Three Cheese Manicotti

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Do you want to make a casserole without a bowl, a spoon or a pot? You do? Then this is the casserole for you. I make this often and double to have extra in my freezer to give away.

You DO NOT cook the manicotti prior to filling and freezing. That’s what makes this recipe so easy. The other easy part is the method to mix the filling ingredients. You mix the filling in a freezer bag by kneading it.

You start by preparing your pans with sauce in the bottom.

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You dump the filling into a gallon size FREEZER bag and gently knead until it is mixed up.

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Then you cut a small corner of the bag; about  1/2″. You want the filling to flow easily through the opening, but you don’t want it to pour out too quickly.  Don’t cut it too small because there will be too much pressure and the bag could burst. Once you do it a couple of times, you will get the feel of piping cheese into the shells. I fill one side horizontally and then turn the shell and fill the other.

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Fill all the shells dividing between two 8×8 pans or one 9×13.

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Cover all the shells with the marinara sauce. I use Hunts when I don’t have time to make homemade marinara.

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Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.

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Cover the pans with heavy duty foil labeled with thawing and cooking instructions. This is the most important part when you’re giving a casserole away. It’s handy for people to have the instructions right at their fingertips.

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Shells are $1.50 at Wal-mart and the sauce is $1. Cheese prices range. I leave out the parmesan cheese sometimes and it’s still great. You can substitute ricotta, but try the cottage cheese. It makes a terrific ministry meal to give away to someone in need and it’s easy because there’s “no cooking” involved. P.S. Your family is a ministry too, so be sure to double this recipe to have enough for them and others in need.

Three Cheese Manicotti

Filling Ingredients (gallon bag)

2 cups cottage cheese

1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese

Add:  1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning

¼ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Remaining Ingredients:

1-8oz. package manicotti

½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Jar or can of favorite marinara sauce (I use the $1 can Hunts marinara)

Cooking spray

Directions:  Combine filling ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag and knead until thoroughly mixed. Clip a small corner, about 1/2”, of the bag and proceed to fill manicotti according to tray size.

2-8×8 pans:  Spread ¼ cup sauce into each pan if making 2-8×8 pans Pipe ½ of your cheese filling into each tray of manicotti.  Top each pan with ¼ cup mozzarella and 1/8 Parmesan cheese (half of bag)

1-9×13 pan:  Spread about ½ cup of marinara on bottom of pan.  Pipe all cheese into both trays.  Pour about 1 ½ cups of marinara on top.  Spread with ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ Parmesan cheese

**Cover manicotti shells entirely with marinara sauce.

Label foil and spray with cooking spray to prevent cheese from sticking.  Cover pan(s) completely.

Baking Day: Thaw completely for 24 hours. Bake covered at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Printable three cheese manicotti recipe

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Bonus Philadelphia Creme Cooking Party

 



This is our last freezer cooking class and we’re going to end it with a big shebang celebrating our hard work. But we have one last casserole or two to put in the freezer for a crazy night. You will use your convenience chicken and your free santa fe cooking creme. We’re making Easy Santa Fe Chicken Enchiladas with minimal ingredients. There’s still room for a couple of more participants. Comment below if you’re coming and we’ll save you a seat. I’m making black bean and corn quesadillas for the class. Feel free to bring in a few sides and we’ll make it a meal. Suggested sides, include salad, tortilla chips, salsa, nine layer dip, mexican rice or a dessert, forks, plates, cups-we’ll  be healthy and drink water. Bring whatever you want and we’ll enjoy a night off from cooking. Comment below on the item you’ll bring. Ask hubby to treat himself and the kiddos and kick back and enjoy this class.

You’ll enjoy your coupons, cooking creme mini-cookbook, bamboo spoons, grocery pad and magnet as a take home. I look forward to seeing you one last time before we break. However, I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re keeping up with the freezer cooking process. Just take baby steps and double family favorites and try new ones like the enchiladas below. See you on Thursday.

Santa Fe Chicken Enchiladas Printable Recipe. Plus bring a bowl and can opener, (no spoon needed), maybe a cookie scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup, cooking spray, sharpie marker, knife and chopping board, unless you slice your green onions at home.

Looking forward to one last class!

Double Bubble it-Black Bean Casserole

 

Don’t you need a night off from cooking? Sure, we all do and this casserole is so easy to whip up from pantry staples, like corn, black beans, tomatoes. Mix in some mexican cheese and voila, you have a meatless mexican meal to serve a king.  We make this NO COOK recipe in freezer cooking class and the ladies go home and stash one in their freezer. It’s beneficial to make two casseroles; I call it “double bubble”. Eat one for dinner and freeze the other. This is an easy casserole to freeze because there is no browning meat or boiling pasta, which makes it QUICKER to throw together. So why not make three if you plan ahead and buy the ingredients? Some of you meat eaters out there might want to throw in some cooked taco meat or chicken, but it really tastes hearty without. Black beans is always a protein winner.

Plan ahead and make a this casserole one night this week and freeze an extra for a meal later this month. Pair it with a salad and/or cheese quesadillas for the kiddos and take a night off (or 2 nights if you’ve frozen an extra)

Printable Recipe Mexican Black Bean Lasagna

Frozen Dinner-Ding!

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Do you remember the frozen TV dinners growing up?  They had separate sections like a lunch tray and we actually ate them in front of the TV as a treat. Everyone got to pick out their own meal at the grocery store so we could all have different ones. I think I picked out a chicken breast (that part I can’t totally remember) because we didn’t eat them that often.

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We actually had these small frozen pot pies more often and boy did they take an eternity to cook. It seemed like an hour or more and sometimes the middle would still be frozen.

Those were the days-frozen convenience. I admit I enjoy having a night off from cooking, but I want a nice hot meal and NOT a store-bought TV dinner.  Tonight was one of those nights when I spent more time cleaning the dishes than I did with my hands preparing the food. Everything we had was FROZEN. I did thaw out the manicotti 24 hours ahead of time, but the green beans and bread sticks and dessert were still frozen at 3:30 today.

All I had to do was parboil my green beans (from this summer) and return them to a clean bath water with olive oil and salt to simmer for an hour.  That was the end of my cooking.  I threw 2-8×8 pans of manicotti in the oven for an hour (see my easy no-boil recipe here). I removed the bread sticks and cookies from the freezer.  After an hour I placed the bread sticks in foil for fifteen minutes.

Here is our modern whole foods TV dinner. 5 minutes of hands on prep.

and for dessert, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies (already baked)

Whatcha think? You can cook once and eat one or two times without having to lift a finger (okay, maybe your forefinger to ask the kids to wash the dishes:) Have you considered cooking and freezing extra this year?

Spinach Quiche

My friend gave me this recipe after I tried it at a MOPS meeting. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s so easy to whip up and it’s very tasty. It’s great for a brunch, appetizer snack or a main entree served with salad, fruit or muffins.

The top of my quiche has bell cutouts that I made with a little extra dough. I made it seasonal for the holidays. Cutouts make pies a little fancier.

Another note: I accidentally bought the cut leaf spinach instead of chopped so my spinach appears more than what it does when I purchase the correct box of chopped spinach.

I’ve used chopped fresh onion when I have been without French’s onions, but it doesn’t quite taste the same. The French’s dehydrated onions make this quiche. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pie crust (Pillsbury, frozen or homemade)

1-10oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs

1 cup shredded cheese (sharp is good, but any works)

1 cup French’s dried onions (small can works)

Directions:

Whip eggs and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into an unbaked pie shell.  Bake 350 for 45 minutes.

Freezer Recommendations: You can bake and cool this Quiche on a cooling rack and wrap entirely with foil. Freeze and thaw completely before reheating. I recommend reheating in the oven with the foil for about 40 minutes until hot.

Do you have a good quiche recipe? Please share!

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