Mexican Manicotti

It is important to use whole canned chiles, patted dry and chopped, rather than diced chiles in this recipe. Taking the shortcut of substituting canned diced chiles will make the manicotti filling too runny, no matter how long you drain them.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 1 oz package taco seasoning mix
2 cups beef broth
1 3 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 extra large egg
1 1/2 cups sour cream (12 oz)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
2 4 oz cans whole green chiles, drained, chopped
9 oz uncooked no-boil lasagna noodles

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked. Stir in the tomato paste, taco seasoning, and broth. Cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together the two shredded cheeses to combine.
4. In medium bowl, mix cream cheese, egg, sour cream, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, the chiles and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro.
5. Fill a 9″x13 baking dish half way with boiling water and submerge the lasagna noodles one at a time in a staggered pattern to prevent sticking. Let the noodles stand 5 minutes, or until pliable, then remove to a clean tea towel.
6. Wash and dry the baking dish and spray with cooking spray, then spoon about 1 cup of the beef mixture into the dish.
7. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture onto the bottom short side of each piece of pasta and roll up. Arrange, seam side down, on the beef mixture. Spread evenly with the rest of the beef mixture. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over all.
8. Cover and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until hot. Uncover and bake 5 -10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro before serving.

Servings: 6

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