Sausage and (shhh…Spinach) stuffed Manicotti

What’s my inspiration:
I know what you are thinking, spinach…yuck.  But in all seriousness, when used in a classic italian recipe like this, you won’t even taste it.  I promise!  Plus, spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants.  If you can’t taste it in a recipe AND it’s good for you, what is stopping you from trying it?  Fear, anxiety, or maybe just plain stubbornness?  I get it.  I watched someone a few weeks back ad spinach to an egg bake and secretly thought ‘yuck’ to myself.  However…it was actually amazing!  As I watched her ad spinach into the egg bake, I realized I could sneak this into just about anything!  And I did.  I threw together the below Manicotti recipe based loosely off my F
at Cat Lasagna combined with the egg bake recipe I saw made a few weeks back.  Results?  A tasty dish with a healthy kick.  Making this for kids I ask?  Easy – Just tell them it’s some sort of green candy or something.  I’m sure that my advise will work, especially since I don’t have kids and have absolutely no experience feeding them anything.  So easy to give advise when you have no experience right?  Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 1 package Manicotti (about 14 shells)
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (24oz)
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage (ground)
  • 1 – 9oz package frozen spinach
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • 15 oz ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • Pepper

What you do:

  • Heat oven to 350
  • Cook noodles according to package directions – about 7 minutes (do not overcook or noodles will fall apart when you try to stuff them.)
  • Cook sausage on stove top
  • Drain excess water from spinach (put spinach in a kitchen towel or paper towels to remove excess water)

    shhh...spinach!

  • Mix 1 cup mozzarella, ½ cup Parmesan, ricotta, egg, spinach, and sausage.  Season with pepper to taste
  • Pour ½ cup of spaghetti sauce on bottom of 9×13 pan
  • Fill cooked manicotti noodles with sausage, spinach and cheese mixture and line up in 9×13 pan
  • Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over manicotti
  • Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese
  • Cover with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Serve!
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