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Forget the low carb, keto, whatever, diet. Sometimes you just want pasta.
When people think of pasta, the ubiquitous spaghetti noodle comes to mind. But what about something a little different? Something that looks pretty, is fun and easy to prep, and will become your new go-to dish when you can’t think of anything else to make.
Stuffed pasta shells! They are gooey and cheesy, and oh so good. And this recipe inspired by Cara Lanz of MidwesternHomeLife.com is an upgraded version of the classic stuffed shells. Using chicken shredded from a rotisserie chicken, you can cut the time to make this in half. Another time saving tip is to stuff the shells BEFORE you cook them, so no need to boil the pasta before using them, and no need to try and hold those squirmy slippering things while trying to stuff them. You just put about a cup and a half of water in the baking dish with the shells as they bake and the pasta will soften.
We’re using 12 jumbo shells here, so you can serve a shell per person for a large group, perhaps as an appetizer, or two to three per person for a smaller group. Make sure you have a baking dish and aluminum foil on hand. Freshly shredded cheese is best, but to save time feel free to use pre-shredded cheese.
Pair this with a crisp green salad, maybe some rippable crusty bread, and a nice bottle of wine and you’ve got a winner dinner!
- 12 ounces jumbo shells
- 15 ounces 2% cottage cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained (or can use fresh, put hot water over it, and drain)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast
- 32 ounces marinara sauce
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil (to serve)
- 2 tablespoons pesto (optional, to serve)
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Place 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
3. In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, beaten egg, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Add the spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
4. With a spoon, stuff the shells with the spinach cottage cheese mixture from the bowl.
5. Layer the shredded rotisserie chicken over the stuffed shells.
6. Cover the chicken with the rest of the marinara sauce.
7. Pour 1 ½ cups of water into the pan.
8. Cover the marinara sauce with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
9. Cover the pan in foil and bake for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. You may want to put it under the broiler for one to two minutes if you like a little crisp edge on the shells, but you don’t have to do this extra step.
10. Serve with ribbons of fresh basil and/or drizzles of pesto, if you wish. The green colors really pop on the red of the sauce and the flavor adds a little punch.
You can watch a technique to stuff shells here.
If you happen to have leftovers, they store easily in the fridge, and reheating them is a breeze.