Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Four Cheese Manicotti (With Mushrooms)

I. Love. Italian food. I could live on pasta and pizza for the rest of my life. But eating out just isn't often in our budget, so I've had to experiment with making some of my favorites at home. One of those favorites is manicotti. I like it with ground beef/turkey or chicken with alfredo sauce. This time I opted for a vegetarian route--mind you, as a bit of a Southern girl, I will never be a real vegetarian. There is too much love for meat and BBQ in my family! Seriously, every time my in-laws have a grill out there are at least 3 different meats on the menu! But every now and then I like to take a break from meat and let my love for carbs live a little. So below I have a recipe for a meatless, four cheese manicotti. I added mushrooms at the last minute because I didn't have any spinach on hand and I wanted at least one veggie in there ;)

Can you tell I love Aldi? Haha.
What you'll need:

  • Manicotti noodles
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Colby Jack cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese (I used an Italian blend cheese because I needed to use it up)
  • Garlic salt
  • Eggs
  • Tomato sauce
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Fresh mushrooms (not pictured)

Before you start, grease a baking dish and layer the can of tomato sauce and about 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom.

First up, you'll want to mix all of your cheeses with the garlic salt and eggs.

Chop up some mushrooms....

...and add them to your cheese mixture. It's not the prettiest looking glob (and my photography skills are no help), but I promise you it is delicious. 

Now dump your mixture into a ziploc bag. You can use a frosting piping bag if you have one. I didn't, so I just cut the tip off of a quart size baggie and squeezed it out.

Can we just take a moment to relish the fact that not a single one of my noodles was broken? I usually buy all my groceries at Aldi, but they don't carry manicotti noodles so I stopped by Target. They didn't have any either! I didn't even see an empty spot for them, so I assume they just don't carry any either! So off to Walmart I went. They had one box of Great Value brand noodles and one box of Barilla brand. Obviously, as an avid Aldi shopper I am not afraid of generic brands. But the only box of generic noodles available was crushed to bits! So I ended up spending the extra 50 cents or so for the name brand. I'm still a little sour about it, but oh well.

Now stuff those noodles. Make sure the filling is spewing out the sides a little bit.

Lay your noodles in the pan. I used a 9x13 baking dish.

Layer the rest of the spaghetti sauce on top of the noodles. Make sure they're well covered since they're going in uncooked.

Now sprinkle some cheese on top! You may want to cover your baking dish with foil. I didn't and mine got a little more brown than I normally like.

Bake and serve! Yum!

Four Cheese Manicotti with Mushrooms

  • 1 box manicotti noodles
  • 1 15 oz tub ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 cups shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4-5 fresh baby portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 7 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease baking dish. Layer the tomato sauce and 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in bottom of baking dish. Rinse and dice the mushrooms. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the colby jack, the parmesan, ricotta, garlic salt, mushrooms, and eggs. Stir until well combined and fairly smooth. Spoon mixture into a piping bag or a medium size ziploc bag and cut the tip off. Fill each manicotti noodle with cheese filling until overflowing. Layer noodles in baking dish and cover with the other 2/3 spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered. Serve and enjoy!

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