Story by Cery Norvelle, originally posted BackToOurRoots.net
Preparing healthy make-ahead meals is one of life’s greatest joys. Well, ok. Maybe that’s a bit much. But I do enjoy having something that’s ready to pop in the oven when I get home on busy days. Of course, it’s not a bad thing on the not-so-busy days either.
This baked manicotti recipe is one that I put together from several different recipes I found in some old cookbooks. The cheeses are homemade as well as the spaghetti sauce, and the basil and parsley are from my garden. I get my eggs from a friend who has pastured chickens which is a huge blessing! The only thing in this that is not so good for you is the white pasta shells. Since we don’t eat pasta much (maybe once a month or so), and since my taste buds seem very whole wheat pasta resistant, I am ok with that compromise. You may, of course, use whole wheat, sourdough, or brown rice pasta for yours.
Baked Manicotti Ingredients
- 12 large manicotti – you can also use the shell shaped ones for fun
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
Prepare pasta according to package directions and rinse with cold water.
Put one cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Mix egg, ricotta cheese, 1 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, basil, and parsley in a small bowl. For easy stuffing, put the cheeses in a plastic baggie that seals and snip off a bottom corner. Insert the cut corner into the manicotti and squeeze the bag to pipe the mixture into the shell. Be careful not to overfill it or it may split. Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
Now bake this in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
I served this with a simple salad, green beans, and garlic toast made with the Italian Herb & Cheese Bread recipe that I also use for pizza crust.
This is really simple to make. You can even assemble the dish ahead of time and put in the oven when you get home from work. Just let it come to room temp while the oven is preheating. You’ll need to add about 10 minutes or so to the cooking time if you bake it cold.