Friday, January 30, 2009

Chicken Manicotti with Chive Cream Sauce

Recipe from Pillsbury and Husband-Tested in Alice's Kitchen

Here’s another one of my favorite manicotti dishes. (For another manicotti recipe, try Spicy Cheese Manicotti. Recipe is on this blog.) Manicotti is the big tube shaped pasta found in boxes in the pasta aisle. I think this is yummy enough for a casual dinner party with good friends. What’s not to like?! It’s pasta filled with chicken, flavorful cream cheese, parmesan cheese, roasted peppers and broccoli. It’s easy to make, but stuffing the pasta can be a bit time consuming. If you own a pastry bag, fill it with the filling and squeeze the filling into the pasta. If you don’t have a pastry bag, try putting the filling in a gallon size Ziploc bag, cutting off a corner of the bag and then squeezing the filling into the pasta. Serve this with a crisp salad and a whole wheat roll or slice of toast for a good-for-you dinner. This recipe can be easily doubled.

12 packaged dry manicotti shells
1 (8-ounce) container soft-style cream cheese with chives and onions
2/3 cup milk (We always use skim milk.)
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 cups (10 ounces) chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1/2 of a 7-ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained and sliced or one 4 ounce jar of diced pimiento, drained
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Paprika for sprinkling over the top
1. Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain again.
2. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small heavy saucepan, melt cream cheese over medium-low heat; stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in Romano or Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.
3. For filling, in a medium mixing bowl stir together 3/4 cup of the sauce, chicken, broccoli, roasted red peppers and black pepper. Using a small spoon, carefully fill each manicotti shell with about 1/3 cup of the filling.
4. Arrange the filled shells in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover with foil.
5. Bake in a 350*F (175*C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.
Makes 6 servings.

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