Hello A Pinch of Jasmine readers! I’m really happy to be here today, posting one of my favorite recipes, ever. I hope you guys will try it and love it as much as I do! Insert one of my all-time favorite foods, chicken and spinach stuffed shells, otherwise known as “Pasta Stuffed with Awesome”. They are…well, they are awesome. Make them the night before a dinner party or just serve them to your significant other. They take a little more prep than most recipes I enjoy, but they are so worth it! There is nothing like coming home to gooey, cheesy, chicken-y, goodness that is these stuffed shells. A little hint of cayenne pepper baked onto the chicken gives this meal a bit of kick (bonus: cayenne pepper is also a metabolism booster). Make sure you have garlic bread handy to clean your plate, and make plenty so you can have leftovers!
-16 oz box of large pasta shells
-2x 15 oz containers of ricotta cheese (I use low fat)
-6 cups Italian cheese mix
-2x 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
-1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
-29 oz jar of spaghetti sauce (any kind you like)
Preheat oven to 350. While the oven preheats, pour a little olive oil on each side of the chicken breasts, and also season with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. There’s really no reason to measure these…put as much or as little as you like. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can leave out the cayenne pepper. Mine usually look something like this when seasoned.
Put chicken in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. When fully cooked, pull out of the oven and allow to rest. This is very important as it lets the juices get back into the chicken so it will be moist. While the chicken rests, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Liberally salt the water and add a little olive oil as well so that the pasta shells don’t stick to each other. Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, and 4 cups of Italian cheese mix. Squeeze excess liquid from the spinach and add to cheese mix. When the chicken is cool, shred it into the cheese mixture and give the whole thing one last big stir (you can also dice the chicken, but I find shredding it makes for a better texture).
Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with non-stick spray, and then spread about 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce onto the bottom of the dish. Fill each pasta shell with the cheese/chicken mixture and place in the dish. When you have used all of your filling, put a spoonful of spaghetti sauce on top of each shell. Cover all the shells evenly with the remaining 2 cups of Italian cheese mix, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake or broil on Low for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to set for a couple minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Christine from The So Called Homemaker