Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lunch - Cheese Manicotti

Ok, well a few have asked for this recipe. I can't remember where I found it but I'm still tweaking it to get it to my families taste preferences. Using different cheeses, subbing spaghetti sauce for cheese sauce, etc. Still haven't got it so that the whole family likes it, but I've accomplished 3 out of 4, and that's not bad considering that the one in disagreement is our pickiest eater! So here's a picture of lunch today. 
The dish on the left was prepared following the recipe with the exception of today I didn't add ham to it. 
The dish on the right was prepared exactly the same EXCEPT where it asked for cheese sauce on the bottom and top, I used a Veggie Spaghetti Sauce. 
And my Breadsticks, just the Boxed New York Brand, but they are yummy :D
Here's the Recipe.
Ham stuffed cheese manicotti
Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes


14 manicotti pasta shells
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (I subbed in Garlic Powder to taste)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1-2 cups cooked cubed ham
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I've used mozarella, Colby/Jack, Mexican blend, and they are good too.)
6 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
6 Tbsp. flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook manicotti as directed on package. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, and green bell pepper in 4 Tbsp. butter or olive oil until tender. Add ham and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
In another heavy saucepan, cook 6 Tbsp. butter or olive oil until foamy. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Add milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens. Stir in cheese. Mix 1/4 of cheese sauce with ham mixture.

Fill manicotti shells with ham mixture (your fingers work best for this; it's messy, but most efficient). Spread about 1/2 cup cheese sauce in greased 13x9" glass baking dish and arrange filled shells over sauce. If there is any leftover stuffing, just sprinkle it over the filled shells. Pour remaining cheese sauce over filled manicotti. At this point the casserole can be cooled in the refrigerator, then wrapped and frozen up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, then uncover, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. If not freezing casserole, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until bubbly. Serves 8
Enjoy! And if you cook this differently and like the results, leave me a message and let me know. Like I said I'm still looking for that perfect recipe for my family and this dish!

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