Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Three Cheese Manicotti with Chicken

I found this recipe on MMM Cafe's blog and modified it a little. The original recipe didn't call for chicken but given that I was going to be feeding this to my baby I wanted a way to sneak in some protein. It worked well and Brad couldn't get enough of these. I'll definitely be making these again.

This picture is from Mmmm Cafe's blog. I took a before but not an after pic-My boys were hungry and I got distracted =)

1 box of uncooked manicotti shells
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
leaf spinach, minced (optional)- I omitted the spinach this time, but I have added it before and it is yummy.
3 cups spaghetti sauce
2 smallish chicken breasts

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and cook thoroughly. Once the chicken is cooked in a blender or food processor blend the chicken (you could also boil and shread the chicken)- See note below. Cook the manicotti to al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, seasonings, half a cup of spaghetti sauce, chicken and spinach(optional).

Spread 1 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of an 9x13 baking dish. Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture; arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and manicotti is heated through.

***NOTE*** I had made these before and had quite the time trying to stuff the manicotti noodles with the cheese mixture. This time I got smart and used a piping bag and piped the mixture into the noodles and it worked like a charm. Much easier, allot less messy and a million times faster. The original recipe called for only 10 uncooked manicotti noodles, but I found that the mixture made much more than 10 noodles. This recipe could easily make a 13x9 pan full.

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