Monday, 5 March 2012

Dinner for 6 for $13.00

    Here is dinner for 6 which could really have been for dinner for 8 because there were leftovers.  This dinner cost approximately $13.00 ($20.00 if you include the delicious delicious Girls Night Out wine).  This meal was spinach cannelloni with broccoli and a cheese biscuit.  Not a 15 minute meal, but pretty fast and easy, and really tasty.
    So here are the recipes...

Spinach Cannelloni

1 box cannelloni noodles
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 bread crumbs
10 oz frozen spinach thawed
salt and pepper
sprinkle garlic salt.
1 bottle of spaghetti sauce

    I heavily salt my noodle water (1- 2 tsps).  I used oven ready noodles, but they are never really "oven ready".  I put them in boiling water for 5 minutes.  The next step that I take is to pour 3/4 cup of spaghetti sauce into a lasagna pan.
    Next I take out my handy food processor.  I throw in the eggs, grated mozzarella ( I use a fine grate), cottage cheese (ricotta is also an excellent choice), parmesan cheese (asiago is also amazing in this), the bread crumbs, salt and pepper, garlic salt.  I mix them all up.  Then I add the spinach.  Walmart sells a great product.  It is spinach that is frozen into almost like ice cube size.  I LOVE it.  I defrost 4 of the cubes in the microwave, then blot them really well with paper towel.  I then toss them in with the rest of the mixture and pulse it for a few seconds.  The reason that I do this is because experience has taught me that if you put the spinach in too early and too long, it turns everything bright green, which is great for Saint Patrick's day, but not my thing.

    I then take my mixture and put it into an icing bag.  This is the best trick ever!  I then take the cooked, rinsed in cold water noodles and start filling.  The best technique is to hold the noodle carefully and put it on the palm of your left hand (this stops all the filling running out of the bottom of the noodle, just ask me how I know this).  Then put each noodle into your lasagna pan that has the sauce in it.
Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of the noodles, then cover with tinfoil and cook for 15 - 20 minutes.  
    Last night I added a little variation to the above tried and true recipe.  I had gone to the sales cart at my grocery store to look for browning bananas (perfect for banana muffins), and discovered a bag of perfect tomatoes for $1.50.  There were at least a dozen... how could I pass this up?  So I diced about 5 tomatoes added diced green pepper, an onion and grated garlic clove.  I then threw them in my frying pan with olive oil.  The smell was like heaven.  When everything was tender, I scooped it onto the top of my cannelloni.

     When the cannelloni has cooked about 20 minutes, I pull it out, take the foil off and throw about 1/4 cup of parmesan and mozzarella cheese on the top.  I cook it uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Part 2 of the meal - Cheddar Biscuits (very close to Red Lobsters)

This amazing recipe I got from The Food Network Magazine (October 2009).  So good.

You will need...

1 3/4 cups all- purpose flour
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
4 tbsp butter cubed (I never do this part)
1 1/4 grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk

To top it...
3 tbsp melted butter
1 clove smashed garlic ( I use about 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 425.  I then put all of the dry ingredients into a big bowl.  I stir them around, then add the shortening and butter.  I like to use my pastry cutter, I really find it works great.  I guess you could pulse it in a food processor. Then add the cheese, then the milk.  I then use my scoop and put them onto a parchment sheet.

    Bake these for about 15 minutes or until a golden brown.  Then pull them out of the oven and brush the garlic butter onto them.  So so good.  Crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside.

    I topped off the meal with broccoli.  Contrary to popular opinion, my kids LOVE broccoli.  

I make this meal when I have a little more time to spare.  When friends and family find out I am planning to make cannelloni, I generally have to double the recipe, because people mysteriously stop by.


  1. have you ever used silpat instead of parchment? awesome stuff, usually 30 bucks but got mine from a hapless clerk at loblaws that didn't know the price, and paid only 10! Nothing sticks to it!

  2. I have never tried silpat, but have fantasized about owning it. Hopefully I will find a hapless clerk to ring me through. Thanks for the comment.