Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

Lent in our home means no meat on Fridays. My family is super big on meat in the meal, so it gets tricky. Well, we're working on sticking to a budget now, which means that we can't just order sushi every week and call it good. I've jumped into Pinterest looking for ideas. Last week I tried this delicious recipe for Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti which turned out brilliantly. I'd never made anything like it before and I've been forever changed. Shawn ate himself into a food coma. So recipe 7 of 52 was a major success.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed completely and squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 box (12-14 shells) manicotti noodles
3 to 4 cups marinara sauce (about 2 jars or use homemade)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the spinach, cheeses, eggs, salt, and pepper. Stir together until well blended. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13 inch pan and spread it around to cover the bottom. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner. Hold and uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell, letting it over flow on both sides. Place the filled shells into the sauce lined pan. Continue until you run out of shells.

Cover the pasta completely with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan on top. Cover with foil and bake covered for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.


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