Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells, My Most-Viewed Recipe of 2013

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Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Looking back over 2013, it was easy to determine which recipe was the reader favorite in 2013.  This Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells recipe posted clear back in 2011, was viewed more than 1,077,000 times in 2013!  It was my most “pirated” recipe, as well, with four different blogs or Facebook pages literally copying and pasting my personal photos, text and code — posting it as their own work with no link back to Busy-at-Home.  Who knows how many more hits it would have received if those links had directed them back here, to the original?  It sort of boggles the mind that a recipe could become so popular in such a short amount of time and then hold on as the most-visited post for two years running.  But, since it’s one of our family’s favorites, too, it definitely makes sense to us and I am sharing the post with you, again, to kick off 2014.  I hope it tantalizes your taste buds and fills up your family with warm, homey comfort as you navigate the peak of these cold winter days.  I am so blessed to have had an extended visit with our family to celebrate the holidays and just catch up, these first weeks of January.  I intend to pick up my blogging schedule, again, later in the month, and hope in the meantime you are blessed beyond measure and that you will enjoy this yummy recipe, once again.  Happy 2014!

This portion reposted from June 13, 2011:

I recently discovered the Secret Recipe Club, brain-child of Amanda Formaro, of Amanda’s Cookin’, and decided to join the fun in June.  Every month, participating blogs are assigned another foodie blogger’s website.  They browse the recipes on their assigned site and select one to use as inspiration in creating a dish for that month’s secret recipe club, putting their own creativity, flair and nuances into the mix.  At the exact same time, on the exact same day, all the recipes are posted and the secret recipe blogs are revealed.  It’s a fun way to find new recipes and meet other foodie bloggers.  For June, I was assigned Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy and Low Calorie.

So, what was the recipe post that made my tastebuds dance, just looking at the picture?  I visited Debbi’s site and the recipe on her homepage, that day, was calling my name.  I definitely created a dish that fit my own family’s personal tastes, but Debbi’s delicious photos were my inspiration for this new, sensational and easy recipe.  The post that inspired my June Secret Recipe Club submission is  Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells. I incorporated my family’s love of Mexican and southwest flavors and created my new dish — these heavenly Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells.  You’re gonna want them for dinner, tonight!

exact same time, on the exact same day, all the recipes are posted and the secret recipe blogs are revealed.  It’s a fun way to find new recipes and meet other foodie bloggers.  For June, I was assigned Debbi Does Dinner…Healthy and Low Calorie.

So, what was the recipe post that made my tastebuds dance, just looking at the picture?  I visited Debbi’s site and the recipe on her homepage, that day, was calling my name.  I definitely put our own family’s spin on it, but Debbi was my inspiration for this absolutely delicious and easy recipe.  The recipe that inspired my June Secret Recipe Club submission is her Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells. I incorporated my family’s love of Mexican and southwest flavors and created these heavenly Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells.  You’re gonna want them for dinner, tonight!

You could definitely cut this recipe in half, if you’re cooking for a smaller crew.  We had company for dinner and I made 38 stuffed shells.  The recipe left me with about 1 1/2 cups of extra filling, which was promptly devoured for lunch the next day in tortillas!

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Rating: 51

30 minutes

30 minutes

12-15 servings

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Hearty, delicious chicken and pasta dish with a little southwest or Mexican kick. These are filling and comfort food at it’s best! Make them for company and you’ll be the hit of the party!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 each of red, green, yellow, & orange bell peppers (or 2 whole bell peppers of your choice), diced
  • 3 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened (not melted)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with chiles (don’t drain) (Rotel or store brand, either works)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup of picante sauce
  • 38 large pasta shells, cooked al dente

Instructions

  1. 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, plus they will have additional cooking time, once they are stuffed. Drain the pasta and set aside while you make the filling.
  2. Cook, drain and dice enough chicken breast to make 4 cups. I always have homemade chicken stock and pre-cooked diced chicken bagged in my freezer. You could use canned chicken broth if you prefer.
  3. To make the filling, mix diced chicken, drained black beans, green onions, diced peppers, and cumin in a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken stock and undrained tomatoes with chiles. When thoroughly combined, pour it over the chicken mixture and mix well. (If you have trouble incorporating the cream cheese and tomatoes, you can heat it slightly in the microwave.)
  5. Spread 3/4 c. picante sauce in the bottom of a large baking pan. (I used 13x18x2, but I’m guessing that two 9×13′s would also work.) Reserve the final 1/4 cup, for later.
  6. Using a spoon, or your fingers, fill each of your cooked and cooled pasta shells, setting them into the picante covered pan. Continue until all shells are filled and arranged in the pan.
  7. When the pan is full, drizzle the shells with the remaining 1/4 cup of picante and then sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  8. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
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Here’s how to make them.

  1. Boil pasta shells to al dente, then drain and cool them while you mix up the filling.
    pasta shells
    Drained and cooled shells, ready to be stuffed.
  2. Dice the chicken, peppers and green onion.  (My chicken was pulled from the freezer, pre-cooked and diced.  Freezer cooking is a great time-saving idea for recipes like this.)
    diced veggies
    Diced onions and peppers
  3. To make the filling, mix diced chicken, drained black beans, green onions, diced peppers, and cumin in a large mixing bowl.  Thoroughly incorporate all the ingredients.
    chicken, beans and veggies
    Chicken, beans and veggies mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken stock and undrained diced tomatoes w/chiles (Rotel).  When thoroughly combined, pour it over the chicken mixture and mix well.
    cream cheese and rotel
    Mix the softened cream cheese with the undrained diced tomatoes and chiles to create a delectable sauce for your chicken and veggie mixture.  Blend the sauce with the chicken and veggies.
    sauce
    Creamy, spicy, delicious sauce for your filling.  If you have trouble incorporating the tomatoes and cream cheese, you could heat it slightly in the microwave.
  5. Spread 3/4 cup of picante sauce in the bottom of a large baking pan.
    picante in a pan
    Spread a thin layer of the picante sauce over the bottom of your baking pan and reserve the last 1/4 cup of sauce for later.
  6. Stuff each of your cooled shells with the delicious chicken, cheese and veggie filling you just created and arrange the shells over the picante sauce in your baking pan.
  7. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup of picante sauce over filled shells.
    pasta shells
    Filled shells, drizzled with remaining 1/4 cup picante.
  8. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the entire pan of stuffed shells.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
    bakedpastashells
    Close up of baked shells.
    pan half eaten
    These were a huge hit and went quickly. We did end up with a few leftovers at the end of the meal, which heated beautifully in the microwave the next day. There was also a little of the chicken/veggie/bean filling left over, which we used in tortillas shells. Yum!
    girls
    Every new recipe needs its official taste testers. These girls are tough critics and gave a combined 4 thumbs (and two forks) up to this yummy dish!

Check out all the other delicious Secret Recipe Club entries for June.

They’re going to make you SOOOOO hungry!

,,,

Comments

  1. Den says

    These look like a wonderful and unique party dish!! I’m a vegetarian so I might add spinach or tofu to a few of them to replace the chicken.

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