Hello again friends! Did you miss me? I missed you guys, believe it or not, even while I was soaking up the sun and enjoying the bottomless cocktails that go hand-in-hand with staying at an all-inclusive resort. The hubby and I got back from the Domincan Republic late on Wednesday night, and to say that I’m deeply embroiled in a post-vacation melancholy would be an understatement.
I wish I could tell you guys all about all the exciting adventures Peter and I had while we were on vacation, but there aren’t any. For our last vacation (our honeymoon), we went to Italy and basically ran ourselves ragged trying to fit all the sights into our limited amount of time there. So for this vacation, we decided we wanted to slow it down and just relax. And that’s exactly what we did. We slept late, took naps, ate way too much food, and drank way too many cocktails. We spent most of our days reading books by the pool or walking along the beach. It was pure bliss.
The problem with having such a relaxing vacation is that it makes it SO HARD to go back to work. Today is actually my first day back, and I’m so thankful that it’s a Friday. This whole getting up early and having to do stuff besides lay next to a pool thing is just not my cup of tea, ya know what I mean? It makes it a little easier to bear knowing that I only have one day of work to get through before I get to enjoy the weekend. I have such a rough life right now. Don’t you guys feel bad for me? ;)
To make up for my absence this past week, I would like to share this amazing pasta dish with you guys. I know I’ve talked about my love of chicken parmesan before (here and here), and this dish is just another extension of that love.
This recipe is one of many that I discovered thanks to the food blogs I follow. I love reading the many emails I receive every day and discovering what other food bloggers are coming up with. Sometimes I can’t wait to try out their recipes; other times, an idea they had or an ingredient they used inspires me to create something myself.
I’ve been making these delicious stuffed shells for quite some time now, and it’s always a hit with my husband. In fact, even though I just made it a couple of weeks ago, he’s already asked for me to make it again soon. Yes, it’s just that good.
Large pasta shells are stuffed to the gills with garlic and herb seasoned chicken and shredded mozzarella cheese, then topped with a light but rich marinara sauce and more cheese. What more could you want out of a pasta dish? My favorite part is the crunch that you get by sprinkling some panko breadcrumbs over the top at the end of the baking process.
This recipe makes a lot of shells, and I usually get pretty full after about 3 or 4 of them, so you’ll most likely have quite a bit of leftovers. Lucky for you, this is another one of my recipes that reheats great and I love eating it for lunch for the rest of the week. It would most likely also make a great freezer meal! I love to pair it with a nice side salad, but if you’d like to increase the veggie content in the shells themselves, spinach, mushrooms, or black olives would all make good additions.
Chicken Parmesan Stuff Shells
Servings: 7 (4 shells per serving)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian blend seasoning, to taste
- 28 jumbo pasta shells
- 2 1/2 cups (10 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 cups spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Light)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 oz) parmesan or romano cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs (I use Progresso)
- Preheat oven to 375. Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian blend seasoning. Place in a baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 when stuck into the largest part of the breast. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
- While chicken is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta shells until just al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water (Note: I always cook a few extra shells, just to be on the safe side in case any break or rip during the cooking process).
- Cut chicken into short strips. Place 1 strip of chicken and 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella in each shell. Place stuffed shell in a 13×9 inch baking pan with the opening up. Repeat with remaining shells, chicken, and cheese until pan is full (Note: I always have some chicken leftover, about 1/2 breast or so).
- Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over shells
- Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is hot and cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven and turn broiler on. Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over shells and return to oven. Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are brown and crispy.
To freeze: Follow instructions through Step 4. Cover pan with aluminum foil and freeze. When you’re ready to make, bake covered for 20 minutes (no need to thaw). Top with fresh mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle on panko crumbs and broil for 2-3 minutes.
Inspired by: Favorite Family Recipes