All the ingredients for this meal were in the pantry or freezer. I made a triple batch; two for ill families at church and one for us. Here's my secret recipe:
3 boxes of manicotti noodles
6 lb. can of Marinara Sauce (will have extra)
3 lb. container of Cottage Cheese (6 cups)
3 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3 cups shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons Basil paste (or substitute chopped fresh basil)
Salt & Pepper
Chopped olives (optional)
Combine 2 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, 2 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, basil paste, eggs and a little salt and pepper. Stir gently and set aside.
Cook manicotti shells al dente. Drain. Loosely stuff (about 1/4 cup per shell). Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce into shallow 8x12 casserole dish, arrange stuffed shells in sauce. Then spread 2 cups sauce over top. Sprinkle remaining Mozzarella/Parmesan (and optional olives) over top. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Recap so far:
Day 1 - Teriyaki Chicken from freezer w/Green Beans - $0.00
Day 2 & 3 - Crockpot Navy Bean and Ham Soup - $0.00
Day 4 - homemade Pepperoni Pizza (homemade dough) and salad - $0.00