Monday, March 11

SPINACH-CHEESE-CHICKEN STUFFED MANICOTTI

Over the years I have collected many recipes representing different cuisines and styles my family and friends enjoy. Tried, tested and true, they are the cream of MY crop. This Italian dish is such a recipe, ranking very near the top of our list. It is by far the P's favorite meal and one of the most requested recipe from my 'box'. It may look or sound difficult to prepare but by using pre-packaged foods this Italian dish makes a wonderful weeknight meal but still oh so spectacular enough for company. 

Simply delicious and tasty, this recipe is one of my coveted blue-ribbon winners. And let me just stop right here and say, if you are lucky enough to win a blue ribbon at the State Fair of Texas hang on to that recipe tight! The SFofT food competitions are fierce and there aren't enough words to describe the level cooking coming from the kitchens of these superb cooks!! It has been a joy to compete along side them for so many years.


SPINACH-CHEESE-CHICKEN STUFFED MANICOTTI


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 {8-ounce} package manicotti shells
  • 4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 {8-ounce} containers chive-and-onion cream cheese
  • 1 {10-ounce} package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 cup {8 ounces} shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 2 jars Rao's Pasta sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 {8 ounce} bag Kraft Five Italian Shredded Cheese

WHAT TO DO

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Stir together chicken and next 6 ingredients.
  • Mix Rao's Sauce and heavy cream. Cover the bottom of 2 lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dishes with Rao sauce/cream mixture; set aside.
  • Cut pasta shells lengthwise through the other side. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in the Rao/cream mixture. Continue until all manicotti shells are filled and in baking dishes.
  • Pour remaining Rao/cream mixture over stuffed shells and cover with Italian Cheese.
  • Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish, if desired.

I use pre-packaged frozen chicken strips, thawed 
and give them a good medium chop.
I crush my own breadcrumbs, mainly because I don't use them often enough and they go stale. I add a teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning mix in with my bread crumbs. And notice, I SQUEEZE all of the liquid out of my spinach....it does make a difference.
THE DIVINE SPINACH-CHICKEN-CHEESE FILLING!
These puppies are hot right out of the boiling water....WORK FAST MY FRIEND!

.....FILLING....
....ROLLING....
.....and OH THAT DELECTABLE, DELICIOUS and DELIGHTFUL RAO'S SAUCE.....
....pass the bowl please!
In the pan they go....e-i-e-i-oh-MY!

ALMOST DONE... but who needs to wait to sneak a quick bite???
Bar the door......you have been warned.












If you and your brood love Italian food, this meal IS for you!  Prepare, fill and place the manicotti in a serving pan, cover and refrigerate or freeze for a quick and easy weeknight meal.


In case you were wondering, this is Rao's Sauce,
coming to you from the legendary NYC Trattoria.
You can find it in most local markets.
ENJOY!
~THE DOMESTIC CURATOR~
RONDA





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