Another soft and melty, cheesy baked dish for your comfort-dinner repertoire...
And before you ask if I'm positive kids will enjoy it, let me explain that my kids regularly get crowns for their food-pickiness. (Not in the literal sense, of course, but they mainly behave like royalty with some of their aversions.) This is the recipe that made me think, finally, they will eat some veg mixed in with other things! Did I cut the mushrooms up small? You bet. Spinach? Tiny. Still a win, and they asked for seconds.
*Make it vegetarian by substituting the ground turkey for veggie crumble or tripling the amount of spinach and mushrooms.
Notes: Italian red sauce is Fresh Mushroom by Prego.
SPINACH & MUSHROOM MANICOTTI BAKE
Ingredients: 16 oz. box manicotti, 1 lb. lean ground turkey, 12 oz. ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded Italian-blend cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 24 oz. Italian red sauce, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, 1 cup chopped spinach, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp. ground oregano, 1 tbsp. chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
1. Preheat oven to 375* F.
2. Cook ground turkey with the minced garlic in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through, seasoning with salt and pepper. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in softly boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain and lightly rinse with cool water.
4. In a bowl, mix together ricotta, 1/2 cup of the Italian blend cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and the oregano. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey and chopped mushrooms and spinach to the cheese mixture. Mix well.
5. Spread 1/2 cup of the red sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Stuff each manicotti noodle to full (but not overflowing) and lay in the dish. Some may have to lay vertically along the side to fit them all in.
6. Pour over the remaining red sauce and top with remaining Italian-blend cheese and parm. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until melted and bubbling. Scatter fresh parsley over top before serving.