Stuffed Manicotti

Manicotti

Easy Stuffed Manicotti - Double Recipe

Are you looking for a classic Italian dinner recipe that’s simple to prepare and one everyone will enjoy? Italian Stuffed Manicotti is the answer. Though it sounds complicated to prepare, you’ll be surprised how easy it really is. Stuffed manicotti is very nutritious and freezes very well. Just pop it in the microwave when hungry guests unexpectedly arrive at your door or when your night is running extra long. Make your dinner time a special time with the goodness of manicotti (or large shells) and everyone will love you for it. 

Manicotti Sauce
2 pound ground meat, such as beef, sausage, veal or turkey
4 tablespoons butter

Pasta Sauce
4 tablespoons salad oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 12-ounce cans tomato paste
4 teaspoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons oregano leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 bay leaf

1.  Cook onion and garlic in hot salad oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until tender, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.
2.  Over high heat, add tomato sauce and the rest of the ingredients over and boil.
3.  Reduce the heat to a simmer over medium-low and partially cover, cooking for 30 minutes. Throw out the bay leaf when done.

Manicotti Shells  (OR purchase pre-made pasta)
2 cup all-purpose flour
8 eggs
2 tablespoon salad oil
2 teaspoon salt
2 cup water

Filling
4 cups ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs
2 8-ounce packages coarsely shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare the pasta sauce and set aside. Then on low speed, use a mixer to blend pasta shell ingredients and finish by blending for one minute on medium speed.

Lightly coat a large skillet with salad oil and heat over medium-high heat. Slowly pour a large ladle of the pasta batter into the skillet and tilt pan to cover it evenly with the batter. Let it cook only until the top is set and dry and the underside looks lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Remove it to a piece of waxed paper and repeat until all the shells are complete.

In a large skillet, cook the ground meat with the butter over medium-high heat until the meat is browned. Then slowly add in the prepared pasta sauce and heat through.

Gently pour 1/3 of the hot sauce evenly among two large roasting pans about 15 inches by 10 inches or in one larger pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together all the filling ingredients, except the mozzarella cheese, until well blended. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of each shell and then add some mozzarella cheese. Carefully fold edges over cheese and place each shell in pan(s) with seam side down. Top with remaining sauce and bake for 30 minutes. This mouth-watering dish will produce 16 main-dish servings.

Hearty, Healthy Hash

14-01-20 hash browns 900x600

One of the most delicious and easily prepared dishes for a busy lifestyle is a hearty, healthy hash. The best thing about hash is that you can make it ahead of time and then freeze it in individual packages. To make your hash browns both hearty and healthy, use vegetables instead of meat.

You will need the following ingredients:
– 5 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
– 3 average-sized zucchinis
– 1 large onion
– 3 red bell peppers
– 1 pound of white bell mushrooms
– 3 stalks of celery
– 4 cups of chopped spinach
– 1/2 cup of olive oil
– 1/2 cup of butter
– Salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried parsley, to taste

Cut the potatoes up into bite-sized pieces, put them in a large pot of water, and bring them to a boil. Let the potatoes boil only for about five minutes, then remove them from the heat and drain. Next cut up the zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and dice the onion and the celery up into very small pieces. Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl to even distribute everything. Of course, you can substitute other veggies, such as cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

In a large frying pan, heat up the olive oil and the butter. (If you do not have a frying pan large enough to cook everything at once, this can be done in multiple batches, just make sure to split the olive oil and butter up accordingly.) Once it is hot, pour all of the vegetables into the frying pan, mixing them around as you do so to evenly coat everything with the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Allow this to cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes. About three minutes before you remove it from the heat, add the chopped spinach and stir it around. You do not want to overcook anything you make ahead to freeze, so remove it from the heat before the potatoes start to brown. Let it sit in the pan until it is cool.

This will make enough for eight meals serving four people, so have eight freezer-proof plastic containers ready. Evenly distribute the hash browns into the containers and seal them tightly before placing them into the freezer. When you are ready to use them, simply take one out and let it thaw on the counter for several hours, then heat up a frying pan and cook it until the potatoes are brown. Serve it as-is or with a sprinkling of cheese.

 

Cook Ahead for Easter Dinner

Easter spiral cut ham

Easter dinner is a great time to gather with family and a good way to celebrate the holiday. However, it can also be a stressful time. There are so many dishes to prepare, it can get very hectic. It need not be so, though. This is a great time to make use of your freezer and take the opportunity to make ahead part of your holiday meal.

What portions of the Easter dinner can easily be prepared within the days before the holiday and left in the freezer or refrigerator until the day of the meal? You can actually make many of the dishes that you will want ahead of time.

Dinner rolls are a great way to start your meal. These can easily be made ahead, frozen and reheated when they are needed.

Ham is a classic main dish at Easter dinners. This meat can easily be prepared ahead of time. Cook it a few days in advance, freeze and just reheat it on Easter day. Or you can buy a pre-cooked ham that keeps in the fridge a few days and just needs to be warmed up on Easter.

Another classic holiday food is turkey. Remember to leave adequate time to thaw in the refrigerator any turkey that you have prepared in advance. One of the more efficient approaches is to utilize a turkey breast rather than working with a whole bird. That will allow quicker preparation time as well as shorter thawing time. This works especially well if you are also serving another meat or are having numerous side dishes.

When it comes to side dishes, mashed potatoes are one side dish that often appears on the Easter menu. Fortunately, they are also a dish that can easily be prepared in advance and reheated. Slowly reheating them in a crock pot or preparing oven roasted mashed potatoes are two good paths to getting great results when you reheat them.

What would a holiday meal be without dessert? Pies, especially fruits pies, are ideal candidates for freezing. You can either bake them and then freeze, or you can prepare them and freeze them unbaked. Remember to allow enough time for thawing and baking, especially if they will be competing for your oven space.

With a little bit of cooking in advance, you can enjoy your dinner on Easter with a minimum of stress.

Bacon & Hash Brown Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 slices Canadian bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed and drained
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 16 (6") flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

PREPARATION:

In large skillet, heat olive oil and brown bacon and hash browns. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs and salsa; beat well until combined. Pour into skillet with bacon and potatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set. Spoon egg mixture into flour tortillas, sprinkle with cheese & roll. Place burritos in freezer bags and freeze.

When you want to serve them, put them in the microwave and heat for about 1-2 minutes on high power for each burrito.

(16 SERVINGS)

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Breakfast Mini Pizzas

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup butter, softened
5 oz. jar sharp Cheddar cheese processed spread
1/2 lb. spicy pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
12 English muffins, split

PREPARATION:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine the butter and cheese spread and blend well. Crumble the sausage into a large skillet and cook over medium heat together with the onion until sausage is cooked and onion is tender.

Drain well on paper towels. Mix the cooked sausage mixture with the cheese mixture. Spread mixture generously on split side of muffin halves. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Cool the ones you want to freeze and freeze individually on trays. Wrap well and place in heavy duty ziplock freezer bags.

To prepare, microwave each pizza for one to two minutes on high power until pizzas are hot and the cheese is melted. 24 pizzas