Chicken Parmesan stuffed shells are a mash up of two favorite restaurant dishes. It is baked to cheesy perfection and is sure to become a favorite meal at your family’s dinner table.
This recipe takes the best part of two Italian American favorites and brings them together in the tastiest way. It is a perfect celebration meal or would make for a lovely Sunday supper.
Now you can make cheesy stuffed shells with all of the goodness of chicken Parmesan baked right inside. It is easier than it sounds.
Then all you have to do is put together a quick side salad and toast up some garlic bread and a special dinner will be ready to go. If your family is anything like mine, they will come running to the table.
Chicken Parmesan Filling
When we visit our favorite local Italian restaurant, my husband almost always orders Chicken Parmesan. And who can blame him?
Breaded chicken served with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese is hard to beat. Add the side of spaghetti and you practically have to roll him out the door when he is finished.
The filling for these shells takes its inspiration from that meal but simplifies it. Rather than breading and frying chicken, use frozen breaded chicken tenders.
That way you get the texture without the effort or mess. Bake them to golden perfection.
Once they are cool enough to handle, dice them into relatively small chunks. You want them to easily fit inside the shells.
Toss them with marinara sauce and cheese and you have everything you need to get that flavor we are after.
While your chicken fungers are cooking, get the pasta ready. We made a 16 ounce box of large shells and had a few leftover.
Those leftovers are perfect so you can use the best ones in your dish. You can always fill them and make another small dish of shells for later if you would like.
Cook the pasta to al dente according to the directions on the box. Then drain them.
While I don’t normally rinse pasta, in this case it can be helpful. It helps to stop the cooking process and gets rid of some extra starch.
That will help keep the pasta from sticking together while you are working with it. So just give it a quick cool water rinse.
Stuffing the Pasta
Stuffing so many individual pasta shells seems like it may be time consuming and a little bit daunting, but it is really not too bad. Once the filling and pasta are ready it just takes a few minutes to put them together.
Much like a lasagna, you want to start with a layer of sauce on the bottom of a greased pan. Just use the rest of the jar from the filling.
Then all it takes it putting a spoonful of yummy chicken filling into the shells. It just takes a few seconds per shell, so you’ll be done in just a few minutes.
Sprinkle the shells with a bit more cheese and they are ready to hit the oven. You will be digging in before you know it.
While it bakes, put together your salad and things are really coming together. Dinner is going to be good!
Can you make stuffed shells ahead of time?
Yes! Go ahead and assemble everything up to a day ahead of time.
Just cover the dish and refrigerate it. Be sure to take the pan out of the refrigerator when you preheat the oven to take a little of the chill off.
Then just add a couple of minutes to the bake time to make sure it is fully hot throughout. Easy peasy!
Alternatively you could assemble the dish even further ahead of time and freeze it. Just allow it to thaw in the refrigerator the night before you plan to serve it.
Then follow the same directions as above where you take it out of the refrigerator to take the chill off before baking it. You will be digging into your delicious dinner in no time.
More yummy baked pasta recipes
Baked ziti is a perfect family friendly fill them up kind of meal. It can be made ahead and baked to creamy, cheesy perfection.
For a different take on the pasta, chicken and cheese combination try chicken Parmesan and pasta bake. It uses shredded chicken and pasta baked into a yummy casserole form.
Baked spaghetti and meatball casserole is a fun twist on that classic favorite dinner. It is easier to make than lasagna and more fun too!
Grandma’s chicken, broccoli and pasta casserole is a great way to get dinner on the table quickly. It is a perfect way to use leftover chicken or turkey as well!
- 1 lb frozen breaded chicken tenders
- 1 lb jumbo shells
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 23 oz. jar marinara sauce
- Cook chicken tenders according to package.
- Meanwhile, boil jumbo shells until cooked al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
- Chop chicken fingers into bite sized pieces of smaller.
- Mix chicken with 2 cups of marinara sauce, 2 cups mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano and Parmesan cheese.
- Spread remaining marinara sauce on bottom of greased 9x13" pan.
- Stuff chicken mixture into al dente shells and arrange on top of the sauce in the 9x13" pan.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake at .375°F for 30 minutes.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 801mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 16g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.