I'm so sorry I haven't been around recently. I'm just not coping with this heat wave at all well. The sun I love but the humidity.... well maybe not. I have "wonky" lungs and the humidity makes it difficult to breathe. I'm so scared to go anywhere without my inhalers and just can't sleep at night.
I hope everyone is being really careful in this heat. Wherever you are honeys, stay out of the sun as much as you can, drink lots of water and keep inhalers close at hand if you use them.
I was determined to make something yummy for Hubby's dinner last night, bless him he's working in this heat in a shirt & tie in a too warm office. I decided on a healthy version of one of his favourite dinners, cannelloni. There was still the humidity to deal with though, so how to make a delicious cannelloni without fainting clean away in the kitchen?
The result was to use a few shortcuts that not only made the cannelloni so easy to make, it took no time at all to make too! So here is the result honeys, what do you think?
I love to cook. I adore trying out new recipes, using ingredients I haven't used before and even finding new ways to make old favourites. We've always loved cannelloni, the difference being that I used to always make it with beef mince and finely chopped onions as filling but this has been passed over for our new favourite, healthier version using spinach and delicious creamy ricotta cheese :)
As I said though, because of the heat I wanted to spend as little time at the stove as I could.
One of the short cuts was to use a package of cannelloni tubes instead of rolling the filling inside strips cut from fresh pasta sheets. It was just as delicious and it certainly cut down the preparation time yesterday.
I also raided our pantry & freezer for a jar of lasagne sauce, a carton of chopped tomatoes, and one of my favourite products, a cube of frozen garlic. I so love this! Each cube of garlic is equal to a single clove of garlic and because they're in the freezer ready to use, they're so convenient too. Along with grated cheese and a lovely tub of ricotta cheese from the fridge I was ready to make something wonderful :)
Shall we get started honeys?
Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni
1 carton of chopped tomatoes
8 pieces of frozen spinach
1 cube of frozen garlic
1 (250g) tub of ricotta cheese
1 pack of cannelloni tubes
1 jar of lasagne sauce
Grated cheese for the top
1 Fetch a casserole or lasagne dish and empty your carton (or tin) of chopped tomatoes into it, making sure they cover the base of your dish.
2. Carefully place a pot of water on the heat to boil. Remove the water from the heat and extra carefully add your spinach to the pot. I used frozen spinach but if you are using fresh honeys make sure to wash it well first before using.
Return the pot to the stove, reduce the heat a little and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully drain. Once drained use a slotted utensil such as a large spoon or potato masher, press the spinach gently till you've removed as much water as you can.
3. Add the ricotta cheese and garlic cube and mix well until combined.
4. Fill cannelloni tubes with your spinach & cheese mixture. I do this using a piping bag :) It really is the easiest & quickest method. Just remember to allow it to cool first!
5. As you fill each pasta tube, place them into your casserole dish on top of the chopped tomatoes, forming a single layer of filled cannelloni tubes.
6. Place as many filled cannelloni tubes across the bottom of the dish as you can until you've filled it. You'll notice I still had a tiny bit of space in the top right hand corner & managed to fit one more. I then added what was left of the spinach & ricotta mixture so as not to waste it.
7. Cover the cannelloni tubes with a layer of white lasagne sauce. Again, since the idea was to spend as little time in a steamy hot kitchen as I had to, I used a jar of store bought sauce which was lovely but nothing beats a wonderful creamy béchamel sauce. Sprinkle lots of your favourite cheese, grated, over the top of the white sauce. I used Red Leicester this time but normally our favourite is Scottish Cheddar.
8. Carefully place your cannelloni into the middle shelf of the oven at 180C (360F) or 160C (320F) for a fan oven for 40-45 minutes until a knife easily goes through the pasta.
Yesterday was apparently (according to the news) the hottest day across the UK for seven years, here on the West Coast of Scotland we hit 28C! Now I know that compared to other parts of the world this might seem trifling but for us Scots this is practically unheard of. We're more used to rain and wooly jumpers :)
Hubby loved his dinner and I was so pleased to still be able to have something delicious ready for him coming home in spite of the melting temperatures. So, that's it honeys :) A delicious spinach & ricotta cannelloni made super easy using pantry (and freezer) staples.
Super delicious served with either fluffy mashed potatoes or a side of your favourite steamed vegetables. Yum!
Over to you honeys, how do you adapt favourite recipes to make quick & easy versions of them for "too hot to be in the kitchen" days? Any hints for coping with the heat would be nice too, any ideas? do share in the comments section below.
Till next time then dear ones, keep smiling & hugging and especially be careful in the sun, hugs always xx