Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Okay it isn't weight watchers, but as soon as I saw the picture of these stuffed shells I HAD to have them. Here is a recipe

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
1 (12-ounce) box uncooked jumbo pasta shells (if all of yours survive the boil this is enough, to be safe you may want 1 1/2 boxes)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (I think you could get away with one package)
1 (5oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 cups)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce (this was just enough. If you like it saucier use more)

1. Cook shells according to package directions. Be careful not to overcook them or they will tear easily when trying to fill them. Drain and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two 9x13 baking dishes.

3. In a large bowl, combine chicken and all the rest of the ingredients except mozzarella and spaghetti sauce. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella. Spoon into shells. *Tip: For easier filling, fill a gallon ziplock baggie with the filling and snip a quarter size hole off the corner of the bag. Then you can just pipe the filling into the shells.

4. Spread half of spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dishes. Arrange shells over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. If you are freezing one of the 9x13 prepared pans, freeze it after this step. Include a baggy of the remaining mozzarella for when you cook it.

5. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Makes 8-10 servings.
Source: taken from http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/; original recipe by Paula Deen

Only until now as I was posting the recipe did I see that the original recipe is from Paula Deen. So it definitely has flavor and it was so easy to put together three pans in a short amount of time. This isn't on my diet plan but it is a treat and can really come in handy as a go to dish for a friend or neighbor. Thought I would share!! I tweaked the recipe of course ( my husband would frown upon this since he usually follows things to the letter) and substituted cottage cheese for ricotta and used fat free cream cheese. Makes my mouth water!!!

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