+Anne Coleman

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chicken Cannelloni

Chicken Cannelloni
Chicken Cannelloni

 Cannelloni is a lovely stuffed pasta dish very popular in Italian cuisine. Usually pasta sheets, cannelloni shells or manicotti shells are used. I improvised and used egg roll wrappers instead. Egg roll wrappers are a pasta, but a very thin and delicate one, which just adds to the appeal of this dish. Egg roll wrappers are also far easier to stuff and roll than cooked pasta shells, which can be slippery and messy and often split or fall apart when stuffing. The whole process goes far smoother when time is of the essence - which is always around here.

I love a good Béchamel sauce and usually make my own, but for a quicker and easier solution I've used jarred Alfredo sauce. Use a deep dish for this so the pasta will cook well and not be chewy or underdone. 

Almost better than dinner was dessert ... one of our favorite biscottis, Blueberry - White Morsels Biscotti - click for the recipe! 

Blueberry Biscotti
Blueberry Biscotti

Chicken Cannelloni
Makes 12 - Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 egg roll wrappers - 5" squares
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil - crushed
1 clove garlic - minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb cooked chicken breast - finely chopped
1 cup finely shredded Fontina, Provolone or Italian blend cheese - divided
1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo sauce or 2 cups homemade Béchamel

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk together well.
2. Fold in chicken and 1/2 cup of Fontina (or other) cheese. Set filling aside.
3. Grease a 9x13 deep baking pan with olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup of Alfredo or Béchamel sauce across the bottom of the pan.
4. Lay out an egg roll wrapper and keep the rest covered with a damp towel so they won't dry out. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the wrapper and roll wrapper tightly around it. The rolls should be about an inch and a half in diameter. Lay, seam side down, in pan on top of sauce. Stuff and roll remaining wrappers and set in the pan in the same way.
5. Top rolls with remaining sauce, covering each completely. Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of Fontina over the cannelloni.
6. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.



*Notes:
Liquid needs to be exact with egg roll wrappers. Too much liquid will cause them to fall apart and too little will cause the edges to be dry and crisp.
Spinach can be added once it is cooked and drained very well - about a cup for this size recipe should do it.
I used 50% fat free Alfredo sauce and 2 egg whites instead of 1 egg to help cut back the fat in this recipe.
**Originally posted at Family.com: http://family.go.com/food/recipe-788409-chicken-cannelloni--t/

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Cheesecake

I'm not too good at posting about foods I make very often. I guess I feel like it's nothing new here so nobody else needs the recipe. For this recipe, I know that's very wrong. I've been making cheesecake and chocolate cheesecake for years and years. I've used the same recipe without fail and everyone loves it. I've even been asked to make them for special parties and functions and each time it's nothing but rave reviews.

I've had a lot of cheesecake in my life -- it's one of my favorites. There are different textures and flavors and I'm a big fan of dense cheesecake that doesn't have too much lemon added. My own recipe is still the one I'd rather eat more than any other.

Last week I went to Carnegie Deli at Sands Bethlehem and had their cheesecake. It's so similar to my own that I just fell in love. It's dense and rich and the topping (which I don't do here at home) was to-die-for. Once the kids saw the photos of the cheesecake I started getting requests for it and was told that I haven't made it for a while ... I'm guilty of that.

I dutifully obliged and made up a cheesecake last night. It's just as good as I remember and it was gone in no time.

Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves: 12
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 5 hours and 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Crust:
20 chocolate cream cookies (like Oreos) processed into fine crumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter - melted

Filling:
4 blocks cream cheese (2 pounds)  (I use Neufchâtel or 1/3 lower fat)
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate -4 ounces - melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2. Process cookies until well crumbed. Add melted butter and stir well. Press into 9" springform pan and set aside.
3. Mix together cream cheese and sugar with a hand blender or in a stand blender until smooth. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix until well combined.
4. Add eggs and blend until combined completely.
5. Pour into prepared crust and smooth top.
6. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for at least 4 hours until well chilled. Run a thin knife around edge of cake before removing ring.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Carnegie Deli at Sands Bethlehem Review and Giveaway

I'm writing up this review the morning after my visit to Carnegie Deli at Sands Bethlehem -   and while finishing up the second half of my hot pastrami sandwich from last night. Yes ...  for breakfast. I don't often take home a full half of a sandwich including a bit of the other half, but the food at Carnegie Deli is just that big. I'm starting to think a Carnegie Deli in Texas, where everything is over-sized, would make sense.

I have wanted for years to stop in at Carnegie Deli in New York City, but was always rushing  here and there and never had the chance. How awesome is it that there's a Carnegie Deli in my  own neighborhood? There is nothing better than a really great Kosher-style deli and Carnegie more than fills the bill.

If you follow this blog at all, or my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram, you'll know that we suffered a fire recently at the home of my ex-husband. My children live primarily with me, but one of the older girls lived with him full-time and many of the children's belongings were there at the house. Everyone but one of the cats made it out safe and that day all the children were with me. I've acquired a dog, a turtle and my second-oldest daughter is also now staying with us for an indefinite amount of time until things can be worked out. The stress of this has weighed a little on Dave and I and getting out for a night was a very welcome distraction.

We went on a Wednesday evening and it wasn't too busy, but had steady traffic and a line at the door, a true indicator of good food. We were seated quickly and our drink orders  taken right away. We were handded 3 separate "menus", the main menu, specials for the day the  Early Bird special menu. I already knew what I wanted from perusing the menu online beforehand. You can view that for yourself HERE

On to the review. 
Each restaurant is scaled according to the type of restaurant it is. In other words, I  wouldn't use the same gravity of point for a fast food restaurant as I would for fine dining.  That's comparing apples and oranges. Scaling is 1 for Poor and 5 for Excellent so the total  Perfect Score for any restaurant would be 25.  

*Please note: I was given a gift certificate directly from Sands Bethlehem specifically for  the purpose of reviewing the restaurant and I was more than happy to oblige. Please note that  the benefit of having my meal paid for does not in any way influence my review. 

Parking- 5 There isn't any other score possible for this because there is valet parking at  all of The Sand's should you so choose to make use of it. Even so, there is ample parking  near the event center and everything is tied together inside so walking to the restaurant is  simple.

Ambiance- 5 This is just what a deli should be. Austere but interesting decor, comfortable  seating and appropriate lighting. Everything was clean and easy to navigate. The walls are decorated with famous patrons to the Deli and photos of NYC. 

Food- 5 I wouldn't expect any less from Carnegie Deli no matter what the location. We had two  appetizers, two sandwiches and shared a dessert. Here are the photos and descriptions:


Three menus for all your dining needs. The main menu, early bird specials and daily specials. We were also given a plate of Carnegie's famous half-sour pickles. Yum! 



We started with the potato pancake, which is served with sour cream and applesauce. Perfectly crispy outside and tender inside. 

This is the Carnegie Deli Potato Knish. Dear me, I would go back just for this! Crisp exterior and soft, beautiful potato inside. Seasoned perfectly and also served with sour cream and applesauce. This is one thing you MUST try when you visit.


David had the "Woody Allen", which is billed as "lotsa pastrami plus lotsa corned beef". He added lettuce and melted American cheese. Totally tender and delicious. Nobody can eat the whole thing, so be prepared to ask for a box!

I had the classic Hot Pastrami, which Carnegie Deli is famous for. I added melted Swiss cheese to mine and it was absolute perfection. 

I think this is illegal in several states just because of the sheer size ;) This chocolate behemoth cheesecake was so delicious it was hard not to eat the entire thing alone. Like much of Carnegie's menu, though, it was too large for one person and even though Dave and I shared it, it was still hard to finish. Another must-have when you visit.

I plan on trying more things the next time I go, like the matzo ball soup, which looked like baseballs being served in chicken broth, or "Milton's Smorgasbord" which looks like it could feed an entire family, or more sandwiches or the GINORMOUS pies we spied in the front dessert carousels. Lots left to try.

Service- 5 Our server was not just knowledgeable and efficient, he was fun. There wasn't a  question we threw at him that he couldn't answer and by the end of our stay we had gotten  used to saying to one another, "Just ask him." He knew what the best bread was for each  sandwich, what the pickles were brined in, whether or not the deli was kosher, what other  diners were eating (we had questions about everything that passed us by!) and if he didn't  know the answer he didn't say so, he simply went about finding out the answer for us. 

Pricing- 5 While the sandwiches seem pricey, they really aren't. Each one is the equivalent  of two sandwiches (and then some!) and they're just so good it's completely worth it. The  Early Bird menu features 3 courses for a mere $15 - you really can't beat that for food  that's as good as this. 

Total score for Carnegie Deli at Sands Bethlehem is 25.

Now, I want to share this experience with you and pass on $100 worth of Gift Certificates to Carnegie Deli at Sand's Bethlehem. This means you must live nearby or be planning to visit in  order to use the certificate. U.S. Residents only.

PLEASE follow directions for entering the contest below, and GOOD LUCK!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Veggie Wednesday: Bean and Roasted Pepper Burgers

Bean and Roasted Pepper Burgers
Bean and Roasted Pepper Burgers

It's been about a year since I did a Veggie Wednesday; shame on me. I've been very busy with veggies, mostly growing my own as usual. If you follow my Instagram feed you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

Today I want to share a recipe for a veggie burger that I absolutely love. Bean burgers can be dry, but this one uses richly flavored and textured roasted red peppers (my favorite) to add body and moisture. Garlic and green onion boost flavor, as well so these burgers are a real hit with more than just the vegetarians in your life.


Bean and Roasted Pepper Burgers

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 patties

Ingredients:

1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers plus 2 Tablespoons liquid from jar
4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs

Directions:

1. Pour beans into a food processor or blender and add peppers, onions, salt and garlic.
2. Pulse until a thick paste forms but tiny chunks of beans are still visible.
3. Spoon into a bowl and add Panko crumbs, mixing well until a thick dough forms.
4. Form into 4 patties and cook over a preheated grill pan or lightly greased skillet, about 4 minutes per side.
5. Serve on whole wheat buns with your favorite condiments and veggies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Patient for Pumpkins

Patient for Pumpkins
Patient for Pumpkins

I love to grow things. Anyone who knows me or follows me on any of my social networks (especially Instagram) knows this. I started growing flowers when I was about 20 and had my first vegetable gardening experience a few years later. For anyone counting, that's about 26 years of gardening for me. I've posted over the years here about my various gardens, as well.

I'm not a very patient gardener, though. I know things take time, but I get so excited about growing things that I check daily, sometimes twice a day, for any small signs of growth. When I first plant seeds indoors I walk by the flats of peat pellets several times a day just to peek.

I love to cook seasonally, as well and each year I find myself looking a little earlier than usual for my favorites to cook with ... fuzzy green almonds and fiddlehead ferns in the early spring, blueberries a little later and the freshest tomatoes nearing the end of the growing season in my zone.

My kids also love to check the garden with me and shop the farmer's markets for beautiful produce. They are even more impatient than I and it's not always easy to explain to them that although some produce is available year-round, it's best when it's in season.

If you have children who are impatient for their favorite veggies and fruits as well, Patient for Pumpkins by Linda L. Knoll  is just the book for them. It's the story of a little boy excited to get to the farmers' market to buy a pumpkin, but finds when he gets there that April is not exactly the right time. Each month, though, he finds other gems that are available and perfectly ripe for that time.

From Patient for Pumpkins by Linda L. Knoll, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2014 by Linda L. Knoll. Reprinted by permission of publisher.


The vibrant illustrations show each growing season from Spring through Fall and what wonderful produce is available in each month. The sidebars illustrate the different stages of pumpkin growth and at the end, the big beautiful pumpkin that results from so much patience.


From Patient for Pumpkins by Linda L. Knoll, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2014 by Linda L. Knoll. Reprinted by permission of publisher.


In fact, at this moment we're trying to be patient for our own pumpkins. They've started to vine out and grasp the grass with tiny tendrils and little baby pumpkins are starting to appear. Of course, we need to check each day to see how far they've grown and we can't wait to have our very own perfect pumpkin.

Our own tiny pumpkin.


Patient for Pumpkins is available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Patient-Pumpkins-Linda-L-Knoll/dp/1583947086


Disclaimer: I received Patient for Pumpkins for free as a review item. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by free product.