Kittencal's Cheesy Sausage Or Spinach Manicotti (OMAC)
August 06, 2011
Categories: Comfort Food, Dinner, Main Dish, Casseroles, Dairy, Cheese, Pasta, Manicotti, Vegetables, Spinach, Italian, Budget-Friendly, Cooking For A Crowd, Easy/Beginner Cooking, Freezer (OAMC), Entertaining, Fall/Autumn, Father's Day, Game/Sports Day, Potluck, Sunday Dinner, Weeknight Meals, Oven Bake, Make it from scratch more
"For this recipe the shells are stuffed then baked dry/uncooked which is probably the way you will make manicotti from now on, the shells will cook in the sauce. You should have enough cheese mixture to generously stuff 28 uncooked shells baked in two 13x9-inch pans. If you do not want to use them all the stuffed dry shells can be frozen to use another time. If you don't want to bake all the stuffed shells right away, the stuffed dry shells can be frozen to cook another time, just freeze the shells on a tray. When frozen solid, wrap each stuffed shell in foil (to prevent freezer burn) then place shells in freezer bags. When ready to use, unwrap the shells from the foil and place on a plate. Allow to thaw on the counter for a few hours or overnight in the fridge (they do not have to be completely thawed) . Bake as directed with sauce on the bottom of pan, if shells are still slightly frozen baking time may need to be increased. In order to cook the dry shells this requires a fair amount of pasta sauce so make sure you purchase or make enough sauce. Use your own sauce or store-bought, I make this with my #recipe23 Also please see my note on the bottom of recipe instructions."
- Serving Size: 1 (142.6 g)
- Calories 301.6
- Total Fat - 19.5 g
- Saturated Fat - 7.8 g
- Cholesterol - 45.5 mg
- Sodium - 875.5 mg
- Total Carbohydrate - 16 g
- Dietary Fiber - 2 g
- Sugars - 3.4 g
- Protein - 15.2 g
- Calcium - 296.4 mg
- Iron - 1 mg
- Vitamin C - 1 mg
- Thiamin - 0.1 mg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (set oven rack to lowest position).
Grease two 13 x 9-inch pans.
Pour one jar of pasta sauce into bottom of each pan (3 cups of sauce into each pan).
In a large bowl combined cottage cheese with next five ingredients. Season generously with seasoned salt and pepper starting at 1 teaspoon each (you can add more after chilling time).
NOTE: Make sure after you cook the sausage meat to mince it up as small as possible using your clean fingers.
Add the cooked sausage meat or drained spinach with 2 or more cups of mozzarella cheese or Italiano blend cheese; mix very well. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or even better 24 hours to blend all the flavors.
Remove from the fridge, if the mixture seems dry mix a little in sour cream.
Using clean hands stuff the cheese/sausage filling mixture in the DRY manicotti shells.
NOTE: at this point you can cover and refrigerate until ready to bake or you can freeze the stuffed shells, just thaw overnight in the fridge then proceed with the remaining 5 steps
Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce (yes you will be able to fit 14 stuffed shells in each pan!).
Top each pan with one jar of sauce (3 cups or a little more of pasta sauce over each pan).
Sprinkle remaining 2 cups Italiano blend cheese or mozzarella cheese over the top, then cover very tightly with foil. Bake 1 hour.
Remove from oven and remove the foil (at this point if you like more cheese add some on) Place back in the oven. Bake uncovered for another 20-35 minutes or until shells are fork-tender.
Let stand 15 minutes or more before serving.
NOTE: make sure to break up the sausage mixture very finely while cooking you don't want large clumps... and If your using spinach you can use fresh cooked or a box of frozen thawed, which ever you decide on make sure it is hand-squeezed dry, I used a box of frozen and thawed it in the microwave for 12 minutes then allowed it to cool
Tips & Variations
- 2 (13x9-inch) baking pans