Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WEEK TWO: Spinach Manicotti, Corn Salad and Oreo Truffles

  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed completely & squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
  • 3 to 4 cups marinara sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses (reserving 1/2 cup of the Romano/Parmesan cheese), eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well-blended.
  3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.
  4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag.
  5. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. 
  6. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells- if you run out of room in your pan, use a separate smaller pan to accommodate the extra.
  7. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

  • 5 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded & diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 3 medium limes, zest and juice
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  1. Grill the corn dry with no oil until you begin to get some char marks on the corn. 
  2. Cut the kernels off of the corn after grilling and place them in a large bowl. 
  3. Add the bell pepper, onion, cilantro and jalapeno.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, lime zest and juice. Whisk to combine the dressing ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the vegetables (you may wish to dress the salad lightly and not use all of the dressing, so add a little and then assess if it needs more) and toss gently.  Enjoy!

  • 1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1 package (16.6 oz.) Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 4-1/4 cups), divided
  • 2 packages (8 squares each) baker's semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  1. Mix cream cheese and 3 cups cookie crumbs until well-blended.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch balls. 
  3. Dip in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. 
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly-covered container in refrigerator.

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