Friday, June 11, 2010

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Pasta is a staple in my menus and my foodstorage. However, I do not believe that pasta only comes in one shape and therefore I keep different pastas on hand in my pantry. Manicotti and Jumbo Shells are two of my favorites. They have so many storage possibilites and stuffed they are delicious.
So, I am going to give you three ways to make these. First. the no boil method which happens to be my favorite, Second, the make ahead directions which can be frozen until ready to use. Oh the possibilities. Finally the standard boil version.

The No-Cook Method (my favorite)
1 Carton of Jumbo Shells (uncooked)
 1 3/4 Cups part skim ricotta ( did you know you can make your own. Will be experimenting with this soon.)
2 Cups shredded mozarella
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese. (the canned stuff stores for a little while)
2 TB fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 can or 1 cup of chicken (drained)
3 cups (26 oz. jar) of spaghetti sauce
1 cup water.

Stir together cheeses, chicken, parsley, salt and pepper. Spoon into uncooked Jumbo shells.
For sauce heat sauce and water to boiling.
Cover bottom of casserole dish with a layer of sauce.
Add a layer of stuffed shells, and cover with more sauce.
Add another layer of shells, Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.
Cover. and bake at 400 for 35 minutes.

Make Ahead Freezer Directions.
We often do not eat a whole box of stuffed shells, so this recipe works for when you want to make some and freeze the rest for later. Hello instant, impressive Italian meal. OK, almost instant.

The only difference with the ingredients is that you omit the water from the sauce and you do not heat the spaghetti sauce. Boil box of jumbo shells in salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain in colander. Fill shells with filling. Place in a freezer safe container and layer with sauce, shells, sauce, shells, sauce.

Cover with a plastic wrap or other lid and freeze up to 2 months.

To bake, heat oven to 350 degrees and  bake for 2 hours if frozen or 40 to 50 minutes if defrosted.

Standard Method.
Boil jumbo shells, stuff with filling and layer shells and sauce in casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.


Cook with Madin said...

Lovely dish. I always have pasta in my pantry, because hubby loves to eat pasta. Thank you for sharing.

Kat said...

I am a NY Italian and pasta is a staple in my home. If you get a chance please visit my baking blog. I will be hosting a giveaway starting June 16th. Thanks so much.

Claudia said...

I do love stuffed shells! Yours look scrumptious. Ricotta is indeed very easy to make - it will be fun to see what you think!


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