SRC Reveal Day: Stuffed Manicotti and Apple Fritters

It is once again one of my favorite days of the month. I have been a part of the Secret Recipe Club for several years now, since October of 2011. WOW! I'm not sure I've opted out of any months. I've enjoyed it that much, and really, we all have to eat right, so my assignments just become one of my weekly meals or desserts. It's perfect. 

This month I was assigned Savory Moments, authored by Amy. She lives in Western NY with her hubby and a few pets. She, like many of us, started her blog as a way to share recipes with friends and families and also document her growth . I love her mantra: 

 I want to encourage others to eat local, eat healthy, eat seasonally when possible, but also to enjoy food, cooking, and food culture.

and she's learning to ferment, can, bake and eat well frugally. I think I'd enjoy spending time with her. 

I chose two recipes. Because, like I said, we always need to eat so why not find a few to try. It was only going to be one, but her broccoli and cauliflower stuff manicotti kept calling me, so I made that along with the Apple Fritters. Thankfully both were successful. The fritters were one of those "gosh, always wanted to make but I don't fry things so let's make them once just to say we did it". I would totally do the manicotti again...and who knows, if someone requested it, maybe the fritters too. 

First the manicotti. Can I just say you WILL. NOT. MISS. the cheese. Trust me, I'm Italian (well, 1/2 Italian). I was skeptical, my daughter was skeptical, but I said let's just try it! Not only did she NOT get her ricotta cheese, I also didn't make bread (to my hubby's delight and surprise...trying to cut back ya know). BUT, in the end she did like it, he liked it and I LOVED it. So, yep I would totally make this again. 

Broccoli and Cauliflower Manicotti


Manicotti Shells
1.5-2 c. broccoli (stems and florets), roughly chopped
1.5-2 c. cauliflower (stems and florets), roughly chopped
about 2 c. grated parmesan cheese 
1 c. cream
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I'm a wimp, I barely used 1 tsp)
1 sm. shallot, peeled and minced
about 1 tbs. flour
about 1-2 tsp. fresh oregano (I eyeballed it and used dried)
about 2 c. good quality tomato sauce, chunky is good
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
about 1 c. fresh basil
about 1 c. grated mozzarella (or


1.   In a large pot add water, broccoli and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Cook until soft. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl. Bring water back up to a boil and cook shells in it until al dente. Drain, reserving about 2 tablespoons water and add it to the vegetables. Lay noodles out so they don't stick together. 

2. In a medium saucepan, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, a dash of salt and some pepper. Cook just until the garlic and shallot begin to soften, about 1-2 minutes. Add flour and whisk together about 1 minute. Add cream and whisk. Continue to cook, whisking often until cream begins to thicken. Whisk in about 1 c. of the parmesan cheese. Turn off heat and set aside. (I ended up adding more cream till became a texture I wanted to work with). 

3. Preheat oven to 375

4. Add about a tablespoon (I added a bit more, like 2 or 3 Tbs.) to broccoli mixture. Using a potato masher (or a food processor in my case) mash vegetables until smooth but still has some texture. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano and about 1/4-1/2 c. parmesan cheese. I tasted as I went and added more seasoning and cheese as I felt needed. 

5. Place tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Stir in Red Wine vinegar and a bit of pepper. So, I wasn't really paying attention to this part...I used some crushed tomatoes and added italian seasoning to it. You could probably use a jar marinara sauce as well. Or a can of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and seasonings. 

6. Using any number of ways (spoon, piping bag, fingers, plastic bag with a hole cut in corner), add vegetable mixture to manicotti noodles...making sure the center is filled up. I used a small spoon that allowed me to push it in and then I just got messy and used my fingers to make sure it went in. I tried the plastic bag, but that didn't work. 
7. Place shells in a single layer in baking dish. Top with white sauce, sprinkle with any remaining parmesan cheese, chopped basil and then a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until cheese is all melted and beginning to brown. Let sit a few minutes before serving. 
I actually had it all put together and we decided to eat out before our daughter's indoor soccer game, so it sat in the fridge till the next day before baking. I baked it slow to ensure it heated all the way through without the edges getting too hard or cheese browning too much. 

Now on to dessert: 


2 medium tart, crisp apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups cooking oil (canola, vegetable, etc.)

for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
good pinch of ground allspice
about 3 tablespoons apple cider


1. Place the apples in a single layer on a couple layers of paper towels. Cover with another paper towel and gently press to remove some of the moisture. Let sit.

2. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire cooling rack on top. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour through allspice. 

4. In a glass measuring cup (or small bowl), whisk together the cider through vanilla. 
5. Stir the apples into the flour mixture. Slowly pour in the apple cider mixture while stirring until well-combined. 

6. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 350 degrees. Drop the batter 1/3 cup at a time into the oil. Gently press the batter down to flatten, if needed. Let cook until golden (about 2-3 minutes), then flip with a slotted spoon and cook until the second side is golden (another 2-3 minutes). I cooked three fritters per batch. When cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared cooling rack. Repeat when the oil is back to temperature (keep an eye to not let it get too hot or cool) until all the batter is used.

Whisk the powdered sugar and spices together in a small bowl. Stir in the cider 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the proper consistency (it was 3 tablespoons for me, you want it to pour nicely, but still stick). When the fritters have cooled for about 10 minutes, top each with a couple spoons of the glaze. Let the glaze set. Then eat and enjoy!

For more great recipes, check out the other Secret Recipe Club entries this week.

With Joy UNquenchable,


  1. Wow, you chose well! I don't know which I like better, they both sound amazing!! :-)

    1. My fave was by far the manicotti. but both were hits

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I'm so glad you enjoyed both dishes. It reminds me that we need to have that manicotti again soon - we love it.

    1. Isn't it funny how you don't make something in awhile and just kind of forget about it, then someone picks it and you're like "hey, I need to make that again"

  3. Manicotti without cheese?!? This Italian girl is intrigued...wonder if I can convince my cheese loving hubby to give them a try as they look incredible! Awesome SRC picks :-)

    1. I think you'll like it. Now, you can't "replace" cheese forever (at least in my book), but this is a great alternative if you need to cut back. of course it does still have mozzarella and parmesan, but missing the ricotta

  4. Both recipes look absolutely decadent. You had some fine dining this month!

    1. yes, it was good...and the broccoli and cauliflower actually cut down on the cost, since ricotta can get spendy.

  5. Seems like that manicotti recipe still had plenty of cheese with the parm and mozzarella (but I'm not Italian either). This looks like a great recipe to add to your wonderful blog (which I had the pleasure to explore this month). Great SRC post!

    1. Yes...still plenty for sure, but a great way to get some extra veggies in and a "few' less! Thank you.

  6. The manicotti looks amazing. I love the idea of Manicotti filling without the ricotta cheese.

  7. Both dishes sound great, and I would definitely try the manicotti, get my kids to eat some broccoli and cauliflower without them even noticing it. :)

    1. the cauliflower really takes on the texture of ricotta just a bit. There is "green" in it but you could come up with something

  8. Both recipes sound so good! I love the twist on the stuffed manicotti and using broccoli and cauliflower.

  9. great choices this month! amy got her apple fritter recipe from me so this is like a double edition of the src, haha! i will have to try that manicotti--sounds so intriguing without tons of cheese. yum!

  10. Both dishes sound great, but that manicotti is calling my name!


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