I hope everyone is staying cool this week in this crazy 8 billion degree weather, AKA the surface of the sun!  My sorry excuse for an AC unit in our apartment has been imperative to my survival this week.  But leave it to me to choose the hottest day of the year so far to have my oven on for hours at a time.  Thankfully, it produced my favorite dessert of this decade which made it more than worth it (more to come on that later so stay tuned).

This is one of the easier Italian pasta dishes I have come across…and it’s cheap to make!  I should also add that they are a-may-zing!  Mr. Wishes gave his stamp of approval, which is saying a lot.

It’s the perfect meal to make when you are tired and don’t feel like fussing a whole lot over making dinner.  People that know me know that when it’s dinner time and I’m super hungry, it is in my best interest not to take much time to make anything or else I’m out, down for the count, and wasting tons of precious calories snacking on anything and everything I can get my hands on in the cupboards.  NO self-control here (although, I have gotten a little better with that).

Also, something about these shells not having a sauce on them makes them feel more “summery” and light.  Try them out and let me know what you think!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

INGREDIENTS:

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
water for boiling pasta
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling (eyeball it) and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells covered with foil for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

* To make ahead/freezer meals – Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells covered with foil for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

Recipe source: adapted from  joelens.blogspot.com