It is a Momstown Recipes post today, highlighting back-to-school cooking, hidden veggies and a make-ahead/freezable meal! This is a really yummy stuffed manicotti recipe I developed made with extra lean ground chicken, veggies and a spinach-ricotta cheese mixture. Makes 28 manicotti – cook once and eat twice (or more!). Easy to freeze and then you have a nutritious homemade meal ready in the freezer vs store bought. Check out my delicious sneaky manicotti recipe by linking here to momstown.ca or see below:
- 2 boxes of manicotti pasta (usually come 14 per pkg)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for pasta
- 1 lb (454g) extra lean ground chicken
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 large carrot, grated
- salt and pepper to season
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 284ml can of sliced mushrooms (cut up if pieces are too large)
- 1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 475g container of light ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup grated light mozzarella plus more to top manicotti
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- 300g box of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
- 2 x 650ml jars of your favourite pasta sauce
- Heat a large skillet to medium high. Add olive oil and then ground chicken. Begin to sauté until it starts to brown. Add in onion and carrot. Season with salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning.
- Continue until chicken has browned and then stir in mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.
- Transfer meat mixture to a bowl to cool while you prepare pasta and cheese mixture.
- Fill a large stockpot with water, add some salt and bring to a boil.
- Cook manicotti one package at a time for 6 min. Remove manicotti with a slotted spoon to a large oiled cookie sheet (prevents sticking). Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on cooked manicotti as well to prevent sticking.
- While water is coming to a boil and manicotti is cooking prepare the cheese mixture by combining the ricotta, garlic, mozzarella, Parmesan and spinach.
- Once meat mixture had cooled stir in cheese mixture to complete the manicotti filling.
- At this point you can choose to bake the manicotti or freeze it in aluminum ready-to-bake pans.
- Line your baking dish or aluminum pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce. Stuff the cooked manicotti with the filling (I use a small spoon or mini spatula), and place into the baking pan. Finish by adding some grated mozzarella to the top of each portion. To freeze, top with aluminum foil, label and pop into the freezer.
- To bake from fresh, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, removing the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- To bake from frozen, bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Removing foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Serve topped with some freshly grated mozzarella, a nice side salad and some garlic bread for a delicious dinner.
Tip: if you choose to bake the manicotti right away from fresh you can also cool it and freeze it in 1-2 manicotti portions for easy microwaveable dinners!