Cheese Stuffed Shells
1 jar (32 oz.) spaghetti or marinara sauce (or your very own homemade sauce!)
1 cup water
1 carton (16 oz.) ricotta cheese
2 packages (8oz.) shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 package (8 oz.) manicotti shells ~ about 14
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 13x9x2 inch baking dish.
Place 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Stir in 1 cup of water; set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat egg. Stir in ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, salt & pepper until well blended. Using a table knife, fill manicotti shells with cheese mixture. Arrange in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells to coat completely. Cover tightly with foil.
Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until shells are very tender when pierced with fork. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Return dish to oven for 3-5 minutes to melt cheese.
Spinach option ~ If you'd like to add a little more color, nutrition and flavor to this dish, you can add spinach to the cheese mixture. You can use fresh or frozen spinach ~ In either case, cook up your spinach and finely chop it. Drain it very well and squeeze it dry. Then just add it to your cheese mixture before you stuff the shells. It is so good!
I serve this meal with whole grain bread and another vegetable on the side.
Often, I reserve a small portion of the ingredients to make a small dish that my husband can take to work. He always appreciates a nice homecooked meal while he is away. Last week, he even called me in between bites to let me know how much he was enjoying a "hot" meal in the middle of the day. It was a nice way to bless him, and it just made my day happy to receive his call as well!