Special Manicotti

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“This recipe comes from a cookbook, A Cause For Applause. I posted the recipe as stated in the book, but I'll list a few "good to know" tips I discovered when making it. I used 2 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves, 1 tsp salt and an 8 ounce container of chive & onion cream cheese spread because that's all I could find. I used a 14 1/2 Ounce can of diced tomatoes. Be sure to buy two 8 Ounce boxes of manicotti shells to allow for breakage. A little tip I learned about manicotti shells and lasagna strips is not to boil them. I clean my sink very well and fill it with hot tap water and let the pasta soak for 20 minutes. It finishes cooking in the dish when baked. The pan I used was apprxoximately 10x14 and I was able to fit 21 shells in the pan. I still had a little filling left and probably could have stuffed about 4-5 more shells but I didn't have any shells that weren't broken. The left over filling makes a great spread for crackers. I guess I may not have stuffed mine as full so I was able to yield more shells. I found the best way to stuff the shells was by hand - just simply put a little stuffing in at a time until full. Also, I did not grease my pan and nothing stuck. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for 20 minutes then uncovered and baked another 20 minutes. This dish is a little labor intensive, but is so good and so worth it. I cook my sauce one day and put it together the next so it doesn't seem so time consuming.”
3hrs 45mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Remove Italian sausage from casing and crumble well in dutch oven.
  2. Add ground beef, onions and garlic to sausage and cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble meat.
  3. Remove from fire and drain well.
  4. Add tomato sauce to dutch oven and the next 11 ingredients.
  5. Over medium heat bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook manicotti shells in salted boiling water according to package directions.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Combine cream cheeses and the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl or mixer.
  9. Stuff mixture into shells.
  10. Spoon half the sauce into a lightly greased 14x12 inch baking pan or 2 lightly greased 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dishes.
  11. Place stuffed shells over sauce.
  12. Spoon remaining sauce over shells.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated.
  14. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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