Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mushroom and Spinach Manicotti

So cheesy, hearty, and delicious you won't miss the meat , I promise. It does take awhile and is a bit messy so start early. It is definitely worth the time, especially since you will get about 4 meals out of the leftovers. The manicotti go into the oven uncooked so filling them is much easier than if you were to cook them first. Feel free to use the cheese filling simply as a base and add your own favorite vegetables, meats, and herbs etc.

prep time: 45 minutes
cooking time: 1 hr 10 minutes

  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1: 16-ounce carton fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1/2 package spinach
  • 1: 8 oz. package mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
  • 1 jar Classico Tomato and Basil Sauce ("fixed" from recipe "Easy Tomato Sauce")
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 plastic ziploc sandwich bag
  • 1: 13x9 baking pan

-Preheat oven to 400F
-prepare Tomato Sauce

-put cottage cheese in a food processor and pulse until it's almost smooth (this gives it a ricotta like texture)
-put cottage cheese in a medium sized bowl and set aside
-rinse food processor

-put 1/3 container of mushrooms in food processor and pulse until chunky (continue with rest of mushrooms)
-Heat sautee pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and then mushrooms and garlic
-While mushrooms are cooking: add 1/2 bag of spinach to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (this can also be done by hand if you prefer bigger pieces of spinach)
-Add spinach to pan with mushrooms and continue to cook and stir until everything is tender

-Add 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, parmesan cheese, dried herbs, and garlic salt to cottage cheese and stir until combined (smell it to see if it is seasoned enough, if not go ahead and add more herbs until it is the way you would like)
-Once mushrooms and spinach are cooked add to cheese and herb mixture and mix thoroughly

-Spray pan with cooking spray (Pam)
-Put 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of pan, just enough to cover it

-Fill the corner of a ziploc bag until it is about half way full
-Close bag making sure to squeeze air out of it while doing so
-Cut a small bit off the corner of bag (better to cut too small than too big, you can always cut more off if you need to)
-Squeeze filling into one end of the manicotti and then the other end making sure to fill them completely
(use a butter knife to push filling into middle if necessary but you should be able to fill it with just the bag: don't be afraid to push some filling out of the other end to fill the middle
-Place each manicotti in pan making sure they don't overlap (there will be room for all of them if you put 10 horizontally down the middle and 2 on each side vertically)
-Refill bag as needed
-If there is a little bit of filling left you can smear it on the ends of the manicotti

-Pour remaining sauce over tops of manicotti
-Next pour water into pan and cover tightly with tinfoil

-Bake for 1 hr 10 minutes, until noodles are tender
-Let stand outside of oven covered for 5-10 minutes
-Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and serve

7 servings
per serving (2 manicotti): 325 calories

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