Fun with Cannelloni!
Things like filling pasta used to intimidate me, so I never prepared meals like this for my family. Until I realized just how easy it is, if you have the right tool and a little know-how.
I know professional chefs probably have a neat kitchen gadget that does this, but Ziploc bags sure work great for me!
To make Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni, simply cook up a couple pounds of fresh spinach (or use canned), drain and chop. Add this to a package of ricotta cheese, and mix in two egg yolks and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt & pepper to taste.
Then comes the fun part... Filling the pasta!
I use Ziploc bags to decorate cakes and cookies, too, as well as for filling deviled eggs. Next time you serve whipped cream on a pie, try spooning the cream into a Ziploc bag and snip a tiny "V" out of one tip, and squeeze a fancy design onto the pie. It looks so much neater and more attractive than a spoon job! Your family or guests will feel so special. ;o)
But back to the cannelloni...
Line up the filled pasta shells in a baking pan, and cover with prepared tomato sauce (I used about 24 oz. seasoned spaghetti sauce) and a little water to cook the pasta. Make sure all of the pasta is covered, or it will not cook.
Bake this at 350 F for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes or so, just to melt the cheese. Serve with salad or a vegetable. Such a delicious meal, and your family will be so impressed!
Speaking of impressed, I hinted that I might share the recipe of the best cheesecake I've ever attempted. I do not have photos because I did not make it again this week. It is so rich, we can't eat it twice in one week! So the recipe follows, for you to enjoy:
Tried and True Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Mix and press onto bottom of 9" pie pan: 1 cup fine cookie crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Build up the edges about 1/4 inch.
In a mixing bowl, whip two 8-oz pkgs cream cheese (room temperature) until smooth. Add two eggs and 1/3 cup sugar, and beat just until smooth. Add 1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1 tsp vanilla, a little at a time, beating just until incorporated. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 300 F for 45 minutes.
I topped mine with chocolate syrup and chocolate (Oreo) cookie crumbs, but of course you can top it with anything that appeals to you.
Two important tips for a perfect cheesecake:
1) Do not overbeat the cream cheese mixture. Beat only until it is well mixed.
2) Do not bake until it is all set. If you do, it will crack in the center.
Happy baking! :o)