Manicotti Monday

Looking for an idea for dinner tonight? One of our family favorites is homemade manicotti. This dish is not only delicious, but it is fun to make as well. Our whole family gets involved when someone starts making the dish. It is fun to stuff the shells. To make the dish healthier, we like to do a homemade pasta sauce. Pasta sauce is so important, so you want to make it right. I will include both recipes in this post!

2 cups homemade pasta sauce (or any brand)
14 ounces ricotta cheese
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
12 manicotti shells

Preheat oven to 350. Boil water and cook manicotti as directed on packaging. In a bowl, beat egg. Mix in ricotta, cheddar, and parmesan until evenly incorporated. Spoon cheese mixture into ziplock bag. Cut off the corner of the bag.

In a 9x13 pan, use about 3/4 cup of the sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Pick up noodle, and pipe the cheese mixture into each noodle, until full. I like to pipe from both ends. Once each noodle is filled, cover the noodles with the remainder of the sauce.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Add an additional cup of parmesan cheese when finished. Enjoy!

Homemade Pasta Sauce (Serves 4)
5 tomatos diced
1 white onion, diced 
2 T olive oil 
1 clove garlic 
2 T basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp thyme 
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt 

Pour olive oil into a pan. Saute onions. Add tomatoes, garlic, thyme, basil, bay leaf and salt. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked down. Remove bay leaves and serve fresh or save. 

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