My daughter is a very picky eater. We have struggled since she went on table food to find things she would eat and enjoy. About a year ago, she decided she liked cheese ravioli so I have been expanding on that by making lasagna and now these cheesy chicken shells. She LOVED them! I get so excited when I find a recipe that she will eat and like so much!
These cheesy chicken shells are easy to make and give her some additional protein in a meal with the chicken. These work great for left overs as well. I haven’t tried freezing them before, but I’m going to say that they would freeze well but I would use less sauce since some additional moisture will be there when they thaw.
The first step in this recipe is to get some shredded chicken. You can pull the meat off a rotisserie chicken, boil some chicken breast and dice them, or you can use the shredded chicken that I make and use in most of my recipes.
Next you will boil the shells. I like to use the smaller shells and make more of them or you can use the jumbo shells and it should make 12.
While the shells are boiling, mix up your filling. This includes the ricotta cheese, two egg whites, shredded or diced chicken, oregano, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. I have also used the Italian blend cheese and it works great in this recipe.
Once the shells are cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Stuff your filing in the shells so they are full but not overflowing and lay them in a 9 x 13 casserole dish that has a little sauce on the bottom of the pan. Once you have stuffed all the shells, cover with spaghetti sauce and more mozzarella cheese and bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes!
I usually will let my shells sit for a few minutes on the stove top after they are cooked and then serve with some steamed broccoli or some fresh garlic bread and a salad.
Cheesy Chicken Shells
4 oz uncooked jumbo pasta shells, 12 (20 if using the smaller shells)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 oz cooked, skinless, chicken breast diced
1 Tbsp oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (or one 15 oz container)
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (I use more, I LOVE cheese)
1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (use more if you like more sauce, I normally do)
1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Cook shells in boiling water according to directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water once cooked.
3. Coat a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the pan.
4. Mix the filling: mix egg whites, ricotta cheese, chicken, garlic powder, and oregano. Stir in 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese.
5. Spoon mixture in to the shells and place in a single layer in the dish. Cover with remaining spaghetti sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.
6. Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes. I normally will take the foil off the last 10 minutes to let the cheese brown a little on top.