Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells was so easy to prepare, had to cook for 40 minutes, but totally worth it.  You could freeze this as well.  It would be the perfect dinner to have on hand to take to a friend or on a busy weekend after you crammed your day full of fun activities.
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
This was filling and satisfying.  Pair it with a Caesar salad and some garlic bread for a hit of a meal.
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
I don’t know why I don’t make these more often.  I tried a new filling recipe and I am so glad I did.  I even hand wrote this on a recipe card to have on hand as my go to “stuffed shell” filling.

*every time I make stuffed shells, I laugh to myself, by myself, while filling them.  I had my twin sister call me in a panic one night because she was trying to make a yummy dinner for her husband-to-be, and she choose stuffed shells. 

Apparently, when she was at the store, she did not take note that you can buy pasta shells in different sizes.  She got the small ones and then tried to fill them. 

She called to tell me what a pain it was and that it was so time consuming, she would not have dinner ready in time to eat on his work break. 

I laughed and laughed and laughed…..and of course then tried to make her feel better by telling her that she can just layer the shells, filling, and sauce and it will just be a casserole. 

Oh….my sister* ( I currently have tears running down my cheeks, laughing as I type)

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
*adapted from*

1 box large pasta shells (don’t accidentally grab the small shells)
24 oz marinara sauce (I like the Bertolli classic tomato and basil)
1 cup finely diced onion
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups fresh, chopped spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz ricotta cheese (you can substitute in cottege cheese.  I like the texture of ricotta)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 oz shredded parmesan cheese (about 1 ⅔ cups)
1 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
a pinch of salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided (1 cup for filling, 1 cup for topping)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X13 baking dish
2. Cook your pasta shells according to the package and drain them and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine chicken, onion, ricotta, parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella, spinach, garlic, seasonings, cream cheese, and egg.  I used the large paddle on my kitchen aid mixer to mix this on the lowest speed.  You could stir this by hand as well.
4. Spread half of the marinara sauce in the baking dish.
5. Fill the pasta shells with the chicken filing.  I used a gallon size zip lock bag with the corner cut off to do this.  Worked fast and easy.  Also, it is easier if you fill the shell while holding it in your hand rather than placing it in the dish to fill it.
6. Top with remaining marinara sauce, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
7. Uncover and top with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.

*Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or the bake time.  I managed this with two busy little ones in about 15 minutes.  You can get everything mixed and ready in the amount of time it takes to boil the pasta.


Liked the Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells? Try my Chicken Spinach Lasagna recipe

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