I've been making this dish for several years now and it's one of our family's favorites. I don't care for many of the manicotti fillings such as ricotta cheese so this is a nice spin on the traditional dish.
I don't make it as often I'd probably like because it is a more time consuming meal but if you plan ahead a little bit you can cut down on some of the prep work. Brown the sausage and cook up the chicken tenders the night before. Then all you have to do is assemble the pasta and heat through. Pair this meal with a nice salad and some garlic bread and you have yourself a wonderful meal that everyone will enjoy!
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders (or cut chicken breasts into strips)
1 garlic clove
8-10 manicotti shells
1 jar spaghetti sauce or your favorite homemade recipe
1/2 lb. mild pork sausage
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
In a large stockpot, bring water to a boil. Add in manicotti shells and cook for 5 minutes, until somewhat tender but not cooked through.
In a large skillet heat 2 teaspoons olive oil, add in garlic clove. Let saute for 30 seconds and then add in chicken tender strips. Cook chicken for 5-7 minutes until cooked through and remove from stove. Meanwhile brown up the pork sausage in another small pan. Remove from stove when done.
Spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Stuff manicotti shells with cooked chicken tenders and place in dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle cooked sausage on top. Top shells with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
* If this seems like too many steps to you, you can always stuff uncooked shells with chicken that is uncooked as well. Top with the spaghetti sauce, cooked sausage and cheese and then bake for 60 minutes. Sprinkle in a little bit of water around the edges of pan before baking. Eliminates some of your time in the kitchen but will just take longer to bake. Either way, it's a delicious meal!