Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Italian Chicken and spinach stuffed shells

When I woke up this morning I had no idea what would be for dinner but since I had fresh ground chicken in the refrigerator it would have to be something using it as the main ingredient.

I looked in my pantry and saw a box of large shells and decided to make a chicken filling for the shells.  No plan just a quick glance and I figured it would definitely make hubby happy.

I knew that if I were going to stuff these shells I would need sauce.  I had plenty of meat sauce in the freezer but thought that chicken stuffed shells would be complimented by a marinara sauce so that's how this meal was developed.  It really didn't take very long to put together and I had never made a bechamel sauce so quickly googled it and thought a nice drizzle of a white sauce would top this dish beautifully taste and presentation. YUM 

The Sauce 

2 large cans crushed tomatoes
1- 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 small onion grated
1 finely chopped carrot
1 small chopped pepper
salt and pepper
olive oil and I happened to have some fresh basil so that's all it took to have a light marinara for this dish.

Saute onion in olive oil with carrot and pepper until carrot is tender.  Add crushed tomatoes and sauce(swish cans with a little water to get every bit of the tomatoes out of the can) and add to pot.

Add some salt and pepper. A few pinches is good.  Allow sauce to simmer slowly for about 1 hour or so.

The Bechamel Drizzle

2 T. Butter
2 T. flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of nutmeg(optional)

Place butter in small pan on low heat.  When butter is melted add flour, milk and salt.  Turn heat up a bit and Whisk until thickened.  If sauce is too thick you can thin with a bit more milk.

The Filling

1 lb. ground chicken
1 small onion grated fine
 1/2 cup chopped spinach cooked and drained well
 3/4 cup bread crumbs( I used garlic and herb seasoned) I really like them(Progresso)
1/2 cup grated Italian cheese
1 egg slightly beaten
3/4 tsp. salt and a pinch or two of pepper

Place ground chicken in a pot with a slight amount of olive oil. Add grated onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium until chicken is no longer pink.  Add cooked spinach and cook for a few minutes more.  Remove from heat , add bread crumbs, Italian cheese and beaten egg.  Stir until all is mixed through.

Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

Please note:  My box of shells was a regular size box and I had about 8 left so if you want to use the whole box increase the ingredients as in 1 1/2 lb. of chicken or even 2 lb. if you like them really filled. 


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