Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

 Hello my pasta loving friends, today's dish of the day is straight from the WeightWatchers cookbook. I love this diet cookbook because it actually has recipes that taste. good.
But don't take my word for it, test this recipe out!
You'll see in the ingredient list that it calls for plain tomato sauce; don't worry, it won't taste plain. All the spices added to it give it such a kick. Once it all starts simmering, your kitchen your entire house will smell amazing!

Let's go to Italy!

Cheese Stuffed Manicotti
serves 6

1t. Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
15 oz. can Tomato Puree/Sauce
2t. dried Oregano
1/2t. dried Basil
1/4t. ground Pepper
15oz.-20oz. Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (whatever size you can find)
1 1/4c. Part Skim shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4c. grated Parmesan Cheese
1 large Egg, lightly beaten
2T milk
1/4c. chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
12 Manicotti Shells (tubes), cooked almost completely

In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat the oil. Saute' garlic about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, basil, and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce head and simmer for 15 minutes. Enjoy the aroma!
Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9x13 inch baking dish.
In bowl combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, parsley and milk. 

To fill pasta shells, spoon cheese mixture into a gallon sized zip-lock bag. snip the corner of the bag about 3/4 to one inch. Hold the pasta tube gently, in the middle, and squeeze/pipe cheese filling into each pasta shell. Squeeze slowly or the tube might break. If the pasta tube is already broken/ripped down the side, just pipe a line down the center of the tube, and place seam side down in the dish.

Place all stuffed manicotti shells in baking dish, pour sauce over top. The sauce doesn't completely cover the pasta, it's ok!! 
Bake about 30-40 mins or until brown and bubbly. 

Nutritional Info (2 shells):
Cal 368
Fat 15g
Carb 36g
Fib 3g
Prot 25g

This was a huge hit, and I was excited that it turned out so well the first time around. Everyone loved the sauce, but 1.5 out of 4 people thought it could have used more sauce (obviously someone was undecided). You could probably use more tomato sauce, but the amount here is just so jam-packed with flavor that you really don't need it, and wouldn't want to tone it down. 
~But try it out and see for your self. Let me know what you do!~

Boo helped me with stuffing the shells, that was quite a process. Quite a few will split down the side while boiling, so you just have to hold them right. Manicotti shells come in a plastic tray in a box so that they don't smash each other. I kept the trays so that post boiling, I could keep the noodles separated. Let me tell you, these noodles stick like there's no tomorrow! This worked really well. Make sure you pipe the filling in slowly, or you may bust the middle of a noodle clean open.

"It was like heaven in a tube!" -Boo.

Parsley on FoodistaParsley

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