~*~Dinner Challenge Update~*~Stuffed Spinach Manicotti Shells~*~

1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoons minced jar garlic

1 box chopped frozen spinach (thawed & drained)

salt & pepper to taste

14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 can Contadina tomato paste

10 ounces beef broth (I use granules and make my own)

2 tablespoons Classico sun-dried tomato peso

1/4 cup butter

2-8ounce shredded mozzarella cheese packages
1 box organic pasta Manicotti Shells, prepared very Al dente
  • Brown hamburger. Add garlic and onion about half way through. When the hamburger is browned, add spinach and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Drain off fat.
  • Mix all other ingredients together except the shells and cheese and bring to a simmering boil. Add one third of the sauce to the meat mixture.
  • Stuff the shells with the meat mixture. Continue until all shells are full. This recipe serves 4, but at this point since there are just the 2 of us now, I tend to either A) have leftovers or B) try to think ahead and prep meals to freeze for easy cooking on the nights we’re busy with appointments, but still need a home cooked meal. This Manicotti recipe is great for that. The shells come in a box with 2 layers of plastic protectors. I make sure to save one to protect the shells I’m going to freeze. I prepare the recipe like normal, but split it in half before baking and freeze half. As you can see it all slips easily into a gallon size ziploc bag. After removing everything, I roll the bag up and stick in the freezer door until the next time I prep the whole recipe.
  • In a small greased casserole layer some sauce on bottom. Lay in half the shells, pour more sauce over top reserving half the sauce for the freezer. Put that sauce in a quart size ziploc. Top with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove fol and return to oven for an additional 20 minutes.
  • In the gallon sized ziploc bag slide the extra tray of shells into it. Slide the bag of sauce on top of that as well as the second bag of mozzarella cheese. Zip shut and freeze. You now have a home cooked meal for another night.