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

Ingredients:
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

Homemade Orange Chicken

homemade orange chicken.jpg

Orange chicken is my absolute favorite Chinese take out meals. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t enjoy it. (And if that rare person is you, please comment and let me know!) Until recently, I’d never thought to try making it myself. While it does take some time to prep and cook, it’s completely worth the effort to make it every once in a while as a special treat. The sauce is especially delish and could even be used to coat and jazz up any sort of pre-made chicken bites you might buy.

I served the chicken with some simple white rice and steamed broccoli but you can use any sort of sides you prefer like brown rice, fried rice, chow mien noodles, various vegetables, etc. Maybe even throw in some fortune cookies for a genuine take out vibe!

Homemade Orange Chicken

Ingredients:
For the marinade and sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3 oranges)
Zest of 2 oranges
6 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar (any kind – I used dark brown)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (plus more minced, if wanted)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water

For the coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups oil (I used vegetable oil, but can use canola, peanut, etc.)

Yield: 4 servings

Directions:
To make the marinade and sauce, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan; whisk to blend well. Measure out about 1/3 cup of the mixture and transfer it to a large zipper lock plastic bag or a dish. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, pressing out the excess air and sealing well. Or if using a dish, evenly coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate and let it marinate for 30 to 60 minutes. Place the saucepan with the remaining sauce mixture on the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add this mixture to the saucepan with the sauce. Continue simmering until the sauce is thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To prepare the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate or shallow bowl and whisk until frothy. In a second plate or bowl, combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and cayenne pepper; whisk to blend. Drain the chicken from the marinade in a colander or large strainer and pat dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to the cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a Dutch oven or straight-sided sauté pan until the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Carefully place half of the chicken pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through cooking.  Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return the oil to 350 degrees F and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and toss with the cooked chicken pieces. Serve over rice and add some vegetables, if desired. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

chicken salad

I love chicken salad sandwiches but honestly never remember to make them myself – until now! I recently had some extra chicken breasts and I’m so thankful that the craving hit because these are delish. The dried cranberries add some nice tartness to the mixture and the chopped pecans and celery give it a bit of extra texture and crunch.

I used multigrain bread and added some lettuce, but feel free to customize the sandwiches to your liking. Also one little tip…I’ve found that if possible, it’s great to make this the day before because as the salad sits, the cranberries get extra juicy and the flavors mingle together so nicely!

Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Pecans

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped chicken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped celery
Salt and pepper (to taste)
8 slices of bread
+Additional optional toppings like lettuce

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Directions:
Mix the mayo and mustard in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken, cranberries, pecans, and celery – stir until the dressing is fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Use 1/2 cup of chicken salad and two slices of your favorite bread for each sandwich. Add lettuce and any other toppings you want. Cut the sandwich in half and serve.

Source: Slightly adapted from Culicurious