Chicken Florentine Manicotti Alfredo

Received my new Southern Lady magazine. I have wiped off the drool from the front cover as it displayed a gorgeous pecan-date pie which is just divine and went quickly pass the desserts in search of a new dinner recipe. This one sounded like it was meant for today, since we woke up to 27 degrees and need something that will “stick to our bones”. Of course during the last 2 months we have found lots of recipes that have “stuck to our bones”. That is why we are shopping this week for new clothes…a size larger. Of course we always say that we are just going mall walking, but in reality, all we do is walk into the stores and see what is on sale. But it sounds great when friends call and ask what we have been up to. “oh just got back from our walking the mall.”

Makes 6-8 servings *This recipe also freezes very well

4 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup firmly chopped green onion

1 teas garlic powder

1 (8 oz) package manicotti, cooked according to package directions

1/4 cup butter

2 tables flour

1/2 teas salt

2 cups whole milk

1/4 teas ground white pepper (I am cheating and using black, do not want to go back to grocery store)

1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tables Italian seasoning

1/2 teas ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, spinach, cream cheese, green onion, and garlic powder.

Beat at medium speed until well combined with hand mixer. Spoon chicken mixture into manicotti and place in prepared pan; set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add flour, salt and white pepper; cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk, continuing to whisk. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 4 min, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Spoon sauce over manicotti and sprinkle evenly with Italian seasoning and pepper.

Bake for 35 to 40 min or until bubbly and heated through.

*To make ahead and freeze you can completely make the casserole and just cover and freeze without baking. When ready to serve, thaw completely and bake in preheated 350 degree oven, uncovered for about 40 minutes or until bubbly hot.

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