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Manicotti-Gift of the Gods
Manicotti has been a favorite dish in my family since I was a child. My brother, sister and parents loved it and now my children and grandchildren love it. It is a great fix ahead dish and freezes well. Fix it days ahead and pop it in the oven about an hour before you are going to want to eat. This is a great dish for parties and family get togethers as it is festive, tasty, impressive and fairly easy to make. If you manage to make enough to have leftovers, it reheats well and seems to gain flavor by sitting.
We have all adapted this recipe to our own tastes and my stepson likes it with cheddar cheese. Adapting a recipe is fine and some of the things that we do with them are quite good. I encourage all to make this recipe your own by adapting it to your tastes. It just makes it more enjoyable.
My children have all helped me make this as they were growing up. We all have enjoyed filling the shells together, with the mom and child time. As they grew up, my sons used this dish to impress dates. They also impressed parents with this.
Combine with a tossed salad and garlic bread for a wonderful tasty meal. It will become a family favorite of yours also. This also seems to taste even better the next day, after the flavors blend together. Save your left-overs in serving sized containers for later in the week. It freezes well and tastes even better when reheated.
Watch for my next Manicotti hub, vegetarian and yummy also.
- 2 lbs. ground beef, cooked, drained and crumbled
- 1 egg
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 14 manicotti shells, par-boiled
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce, we prefer mushroom flavored
- 2 cups spinach, fresh, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Saute ground beef. Add remaining ingredients reserving one cup of cheese, the sauce and the shells. Mix thoroughly. The spinach is optional; although not affecting flavor it adds loads of vitamins.
- Par-boil the shells following package directions. Drain and cool by flushing with cold water. This stops the cooking of them and leaves them cool enough to fill.
- Prepare glass casserole dish or baking pan by smearing a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. This will keep the shells from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Fill par-boiled shells with meat mixture using either a teaspoon while holding the shell cradled in your hand or by inserting the mixture into a baggy, snipping a corner off and squeezing into the shell. I just learned of this method and have not tried it. I don't know why I never did as I use this method for other things. Isn't it amazing how stuck in a rut we get?
- Line the shells up in the pan touching but not crowding each other. When they are all in the pan, mix the remaining meat mixture with the rest of your sauce plus one cup of water. Pour this over the shells, making sure to cover every bit of the shells. Any parts of the shells not covered will be hard and crunchy. You want to avoid this. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Sprinkle a cup of shredded parmesan over the top, letting it melt. Let sit for 10 minutes to firm up before serving. This makes it much easier to serve.
|Serving size: 2 filled shells|
|Calories from Fat||432|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 48 g||74%|
|Saturated fat 22 g||110%|
|Unsaturated fat 21 g|
|Carbohydrates 32 g||11%|
|Sugar 9 g|
|Fiber 3 g||12%|
|Protein 46 g||92%|
|Cholesterol 186 mg||62%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|