I just got over a really hideous cold, during which my programming of choice as a couch jockey was the Food Network. Lord knows why. I couldn’t taste a thing. Maybe I was hoping to stimulate my other senses. In any event, I saw Sunny Anderson of Cooking For Real make this recipe of “Maniladas“, and I thought it was a cool idea. I had a box of manicotti in the pantry from a well intentioned plan of making some spinach manicotti that never got made. But as I didn’t want to spend a fortune on fontina cheese or blow my calorie load all in one meal, I decided to take the idea of mixing enchiladas and manicotti and put my own twist on it.
- 1 8 oz. box of manicotti
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, drained (or fresh if you’ve got them)
- 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
- 2 cups cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, which was nice and easy. You could also roast a chicken and use the leftovers. Be sure to save the carcass to make your own stock.)
- 3/4 cup black beans, drained
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 1 Tbsp dried cilantro (or 3 Tbsps chopped fresh)
- 2.5 Tbsp enchilada seasoning (it’s about half a packet)
- 8 oz. processed Queso Blanco (I used Kroger’s store brand Nice ‘n Cheesy Queso Blanco with jalepenos, but I think Velveeta makes their own Mexican white cheese)
- 2 Tbsps butter (yeah I actually used the real thing…was out of my Smart Balance)
- 2 Tbsps white flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- Boil manicotti in a pot of salted water for about 8 minutes. You want these to be not quite aldente as they’ll finish cooking in the oven. Cook’s note: Don’t do as I did and set the plastic trays of pasta on the front eye while you’re waiting on the back eye to heat only to mistake the controls and turn on the front eye and melt said trays all over everything, thus causing a teriffic stink and scorching 4 of the tubes.
- Once they’re cooked, drain and rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- While the oil is heating, add the tomatoes, peppers, chicken and black beans to a large bowl.
- Add the onion to the skillet and saute about three minutes or until translucent.
- Add the garlic and saute one more minute.
- Add the onion and garlic to the chicken mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, enchilada mix, and cilantro.
- Add sour cream mixture to chicken mixture and stir until well combined.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish (or if you followed my poor example and fouled up some of the tubes, use whatever that size is that’s next down from 9×13…7×11?) with cooking spray.
- Stuff the manicotti tubes with the chicken mixture and place in the baking dish. You can actually refrigerate it at this point (as I wound up doing because we had dinner with the in laws).
- For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk until pulled together. Cook for a minute or so, then slowly begin to add the milk, a little at a time, whisking until incorporated.
- Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cubed cheese and stir well until melted.
- Pour cheese sauce into casserole dish.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
This breaks down to 207 calories and 7.4 grams of fat per stuffed manicotti noodle.
This was a winner. Hubby wants to try it with beef next time. Sorry for the lousy picture. I forgot to take one until I’d already scooped it out on plates becuase we were starved. I’ll take another pic next time.