Italian food is one of my favorite things to cook – from lasagna to spaghetti to this recipe. In case you don’t know what Manicotti is, it is this type of pasta! You have to boil it just like other pastas, BUT you have the ability to stuff the inside with whatever you want. This recipe uses ricotta cheese and spinach for the stuffing.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F at this point so that it is at the right temperature for when you put your food in the oven!
First, you need to boil your water and then put the manicotti noodles in the boiling water – use the entire box of noodles. Once the noodles are done, drain the water and put to the side.
While the noodles are boiling, you need to make the marinara sauce. You can either buy jarred marinara sauce or make it from scratch. I like to make mine from scratch because I can control how much salt I put it in. So to make the marinara sauce that goes on top, you need one can petite diced tomatoes and 1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce. I like to use “no added salt” cans.
Add 1 Tbsp Basil, 1 Tbsp Parsley, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp olive oil. All of this goes into the marinara sauce. Let this cook for about 15-20 minutes.
While the marinara sauce is cooking, you need to grill your chicken. I used my panini maker to make those pretty lines in the chicken. Use thinly sliced chicken breast for the chicken.
I seasoned my chicken with 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp season all, and 1 Tbsp poultry seasonings.
Spray the panini maker or whatever you are using to grill the chicken with olive oil PAM and then place your seasoned chicken on the machine. I cooked mine on medium for about 5 minutes each. You may need to adjust this time based on how thick your chicken is. Make sure the chicken is fully cooked before you start cutting. (If you realize that your chicken needs to cook longer after cooking, put it back on the grill until done.) There shouldn’t be any pink in the center of your chicken. Cut your chicken into strips as shown in the picture above. Place the cooked chicken to the side.
Time to make the stuffing for the manicotti. You need 1 – 8 oz container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 eggs, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup packed spinach (frozen bag of spinach that was defrosted). You combine all of this in a container and blend until well mixed.
This is what it should look like after it is all mixed together! So your noodles should definitely be done cooking by this time and everything should be about done after you have made the stuffing. You will need to take a spoon and take this stuffing and fill the manicotti pasta. Put this in a 8 x 13 glass pan. Place chicken on top of stuffed noodles.
Once you have stuffed your noodles and placed the chicken on top, it is time to spread the marinara sauce on top of the meal!
Doesn’t that look delicious?! You need to bake the dish at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. You need to make sure that the cheese is nice is hot!
Take out of the oven and enjoy your delicious spinach and ricotta stuffed manicotti! This is a really good recipe that you will enjoy over and over again. I had NO leftovers from that big pan!
- 1 – 8 oz box manicotti pasta
- 2 lbs chicken thighs
- 1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp season all
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce (“no salt added”)
- 1 -8 oz can petite diced tomatoes (“no salt added”)
- 1 Tbsp parsley
- 1 Tbsp Basil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 – 8 oz container ricotta cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach (defrosted and drained of liquid)
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Boil water. Put pasta in boiling water and cook until tender. Drain water and place to side.
- Cook tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp Basil, 1 Tbsp Parsley, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp olive oil together for 15-20 minutes to make marinara sauce.
- While the sauce is cooking, grill your chicken. Season the chicken with 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp season all, and 1 Tbsp grilled chicken seasonings. Grill the chicken until done. This will vary depending on how thick your chicken is, but the inside should not be pink. .
- Make the stuffing for the manicotti. Combine 1 – 8 oz container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 eggs, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup packed spinach. Mix until spread evenly.
- Stuff the manicotti pasta with the ricotta stuffing. Place in a 8 x 13 inch glass pan. Top with grilled chicken and cover with marinara sauce.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!