Monday, March 4, 2013

Slow Cooker (NO BOIL!) Manicotti

This week’s recipe is sure to impress your family and friends, because it seems like you have some amazing culinary skills when you serve it…Slow Cooker Stuffed Manicotti! There is a tiny bit of prep involved (but NO BOILING of the manicotti!), but if you want to enjoy a tasty meal that everyone will not believe you made in the crock pot, this is something you should make ASAP. Pasta doesn’t have to be soggy and mushy in a slow cooker, and this recipe proves that. I used low fat cottage cheese and ricotta for the filling, worked well!


For the filling:
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (1/2 cup reserved)
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 large jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 package manicotti (uncooked, about 14 pieces)
Pour some marinara into the bottom of your crock pot. I used my 6qt oblong crock. The oblong ones work better than the tall crocks for this. Now it’s time to make the filling…mix together the cottage cheese, ricotta and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Also pour in the italian seasoning, about a tablespoon, but I like more, so you can use your own discretion here. Now, if you have some cake decorating piping bags, you can use one of those to pipe the filling into the manicotti shells. If you don’t have one, grap a ziploc bag and cut a hole in a corner, that works well, too! Pipe cheese into one end of the manicotti shell, about enough to fill it up halfway, then turn the shell around to pipe in the cheese on the other side. Lay shells on top of the sauce in the crock in a single layer (I had about 3 manicotti on top of others, I couldn’t fit them ALL in a single layer, still worked fine).

Pour the remaining sauce on top of the manicotti. I used more sauce than the original recipe because I know my crock runs hot. You can use less sauce if you want, but make sure you check a few times while it is cooking then, because you don’t want it to get too dry and burn. I also threw in some frozen meatballs on top because I knew my 3 year old would need some meatballs when we ate this!

Cook on high for about 2.5 hours. Check around 2 hours to see how the firmness of the pasta is. About 15 minutes before serving, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on top, so it can melt.

Here is my pic, mid prep, showing the just stuffed manicotti in my crock pot.