Loaded Manicotti from Stirlist.com

This is a big week. Not only is March Madness beginning (yes, I’m a huge basketball fan- Go B1G!) but tomorrow is St. Paddy’s Day & Wednesday is National Ag Day.  I’m celebrating all three by combining several different food groups in this loaded manicotti recipe. My husband loves Italian food, but he often struggles to eat his greens. So, I created this recipe in order to get the best of both worlds.

Actually, he didn’t even realize that I was being sneaky sneaks about the spinach. It was very scandalous when I revealed the truth! I’m pretty lucky to be married to a guy that doesn’t mind my experiments in the kitchen.

Loaded Manicotti from Stirlist.com

And speaking of luck, aren’t we lucky to have farmers that grow the food we eat everyday? I hope this week you’ll take time to reach out to a farmer or others who work in Agriculture and thank them. If you don’t know a farmer or producer, take time to share a thought on social media about how appreciative you are for what they do.

This weekend I also discovered meerkat app. Have you heard of it? It allows you to stream video of whatever you’re doing.  So this weekend I was able to livestream a recipe demo from my kitchen. It was pretty cool to see 19 folks jumping on to view the recipe I was making. The app definitely has some issues, but I’m thinking this could be a really cool way to show people what I’m stirring up in the kitchen. It might also be a great way to take a virtual farm tour. I am hoping that some of my friends who farm will consider experimenting with this idea on National Ag Day? We will have to wait and see.

Loaded Manicotti from Stirlist.com

Loaded Manicotti With Fresh Spinach

  • 60 minutes
  • 15 ingredients
  • 8 steps


  • 1 Box Manicotti Shells (typically 12 in a box)
  • 1 bottle/jar of Marinara sauce (25-26 oz jar)
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2.5 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese (half a block)
  • 1 cup kraft Italian 5 cheese blend
  • 3 cups fresh chopped baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound lean hamburger meat
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese (sprinkle over top)
  • Fresh basil for garnish (you could also use fresh chopped spinach leaves for garnish)


  1. Preheat over to 375.
  2. Mix together cream cheese, ricotta cheese, 5 cheese Italian blend, spinach, salt, and garlic powder.
  3. Using a 9 x 12 casserole dish, pour 1/2 of the marina sauce into the dish. Make sure the dish has a nice layer of marinara sauce on the bottom.
  4. Fill the manicotti shells with the cheese mixture. (I use a large plastic freezer bag to pipe the mixture into the shells. Fill the freezer bag with the cheese mixture and then cut a small hole in the corner of the bag to pipe in the cheese.)
  5. Fill each shell with the cheese mixture and place in the casserole dish. (It’s ok if they are close together) Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 min. After 20 minutes, remove and rotate each shell so that the other side can cook. Cover with foil again and cook again for 20 minutes.
  6. While Manicotti is baking, prepare the meat sauce. Brown the hamburger meat and onion over medium heat. Season the meat mixture with the basil and Italian seasoning. Once the meat is fully cooked, add the rest of your marinara sauce and lower the heat. (You won’t have to drain the oil if your meat is lean)
  7. Once the manicotti has been baked for 40 minutes, remove pan from the over and uncover. Now you can top each manicotti with the meat sauce. Then top with parmesan cheese.
  8. Return to the over for another 5 minutes uncovered to melt the parmesan cheese and top with fresh basil or spinach.

Newsletter Signup

Have you subscribed to our newsletter yet?