Cheesy manicotti

Not just a great stylist, this talented mama knows her way around the salon – and the kitchen! While we LOVE LOVE LOVE the great hair advice we usually receive from Erica Wearing, and we’re looking forward to a post on taming the frizzies later this week (my big mess of curls is currently begging for help as they boost out of all control!!) she’s kindly shared her Magnificent Manicotti recipe – it’s cheesy, in a good way – and you won’t be disappointed!!Add something tasty to your family’s Italian dinner tonight! Serve baked manicotti shells placed on beef mixture sprinkled with cheese.

erica unbaked manicotti with cheese

What you need:

– 14 uncooked manicotti shells (or oven-ready if you prefer)
– 1lb lean ground beef
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1 jar (26 to 30 oz) tomato pasta sauce (choose your favorite – or make your own)
– 2 boxes (9 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
– 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
– 12 mushrooms (or an 8 oz can, drained, if you prefer)
– 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
– 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

What you do:

First you need to cook the manicotti as directed on package, and drain. Use the minimum cooking time, this will help to prevent the shells from tearing while filling. I used the oven-ready shells and just skipped this step – it’s up to you!

Erica unbaked manicotti

To prepare the beef:
In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown. Drain off and stir in pasta sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick – or grease and flour to prep the dish.

To prepare the manicotti shell filling:
Squeeze thawed spinach to drain excess moisture. Spread it out on paper towel, pat dry. Mix spinach, cottage cheese, mushrooms, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Putting it all together:
Use one cup of the beef to line the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Fill manicotti shells with spinach mixture. Place the shells on top of the beef mixture in dish. Pour remaining beef mixture evenly over shells. Try to get the shells completely covered. Sprinkle liberally with mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly.

photo: AlanaGKelly
photo: AlanaGKelly

erica with the littleErica H. Wearing has been a stylist for over 16 years and she absolutely loves what she does . “It’s a great feeling to help people feel and look their best when they leave my chair. I wouldn’t trade this for any other job in the world!”
Check out Erica at Ka!Boom Hair Salon 1129 West Pender Street, Vancouver B.C .

alissia marciano hairbyericaw

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