Monday, November 28, 2011

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

My love for has not waned while I've been slacking on updating my blog. Food, crafts, decorating ideas, projects for my kids...what's not to love about it?! Although probably I could have gotten a few blog posts done in the time I spend on it, but I'll try to not think about it. In fact I'm trying really hard to resist the urge to go look at it now. I try not to think about all I could get done around my house if I didn't have a computer the internet.

Anyway, I love stuffed shells, but I don't make them very often because they're messy. And I generally try to only use whole wheat pasta, and either they don't make whole wheat pasta shells or I just can't find them in my limited selection of grocery stores. But these sounded so tasty and I had some pesto I needed to use up, so I figured it was worth having regular pasta shells.

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells
Source: What’s Cookin’ Chicago, via Pinterest

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
water for boiling pasta
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

To make ahead/freezer meals - Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.


My only complaint was that there could have been more cheese. You know how we love cheese at my house. This would be a great use for leftover chicken. I loved the creamy, pesto filling of the shells. I loved this take on stuffed shells, instead of my usual recipe I use that has the shells stuffed with cheese and then topped with a red sauce. My whole family really liked these, so it's definitely something I'll make again...especially if I can find whole wheat shells somewhere!

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