Source of Recipe
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into small pieces
1 cup each grated carrots, grated zucchini, and finely chopped mushrooms
3 tbsp minced, fresh basil, or 1-1/2 tsp dried
1 tbsp minced, fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 ounces light cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 manicotti shells, uncooked
3 cups of your favorite low-fat, tomato-based pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
Chopped, fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
To make filling:
Spray a large, non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Add garlic and onions. Cook and stir over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
Add chicken, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until no longer pink. Add carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and pepper. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Transfer filling to a large bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
While filling is chilling, cook manicotti according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well.
Using a teaspoon, stuff shells equally with filling. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce over bottom of 2 baking dishes. Arrange 6 stuffed manicotti in each dish. Pour remaining sauce over manicotti and sprinkle with mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Yield: 6 servings
Per serving: 404 calories, 10.9 grams fat, 6.1 grams saturated fat, 33.3 grams protein, 43.6 grams carbohydrates, 1.4 grams fiber, 65.6 mg cholesterol, 586.8 mg sodium, percent of calories from fat: 24
Notes: Chicken is easier to cut into small pieces if it's partially frozen. It's easier to stuff manicotti shells if they're slightly undercooked. This also makes them less likely to tear. Drain the cooked shells and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process and to keep them from sticking together. Use a teaspoon to stuff them. If you prefer, you can substitute lasagna noodles in this recipe and make lasagna roll-ups, or you can use 24 jumbo pasta shells.