I was just thinking about this recipe a few days ago; little did I remember it was in our family cookbook that my Grandma put together many years ago. I have to admit I didn’t actually make it today but if my childhood memories of this are worth anything I know it is delicious. I am posting it as is was written but I have to admit I would probably add some garlic, italian herbs, and some parmesan if I were making it today.
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cups uncooked egg noodles
15 o.z. jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
1 cup mozzarella cheese
In skillet cook beef and onions until meat is brown and onions are tender. Butter a 2 quart casserole; spread uncooked noodles evenly in baking dish. Drain fat from beef and onions and sprinkle meat mixture evenly over top of noodles. Mix water and spaghetti sauce and pour over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes; sprinkle with cheese, return to oven and bake an additional 3 – 5 minute until cheese is melted and bubbly.
This manicotti came out so deliciously that I think the recipe speaks for itself. I did make mine a bit spicy with a spicy spaghetti sauce and crushed red pepper stirred in but I know this would be fantastic with any style sauce you choose.
Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti
8 o.z. dry manicotti noodles
8 o.z. fresh mushrooms ~ sliced or diced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic ~ minced
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 o.z. fresh spinach
15 o.z. ricotta
1 cup italian blend cheese (or a mozzarella and parmesan combination)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper if desired
1 jar spaghetti sauce
additional cheese for the top
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Careful not to over cook ~ they will finish cooking during the baking process.
Meanwhile cook mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat about 8 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked as desired. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and spinach. Continue cooking about 2 more minutes until spinach is beginning to wilt. Remove from heat to cool. (I did not drain because the juices were very flavorful; it did make the cheese mix a bit wet but I think it was worth it for the flavor)
Combine ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of cheese and crushed red pepper. Stir into mushroom and spinach mixture.
Spread about 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce in 9 X 13 pan. Fill manicotti with ricotta, mushrooms, and spinach mix. I used a zip lock bag with the corner cut out to fill each shell. I think this would have worked a bit better if I’d cut my mushrooms smaller and had a thicker cheese mix (perhaps chilling the mix would have firmed it up).
They were a bit sloppy but once filled I lined them up in baking dish.
I then topped with remaining sauce and some extra cheese.
Chill until ready to bake if making ahead. I was making these ahead so once ready to cook I heated the oven to 400 degrees and baked covered for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. I would think they may cook about 10 minutes faster if baking right away so adjust the time accordingly.
I decided I wanted crab for dinner and couldn’t quite decide how to fix it. Once Charles go home I rattled off the ideas and stuffed shells just seamed perfect. This was a terrific combination. I considered using some cream cheese since I had some in the house but I don’t think it was necessary; I almost scrapped the idea completely since I didn’t have any ricotta. The mozzarella and goat cheese though worked perfectly. I did use real crab meat that I picked from the few legs I had in the freezer but I am sure a canned crab would work too. The fresh basil, jalapeno, and green onion added the perfect touch. Very meaty and cheese; just the way we wanted.
Stuffed Shells ~ Pasta shells with Crab and Goat Cheese
15 pasta shells
1 1/2 cups crab meat
6 o.z. goat cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 green onions ~ thinly sliced
1/2 jalapeno ~ diced
1 tsp fresh basil ~ chopped
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Cook shells according to package directions. Mix together crab meat, goat cheese, mozzarella, green onion, jalapeno and basil.
Place about 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in large casserole dish. Stuff cooked shells with mixture and place in baking dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Here’s the lasagna I mentioned yesterday in my basil post. This came out very well. I used a square pan so I needed to trim my noodles a bit and really only used 7; adjust pasta as needed for your pan size. I really enjoyed the fresh mozzarella but any mozzarella will work. Fresh mozzarella is a bit moister and softer than the pre-shredded type but both have their own charms so use your favorite or even an italian cheese blend if desired.
Cook meat and add salt and pepper if desired. In small bowl combine ricotta, egg, basil, and parmesan cheese.
In bottom of oiled baking dish pour about 1/4 cup of spaghetti sauce. Lay 3 noodles across bottom of pan ~ trim noodles if needed; I used a square pan so my noodles were a little long. Layer 1/2 of the meat, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce and about 4 ounces of mozzarella.
Repeat with next layer. Lay final layer with noodles top with remaining sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle with additional parmesan if desired.