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The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

This noodle casserole, suggested by my friend Ruth Robbins, is great for a buffet or a make-ahead meal, as you can assemble the manicotti and bake it when you're ready to serve it. Our kids liked it so much they didn't even mind the spinach. (We did remind them of the superhuman strength Popeye gets from eating the green stuff.) If you are a true spinach lover, you can use two packages of frozen spinach in the manicotti. Serve it with a fruit salad of diced kiwis and mangoes.
Prep (30 minutes) +
Cook (45 minutes)
10 servings

• 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
• 1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
• 1 container (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese
• 1 egg
• 1 package (12-14 noodles) uncooked manicotti noodles
• 1 jar (26 ounces) tomato-and-basil flavored pasta sauce
• 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• a few shakes grated Parmesan cheese

Thaw the spinach in a microwave or in a covered pot over low heat. Drain it thoroughly Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and a piece of foil large enough to cover it with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and saute them until they are soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese and egg. Stir in the thawed spinach and the mushroom-onion mixture. Using your fingers, fill the uncooked manicotti noodles with the mixture. Place the noodles in a single layer in the baking dish. Cover the noodles completely with any leftover cheese mixture and the tomato-basil sauce. Top them with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. (At this point, you can refrigerate the uncooked casserole for up to 24 hours or bake it immediately)

Bake the casserole, covered tightly, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil for the final 5 minutes of cooking.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Calories 350
Total Fat 14g, 22%
Saturated Fat 4g, 20%
Cholesterol 15 mg, 5%
Sodium 240 mg, 10%
Total Carbohydrate 46g, 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g, 12%
Protein 12g
Sugar 4g

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