I have never realized that you can actually get manicotti in supermarkets! I came across this while I was shopping at Walmart and couldn’t wait to try it out! Here is a quick and east recipe for you to try!
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped spinach
1 chorizo sausage - diced
salt and pepper
1 cup marina sauce or tomato sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1. In a large bowl, mix together the cheese, spinach and chorizo sausage. Season the mixture with olive oil and salt and pepper.
2. Stuff the mixture into the Manicotti, make sure it’s nearly full as the Manicotti can break easily when it’s not fully stufffed
3. In a narrow and shallow pan, scoop the tomato sauce to line the bottom of the pan
4. Place the Manicotti on top of the sauce and bake at 360'C for 30 minutes until it’s fully cooked and the shell is soften.
5. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top when ready to serve
Or in this case, let’s eat manicotti stuffed with spinach, chicken, ricotta and mozzarella and baked with a homemade marinara sauce. It’s not hard to make and it does a soul good to snuggle in every once in awhile with a nice plate of cheesy pasta.
You can prepare most steps of this meal ahead of time and then just pop the casserole in the oven an hour before dinner.
To create this, I made my cheese and spinach filling and added 2 cups of diced, cooked chicken from last night’s rotisserie chicken. I covered the filling and set it in the refrigerator. As I prepared the marinara sauce I got a big pot of salted water to boil and cooked a package of manicotti to al dente. After the pasta had drained and cooled I filled it with the prepared filling and set aside the filled tubes on a sheet pan. To assemble, I spooned some marinara sauce into several casserole dishes and add filled pasta. The remaining marinara was spooned over the pasta and grated cheese was sprinkled over the tops. I covered the dishes with foil and put two in the freezer and the third in my refrigerator. After I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen I felt smug the rest of the day knowing that my dinner for just the two of us was ready to be popped into the oven an hour before it was time to eat.
Bake the casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 15 or until cheese is melted and beginning to bubble. Turn oven to broil and broil until cheese gets golden. Let casserole sit for 10 minutes before eating.
Stuffed manicotti! Oh my goodness SO GOOD. I actually made three fillings. All had ricotta and Parmesan reggiano cheese. One had sautéed mushrooms and garlic (mom’s), caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms (mine), and the last was ground veal and beef with basil, sage, oregano, and garlic (dad’s).
Salad not pictured but that was just lettuce mix and dressing.
This cheese filling is fantastic in lasagna, manicotti, or stuffed shells. Or, it can be used as a cheese spread on pita, baguette, toast, etc. It can also be dotted onto homemade pizza or spread on pizza dough, rolled up, and baked for Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Bread. It is a staple around my home.
This is a moderate to high spoons recipe, mostly because of heavy stirring, but it makes a lot and can be frozen in small portions. Also, the manicotti and stuffed shells can be frozen with sauce in individual serving size containers and heated later in a microwave when you are short on time and need a hearty filling meal.
Items you need:
measuring spoons/cups (optional)
cheese grater (optional)
knife for mincing garlic (optional)
15 oz ricotta cheese OR small curd cottage cheese
1 lb frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well drained)
½ cup parmeasan cheese (freshly grated or from a can)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp pizza or italian seasoning blend OR 1 tsp each oregano and basil
1 tbsp minced garlic OR about 2-3 cloves, chopped fine (I buy the jarred stuff)
salt and pepper (about ¼-½ tsp each)
Mix all this together in a large bowl, initially it will be very stiff, until well blended. If you want to use this as a spread, cover and refrigerate for a few hours for the seasonings to blend. Or, portion into freezer containers, cover, and freeze for up to 1 month.
Stuffed Shells/Lasagna/Manicotti (It’s all basically the same thing, just different shaped pasta)
9x13 baking dish and/or freezer containers
large pot for cooking pasta (only for stuffed shells)
strainer (for the pasta, only for stuffed shells)
pasta (lasagna noodles, jumbo shells, or tube manicotti noodles)
2 or 3 jars marinara or spaghetti sauce
For Stuffed Shells: cook the pasta according to directions on the box, strain and rinse in cold water until at a comfortable handling temperature. You can do this while you are mixing up the cheese filling.
For Shells and Manicotti: Pour a layer of sauce in your baking pan (at least 1 cup, I dump in a full jar). Fill the pasta with the cheese blend and place in the baking dish. Cover with more sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for about 1 hour (1.5 hours for Manicotti).
For Individual Portions of Stuffed Shells or Manicotti: pour ½-¾ cup sauce in freezer container, add in stuffed pasta (the containers I use hold 3 shells or 2 manicotti), top with 1 tbsp sauce per shell or 2 tbsp sauce per manicotti tube. cover and freeze for up to 1 month.(manicotti should sit in the fridge for a few hours before freezing). To reheat, microwave for 4-5 minutes until it’s hot.
For Lasagna: Pour a layer of sauce in your baking pan (same as above). Spread the cheese blend on 3 dry noodles and place in the pan, cover with sauce. repeat these layers until the pan is full. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 1.5-2 hours.
Optional: you can layer in cooked and drained ground meat to the pasta dishes.