The founder and owner of Dallas pop-up bakery Vee’s Bakeshoppe, Veronica Fletcher counts her mother and both of her grandmothers as cooking inspirations. “Even at an earlier age, I learned a lot by just watching them,” says Fletcher, adding that she’d sit by the chair nearest the stove to get a good look at the action. “As I got older, I began to ask ‘why’ as they moved through the steps to bring a dish or dessert about.” Born and raised in Dallas, Fletcher was also influenced by Tex-Mex cooking, which she occasionally blogs about at her website, veethebaker.com. Her Mexican Manicotti recipe is a south-of-the-border spin on manicotti with pimientos, Mexican-style shredded cheese, and green onions.
- 4–5 uncooked manicotti shells
- 1 cup chicken breast, cooked and cubed
- 1 cup salsa, divided
- 1/2 cup reduced fat or low-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 tablesoons kalamata olives, diced
- 1 tablespoon diced pimientos
- 1 green onion, sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1⁄3 cup Mexican-style shredded cheese blend
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine chicken, ¼ cup salsa, ricotta cheese, olives, pimientos, green onion, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread ¼ cup salsa in the bottom of the dish.
Using a small spoon, fill the manicotti with the chicken mixture. If you have an icing piping bag, you can fill it with the chicken mixture and pipe it into the manicotti. Place the filled manicotti into the baking dish and top with the remaining salsa.
Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and filling is heated through. Remove from oven and serve.
Cook's Note: This recipe can easily be doubled to serve a larger group.