Spinach Manicotti

Valentine's Day less than two weeks away and I have to say I'm dreading the occasion. I've always felt it was one of those holidays we could really do without because it's always felt so forced. I mean, do we really need a holiday reminding us to tell our loved ones that we love them? 

Absolutely not.

I may not be the kind of girl who wants flowers and chocolate for Valentine's Day, but deep down inside I'm a romantic at heart. I love to surprise my husband with what I've always called random days, where I stumble across something I know he'll love and give him a random gift or cook his favorite dinner out of the blue. I just like seeing the smile it brings to his face. And if random day happens to coincide with a rough week at work or a bad day, then that's even better.

I think a lot of people forget that we don't need a holiday or special occasion to give gift or plan a romantic dinner for those we love.

If you're looking to plan a romantic dinner for two, for Valentine's Day, or just because these manicotti make the perfect main course. Just pair it with a loaf of Italian bread, a salad with home made dressing, or Garlic ParmesanGreen Beans and you've got a meal that will please even the pickiest of eaters. 

Do you have anything special planned for Valentine's Day, or do you prefer to pretend the holiday doesn't exist?

Spinach Manicotti

Spinach Manicotti
makes 3 - 4 servings


2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh spinach

16 ounces ricotta cheese
½ cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
9 Manicotti Noodles
32oz Pasta Sauce (I use Mids Garlic and Onion)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded


  • In a food processor add minced garlic and fresh spinach, pulse until finely chopped, then combine with ricotta and parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
  • Place cheese mixture in a disposable icing bag or zip lock bag, cut the tip off, then pipe the filling into the manicotti noodles.
  • Place filled noodles in a 7 x 11 inch glass baking dish, cover with sauce, and refrigerate overnight to soften the noodles. If you don't plan on making this dish in advance you'll need to boil the manicotti noodles for 4 - 6 minutes, then allow them to cool before stuffing with cheese.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Top manicotti with shredded mozzarella, then bake for 30 - 40 minutes.


Since our family lives so far away I don't get the opportunity to entertain much during the holidays, but when I do you can almost guarantee that the meal is not going to be on time. For some inexplicable reason I can't seem to get my timing down and my guests are often left waiting. Personally I chalk it up to the fact that up until recently I'd never cooked for a large group of people. I always went to my grandparents house for the holidays, but now winter often prevents us from traveling home and we have friends over instead. They all know that I have a pretty well established pattern of not getting our meal on the table in a timely manner (we won't mention the time Christmas dinner was over two hours late.)

These days I make sure to have an assortment of yummy nibbles for everyone to enjoy while I try and pull our meal together on time. I like to set out antipasto since it requires a minimal amount of work and doesn't take my focus off the main meal. I make sure to include a few old favorites and a few new items so even the less adventurous eaters among my guests can find something to keep them satisfied. The possibilities are endless and I always love it when someone tells me they've discovered something new and exciting. If you plan on doing any entertaining this holiday season or need something easy to bring along to a party, consider making an antipasto platter, your guests won't be disappointed.


serves 6 - 8


4 ounces Capocollo
4 ounces genoa salami
Assortment of Mezzetta® olives, drained
Assortment of soft cheeses, any variety
Fresh baguette, sliced


  • Arrange salami, olives, and cheeses on a platter and serve with sliced baguette.


The antipasto platter can be made in advance, then covered and refrigerated until you're ready to serve. If you're using soft cheese be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving so they are easy to spread.

For this platter I used Castelvetrano (not pictured,) Spanish Queen, and Garlic Stuffed olives. The cheeses were Rougette Bavarian Red, Port du Salut, and Roquefort. Feel free to try these if you can find them or substitute your favorites.


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that House Party and Mezzetta have provided me with free or discounted products that I've used to create this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.