The men at my house have always felt like it’s a sign of weakness to use a recipe (what do they know!). So the other night I got to experimenting. This recipe for Mexican Manicotti turned out to be a definite keeper – and so easy. In fact, it’s so easy, you really can’t mess it up – that’s my kind of recipe!
My family loves pasta! And I love it too although I have to stay away from it these days. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still make the kids their favorite pasta dishes when they come visit. This Mexican Manicotti is so simple it’s one of the first recipes my daughter asked for when she moved into her first apartment. It looks like you went to a lot of work but the truth is that it’s super easy.
What makes this recipe so easy?
What’s different – and so easy – about this recipe is that you do not cook the manicotti noodles before you stuff them. Most traditional manicotti recipes instruct you to cook them before stuffing them, but that means that you’re working with noodles that are hot (even if you have rinsed them under cold water) and likely to tear when you try to stuff anything inside them.
I find them harder to work with when they’re already cooked and it’s frustrating to have torn, messy looking manicotti when I’m finished. If I’m going to the work then I want the dish to look nice when I’m done.
Don’t manicotti noodles need to be cooked first?
But here’s the secret: as long as you cover the dry, uncooked noodles with enough liquid, they’ll cook right along with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. You’ll also need to cover the dish with aluminum foil or a lid so that the steam from the dish helps cook the noodles and make them tender.
The liquid makes steam which cooks the noodles so as long as you’ve got enough liquid in the dish and a cover for it, you’re going to have soft noodles when the dish is done.
Trust me, you’ll never want to pre-cook manicotti noodles again!
Mexican Manicotti Recipe
- 1 box Manicotti noodles uncooked
- 1 pound hamburger meat raw
- 8 ounces Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese shredded
- 1 small can diced green chilis
- 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
- 2 cans green enchilada sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Mix together raw hamburger, shredded cheese (save some for topping), green chilis, and spices till thoroughly combined. Stuff meat mixture into manicotti shells.
Spray 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and add manicotti shells. Combine Rotel and enchilada sauce. Pour over manicotti and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50-55 minutes till meat is done and shells are soft. Top with rest of shredded cheese.
- Personally I prefer to cook most dishes in a Pyrex 9×13 pan (except for cakes). I find it easier to take the dish out of the oven without spilling any of the juice when using the Pyrex pan because it has small handles that make it easier to grab hold of.This particular one comes with a plastic lid that is great when you have leftovers to store in the refrigerator or when you need to take the dish somewhere and want to prevent spilling. Just be sure to NOT cook with the lid on!
- This recipe can be baked in a metal 9×13 pan – it’s just not my preference. However, and every kitchen needs a couple of metal 9×13 pans and if you’re short on space or are just beginning to stock your kitchen, then metal is the place to start, I suggest that you go ahead and purchase the 9×13 pans that come with a lid that attaches. This is the one we bought for my daughter last year for Christmas (we bought her two because IMO, every kitchen needs at least a couple of them).
This recipe always gets rave reviews when I serve it to guests and it’s become our standard Christmas Eve dinner. If you like this recipe you might also enjoy Carry Along Casserole, Mexican Macaroni and Cheese, or All of these dishes are easy and delicious. Better yet, none will bust your grocery budget either.