Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Ever have one of those weeks when you wished you could have something prepared in advance to be baked later?  Well if your week is as busy as mine, then this recipe is a perfect option.  The entire pan can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  You may need to add a few additional minutes to the cooking time.  This dish can also be easily stored in the freezer for up to a month.  You will also need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

The use of fresh spinach added wonderful flavor to the chicken, and the selection of cheeses offer a great creamy texture with every bite.  I bet you are wondering why on earth a tablespoon of mayonnaise was incorporated into the ingredients list.  Nope, it was not a typo.  While testing the recipe, I decided it needed a slight bit of zing to balance out the mellow flavors of the cheese.  I tried several options like sour cream, lemon juice and even hot sauce.  Nothing worked out better than a simple tablespoon of mayo.

Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Serves: 4-6 people
Ingredients
  • 20 – 22 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 ½ lb. lean ground chicken
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, minced
  • 1 Tbl. garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 Tbl. mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 ½ cups spaghetti sauce
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until slightly tender, but not fully cooked. Drain well.
  2. In a small bowl toss the spinach and ground chicken with a fork until completely incorporated. Sauté the garlic and olive oil together for 30 seconds in a preheated medium-sized sauté pan. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the chicken mixture to the pan and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the ricotta, mozzarella, egg, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until well combined. Finally, add the chicken mixture to the cheese filling and stir until completely incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Lightly spray a 9” x 13” baking pan with cooking spray. Evenly spread 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce along the bottom of the pan. Fill each pasta shell with the chicken filling and line the pasta in the baking pan open side up. Top the pasta shells with the remaining spaghetti sauce and sprinkle the entire top with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Author's Note
To be honest, I am not a huge fan of frozen or canned spinach. In this recipe, the fresh spinach is treated like an herb to enhance the flavor of the filling. I strongly encourage you to use fresh spinach over frozen or canned.

Comments

  1. I made this recipe last night, and it was delicious! Both my husband and I loved it. I couldn’t find ground chicken in my grocery store, so I just cut up tenders into small pieces and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much!

    • Culinary Cory says:

      Hey Crystal, Thanks so much for trying this out. I’m so happy to hear you liked it. One time I forgot to buy ground chicken myself. I ended up pulsing chicken breasts a few times in my food processor. It worked out perfectly. Thanks for reading!

  2. This is a yummy and easy recipe – and my husband and 4-year-old LOVED it. In fact, it was so good that my son didn’t even notice the green stuff in his shells, so THANK YOU :) We get at least 2 meals and a lunch out of it, too. I don’t know if my shells are smaller or if I don’t fill them as full as you do, but I get at least 30 out of a batch.

    Thanks for such a great blog, too! I really enjoy your recipes and writing.

  3. What a great idea to slow cook the chicken first. I just might have to try that.

  4. I made this dish for dinner this evening and it was great! A big hit with hubby! Love the fact that you used chicken….we eat alot of chicken and the only thing I did different was put the chicken in the crock pot with alittle water on high for a few hours to shred it! Worked out great with the mixing!
    Thanks!

  5. Thanks so much for your kind words Stacey Snacks. I enjoy your blog aswell.

  6. I haven’t had stuffed shells in years.
    I love them with ground beef mixed in with ricotta cheese, like lasagne.

    You have a great blog. I am really enjoying it!
    Nice photos too!
    Stacey

  7. This looks and sounds so good!

  8. Molly Carmer says:

    I have a receipe similar to this. It’s easily doubled and is a really good dish to bring to a new mom, new neighbors or someone who just needs a good meal.

  9. The dish is so colorful! I bet it’s also very flavorful! And I love everything that can be prepared in advance.

  10. Thank you for your post. I will make this; it sounds yummy.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells: Ever have one of those weeks when you wished you could have something prepared in advance to be baked later? Well if your week is as busy as mine, then this recipe is a perfect option. The entire pan can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You may need to add a few additional minutes to the cooking time. This dish can also be easily stored in the freezer for up to a month. You will also need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Recipe found at Culinary Cory. […]

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