Chicken, Pesto (and more...) Stuffed Shells

You probably have seen many variations of Chicken Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells, 
but this one from Joelen on her blog "What's Cookin' Chicago" attracted my attention recently because I had half a jar of fresh pesto 
in the fridge begging to be used.

Stuffed shells are so convenient you can make them at your leisure,
then cover and refrigerate. 
They can be made a day in advance, then popped into
a 350º/F oven until bubbly and heated through. 
You can also freeze them for future meals. 
Honestly I don't freeze much of the food I make, except for things 
like soups, stocks, sauces, stews, etc. 
But Joelen gives freezing tips on her site (see link above.)

I did make a few changes to the recipe ~ as follows:

(I reduced the recipe by half; because I didn't need such a large amount of shells.)
Swapped out fresh, grated mozzarella for half of the Parmesan cheese
And I added the following (adjust the amounts to suit your taste):
 •chopped marinated artichoke hearts
•finely diced sun-dried tomatoes (the kind packed in olive oil)
• fresh steamed (and squeezed of moisture) spinach, minced
•minced parsley
•I also added a sprinkling of buttered Panko breadcrumbs and some
grated parmesan over the stuffed shells before baking.

The recipe as written seemed as if it would be rather dry 
(in my humble opinion) since it had no sauce. 
To remedy this I stirred a very generous tablespoon of the pesto 
into about 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream and poured it around 
the shells just before placing them in the oven. 
I simply eyeballed the amount of pesto and cream ~ my aim was to have 
the cream mixture approximately 1/4-inch deep around the shells.

Heavenly!! The sauce barely thickened up, but was delicious drizzled over
the shells upon serving and provided the moisture which I felt was
lacking in the original recipe.

I covered the baking dish with aluminum foil for the first 20 minutes,
then removed it for the remainder of the baking time.

It received thumbs up around the dining table and was declared a "keeper".
I love that!! 
With gracious thanks to Joelen for the inspiration for this variation
of her recipe.

You might keep this one in mind when you roast a turkey~
a nifty way to use some of the leftovers.

Thanks for stopping by today friends ~ have a great week.

I'm grateful for loving family, good friends and followers of my blog!. :)

Blessings ~ 
xo~ mari


  1. Well, this just looks so delicious! I think I'll sub marinated red pepper for the tomatoes. Have pesto in the freezer. Can't wait to make it!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Nancy! Using marinated red pepper is a fantastic idea. I'll remember that for next time! Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

  3. You're adorable..and this looks absolument delicious:-)
    Thank youX

  4. OMG, Mari, this looks and sounds sooooooo delish. Love your changes. This will be on my menu very soon.


  5. Mari, these not only sound and look delicious but they also have a pretty, festive appearance. Yum!

  6. This sounds wonderful...I love stuffed shells not only are they tasty, but they are so pretty on the plate!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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