Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Date 4: Chili Manicotti

The last couple weeks, Mike and I have kept our date nights very low key with making dinner together and watching a movie. Life has been a little crazy and trying to adjust to a few added changes in our schedule has exhausted us. I started babysitting our friends’ sweet baby girl so her mama could go back to work. Last week I literally felt like I did after my first week of student teaching. Absolutely exhausted. Having a very low key date with one of our all time favorite dishes was the perfect remedy for us to finish the week.

Mike allowed me to completely relax on the couch with a glass of wine after the kids went to bed while he made my mom’s recipe for chili manicotti. This is by far one of my favorite dishes she made for us growing up. It’s a little obscure and looking at the ingredient list you would think there’s no way this could be good, but Mike who once was the pickiest eater loves this as much as I do.

When we were dating we would often cook together and try new recipes. We love food and we used it as a way to build our relationship. Shortly after we became engaged I compiled our favorite family recipes into a book using Shutterfly. We often turn to this book when we’re really needing a little piece of home. There’s nothing better than the warm and cozy feeling of biting into a favorite dish our parents often made for us growing up.

The chili manicotti recipe was added and we often joked whether this was an Italian or Mexican dish? Then again, chili itself isn’t really Mexican, but the pickled jalapeƱos kind of are. Uh huh, it sounds awful, right? Whatever it is, it’s a mixed up collaboration of both and it’s stolen our hearts. The best part is it’s always better the second day.

So if you’re brave enough to try this crazy concoction I really hope you thoroughly enjoy it as much as we do and it can become one of those weird recipes that the family talks about, but never really understands.

Chili Manicotti 
2 cans condensed chili beef soup (with or without beans)
1/2 cup water
12 manicotti shells
2 eggs, beaten
24 ounces cottage cheese
6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 pickled jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir chili soup and water together and set aside.
Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
Combine eggs, cottage cheese, 1 cup cheddar cheese and pickled jalapeƱo peppers. Mix well. Carefully spoon cheese mixture into cooked manicotti shells.
Place filled shells into a 9x13 baking dish. Pour chili soup mixture over the shells. 
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. 
Uncover and top with remaining cheddar cheese and serve.

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