Friday, November 20, 2009

Stuffed Manacotti

When I have some odds and ends in the fridge I feel like using I generally tend to make manacotti. I don’t follow the traditional recipe, or any recipe for that matter and it turns out a little different each time. I love experimenting with the different flavors and the tasty combinations that come out of it. I am going to share with you some of the most common mixes that I use, to which I will usually add whatever odds and ends of veggies and cheeses I have in the fridge.

The reason I am sharing this? I am slowing becoming obsessed with freezer meals. These make a fantastic freezer meal, just stuff the shells and freeze. Then when you want to eat them you can pull as many out as you would like, put them in a dish, top with some sauce and cook. You could freeze them as a ready to go in the oven dish as well, but I find freezing individually gives me more flexibility.

I am sorry for the lack of amounts for these recipes, but I just toss things into a bowl and then stuff as many shells as I can with what I have. Make the mixture look right to you and your family’s preferences.

Chicken Alfredo Manacotti

Cooked chicken (this can be breasts that have been cubed or shredded, or ground chicken, or even turkey)
Ricotta cheese (you can substitute cottage cheese if you want)
Veggies, finely chopped (I love using greens with this, green pepper, broccoli, spinach)
1 box manacotti noodles
Alfredo sauce*
Cheese for topping (cheddar, mozza, swiss, Parmesan)*

Spinach Manacotti:
Ricotta (or cottage) cheese
Chopped baby spinach (or frozen chopped spinach)
Manacotti noodles
Pasta sauce (I use a can of tomato sauce, with Italian seasoning added to it)*
Cheese to top (cheddar, mozza, parmasan ect).*

Sausage Stuffed Manacotti
Cooked chopped sausage (or ground sausage filling cooked, ground beef cooked)
Ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese if you prefer)
Veggies finely chopped (shredded carrot, zucchini, peppers, onion, spinach ect)
Manacotti noodles
Pasta sauce (or tomato sauce with seasonings of your choice)*
Cheese to top*

* if you are freezing individually, you will not need these ingredients until you are ready to cook the dish.


1.In a bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, veggies and meat. If it looks a little dry you can add a tbsp or two of the sauce.
2.In a large pot cook the manacotti to eldante, if you overcook them they will split and be a little harder to work with. We will be baking this, so they will soften up more.
3.Using a small spoon (teaspoon) spoon the filling into each of the cooked noodles. Place the noodles in a casserole dish if you wish to cook them for supper (or freeze as a put together dish), or on a cookie sheet to freeze.

To cook:

1.Take the stuffed pasta out of the freezer and let thaw a little, in a casserole dish.
2.Pour the sauce over the stuffed pasta, and sprinkle cheese on the top.
3.Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes (if they went in frozen you may have to cook them a little longer. If they look like they are getting a little dry, cover them). The cheese on top should be bubbly and the manacotti should be hot through.

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