Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

3 cups low fat ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. fresh or dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla brand works best for me)

To finish:
6 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.  Pour boiling water in a 9x13 pan and put the lasagna noodles in the water in batches.  Let them soak until pliable, about 5 minutes.  Remove them from the water and put on dishtowel or cutting board with short ends facing you.

Spread 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom 3/4 of each noodle.  Roll the noodles up around the filling.  Place the filled noodles on a cookie sheet and flash freeze.  Remove from cookie sheet and place in 2 to 3 zip loc bags (Each bag is a meal).  Pair each with a zip loc with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Freeze together.  Give each person a jar of about 3 cups of marinara (I didn't freeze that part as it is shelf stable).

To bake:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Place filled manicotti over the sauce.  Pour 1 cup sauce over the top, cover with foil, and bake for about 30  minutes.  Remove the foil, top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.  Bake 10 minutes more.  Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen 

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