On of my favorite food genres is Italian. I love fresh veggies, pasta and well, more pasta. A few years ago, I found a recipe for an insanely easy chicken manicotti recipe that was almost healthy. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it a bit. I swear, it’s almost healthy.
This makes a BUNCH- I typically break it up in three pans- keep one, eat one, and give one away:
Chicken Manicotti (Practically Healthy)
1.5 boxes of Manicotti shells
1 c shredded zuchinni
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c diced onions
2 cloves garlic (minced)
4-5 oz portabella mushrooms diced
6-7 raw chicken tenderloins. I’ve used chicken breasts in the past, but found that a tenderloin is more size appropriate and cooks more evenly.
4 oz cream cheese. You can use light if you want
1 c skim ricotta
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
wee bit of olive oil for the pan
Tomato Sauce. You will need about 3 cups when all said and done. Use your own, use jar- i don’t care.
Few handfuls of mozzarella and grated parm.
Ok- let’s get cooking:
Sautee onions and garlic 2-3 minutes in a large pan with a small swirl of olive oil. I read somewhere that spraying a pan with PAM works, but I think olive oil tastes better
Add cut up raw chicken to pan and cook until all of the pink is gone. DO NOT BURN CHICKEN. Been there, done that. AKA, pay attention, otherwise, this will screw up your day.
Once the chicken is 99% cooked, add in veggies. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add herbs and a dash of black pepper.
Chop up 4 oz of cream cheese and mix into the pan. Stir, stir, stir until the cheese is melted.
Take off heat, toss in a bowl, and add ricotta.
Toss in fridge for 20 minutes (ish)
Start your water boiling for manicotti.
IGNORE the 7 minutes- seriously. Once you get the water boiling, cook them 5 minutes, drain immediately and let them dry on a cookie sheet (NOT TOUCHING)
Once the manicotti has cooled, pull your mixture out of fridge.
Take about a 1/2 c of sauce and cover the bottom of your pan.
USE A BABY SPOON and gently fill the pasta. Don’t overstuff, otherwise, you will break the pasta, and that will suck.
Place the filled manicotti on top of the sauce. Repeat. Don’t leave too much space in between the pastas.
Cover the row with another smoosh of sauce. You don’t want it drenched, but you want it mostly covered.
Sprinkle some mozz on top of the sauce and lightly dust with grated parm. Don’t be a cheapo and used the powdered stuff. It will suck.
Now… you can either cook this at 350 for about 40 minutes, OR freeze.