Mexican Chicken Manicotti

I had never in my life had manicotti before. Strange, given that I love ricotta and pasta, but true. Anyway, I had this idea early last week of what I was going to make this past weekend, but by the end of the week I had no idea what. I kept trying to figure it out, but all I could remember was that I was going to make it for my mom and not eat any of it because I didn’t like whatever it was. So I busted out the Betty Crocker app and told it to surprise me, and Betty totally came through. Thus, my new idea was born. On a side note, while I was shopping for ingredients, I suddenly remembered I was going to make some sort of stuffed mushroom, so check back nest week if you’re into that.

This is not Betty’s recipe exactly, but here it goes:

  • Manicotti – rough estimate of 2 per person
  • Ricotta – fyi, it has a weird texture before you cook it if you’ve never used it
  • Chicken – or any meat, or no meat if you’re a vegetarian
  • Seasoning – of the taco variety, I didn’t use any **spoiler alert** but it needed something else
  • Peppers and onion – I used red and green bell peppers and white onion
  • Garlic – one clove smooshed with a knife should suffice
  • Salt and pepper – again, didn’t use them initially

All together

Cook the pasta the way it says on the box. The take everything else and mix it all together.

Be really carefully stuffing the filling into the pasta. Wet noodles are not your friend.

When they’re all stuffed, it’s time to top 🙂 Salsa first, then cheese. Lots of cheese….

Then you pop in the oven at 325 degrees, until hot, and enjoy 🙂 Mine were not fantastic. As you read earlier, I forgot a couple things, but it would certainly have been tastier if I hadn’t. But it was still pretty good 🙂

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Irish Cheddar, Roasted Garlic and Herb Twice-Baked Potatoes

I know, I know, cheese and potatoes again. But really, what’s the point of learning to cook if I make things I will never eat? Plus, I got the worst hankering for TBPs at work on Friday, and I just couldn’t help myself. I had to make them. So read, enjoy, try not to drool all over your keyboard, and go get the ingredients to do it yourself 🙂

You need:

  • Potatoes – Idaho and russet are the best, I used russet
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • A whole head of garlic – trust me, it doesn’t go as far as you’d think
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and various herbs/seasons to taste
  • Cheese – I used Irish Cheddar, but you can use whatever you want, so long as it doesn’t turn into a goopy mess in the oven

Turn your oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This recipe is pretty cool because you can just leave it at the same temperature. I started with roasting the garlic. Here’s the basics of the recipe: cut of the pointy end, peel off the papery stuff, add some olive oil and salt, cover with foil, and stick in the oven till the cloves are soft, approx. 40 minutes. Here is a more detailed description of how to do it at one of my favorite sites, browneyedbaker. I could do it myself, but really, there are so many out there, that if I do do a post on it, it’ll be some kind of garlic bread recipe…ooh, idea!

Back to TBPs. You have to let the garlic cool, or you’ll burn your fingers. Fortunately, you can move on to baking the potatoes at this point. I feel like you could easily do this in the microwave, but I also feel like that is cheating. At least the first time. Anyway, since you have this nice and hot oven, when you take out the garlic, put in the potatoes. Leave the potatoes in for about an hour. When you take out the potatoes, squeeze the garlic out of the rest of the papery stuff that you couldn’t remove. Seriously, it’s like warm butter. Make sure you don’t get the papery stuff in the garlic.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides. Mash them up with some butter, salt, pepper, and your favorite seasonings to taste. I used an Italian blend, and it was fabulous. You also need to add milk till it gets to the right consistency. It seemed to take quite a lot for my potatoes, but some recipes say it only takes about a quarter of a cup.

I actually mashed the butter and seasonings up together so I could control the flavor a little better.

Once you have your mashed potatoes, scoop them back into the hollowed out skins. Top with tons of cheese, and pop back into the still hot oven for another 20 minutes. It gets all hot and awesome and melty and it awesome! I couldn’t believe how simple it was. I had built it up in my head to be this horribly difficult process, but it was so easy! Just a little time consuming, but worth it 😀

Hello world!

As you may or may not know, I’ve been considering a switch to another platform. So here’s step 1: Pick WordPress and a theme and test it. It’s like the same old EuroMex, but grown up 🙂 Feel free to let me know what you think!