Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spicy Mexican Stuffed Shells

This recipe came out of boredom and needing to use some stuff up.  It's funny how serendipitous events come to pass...right into mah belly!  This is by far one of our new faves and I hope it will be for you too.

Here's what you'll need:

Spicy Mexican Stuffed Shells
Serves 2

12 Barilla jumbo shells
8 oz Trader Joe's boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins, cooked then shredded
7 oz Chipotle Jalapeno Refried Beans
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
2 oz Neuchatel cream cheese (1/3 less fat)
1/2 cup Trader Joe's enchilada sauce
1 tbsp salsa
1 oz chipotle cheese, shredded

Preheat your oven to 425.  In a large stock pot, boil 8 cups of water and add your shells giving the occasional stir so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Cook for 9 minutes

If your chicken is not yet cooked, boil it up since it's going to be added to other flavors then transfer to a bowl and shred it.

While that is going, mix the beans, ricotta, cream cheese and chicken in a bowl.  Heat for 30 seconds and stir.  Add in any salt free spices you'd like to use.  I used cumin, white pepper and Mrs Dash Chipotle seasoning.  It's not gonna look pretty.

When the shells are done, add 1 tbsp of salsa to the bottom of an 8x8 pan so they don't stick while cooking.  Put the shells on top of the salsa.

I like to use a cheese spreader to get into the shells and really fill those babies up to the brim!  If you want to be precise you can weigh the mix and divide it by 12 so you know how much you can stuff into each shell.

This what they looked like stuffed to the brim with chicken/cheese/chipotle bean goodness.

Measure out 1/2 cup of Trader Joe's enchilada sauce.

Drizzle it over top of the shells.  Cover it with foil and heat for 20 minutes or until it's bubbling on the bottom.

While it's cooking, take one ounce of chipotle cheese and grate it up.  (If you wanted a comparable cheese you could use pepper jack or a jalapeno cheese)

Try to hit the bowl a little better than I did but yeah, it's ready to add stringy loveliness to this dish.  When the timer goes off, add the cheese and let it work its magic.

See what I mean...

When the Mr and I ate this, I swear I heard angels singing or maybe it was Pitbull, I don't know but it was a spicy Mexican fiesta in my mouth and I never wanted it to end.  The cream cheese and ricotta bring this delicious creaminess coupled with the refried beans that is hard to ignore.  It literally melts in your mouth.  The chicken rounds it out nicely with some volume and its protein punch.  Then you have that spicy sauce, chipotle cheese and the salsa that soaks into the shells ever so slightly and you've got that nice lingering heat that is flavorful but not over the top hot.

I hope you love it as much as we do.  Ole!

Nutritional Information per 6 shell serving:  Calories 692  Total Fat 22g  Sat Fat 9g  Cholesterol 115mg  Sodium 1248mg  Potassium 30mg  Total Carbs 86g  Fiber 22g  Sugars 10g  Protein 61g  Vitamin A 22%  Vitamin C 10%  Calcium 40%  Iron 35%

Yes, it's kind of a sodium bomb but the day I had this my sodium was 1847mg for the day so if you carefully plan, you can easily fit this into your calories/nutritional goals.  What it bombs on in sodium, it rallies with fiber, protein and some good vitamins!
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  1. In your opinion, would ground chicken work, or should it definitely be shredded chicken boobies?

    I'll have to see if I can find gluten free jumbo shells, I don't think I've ever seen them, but I haven't ever looked for them either. Do you think that this could works as a cross between mac 'n cheese and lasagna?

    I just had nachos last night for dinner (with ground chicken, which is my favorite), so we were both in little Mexico!

  2. You could use any kind of meat you want in there (obviously the nutritional info would change).

    Tinkyada and Ancient Harvest Quinoa both have gluten free jumbo shells.


  3. YUM! I'm definitely going to make these, if I can remember to buy the shells at the store.

  4. I don't like pasta shells, but I think this filling would work nicely in one of my tortillas. I like the Laughing Cow Chili Queso Cheese with my current chicken burrito for a little extra spice.

  5. Love pasta, love chicken, love cheese, love salsa, love Mexican food. Will try ASAP.

  6. Ohhhh yeah, I will be bookmarking this, and cooking it sooooon!

  7. YUM. These look crazy good. Stuffed shells are a favorite of mine, but my husband finds them boring, so I'm going to try doing a Mexican twist on them next time too!

  8. O my gahhh! This looks so good!! I want a invitation to dinner! I have actually never had stuffed shells before, I feel like a kid not invited to the birthday party!!! :)

  9. are you sure the nutritional info is correct? Seems very high per serving - I'm following WW original Points, and by my calculations, each serving is 15 points. That's over half my points for a full day. Of course, six shells seems like a lot of food to me, too, so maybe I could cut each serving in half, and settle for 7.5 points per serving.

  10. Yes the nutritional info is correct as long as all of the *exact* ingredients I use in the recipe are followed (including the recipe for the chipotle jalapeno refried beans).

    You can always adapt the recipes to fit a plan if you're following a particularly and make the servings whatever you like.


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