I was gone a lot this Fall so to help out even when I wasn't around, I tried to plan as many meals as possible for my mother-in-law and buy all of the ingredients in advance as I wasn't quite as prepared as I needed to be to make the meals in advance myself and freeze them for her.
One of the meals I planned was Manicotti and it got rave reviews even from Big Sissy who can be a tad picky at times.
Although I had yet to try the manicotti myself, I knew it would be the perfect thing to make this past weekend when I got together with some amazing women to take part in my first ever Freeze-O-Rama. That's right, 12 women including myself with some help from Big Sissy and Little Sissy got together on Saturday to make up 12 batches of our selected recipe so that each of us would go home with one item from each other and essentially fill up my freezer for future use.
Now that I have made 12 batches of manicotti, I can tell you that it was a good choice from the relatively low number of ingredients and prep dishes required; however, it was very time consuming to stuff 120 manicotti shells.
|Although it required a low number of ingredients, 12 batches of manicotti requires a lot of ingredients.|
Thankfully, I had Big Sissy to help so we took turns using my mother-in-law's Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator. Unfortunately, we did break it with about 15 manicotti left to fill, but we managed to finish with some creativity and thankfully my GOODe friend, Cris, is having a online Pampered Chef party so I was able to order my mother-in-law a new one on the spot.
Saturday was a lot of fun and I can't wait to try all of the new dishes that are currently keeping my freezer company. Now I only hope that everyone likes the manicotti.
Here is the recipe for the manicotti if you are interested:
3 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ½ T chopped fresh parsley
1 t dried Italian seasoning
½ t garlic powder
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree, undrained
1 jar (26 oz) marinara sauce
8 oz uncooked manicotti noodles
1 pound Italian sausage (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 13X9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine ricotta cheese, ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in medium bowl; set aside. If using sausage, crumble in large skillet and brown over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain sausage on paper towel and drain fat from skillet. Add tomatoes with juice and marinara sauce to same skillet; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to low; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Pour about 1/3 of sauce into prepared dish. Stuff each uncooked noodle with about ½ c. cheese mixture. Place in dish. Top noodles with sausage; pour remaining sauce over noodles. Cover tightly with foil and bake 50 minutes to 1 hour or until noodles are tender. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining ¼ c. Parmesan cheese.
For the Freeze-O-Rama, I did not bake the manicotti. After it was all prepared, I covered it with Press N' Seal and then aluminum foil.
When ready to prepare, thaw, then remove the foil and Press N' Seal. Then recover with the foil and Bake @ 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
This post is linked to the following parties: GOODEness Gracious and Delicious Dishes @ Its' a Blog Party