Monday, April 1, 2013

Chicken and 3 Cheese Manicotti

I think SPRING is finally here!  I mean as it stands the snow is nearly ALL gone, and our pattern here in Nebraska, is when it is gone, it is time for more.  Please, mother nature I beg you, NO MORE SNOW!  Hoping you had a wonderful Easter and the Easter Bunny was good to you! 

I am on a use up streak.  How do all these things get pushed to the back, the corners, the bottom of the fridge, cupboards and pantry, freezer??  I keep thinking how spoiled and blessed we are to be able to buy food, we forget we bought.  So this recipe was born out of using up what I have on hand, and it sure stretches a buck, using 1 lb of ground chicken to feed 4-5 people.  Before you ask....Yes, you can use ground pork or ground beef.  I prefer chicken, and always try to use ground chicken breast when I can.  I only buy it when it is on sale or in the "used meat" section.  HA.  That is what my dad always called marked down meat when we were kids.  It stuck I guess. I figure if I am going to go home and use it the same day or the next day or pop it in the freezer, it is fine, and I am taking advantage of the mark downs.  I urge you to do the same.   I also find ground chicken breast a healthier option although with all this cheese, I am not sure it matters!!  Yes it does, it is real food, made at home, and that alone makes it 10 steps ahead of anything store bought!

On the cheese, use what you like.  I did use whole ricotta but change it to skim if you like.  I had bought ricotta for something else that didn't pan out, so to speak.  The grated cheeses, the same, if you want to change it up or you only have Colby or muenster or parm, use it!  This as always is my recipe, my method, when you choose to make it, it is your recipe, just use my method, because you know it is the best. (ok stop laughing), anything is possible once it gets into your hands, so be creative or make it word for word, either way you won't be disappointed!

Chicken and 3 Cheese Manicotti
1lb ground chicken
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg
2-3 cups crushed tomatoes or your favorite marinara
1 box Manicotti Shells (14 shells)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet, place ground chicken, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Brown until chicken is completely cooked through.  Set it aside and let it cool. 

While that is happening, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add in plenty of salt to the water and a drizzle of oil.  Place shells in and cook according to package directions.  When they are done, slowly pour out the hot water while running cold water into the pot.  When they are cool enough to handle, completely drain, set aside.

In a large bowl mix chicken, all cheeses (1 cup of mozzarella here) and egg together.  Mix until completely combined. 

Using a small spoon or piping bag with no rip, fill the shells.  There should be exactly enough filling and you can be generous with it in each shell!  Fill and place into a pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Line them up however you need to, in order to get them to fit.  I actually used a small pan and a large pan as I was making it for 2 separate meals. 

When you have them all lined up, pour over half of your crushed tomatoes or marinara.  I like to pour it down the center, and spread it a bit, leaving the ends uncovered because it looks prettier!  (you will notice I went further than just the center this time!) Do it however you want.  Now sprinkle your remaining mozzarella cheese over the top, then add the rest of your tomato product on top. 

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and hot all the way through!

Make sure to serve this with a good hunk a' crusty bread!!

Your "maniGOT = manicotti" Chefwannabe

No comments:

Post a Comment