Growing up, my mom would make this Manicotti on special occasions.  We all loved this meal – wonderful flavors, very filling and great re-heated (if there are any leftovers).  I can still picture the large kitchen island and me and my brothers fighting over the spinning chair when waiting for dinner.  We had many meals around that island.

The best thing about this recipe that made it a family favorite is that the ingredients were all fairy common when on their own, but when combined, have a depth of flavor that appeases all parts of your pallet.  The creamy freshness of the spinach and cottage cheese, the heartiness from the ground beef mixed with the richness of the tomatoes, and finish that off with the cheesy goodness that every Wisconsinites meal needs – this is a masterpiece.  

This recipe does have a few steps to it and requires a little bit of time commitment, but time is not a concern when you are making something as good as this.  It is also made easier that you don’t have to precook the pasta.  This would be a great meal made on a weekend or pre-made to reheat for a week night.  



  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper & garlic pepper
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 1 10oz package frozen spinach thawed, chopped and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 8oz packages Manacotti shells, uncooked
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Brown beef with onion and garlic over medium heat in a deep skillet.  Pour off fat.  Stir in 2 cups tomato juice, tomato paste, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.  Simmer while preparing filling.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the 2 cups mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, spinach, eggs and Parmesan cheese. 
  • Stuff the uncooked shells with above cheese mixture and arrange evenly in a 13×9 pan.  
  • Spoon meat sauce evenly over shells.  Pour remaining 2 cups tomato juice on top and cover pan with foil.  Place pan on a baking sheet, put in oven and bake for 1 hour.  
  • Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese.  Cook in oven for another 15 minutes until cheese melts.  
  • Pull out of the oven and let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.  
  • Sit back and receive the praise of your family!  Enjoy!!

Happy Cooking!!!

*Recipe from my mom.  

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