Chicken sausage and veggie stuffed manicotti

turkey sasauge, mushroom, pepper and spinach stuffed manicotti-5

When it comes to losing weight, I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s rarely as easy as knowing what to do and just following through. Our lives get in the way, our emotions get the best of us, and then there are these cravings that seem to come out of no where (you haven’t had pizza in years and all of a sudden that’s all you can think of, now that it’s “off limits.” <– this is of course hypothetical because I eat pizza at least once a month ;) ) So yes, it’s a journey. Sometimes on a long and winding road. We, I,  may fall and backtrack but it’s important to get back up and keep moving forward. My favorite way to do that is by preparing something crazy delicious that tastes completely sinful but is actually quite good for you!  And of course I believe that no matter your health goals, it’s really important to satisfy cravings! Always and forever. No carrot sticks for dinner in this household (although I am having carrot fries with oven fried chicken tonight)!!

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This (chicken) sausage and veggie stuffed manicotti was Italian comfort food at its best without the artery clogging or calorie busting properties (by the way, I’m back to calorie counting to get into tip top summer… or 30th birthday… shape). I started following the above linked recipe from Cooking Light but decided to cut the amount of sausage down by 1/3, and then ramped up the veggies. Italian food is good like that – once you cover it in cheese and sauce, it will all be gobbled up in no time!

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So after browning the sausage for a few minutes, in went a whole container of chopped mushrooms, one yellow bell pepper and a few minutes later – 2 cups of baby spinach. The hardest part was not eating this whole mixture before stuffing it into manicotti! I persevered (even though it was a bit time consuming) and eventually dinner was on the table. Man, this was goooood!

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My changes created even lighter manicotti (220 cals/pop) full of delicious nutrients. Between the spicy sausage, loads of veggies, tangy tomato sauce, creamy bechamel (made with skim milk!) and cheese, it definitely felt like a treat. Adam said this was the best meal I’ve made in a while (although he says it often ;) ). This dish would be a great contender for my cooking parties because it would be fun to make as a team while chatting away (perhaps with a glass of red wine!). I’m thinking an easier and quicker version may be coming next though for those of us that don’t find an hour+ of hands-on cooking relaxing.

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Oh and did I mention this meal is freezer friendly and reheats beautifully? All that time paid off for sure! :)

How much time do you usually spend making a meal?

PS- There is just one day left of the thinkThin giveaway – make sure you enter it! :)

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