Recipe: Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

chicken-spinach-stuffed-shells-side

Stuffed pasta may not be the healthiest meal to make but it sure is one of the tastiest! It’s really hard to please a large crowd, especially ranging in age from grandchildren to grandparent, but I really think this dish passes the test. The best part is it has chicken and spinach to balance out the carb and cheese overload! Serve this incredible dish with a side salad and some garlic toast to complete the meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) box uncooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 cups fresh chopped spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (I think you could get away with one package)
  • 1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease two 9x13 baking dishes.
  2. Cook shells according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook them or they will tear easily when trying to fill them. Drain and set shells out individually on a cutting board or baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chicken and all the rest of the ingredients except mozzarella and spaghetti sauce. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella. Spoon into shells. *Tip: For easier filling, fill a gallon ziplock baggie with the filling and snip a quarter size hole off the corner of the bag. Then you can just pipe the filling into the shells.
  4. Spread half of spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dishes. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. If you are freezing one of the 9x13 prepared pans, freeze it after this step. Include a baggy of the remaining mozzarella for when you cook it.
  5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.