I seem to always have some cooked chicken around. It’s great to have in a pinch and I’ve discovered a lot of uses for it (think tacos, pasta, sandwiches, etc.). I was looking to clean out my fridge and use the end of leftover chicken and some different cheeses. And so, Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Shells became a thing. A delicious thing. It’s a new twist on a classic dish. A cheesy chicken and ham filling is enhanced by a thick and creamy Gruyere sauce and topped with crispy panko and Parmesan.
“Cordon Bleu” translates to blue ribbon. And these Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Shells are definitely winners. I love a big comforting pan of meat, cheese, and pasta. And this is just that, along with some very traditional and recognizable flavors.
I actually made my husband count the total number of shells so I could divide perfectly and make sure I didn’t get cheated out of any. Any time food hit the table in my house, someone would ask the essential question – “how many I get?” So, it’s a form of habit, especially for something this delicious.
How many you get will depend on the box of shells, I imagine. If you make the whole box, that should serve 8 normal people. Or 4-6 me’s. This dish was the best thing ever the day I made it. However, it didn’t really reheat well. Then again, my reheat method of choice is the microwave, so it dried out a little. I would either enjoy it when you make it, or try reheating in the oven for a better result.
Ugh, this is soooo good. I say that about most things that have a cheese sauce. But, this also packs in the protein and I threw in a little spinach because I could. So, it’s somewhat balanced…right?
- 12 ounce box of Jumbo Shells
- 8 ounces cooked chicken breast (shredded or cubed)
- 8 ounces cooked ham (diced)
- 1 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded and divided)
- 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cup skim milk
- 8 ounces Gruyere cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (preferably whole wheat)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the shells according to the package and let cool on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, ham, mozzarella, ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, spinach, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Spray a large casserole dish (you may actually need two) with non-stick cooking spray.
Evenly divide the mixture (about 2-3 tablespoons) among the shells and line them up in the casserole dish. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour and cook until golden (whisking constantly).
While whisking, slowly add in the skim milk until everything is incorporated. Bring to a low boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stirring regularly, cook until the sauce is thickened (when it can coat the back of a spoon) - about 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in the gruyere cheese until melted.
Pour the sauce over the prepared shells. In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and the other 1/4 cup of parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the dish.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the topping is browned and crisp and the sauce is bubbling.
This is best served when you make it. While you can certainly save some for leftovers, it will lose a little creaminess if reheated in a microwave. The recipe makes a large amount of shells, so you can also halve it…or just eat more, since it’s really good.
For 1/8 of dish: Calories 655 ~ Total Fat 30 g ~ Saturated Fat 17 g ~ Trans Fat 0 g ~ Cholesterol 97 mg ~ Sodium 1096 mg ~ Potassium 351 mg ~ Total Carbohydrate 44 g ~ Dietary Fiber 3 g ~ Sugars 5 g ~ Protein 51 g