Monday, June 29, 2009

Freezer Manicotti

I have been toying with all these freezer recipes from "Fix, Freeze, Feast", and most I've tried have been really good. Tonight we tried the Manicotti. For our family of 6, I split this recipe in half. It left us with some leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which I like!


makes 4 entrees, 4 servings each

1 (48oz) container cottage cheese (6 cups) (I used ricotta)
2 eggs, lightly beaten 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 12 oz)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I used grated)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (8oz) boxes manicotti (12-14 shells in each box), uncooked 12 cups
Basic Red Sauce (recipe below)

Four 8 inch square baking dishes (I used a 9x13 pan for my half recipe)
Plastic Wrap

Aluminum Foil

1. Mix cottage cheese (or ricotta), eggs, mozzarella, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. With your fingers or a spoon, stuff filling into manicotti shells.

2. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of each baking dish. Place six or seven manicotti in each dish. Divide remaining red sauce evenly over the four dishes of manicotti. Wrap each dish entirely in plastic wrap.

3. Top with foil, label, and freeze.

To cook one entree:
1. Thaw one entree in the fridge or bake it straight from the freezer.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Remove plastic wrap and foil from baking dish and replace foil. Bake for 45 min. if thawed, 1 hour if frozen (frozen, mine took 2 hours with the 9x13 pan). Remove foil and continue baking the noodles until tender.

Basic Red Sauce: Small Batch

makes about 10 cups (leftover, I had one 1 quart bag to freeze)

1 (12oz) can tomato paste
2 cups hot water
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp sugar (I used raw cane sugar)

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 (28oz) can tomato sauce
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes

Several 1 quart freezer bags

1. Mix tomato paste and hot water in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in parsley, onion, garlic, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, and thyme.
2. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes; mix well. Do not cook.
3. Measure sauce into appropriate portions for immediate use. Divide remaining sauce evenly among 1 quart freezer bags for later use.
4. Seal and label each bag with the amount of sauce inside. Freeze.

To Enjoy:
1. Completely thaw one bag in the fridge.
2. Use in a recipe calling for tomato sauce, or simmer in a saucepan over med-low heat for 20 min. and pour over your favorite pasta.
3. To use in a meat sauce, brown and drain 1 lb lean ground beef for every 8 cups of sauce; add cooked beef to sauve and gently reheat.

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