Thursday, April 17, 2008

Manicotti (Great for Picky Eaters)

I know what you are going to say by just scrolling through the pictures, before reading this post. Hmm, this looks like the previous post with the enchiladas. You would probably be close to right. I'll explain my dinner time dilemma. I live with my husband, one tween and one teen. The cute and hunky hubby is not a picky eater but the other two humans are. Every now and then I get away with sneaking in some green things, mushrooms and goat cheese but I have to be REEEAL calculating. This week I'm trying to go easy on the homegirlz since they are have TCAP tests at school all week and I want them to eat what I cook and not scrape it into their napkin and tell me they're full and then fifteen minutes later they're into all the junk food they can find. In fact, my teen and pickiest eater I have EVER seen, thoroughly interrogated me about the ingredients. Spinach - nope, that white chunky cheese stuff (ricotta) - nope, mushrooms - nope, chunky tomato pieces - nope (I had my fingers crossed behind my back), any green stuff of any kind - nope (fingers crossed again). She elected to eat dinner with us and cleaned her plate. I should have gambled and added the shrooms...
This is very easy and your picky and non-picky eaters will love it!
Manicotti -

Boil manicotti shells for 7 minutes, remove from pot with slotted spoon and set aside to cool on wax paper.

While the pasta is cooking, grate about 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese 1/2 cup of Romano cheese and set aside.

Brown 1 lb. ground sirloin, add 2 cloves minced garlic, salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon basil and 2 tablespoons parsley.

Once meat is browned, drain any accumulated fat and then add 3 to 4 tablespoons of marinara sauce to meat to moisten it up just a bit.

Spoon some marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 oven safe pan; just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Carefully spoon meat in shells and place in baking dish.

Spoon more marinara sauce over the top of the shells (just a thin layer) and sprinkle Parmesan and Romano cheeses evenly over the shells.

Add an even layer of shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1-1/2 cups). Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Let stand for about 5 minutes to set. Can you not wait to cut into this?

Look at the melted cheese. Ok, Im outta here!

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