Special Manicotti

"This recipe comes from a cookbook, A Cause For Applause. I posted the recipe as stated in the book, but I'll list a few "good to know" tips I discovered when making it. I used 2 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves, 1 tsp salt and an 8 ounce container of chive & onion cream cheese spread because that's all I could find. I used a 14 1/2 Ounce can of diced tomatoes. Be sure to buy two 8 Ounce boxes of manicotti shells to allow for breakage. A little tip I learned about manicotti shells and lasagna strips is not to boil them. I clean my sink very well and fill it with hot tap water and let the pasta soak for 20 minutes. It finishes cooking in the dish when baked. The pan I used was apprxoximately 10x14 and I was able to fit 21 shells in the pan. I still had a little filling left and probably could have stuffed about 4-5 more shells but I didn't have any shells that weren't broken. The left over filling makes a great spread for crackers. I guess I may not have stuffed mine as full so I was able to yield more shells. I found the best way to stuff the shells was by hand - just simply put a little stuffing in at a time until full. Also, I did not grease my pan and nothing stuck. I covered the dish with foil and baked it for 20 minutes then uncovered and baked another 20 minutes. This dish is a little labor intensive, but is so good and so worth it. I cook my sauce one day and put it together the next so it doesn't seem so time consuming."
photo by a food.com user photo by a food.com user
Ready In:
3hrs 45mins




  • Remove Italian sausage from casing and crumble well in dutch oven.
  • Add ground beef, onions and garlic to sausage and cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble meat.
  • Remove from fire and drain well.
  • Add tomato sauce to dutch oven and the next 11 ingredients.
  • Over medium heat bring to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Cook manicotti shells in salted boiling water according to package directions.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Combine cream cheeses and the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl or mixer.
  • Stuff mixture into shells.
  • Spoon half the sauce into a lightly greased 14x12 inch baking pan or 2 lightly greased 2 1/2 quart shallow casserole dishes.
  • Place stuffed shells over sauce.
  • Spoon remaining sauce over shells.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until heated.
  • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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  1. This was fantastic!! Wonderful flavors. You could easily make the saw without meat if you wanted.


Living in the south we are very lucky to have an abundance of fresh seafood and other ingredients at our disposal when trying new recipes. My husband and I both love to cook and have learned a lot about cooking from our native Louisianian, Paul Prudhomme (we learned to be very careful with his recipes as they are very spicy - even for us), native New Orleanian, Frank Davis and transplanted Emeril Lagasse. It would be very difficult to pick an all time favorite cookbook since I have approximately 200. I enjoy collecting local cookbooks as well as others from different areas. This picture is obviously when DH and I got married. I cooked all the food and even made my wedding cake.
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