Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells with Cheddar Chive Sauce

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells with Cheddar Chive Sauce. A sea of cheesy bechamel covered lumps and bumps. Think there’s too much cheese on there? No. Neither do I. The cheese is on center stage, and the broccoli and chicken in the orchestra pit. The way it was meant to be.

I’d like to thank Bev over at BevCooks for the inspiration. Her smart addition of the block of cream cheese to the bechamel made all the difference in the world. I think it was also key to having this reheat so beautifully and retain the silky goodness it had the first go ’round.

This one takes a bit of preparation due to the multiple components so I’d likely veer clear on a day you’re strapped for time. But if your in-laws, out-laws, friends, or other cheese-lovers are swinging by for dinner, this is hugely impressive. Serve with a salad dressed in a zippy vinaigrette, wtih some crusty bread, and you’re golden. Who wants to come for dinner so I have an excuse to make this again soon?

This recipe is also a great way to use up odds and ends from the fridge: leftover roasted vegetables make a great filling. A couple of hunks of random cheese? Toss them into the sauce. Play with it. Take it to the park for a ride on the swingset.

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells

Creamy Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Shells
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells (see Notes)
  • 1 large rotisserie chicken breast, or two small, shredded
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • For the bechamel:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped chives
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  3. Combine the chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, and chives in a bowl. Add about ½ cup of shredded cheddar.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour.
  5. Cook on medium for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the milk, whisking to combine and avoid lumps.
  7. Add cream cheese.
  8. Let cook on medium-high heat for 5 - 8 minutes or until thickened.
  9. Remove from heat and add the cheddar cheese and chives, stirring to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Take ½ - ¾ cup of the sauce and mix into the chicken/broccoli mixture.
  12. Stuff the shells with the chicken/broccoli mixture.
  13. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
  14. Smear about ½ cup of the sauce on to the bottom of the dish.
  15. Line up the stuffed shells, then top with the rest of the sauce.
  16. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until warmed through and bubbly.
  17. I've been known to top the whole shebang with another cup of cheddar during the last 5 minutes of baking. Just sayin'.
Notes
I must admit, I boiled the whole box of shells in order to ensure I had enough unbroken and unsmooshed ones for the finished dish. A tremendous waste, really. If you go this route I'd use the leftover cooked pasta in a fritatta for breakfast