Unless I am indulging in a cheat day, you can find me eating clean. Think fresh, organic ingredients, lean meats, no preservatives or mysterious additives, etc. Most of the recipes that I have posted on here are clean-eating approved and are definitely delicious and enjoyed by even the pickiest of NON clean eaters.
However there are times when I want to cook an old classic. One of my old go-to FAVORITE recipes is Chicken Pesto shells. It is totally easy to make for dinner on a busy night. And it's SO delicious that it is hard to stop eating! ;-)
Jumbo pasta shells
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of freshly grated parmesan or asiago cheese
3 Tablespoons of pesto sauce
2 cups of cooked chicken breast, cooked
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Bread crumbs (not shown) for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
1.) In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. You can do this step the night before and chill the pasta in the refrigerator if you want to save time before dinner.
2.) In a large bowl, combine all of the other ingredients-- the shredded chicken, the 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1 cup of cheese, and the 3 Tablespoons of pesto sauce. Mix the ingredients together.
My FAVORITE pesto sauce for this recipe can be found at Target. Believe me, if you are going to try this recipe and don't already have a go-to recipe for pesto, you should pick up a jar of this sauce. SOOO delicious.
3.) This step is a little tricky, but it's alright if your shells are a little messy-- no one will know! ;-) Take one shell at a time and stuff with the chicken pesto mixture. I normally find that a large serving spoonful is a good amount.
4.) Place the shells in a large pan, making sure that they are touching each other. Depending on how many people you are cooking for, you can make this recipe as small or large as you'd like. If you have more chicken mixture and shells leftover, don't be afraid to cram them in. The more the merrier! ;-)
5.) Top the shells with an extra 1/4 cup of cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs. I like the Progresso brand of panko crumbs. YUMMY.
6.) Bake at 350* for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
This recipe is great for feeding a large crowd or just for a small family. Each time I make them, I get rave reviews but in all honesty, I give all the credit to the Archer Farms basil pesto sauce from Target ;-) And how easy, right?? Only a few steps, quick preparation, and dinner is served! Just try to have less than four of these! I dare ya.