Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flannel Sheets and Three Cheese Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

"Flannel sheets are like a hug all night long." ~Di


It happened early this year.  The day I long for, when the chilly daytime air finally warrants wool socks (and leg warmers!) and the night- flannel sheets.

The moment where you finally nod at each other in agreement... it's time.  And you light the fire log (and all the candles) that's been patiently waiting on the hearth all summer and fall long.
Magic...


It's also a day when I tend to get a craving for all things cheesy... and pasta!  So, I warmed our hearts... and our bellies with some shells stuffed with tons of cheese, chicken and spinach.

Healthy?  Anything but.  But hey, it's just one day a year!

Never made stuffed shells?  It's so simple... here are the ingredients, and how.


First, boil your pasta until about 3/4 of the way cooked.  They'll cook more once baked.


And make sure to get as much of the water out of your spinach as you can.  I microwave the frozen spinach on a plate to defrost, then use a spoon and then a paper towel to press out all the liquid. 


Next, pour some pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan to keep the shells moist. Then, with a spoon, stuff the shells with the chicken, spinach and cheese mixture. I used a rotisserie chicken from the deli to save even more time!


Finally, add more sauce on top, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake about 25 minutes... not long now until pure cheesy, pasta bliss!


Three Cheese Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo pasta shells
2 c. shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken from the deli to save time!)
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted, with liquid pressed out
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 jar pasta sauce (I love Classico Tomato & Basil)
1 Tblsp. seasonings of choice (I used a Parisien blend plus some thyme and a bit of Italian seasoning to taste)
A dash of red pepper flakes (be careful- these babies are hot!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the pasta shells about 6-7 minutes until about 3/4 of the way cooked, drain and set aside.  Microwave the spinach box on a plate according to package directions and drain all liquid in a colander. 

In large bowl add shredded chicken, all cheeses (save out 1/4 c. of the Parmesan to sprinkle on top), all seasonings and spinach.

In 9x13 pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, pour in about 1/2 c. pasta sauce.  Stuff shells and lay in pan.  Top with pasta sauce as desired (I don't use the whole jar, as I don't like a ton of sauce!  I also didn't use all the shells, as I like mine very stuffed) and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. Parmesan. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.



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