I bought some of the ingredients for this recipe (spinach, ricotta, cream cheese, large shells) almost a month ago. However I kept not having time to make it since it requires cooking the chicken, cooking the pasta, and then baking it all together. So, finally this last Sunday I had time to make the meal, and I’m glad that I did. (I was lucky that my spinach hadn’t rotted too much )
Although, its true this meal is a little time consuming (prep time about 30 minutes prep – depending how you cook your chicken – and then an additional 50 minutes baking) don’t let that stop you from making it. Its a great twist on the traditional cheese stuffed shells with a marinara or a bolognese sauce.
Inspired by The Girl Who Ate Everything
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
1 1/2 cup chopped spinach
3 cups shredded chicken, (2 breasts — I cooked them in the crockpot for 3-4 hours on high with water, a little garlic salt and chicken bouillon and then shredded)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 TBS minced garlic
1 package ricotta (15 oz)
1 package cream cheese (8oz) (I used low fat)
1 TBS parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup mozzarella
Marinara Sauce (or use about 28 oz of your favorite sauce)
1 roma tomato, diced (or an 8 oz can of diced tomatoes)
1 TBS minced garlic
32 oz tomato sauce (I used 4 8oz cans)
1 TBS basil
1 TBS oregano
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 TBS parsley
1/2 TBS garlic salt
1 package jumbo shells
1 1/2 cups mozzarella
1. Combine all ingredients for stuffing the shells (spinach, chicken, cheeses, etc.) in a medium sized bowl. Mix well.
2. Cook pasta in bowling water for about 8 minutes (2 minutes less than package suggests). Drain and rinse.
3. In a medium sized pan, add diced tomato and garlic. Cook until garlic is scented and lightly brown.
4. Add tomato sauce, basil, oregano, parsley, garlic salt and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened. (As long or as little as you want – really)
5. Meanwhile, stuff shells with chicken mixture (I did this by putting all the chicken mixture into a large zip lock bag and cutting off a corner, like you would do with frosting)
6. Lay stuffed shells into 2 9×13 pans. Cover with marinara sauce.
7. Cover with foil and put pans in oven preheated to 350. Bake for 40 minutes. **
8. Remove foil. Cover with additional mozzarella and cook for 10 more minutes.
** This makes 8-10 servings, so if you have a smaller group you could freeze half of the shells and sauce before baking it. We decided to bake ours and freeze half after.