Cheese stuffed Manicotti

Do you watch the Next Iron Chef at all? I think it’s awesome that this time it’s a Super Star battle. I also think that all these chefs could be the Next Iron Chef and they need to have an Iron Chef America 2. That way, everybody will be happy and we don’t have to see Bobby Flay battle it out all the time. It makes me wonder if he’s retiring from being an Iron Chef or which of the Iron Chef’s is retiring next? Morimoto possibly? We finally get to see all those judges on Chopped cook for once, too.

Manicotti, reminds me of the Italian version of enchiladas. The marinara sauce replaces the enchilada sauce, the manicotti shells replace the tortillas, and the cheese is used instead of beef/chicken. Although, I’m sure, either of those would be great in this too. What if I made a Mexican manicotti? *Mental note for next time.

One thing I learned when making manicotti is to use a piping bag to stuff the shells. That made it so much easier! I kind of followed this recipe but made it so that there were only 3 servings of manicotti. The husband is lactose intolerant so he got some spaghetti and just marinara sauce for his dinner. I didn’t use any spinach either, because I didn’t have any, but that would sure make it better and add some more fiber and protein.
Calories: 328 | Fat: 9g | Carbohydrate: 38.3g | Fiber: 3.9g | Protein: 23.8g

Servings: 7 (2 shells each)

Ingredients from Cooking Light

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese (I used ricotta)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry  (left out, but would add more fiber and protein)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 cup water

Preparation

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.