I’m in the stage of life where everyone I know is popping out a kid. It seems like with every month that goes by I see another pregnancy announcement, gender reveal, or birth story. Having had three kids of my own, I know how decent cooking takes a back seat the last month of pregnancy until nearly the first trimester after the baby is born. I was exhausted, sleep-deprived, and buried under mounds of laundry and never ending nursing routines. All I wanted was a delicious home-cooked meal but I had none of the energy in which to make it. I wish I had known about Freezer Friendly Spinach Manicotti because I would have made several batches of it ahead of time. Now it is one of my favorite comfort dinners to take to my new mommy friends.
Start by chopping up a tablespoon each of fresh parsley and basil.
Then drain a 10 oz package of frozen spinach that has been thawed in a wire sieve over the sink. Press as much liquid out of the spinach as possible. Mix the spinach with a 15 oz carton of ricotta cheese, a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Then add in the herbs you chopped and an egg. Lastly, add in 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder and ground pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Combine everything together thoroughly because this will be the filling for the spinach manicotti.
Now pour about a cup or more of your spaghetti sauce into the bottom of your largest glass pan. You can use jarred sauces such as Prego or Ragu, or you can use your own canned spaghetti sauce. Whatever you use, layer the bottom so that the manicotti shells don’t stick to the glass.
Pull out 8 ounces of manicotti shells.
Take each shell and stuff it generously with the spinach filling. The spinach manicotti tastes best if some of the filling is spilling out of the sides.
This is a job that Nevaeh loves to help me with. I used some of the time we were working together to teach her about giving of our time and assets to help others. Even if the gift is a small meal for a friend, the Lord loves a servant’s heart.
Stuff all the shells and squeeze them into your pan as best as possible. If you can’t fit all 14 shells into one pan, make two smaller pans or use one of those large disposable foil pans from the market.
Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce on top of the spinach manicotti and sprinkle the top with another 1/2 cup each of shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan.
Bake the spinach manicotti at 350 degrees for one hour. If you want to freeze the dish for later, cover it and freeze. When you’re ready to bake it, partially thaw the spinach manicotti in the refrigerator overnight. Remove it 30 minutes before you’re ready to bake and then bake it for 45-60 minutes or until the manicotti are tender.
These spinach manicotti are the epitome of comfort food. They always come out flavorful and tender. They taste even better the next day for leftovers! I usually make two batches of these spinach manicotti so that I can make one for dinner and freeze the other. There is always a friend who just had a baby, who is recovering from surgery, or just moved to the neighborhood. A comforting dish during a hard time always speaks volumes of love and kindness!
And if you or a friend IS expecting, you can find all sorts of helpful tips for preparation, labor and delivery, and child-rearing at my friend Zoe’s Blog called ThinkBaby.org.
Save this pin for later so that you can stock your freezer for those “I don’t feel like cooking days” that creep up on all of us.
You may also want to check out my Budget Friendly Burrito Lasagna. This is another great freezer meal that serves 12 people for only $10! Who doesn’t love a deconstructed burrito with some chips and Homemade Cilantro-Lime Salsa? Happy cooking y’all!
Freezer Friendly Spinach Manicotti
- 15 oz carton of ricotta cheese
- 10 oz package frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella divided
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp each fresh chopped basil and parsely
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 48 oz 2 jars spaghetti or marinara sauce
- 8 oz package manicotti shellls
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Thaw and thoroughly drain the spinach.
- In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients up through the seasonings using 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
- Layer a large baking dish or foil pan with a cup or more of spaghetti sauce.
- Fill the uncooked manicotti shells with the spinach mixture. Lay them on top of the marinara sauce.
- Pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over the manicotti shells.
- Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
- Freezer option: Cover and freeze the manicotti. Remove to the refrigerator the night before so that the manicotti can partially thaw. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min-1 hour.