Manicotti with Chicken and Spinach… and the arrival of Sarah Faith

27 Jul

Earlier this week my cousin and his wife welcomed this little bundle of joy to the world.

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Sarah is amazing and adorable and I could not be more excited for Shaun and Shannon.

As my friends with children tell me, these first few weeks are both wonderful and exhausting.  Sarah will be growing every day, and likely keeping mom and dad up every night.  So to ease the burden a little bit, I’m making them some food to either cook right away or freeze for later.  This is the first installment, Manicotti stuffed with chicken, spinach and ricotta.  Here is the recipe!

1 box Manicotti

16 oz ricotta

2-3 chicken breast (you want about 1.5-2 cups shredded chicken)

1 1/2 Cups Mozzarella (1/2 cup for the mixture, 1 cup for the top)

1 bag fresh spinach (or 1 box frozen)

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg

Italian seasoning

Marinara of choice

To start this, I cooked the chicken in the crock pot, for me, it’s the easiest way to get the chicken to shred and it’s no fuss.

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I brought a pot of water to boil and added the manicotti.  The box says to cook it for 9-10 minutes, I only cooked it for about 5 minutes.  I under-cooked it a little since the manicotti would be baking as well.

While that was going on…

I steamed the fresh spinach and drained it really well (as spinach has a ton of water)

Then I mixed the chicken, ricotta, spinach, egg, garlic and seasoning together.  You know me by now, I suck at measuring, so I assume it was about a tablespoon of seasoning.  Maybe more.

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I poured a little bit of the marinara on the bottom of the aluminum pan I will be delivering this in.

I then washed my hands really well, because using my hands is the easiest way for me to stuff manicotti.  Some people use pastry bags, or ziploc bags, but they never work well enough for me.  Each was stuffed full and placed in the pan.

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I covered that with the rest of the jar of marinara and then a good bunch of mozzarella. I covered it in foil after the mozzarella was added and forgot to take a picture, so this is just with the sauce.

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I covered this and refrigerated it.  Shaun and Shannon can either cook it when I deliver it tomorrow or freeze it if they like.  It should cook for 60 minutes at 350.  The first 45 minutes  should be covered and the last 15 uncovered.

The only thing with freezing it (and it should freeze fine), is to thaw it out in the fridge at least overnight before cooking.

So I hope that they enjoy this one and that it helps take the load off a little bit.  I think I’m going to make them chicken enchiladas later in the week.

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