No Boil Freezer Manicotti – Guest Post

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on November 16, 2011


Do you want to make a casserole without a bowl, a spoon or a pot?

You do?

Then this is the casserole for you. I make this often and double to have extra in my freezer to give away to a friend in need, or for a busy weeknight meal.

You DO NOT cook the manicotti prior to filling and freezing, and that’s what makes this recipe so easy. The other easy part is the method to mix the filling ingredients. You mix the filling in a freezer bag by kneading it.

You start by preparing your pans with sauce in the bottom.

You dump the filling into a gallon size FREEZER bag and gently knead until it is mixed up.

Then you cut a small corner of the bag; about  1/2″. You want the filling to flow easily through the opening, but you don’t want it to pour out too quickly.  Don’t cut it too small because there will be too much pressure and the bag could burst. Once you do it a couple of times, you will get the feel of piping cheese into the shells. I fill one side horizontally and then turn the shell and fill the other.

Fill all the shells dividing between two 8×8 pans or one 9×13.

Cover all the shells with the marinara sauce. I use Hunts when I don’t have time to  crock pot marinara on hand.

Sprinkle the reserved cheese on top.

Cover the pans with heavy duty foil labeled with thawing and cooking instructions. This is the most important part when you’re giving a casserole away. It’s handy for people to have the instructions right at their fingertips.

Shells are $1.50 at Wal-mart and the sauce is $1. Cheese prices range. I leave out the parmesan cheese sometimes and it’s still great. You can substitute ricotta, but try the cottage cheese. It makes a terrific ministry meal to give away to someone in need and it’s easy because there’s “no cooking” involved. P.S. Your family is a ministry too, so be sure to double this recipe to have enough for dinner and others in need.

Three Cheese Manicotti

Filling Ingredients (gallon bag)

  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • Add:  1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 1-8oz. package manicotti
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Jar or can of favorite marinara sauce (I use the $1 can Hunts marinara or homemade)
  • cooking spray
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Jackie Brown is a mom of four freezer cooking for her family while opening her arms to the poor and needy. She teaches and blogs at Mom on a Mission six days a week. Her posts include freezer cooking tutorials, whole foods coupons, recipes, weekly menus, 15-minute recipes using freezer items and mission opportunities.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina S. November 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

How long do you cook it and at what temperature?


sandra November 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

going by the photo–at 375 , covered for one hour


Denise November 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Thanks Jackie – I’ll be making this on my next freezer cooking day!


Wendy November 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm

There’s really no additional liquid needed? Other “no boil” recipes I’ve used require a bit more liquid for the pasta to cook. I’m surprised that this doesn’t. I do plan to try it, though. I love no boil lasagna and no boil mac n cheese. I’m sure I’ll love this, too.


Dawnette November 18, 2011 at 9:15 pm

No-boil mac & cheese??


Wendy November 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Yes, it’s great. Unique, but great! Here’s the link:

For it to work best for me, I had my oven temp 25 degrees lower and added more liquid. The first time I made it it turned out a bit too dry and the pasta was more al dente than I like. Not sure if it was the oven temp or the smaller bowls I used (have used a larger container since), but it comes out great now!


Mindy September 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Hi Wendy,
I was wondering how much more liquid do you add?


Gail Becker November 17, 2011 at 5:06 am

I love how easy this is!!!! Great idea with writting cooking instructions on the foil with Blue ink. No more excuses like “I don’t know how to cook this from anyone””. LOL!!!


Gail Becker November 17, 2011 at 5:10 am

I have a question. How long can you freeze this? I don’t think it would last long in the freezer, because my family would request it once they saw it in the freezer,LOL!!!


Gwendolyn November 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

This is a really neat idea. I’m guessing it would work great with gluten free lasagna noodles for those of us that can’t tolerate gluten.


DavetteB November 17, 2011 at 8:17 am

what size jar of sauce or how much if homemade? also is the one hour baking time from frozen or thawed? thanks :o)


Krystal February 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

The picture says “Thaw 24 hours. Bake 1 hour.” And I would assume you can use as much sauce as you like


Gail November 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

If you’re going to freeze this, do not use a foil pan…the tomato sauce will react with the aluminum foil and eat tiny holes in the bottom of the pan. Been there, done that :( Use a plastic disposable oven-safe pan (Gladware, etc.) instead.


Barbara B. November 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

How do I just print the recipe,not pictures?


Jackie Brown November 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Sorry about the missing information. I’ve fixed it on my recipe link. thank you


Jackie Brown November 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Great questions, Wrapped in foil it keeps a good while as long as the foil isn’t punctured from moving it around. Double wrapped or heavy duty foil is better. You can lay a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray on top for less ice crystals (more air equals more crystals) Just don’t forget to put a note on your foil to remove plastic wrap before baking:) I’ve never had holes from the aluminum and we’ve done it with many cooking groups?? As far as homemade sauce, use the same amount as a 26 oz. jar/can:)
I converted the recipe to zip list a little while ago so you may print w/o photos


Judy December 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I had this in the freezer for a couple of weeks and made it tonight. Rave reviews!!! So easy it’s ridiculous. This will be made again and again!


Carmen Cavanaugh January 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I made this recipe but with shells and it was so good! It was more than enough for my family and had made a batch for a family that just had a baby. Love this!


Betty January 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Do you have baking instructions if it’s not frozen? Thank you.


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Sherry September 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

I also stuff my shells with Manwich….Just cook the hamburg, add Manwich and stuff shells…Cover with sauce and cheese….Delicious~!


Steph September 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

Had anyone tried adding vegetables to this? I like to add veggies whenever possible since I have picky eaters. I’m thinking maybe carrots or zucchini/squash?


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