14 uncooked manicotti shells (I only used 13 in the dish)
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (I couldn't find any so I used Italian seasoned ground turkey)
3/4 pound ground beef (I used 1 pound ground turkey)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups meatless spaghetti sauce, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the manicotti shells per the box instructions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the meats and garlic.
While the meats cook, shred your mozzarella** and cube the cream cheese.
Also, pour 2 cups of sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
When meat is browned, drain fat and cool the meat for about 10 minutes. I actually forgot the cooling step and it seemed fine. After 10 minutes add the cheeses and salt to the meats.
Mix the cheese and meat together. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain the water and rinse the shells to cool them down. Stuff each shell with about 1/4 cup of the meat/cheese blend.
Place the filled shells in the prepared pan.
Pour remaining sauce on top of pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
I cannot describe how good this was! The meat mixture was really tasty. I have thought about using it in lasagna and several other dishes as well.
We ate this with a lovely spinach salad and some Italian bread.
**Buying shredded cheese saves a lot of time, I know, but if you buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself you will find you much prefer the flavor and consistency of the cheese. It also is slightly more economical!!