Another Christmas is over, and now the marathon of leftovers will begin. Maybe you'll make gallons of turkey soup, plate after plate of turkey sandwiches. Or maybe you went with a ham and you'll make split pea soup, or ham sandwiches. How about switching it up this year? Try this one out: ham stuffed manicotti. 

I used to only have manicotti once a year, and those days have changed. My girlfriend makes it for us probably about once a month, and this past year we even tried one with peppers included. So if you're a big fan of manicotti, try adding some ham.

Here's the ingredients you'll need:

-14 manicotti pasta shells

-1 onion, chopped

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

-1/4 cup butter or olive oil

-1-2 cups cooked cubed ham

-1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

-6 Tbsp. butter or olive oil

-6 Tbsp. flour

-3 cups milk

-2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The total prep/cooking time is over an hour, but it looks worth it. Here's the instructions:

Cook manicotti as directed on package. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside. Meanwhile, cook onion, garlic, and green bell pepper in 4 Tbsp. butter or olive oil until tender. Add ham and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

In another heavy saucepan, cook 6 Tbsp. butter or olive oil until foamy. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles, about 3 minutes. Add milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens. Stir in cheese. Mix 1/4 of cheese sauce with ham mixture.

Fill manicotti shells with ham mixture (your fingers work best for this; it's messy, but most efficient). Spread about 1/2 cup cheese sauce in greased 13x9" glass baking dish and arrange filled shells over sauce. If there is any leftover stuffing, just sprinkle it over the filled shells. Pour remaining cheese sauce over filled manicotti. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. If not freezing casserole, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until bubbly. Serves 8”



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