Stuffed Manicotti (Make it Ahead)

Cooking for a small household can be a challenge especially when there is only one or two.  Recipes are usually family or party size when it comes to dishes like manicotti.  I bought a box of manicotti shells that called out to me at the grocery during a pasta sale. It was a 2 for one.  I got it and another type of pasta.  I added a few other items that was needed, which I did not have on hand, to my grocery cart.  The basic recipe was on the back of the box.

When it came time to make them, I got to thinking that I didn’t want a partial box of manicotti shells in my cupboard.  I still have the part used box of lasagna noodles from the roll ups I made.  So I did a deep dive into my cupboard and small chest freezer because I had only bought half the amount that was on the box’s recipe. I had two small aluminum pans that come with waxed carboard tops that I purchase at my local dollar store.  They come two to a package for a dollar.  I use them to freeze food.  They are ideal for small casseroles. I always keep a pack on hand for that. Because I depend on the local food bank to help me make it from social security check to the next months,  I have items like peanut butter and canned tomato soup that seem to multiply in my cupboard.

That led me to do a search looking to see if there was recipes for using tomato soup in manicotti and there was several recipes.  I could mix the condensed soup with the tomato sauce I had.  To stretch the ricotta cheese and spinach I thawed out a pound of ground beef.  I chopped up some frozen mushrooms that I had froze from the food bank when they had a large donation of them a couple of months ago. The mushrooms were cooked with the ground beef, onion, garlic and Italian herbs.  I left that cool while I cooked the pasta.

To cook the pasta, I didn’t put the whole box in at once.  I only put enough that fit the bottom of my large pot.  I was able to do all of them in two batches.  A little vegetable oil in the water helps to keep them from sticking to the pot and to each other.  I followed the directions for the cooking time on the box.  I laid them out on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet after they were done to cool.

I followed the general directions on the box to make the filling, mixing the meat into the spinach and ricotta cheese.  After the manicotti was stuffed I made the sauce.  I poured some tomato soup undiluted on the bottoms of the two freezer pans and a casserole dish. The stuffed manicottis was divided up between the three pans.  The sauce I made was a can of spaghetti sauce and two cans of condensed tomato soup.  All it needed was a little more spice to taste.  I didn’t cook the sauce just mixed it.  I ended up with more sauce then what I needed so I put the left over sauce in a baggie to freeze.  I made sure the two pans that was to go in the freezer had plenty of sauce to cover the manicotti.  It freezes better with sauce all over the noodles. Less freezer burn that way.

DSCN3836 (2)

 

Foil needs to go on top if the pan first then the cardboard top. After that you fold down the edges over the cardboard.  Place the whole thing into a freezer bag.  I like the bread bags that have twist ties.  You can make a more compact package with twist ties squeezing out the air.  They also fit better.


DSCN3840.JPG

I ended up with tonight’s dinner and two casseroles for the future and some tomato sauce for a future dish.

DSCN3843.JPG

 

I normally give a small introduction and the recipe but I wanted to demonstrate how you can make meals ahead.  Many of the more recent cook books I have found at the thrift stores have many recipes for only 4 servings.  For cooking for one or two people this system is ideal.  You can still enjoy a family type dinner by dividing up the recipe to freeze for a future meal.

 

21 Comments Add yours

  1. I have never made this dish and was hoping you were going to have the stuffing recipe too.
    Making ahead meals is something I need to start doing, it would save a lot of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      I grew up around old world Italians that came here in the first half of the 20th century. When it came to making stuffed pasta, it was ricotta cheese, egg, grated cheese that you had on hand, spinach and some times cottage cheese. The spinach was blanched and the water squeezed out, the ricotta cheese was also drained. You dumped it a bowl and you used your hands to mix. You seasoned it with a little garlic and herbs. You could get creative with cooked meat also. You will find a recipe on the back of the manicotti pasta box at the grocery store. There is also you tube videos that show you how to make manicotti. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwymbtQ4jxI Thanks for your comment. It is not hard to make.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. trkingmomoe says:

          You are welcome. Just have fun with it. It is a hard dish to screw up. It may turn out messy looking but it will taste fine. There are many recipes out there, just chose the one that fits your budget and skill level.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks tasty. Good to be organised. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      My family would disagree on the organized part. Thanks for stopping in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL.
        We need to get a new freezer. I’m especially missing it now…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. trkingmomoe says:

          Mine is just a 3.5 cubic ft. I live in a trailer but I sure put it to good use. I even use the top of it to photograph my food.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sounds good to me. 🙂
            Money is a bit tight, so we’ll have to wait a bit for our new one. The last one lasted for 26 years! (I moved back in with my parents).

            Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s an awesome idea! It sounds absolutely delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thanks you for stopping in.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sophie says:

    Yourd dish looks just stunning & so inviting too! Great clever thinking ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. athome7 says:

    I grew up in a very Italian household. Love making manicotti. So great to see recipes like this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thank you. Everyone has their own filling and sauce that they like to make.

      Like

  6. I was looking back through your recipes – this is a great one! I am going to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trkingmomoe says:

      Thanks. It is nice to have something in the freezer for later on a busy day.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s