Monday, October 3, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Manicotti Made Easy!

This is something that Mark and I came up with.

Manicotti Made Easy!

1 Package of Manicotti Shells (14 shells is best)
1 Package of Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
1 lb. of cooked ground beef (or any other type of ground meat. Sausage meat, removed the casing is also good)
1 Cup of Shredded Cheese (Mozzerella is best, but we used Cheddar and it was fine)
1 lb. of Ricotta Cheese (400-450g container; Half fat Ricotta can be used)
2, 700ml Jars of Pasta Sauce, preferably Catelli's Garden Select Parmesan and Romano or Tomato and Basil
(My tomato allergy forced us to substitute one jar of pasta sauce for a jar of alfredo sauce)
2 Eggs lightly beaten
Seasonings for the meat mixture (preferably Italian Herbs, like Savory, Basil, Thyme, etc...)

Preheat oven to 350F. Boil the shells until they are slightly flexible, not too hard, but not soft and fully cooked either. Mix together spinach, meat, shredded cheese, ricotta cheese and 2 eggs until you have a uniform mixture. Prepare the pans, at least 1-inch deep, big enough to fill at least 4 shells per pan (we used 4 9 x 9 foil pans). Grease the tins, and put sauce at the bottom of the tins, not too much, just enough to cover the bottom. To fill the shells, take a ziplock bag and cut out one bottom corner. Fill the bag with meat and cheese mixture, and use the bag to squeeze the filling into each shell. Place the shells into the pan and once the pan is full, cover the noodles with sauce, and garnish with parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, covered, and then uncovered for 10 more minutes. Serves 5-7.
If you have extra filling leftover which can happen take about a cup and 1/2 of noodles, some type of sauce and lots of cheese. Mix the noodles, sauce and leftover filling together and cover it in the cheese. Bake the same way as the manicotti and it makes a really yummy pasta bake. Okay I didn't try it when I made it due to using tomatoes, but according to the men in my life it was really good.

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