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COOKING WITH THE SNAP: Cheesy Chicken Shells

Editor’s Note: As the SNAP turns 140 this year, let’s celebrate the past with some of our favorite recipes of our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. Email bj.drye@ stanlynewspress.com with recipes and a small story about the famous cooks that go with the recipe. Pictures can be included of the cook.

Cheesy Chicken Shells

4 Ounces uncooked jumbo pasta shells, about 12 (I used 15)
1 1/2 Cups canned tomato sauce
2 Medium egg whites, lightly beaten
1 3/4 Cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast(s) diced (I used a little more – 3 pieces about the size of a computer mouse)
3/4 Cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water (no sauce kind)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon ground oregano, or other Italian seasoning (I used 1-2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped)
3/4 Cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 Cup shredded parmesan cheese and little more (approximately 1 1/2 Tablespoons) for sprinkling on top of dish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook pasta shells in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Set aside.

Coat a 9- x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup sauce evenly over bottom of pan and set aside.

For filling, in a large bowl, stir together egg whites, ricotta cheese, chicken, spinach, garlic and seasoning. Stir in 1/4 cup each of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.

To assemble, spoon cheese mixture into pasta shells and place filled shells in a single layer in baking dish. Spread remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake about 30 minutes.

Yields 3 shells per serving – 5 servings.

From the Kitchen of Lori Ivey