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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chicken and Garlic Stuffed Shells

I love these already.  I never tire of finding meals that can be prepared in advance and popped in the oven when I get home from work.  I snuck a few bites of filling (no egg, don't worry!) while making these, and I am so excited to have the second pan in my freezer.  My only complaint was that I had about 20 shells left over, which, considering the price of pasta is no big deal, but next time I'll boil 2/3 of a box not to be wasteful.  The other thing I like about this recipe is it makes about 32 shells with 2 chicken breasts, so although it is still meat, it's less meat than the average american meal.

Chicken and Garlic Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 box (or more) uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 32)
6 cloves garlic
2 chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely shredded
30 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried parsley (1 tbsp. fresh, chopped)
6 large basil leaves, torn
1/3 cup half and half
approx. 28 oz. pasta sauce
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

A Double Batch of Tomato Sauce with butter and onion

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook pasta shells fully according to package directions and drain. Separate onto a cutting board or cookie sheet to prevent from sticking together, or just toss with a little olive oil after running under cold water. Add ingredients garlic through half and half to a food processor and process until just combined. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Spoon enough sauce into baking dish to cover the bottom. Fill the cooked shells with the ricotta mixture and place open side up in a prepared baking dish. Spoon as much of the remaining sauce over shells as desired. Bake covered with foil for 15-20 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

If freezing extra shells, to cook from the freezer, thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake as directed above.

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