Hearty, delicious chicken and pasta dish with a little southwestern flair. The stuffed shells are mildly spicy. Make them for company and you’ll be the hit of the party!
- 12 oz. box jumbo pasta shells (about 40 shells)
For the Mexican Chicken Filling:
- 4 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped or shredded
- 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (drain and RESERVE liquid) (Rotel or store brand, either works)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 6 green onions, sliced thin
- 1 large bell pepper (any color), minced
- 1 1/2 blocks cream cheese (12 oz. total), softened (not melted)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 packet taco seasoning (or 3–4 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 2 Tablespoons homemade Southwestern seasoning)
- 1 1/2 cups extra sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup of salsa or picante sauce + extra for drizzling
- 1 cup chicken stock
- reserved liquid from diced tomatoes with chiles
- Cook pasta shells in well salted, boiling water until al dente (still have a little bite to them). If you cook them too long, they will be difficult to stuff. They are going to have additional cooking time in the oven. Drain the pasta and set aside while you make the filling. I usually run cold water over them as I’m draining them. This quick cools them and makes them easier to handle for stuffing.
- While the pasta cooks, dice or shred enough chicken breast to make 4 cups. That’s 3-4 chicken breasts for me. A whole rotisserie chicken works, too.
- Chop bell pepper and green onions.
- Grate the cheese.
- Mix the diced chicken, rinsed and drained black beans, drained tomatoes with chilies (Remember to reserve the tomato/chilies liquid from both cans.), corn, bell pepper and green onion in a medium mixing bowl.
- In a smaller mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning.
- Add the cream cheese mixture to the chicken and veggies. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Mix the chicken broth, picante/salsa and reserved tomato/chilies liquid. I mix this in my 4-cup liquid measuring cup and end up with 3 cups of sauce. I put in the reserved tomato/chiles liquid, first, then add the salsa. Next, I add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups of liquid.
- If baking all the shells in one pan, pour one cup of the liquid sauce into the bottom of your baking pan. If dividing the shells between three 8×8 foil pans, add 1/3 cup liquid to the bottom of each pan. Save the rest of the liquid for just before baking.
- Using a spoon, or your fingers, fill each of your cooked and cooled pasta shells, setting them into the sauce covered pan. Continue until all shells are filled and arranged in the pan.
- When the pan is full, drizzle the shells with the remaining liquid sauce and then sprinkle with the shredded cheese. [This is the point to freeze the shells, if you’re making these for future use. See the notes on freezing, below.]
- Cover the baking pan(s) tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
To Bake Frozen Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells:
To use frozen Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells, thaw the pan in the fridge, overnight. 30 minutes to an hour before baking, set the pan on the counter to come to room temperature. It can be baked straight from the fridge, but the baking time will be much longer, if you’re starting with the shells completely cold. Thawed shells brought to room temperature can be baked as usual and should be done in about 30-40 minutes.
Bake the shells for 30 minutes at 350°. They should be hot all the way through, the cheese should be melted and the pan sauce will be bubbling, when they are done.
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Category: Main Dish, Mexican, Pasta
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: Mexican, chicken, pasta