Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicken stuffed shells

I adore pasta. It's easily my favorite food group (I firmly believe it deserves it's own place in the food groups. Fruits, vegetables, ice cream, pasta. My world is complete). Yet I have to confess that I've always hated stuffed shells. I must have had some really nasty ones at some point during childhood and never tried them again.

Finally, after seeing them a number of times on other food blogs, and then drooling over the recipes, I decided I needed to give them a try. Better still, they were always listed as a freezer-friendly food which I love. So, eventually I decided to give them a try, and I'm so glad I did! YUM! I haven't yet tried to freeze this particular recipe myself (um... we ate all of them instead. Oops), but my original source assures me that they freeze well.

I loved these. Next time I make them, I would like to try adding some spinach to the mix as well. Mmm.

15 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
2 teaspoons oil
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces cooked chicken (I used one whole package, cooked in the crockpot)
1(15 ounce) container  ricotta cheese
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp parsley
Parmesan cheese for topping
** I also used shredded italian blend cheese on top, which I also added into the chicken mixture


Heat oven to 400° and prepare a large baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 13x9 glass pan).

Cook pasta shells according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

Shred the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. (Again, I used my crockpot and cooked them all day so they were done when I got home. So handy)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the chicken & garlic for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, then mix in the ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt & pepper, and italian cheeses.

Pour 1/2C of sauce into the bottom of baking dish, spread evenly. Fill the shells with the chicken mixture and place into the dish, open side up.

Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed shells (I added the italian cheese here to the top too) and cover with foil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove foil and continuing baking until the filling is slightly browned.


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