Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

This is the most glorious, wonderful Italian dish you will ever eat.  I promise.  It's not lasagna.  It's not spaghetti.  It's stuffed shells!

Cream cheese, ricotta and mozzarella...yes, please.
Tomato sauce...the icing on top.
See?  How can you resist?

This recipe makes a ton of food (a 9x13 plus an extra casserole dish) so make half for yourself and the other half you can freeze or give away.

The filling can be made a day in advance and then the shells stuffed the night of your dinner.  I came home from work determined that I was not going to eat beef stew for one more night so I got this together and into the oven after work.  We did eat a later dinner but it was absolutely worth it!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells by kSk
 Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
(click for printable)

1 box uncooked jumbo pasta shells (we got by with one but you could probably use two)
2 c chopped cooked chicken
1 box frozen spinach
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 c.)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tb dried parsley flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
26 oz can crushed tomatoes (I make my own sauce.  See below.  You can also use jarred spaghetti sauce).
Thaw spinach and press papertowels agains the spinach in a colander to drain excess liquid.

Cook shells according to package directions.  Drain and let cool.

In large mixing bowl (I did this in my Kitchen Aid), combine chicken, spinach, onion, garlic, ricotta, cream cheese, egg, spices and one cup of mozzarella. 

Pour half of tomato sauce into bottom of two 9x13 pans.  Place stuffed shells on top.  Top with remaining sauce.

Cover pans with aluminum foil.  Bake one and freeze the other.  Or bake two and eat two.

To bake:  Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkles remaining one cup of mozzarella on top.  Bake another five minutes until cheese has melted.

To freeze:  Cover pan with aluminum foil until ready for use.  Thaw in refrigerator and bake according to the directions above.

Tomato Sauce
Saute two cloves of garlic and however much onion you like in a pan with some olive oil.  Stir in can of crushed tomatoes.  Add whatever Italian seasonings you like.  I use basil and Italian seasoning.  Let it simmer for about ten minutes and then use in whatever recipe you need it for.
Makes 8-10 servings.

Adapted from The Sisters Cafe

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