Monday, January 25, 2016

Shelling it Out!

So, this weekend we were blessed with our first snowstorm of the year. Normally, I prefer them to hit during the week so I can work from home and avoid the office. This time it hit us on Saturday evening and, as luck would have it, we had no plans to do anything! This is a very rare occasion! So, I got to sit back and hang with the doggies while outside the snow just piled up. It's times like this I am so grateful to be fortunate enough to have things like a warn home to reside in and nourishing food to eat. Being home bound for a day and a half provided me the perfect opportunity to try out some new recipes and get creative with last weeks leftovers. Hubs was getting tired of all those chicken cutlets that I had baked off last week for his lunches so using those up was first and foremost on my mind. Waste not, want not! After a quick perusal through the back of the fridge and the cupboards I had an idea. I had left over Italian seasoned chicken cutlets in the fridge. I also had leftover roasted onions and mushrooms from our steak dinner and half a container of ricotta cheese and the ever present mozzarella and Parmesan (get where I am going here). In the cupboard I had 1/4 box of jumbo shells and a half a box of lasagna noodles. My stores of home canned tomatoes was still healthy as well! With all of this I came up with: Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells! Here is how it came together! First I prepared a quick marinara using 2 jars of tomatoes, olive oil, a bunch or garlic and basil, and some salt. While that was simmering away I got busy with the filling. First I put the leftover roasted onions and mushrooms in the food processor and whizzed them up until they were finely chopped. I mixed this in with the ricotta cheese along with a handful of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. I added some Italian spice blend and salt to the mixture and set that aside. On to the chicken. I cut up the chicken cutlets and added them to the food processor. They got finely chopped up as well and added to the ricotta mixture. That was my filling. I boiled the shells and lasagna noodles until they were pliable but not cooked through and stuffed them up. When I ran out of shells, I spread the filling on the lasagna noodles and rolled them up. These all got placed in a sauce lined baking dish and baked, covered, at 350F for 20 minutes. After 20 minuted I removed the covering and topped the shells/lasagna rolls with grated mozzarella and baked another 10 minutes until melted. Once everything was done I removed the pan and let it sit for a bit before hubs and I devoured nearly the entire pan. It was good! I will admit I liked the lasagna rolls a little better than the shells. I like them being more noodley - It added more texture. In the future, I would chop the chicken more coarsely for the shells to add texture to the dish. But flavorwise both were great. Look, I even remembered to take pictures!

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells

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