This manicotti recipe is delicious. AND easy. AND all of my children rejoice when we have it for dinner. Even my super-picky daughter who usually throws a fit when it is dinner time and wants “something else”. Which means she gets to gag down three bites of whatever it is we are having, and then we end up making something else for her. But this – she ate her three bites. And then another three. And then she actually asked for more. And then has more after that. It is BEAUTIFUL!

Aaaaand, since you use a ziploc bag to fill the shells, it is a “clean” recipe so your kids can actually help to make it too.

I found this recipe in the Kraft Food magazine several years ago (back when they used to send it out for free – that was awesome), and we have loved it ever since.

Kid-friendly Manicotti

And here is what it looks like pre-baked – DO NOT FORGET TO COVER! I did this last time until the last 10 minutes and it got a little crunchy – hence no great “after” picture…..

Manicotti 2

Kid-friendly Manicotti (even my super-picky daughter will eat it!)


  • 2 c. spaghetti sauce, divided (we love Francesco Rinaldi Three Cheese)
  • 1-3/4 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1-1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. pesto (we love Classico's Traditional Basil pesto)
  • 12 cooked manicotti shells, rinsed in cold water


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 dish with aluminum foil (for easy clean up).
  2. Spread enough spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the baking dish to have a thin layer covering the bottom.
  3. Mix cheeses, egg & pesto into a bowl and mix until blended. Spoon the mixture into a gallon-sized zipper bag. Use scissors to cut a small part of the bottom corner of the bag off.
  4. Fill manicotti shells by squeezing cheese mixture into both sides of each shell; place in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce. COVER!
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until heated through.
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