Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Manicotti

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook! I have been fond of cooking ever since I remember. My father was the great cook in our household, my mother never did cook well at all, and I remember being a little child and helping my father in the kitchen creating one of his masterpieces. He installed in me his love for cooking and taught me tons of little tad-bits and secrets about creating amazing food in the kitchen.

Today, I still love to cook and I still use those same secrets my father shared with me way back when I was young. But, along the way I also picked up many more tips and helpful hints from others around the world to better myself in the kitchen.

I have also picked up many amazing recipes along the way to serve to my family. Of course, I hold dear the recipes passed down to me from my family, but I also enjoy learning new recipes. There is nothing greater than creating something new and exciting for your family to try.

I am happy to share my love for cooking with my own children as my father did with me. My children love to help me out in the kitchen and while it might take longer to create supper with their help, I enjoy sharing my knowlege with them. My daugther has that same passion for food as I do. I can see already that she loves to cook as much as her mother. And let me tell you this, my son can flatten cookie dough into perfectly shaped cookies in no time flat!

From now on, every Tuesday.. I plan to share a recipe with my friends here at My Great Retreat blog. Call it Tasty Tuesday... along with these great recipes, I will share one tip I have learned along the way to make things easier for you around the kitchen.

This week's recipe comes from my amazing sister. She is a huge pasta fan and loves to make Manicotti. This is her personal recipe!

My daughter and her just surprised me last night with a batch of this yummy stuff. My sister taught my daughter how to make it and allowed her to create her own pan to take home for dinner. My daughter was ever so careful to stuff the noodles so they would not break and my sister showed her how to use a mixer to get the cheese nice and creamy! My daughter was so proud of herself for making dinner for the all of us.

Easy Manicotti

12 large manicotti or Large Shell noodles (I always make a few extra noodles in case of noodle breakage!)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese or cottage cheese.. or a mixture! *L*
2 tablespoons basil
26 ounces pasta sauce
parmesan cheese


Cook manicotti shells per the instructions on the package. I tend to watch them carefuly as you do not want them over-cooking.. I find that firmer noodles are easier to work with.
Rinse pasta, let cool, and pat dry.
Combine mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and basil in a bowl. (If you do not have 2 cups ricotta, I have used 1 cup cottage cheese and 1 cup ricotta as well). I like to mix the cheese with a hand mixture to make sure the
mixture in nice and smooth.
Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture. Spoon works good! You have to be very careful with stuffing the shells, as they tend to break easy.. and trust me I have broken quite a few in my day!
Spoon some pasta sauce on bottom of greased 9x13-inch pan. Make sure bottom as a layer of sauce.
Add stuffed pasta to pan and pour remaining pasta sauce over the top.
Bake at 350°F degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve with breadsticks or garlic bread!

For More great recipes and kitchen tips check out My Great Retreat 

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