Monday, June 27, 2011

Crockpot Spinach Manicotti

Summer's here, and if I'm not grilling, I certainly don't want to be turning on the oven. My crockpot gets plenty of use all year long, but summer is when it becomes an absolute necessity! This stuffed manicotti cooks up wonderfully in the crockpot without getting too mushy. I stuff mine with a ricotta and spinach mixture, but you can use any other manicotti/stuffed shell stuffing as well.

1 box manicotti shells (uncooked)
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce


Combine ricotta, spinach, 1/4 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, egg, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl, mix well.

In the bottom of the crockpot, pour 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 1 cup of your pasta sauce. Stuff half of the uncooked shells with your spinach mixture, and arrange on top of the sauce. Pour another cup of sauce and the 2nd can of diced tomatoes over the top, sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stuff the rest of the manicotti with the spinach mixture and arrange on top of the sauce. Top with the rest of your pasta sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Total Cost:
Manicotti - $1.99
Ricotta - $1.99 (or make it yourself for about $0.75)!
Mozzarella - $0.50
Parmesan - $0.75
Diced tomatoes - $1.80
Pasta sauce - $1.00
Spinach - $1.25
Egg - $0.12

Grand Total: $9.40 for 6-7 servings (2 manicotti)

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chinese Chicken & Cabbage Stir Fry

I'm always looking for good ways to use up leftovers, especially for a whole roasted chicken! Stir-fry is a great vehicle for shredded chicken meat, as well as for leftover veggies. This recipe uses carrots, snow peas and red pepper but you can substitute any veggie of choice! If you want a really speedy stir fry dinner and have some leftover chicken on hand, just use a bag or two of broccoli slaw mix (no dressing) in place of all of the veggies!

Chinese Chicken and Cabbage stir fry


1 package (9 oz) Asian Udon noodles
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp ground ginger
1 small head Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded or chopped thin
2 carrots cut into matchsticks or shredded
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
6 oz fresh snow peas
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken (leftovers if you have them!)


Boil water and cook the noodles for about 3 minutes until tender. (you may want to break or cut the noodles in half, especially if you are feeding little ones) Drain and toss with 1 Tbsp oil, set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add garlic and sesame seeds, cook while stirring frequently until the seeds brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrots, peas and peppers, and toss until lightly coated with the oil. Add ginger and stir until well mixed with the veggies. Cook about 3 minutes, until the cabbage softens and the veggies are cooked but still crisp.

While the veggies are cooking, combine the soy sauce and honey in a small bowl.

When the veggies are tender, add noodles and chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss well to coat.

Total Cost:
Udon noodles: $2.50
Cabbage: $1.10
Pepper: $0.65
Carrots: $0.25
Peas: $2.25
Oil: $0.10
Soy sauce: $0.15
Honey: $0.10
Seasonings: $0.10
Chicken: Free!

Grand Total: $7.20 for 6 servings

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