These cheesy, flavorful shells are filled with tender chicken, nutritious spinach, and a blend of savory spices that will leave you craving for more. Not only is this dish incredibly tasty, but it’s also easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen skills, you can have a homemade dinner that is sure to impress. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or just want to treat yourself to something special, these stuffed shells are the perfect choice. So, grab your apron and get ready to indulge in a dish that is both comforting and delicious.
To make these delicious chicken and spinach stuffed shells, you will need some mouthwatering ingredients. First, gather 12 jumbo pasta shells and cook them according to the package instructions until al dente. For the filling, you’ll need 1 cup of cooked and shredded chicken, 1 cup of chopped spinach, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, 1 clove of minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Next, stuff each cooked pasta shell with a generous amount of the filling mixture and place them in a baking dish. Finally, pour your favorite marinara sauce over the shells, sprinkle with some more Parmesan cheese, and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees, creating anticipation for the delicious meal that awaits. Once the oven is preheated, it’s time to move on to the next step. Grab a large pot and fill it with water, adding a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor. Bring the water to a boil and cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions. While the shells are cooking, prepare the filling by combining cooked chicken, wilted spinach, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning in a mixing bowl. Once the pasta shells are al dente, drain them and let them cool slightly. Stuff each shell with the chicken and spinach mixture, and place them in a baking dish. Pour marinara sauce over the shells, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips for Perfectly Stuffed Shells
For a flawless result, it’s crucial to ensure the pasta shells are cooked just until they achieve the ideal al dente texture. Overcooking them will result in mushy shells that won’t hold up well when stuffed. To achieve perfectly stuffed shells, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to generously season the filling mixture with herbs and spices to enhance the flavors. This will prevent the filling from tasting bland. Additionally, don’t be afraid to pack the filling tightly into the shells to ensure they are fully stuffed. Lastly, when arranging the stuffed shells in the baking dish, make sure to leave a little space between each shell to allow for even cooking and to prevent them from sticking together. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying delicious and perfectly stuffed shells.
When it comes to serving these delectable stuffed shells, you’ll be delighted to know that they pair perfectly with a fresh green salad or garlic bread. The light and refreshing flavors of a crisp green salad complement the richness of the chicken and spinach filling in the shells. A simple vinaigrette dressing or a creamy ranch dressing would be a great choice to drizzle over the salad. Alternatively, you can serve the stuffed shells with warm and buttery garlic bread. The garlic bread adds a comforting and savory element to the meal, making it even more satisfying. The crispy exterior and soft interior of the bread perfectly complement the creamy and cheesy filling of the shells. Whichever option you choose, these serving suggestions will elevate your chicken and spinach stuffed shells to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Variations and Substitutions
To add a twist to this delectable dish, you can experiment with different types of cheese and herbs. Instead of using the traditional ricotta cheese, try substituting it with creamy goat cheese for a tangy flavor or sharp cheddar for a richer taste. Additionally, you can mix in different herbs to enhance the overall aroma and taste. Swap out the usual parsley for fresh basil or thyme for a more vibrant and earthy profile. If you want to make it a little spicier, consider adding a touch of red pepper flakes or diced jalapenos. Another way to elevate the flavors is by incorporating sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers into the filling. These variations will give your chicken and spinach stuffed shells a unique and exciting twist, making them even more irresistible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this recipe vegetarian by substituting the chicken with tofu or another meat substitute?
No, you cannot make this recipe vegetarian by substituting the chicken with tofu or another meat substitute. The recipe specifically calls for chicken as the main ingredient.
Can I freeze the stuffed shells before baking them?
Yes, you can freeze the stuffed shells before baking them. This allows for easy meal prep and can be a convenient option for future use. Simply assemble the shells, cover tightly, and store in the freezer.
Can I use a different type of pasta shell, like manicotti, instead of jumbo shells?
Yes, you can use manicotti instead of jumbo shells. They are a similar pasta shape and will work well for stuffing. However, cooking times may vary, so be sure to adjust accordingly.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time and bake it later?
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time and bake it later. Prepare the dish as directed, cover with foil, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Adjust cooking time as needed.
Can I use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach in this recipe?
Yes, you can use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach in this recipe. Fresh spinach will provide a vibrant flavor and texture to the dish.
Chicken And Spinach Stuffed Shells
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Cook the jumbo pasta shells according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked and shredded chicken, chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, egg, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Stuff each cooked pasta shell with a generous amount of the chicken and spinach filling mixture. Place the stuffed shells in a baking dish.
Pour your favorite marinara sauce over the stuffed shells, ensuring they are well coated. You can use as much sauce as you prefer.
Sprinkle chopped parsley & additional grated Parmesan cheese on top of the shells for extra flavor.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Once baked, remove from the oven and let the stuffed shells cool for a few minutes.
Serve hot and enjoy the delicious chicken and spinach stuffed shells.