Deconstructed Manicotti Skillet with Zucchini Noodles

In my quest to continue healthy eating until Thanksgiving, up on deck for dinner last night was Deconstructed Manicotti Skillet with Zucchini Noodles, from none other than my go-to food blog Inspiralized

Anything with a big pocket of cheese in the picture will automatically peak my interest, and this recipe was right up my alley. In fact, I put too much cheese in it. It’s a weakness. I love cheese. I swear that I could find a way to make all of these healthy recipes unhealthy without hardly trying. But zucchini noodles are still healthier than regular pasta noodles, so I’m calling it a win. 
Super easy and full of flavor (and cheese), the deconstructed manicotti definitely hit the spot for any sort of noodle craving. Typically made as a main meal to serve two, I decided to cut the serving into fourth’s and grill a stuffed porkchop on the side. I needed more than zucchini noodles; I’m going to turn in to a damn zucchini noodle. AND, my porkchop was stuffed with Thanksgiving stuffing, so now I’m even more excited for Thanksgiving food. Sigh. 
Anywho, per the usual, prep work is essential. Not only does it save a lot of frustration and running around the kitchen, but you will have multiple skillets going at once.  

Once everything is mixed and cooked, you’re simply going to layer. Half the sauce, zucchini noodles, the other half of the sauce, then you’ll make “pockets” in the zoodles to put your cheese and spinach mixture. FYI – the original recipe from Inspiralized says to make two pockets. In good conscience I could not let all that extra cheese go to waste, so I made four pockets.

The result? Cheesy, creamy, deliciousness. 

PS – I totally cheated on the pork chop and bought it pre-made and stuffed in a fit of weakness at the meat counter, at my grocery store, so no cooking review or pictures there. Hey, it’s better than a buying a bag of Doritos in a fit of weakness at the store (which is a real struggle I have a couple times a month). 
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Deconstructed Manicotti Skillet with Zucchini Noodles (Recipe from Inspiralized)
Serves 2
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. red onion
  • 1, 14oz. can diced tomatoes (No Salt Added for a healthier version)
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 c. baby spinach
  • 2 zucchini’s, Blade C
  • 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
For the filling – 
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese
  • 7.5oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees.
2. Place a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and onions, cooking 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
3. Add in the diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes. Add in your basil leaves, and cook for another 5 minutes or until your sauce is fully reduced.
4. While the sauce is cooking, mix together all of the ingredients for the filling. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 
5. Place a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Once the skillet heats, add in the baby spinach and toss until wilted. Fold the spinach into the cheese mixture and set aside.
6. When he sauce is done cooking, remove half of the sauce and set aside. Make sure that the sauce is spread evenly at the bottom of the skillet (it will not cover all of the skillet). Top with the zucchini noodles, and top with the remaining sauce.
7. Make two pockets (or four if you’re like me and hate wasting cheese) in the zucchini noodles and fill each evenly with the cheese filling. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp. of mozzarella over the top of the skillet and season with pepper.
8. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil and back for 25 minutes or until the noodles soften and the cheese in melted. Enjoy!
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving):
Calories – 462
Fat – 25g
Carbs – 25g
Fiber – 6g
Sugar – 10g
Protein – 36g
Cheers!
Heather

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