I cannot even remember the last time I had a stuffed shell; it must be years!! I have been so ‘scared’ of them because I had this connotation that they were so high in points but they really are not, no different than my normal pasta dishes. Plus, I packed in tons of protein and some veggies for a filling and delicious meal.
My sister has been begging me to make some stuffed shells so I finally gave in, under two conditions, they would be filled with protein and have some vegetables. So there we had it, spinach chicken stuffed shells.
Easy to make, I just wasn’t prepared for how long shells take to cook!!! It was almost 20 minutes before these things were done so just keep that in mind!
What You Need
To make the sauce, you will need a blender, to blend up the tomatoes, and a large pan to cook the tomatoes and simmer the sauce.
For the stuffed shell portion, you will need a large pot, to cook the shells, and a casserole dish to put everything together and pop it in the oven.
Then for the ingredients, you will need:
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- Minced garlic
- Ground chicken breast
- Jumbo shells
- Part-skim ricotta cheese
- Reduced fat 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese
- Reduced fat parmesan
- Baby spinach
And for the seasonings:
- Italian seasonings
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Black pepper
- Granular sugar replacement
I usually use Muir Glen when I make my tomato sauce. You can use pre-made tomato sauce if you wish, just calculate the points and calories correctly.
I found some gluten free, brown rice jumbo shells on amazon that I was really interested in trying. They were really good and had a great flavor and that is what I used. Feel free to use whatever brand you want. You can order those here.
What To Do
Start with the bolognese, I actually made this in the morning and stored it in the fridge all day. Not necessary at all and was maybe a waste of time because these shells took so dang long, but whatever!!
Place the tomatoes and half the seasonings in the blender and blend until puréed and smooth.
You can either simmer just the tomato sauce on the stove or cook the chicken, add in the tomato sauce, and simmer it all together. We will do the latter.
Heat a large pot or pan with tall sides over low heat. Once heated, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add ground chicken and begin to break it up. Add the remaining seasonings and continue to break up the chicken while mixing together and cooking.
Once completely cooked, add the blended tomatoes (sauce) and stir together. Allow sauce to simmer for 15-45 minutes, stirring and scraping the pot occasionally. This simmering is not completely necessary but it does elevate the flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While that sauce is simmering, start on the shells. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, drain well and then set aside.
Once the sauce is ready, dice up the spinach as small as desired. Add the spinach and cheeses into the sauce. Toss and mix that while the cheese melts and the spinach wilts.
Grab the casserole dish and set out all of the cooked shells. Fill each of them evenly with the sauce mixture.
Bake for about 10 minutes.
Spinach Chicken Stuffed Shells
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz can
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon granular sugar replacement Lakanto or Swerve
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 pound ground chicken breast
- 24 brown rice jumbo shells
- 2/3 cup part-skim ricotta
- 1/4 cup reduced fat, part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon reduced fat parmesan cheese
- 1 cup baby spinach
- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- blend tomatoes and half the seasonings until puréed.
- heat a large pot over low heat. Once heated, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- add ground turkey and begin to break it up. Add the remaining seasonings and continue to break up the turkey while mixing together and cooking.
- once completely cooked, add the blended tomatoes and stir together.
- allow sauce to simmer for 15-45 minutes, stirring and scraping the pot occasionally. this step is not necessary; however, provides a greater taste.
- cook jumbo shells according to package instructions, drain well and set aside.
- when the bolognese is finished, dice up the spinach, add that and the cheeses into the bolognese and allow it to melt and wilt together.
- after everything is combined, line the shells up in a casserole dish and fill them evenly with the meat mixture.
- bake in the oven at 350 degrees to allow all the flavors to melt and form together. top with parsley
- 6 shells per serving