Southwestern Chicken Stuffed Shells

Leftovers... you either love them or hate them! In our house, we like them and afford throwing away food as much as possible. So when we have a mish mosh of ingredients leftover, one way I like using them up is to come up with a filling of some sort. In this case, I had a few ingredients left over from a Tex Mex dinner I prepared. Looking what I had to work with, I made these Southwestern Chicken Stuffed Shells which turned out delicious!...

These jumbo pasta shells are filled with a mixture of chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro, diced jalapeno, taco seasoning, corn, black beans, and cream cheese. Once the shells were filled, I topped them with salsa with more shredded cheese and baked them in a preheated oven. Just before serving, I sprinkled some fresh cilantro and served them with sour cream and guacamole. Feel free to tweak this to your tastes and what ingredients you have on hand. Hopefully before you throw out that food, you can use it to create a filling and fill away!

Southwestern Chicken Stuffed Shells
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

  • 18 cooked jumbo pasta shells
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken or 1 rotisserie chicken (fully cooked)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (store bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels (canned)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup black beans (rinsed and drained)

  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 large) 
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium) 
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium) 
  • garlic cloves, minced 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1/4 cup red wine 
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Guacamole or slices of avocado for serving
  • Sour cream for serving
Cook pasta shells as directed, drain and set aside.

Combine chicken  the 1 cup shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, diced jalapeno, taco seasoning, corn, black beans, and cream cheese. Toss to combine; set aside.

To prepare sauce, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté until tender. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer, cooking for 20-25 minutes until slightly thick.

In a 13 x 9 baking pan, lightly grease with cooking spray. Cover bottom of pan with a thin layer of sauce.

Fill cooked pasta shells with filling & arrange stuffed shells in a single layer in pan; top with remaining sauce.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese over sauce.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Before serving, garnish with more chopped cilantro and serve with sour cream and slices of ripe avocado (or guacamole).

1 comment

  1. I made mexican stuffed shells once and they were one of my favorite stuffed shells ever!