Stuffed shells are so easy and super fun to make! I recently made a more traditional version of this dish with a group of children and they had a blast mixing and filing the shells. Not to mention, they ate every bite… spinach included! If you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, get them in kitchen. It truly makes a difference.
I liked this recipe because I love vegetable lasagna but I can’t afford the time it takes to make and bake in the oven. As you know if you follow my blog, when it’s dinner time, I’m hungry, and it better not take me long to make anything or else I’m out, down for the count, and wasting precious calories on anything I can get my hands on from the pantry. (aka: Wheat Thins and peanut butter)
Stuffing jumbo pasta shells with lasagna ingredients not only cuts down on time but it also helps you with portion control. Sneaking an extra bite of lasagna is easy but grabbing another shell can make you think twice!
Also, I added chicken for the hubs. He’s a meat-a-holic. Not really… he can enjoy a good hearty… key word hearty… vegetarian meal every once in a while but he’d simply rather not. I can’t really blame him but you wouldn’t have to use chicken if you didn’t want to.
Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4, 3 shells each
1 chicken boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite sized cubes
15 jumbo pasta shells, in case a few break
1 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. carrots, sliced thin
1/3 c. frozen corn
1/3 c. frozen bell peppers
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 c. spaghetti sauce
1/4 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded
Cook chicken if needed, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Boil pasta noodles according to packaged directions. Drain. In a nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add garlic and onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 1 minute. Add carrots, corn, peppers, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.
Add chicken and spinach. Cook until heated and transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl. Add cottage cheese and egg. Stir to combine.
Stuff shells with spoonfuls of the mixture and place in a greased baking dish.
Top with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Bake, covered, for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and shells are heated throughout. Yum!
– Change the veggies according to the season. Try squash, zucchini, or even butternut squash for an added twist!