Manicotti dinner at home — on the Busy-EST night of the week??

Manicotti dinner at home — on the Busy-EST night of the week??

Whew! By the middle of the week things start to get hectic in my 6 human home. Some days, I am only home for 30 minutes and I need to make use of every minute! Sometimes the pressure cooker saves the day, others it’s the slow-cooker that does the trick. But today? The delay cooking feature and the timer on my oven were just what I needed to get a tasty home cooked meal on the table right on time.

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I have found that the delay cooking setting and the oven timer are handy for several recipes including today’s manicotti recipe. So you may want to break out your oven instruction manual and refresh your memory on all of the steps you must follow to program your oven to delay cooking time. This little crash course will be worth it when the timer dings, signaling a delicious meal is ready to be pulled out of the oven after a long, busy day!

Baked Sausage and Spinach Manicotti
Serves 6
This manicotti has all of the richness and depth but none of the labor filled boiling and stuffing. With this recipe, homestyle manicotti dinner goes from a once a year treat, to a once a week lifesaver!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 20 min
Total Time
1 hr 35 min
285 calories
15 g
52 g
18 g
16 g
8 g
127 g
541 g
3 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 285
Calories from Fat 161
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 52mg
Sodium 541mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 3g
Protein 16g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 1/2 packages of frozen manicotti - I like the Louisa brand (12 manicottis fits perfectly)
  2. 1 jar of your favorite tomato basil pasta sauce
  3. 1 1/2 c browned Italian sausage
  4. 1 c frozen whole leaf spinach
  5. 2 c shredded mozzarella ((or another favorite type of cheese - I used sharp cheddar and provolone))
  1. Set delay cooking and timer on oven - or preheat oven to 375°. Pour 1/2 of the jar of pasta sauce in the bottom of a prepared 9" x 13" baking dish. Sprinkle half of the frozen browned Italian sausage on top of the sauce. Next, arrange 12 manicotti and top with spinach, remaining meat, remaining sauce and cheese.
  2. Cover with non-stick foil and bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes, Remove foil during last 10 minutes of baking time.
Food for a Year:
To make this meal successfully and simply – start with a few of your staples. A great jar of pasta sauce, pre-cooked and frozen ground Italian sausage (by following steps I discussed in past blog entries here and here), a bag of frozen chopped spinach and a delicious home-style, store-bought frozen cheese manicotti.

2014-04-02 18.42.00When picking the sauce and the manicotti, do yourself a favor and look at the ingredients lists. Choose products with the shortest and simplest list of ingredients possible. ***WHY??? Because these items will always taste closer to homemade and are a healthier option for your family because you leave out all of the processed stuff.  ((Just my strong opinion))*** The two brands I use ((included in the picture & slider above)) fit that requirement perfectly. The sauce is from Braum’s and the manicotti can be found at Wal-Mart or Crest.

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 The next time your busy schedule demands drive-thru food, consider using the delay cooking feature on your oven. We know those days are coming – so add these great tasting, time-saving items to your grocery list:

• Louisa cheese manicotti (Wal-Mart); at least 2 packages

• DiNicola tomato basil pasta sauce (Braum’s Fresh Market); splurge and get 4 jars

• Frozen cut spinach leaves

• Italian sausage for pre-cooking, 3 packages

These few staples and steps, along with a few handy features on your oven, will not keep you from being busy – but they will help you put a plan in place which will be certain to take the stress out of tasty meal-making when those days come your way! Surprise your family on the next crazy busy day – make manicotti, they will think you are SUPER MOM! ((and they will be right!!))