Juicy chicken stuffed into long rolls of pasta, smothered (and cooked!) in a delicious homemade marinara sauce.
Before I blogged full time, I had a job working as a church office administrator. I had about 25-30 volunteers that I worked with and managed and each year, as a thank you, I’d throw them a party. Church budgets don’t typically have room for this sort of thing, so I always cooked a fabulous meal and made the decorations rather than trying to have the party catered.
For one of the very first parties I threw, I made this Chicken Stuffed Manicotti. It was easy to put together, looked elegant and tasted amazing. It was a huge hit, and set the bar for the parties to come. Twelve years later, this dish is still in regular rotation, and it’s now become a favorite of my kids as well.
It’s basically a one pan dish, unless you choose to make your own marinara (which I prefer to do). Uncooked chicken is stuffed into uncooked manicotti shells (long, wide tubes), set in a base of marinara sauce and water, then coated again with the sauce.
The pasta is then covered with foil and baked for about an hour. The pasta AND the chicken cook in the sauce! Add some cheese and let it melt and you’re good to go. This is a great family friendly dish. It does take about an hour prep and cook, but it’s so worth it!
Chicken Stuffed Manicotti
- 1-24 oz. jar of marinara about 3 cups - homemade is preferred
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 14 chicken tenders or 4 large breasts, pounded thin and cut into 3-4 strips each
- 14 uncooked manicotti shells
- 1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs basil or parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13"x9" baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.
- Combine marinara and water (if making your own, let it cool first). Pour about 1/2 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Rinse chicken tenders and pat dry. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
- Stuff chicken into the manicotti. It may be necessary to cut chicken width-wise and stuff shells from both ends.
- Arrange manicotti in the prepared baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce and cover the entire dish with foil.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until pasta is tender and chicken is cooked through.
- Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle with fresh, chopped herbs (basil, parsley) and serve immediately.
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