Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spicy Cheese Manicotti

Serves 6-8
Recipe from Pillsbury
Adapted and Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen

Manicotti is the big tube shaped pasta found in boxes in the pasta aisle.  They can be stuffed with all manner of good things.  This pasta dish is perfect for those days when you want delicious comfort food without all the fat. Each serving of this dish has only 8 grams of fat, 310 calories and 23 grams of protein. It can be made in advance, tastes good the next day for taking to school or work in your lunchbox and can also be prepared in the microwave!  It’s easy to make, but stuffing the pasta can be a bit time consuming.  If you own a pastry bag, fill it with the filling and squeeze the filling into the pasta. If not, just use your impeccably clean fingers to stuff the pasta.  Serve this with a crisp salad and a whole-wheat roll or slice of toast for a good-for-you Meatless Monday dinner.  All these ingredients can be found at Lost River Market & Deli, our community-owned grocery store.

No-stick cooking spray
1 lb. low-fat small curd cottage cheese
1 cup shredded low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon oregano leaves or pizza seasoning
1 box (about 14 shells) uncooked manicotti shells
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 oz.) cans of petite diced tomatoes with green chilies OR 2 (16 oz.) cans tomatoes, chopped plus 2 (4 oz.) cans diced green chilies
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Cook manicotti to desired doneness as directed on package. (I find that the pasta is much easier to stuff if the pasta is cooked a few minutes less than the package directs.) Drain the pasta and place in cold water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, egg white, parsley, oregano and cayenne pepper; blend well.
Drain manicotti. Stuff the cheese mixture into manicotti shells. Place the shells side by side in sprayed baking dish.
In medium saucepan, combine tomatoes, green chilies and cornstarch. (Do not drain the canned tomatoes/chilies.) Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Pour over filled manicotti in baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Microwave Directions:
Prepare pasta as directed above.  In an 8-cup microwave safe measuring cup or bowl, combine tomatoes, green chilies and cornstarch; blend well.  Microwave on high for 6-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring once during cooking.  Prepare filling and assemble manicotti as directed above.  Place in an ungreased microwave safe dish.  Pour sauce over the filled manicotti in dish.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high for 6-7 minutes or until thoroughly heated, rotating the dish ½ turn halfway through the cooking.

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