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Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Manicotti with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

My sister sent this recipe to me because she thought it was really good. After preparing it for my family, I totally agree. I made some modifications, but it turned out to be a really tasty and colorful dish. Although stuffing the manicotti always gives me problems, it was well worth it. The stuffed pasta can certainly be made ahead of time, wrapped invidually in wax or parchment paper or placed in a foil-lined baking dish and frozen until needed; then, unwrap, cover with red pepper sauce, and cook as directed (may need a bit more cooking time, though).

Also, lasagna noodles can also be used. Just cook to al dente and cool in water until able to handle. Cut each noodle in half and spoon mixture into it before rolling and placing seam-side down in a baking dish.

Chicken Manicotti with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

1 (8-ounce) package cannelloni or manicotti shells (or 1 box lasagna noodles)
4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
2 (8-ounce) containers chive-and-onion cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (or 1/2 cup regular breadcrumbs + 1 tsp. Italian seasoning)
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce (recipe below)
chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain & set aside.

Stir together chicken and next 6 ingredients.

Cut pasta shells lengthwise and spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in lightly greased baking dishes (makes more than will fill a 9x13 dish). Pour Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce evenly over shells.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish, if desired.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

2 (7-ounce) jars roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 (16-ounce) jar creamy Alfredo sauce
3 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese

Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living