Chyrel's Recipes From Friends
Mexican Manicotti

14 Manicotti or cannelloni shells
1 Tsp vegetable oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 Crushed garlic cloves
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tsp leaf oregano
1/2 Tsp salt
16-oz can refried beans
1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1 Cup hot or medium salsa
7-oz Can tomato sauce
2 Cups grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, using minimum amount of cooking time given on package. This is usually from 6 to 8 minutes. When still fairly firm, drain pasta and immediately rinse with cold running water until cool. Drain well. Lightly oil a 9x13-inch (3-L) baking dish or coat dish with non-stick cooking spray. Then, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring often with a fork to break up meat, until meat loses its pink color and onion has softened, about 15 minutes. If mixture starts to burn, adjust heat to medium or medium-low. Stir in beans, green pepper and coriander until evenly mixed. Remove from heat. In a small mixing bowl, stir salsa with tomato sauce.

Fill each shell with meat mixture and place together snugly in a baking dish. Pour salsa mixture overtop. Cover tightly with foil and bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, until cheese is melted and manicotti are hot, about 20 to 25 more minutes.

Make Ahead:
Make ahead Instead of baking, place foil-covered dish in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or tightly wrap and freeze. To bake, defrost casserole. Then, cover and bake for 1-1/4 hours. Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese and continue with recipe.

Makes: 14 filled manicotti


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