Freezer meals: Artichoke manicotti in pesto cream

Here is one of those recipes that works great straight out of the freezer. You can prepare a bunch in advance then save them for later. Everyone has those nights where they just don't feel like cooking. Right?

As mentioned in a previous post. I purchased a bunch of tins from the Dollar Tree (3 for $1). They are perfect size for a 2 person meal, store easy and can be popped straight into the oven then thrown away. No cleanup!!

The only real work you have to do is preheat the oven, open a bottle of wine and put on some So You Think You Can Dance. Now that's what I call the perfect night...but maybe its just me.

Here is what they looked like after assembly but prior to freezing

Recipe from Robin to the Rescue by Robin Miller

Total time: 40 min

Makes about 3-4 meals (I doubled recipe to make more)

1lb manicotti shells

1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained (not marinated)

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (plus more for topping)

1 tsp dried oregano

Pesto Cream

2 tbs pine nuts (toasted in oven or in skillet)

2 cups packed fresh basil

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)

2 cloves garlic

1. Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Once done remove from water and let drain on paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, in blender or food processor combine artichoke hearts, ricotta, mozzarella and oregano until smooth.

3. Fill shells with ricotta mixture. An easy technique is to fill a large ziploc with the mixture. Snip of one corner of bag then squeeze into shells. This is faster and less messy then spooning it in by hand.

4. Make pesto cream: Blend toasted pine nuts, basil, cream, oil, parmesean and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth (don't over mix as the sauce might separate a bit. This happened to me. Didn't look as pretty as it should have but still tasted great)

5. Assembly: Spoon layer of pesto cream on bottom of foil container. Place 4 filled manicotti shells on top. Layer on more pesto cream then sprinkle parmesean and shredded mozzarella on top. Once cool you can place the lids on and freeze. Don't forget to label the containers so you know whats inside!!

**NOTE: Can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.

6. Cooking:

From freezer: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove cardboard lid from foil tray, cover with tin foil. Bake for 40-50 min (no need to defrost first). If you want the cheese to brown a little remove foil for last 5 min of baking.

If defrosted or fresh made: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 min.


I have 2 other freezer meals to share with you. All of them are really easy. You can make all 3 at once over the span of a few hours then package them up so you have a nice size supply of dinners for later.


  1. Yum!!! This sounds yummy. I'll have to try this one soon.

  2. This looks great- and it's vegetarian! I'm trying it, for sure!

  3. I just made this artichoke manicotti for dinner tonight and something is wrong with it. I boiled 1 lb. (16 oz. right?) of manicotti which was 28 noodles! I only had enough filling for 5. I checked and re-checked and have no idea what went wrong. The box of manicotti has a recipe on it and it has WAY more in the filling than the Robin Miller recipe. Is there a misprint in the recipe? I'm so confused and thought you could help. Thanks!

  4. Jill - Looks like the noodles you used might be a different size than the ones I had. The packages I bought contained 12 shells in a 1 lb package. I doubled the recipe and filled @ 20 manicotti shells.

    How did you fill them? I used a ziploc bag, snipped off the corner and squirted the filling in the shells.

    Let me know if you need more help!

  5. The box of manicotti I bought was 8 oz., which was 14 shells. I filled them with a spoon, but I didn't lose any filling. Though now I know to do the ziploc idea! Genius! It just seems like there wouldn't be nearly enough filling for a whole pound of noodles. Maybe mine were just HUGE. About 6 inches long cooked. Like I said, I filled 5 noodles and they weren't even really filled full. I'm going to try it again and either use different noodles or double the filling recipe. Thanks for your help!