20 Apr 2014

Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni

A recipe from Save with Jamie, who has helped us with a few tricks to lower food bills, includes the calories in the recipes AND has made me fall in love with frozen spinach.
Yep, frozen spinach, and this is coming from the girl who hates spinach.

We roasted a chicken a couple of nights ago and were deciding what to do with it - the standard roast is pretty unhealthy - and opted for one night of chicken salad and then we decided on this recipe to last us for a couple of nights.

Now as always my pictures are a little thin on the ground...but I did remember to take one of the leftovers (yeah, sounds nice right?)

This is what Jamie made it look like...you'll see mine later

Serves 6

1 onion
olive oil
500g frozen spinach
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp english mustard
200ml semi-skimmed milk
150g left over chicken
1/2 bunch fresh basil *
60g cheddar cheese
16 dried cannelloni tubes
1-2 pinch dried chilli
2 cans chopped tomatoes

* I ommited this, as it meant extra money spent and BF doesn't like herbs much

  • Preheat the oven to 180°F.
  • Peel and finely chop the onion and put it into a large saucepan on a medium heat with a small amount of olive oil - I sliced the onions rather than finely chopping, but it made the stuffing more difficult

  • Cook for 8 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly and adding a splash of water, if needed, then stir in the spinach.

  • Cook with a lid on for another 8 minutes to defrost, then stir in the flour and mustard.
  • Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes, or until you have a nice creamy green sauce.
  • Remove from the heat and season to perfection.
  • Finely chop and add the chicken and basil leaves (reserving the stalks), then grate in half the Cheddar and mix well.
  • A nice trick to get the filling into the cannelloni tubes easily is to transfer the mixture to a sandwich bag, snip off the corner and pipe the mixture into the tubes, or you can use a teaspoon, if you prefer - I tried using a tea spoon, but it was too big, I ended up using the smallest measuring spoon I had and my finger, burning them slightly!
  • Once filled, place the tubes in one layer in a baking dish (roughly 10 x 12 inches). Wipe the saucepan out and return it to a medium heat.
  • Peel and finely chop the garlic and tender basil stalks, and put into the pan with a a bit of olive oil to get lightly golden.
  • Add the chili flakes, tip in the tomatoes and half a can’s worth of water, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes, then season to perfection and pour over the pasta.
  • Shake the dish to distribute the sauce evenly, grate over the remaining Cheddar, and bake at the bottom of the oven for around 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

Left overs - one whole dish and 2 spare tubes

I had to split mine into 2 dishes (one with 10 tubes and one with 6) as I didn't have a dish big enough fot all 16 tubes.

Overall I really enjoyed the dish and I would definitely have it again (but maybe as a lasagne to avoid the cannelloni stuffing).

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