Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells
This was such a creamy, hearty, and delicious dinner! The shells are stuffed full of a super creamy and cheesy spinach and chicken mixture, and then all that yummy sauce on top. The combination of the marinara and cream sauce is rich, decadent, and so delicious!
Serve this up with a fresh green salad and maybe some garlic bread on the side and you will have a memorable special meal.
I adapted this from a Pioneer Woman recipe (linked below) and she suggests this is one that can easily be prepped ahead of time and frozen - I think the next time I get some disposable 9x13 pans I will definitely prepare some to keep a couple of these stashed in the freezer; what a great and convenient meal idea!
Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 TBS minced garlic (jarred)
10-12 oz fresh spinach
4 TBS butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk, more as needed
1 1/2 TBS Italian Herbs Paste
1 1/2 TBS Oregano Paste
16-oz container cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 24-oz jar pasta sauce
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped small
12-oz box Jumbo Pasta Shells, cooked to al dente per package directions
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Saute the onion for a few minutes until it begins to get a little color. Add in the garlic and cook another minute or two. Stir in the spinach and stir regularly until it has fully wilted. Allow it to simmer a few minutes to cook off some of the excess liquid.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Scrape spinach mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the same skillet. Whisk in the flour and allow to cook for a minute or two. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth and sauce is thickened. If too thick, add a little extra milk. Turn off heat and stir in 1 TBS of the Italian Herbs paste, and about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Drain off any accumulated liquid in the bowl with the spinach, then mix in the cottage cheese, grated Parmesan, about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper, egg, remaining 1/2 TBS Italian Herbs paste, Oregano Paste, and the cooked chicken. Mix together until well incorporated.
- Spread about 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
- Spoon the mixture into the cooked shells, about 1 TBS each, and arrange the shells in the baking dish. When all filling is used up, spread remaining marinara over the tops coating evenly. Spread the cream sauce over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.