Apr 25 11
by cara
at 8:22 PM
  • Pin It

Manicotti Italian Casserole

This week I’m doing a mini Eat From the Pantry/Freezer Challenge, and this Manicotti Italian Casserole is one of the meals we’ve got in our freezer right now.

Why the mini challenge?  At the beginning of April, The Picky Apple and I sat down and talked through a monthly budget.  Not just for groceries (which we’ve done before, but never really stuck to), but for everything.  We’re trying to reign in all of the mindless $10 here, $100 there at places like Target (me), Amazon (um, me again) and dining out.  We review our transactions every other night to see where we stand.  This is the first month in our marriage (7 years) I can say with certainty “we have $X left to spend on groceries, I have $X “fun money” left for the month, we can go out to eat as a family this weekend because we have $X left in our dining out budget for the month.”  Granted, this is still our first month of sticking to a budget, but instead of feeling overly restricted, I find it amazingly freeing and a fun little challenge.  We’ll see how I feel about it in a few more months!

So, this week is Eat from the Freezer and Pantry because we’re $11 over budget for groceries with 5 days left in April.  I’m actually feeling great that it’s only $11.  We just hosted a big Easter Brunch for 14 adults that took up about 1/3 of the month’s budget (including 2 floral bouquets).  But I still thought I’d challenge myself to eat what we’ve got on hand.

I made this Manicotti Italian Casserole for the first time a few weeks ago and froze half of it.  This is definitely a recipe I’ll be using again.  I also think the sauce I used (not my usual homemade, but Newman’s Own Sockarooni, a zesty, chunky sauce) really made the dish.  This casserole would be a great dish to make for a big crowd or to have on hand for care meals to pass along to others in need.

Manicotti Italian Casserole

from Allrecipes.com


  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 (8 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 2 (32 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
  • thinly sliced pepperoni
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Pour in rigatoni, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set pasta aside.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef and italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, remove beef and sausage to a baking dish. Stir mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, and cooked pasta into the baking dish. Sprinkle cheese and pepperoni over the top.  Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Do you stick to a monthly budget?  How often do you sit down and review your spending throughout the month?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  1. We’re the same way with our spending. Every month we start with a budget, but I never look at it again until the beginning of the next month. By then we’ve gone way over it! We did try the Dave Ramsey envelope system for a few months, but I did not like paying cash for everything, especially gas and things I might need to return later (I always lose receipts). Next month I’m thinking about taking the money budgeted and buying gift cards for the grocery store, gas station and Target.

  2. Every month I start with a budget, but I never really look at it until it’s time to make the budget for the next month; by then we’ve usually gone over. We tried the Dave Ramsey envelope system for awhile, but I did not like carrying a lot of cash or paying cash for gas and things I might need returned later (clothing, birthday presents). Next month I am thinking about taking the grocery budget and buying a gift card to Giant Eagle, the same thing for gas and my household/miscellaneous budget (which is usually spent at Target).

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

Blog Widget by LinkWithin