This is for Kristin, my niece. Chicken Manicotti is one of her favorite dishes and when she asked me the other day for my recipe I couldn't believe that I had neglected to post it. It is one of our family's favorites, and quite easy to make once you get past handling HOT manicotti noodles.
I think I have asbestos hands.
Manicotti shells stuffed with a mixture of chicken, cheese, spinach, breadcrumbs and Italian spices, for me it just doesn't get any better. I'm giving you the 'down and dirty' version of this recipe — you could spend all day in the kitchen stewing chicken and making homemade sauce — but why would you?? This recipe is simplistic in nature using, frozen chicken, spinach, pre-grated cheese and Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce — you know I'm a huge fan!
I'm not going to lie.
Rao's sauce is not inexpensive, costing about $7.00 a jar, so feel free to use your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce. Also, forgive the fact that a few of the photos below are blurry. Trying to take clear pictures of hot noodles in boiling water was not the easiest task for me — the steam kept getting in the way. All the steam and hot noodles aside, this Chicken Manicotti is delicious and decadent, bringing smiles to the faces of the ones I love. Hope you and your family enjoy as well!
Chicken Spinach Manicotti
Pass up time-consuming and go straight to delicious with this Shortcut Chicken Manicotti recipe!
SERVES 6 to 8
- 1 (8-ounce) package manicotti shells
- 4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
- 2 (8-ounce) containers Kraft chive-and-onion cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 2 (8-ounces) packages Kraft Natural Shredded Italian Five Cheese Blend; divided
- 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian spices
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (24-ounce) jars Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Garnish: chopped fresh basil or parsley, optional
WHAT TO DO
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Stir together chicken and next 8 ingredients; using only 1 package of grated Italian cheese.
- Taking pasta shells out of water, cut lengthwise. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently pressing cut sides together.
- Mix pasta sauce and cream together. Pour two cups of sauce in the bottom of 2 lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dishes, 1 cup in each dish.
- Place stuffed manicotti shells, cut sides down, on top of sauce in baking dishes. Pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Top with remaining package of grated cheese.
- Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish, if desired.
TIP FOR A QUICK WEEKNIGHT MEAL:
Prepare and stuff manicotti shells. Wrap tightly with wax paper; freeze individually and keep in a freezer bag until ready to serve. Let thaw in the refrigerator during the day. Unwrap and place in a baking dish; top with your favorite pasta sauce, and bake as directed. Quick and easy, using only the amount of shells you need. It's really an effective time-saver and conserves money as well.