Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goat Cheese and Tomato Manicotti

Yes, you read this correctly. Those that saw Sunday's meal planning post, or have talked to me in the last week, may recall that I gave up pasta for lent, and pizza but that's irrelevant right now. No, I don't have anything against Italians, but thought this would be the best challenge for me since pasta seems to be my meatless go-to meal and pizza is Mr. Max's every suggestion when we don't have something to make. However, I had the ingredients to make this and decided to carry on and just do it. I thought Max Man can enjoy this one, while I made a pasta-free substitution with spaghetti squash for me. I've mentioned our caveman talk before, a series of food-induced grunts communicating our taste buds enjoyment with each other for the bite we just took. Well, it was a caveman talk night. He even enjoyed my spaghetti squash version that I had plenty of. I wish I could have tasted the final manicotti product but I'll take his word, err grunts, for it!

This came from, no other than my latest recipe source, Prevention Magazine's Best Weight Loss Recipes. Nutritional facts include 203 cal, 13g protein, 27g carb, 2g finer, 7g total fat per serving, serving size is 1 manicotti.

Grocery List:
  • 8 lasagna noodles (what the recipe calls for to serve 2-4. Since it was just for Max, I used 5 to allow room for mess up... luckily, you'll see why)
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup julienned basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 oz soft goat cheese
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large pot of salted water, cook your noodles on high heat for about 11 minutes. The recipe said 6, mine were definitely not ready so I put them back in for another 5 minutes. Once done, drain the water and set the noodles spread apart on plates, so they are not touching.

In a bowl, whisk your cottage cheese, garlic, basil, salt and pepper together.

In a saucepan, combine your tomatoes (drained, I didn't drain them from the can and I think my sauce was too liquidy), chicken stock (or you could not drain them and skip this step instead), and 1/2 of your goat cheese. Bring this to a boil, stirring well for the goat cheese to melt and create a tomato/cheese cream sauce.

Coat a small oven safe dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup of your sauce across the bottom, like we do for enchiladas. Now we roll our manicotti. Spread about 2 spoons-worth of the cottage cheese mixture onto the bottom 1/3 of the noodle. Roll up your pasta and place seam side down in the dish.

This was my failed attempt when my noodles weren't ready

Let's try this again with the well-cooked noodle....

Now roll - much better....


Squish them together nice and tight into the dish.

I was able to fit four together, which was perfect for Mr. Max. Then, I took spaghetti squash and piled it in the other side for me!

Coat with the rest of the pasta sauce, then top with the rest of the goat cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown.

Now, I don't like the way these pictured, but I was too hungry to turn it into a photo shoot for the best angle, lighting, etc. I don't like having to assure you that it tasted WAY better than these depict, but it's true. Like I said above, I think by using the tomatoes with the juices from the can AND the chicken stock was way too runny, I would drain or nix the chicken stock next time to prevent this. Without further adieu...

Here's the manicotti shot

Here's the spaghetti squash shot

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