Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Roast Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Shells

1 Roast Chicken or 3 Chicken Breasts – Skin on, bone in.
  - Lemon slices under the skin and salt, pepper, onion & garlic powder, etc. on the skin.
1 Pkg Frozen Chopped Spinach – Thawed and drained
2 32 oz Ricotta Cheese – Room Temp and broken up.
2 Eggs – Room Temp – Beaten
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
½ tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Nutmeg
2 8 oz. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – divided in half
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 12 oz boxes of Jumbo Shells
¼ cup Fresh Basil – Sliced thin
2 tbsp Butter
2 jars Tomato Sauce

You can either break down a store bought rotisserie chicken, roast your own (whole 350 for about 60 minutes) or roast chicken breasts (350 for about 30-35 minutes).  Shred chicken.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, eggs, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Add in the shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and shredded chicken and taste to adjust seasoning if necessary.

In a large pot w/ boiling, salted water, add the shells.  Under cook the shells by 2-3 minutes.  My brand said to cook for 9 minutes so I cooked mine for 6-7 minutes.  You want to slightly undercook the shells because they will continue cooking in the oven and this way they will stay together and not fall apart.  Cool shells.

Fill the shells generously with the filling.  Take a buttered baking dish and coat the bottom with your tomato sauce.  I make my own but you can use 2 jars of your favorite brand.  Layer the shells in a single layer in the dish.  This recipe made 2 large baking dishes full.  Ass another layer of sauce over the shells (add as much or as less as you’d like).  Sprinkle basil over the shells.  Sprinkle over the 2nd half of the mozzarella cheese and dab bits of the butter over the shells.  Loosely cover the shells with aluminum foil, trying not to have the foil touch the cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (take foil off for final 15 minutes to brown the top).  Let cool about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy.

* If making this in advance, after you cover in foil, put in fridge.  The day you’re going to serve, take out about ½ hour before you put in oven.  Also can freeze well, but just take out of freezer the day before and let thaw in fridge.

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