4 Smiley Faces- Chicken, Cheese and Spinach Manicotti

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Yes, you read that right…something with spinach in it gained the 4 smiley face approval rating at our house last night.  Neither of my girls flinched at the manicotti and Heather even opted for leftovers at lunch over her normal PBJ.

This was so quick to prepare as I had some cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer.  I pulled the chicken and the chopped spinach out of the freezer the night before and by 3:30 they were defrosted and ready for preparation.  I then used my Pampered Chef food chopper to make the chicken very fine.

Chicken, Cheese and Spinach Manicotti

Heat oven to 350

Prepare the Manicotti shells (boiling water, add salt, then boil shells per package directions).  Lay them out on a sheet of foil to cool.

Combine:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped, cooked chicken
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and well drained—I usually squeeze the water out of it!)
  • 1 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pepper to taste—that means I pepper the top, mix it in, and then add more pepper!
  • two pinches of fresh or freeze-dried basil, if desired.

Spoon the mixture into manicotti shells.  (OK, really I made sure my hands were very clean and then I stuffed the shells with my hands…I can’t work a spoon and a manicotti shell very well)

In a 13×9 baking dish:

  • place a thin layer of spaghetti sauce

Add to the dish:

  • The filled shells

Finally:

  • cover the shells with the remaining sauce

Cover with foil

Bake 15 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered for a total of 30 minutes or until heated through.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella over the top and melt.

 

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