Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

pesto stuffed shells.jpg

Pesto sauce is one of my favorites – between eating it with pasta, using it as a pizza sauce, and spreading it on sandwiches, I can’t get enough! This dish is a favorite simple go-to meal in our house that even Clare enjoys.

Just cook some jumbo pasta shells, stuff them with a combination of shredded chicken, mozzarella, and pesto, and bake them for about 10 minutes. If you have some extra garlic on hand, feel free to add that too. (it’s hard to have too much garlic, in my opinion)

You can eat them as they are or drizzle with some extra pesto sauce. Serve with a salad or vegetable and enjoy this delicious meal!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

12 jumbo pasta shells
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
5-6 Tbsp pesto sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan and basil for garnish (optional)

Yield: 4-6 servings (12 shells)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the jumbo shells in boiling water for 9 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken, mozzarella, pesto sauce, salt, pepper, and additional garlic if wanted. Mix until well combined.

Stuff a spoonful of the mixture into each shell. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and line up the shells. Bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with grated parmesan, fresh basil, or extra pesto sauce if wanted. Serve while hot and enjoy!

Source: A Becky Original


Garlic Basil Pizza Dough

garlic basil pizza dough

One of our family food traditions is Friday night homemade pizza night. Growing up, we had pizza for dinner on Fridays too so I love carrying on this tradition in my own family. When I was first married and didn’t really know how to cook yet, I totally went the frozen pizza route. But then when I learned more about the art of homemade bread and pizza dough, I was hooked. (dough hook pun intended)

I used a different dough recipe for the longest time then tried this Garlic Bread Pizza Crust recipe once and loved it. I tweaked and simplified it a bit along the way and now it’s my go-to pizza dough recipe every week. If you’re new to homemade dough and using yeast, please don’t be intimidated! If you just make sure to keep the warm water at the right temperature, there’s not much that can go wrong with this recipe. (knock on wood) It’s pretty resilient!


One major plus for this recipe is that it makes enough dough for two pizzas. Score!! Right now, I just use half of it for a full round pizza that Jason and I share and then I use a little portion to make a tiny pizza for Clare on a mini cast iron skillet. This is a huge advantage because then I just have to make the dough every other week and simply freeze the other half. Then as our family grows or if we have company over, I don’t have to double the recipe. At least not yet!

To freeze the dough for later use, simply put it in a Ziplock bag that’s been sprayed with a little non-stick spray on the inside to keep it from sticking. Squeeze out the air, seal the bag, and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, set out the bag at room temperature for about 4-5 hours or keep it overnight in the refrigerator to defrost. Since I’m home during the day, I always just take it out of the freezer during Clare’s nap time, set it on the counter, and it’s back to life in time for dinner!

Also, I love the added garlic and basil flavor in the dough but if that’s not your thing, you can totally keep it simple and leave them out. Or add other herbs/flavors if you want to mix it up!


Another tip is that you can use the same dough recipe to make homemade stromboli. Again, just use half of the dough and spread it out into a rectangle on a prepared baking sheet. Top it with any sort of meat/cheese/veggies you like. My usual is turkey deli meat and/or pepperoni, sliced mozzarella or provolone, then a sprinkle of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Roll it up and keep it seam down on the pan. Pinch the ends with a fork or your fingers, sprinkle a little more Italian seasoning on top, and prick a few holes on the top with a fork to let the air out while it cooks. Bake it at 375 degrees F for the same 22-25 minutes until it’s crisp and brown on the outside. Let it sit and cool for a few minutes then slice it with a knife or pizza cutter and serve with some pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.

I hope that yall enjoy this recipe and maybe make Friday night homemade pizzas a thing in your home too!

Garlic Basil Pizza Dough

1 1/8 cups warm water (100-105 degrees F)
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Whatever pizza sauce and toppings you want!

Yield: 2 pizzas

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil. Mix it with a spoon, then let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt, garlic powder, and dried basil. Mix it with a dough hook (preferred), stir with a spoon, or mix with your hands until the dough comes together. It should be smooth, not sticky. Spray the same bowl with non-stick spray then place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with a light towel and place it in a warm place to rise for at least 1 1/2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. After the dough has risen, using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape on a greased pizza/baking pan. Place the towel back over the dough and let it sit in the warm place for 10 more minutes before topping.

Continue to make the pizza with your desired sauce and toppings. Bake the pizza for 22-25 minutes or until the crust and cheese are both golden. Let the pizza set for a minute, then slice and serve! (see above for stromboli directions)

Source: Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Garlic Basil Cloverleaf Rolls

cloverleaf roll

Though I haven’t yet mastered baking fresh loaves of bread, I’ve gotten pretty good at making rolls! Cloverleaf rolls are my favorites to make because they’re so pretty and there’s just something fun about tearing the pieces apart to eat. And maybe slather in a little extra butter…

This recipe has quickly become my favorite because get this – they’re done and delicious in only an hour! I actually made a batch on St. Patrick’s Day because I had the urge to bake something since the no sweets for Lent decision was making my oven (and me) a little sad. Plus I saw so many dessert recipes floating around on the feast day and thought these would be a festive and savory alternative!

You can leave out the garlic and basil if wanted or swap them for other herbs and flavors. But regardless, these rolls are super simple and fast to make and have the perfect soft and tender texture. You can also easily double the recipe for a crowd. If there’s a last minute need, you can quickly whip up a batch of fresh rolls that are sure to impress! Continue reading