This simple five ingredient pasta casserole recipe for Chicken Manicotti tastes like you spent all day cooking. The five ingredients do not include oil, water, or seasonings.
You can, of course, add many more ingredients to this recipe if you want to. Add some garlic to the sauce, or stir in chopped bell peppers or some shredded carrots for more color and nutrition. Use a different kind of cheese. Or use chicken breasts instead of the chicken thighs.
Serve this simple and delicious recipe with a green salad tossed with pears and a wonderful homemade dressing, or a plain green salad with mushrooms and avocados and a ranch salad dressing. Some hot garlic bread is required, both for the taste and for the combination of the crunchy bread with the creamy main dish. For dessert, make brownies or some fabulous chocolate chip cookies.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 14 uncooked manicotti shells
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly so the onion doesn't overbrown or burn. Add the spaghetti sauce and stir well, then remove the pan from the heat.
In a 13x9" glass baking pan, pour 3/4 cup of the sauce mixture.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Cut the chicken into 1" cubes.
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 1/2 cup of the sauce and 3/4 cup of the cheese; mix gently with a wooden spoon.
Fill each manicotti noodle with some of the chicken mixture. This can be a bit messy. You can use a small spoon if you'd like, but I like to use my fingers because it's easier. Make sure you wash your hands well with soap and water after handling the raw chicken.
Place the stuffed manicotti in the baking dish on top of the sauce mixture. Pour the water into the remaining spaghetti sauce in jar, close the jar and shake well. Pour this mixture over the filled manicotti shells in the baking dish, making sure to coat pasta completely. Cover all with the remaining 1-1/4 cups mozzarella cheese.
Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 80 to 90 minutes until the pasta is tender when pierced with a fork and the chicken is thoroughly cooked to 165°F.