Sausage Manicotti

Back in the day when I ate a lot of frozen dinners, my favorite one was cannelloni with tomato sauce.

I think it was that frozen dinner that actually inspired me to come up with this manicotti recipe.

This recipe includes some cottage cheese to go along with the traditional ricotta cheese filling.  But if you prefer, you can use more of the ricotta cheese in place of the cottage cheese.

It also includes a quick homemade tomato sauce but you can most certainly use bottled spaghetti sauce if you prefer.

You can make this dish meatless too if you like.

I added Italian sausage this time but I’ve used hamburger and ground turkey in the past and they were really tasty too.

This manicotti is so delicious and goes great with a salad and garlic bread.  Ultra yum!

Let’s check out the ingredients:

Also….

Shredded mozzarella….

….and Italian sausage.

Here’s how to make it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Sauce:

Dice the garlic.

Heat a  pan on low to medium heat.

Add the olive oil.

Then add the chopped garlic, and

stir for just a second before adding the tomato sauce.

Next, add the tomato sauce.

Add the oregano….

….the dried basil….

….the pepper….

….and the red pepper flakes.

Then add a few dashes of salt.

Stir the sauce,

cover with a lid and let simmer on a very low heat while you make the filling.

For the Filling:

Add the cottage cheese to a medium size bowl.

Then add the ricotta cheese…..

….and the parmesan cheese.

Chop the green onion, spinach and fresh parsley.

Add the chopped spinach….

…..the chopped green onions…

….and the chopped parsley.

Next, add the shredded mozzarella….

….and the ground meat.

Then stir the ingredients together.

For the Manicotti:

Stuff the manicotti shells with the cheese filling.

In a casserole dish,

add a layer of the sauce to the bottom.

This is a small casserole dish that’s perfect for one serving.  Just eat it right out of this cute dish.

Lay each of the stuffed manicotti in the casserole dish.

Spread the sauce over the top of the manicotti.

Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve hot right out of the oven and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

You’ll want to have seconds.

Sausage Manicotti

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic
2 cans Tomato Sauce (15 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ teaspoon dried Red Pepper Flakes
3 dashes of Salt

Filling:
½ cup Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta Cheese if you Prefer)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
½ cup chopped Spinach
2 whole Green Onions (chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (Italian or Curly Parsley)
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup cooked Ground Meat (Italian Sausage, Hamburger, or Ground Turkey)

Manicotti:
1 box Manicotti Shells (12 to 14 count)
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (for topping)
¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (for topping)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Sauce: Dice the garlic. Heat a pan on low to medium heat. Add the olive oil. Then add the chopped garlic and stir. Next, add the tomato sauce, oregano, basil, pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir the sauce, cover with a lid and let simmer on a very low heat while you make the filling.

For the Filling: In a medium size bowl add the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, green onions, parsley, mozzarella cheese, and sausage (or your choice of ground meat). Then stir the ingredients together.

For the Manicotti: Stuff the manicotti shells with the cheese filling. In a casserole dish, add a layer of the sauce to the bottom. Then lay each of the stuffed manicotti in the casserole dish.

Spread the sauce over the top of the manicotti. Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Serve hot right out of the oven and top with grated parmesan cheese.