Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells


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


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


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

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

17 Responses to “Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells”

  1. July 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM #

    I love love stuffed shells, and I love pesto, so these stuffed shells must have been delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe. 🙂

    • July 19, 2012 at 1:11 AM #

      Thanks so much for commenting! They were definitely delicious 🙂

  2. July 20, 2012 at 1:08 AM #

    I’m glad you posted this recipe — I have about 4 oz. of cream cheese to use up, and I LOVE pesto! (And if your hubby likes it, odds are mine will, too!) 🙂 Thanks!

    • July 20, 2012 at 3:18 AM #

      Thanks for the nice comment, Kimby!

  3. July 20, 2012 at 9:43 AM #

    These shells look fantastic. I make something similar, but they have a sauce over them. This is just perfect for summer! Would love for you to share something over at our link party, Weekend Potluck.

    Have a terrific weekend!

    • July 20, 2012 at 11:03 AM #

      Thanks for the comment, Kim!

  4. July 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM #

    I love stuffed shells but obviously don’t make them enough. These sound great

    • July 21, 2012 at 1:06 AM #

      Same here – I need to start making them more I think! Thanks for your nice comment, Erin 🙂

  5. July 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM #

    I’m a major snack face too… I shove all and any into my pie hole before I actually sit down to eat dinner… I’m basically a pig. 😉

    • July 24, 2012 at 2:57 AM #

      You’re in good company 🙂

  6. July 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM #

    Ashley, these stuffed shells sound amazing! Your recipe is perfect for this busy summer season. Thanks for sharing! –Ramona from Sam’s Club

    • July 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM #

      Thanks for the nice comment, Ramona!

  7. Jaschira
    August 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

    Hi Ashley,

    I’ve been meaning to make this dish since you posted it. Jeremy, Donna and I gave it a two thumbs up. It was delicious!
    Question: How do I make sure the shells don’t get dry when I bake them? Donna said that may have happened because my oven is 60+ years old but do you have any tips?

    Hope to see you soon,

    • August 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM #

      Hey girl! The same thing happens to me with pasta in the oven sometimes (my oven is terrible!). Next time, I would try covering the baking dish with foil to prevent the shells from burning or getting too hard. Make sure it is not too tight, keep it loose. That should help keep that pasta more moist. You can even reduce the baking time a few minutes if your oven cooks real hot. Let me know if that helps! But I’m with you on the ancient oven problem:(

  8. Jaschira
    August 21, 2012 at 3:17 AM #


  9. gayle
    May 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM #

    do you have a nutritional analysis for these Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells?

    • May 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM #

      I don’t, I’m so sorry. In the past, I’ve used an app on the cell phone to figure out fat and calories for a recipes by entering the ingredients. Hope that helps!

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