Easy Meatless Manicotti- a confession!

(originally made 7/21/2008)

I'll admit it.   I looked my lovely husband and child in the face and lied!   I prepared this recipe for lunch today, and it was simple, delicious and filling.   But when they asked, what is this green stuff?  I replied  "fresh basil!"      LOL   Because if I'd let on that it was spinach, neither of them would have eaten it!     I cut the amount way back, used about 1/3rd of the package and made sure to chop it up with the spoon as much as I could.    As a result, I only had enough filling to do 10 shells, but there is plenty leftover!    I love, love, love that you do not have to boil the shells before you fill them, it is so much easier, I spooned my filling into a ziploc, cut the corner off and piped it in.     I served ours with store brand Texas Toast, perfect for sopping up the cheesy sauce.      


                     
Easy Meatless Manicotti

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese -- (8 ounces) divided
  16            ounces  fat-free cottage cheese -- --used [art skim ricotta
  1            package  frozen chopped spinach -- (10-ounce) thawed, drained, and squeezed dry --only used about 1/3 of pkg)
     1/4           cup  grated fresh Parmesan cheese -- (1 ounce)
  1 1/2      teaspoons  dried oregano -- --used Penzey's Italian Herb Mix
     1/4      teaspoon  salt -- --omitted
     1/4      teaspoon  black pepper
  1            package  manicotti (14 shells) -- --only filled 10
  26            ounces  fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
                        Cooking spray
  1                cup  water
                        Crushed red pepper flakes -- --added at table

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Yield:  7 servings (serving size: 2 manicotti)

CALORIES 328 (25% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 4.8g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.5g); IRON 3mg; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 451mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.3g; SODIUM 891mg; PROTEIN 23.8g; FIBER 3.9g

Cooking Light, MAY 2005

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