have your chicken thawed out I like to make quick little side swipes to shred the chicken into small pieces. (you could also do this in the food processor if you wanted to) Put chicken into bowl, season with 1 tsp of grape seed oil, s/p, paprika, garlic, chili powder and mix together. Put in fridge.

2. Bring water to a boil and toss in the manicotti and remove about 1-2 minutes before you normally would. You want to keep them a little firmer so that you can stuff the shells without them shredding. Remove from water and set aside and let them cool to the touch.

3. Put pan on med-high heat and cook chicken just until browned. This shouldn’t take very long b/c they’re so small. I usually leave it on for a minute, then cover it and turn the heat off. Makes them crisp on the outside and center stays tender and not over done. Easy peasy.

4. Saute spinach with s/p and lemon

5. Mix the cheese, spinach, chicken, 2 tbsp of the red sauce, and green onion until a nice smooth mixture. Feel free to throw some extra parsley here too…

6. Take your manicotti and carefully stuff it with a small spoon. If you want a fool proof way, put it in a small zip lock bag, cut the tip (big enough for the chicken and goop to get thru) and squeeze it in.

7. Place stuffed pasta in a square pan small enough where they are tight. 8×8 or so will work. Pour over the remaining sauce, I also threw another handful of shredded cheese on top.

8. Bake for 20 minutes or so, if you want the cheese browned turn it to broil briefly. Take out and top with parsley. 

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